CONVENTION SURVIVAL GUIDE.
Here are some great tips to ensure you make the MOST of out your next convention!
Something that can never be said enough! I made the mistake of being so busy at a summer convention that I went the entire last day forgetting to eat or drink anything. Unless you want your post-con experience to become a few DAYS of recovery, heed my words. Drink a lot of water, and don’t forget to eat! It’ll improve your overall experience and keep you happy. Avoid getting HANGRY (hungry and angry– it’s a thing).
Most conventions have overlapping panels, multiple must-see events, many cool guests, and a LOT of things to see and do. In order to make the most of a convention weekend, PLAN AHEAD and STAY UPDATED. In the unfortunate event where a celebrity guest must cancel their appearance, or their specific event is rescheduled or moved to a new location, what can you do? Conventions normally provide updates on their official webpage, last minute signs, or make announcements as soon as they find out. You can even download an app if they’ve got one. Another idea is to make a schedule of everything you absolutely cannot miss (for me, I like attending Star Wars panels and supporting my favorite cosplayers at their panels)! Keep your schedule close, set an alarm on your phone, and reference your nearest clock often. It’ll be much easier to keep track of time and not get super distracted by your surroundings.
Many times, these convention centers hit capacity. You’re bound to rub shoulders with thousands of other humans, but keep the word “boundaries” in mind. You know, those bubbles of personal space. It is our responsibility to keep others around us comfortable and safe.
COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT. I’m sure you’ve seen this phrase during your geeky social media adventures– and it cannot be stressed enough. Respect each other. Nobody wants to be invited to the awkward, you’re-in-my-personal-space party. If you want to feel the material of a particular costume, ASK. If there is a certain pose you’d like to do for a photo, ASK. Don’t let me scare you, cosplayers LOVE taking photos with you. Just be aware of the feelings of those around you.
BE RESPECTFUL— This one is pretty simple. We’re all here to have a good time, am I right!? Avoid harassing or belittling other attendees. Don’t cut in line. Don’t steal from the vendors. Easy stuff, dude(tte)s.
Some panels are SO cool. They’re really insightful, full of surprises, and they’re a great way to interact with your favorite artists, guests, and fandoms. The cosplay panels I’ve participated in have been fantastic as far as audience interaction. Since cosplay is a community, why not make it one big group discussion? Many, many panels include you in the fun. I particularly love panels about cosplay, Tolkien, and Star Wars. I guarantee there are panels out there that are perfect for you. Find one about a topic or fandom you like, and go! I highly recommend it. Oh, and get there early for good seats (or a chance at admission in general as some of these things fill up quickly)!
This is my favorite part of any convention. Dressing up has become somewhat of a lifestyle for me. I encourage EVERYONE to try it at least once. I love seeing the different interpretations of characters, the beautiful fabrics, the body paint, and the incredible craftsmanship. I even appreciate the makeshift, last minute costumes. I’ve been there! No matter what you choose to cosplay, do it because you want to! Don’t be discouraged by anything– cosplay knows no weight, size, shape, ethnicity, or exactitude. You’ll meet a lot of cool people, gain a new perspective, and make friends. It’s so easy to be intimidated by the super experienced cosplayers out there, but we do it for fun, and the community embraces newcomers with open arms.
We have crazy cool talents here in Salt Lake City. Wherever you may be, check out what your city has to offer. Local artists keep the convention circuit alive. I’ve come across the most amazing painters, artists, and comic book authors right here at home. Support their work, and let them know you appreciate what they contribute to our nerd community. Many of them will give you great insight and maybe even some inspiration and advice!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PERKS
If you’ve got a VIP package, chances are you’ve received some cool perks, coupons, and/or vouchers to enhance the experience. There are some GREAT deals and offers on tickets worth keeping your eyes peeled for. Salt Lake Comic Con has great sales very often: discounts for students and teachers, deals on nearby hotel rooms, etc. If you’re able to, take full advantage of these. Convention weekends can get expensive, and we all like to save some money.
The best convention tip of all. We’re NERDS. We like video games, comic books, TV shows, movies, fandoms, art, and everything else under the sun. We all come out to these because we share a common interest. That’s the beauty of geekdom! Go out there, and have fun! Go get ‘em, tiger.