Stage Fright

I’m leaving for ConnectiCon this afternoon to get set up for tomorrow’s opening. As I wrote at length on Tuesday’s blog, ConnectiCon is a hugely important and exciting show for me on both a professional and personal level. It’s also where I host the Cosplay Death Match.

The Cosplay Death Match is the highlight of ConnectiCon weekend. It packs the main events hall (and adjoining hall) on Saturday night and it feels like a rock concert. At the head of the show is me, the host, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be there. I am also scared to death.

The success of the Death Match is not just a testament to my skill as a host, but to the crowds who love it, the participants who get into it, and especially the backstage crew who puts the music together and organizes the contestants and generally make everything look awesome. However, if the Death Match isn’t entertaining, that falls on me. Participants don’t have to have Stage Presence to get the crowd to love them and technical difficulties can be worked around by a skilled host who’s good with a microphone. But if the host sucks, it drags the whole show down. And every year I am scared that I’m finally going to have my year that I’m Off as the host.

Over the years I’ve learned that people have been coming to ConnectiCon for the first time just because they’ve heard good things about the Death Match. There’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders, every year, to be as On and entertaining as possible. I feel like I’ve stumbled on stage once or twice in the past but have usually been able to recover. There’s this lingering fear in me, every year, that I will lose the crowd and can’t get them back, and those people who came to ConnectiCon for the first time will leave disappointed. I lose sleep at night over this.

However, it’s also a motivator to stay focused and on my toes. I’ve come to count on this fear and anxiety to motivate me to perform my duties as host to the very best of my abilities. I have a feeling if I didn’t worry that I was going to suck I would become complacent and run the risk of phoning it in, and then those aforementioned worries would quickly become a reality. A good crowd feeds off the energy you give them, and I have to give my everything.

Wish me luck at the Cosplay Death Match this weekend! Hopefully you’ll come see me at my best.