Each summer events such as the San Diego ComicCon and Toronto FanExpo attract ten’s of thousands of people to their doors. ComiCon’s are very exciting! They offer the chance to meet your favourite celebrities, view movie props, vendors of interesting products, contests and cosplay. It can also be intimidating and overwhelming, even to ComiCon “veterans”. The following is a list gathered from my experiences at ComiCons that help me “survive” and have a great experience.
1) Realize it Will be Busy!: The lines are long and hot. People are bumping into you. It seems like mayhem! Relax! Keep positive. Comi-cons and similar events have grown greatly in popularity becoming more a part of main stream culture than the underground “nerd-fest” from the past. This popularity growth has brought with it huge numbers of fans and visitors. It won’t serve you to go to the event dreading the inevitable large masses.
2) Convention Survival Kit: Cons are a busy event spread over days and thousands of square feet of space. To take in all that the event has to offer, you don’t have time to slow down over hunger, headaches and other “fan-boy/fan-girl” hindrances. I suggest a “Convention Survival Kit”, containing items for that specific need to avert the “nerd at a convention” emergency.
This kit should contain;
Snacks: Energy Bars. Great snack filled with the calories and energy you will need to keep strong throughout your day.
Water: It will be hot! You will be walking and standing – ALOT! Be sure to keep yourself hydrated.
Body Spray: Being in a hot confined space with thousands of others will eventually produce a…smell. BODY ODOR! Be kind to others around you and frequently “refresh”. REMEMBER: Don’t listen to the commercials…Body spray doesn’t attract the opposite sex uncontrollably. It just makes them appreciate you not stinking.
Tylenol: It will be a busy day of running around from booth to display to photo-op. A bad headache can potentially sour your day. Be prepared!
Band-aids: Nothing worse than getting cut looking through art prints, and collectables. Not only can the cut get dirty, but you can possibly spread the blood around on displays and vendor products or worse – other people!
3) Plan Your Day: There is so much to see at an event and without a plan, you risk missing a speaker, class or other similar feature. Convention promoters post schedules and maps on their websites long in advanced. Planning will help you to avoid confusion.
4) Get Involved: Don’t just hang out with your friends. Get out and meet new people! Take part in cosplay, contests and other activities the Con offers. We all tend to stay in our “comfort zone” in social situations, but a Con is the perfect place to “release your social nerd-ness!”
5) Artist Support: My favourite part of any Con are the new and soon to be famous artists. There is so much passion and thought in their work and they could use the support and exposure. You might actually see some art you want to buy!
6) Don’t forget to rest: Take your time. Take breaks to sit down and replenish your energy and rest your feet! The excitement of all the displays, celebrities and activities might make you think you will miss something if you stop moving but you don’t want to “burn out” too soon!
7) Multimedia: This is a tool that is greatly underused. Be sure to update and post your day on Facebook, Twitter and other media sites. This includes pictures, products, and cool things you find that may be of interest to other attendees. This is a great way to record your day for friends who couldn’t make it to the Con. Be sure to post to the Con’s Twitter page as well with your updates and even questions. In my recent attendance to the Toronto FanExpo, I had a question and couldn’t find a volunteer. I posted it to the FanExpo Twitter and was answered withing minutes. If the recent events in Egypt and Syria have taught us regarding multimedia, is that it is a very powerful and helpful tool! Use it!
8) Thank Organizers: There is so much work over the year that takes place behind the scenes in planning for an event. Much of this is done by dedicated volunteers. It doesn’t take much to thank staff as you see them. Even a friendly conversation can make their day.