Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010

When I told some of my friends that I would be going to Los Angeles to attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), their initial reaction was almost that of jealousy, saying that I was lucky to attend. That’s partly true and I am grateful that my freelance writing career has led me to these kinds of opportunities, but I wouldn’t say that it is entirely lucky.

There’s a common misconception that when a writer (such as myself) goes to cover a trade show like E3 or Computex, that they’re on vacation. After all, they’re hopping on a plane and traveling somewhere that isn’t a stuffy conference or boring executive meeting. What these people don’t see is all the work that goes behind the fun.

Allow me to paint a picture for you. The typical electronics-related trade show usually has its show floor open from about 10am to 6pm, give or take a few hours. During that time, I’ll be going from appointment to appointment, seeing what the different companies have to offer. In between appointments, I’ll try my best to meander the floor and see what catches my eye. In the instance of E3, it might be Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. Or it might be a couple of Stormtroopers.

Storm Troopers at E3 2010

So, what happens when the trade show floor closes? There might be a party or a dinner to attend of some sort — I didn’t go to any during E3, but it is typical for us to go to a few during Computex in Taipei or CES in Las Vegas. After that, it’s time to head back to the hotel room and do even more work.

You see, covering a trade show means I need to actually cover the trade show. This could involve processing the images from the day, writing new articles of the day’s findings, or editing through videos for posting on YouTube.

This is above and beyond the usual freelance writing duties I may have with other clients not related to the current trade show. I effectively have to cram a regular work day into those few hours in the late evening… or I wake up early to do them in the morning.

Mortal Kombat

Yes, going to a trade show like E3 is fun. It’s certainly rewarding when you get to win a new Xbox 360 or meet briefly with Leonard Nimoy, but it’s still hard work. Just because I’m having some fun doesn’t mean I’m on vacation.

In fact, it is during trade shows like these that I work the hardest. By the end of the week, it’s almost a relief to hop back on that plane and head back home. Then, I might be able to relax for a change.