This edition of The Great Stampede is a follow-up post to ‘Conventions 101: A guide to comic cons’. This sister-post takes a look at terminology used at conventions and by convention goers, to help break down any barriers for beginners. As with all ‘101’ posts, this is a back-to-basics guide, so please utilise this information accordingly.
Below you will find 15 key words, along with a short explanation to some of the terminology used at conventions.
Conventions 101: Terminology
Attractions – Attractions are all of the scheduled events that will feature at a convention. This can include displays, shows, guests, props, photo sessions, themed zones, screenings and talks. Some of the attractions are free, but some carry an additional charge.
Comics village – The comics village is a designated area/zone of the convention hall solely dedicated to comic book artists and writers.
Cosplay – Cosplay is an abbreviation of the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’. In layman’s terms it is an art form whereby people dress up as their favourite characters (gaming, comic, film etc). Cosplay costumes can be simple, homemade costumes or more elaborate affairs.
Exhibitor – The exhibitor (also known as the organiser) is the person or company responsible for the convention.
Guests – Guests are the people who are in attendance at the show. Guests are traditionally connected to some form of media outlet (a film star, TV personality, YouTube streamer etc) and are a big draw for convention-goers. Guests sign autographs, take part in photo sessions and attend talks.
Gaming zone – An area within the convention hall that is specifically dedicated to gaming. This area can be set up for professional tournaments or it can be a space whereby anyone can play new/old consoles.
Main stage – The most prominent stage within the convention hall, where the biggest talks and/or shows take place. The main stage usually operates in tandem with smaller stages and zones.
Passes – Passes are traditionally higher priced tickets that provide the bearer with additional perks at a convention. Passes can provide access to VIP areas, can provide preferential seating options at talks, or they can allow the bearer to queue jump at photo sessions/autograph signings.
Priority entry tickets – Also known as early entry tickets, priority entry tickets give attendees the opportunity to enter the convention hall a little earlier than the standard entry tickets allow – traditionally an hour before the event officially opens. Priority entry tickets carry a slightly higher charge.
Photo sessions – Photo sessions are paid for, professional photo shoots which take place during the course of a convention. Photo sessions take place with either one or more guest and will provide attendees with a snapshot to take away. Photo sessions are conducted in quick succession and photos are printed on the day of the shoot.
Stalls – The stalls are where retailers sell their products. Most conventions have areas dedicated to stalls, with retailers selling a variety of merchandise and memorabilia.
Steam punk – Steam punk is a science fiction genre which combines a historical time period (usually the Victorian-era) with futuristic technology. Steam punk is very popular amongst cosplayers.
Stewards – Stewards are staff members and volunteers who oversee the convention. Stewards work on the door, within the convention hall and behind the scenes to make events run as smoothly as possible.
Talks – Also known as panels, talks are question and answers sessions featuring one or more guest. Talks are largely free events, included in the cost of the entry fee, however some talks do carry an additional charge. During talks, convention attendees are usually given the opportunity to pose questions to guests.
Vendors – Vendors can be any retailers that are in operation at an event, but usually the term refers to food retailers who sell hot and cold meals and snacks.