Oh, SEMA, you bring out the best in me.
Today’s topic: A Half-Dozen Helpful Tips on Fitting in Where You Obviously Don’t Belong — This Means YOU, Guy Who Either Mooched a Pass or Works Somewhere on the Very Fringe of the Industry (ATTN: Guy Who Supplies Thumb Tacks to the Local Auto Parts Store)
1. Don’t grab every pen, Post-It pad, sticker, magnet, ruler, sippy cup, catalog, magazine, DVD, keychain, light-up mascara case, sunglasses clip, lanyard, really tiny pouch to hold, well, really tiny things that you grab at other booths, or extra bags as you stroll by every booth… much less HANDFULLS of them. This tells me that you’re either a complete douchebag, or that you are a hoarder, and yes, probably also a douchebag.
2. Speaking of extra bags, that giant-size tote you’re hauling (with 1/3 of your giant mass listing to starboard to compensate) makes it easier to spot you from afar when I’m looking for outsiders to walk in front of as they take a photo with their flip-phone at mid-stride. There is no fine line between grabbing a few things and EVERY GOD DAMN THING YOU COME UPON. Rather, it’s a giant, conscious leap to make, and your chances of sticking that landing are as good as, well, the next item on our list…
3. No, Skippy, Miss Valve Stem 2014 wasn’t really into you, or super-excited to have another photo shot with you. While you may think that the previous 400 lard-ass, hangers-on waiting an hour to meet her and get that poster were but a warm-up to your brilliant entrance, lugging 3 metric tons of promotional materials and bashing that load into her leg, you can rest assured that all she’s thinking is “only four more hours today, and but three more days until I can cash that check! And why does this guy smell like stress balls and catalog paper, mixed with onions and Axe spray?”
While the people who actually BELONG AT THE SHOW and are WORKING are trying to squeeze past you and the 400 others just like you to get to a meeting, just know that you SHOULD take it personally when I mutter “get the fuck out of my way” to you. That week isn’t play time. It’s feed my family time. Stay home, and look at pictures of booth girls on your favorite forum between taking jabs at cars you’ll never have the skill to build, you pile of shit.
4. Stopping, mid-stride in a busy aisle to text your bros isn’t the wisest idea. I forces me to pretend that I didn’t see you when I plow into you, and then pretend that I’m sorry. That saps energy I was saving for when I have to attempt to control every fiber of my being from punching you in the throat when you finally end your phone call to your bros at home about how hot Miss Fender Washer is, and how she signed your poster “CALL ME, LOL!”, and step out of that stall after 20 minutes of hearing “No, bro, it gets better!”, and look at the line of 35 angry colons waiting to explode.
5. If nothing else, DO NOT use someone else’s pass, or try to slip in with last year’s, or some doctored pass or otherwise. What are you, like five years old? And no, I don’t believe that the Asian guy’s real name was Jesus Angelino Martinez de Venuza. I’m not buying it.
6. For the love of all that is holy, DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Nothing makes you look more out of place than the stained t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Honestly. If you can’t respect my industry, at the very least respect yourself. It’s a PROFESSIONAL TRADE EVENT. Not the fucking Piggly Wiggly on Thursday night, you trash.
Some helpful hints and tips for making the most of your “Give Me Free Shit for My Project” SEMA Trip:
1. Be “in” the industry. It helps to have some sort of an established presence. I mean beyond the whole “I have a cool car/truck/bicycle”, or the “I bought so-and-so’s cool car/truck/bicycle”. Have a shop. Perhaps some sort of ACTUAL clout, outside of your five good-time buds.
2. Don’t drop names of people who have no clue that you’re using their name. It’ll make for some good times when the rep you spoke to speaks with me following the show; probably some awkward ones for you moving forward.
3. If you’re going to use your connection with an artist or designer to further your agenda, it helps to utilize a rendering drawn BY that artist for the “project” you’re dreaming up as you go along. See “awkward” above in tip #2.
4. SEMA isn’t your personal fucking gift box. It’s a trade show. The professionals are there to network, and plot and plan the coming year. Your dumb ass just makes it feel a lot longer than the week needs to.
5. Stop bugging the designers for free renderings with promises of “getting some coverage”. Chances are, if the designer is at SEMA, they certainly don’t need you.
6. Yes, we pro’s notice that the name on your badge doesn’t fit with your face… and we can sure as fuck bet that you don’t belong. Your loud-mouthed horseplay on the show floor gave it away early on.
7. I’m not your “boy”. I built this business myself (as did all of the working artists and designers), purely on the reputation of good work, and I’ve been blessed to make the connections I have. I work my ass off for them. If you’d like to think that you’re any part of this, cut a check, and I’ll consider making you a partner.
8. Nobody, and I repeat NOBODY owes you shit based upon promises. In this business, it’s all about what you’ve done before the current project. Nobody cares about what you haven’t done yet. If anyone tells you differently, they’re just as full of shit as you are, and you should hook up, and spend your days hoping and dreaming. We’ll look for it next year in the same “proposal” you’re pushing in peoples’ faces.
I promise that we’ll be less negative next time. Maybe.