RTX2016: Liv’s Story
Edited by Matthew “Retrograder” VanDeZande
Being still relatively new to the Rooster Teeth community, I had many different expectations for my first RTX. I imagined seeing my favorite Rooster Teeth employees in person and being completely starstruck by their presence, lines miles long for panels like RWBY and Achievement Hunter, and Rooster Teeth shirts as far as the eye can see. The experience was something completely, yet wonderfully, different.
Walking into the Austin Convention Center, I was hit by a sudden rush of excitement, awe, and panic. Never in my life had I been surrounded by sixty-thousand people covered head-to-toe in either Rooster Teeth attire or cosplay. Between admiring the countless cosplayers and travelling the convention center, I almost felt out of place. Everyone was smiling and hugging people they met through Tumblr, Rooster Teeth forums, or previous years at RTX. Thankfully, I had my friend Jamie to keep me company and deal with all my shenanigans throughout the entire weekend, but I could not help but wonder if my social anxiety would prevent me from meeting fellow cockbites like myself.
This sense of feeling “out of place” quickly changed as my friend and I walked into the Camp Camp Panel Panel and found two seats between two strangers who immediately welcomed us in like we were their best friends. Soon we were talking about our favorite Camp Campbell campers and doing goofy impressions. I went from being a normally shy person who would sweat at the thought of social interaction to belting the lyrics to the Camp Camp theme song and laughing my ass off with countless complete strangers. I felt the sense of community that Rooster Teeth is known for first hand and I felt like I was home. Immediately following Camp Camp, my friend and I decided to head straight to Achievement Hunter so we could be as close to the front as possible since they were all her one true love (yes, all of six of them). While in line we met three other girls (Kayla, Taylor, and Jacey) who were crazy enough to wait with us for two and a half hours to watch six idiots talk into microphones. Within those hours, we had already established the “RTX 2016 Squad,” set up a time to meet for breakfast the following morning, and took several selfies as if we had been best friends for years. We told stories about our lives and laughed through panels until RTX Day One came to an exhausting end.
Day Two started rough as I slept past my alarm and only had fifteen minutes to make myself ready before we headed to VooDoo Donuts. It did not help the situation that I was cosplaying for the first time as Hilda from X-Ray and Vav. So after frantically throwing my hair into a wig and slathering makeup on my face, Hilda was off and running through the downtown-Austin streets to get a sugar rush before RTX began. With bellies filled by donuts and plans to meet up for the RWBY panel, I parted ways from Jamie and our new friends and headed to the expo hall for the first time. Walking into the expo hall felt like walking into Toys “R” Us when I was a kid. I was awed by the talent in artist alley and how passionate all the independent developers were about their games. But nothing compared to the glory of the Rooster Teeth store. T-shirts, posters, figurines, blankets, key chains, and accessories all laid scattered across the multiple tables. I quickly went to work spending money on as much merchandise I could find, but just enough so that my wallet didn’t suffer too much. After leaving the store with multiple shopping bags in hand, I walked around and experienced the various attractions that the expo hall held such as center stage, Griffon Ramsey’s live chainsaw carving, and the Tower of Pimps in all its glory.
After making my rounds in the expo hall, it was time to head to “Rooster Teeth Community Projects,” where I’d finally meet the other Rooster Teeth Community admins who had helped me run my own group in Ohio, Rooster Buckeyes. The entire panel was full of hugs and laughter as we met face-to-face for the first time and somehow managed to wrangle thirty people for a single picture. I had to make quick goodbyes, knowing I would see them again on Sunday for our meet-up, because I had to meet my friends for our four-hour journey while waiting in line for the RWBY panel. Along with Jamie and our friends from Achievement Hunter, Kayla and Taylor, I met the first friend I ever made through the Rooster Teeth site: Derek, aka drhairz. After months spent goofing around through messages across a screen, we were finally able to make stupid jokes with each other in-person. Thankfully with the help of the newly released card game Million Dollars, But…, the four hours of waiting were filled with laughter and smiles. After several card games, the RWBY panel had started and we were in the second row for weekend pass holders. I won’t spoil anything that happened, but my jaw was open in awe the entire time.
I woke up Sunday morning and knew that today would be the highlight of my weekend. I was one of the lucky few who were able to attend signings for Meg Turney and Ashley Jenkins. Ever since I started watching The Patch and keeping up with The Know, I knew I wanted to go into the video game news broadcasting industry and I had two amazing role models to look up to for inspiration. I lasted fifteen seconds before I started tearing up as I handed over my white Xbox controller for each of them to sign and Ashley complimented my Yang beanie. As I was telling them about my dreams to follow in their footsteps, they had nothing but kind words and encouragement and said they hoped to see me in the industry one day. After multiple pictures and warm hugs from each, I left with joyful tears in my eyes and newfound determination.
After a few hours spent wandering through the expo hall, taking one last look at all the vendors and making a few final purchases, it was off to the RTX 2016 grand finale: Off Topic Live. As with most Off Topic podcasts, it was a glorious drunken mess. After Michael drinking four jars of peach moonshine, Gavin and Geoff both leaving the stage, and a fan giving Michael multiple hundred-dollar bills, the grand finale ended and along with it RTX 2016. I walked out of the convention center one last time with tears on the rims of my eyes as I looked to the friends I would have to wait until next year to see. We tried to prolong our departure by taking multiple pictures and exchanging many hugs, but our final goodbyes were inevitable. With one last group hug, we went our separate ways, holding this weekend’s memories close to our hearts.
When leaving for RTX, I was determined to meet all my favorite Rooster Teeth employees and give them hugs and thank them for constantly making me smile. What happened, though, was so much greater. While I was able to meet my idols Meg Turney and Ashley Jenkins, it was my new friends who made the experience truly unforgettable. They helped me grow from being the stereotypical “shy girl” to being able to hug new acquaintances and start conversations with complete strangers. Saying goodbye to them was among the hardest things I have ever had to do, but it made me all the more determined to return next year!