Day Two at Gen Con did nothing but highlight how easy it is to deviate from a plan or itinerary when confronted with a lack of sleep, jet lag, and still getting up early in order to haul our asses over to the Indianapolis Convention Centre.
First up, however, was breakfast. Walking through the back lot of our hotel, and across the space of land that separated us from the diner that was our target, felt eerily reminiscent of The Last of Us: empty, desolate and forgotten. Thankfully, the restaurant was the complete opposite of that. Indy’s Family Diner was a neat little restaurant that revelled in its city’s racing roots and fame, adorning its walls with chequered flag trim and racing car models displayed proudly everywhere.
The diner didn’t rely solely on gimmick however, as the food and service more than met the high expectation set by our cab driver the previous day. Ashleigh, our waitress, was friendly, bubbly, kind and attentive, despite the early hour (8:30am), and was on top of our orders and, importantly, coffee needs throughout. It was a perfect example of American hospitality, and served as a further reminder as to why Hooter’s Shelby didn’t actually deserve the $5 we left her. The food itself was as delicious as it was enormous, check it out:
All of that, for $4.99?! Let alone the fact that I had initially ordered the ‘Ranch Hand Breakfast’, only to be told by Ashleigh that they had a special meal deal on that was essentially the same thing, but more value for money. Or bang for your buck, if you will. Needless to say, I took her advice.
It’s a good thing I don’t live in America, as much as I’d like to, as I don’t think I have the will power to deny myself all the delicious options that are available! It wouldn’t be long before I gained back all the weight I’ve managed to shed.
Full of enough food that would support a poor family for a week, we waddled our way over to the convention centre and soon got lost amidst all the excitement of the convention floor. The hustle, the bustle and the near palpable giddiness – seriously, this amount of people crammed together so tightly leads to dealing with other peoples sweat pretty quickly – of everyone around us led to an embarrassingly basic inability to keep track of time. The panel I was meant to be on, Film Budget and Finance, started at 12pm. The next time I actively looked at the time on my phone, it stared mockingly at me, stating the time as, I shit you not, 11:59.
I could have rocked up into the room about 10 minutes late (given in travel time across the convention), disrupting the panel in the process, but I decided against it. I didn’t want to be so rude; blustering in, in order to promote First Date and interrupting all the film makers who were able to, y’know, look at their clocks an appropriate amount of time before the panel start. The only solace I can take in this is two fold:
1) First Date, the punk rock effort that it is, was meagre lo-to-no budget, and so there was probably only so much I could add to the conversation
2) Given the relative promotion and panel turn out for a number of the other film related panels, I’m not confident I would have provided anything relevant to those in attendance who were really looking to learn something.
It doesn’t lessen the disappointment I have in myself for not being there, but I’m glad that, if I were to miss one of them, out of all the panels I was on, it was that one.
With two down, and one no show, that only left one panel left: Directing Film, which would take place at 10am the next morning.
The rest of Friday was comprised of learning. Sitting down, shutting up, and listening to people who know what they’re talking about. We sat in on a number of panels for the Writers Symposium, and I’m not being superfluous when I say it really helped to open my eyes. The possibilities of what can be achieved made my heart sing, and the candid warnings in regards to the pitfalls of pursuing writing as a career left me as terrified as it did inspired.
This entire trip has led me to the entrance of a rabbit hole, one where I am beginning to question a lot of the things that I had previously been taking as stone etched fact for so long, and it’s begging to be explored. And no, that’s not a euphemism for anal.