One week ago from the time of writing, I was in Los Angeles California, in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, having just had the best weekend of my entire life. But I’m getting ahead of myself. To tell this story we have to head back to last Thursday.
I’d spent a few days in Boulder Colorado with my friend Laura, and we both flew into LA on Thursday morning. At the baggage claim a couple of other girls came up to us, having recognised my ALL CAPS t-shirt and wondering if we were on our way to Vidcon too (which obviously we were). We all hopped on the shuttle and headed out into Century City – formerly the Fox Studio lot but long since redeveloped, and now the home of among other things, MGM world headquarters (which is basically adjoined to the hotel’s back wall).
After a quick bite to eat at the huuuuuge mall across the street, it was downstairs to the Vidcon office where I met Hank and John again, as well as meeting Karen Kavett who is as funny and awesome IRL as she is in her vlog. So began the mass bag-packing, preparing for the arrival of the 1400 guests who all needed to register for the conference in just a few hours. For those of you interested, see these photos:
http://www.twitpic.com/23lddh - first few
http://www.twitpic.com/23ldho - then a few more
http://www.twitpic.com/23ldli - then 100’s upon 100’s.
Then registration finally opened, and, WOW, credit to our volunteers on Thursday night. We needed them so much, and they pulled through in every way imaginable. I wish I’d got to know each and every one of you, because I know I would have found only awesome – I know I made some genuine friends for life
After the longest night ever, and only 2hours of sleep, Friday began, and John and Hank took to the stage in the Los Angeles Ballroom and the conference was under way.
Michael Buckley, of the What the Buck Show, and Ze Frank both gave marvellous talks as the day went by – Ze’s keynote address indeed was a spectacular exploration of online video and how the world of online media is continually evolving.
That evening we all filed into the ballroom to find it transformed into a dancefloor, and some of youtube’s premier musicians – from Alex Day and Hank Green to Rhett and Link and ALL CAPS took to the stage for a huge DFTBA Records concert. The highlights of the night included Hank and Alex joining to sing Rest in Peace from the Buffy musical, and about 50 of the biggest youtube stars all joining ALL CAPS on stage for the final song of their headline set: Don’t Unplug Me.
Not ready for bed despite the clear sleep deprivation we were all struggling under, we hung around a little longer as the crowd continued to dance into the night, the hall erupting as Michael Buckley appeared in our midst in the middle of Gaga’s Just Dance and the Black Eyed Peas.
And finally time to go to bed.
On Saturday it was my job to ferry the speakers from the stage to the official post-event interviews, which generally meant hanging out backstage all day, with the most amazing people in the universe – some of whom I’ll admit I didn’t know of on Youtube before that day, and yet who I connected with almost instantly. From stage side I could see everything that was going on AND hang out with everyone too – an absolute win-win if you ask me. David Choi might be the best guitarist I’ve ever met, and Rootberry are simply amazing at getting a crowd going with their sword juggling and swallowing routines. I also got to go on stage and give Mystery Guitar Man his guitar. I tried very hard not to fanboy all of these people to their face, but you know, in my head I was kind of like: woooah.
Then came Saturday night, which, I’ll admit, I did not spend at the concert for the most part. Adam, a random conference attendee, and a few other people, had taken control of the Karaoke room and had instigated an impromptu karaoke contest, so me and all the leaky people ended up in there dancing the night away and singing. Me and a few of the people I’d met through the volunteering – Jess and Lidewij got to know eachother a lot better, and we all continued to party until we were finally forced out of the room (although even then we squeezed in another few songs – sshhh don’t tell anyone =D )
After breakfast on Sunday 100’s of nerdfighters filed into the Pavillion to all watch the World Cup Final with John Green and Tom Milsom providing expert analysis at Half time/full time etc. Given that one of my new best conference friends (Lidewij) was dutch, I knew who I was supporting going in, and I must say, despite the disappointing result, Lidewij’s stalwart approach to the rest of the day was beyond commendable.
Me, Jess, Lidewij, and Chaya went and helped Tom Milsom record a video for the HPA which would eventually help them win $250,000, and then (minus Chaya, plus Cait) headed to Pink Taco’s, possibly the best Mexican restaurant in the world, and definitely the most double rainbow place in Los Angeles*
And then we head back to the hotel lobby where our story began. Just sitting, talking for hours on end. We’re joined at various times by Tom Stohlman (the original Nerdfighter Secret Brother), and William Redd, but generally it’s just me, jess and lidewij. We might only be talking, but honestly: its perfect. And this is after all what conferences like this are all about. People from different corners of the globe all meeting and getting to know one another. A Brit, a Canadian and a Dutch girl, all meeting in Los Angeles and having a great time. This was the awesome that was Vidcon. I would not change anything about it. I cannot wait to see Lidewij again when she’s over in August, and I know in Jessica I met probably the funniest person in the world. She is genuinely genuinely lovely.
Now: JUST GO START SAVING FOR VIDCON2011 AND LEAKYCON2011, which trust me, will be the most awesome 2 weekends any group of people will ever share. And I want to share them with every last one of you.
*Double Rainbow, it should be explained, is a phrase which means: INTENSE AWESOME. It stems from a viral video of a guy who is far too interested in something wonderful in nature which was then parodied by The Gregory Brothers of AutotuneTheNews into the funniest song ever, a live version of which was performed at Vidcon just hours after it was originally posted. If you haven’t seen the video, go youtube search Double Rainbow RIGHT NOW.