Lessons from Comic Con

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I have, to date, been able to go to Comic Con… once. And not even for the full weekend. I can easily imagine that there are plenty of people out there who have considerably more experience than me, and can offer better advice.

But I’d like to offer a few tidbits based on my first ever Comic Convention.

One

Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare yourself to leave, but try to be flexible. Last minute changes happen, and they can be dealt with so much more easily if you’re already prepared.

Case in point: I’d packed up a change of clothes and anything else I wanted to take several days in advance, leaving only those things that I absolutely had to leave out (e.g. pajamas and toothbrush), and I still ended up having to repack the day before.
But since everything was already packed, moving my belongings around was… fairly simple, and not even time consuming.

On the other hand, two days before the Con, I’d found an image that I wanted signed

Specifically, the motorcycle at 1 m 07 s

but between copyright issues and the fact that I’d essentially decided on a whim to get it, I couldn’t legitimately print it for the purpose.
Now, whether I could’ve gotten it if I’d given myself more time, I don’t know. But it certainly would’ve helped if I’d had time to ask permission.

Two

An exception to the above: if you’re bringing rechargeable batteries, and you have either few enough batteries or enough chargers and outlets, you might want to consider leaving those until last.

For some reason, rechargeable batteries don’t keep a charge very long, even when they aren’t in use, and the typical removable batteries like double- and triple-A’s seem to be the worst offenders.
My camera, which took two double-A’s, didn’t give me any problems. Well, not any battery-related problems; I described another few issues entirely on my Comic Con gallery
Trying REALLY hard not to utter ear-splitting shrieks of glee. :)Nor did my 3DS with its built in battery pack. But my geotracker with its three triple-A’s was dead long before I arrived. Good thing I ended up not needing it.

And pack some chargers.
The 3DS obviously requires its own, as does almost anything that involves a built in battery pack, but the camera and geotracker could be taken care of with a regular charger. My LaCrosse charger, for instance, charges both double- and triple-A’s, and charges each battery individually, meaning I can insert one or three of a given type if I need to instead of limiting myself to the standard two and four.

Three

Bring something to do when you’re not at the Con.

Your hotel has a pool? Pack a swimsuit!

You’re not the one driving? Bring a book to read, an mp3 player, a portable gaming system, or something to watch video on.
Or help the driver out as a navigator; that’ll be useful even if you’ve got a GPS available.

You are driving? Music, again. Just… don’t go putting on any headphones or earbuds.

Four

Pace yourself.

Okay, that means something different to everyone, but basically, don’t try to get everything done at once. Don’t rush, give yourself time to take breaks, and so on.

My dad and I weren’t exactly rushing the one day we could attend, but we were so tired and footsore that when we got back to our hotel, we just sat in the room and watched TV.
We only ventured out for dinner, and never once visited the hotel’s pool, even though we’d packed our swimming gear expressly for the purpose.
The lesson there? I really need to start my daily walks back up. πŸ˜‰ There’s no reason why a 15,000-step walk should leave me that tired when I used to do it all the time while working at Michigan’s Adventure.

Five

Look up the schedule, preferably on the Con’s website, and pick plenty of stuff you want to do before you go.

This one might sound like it contradicts point four, but it’s here for a couple of reasons.

One is that emergencies do happen; Wil Wheaton’s fib on an episode of Big Bang Theory comes to mind.
If you only have one or two things you’re interested in doing, and the person is a no-show for any reason, you might find yourself at a bit of a loss.

The other reason is pure and simple boredom.
When I visited my first Comic Con, I had exactly one goal I wanted to accomplish–well, two, but they both involved the same person, the same table.
I had a few places I planned on checking out while I was there, but not a whole lot of interest beyond wandering. I hadn’t looked at the website in very much depth, and thus missed a lot of things, including a haunted house set up in one of the corners.
The result? Two hours in (most of which was spent wandering while I waited my turn), I’d accomplished that single goal.
Prized Possession: Hollow EarthI’d done what I’d come to do, and I was getting bored.
I didn’t want to leave yet, but I couldn’t quite decide what to do to occupy myself, short of loitering near one specific table and continuing to take pictures there–which was easier said than done without making a nuisance of myself; that corner of the building was swarming with fans. πŸ˜‰
It wasn’t until my dad rejoined me maybe half an hour later that I started walking around the whole place to take pictures of the different costumes and exhibits, something I should have been doing to begin with.

Six

Break that age-old rule and start talking to strangers. πŸ˜‰

Keep yourself safe, certainly, but there’s nothing wrong with chatting up other people, at least if they want to chat back. There’s a reason they came to the same place, after all, and you might enjoy the chat.

Or you might keep someone else from getting bored, find out they’re one of the vendors, and be given a freebie from their store as thanks for keeping them company. πŸ˜‰
We're all stories, in the end.

Seven

Pay attention to what you’re doing, and to what’s going on around you. Be polite. And try very hard not to hold up the line.

Mistakes happen to the best of us and to the worst of us. Just do what you can to keep them to a minimum.

That brings us back to my camera problems.
I was trying to get a quick, very specific, picture in and make room for the next person in line, but my camera insisted on screwing up and changing modes on me.
I discovered the next day that I’d managed to take the picture I wanted after all, even in spite of those problems, but as far as I’m concerned, that part did not go as planned. And I know for a fact that I would’ve had an easier time of it if I’d been paying closer attention to the camera… it wasn’t the first time that day that it had switched modes on me, after all.

Eight

Find out where the bathrooms are.

Not just the ones inside the convention, but outside, as well. Find out in advance how to get to them, if you can get that information.

Waiting in line to get inside the Con, only to have the urge hit you before you’re even inside the building, is not a comfortable feeling.
Nor is catching sight of just how long that line is when you haven’t even parked yet.

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2 responses to “Lessons from Comic Con

  1. Pingback: Character Review: Arrow’s Malcolm Merlyn | Side Quest Publications·

  2. Pingback: 2014 Motor City Comic Con Slideshow | Tamie's Travels·

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