Blog  Getting SMASHed at Sydney

Getting SMASHed at Sydney

By komicer, 24 Aug 2016

Getting SMASHed at Sydney

Here. Have an obligatory photo of the Sydney Opera House.

Very obligatory photo of Sydney Opera House. Even though we didn’t have the chance to visit it for real.

We have not been on an overseas expedition since 2014 with Comic Fiesta! Having met the organizers of SMASH Sydney during Comiket last year, we were invited to participate in the convention. So took part we did. With just our two sales team (Baz and I, Komicer), we packed our goods and made our way to the surprisingly cold, cold land of Sydney to sell some stuffs!

Hyde Barracks Museum and St. Mary Cathedral at night

After a delayed flight, we finally reached Sydney with the company of a couple other people within the local doujin scene. While you would normally associate August with summer, it was smack in the middle of winter for in Australia. Our hostel were based around the King’s Cross station which turned out to be somewhat like a red-light district. The hostel itself was mostly pleasant though we didn’t spend a lot of time there. Most times were spent either at the convention or just wandering around the city.

We had two main goals.

One: Sell stuff at the convention.

Two: Catch a Kangaskhan in Pokemon Go.

It was a pleasure to say that we managed to do both. Of the second, the first Kangaskhan was found within a pizza store as we were dining with the organizers of Ai-Con. A pop-culture convention based in Tasmania.

We had attended a networking session on the first night of SMASH and met up with a number of event organizers in Australia, almost one from every major city such as Canberra, Melbourne, or Tasmania. We met the organizers from Tasmania at the train station on the way back to the hostel and they offered to bring us out for pizza. Where the Kangaskhan was caught.

Hopefully, we might just attend the conventions at those Australian cities as well!

2015! Let's make this a really fun year for all of us!2016! Let's have more fun and epic achievements!

Posted by Collateral Damage Studios on Tuesday, 23 August 2016

SMASHcon in itself is rather interesting. Run mostly by volunteers, it’s a very different approach compared to say… Anime Festival Asia or Chara Expo. It took a less commercialized and more community-based, indie approach for the convention. There were few commercial booths from major companies. Instead the bulk of the booths were of artists. The artist alley of at least 172 booths took up an entire hall.

Everywhere else, there was mostly indie content. There were panels, community contests, indie game developers, gaming tournaments… which is a really different approach from the all-commercial-booths-plus-artist-alley approach that most Singapore conventions take. Out of the more established conventions in Singapore, perhaps EOY and International Cosplay Day Singapore are the only ones that barely fit this approach.

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SMASH booth yesterday! One more day to go!

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The artist alley booths were larger than expected. To compare with our standard doujin booths at AFA, the allocated space was almost 1.5 times the size we are used to. Plenty of space to put prints up or have them on the table. The backing had a velcro surface so instead of the usual blu-tack, you had to secure them in place using velcro stickers instead.

SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show 2016Set up requires a safety vest. The backing is of vecro material so you need to use vecro sticker to put the materials up.

Posted by Collateral Damage Studios on Tuesday, 23 August 2016

During set-up and take-down of booth, all artists were also required to wear safety vests. Not that there were much of a safety concern then since any heavy machineries would be away from the artist alley. We suspected that it’s just part of the regulations within Australia and there were a number of people who openly flouted the rules during set-up.

There was plenty to do during the convention. As mentioned earlier, there were plenty of activities done indie style. Cosplay competitions. DIY cosplay competitions. Doodling wall. Gaming tournaments.

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Scizor sighted at #smashcon #pokemon #cosplay

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Lovely #Miku #cosplay at #smashcon

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We were mostly occupied at the booth doing sales. At some point of time, we even welcomed an alpaca rare spawn there. There is something really nice when you are friendly enough with the organizers that they will approach you with simple fun gestures.

Our Alpacasso friend is starting his day in style with his new buddies! Can you find him?If you see him around, you…

Posted by SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show on Saturday, 20 August 2016

Pricing at the convention is similar to Singapore and given that the exchange rate is almost 1:1 now, it is pretty good. In fact, when the currency rises back to normal, it might only get better.

It was actually a very good experience for us there. If not for the fact that we had to return to Singapore almost immediately for work, we would have stayed longer or even attempt to head down to another convention in Australia.

The only downside of attending the convention might be traveling there in the first place. It is expensive for non-Australians to participate. It still worked out in the end for us, so do expect us to travel there once in a while for the conventions!