Thursday, July 10, 2014

San Diego Comic Con 2014

Only two short weeks until Comic Con.  I start getting excited about it in July...of the year before.  If you don't know what Comic Con is, or do know and don't care, consider yourself lucky since it's devilishly hard to get into.   Nine million try to get tickets, 120,000+ succeed. People who knock Comic Con by calling it things like "Geek Pilgrimage", "Nerd Prom", or "Nerdapoloosa" are trying to make it sound uncool so that they won't have to fight you to get tickets. 

(Either that, or it's sour grapes because they are trapped the whole time in a 6x9 booth, stampeded by every form of humanity, listening to everyone walk by marvel at how nice the cast of Game of Thrones are when you get to meet them up close.)

I'm lucky.  I'm enough of an industry insider to get a golden ticket, but not so much that I'm stuck working the aforementioned booth. If you're lucky too, and have never been, here are some tips to get the most of your trip:

  • If you absolutely HAVE to see something, get there at least two hours before it begins.  Especially if the line starts *outside*.  If you're at the end of a zigzagging structure, they might as well have a sign like the ones at Disneyland saying "The wait from this point is approximately one hour."  Heaven help you if you have to go through two zigzagging structures.  I got stung because I had two hours to kill so I figured I'd catch the cast of Sherlock.  (I didn't get in, but then again, they weren't there either, so I just checked out the clips they sent on YouTube like everyone else.)

  • Most of the rooms have drinking water, but food here is really expensive for what you get.  If you want a good deal you'll have to leave the nearby vicinity, but that's easier said than done.  The swarm of people around the convention center extends for blocks.  I plan on bringing meal replacement bars.

  • The seats are really uncomfortable.  If this might be a problem for you, do what I do:
    1. Go to Target, Costco, Wal-Mart, etc... and buy a memory foam seat cushion.  You know, about two inches thick and sold in a pack of two. (You might bring both, the back isn't any more comfortable than the seat.)
    2. Bring it with you.
    3. When you arrive, you'll get a HUGE bag for swag, more than big enough to smuggle out Peter Dinkledge, if you so desire.  Toss your cushion in and wear the bag like a backpack.  This give you the added bonus of acting as a bit of padded armor for you and your swag in the crush of the lucky 120,000+
    4. At the start of event, pull the cushion from your bag and have a seat.  Trust me, nobody will even notice.  This is Comic Con.  I guarantee the seat cushion won't be the most eye-catching thing in the room.

  • If you want to see the masquerade costume contest Saturday night, you have to get a ticket. They run out quickly.  However, they have a live broadcast to a party at the sail pavilion with music, keepsakes, and food.  HOWEVER, the food is stuff like cupcakes and nachos.  And the show is hard to hear at times since you have the laughter from the big screen and the laughter of the pavilion.  If you want to see a show and dance the night away, go to the sail pavilion.  If you're there for the costume contest, get your ticket before they run out.
More tips for how to get the most out of Comic Con if you're a writer coming in the next post.

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