As I’m sure anyone who knows me or follows me on social media (links on blog sidebar and also at the end of this post) will know that I went to VidCon on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th April 2017 in Amsterdam. This blog post will explain my reasoning for attending, what I got out of the experience, my regrets and why I felt like a fraud.
For those of you who don’t know, VidCon is an online video conference held annually (usually in California but branched out to Europe and Australia in 2017) created by Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green. The convention attracts thousands of YouTube fans and many of its successful creators for a weekend of panels, workshops, shows and all round fun. I’ve been wanting to attend the convention for a few years now however I couldn’t afford to make the journey to California. When I heard VidCon was coming to Europe I instantly signed up for updates and once tickets were released I purchased my ticket and the rest is history.
There are 3 different types of ticket/pass you can purchase depending on what you want to get out of the experience. The most basic ticket/pass is Community which is what most fans of YouTube purchase. It allows access into the Q&As, panels, fan meet-ups, meet and greets etc. This pass is perfect if you literally are just a fan (or even a small vlogger) wanting to attend panels and potentially meet your favourite creators. The next ticket/pass is Creator which allows you to attend things on the Community track and also more in-depth panels which most fans won’t be interested in. This ticket/pass is built for people looking to launch a YouTube channel, wanting to make better content, grow your channel, meet fellow creators, attend Creator Chats etc. With the Creator pass you can’t enter the Meet and Greet lottery. The final ticket/pass is Industry which is for professionals working in the online video industry and part of a production company, network, channel etc. With this pass you can attend all content from Community and Creator tracks (except Creator Chats).
For me I felt that the Creator badge was best in terms of wanting to start a career in online video. When I first bought my ticket I had just started my blog and wasn’t in the right place to start creating YouTube videos. I have a history with trying to make YouTube videos and it’s never gone well. For me blogging allows me to voice my thoughts without putting my face out there. I feel I have more control over blogging and it’s something I am better at. Talking out loud is an issue for me. I talk too fast. I stumble over my words. I don’t always plan out what I’m going to say first. The list goes on. Anyway, at the time of purchase I felt somewhat like a fraud because I wasn’t actively creating online video content.
VidCon was a chance for me to learn more about the industry I wanted to get involved with. My view was that I would attend, listen to what people had to say, learn new things, get home and start working on things. That plan has kind of stuck however it took a few turns in places I didn’t quite expect.
When purchasing my ticket I expressed an interest in volunteering there, something I didn’t think I’d ever get chosen for. But I did. I received an email saying that my application to volunteer had been successful and I couldn’t quite believe it. I also had an email regarding Creator Chats which asked me to rate a list of creators by how much I’d like to be in a chat with them. Again, I filled this form out not thinking anything of it. I was just glad to be going to VidCon at all, then I find out I got accepted to volunteer and then I got accepted into 2 Creator Chats. My VidCon experience had gone from attending to listen to panels, potentially meet new people, mostly be awkwardly alone and probably end up crying myself to sleep over how much I hated myself to actually attending panels, volunteering and meeting amazing people, attending Creator Chats with such inspiring creators and generally never wanting the weekend to be over.
I had an amazing experience but there are things that I regret. I had plans to vlog the experience and document it to look back on in years to come. What better time to start vlogging than VidCon? Well that plan failed because my insecurities got the better of me. There are creators I passed that I wish I had the courage to talk to but didn’t. Similarly I probably could/should have spoken to more of the volunteers there. Overall the experience was very overwhelming for me and I just hope that people didn’t think anything bad about me because of my awkwardness.
I opened myself up to all opportunities VidCon had to offer and I’m so glad I did. Sure I may not have a YouTube channel right now but it’s inspired me to get started with something I thought would take years to build up. My mission is to work as hard as I can for the next year and attend VidCon in 2018 and have a channel or something that I can say I created and fully live up to my Creator pass.