The almighty E3 Expo is upon us. Here are some pro-tips for the lucky few who get to attend the most important game industry trade show in the world:
1. Write everything down
Make sure someone takes copious notes during interviews. Every little detail, no matter how small, must be on paper. It will allow you not only to build a body of knowledge on each journalist (personal interests, beats) but also make following up after each meeting an easier task.
2. Have all your assets (trailers, screens, fact sheets) in a FTP server
DVD-ROMs are so 2002. The best way to give the press all those assets you’ve spent the last two months working non-stop on is an FTP server. On one end, some journalists are now taking tablets or netbooks without optical drives to meetings. At the same time, you can bet your golden coins that their hotel has high-speed broadband, more than fast enough for a few hundred megabytes.
3. Invest in power bars and good ol’ H2O
Trade shows are busy times for everyone involved, from clients to account executives. Avoid fainting spells with lots of water and many, many power bars. You can have them for lunch and dinner, but we usually recommend a hearty breakfast to start the day with enough gas in the tank.
4. Go to bed early
At the risk of sounding like our mothers, we must insist on at least 5 hours of sleep. Hopefully 6. Sleep deprivation will wreak havok with your memory and stamina. Now, if you add clubs and margaritas to the mix, you might approach zombiedom in a day or two, tops. Split your nights in partying and rest nights to keep things on an even-keel, so to speak.
5. If recording video interviews or podcast, scout for a quiet spot
Film school taught us that sound can make or break a picture. Your movie can look like El Mariachi and thrive, but bad sound will make it feel cheaper than straight-to-video monster features. It’s worth your time to find a quiet (or quieter) spot for podcast recordings and video interviews. The press outlet will thank you for it and people on the interwebs will actually understand what you’re saying.
6. Bring extra batteries
Both Android and iOS devices consume energy like ferocious beasts. Don’t assume that your phone will last a full day under load. If you have an Android phone, invest in spare batteries. No kidding, we have 3 of those at home, two of them always charged. If you own an iPhone, buy one of those battery extenders. There’s nothing worse than dead smartphone during a trade show.
7. Have tethering and portable wi-fi hotspots as Plan B
You can NEVER trust the following during a trade show: (1) the show floor’s Internet connection (2) your hotel’s network. That’s why you need to make sure your mobile provider offers tethering for you phone — in case there’s an “issue” with the hotel. Similarly, trade shows are known for having shoddy Internet and mobile connections. Overcrowding is to blame most of the time, but it doesn’t mean you need to suffer everyone else’s fate. Bring your own wi-fi hotspot and enjoy the peace of mind.
8. Be flexible
Things may change in the last minute. Journos can be late, the client can get stuck at a publisher meeting. Use technology to your advantage to keep the pace: text messages are great for last-minute rescheduling, for example. Go with the flow, but make sure to respond to journalists immediately. They are usually in a much tighter spot than you are.
9. Carry all your documents in your smartphone
Sorry iPhone owners, but this one is Android-specific. Use the mass storage capability of your phone to carry all your important files with you everywhere you go. We’ve been saved many times over by a spare copy of important documents. iPhone owners can rely on Dropbox but we still think local access is important. You heard it here first!
How about you? What are YOUR strategies for E3 survival?
Image credit (top): Rie H @ Flickr
Image credit: Android Central, Google