Rooster Teeth is a growing media company from Texas that produces podcasts, web series and anime for a global community of very loyal fans.
Like REALLY loyal. So much so they have their own annual expo – known as RTX – which provides a meeting point for friends who may have known each other for years online as avatars or screen names. But can now come together in person to celebrate their favourite voice actors, writers and podcast hosts from the burgeoning media empire that is Rooster Teeth.
Every day, Rooster Teeth releases hours of free online content including podcasts, cartoons and videos of their presenters playing video games. While this writer is not yet across all, the content I have chuckled at a few episodes of ‘Red VS Blue’ which is arguably what kick started their success and can definitely see why the fandom can get so intense.
This was the third time they had come to Sydney and only the second at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour. It’s been growing steadily year by year but given its narrow focus, it’s never going to be as huge as OZCC or SMASH. But that’s just fine with the Rooster Teeth Community.
Not being overly familiar with their content myself, even I could appreciate the extra room. You have to walk around the hall when the crowd shrinks a little and there are no long lines for amenities, food stalls – you can usually find a table even if you have to share it. I like to think the over sized round tables are purpose built to actually encourage people to make new friends!
That kudos goes to the venue management though, unfortunately other than keeping it clean and open on time, the ICC let down the home side a little this year. More than a few photographers were asked to leave from the lobby areas because they had too much kit (flashes, etcetera) and some were ejected merely for having a ‘fancy camera’. The official website for ICC states the following below:
Which makes perfect sense – if ‘The Wiggles’ or ‘Andre Rieu’ is playing. They are doing their best to combat bootleg copies of badly shot performances leaking out online. However, a convention like RTX and more so SMASH and OZCC (who both use the same venue) thrive on the interaction and buzz that semi professional photographers bring to the event.
It doesn’t help that even going outside the venue into the surrounding park area, it still attracts scrutiny from local enforcement with Harbour Foreshore rangers. Moving on a couple of other photographers merely because they had a light stand or reflector. The council argues this is to regulate who is in the area and prevent guerrilla productions from doing commercial shoots on their land without permission. If you have a small crew you can even apply for a ‘low impact photography permit’ but in my humble opinion this is a step too far in terms of red tape and just burdens the official on the ground with the discretion to ruin an otherwise fun day out for pretty dubious reasons.
No other venue we have attended has had similar restrictions and we have never heard of so many photographers getting ejected from a convention’s surrounds over a single weekend. A few vowed to never come back until the situation is rectified which is understandable. Speaking to a Rooster Teeth official on Sunday we discovered they were well aware of the problem and hoped they could liaise with ICC management for a compromise next year and onwards. They are also planning to have a photo wall with lots of powerful lighting on site so photographers don’t need to bring their own, which is a great idea.
We understand the team behind SMASH are also making similar overtures to the ICC and we hope the misunderstanding is sorted out by the time it rolls around. It is a larger event which attracts a lot more cosplay and many more photographers, so this kind of drama is the last thing they need.
Speaking of cosplay, we hope you enjoy our little gallery of some of the best we saw over the weekend. While the low numbers (at most about ten thousand over the two days) meant we only saw a smattering of colourful costumes, those who did make the time to put something together went ALL OUT and everyone appreciated their hard work.
Additional gallery at RTX Sydney by Norrie Photography
It was largely anime or videogame themed with a lot HALO characters and various RWBY favourites. There was no cosplay competition to speak of, but everyone seemed happy enough to have an excuse to show off their latest costumes and pose for photos with their friends.
There was the usual smattering of paint ball ticket resellers, indie developers showing off their latest games, media and game focused colleges. There are quite a few tech shops like Alienware and Mwave selling big ticket items like laptops and gaming PC’s. You can’t go past the giant semi trailer with a huge flatscreen displaying Overwatch tournaments which seemed to have queues all weekend.
You could easily miss the artists alley which was hidden behind the truck though. Unfortunately, there was only a smattering of artists stalls, at $660 a pop for a table it’s not hard to understand why but I hope the dozen or so tables that were there at least made their money back. They had some truly great eye candy on display and if I had any wall space left I would have been all over it!
Ultimately it was an enjoyable event, a few suggestions would include a cosplay comp and better relations with the scrupulous venue staff. But if you are a Rooster Teeth fan, I would be shocked if you didn’t have a good time. For more general fans of pop culture, you would have to be pretty keen to get your cosplay and loot fix. But I’m in the bag for anything like this and plan on catching up on a lot more of their media so I’m ready to dive in next year and actually get all the in jokes and references!
I hope to see you there too.