2013 APE Recap-
So I am back from a con called APE (Alternative Press Expo). Before I go into my review, I want to say that APE is not a show that one goes to make a lot of money at. It’s not built for that (more on that in a moment). It is though a show that is fun and a good place to make some nice contacts and socialize a little.
This though is the last year the show will be held at the concourse in San Francisco. Which is sad, because it has been my home away from home for the last 9 to 10 years. The building is beautiful old building, with gorgeous wood and metal work inside. It’s being torn down, which is a shame, but i guess condos and parking structures are more important than beautiful old buildings. Well lets talk about APE.
I don’t recommend the show to those outside CA unless you have a place to stay and make it a little vacation. I will drive 7 hours one way to do it, but I also go into the show with the knowledge that this is not like other cons. I do make my own personal expenses back but a lot of people dont. The charm of APE for a creator though is the table price… the draw back is it is only 6 ft, so tables can become crowded with a hodgepodge of good art (several pixar artist and other artists were there this year) and other wares. The other issue with APE and why sales struggle a little is that APE is billed as a 18 up show. This scares off my primary audience which is kids and families. There are some kids but not much.
Attendance this year seemed lower than last year and the year before, which both suffered due to bad weather. Which also adds to the challenge of the show. Yet the new venue should help improve that, especially being in a nicer part of the city.
So Why do it if it is such a struggle and a 14 hour drive both ways (sunday’s drive was grueling… left at 6:30 and got home at 3:00 am thanks to an accident in san jose, which caused the freeway to be shut down and that I do that drive alone). Well I do it for a few reasons. One I am able to connect with my flatter and her family. Friday game night (something I dont get to do much anymore) was awesome…
2nd I was placed next to some really fun artists and creators. One was one of the supervising artists on The Iron Giant… very awesome guy – I also found some new creators and got to talk to some friends I don’t always get to see at shows.
Last and the most wonderful moments were the three new exhibitors, who each came up to me with books in their hands that wanted to show me what they had created. What makes this special, is that all three of them and I had talked the year the prior about following their own dreams and my favorite phrase of “how bad do you want it? dont tell me …. show me.” They showed me that they were starting to take those steps to doing their own thing. How awesome is that to see the careers of 3 young artists beginning with such potential.
All in all I had a good time. My hosts were awesome as always and company and conversations were very memorable. Thank you. Do I recommend APE to creator. I do if you go into it with the right attitude and not expecting to make a return. As for APE’s future I am not sure. It’s about to go through some changes, hopefully all good, yet if attendance and exhibitor size continues to drop it might be tough. I will be there next year.