The Final Countdown to USITT 2020
March 4, 2020
Our 60th Anniversary Conference & Stage Expo is less than a month away and we're excited to get our feet on the ground in Houston — and we hope you are, too! It's time for our annual list of Conference preparation tips and tricks. With all the excitement and hustle and bustle it can be difficult to remember everything both packing and planning wise, so we're here to help!
Make a list of goals
Conference is an exciting time, but it can also feel a bit overwhelming at first. Make a list of goals before you arrive or even after your first day. Write down what you'd like to get out of your Conference experience, who are some key players you'd like to connect with, your reasoning for attending the sessions you've scheduled for yourself, and anything else you would like to accomplish during your week. This will help you stay focused and eliminate any FOMO (fear of missing out).
Remember to HYDRATE
The Expo Floor alone requires a lot of walking. Add in walking to various sessions, networking throughout the day, and participating in hands-on activities, and you'll definitely be thirsty! Bring your favorite reusable water bottle, or stay tuned for a special surprise regarding hydration at Conference. Hint: you may go home with a NEW favorite water bottle.
Bring your business cards and resumes
USITT is a hub for networking, so having business cards and even a few copies of your resume on hand is always a good idea. Think of business cards as golden tickets at USITT. They're a great way to make connections as well as leave a lasting impression on those you speak with. If you think your resume could use some love, bring it to one of our Resume Doctors at booth 717 on the Expo Floor for some TLC.
Plan on attending receptions
Receptions are an excellent way to meet with like-minded individuals from different committees, programs, regional sections, and more. Not only will there be free, delicious food (pro tip) but there will be great conversations and collaboration happening throughout each reception. We encourage you to attend a reception that may be unfamiliar to you as a way to expand your networking and mindset when it comes to the many facets of our industry.
Make an Expo Floor Plan
Planning what exhibitors you may want to visit on the Expo Floor before you arrive can be beneficial. Using our virtual interactive show floor map, you are able to see a complete list of exhibitors, Expo Floor stages, and more. This allows you to make a map of where your favorite exhibitors will be located as well as the opportunity to check out who is new to USITT this year. Make your Expo experience efficient by getting the lay of the land before you even step foot on the floor!
Bring a backpack
You'll want to conveniently house the cool swag you'll get, notebooks you'll want to bring to sessions, your reusable water bottle, and much more. Backpacks are also great organizers as their many compartments make finding what you need simple. That being said, backpacks are truly a holy grail item when it comes to a week-long Conference. You'll feel secure knowing all of your belongings are with you, a bigger bag means more space to hold what's most important, and the weight will be evenly distributed meaning more comfort for you and less of a hassle of slinging a bag over one shoulder. Trust us on this one.
Take photos and tag us
We love seeing USITT through your eyes. When you take photos at USITT 2020 we encourage you to post them and tag us @usitt on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Use the hashtag #USITT20 so that other social media users can see your great shots as well!
Make a stop at our Headshot Booth
Back by popular demand, our headshot booth, sponsored by Barbizon Lighting will return to the Expo Floor to provide professional headshots to attendees! Even though our industry is not known for being in the spotlight, headshots are a professional way to market yourself, no matter what field you're in. Arrive at the headshot booth (booth 816) during expo hours, wait in line (if there is one), and have your headshot taken by a professional and leave USITT 2020 with a brand new headshot. It's that simple!
Bring a sturdy writing surface
This may seem odd, but hear us out. Notebooks and pens are great to bring to sessions as you'll definitely want to take notes. BUT, some session rooms may not have tables leaving you with no real writing surface besides a "flimsy" notebook or sheet of paper. We suggest bringing a cardboard backed notebook or a hardcover book to use as a writing surface.
Step out of the box
We know that you'll want to attend as many sessions relating to your field as you can, but we encourage you to pick one or two that are out of your comfort zone. If you're a costume designer, try attending an introductory sound session, or if you're a stage manager, try attending a session that discusses working in live entertainment on a cruise ship. This is a great way to expand your network and your knowledge of all the different moving parts of our industry. For a full list of sessions, click here.