20 September 2013

Comic Con 101

The family and I have attend two Comic Cons. While we are in no way experts we had fun and successful experiences both times. Here are a few tips to make your Comic Con visit a treasured experience.

This is what my family really gets into. We love planning, creating and wearing costumes. Not your thing, no
worries. The majority of attendees do not dress up. I'll have further posts on costumes creation.

Figure out a budget before hand.  Take into consideration: tickets, parking, food, and costume making supplies, autograph fees, celebrity photo opt fees.

For us this is a big splurge vacation.  We have modest spending money for the vendor floor and will discuss any high dollar 'we really must have this unique item' purchase. It is best to bring cash to pay for items on the vendor floor. Many vendors will be home crafts people and the technical reliability and security of running credit cards at their booth is iffy.

Parking and Food-
We do pay the higher 'park at the event fee' because in the long run it saves us money and time. We load the
car up with good lunch foods and will have a tale gate party mid day in the parking garage. When feeding seven people this save a lot of money on the high priced food booths. We also save a lot of time by not waiting in food lines. If someone needs a break from the crowds and commotion they have the option of retreating to the car for a bit. It also gives a place for costume changing. Also, by parking at the event we don't have to spend time walk for blocks. We'll do plenty of walking within the venue.

Arrive EARLY. As early as you can before the doors open. We had VIP tickets which means we got early entry and other perks. We still arrived a good thirty minutes before the doors opened to get in line. We were aiming for forty-five minutes early, but that never happened.

Vendor Hall-
Depending on how your comic con is arranged they should have maps of the vendor booths. We like to make a quick walk through reconnaissance of the floor and mark places we want to come back to and look at more in depth. This insures we don't miss anything fabulous.

There will be panels on a whole range of geek culture topics. Check out each day's panel lists and mark the
ones you want to attend. Then arrive early at the panel room and get in line. This is a great time to crowd watch and meet new people as you talk with your line buddies. I find it's okay to save a spot for one or maybe two people, but more than that is rude. Make sure anyone you are saving a spot for joins you at least 15 minutes before the panel starts. When sitting down, do so quickly and don't leave empty seats. If there is Q & A time and you want to ask a question (1) make sure it is a question and not a comment (2) keep is short and clear (3) make sure it is on the topic the panel or person is discussing. If you must leave, that's fine no one will be insulted, just make sure you do so quietly.

Extra events-
There will often be other events happening at the Con that you pay extra for and reserve your spot in advance. These often include celebrity figures and range from photo opts, autographs (it's okay to bring something from home to have signed or you can buy a photo from the celeb), to meet and greets. In our home we do a cost benefit analysis of the event and weigh how much it is worth to us. Mr. W and I splurged on an
evening with Kevin Sorbo. In the three hours we spent with him we got a light meal, photo taken with Mr. Sorbo, engaging stories, a bit of chatting, viewing of pilots for shows and personally signed autographed photos. We didn't do the William Shatner event because it would have cost us five times as much for the same thing.

Plan on it being crowded. I personally would not bring kids under ten. We find the majority of people in this the geek/nerdy group to be mellow and calm about the crowds and lines. The few that weren't usually got
shunned by those around them. I enjoy the excitement and vibe of the people around me. I enjoy chatting with strangers on topics of sci-fi and fantasy, costuming, writing, film, and books. We make sure each person in our party has a cell phone or stays with a person with a cell phone that way we can hook up again quickly.

Bring a camera. It's fun to take pictures of the people in costume. If you come in costume and you have an outstanding or unique creation expect to have pictures taken of you. It's okay to join a group taking photos of someone. It is also okay to stop and ask someone you are passing if you can take a photo. It's not cool to jump into pictures someone is taking.

Want to Go? Here is a link to a site that lists the upcoming cons- Convention Scene

Are you an experienced Comic Con attendee?  Please share your advice in the comment section.

Have questions? Leave a comment.