Friday, July 22, 2016

10 Easy Tips to Surviving a Comic-Con

With San Diego Comic Con in full swing, I wanted to share my tips to surviving a Comic-Con, large or small, local or national, whether you come as you are or if you are wanting to cosplay for the first time.  Read on.

Comic-Cons, short for “Comic Book Conventions”, is a gathering for fans of movies, cartoons, anime, board games, tv shows, comic books, novels, games, toys, anything and everything pop culture based.  You may have heard of a local events with 700 people attending to massive 3-day conventions with over 20,000 attendees.  Cons range from small and intimate to sprawling and massive.

Thinking of attending?  You don’t have to be intimidated or feel overwhelmed.  There is nothing better than connecting with fellow fans of a book, show or game that you love   Follow these easy tips to ensure you have a great time.

Tips for Attendees.

1. Wear Comfy Shoes.  

I know this seems like a no-brainer but oftentimes for the big conventions you will have to park several blocks away from the hotel or convention center.  The closest parking get typically full early on.  The bigger the convention space the more walking you will do, and you don’t want to miss out on any panels or photo opportunities.

 2. Bring Cash Monies.  

Another no-brainer.  You will see vendors selling all sorts of gloriously geeky and amazing things.  Also, many cons will feature celebrity guests, actors from your favorite shows, high-profile comic books authors and artists.  Most of the celebs do charge anywhere from $20 - $80 to take a photo with them, or a lesser amount for an autograph.  For really popular guests, you may need to pre-purchase the photo opp package directly from the comic-cons website. 

3. Print Off the Schedule or Make a Screenshot of the Schedule and/or Map.

Some conventions will have a map and schedule printed for you to use, others may not.  To save your battery life on your phone make a screen capture of the schedule.  Many cons host panels with celebrity guests that you may want to attend.  It’s very common for convention goers to start lining up anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or longer to attend the more popular panels.  If you are not sure when or where a panel is taking place, don’t be afraid to ask!  Your fellow attendees will most likely know and this is a great way to talk to people.

4.  Bring An Empty Water Bottle and Eat Before You Go.  

For larger cons, the lines to buy food or drinks can be very long, especially around meal times.  Bringing your own empty water bottle allows to have water with you, so you aren’t dying of thirst sitting in line to get into panel.  I also recommend grabbing a burger or some tacos just before you go.  Often the food and drink prices are much higher at the convention.  Some smaller conventions allow you to leave for food and re-entry later.

5.  Wear Your Fandom.  

Feel free to wear your favorite Harry Potter shirt, or anything else that displays the games, tv shows, movies or characters that you like.  This helps other convention goers to strike up a conversation with you.  It’s a pretty awesome feeling when a fellow fan spies your t-shirt and you can both nerd out over something you both love.

Tips for Cosplayers

This brings me to my tips for those that would like to try cosplay, something I definitely recommend.  Cosplay is short for “Costume Play” in which fans of any show, movie, anime, cartoon, game or more, make or buy costumes to dress like their favorite character at a convention or just any time they feel like it.  

One of the greatest draws of a comic-con is seeing all the cosplayers dressed as their favorite characters. You may ask to take photos with them, don’t be shy, many do not charge to take a photo with you.  There may be some featured guest cosplayers, professionals or semi-professionals that are paid or compensated to attend that may charge a fee but most do not.  Don’t let professionals that have worked hard for years to hone their costume making skill, deter you from trying out cosplay for yourself.  Anyone and everyone can do it.

If you plan to wear a costume, here are some additional tips.

6. Find the Cosplay Hideaway.  

Some conventions will host a room for cosplayers to take a break, sit down and make small repairs if need be usually called the Cosplay Hideaway or Cosplay Lounge.  Not all conventions will have one though, but you can write to the organizers ahead of time to ask if they can have one.  Typically it will be put together by a member of the local cosplaying community, so tips or donations are appreciated.  Those cosplaying can take a much needed break away from photographers to rest a bit in their costumes.

7. Pack Some Flat Shoes.  

If you are a beginner cosplayer, you may see many cosplayers wearing heeled shoes.  This looks great in photos and you may be wearing heels to participate in a group photo shoot while at the convention but I do recommend packing some flat shoes to wear when your feet inevitably get tired.

8. Bring a Mini Hand-held Fan. 

Some costumes you can wear in the summer heat, others have multiple layers and may keep you hot, especially while waiting in lines.  Bring a mini hand- held fan to keep yourself cool throughout the day.

9. Take Selfies.  

This may sound self-explanatory but I can’t believe how many times I’ve spent an hours getting myself ready in my cosplay and then forget to take pictures of myself in costume.  Take a quick break to grab a selfie or two, by yourself or with another cosplayer.

10. Remember You Are In Character.  

Familiarize yourself with your character’s name because attendees will likely be calling to you by your character name.  Say you are dressed as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, be prepared to hear “Buffy!  Hey Buffy!” Yep, that person is trying to talk to you.

Cons come in all types and sizes.  The bigger ones have more popular guests and plenty of great goodies to buy but the smaller ones put you in direct contact with more local talent and artists, which can be great to visit and hang out with, one on one.    To find out which conventions big and small are in your area, use Eventbrite.   You could also plan the next up and coming convention or conference of your own, use the Eventbrite Conferences page to get you started.  I may have to use this to get a local Breaking Bad convention started in my area!

Large or small, local or national, conventions are a great way to interact and make friends with your fellow fans and artists or creators of any tv show, movie, anime or game you love.  What convention are you wanting to go to next?  Let me know in the comments!

Additional Tips

If you are wanting to get a photo opportunity with your fav guest celebrity, try Sevi's tips from her blog  Ware is the Vodka?

For more first timer tips, check out Katie's post from The Tipsy Verse.

For those wanting to go to the Big Kahuna of all conventions, San Diego Comic Con, see Megan's great tips from The Nerdy Girlie. 


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