Salt Lake Comic Con Tips – FanX 2014

Comic Con Tips
Comic Con Tip #1 – Take extra cash.
This tip is essential for Salt Lake Comic Con. Salt Lake isn’t yet a venue that production companies are coming to to promote their upcoming movies or TV shows. That means that Salt Lake Comic Con is basically built of 4 things.

  1. Celebrities that are being paid to come do photo ops and autographs.
  2. Local vendors selling their nerdy swag and promoting their businesses.
  3. Celebs, local experts and hobbyists talking about what they enjoy.
  4. Cosplay

So if you’re interested in items 1 and 2, you’ll need cash because they’re not free. It is free to stand in line and shake their hand and say hello. But taking photos of them isn’t really an option (there will be people patrolling around watching for people taking photographs).
MONEY SAVING TIP: If you need a photo with your favorite celeb but the photo op costs too much, visit the booth. Often they’ll allow photos for a fee still, but the fee is less than the photo op fee.
But if you do carry cash, make sure you keep it somewhere safe. You’re going to be rubbing up on a lot of people and your wad of dough could easily disappear. Whether you’re a man or woman, maybe wear a Princess Leia slave outfit and stick the cash in your bikini top.
Comic Con Tip #2 – Make friends.
During the convention, you’re bound to be stuck in a line. Rather than sit silently and awkwardly for hours on end, try talking to the people around you. The fact that you’re both interested in the same panel clearly shows that you’ve got something in common.  Back when the first Harry Potter film was hitting theaters, I waited in line for about six hours to get tickets for the first showing. Those of us at the front of the line started talking and before long we had turned the entire line into a party with card games, readings from the books, trivia, etc… Those people ended up being as fun as the movie itself.
Comic Con Tip #3. Study the schedule. 
Maximize your enjoyment by coming prepared. All of the major cons post panel and signing schedules before hand. There are always little changes here and there, but for the most part, you can plan each day so that you make sure to hit the things you want. If you are attending a panel that goes until 3:00 pm, and plan on attending another panel that starts at 3:00 pm in another room on the other side of the building, chances are that you’re going to have to skip one of those panels. Making those decisions ahead of time can save you some disappointment later.
Comic Con Tip #4 – Know the cosplay rules.
If you’ve been to a con, some of the cosplay can get pretty crazy. Some includes very lifelike weapons. Every convention has cosplay and weapons standards. Likely you’ll have to have your weapons inspected. Also Salt Lake Comic Con has rules about being a family friendly venue, so there are limits on the type of cosplay you can do as well. They specifically mention, no “free hugs” or similar costumes.
Comic Con Tip #5 – Don’t complain about concession prices. 
Inevitably, you’re going to get hungry. Some people choose to leave and get food, and that’s great if you’re willing to miss a few panels or time on the show floor. But if you decide to eat at the event, realize that you’re going to pay a pretty penny for your food. This is nothing new. All events, be they sport, concerts, or conventions, charge a lot for food and drinks. Just consider it the price for convenience. You can complain about the price and eat your nachos in misery, or you can just go in prepared with the fact that you’re going to spend a bit more than normal and enjoy that $8.00 hamburger. Attitude is everything.
Comic Con Tip #6 – Bring extra batteries.
Whether you use a cell phone or a dedicated camera, you’re going to need more juice throughout the day. There are lots of things to take pictures of, you’ll probably want to check social media like Twitter to see what’s going on, check on news about panels you couldn’t attend, and more. It’s difficult to find places to plug in and charge your device, so investing in some back up batteries or chargers would be wise.
Comic Con Tip #7 – Be respectful.
Nobody likes a jerk. When you’re making your way through the mass of people on the show floor, be considerate of those around you. When you’re attending a panel, remember that those celebrities took time out of the schedule to come and entertain you. When you see that scantily clad woman dressed as her favorite anime character, remember that inside that costume she is still a person. Comic Con should be a safe haven for people who have felt bullied or outcast.
Comic Con Tip #8 – Use Trax.
This tip is specific to Salt Lake Comic Con. Trax is a free street rail service that runs through downtown SLC. Parking around the event can be a nightmare and is also very pricey. Find parking that’s a little ways away from the Salt Palace and take TRAX. It will also make getting out of there a lot easier.
Comic Con Tip #9 – Wear comfortable shoes.
You know what sucks in a giant horde of people? Flip flops. You will get stepped on. And there is NO support. You’re going to spend a lot of time on your feet. Wear some good shoes. Your feet will thank you later.
Comic Con Tip #10 – Learn about the city.
Before you go, find out what the city has to offer around the convention center. At some point, you or someone in your party may want to leave for a bit to get some food, get some air, or just do something else for awhile. If you’ve traveled to a new city, this can be a great time to see something new. For example, the Gaslamp Quarter right outside of San Diego Comic Con has a lot of cool restaurants and shops that are worth checking out.
Comic Con Tip #11 – Buy your tickets in advance.
Often, tickets will sell out early, so it’s always good to buy your tickets as soon as you can. During last year’s Salt Lake Comic Con, tickets were still available after the show had started, but that line was LONG! You don’t want to waste half your time at the con in a line outside.

Trevor Nielson
Writer & Photographer at
Trevor began his forray into nerdom as a kid peddling his bike all the way to the local bookstore to purchase comic books. The boring superhero comics weren’t good enough for Trevor, he wanted the real ones. The ones with ducks. Now who's laughing while he’s on his way to cash in all those valuable Ducktales comics. Soon he’ll have his own money bin full to the brim. These days, to fill the time before the money bin construction completes (and begins), Trevor fills his time with photography, movies, television and comic book conventions. You can find his cosplay Meet & Greet mini-shoot and articles on this site as well as prints of his photographs being sold by cosplayers throughout the land.

P.S. Trevor converted to Marvel & DC comics and movies later on, so no heartburn on that one, right?