It’s been almost a month since the PAX South, and I finally found some time to crunch numbers. More specifically, I’ll answer the question “How much did it cost to go out there?”. Here’s a recap of our cost. Note that every amount is in CAD.
|200 business cards||25|
We live in Quebec city, Canada. San Antonio isn’t exactly next door, so we took the plane to get there. If you never used it, I recommend you try Google Flights to find plane options. It’s easy to use and provides some insightful information like “Hey, the plane you’re going to take is often delayed by an hour”. That’s a very interesting hint when you have to transit with another plane in a 1h30 window. 1700$ includes the round trip tickets for 3 guys, which seems a good price. The downside is that we took 3 planes to reach each destination. The upside is that we could start and arrive from our small-ish local airport, so we avoided a 2h30 drive to the bigger one that way (Montreal). I think it’s worth mentioning that we booked the tickets in late November.
The booth at PAX South was 1200$ USD, which makes roughly 1440$ CAD. Note that different expos will have a different pricing. For example, we’ll be at PAX East in March and the booth is 1600$ USD. Also, if you’re considering to expose at any PAX convention, be warned: it’s kind of hard to get a booth. Make sure you know when they will open spaces, then harass them every day, starting a couple days in advance, until you get an answer. I don’t know if it’s a common thing, but after PAX South we’ve been invited to PAX East directly by them. Since we’re no VIP, my guess is that it’s some kind of internal policy to invite people to show off again to the next expo. Which makes it harder for newcomers as many booth spaces will go that way, but is a nice touch once you’re in.
Holiday Inn Express is a very safe bet if you ever travel anywhere. You know the room will be comfortable and the price is usually good. We had 1 room with 2 double beds. You guessed it, every night 2 of us would sleep together. Yes, we took turns. But is there a better way to tight up your bonds with a good friend? Well maybe…
The hotel was about 25min away (walking distance) from the convention center. We only used taxis the first and last days to transport the gear, so we walked a lot. After a full day standing up, these 25min seemed a bit too much sometimes. But we’re grown up (albeit still young) men, so we walked anyway… and cried like babies all the way through.
We booked the room for 5 nights and made the reservation in early December. 650$ CAD was a really good price. Other conventions are much more expensive. For example, we booked 3 nights for the same kind of room in another Holiday Inn Express for PAX East, and it cost 900$ CAD (and it’s a good deal!).
We didn’t spend that much in aesthetics for our booth, but the tablecloth is one of those items we felt was needed. We did it kind of last minute with a local supplier. They did an amazing job and it was fast (it had to!).
The downside of a tablecloth like ours is that once there’s a couple person at the booth, nobody get to see it. The guys from Berzerk Studio had a flashy pink one, and it catches the eye very quickly. In the future, we’d like to get a nice banner to hang on that black wall too.
We bought the media roller a while ago, but if I remember correctly, it cost about 400$ for the mechanism + the printing. Note that we went for quality stuff here (notably the material used as a canvas for the printing). Also, the mechanism can be reused if we want to change the sign. It also fits nicely in a transportable bag.
We had about 300$ worth of T-Shirts we had in reserve for such conventions, so we brought them with us. We gave them away, but we feel like it wasn’t such a good idea. If we had some kind of contest, it would have been a good winning price. But we didn’t have such contest setup. We were happy to give them to people who asked for them, but in retrospective, it feels like a bit of a waste. People expect to do something to deserve a T-Shirt, be it win a contest or pay in cash for them. As a studio on a short leash when it comes to budgeting, selling them probably would have been a better move.
When you go on a plane, you can have a carry-on baggage, which is included with your ticket. You can also have another, bigger bag. That bag has a ~25$ fee. If we add 1 for each of us, for each plane trip, add currency conversion and taxes, it adds up pretty quickly to ~200$.
We went to cheap restaurants/pizza places in the area for the entire trip. 3 young men need to eat, and we did! We didn’t stop at any crazy expensive restaurants and we didn’t pay shots for everyone at the bar. Once again, we did the bare minimum. Well, we still drank beer. Who can go to Texas without drinking a couple Lone Stars? We couldn’t resist.
It’s also worth mentioning that we ate the included breakfast at the hotel every morning, so we saved a bit of money there too.
We took the taxi 4 times, if I recall correctly:
– From the airport to the hotel, when we arrived on Wednesday
– From the Walmart to the convention center with our gear for the expo on Thursday (an employee from the hotel brought us to the Wallmart in her own car. It was so nice of her!)
– From the expo to the hotel with our gear, on Saturday
– From the hotel to the airport, in the middle of the night, very early on Monday
Oh god, we failed miserably with the business cards. We printed about 200, thinking it would be enough. We ran out in the first morning. For PAX East, we’ll have 2000.
Note that we didn’t do exactly “business cards” per say. The card was containing information about the game and how to follow us (website, twitter and such).
Also, if you’re going to any convention, you want to keep in touch with the people you saw. Business cards are nice, but not the most efficient. So don’t be shy and ask nicely for people’s emails. Many of them are eager to subscribe to your newsletter. At PAX South, we collected emails by hand with a hotel room note pad. Wasn’t exactly fancy, but we collected about 250 that way. For PAX East, we will have something setup with iPads. It will be much more convenient for everyone!
At this point, we can’t tell if it was financially worth it to go to San Antonio since our pay-off is in the form of followers (you!), media coverage (including IGN!) and awareness for the game. But it was an amazing experience and we can’t see how we could regret making the trip.
Thanks for reading this far, and we hope to see some of you at PAX East!