Day Four: VidCon is Magical (but) Goodbyes are Still Hard

Well, that’s it. That’s a wrap. At least on vidcon. I’m going to start this post the same exact way that I’ve started the rest, and that’s with the phrase “wow, wow, wow.” Just simply, wow. I can’t start it any other way. Really

Today was another long day. And it started with five more panels (but I got to go to the entirety of the first panel I went to, not just the tail end.)

After waiting in line for at least 45 minutes-to-an hour, I got in to the panel I had been hoping together into the most, women on YouTube. This panel probably made me the happiest of all the panels I went to today simply because they finally, finally, finally talked about one of the issues I had been hoping to hear about since I first got to vidcon, which you can read all about here. It was also so humbling just to be in the same room as seven of the women who have made it “easier” for other women to start something on YouTube. Seven women who have inspired so many other women to make something and take the chance, and put themselves out there. That, mixed with meeting Emma Blackery yesterday, I’ve just been inspired like crazy to keep creating. Even though it may not be online video, it’s still important to me.

The second panel I went to actually wasn’t supposed to be a panel, it was scheduled as a Q&A with Charlie McDonnell, but it turned into a panel because he showed his latest short film for the first time ever, and anywhere. It debuted (that’s the word I’m looking for.) it was kind of cool to finally see in person the guy that made me really get into YouTube, and I even finally got the guts to ask a question, so that was pretty cool, too. I booked it over to the panel that was second. At important on my hit list for the weekend, and that was “why do we create”, something I typically don’t really struggle with but a topic that was interesting nonetheless. The third panel I attended was “balancing school and YouTube,” which, although I don’t YouTube, really, I struggle a lot with balancing school, work, social activities, and doing things that I’m passionate about. This was probably the biggest waste of time for me today, since I couldn’t wait to get out of the panel, and the only two redeeming values of it was laughing at the stupid answers one of the panelists gave, and the woman who gave me half of her lunch since she couldn’t finish. I jokingly tweeted that I must just “reek of a poor college student”, but it’s kind of ironic what happened shortly after that.

Charlie McDonnell is probably one of the biggest and most popular youtubers out there, so I got to his last panel a short film screening festival called “intermix” about an hour early. Turns out, I made it in time for the second half of Michael Aranda’s Q&A, where I posed my second question to a creator. It didn’t turn out the way I was hoping, I’ll say that much, but it made me remember why I was hoping to do an audio doc for so long leading up to the conference.

I’m not the type of person who is okay with a one-sided conversation. I have opinions and I want to be able to have a conversation about them. Sometimes, I even know facts about things that are being debated, and the frustrating thing with Q&A’s is that you can’t interject your opinion and you can’t have a conversation. It’s just so one-sided. There’s so many things I’d like to discuss with creators, not just have them answer in an FAQ IRL sort of way.

But anyway, Intermix was really cool. I actually ran into my Writing & Rhetoric II Honors teacher there, which was kind of weird, random, but also kind of cool. As I’ve expressed on here before, I miss the Columbia environment so much, and I absolutely cannot wait to get back.

After Intermix, I ran for coffee, got the coffee, and then ran to the start of Luke Thompson’s performance. It was really cool to see him show VidCon what he’s got, since I’ve been following him for a few years, and I like to think of him as more of a networking friend than just another YouTuber. I guess I’m not sure how to explain it really, but it’s fine.

After the show, grabbed dinner really quick, then met Coley in the crazy long line for the exclusive showing of The Fault In Our Stars – where we waited in a very large, hot room for about an hour, just to be escorted into another, larger room to see the movie. Even though it was my third time seeing it on a big screen, it was still pretty good. The only thing that bothers me about that film is that a lot of the sound doesn’t seem to synch up with the actor’s lips, which is really distracting. Other than that, the acting is still solid and being able to pay attention to the smaller details was nice, too.

The highlight of the day, for me, came last (and certainly not least) – VidCon Prom. We booked it over to the MainStage to dance the rest of the night away, and right off the bat, we ran into the friends we made standing in line with yesterday. We spent the next two-ish hours dancing and jump-roping and being your basic, awkward, internet-loving, nerdy white people doing their best to ‘boogie down’ (or whatever the kids are calling it these days.)

Just like anything, the goodbyes are the hardest. Even though we just met these people about 24 hours ago, and I still barely know them, I feel like we’ve bonded in such a strange way. We all know we have not only this shared experience together, but we have a major shared interest – we all spend way too much time looking at screens, and it turns out we watch a lot of the same things on those screens for maybe the same-ish amount of time. Even though it doesn’t sound like it’s something that would be super social, it makes it all that more easier to become social around people who do that same thing. And I think that’s why VidCon is so special. It’s full of people who aren’t very good at being social, but we’re all not very good at being social together, and somehow, that helps us all be social. Yeah, the conversation might start out a bit awkward, but it ends up being completely fine in the end. Shared interests are what helps you build connections. Check out our fine looking group here.

All in all, VidCon was way more awesome than I ever dreamed it would be. If I didn’t have so many things going on, I would definitely already have it on the calendar for next summer, but believe me, the next summer I have off, I’ll be wherever this special, special convention is for a few days. Maybe I’ll finally do that audio doc I’ve been trying to get off the ground.

Even though VidCon’s done, the vacation is not. There’s still some surprises to come, so stay tuned.

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Author: erikabunk

Raised in Northern Minnesota. BA in Radio/Business & Entrepreneurship, but right now just talking too much about running shoes and a Masters Student at DePaul (Journalism). Training for the marathon with various podcasts. Spends too much time on Spotify, in search of the best record store in the world, and dreams of returning to Reykjavík.

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