Monday, May 15, 2017

Tips for Comic-Con

Comic-Con is heading to the wonderful city of Las Vegas, and I know there are a lot of prospective visitors, and maybe some newbies heading out there.  It's sure to be a stunning collection from across all fandoms.  Here are some tips for people going to their first Comic-Con, or who weren't satisfied with previous events and want to make their next trip the best.

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Embrace the Waiting

With any large event there is a certain element of waiting in line.  Patience is a virtue of course, but sometimes you just think to yourself, "I didn't come here to be virtuous, I came here to see _____!"  

I totally understand where you're coming from, but the reality is that there will be a lot of waiting one way or another.  Some of the best parts of a convention or event are the actual moments of waiting, in my opinion.

I recently went to an orchestra performance, and 80% of the enjoyment was just talking with my friend about the performance, what we liked, what astounded us, etc.  (The other 20% was from sheer awe at the vibrato the violinists employed--geez, it was incredible.)

The same goes with Comic-Con, ipso facto!  There are so many interesting people from all across the country that attend events like Comic-Con, and it's really fascinating to meet everyone.  It's also crazy when you find someone from right where you're from, but you meet miles and miles away from where you both come from.

This happened to me twice: once I met a group of teenagers that lived just a couple hours from me all the way in Tennessee, and the other time, my brother in law from Mexico met someone here in the U.S. from his exact city in Mexico!  Isn't that crazy?

Even if you're not a people person, remember that if you choose, you never have to speak to any of the people there ever again!  So go a little wild and let your hair down.  Don't be afraid to be bold and start a conversation, and who knows--the waiting may be the majority of the fun!

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Plan Out Where You're Going AHEAD OF TIME

I don't know if I can stress this enough.  Conventions can get really crowded, really quickly.  It's super important to bring a map of the locations of certain events you'd like to see, as well as a reliable way to keep track of when you want to be there.

Waiting times can spill over into other events which can force you to alter your plans, so don't carve anything into stone, but try and make sure you have a game plan.  Wandering around can be fun if you have an hour or two to spare, but if you intend to hit certain specific events, you definitely want to plan this out ahead of time.

Give yourself a cushion of time in between events in case you get lost, a line is longer than expected, you strike up a conversation with someone, or you just need a rest.  The one thing you don't want to do is be rushing to get places so much that you forget to have fun and enjoy the atmosphere.

Planning out where you're going definitely includes where you'll be staying and how you'll get there.  There are lots of resources on including a way of setting up a package deal that can help you out in that regard.

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Figure Out the Rules

Comic-Con has common sense rules for all attendees to follow, and you should double check that you are okay before heading out.  There are few things worse for a convention-goer than being forced to hand over their carefully packed picnic lunch before they enter the hall, or to get their cosplay sword taken away.  

You can find all the rules over at the Comic-Con website.

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Live in the Moment

I have a chronic problem with focusing too much on the future and not living in the moment, and it gets even worse (if you can believe it) when I'm at a convention or on vacation.

Take pictures, yes.  Write down what you're experiencing, of course.  

But don't forget to just look around you and take everything in, particularly at an event as charismatic as Comic-Con.

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Think Up Your Q&A Question Ahead of Time

There is nothing so painful to watch as a fan get really starstruck, fumble, and completely fail at asking a celebrity a question.  Think up your question before you speak, and don't embarrass yourself.  Write down your question if you aren't feeling very confident (or if you are feeling too confident--that can't be a good sin.)

This is a favor for everyone watching, and the people on the panel, but mostly for yourself.

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Limit Yourself When it Comes to Spending

Yes, there will be merch available at Comic-Con you can rarely find elsewhere.  Yes, it will totally match your costume, and yes, it will look awesome next to that model of a Stormtrooper you bought at Aldi.

But before you start throwing your cash dollars at random T-shirts and key-chains, ask yourself if this is really a good idea.  I don't mean to sound prudish, but it is really overwhelming to be surrounded by all the fandom items you've seemingly been searching for your entire life. 

Even the most frugal of fans can find themselves knee deep in debt if they aren't careful with their money.  Set a limit to how much you are willing to spend on merch, and think even more carefully when buying something.  Remember that buying this thing now may prohibit you from buying something later.  This will make sure that you think carefully about your purchases and don't waste all your money.

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Hopefully these tips will help everyone heading to Vegas this year, and I hope Comic-Con is as amazing as you've always dreamed (don't deny it, we all know this has been your dream since you were eight).  

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