Mondays. Back to reality from the temporary escape of bliss that the weekend provides. Back to the natural cycle of work and school in what many define as “living life.” Many loathe this day just as much as Garfield did. But this Monday for me did not give me the reoccurring disdain for it that it normally does. The days before were able to remedy that and provide everlasting memories that would have myself and others in awe over what transpired the weekend.
My love for all that is anime and gaming brought me to a place called Waco, Texas. It’s a city located in Central Texas, halfway between Dallas and Austin. A place is primarily known as the hub of Baylor University. But what many don’t know is that this exact city also stemmed a group of creators by the name of RDCWorld1. A group that would bring a vision to life to those who shared the same interests as I do and much more.
RDCWorld1 stands for “Real Dreamers Change the World.” And that is exactly what they have done repeatedly since 2012. Marcus, Leland, Desmond, Dylan, Ben and Johnathan have all collaborated together over the years to create content related to anime, gaming, comics, sports, etc. They utilized different social platforms to share their content, primarily through YouTube, followed by Instagram and Twitter. Currently they have an estimated 2 million subscribers on YouTube and 500+ followers on Facebook & Instagram, including Marcus’s solitary account “@Supremedreams1”.
Planning a convention was not the original blueprint for RDCWorld1. The intention was to connect with their fans at conventions in an environment that would be deemed enjoyable as patrons. However, rejection is what they experienced from several anime/comic conventions. They were disfavored as being unsuitable for conventions as they didn’t seem the type to even like anime or comics based on their own biased perception. But the perpetual denial of RDCWorld1 brought the observance of barely any guests of color at conventions. Their resolve was to instead of lamenting on being turned down, they would start their own convention. A convention that wouldn’t discriminate anyone based on if you were black or white, human or homunculi, even Saiyan or Namekian. A haven where everyone would come together and celebrate at what would be known for the coming years as DreamCon.
DreamCon came to fruition over the weekend of August 10th-12th, 2018. The weather had a steady stream of sun rays during the first half of the day and it would rain in the later evening to the remnants of the night over the course of the event. But the weather didn’t damper the festivities that occurred within the Waco Convention Center. Many attendees weren’t just from Texas. People from Connecticut, Oregon, Missouri, Michigan, Florida, and California were some of the locations that people traveled from to attend this convention. Even more came from outside the country from places such as Ukraine, Germany and Canada. One couple drove for sixteen hours and a sole individual rode a bus for forty-three hours! All from different parts of the world but all with the same destination in mind.
The main hall had various vendors and artists from all over the United States. Creativity was the driving point and it did not go unnoticed. Being able to choose and collect your favorite anime character from each artist visionary mindset produced a plethora of creations. In addition, attendees were also able to meet their favorite content creator and acquire autographs and pictures to cherish the moment. There were vendors who sold body pillows, clothing and even figurines for the casual to hardcore collector. At the back of the main hall was amateur wrestling as well as a basketball for those to take to the court and provide schooling sessions to any whom were in need of lessons. But what’s a convention without cosplayers?! There were many cosplays that reach different spectrums of cleverness and imagination by combining different fabrics and accessories. Individuals were able to become their favorite characters spanning from videogames, anime, comics and even classic comedy shows. All over the convention you were bound to bump into someone recognizable. Whether it was a Hidden Leaf Ninja from Naruto, a beautiful pirate empress from One Piece or a junky from Dave Chappelle’s Show, you were guaranteed to be awed by people’s creativity.
The guests – Content Creators (Influencers). They helped DreamCon accomplish the goal that RDCWorld1 had envisioned. Many conventions I have attended but none have come close to what DreamCon was able to accomplish. Attendees didn’t have to wait in long lines just to spend a couple of minutes with their favorite guest, take a picture and then no longer talk to them again until the next convention the following year. No, this was far different. Everyone was able to easily interact with any content creator openly. The best part about it, there was no time limit applied. Everyone had full-fledged conversations without feeling the need to rush. Guests did not brush off attendees for the sake of being annoyed. They respected everyone’s time to learn about the people who follow them across the many platforms of social media. They were also able to exert their physical abilities against them in games of dodgeball and the Nerf War Zone. Attendees were even able to play videogames against the guests and talk trash to their face if they felt confident enough! That quirk however backfired on me when I challenged a fellow RDCWorld1 member to Super Smash Bros. after calling him out in front of everyone. It was no different than when Vegeta fought Frieza’s final form on Planet Namek. Yet I was still able to walk away with my pride still intact.
The guests all have a high number of followers on social media whether its Instagram, YouTube or Twitter. The range of the number of followers span from tens of thousands to a million! However, followers do not define a person, give rank or status. It only shows how many people are influenced by that particular individual. And DreamCon allowed the guests to see the people who make up that variable of followers. Being able to converse with a fan of your work and understand the reason of why your prestige is effectual to their being. You are not looking at a laptop or mobile phone reading comments and likes of these people. You hear them quote the lines that you created. You see them perform the same dance moves as you and alongside you. And somewhere along the way, you become gratified and humbled because none of this had to be but you are personally witnessing it without the barrier of a backlit AMOLED display. And your now even more inclined to work diligently to produce more content because you felt and experienced the difference you’ve made through your creations.
My favorite manga of all time is called “One Piece” that has been on-going for 21 years and counting. It is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It is currently the best-selling manga series in history to this day, selling over 440 million copies worldwide. The story focuses on a pirate by the name of Monkey D. Luffy whose body is made of rubber after eating a cursed Devil Fruit. He’s the captain of the Straw-Hat Pirates and has dreams of becoming the next King of the Pirates while searching for a treasure named One Piece. This search was sparked by none other than the previous King of the Pirates, Gol D. Roger. In the last moments of the Pirate King Gol D. Roger before he was executed, he declared that One Piece was real as his famous last words. Those words ignited a vigorous eagerness, which began “The Great Age of Pirates”, labeled by a few as the “Age of Dreams”. Those words influenced many pirates old and new alike and would later develop the seas full of worthy adversaries in search for the legacy that the King of the Pirates left behind.
The outcome of DreamCon undeniably is a carbon copy of the story of Gol D. Roger. The vision that RDCWorld1 had for DreamCon set alight to many attendees whom were able to congregate with their favorite social influencer. They were able to absorb advice from those whom have proved successful in their endeavors. In turn, which give many the inspiration and determination to become something they had only imagined before they attended DreamCon. Many whom are now fixated to become the next wave of grand influencers with their own content created from their insight. And with that direction to guide them, they will become what RDCWorld1 envisioned for this age. Dreamers. Because dreamers change the world.
See you next year Dreamers…
Thank you to all the guests that participated at the first DreamCon 2018:
Written by: Xavier C. Moore (@TexasKaizoku)