On Saturday, my husband, my friend, and I went to San Francisco. We went to a convention called WonderCon. This convention is for fans of comic books, animation, movies, TV shows, and so on. Last year, about 32,000 people went to the convention–women, men, kids, older people, etc. It’s not the biggest convention like this, but it’s pretty big.
Every year, there are a lot of things to do at the convention. In the Exhibition Hall, you can buy all kinds of comics. Often, you can buy the comics from the artist or writer and talk to him or her. You can buy paintings and drawings from artists. You can buy books about comics, history, and computer graphics. You can talk to publishers and ask them questions. You can meet actors and other famous people from TV shows and movies. (You usually have to pay to get their autographs.)
Look at the photo above. The three people wearing costumes are looking at the original comic book art that is for sale by an artist. (They are members of a group called Legion Fantastique. If you’re in California, you can see them at the Great Pan-Kinetic Exposition in August.) Lots of people wear costumes and walk around the convention. You can usually take their photos if you ask them.
Another reason that people go to WonderCon is because you can go to presentations and panels (group presentations). At these, people talk about topics like how to make costumes, how to teach reading using comic books, religion in fantasy movies, and so on. Actors, writers, and other people are also on panels. Sometimes new movies or TV shows are shown for the first time.
We had a lot of fun, and we’ll probably go next year. There’s “something for everyone!”
Have you ever gone to a convention? What kind of convention would you like to go to? You can answer in the comments!
“Convention” (n.): A big meeting of people on one topic. It might be for people who work in one kind of business, like web designers. Other conventions are for fans of something, like Japanese animation, trains, growing roses, or comic books. People often travel a long way to go to the convention. Conventions are usually held in convention centers or hotels. “Convention” comes from the verb “convene,” which means “come together.” “Conferences” (n.) are almost the same, except that word is usually used for academic (teaching and researching) conferences–teachers, scientists, historians, etc. “Conference” comes from the verb “confer,” which means “talk” or “discuss.”
A “publisher” (n.) or publishing company is a person or a company that makes books, comic books, etc. A publisher isn’t a printer or a bookstore. A writer sends her book to a publisher and hopes that the publisher will accept it. The publisher agrees to buy it and pays the writer. The publisher pays a printing company to print the book. The publisher sends the book to bookstores. The bookstores sell the books. The publisher, bookstores, and writer share the money from selling the book. (The author doesn’t get very much…)
“Autograph” (n./v.): If a famous person writes his or her name on something, their written name (signature) is an autograph. When you write your name on a check, letter, etc., it’s just a signature (n.). If a famous person signs something, it’s an autograph.
If I didn’t explain something, please ask in the comments!
The terms “MV,” “PV,” “CM,” and “CF” are popular in countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. However, most people in North America and other English-speaking countries don’t know what MV, PV, CM, or CF mean. You need to be careful with letter-based words (usually called “acronyms”). Even though they’re based on real English words, native English speakers may not use the same acronyms.
Pitfall: MV, PV
American English: Music video. We don’t generally use this abbreviation (short form). We just say “video” or “music video.”
Example 1: My band made our first music video this weekend! Example 2: Did you see Gnarls Barkley’s new music video? I really liked it!
Here are two music videos that I like. The first one is “Two Silver Trees” by Calexo, and the second one is “Many Moons” by Janelle Monae. It might be hard to hear the words, so you can look up the lyrics here. Their lyrics are very poetic, so they’re probably still hard to understand! (And there are some “adult” words in the Janelle Monae song, so please only try it if you are in high school or older.)
Pitfall: CM or CF
American English: Ad (casual), advertisement, commercial. (Note: “advertisement” is pronounced differently in British and American English.) Usually, to refer to both radio and TV advertisements, we just say “ad.”
Example 1: I really hate that new diamond ring ad–it’s sexist and insulting to women. Example 2: I love watching TV shows on DVD because I don’t have to see any commercials!
This ad from the pay-TV network Discovery Channel was really popular last year. A lot of people made their own versions, and the geeky webcomic xkcd even did a parody.
Do you know some other acronyms that you’re not sure about? You can leave a comment and ask, and I’ll try to to answer you or write about it in a future Pitfalls post.