3 Months and counting…

We are three months away from San Diego Comic Con 2011 and the time could not pass quick enough. Some readers are seasons ‘Con vets’ and know exactly what to prepare. Many others are diving into SDCC for the first time and have no idea what to expect. While 3 months seems like a long time, there are still preparations to be made. Here is my top ten list of things to prepare for 3 months out from Comic Con:

1. Passes: Hopefully you have survived the ticketing craziness from earlier this year and was able to score passes. If you have not and you are still in need of tix then read my earlier post for more details. Ultimately, your best chances right now is to wait for resale tickets that will probably start sometime in early june. Many people over bought and will be returning tickets. Also, anyone approved for press will also be returning their passes. Demand will be high and supply will be low so be prepared for another fast sell out.

2. Parking: If you are commuting in each day then buying a pre-paid parking voucher is a MUST. Nothing will get your day off to a worst start then driving around in circles in the Gaslamp trying to find parking. The lots just opened on 4/18 and with parking still available at the convention center for only $10! Although I would encourage you to buy parking in the city since you will probably leave each day after eating dinner in the Gaslamp. The last thing you will want to do is trek all the way back to the center. Pre-paid parking is not more expensive than buying parking on-site so don’t think you will get a better deal. Click here to buy a parking voucher. *Please note that this is NOT overnight parking and can result in towing after midnight.

3. Press Pass: If you are applying for press, the registration starts on April 26th. It sounds like they are making the application process more strict than ever before. Even if you have not already received your pre-approved e-mail from your 2010 press pass, then you must re-apply this year. If you are applying for the first time, you will need to provide; A media outlet that is relevant to Comic Con, credential page listing your title and sample work, and Business Card. Your media outlet has to have been in existence for at least a year. It is first come first serve, so plan on sending it in right away. If you get a pass it WILL include Preview Night.

4. Cancel Hotel: If you were able to get a hotel in the SDCC hotel lottery, then make sure your backup hotel is canceled. If it’s not canceled, you might want to considering offering it on twitter for someone who is in need.

5. Confirm Hotel deposit: If you did get a hotel with SDCC, no matter what e-mail you get, NOTHING is confirmed unless your deposit has been processed. Check your credit card and make sure your hotel has charged you for the single night rate as a deposit. If not, call your hotel immediately.

6. Show me the money: Budgeting for Comic Con can range on what your priorities are. I am not a huge collector anymore so I usually budget about $100 for gifts, snacks, and misc. If you want one of the SDCC exclusive items like this Revenge of the Jedi 14 figure set (pictured above), then you will need to budget for more. You can eat cheaply if you want so it’s all based on your culinary tastes. All in all, you can get by cheaply if you plan ahead.

7. To cosplay or not to cosplay?: ’Cosplayers’ (costume playing) is what makes Comic Con so special. If you are a veteran, then you know the hassle, time, and the expense of making your own costume. Buying a pre-made costume is considered pretty amateur (except high-end products) so unless you have some crafting skillzes then you might leave it to others. If you are new to cosplay then check out my “5 tips to Cosplay” video. If you want to dress to impress then you need to start working on your costume right away.

8. What to wear??? Besides basic comfort, Comic Con is a chance to express your fandom and to identify with your tribe. Nerd shirts are a must and fortunately are cheap. While demand is low, I would start thinking about what shirts you want to bring. Look ahead at what is going to be hot in 5 months, like Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern, etc. Invest in some great sneakers since you will be doing a lot of standing and walking. Start thinking of if you are going to use a messenger bag, backpack, or go with the SDCC oversized bag (pictured above) that is supplied when you pick up your pass.

9. Social Media is your friend: Get on Twitter to find out the latest from great resources. Besides @Crazy4ComicCon, check out friends like @SD_Comic_Con@DarkStitch, and @SDCCNerdsAttack. Of course there is also the official @Comic_Con. Comic Con doesn’t post often but when they do it’s usually important. If you are a fan of a certain show, start hunting or suggesting a ‘tweet up’. These are gatherings of like-minded fans at a local bars or restaurants. I went to a CHUCK tweet up and the cast made a surprise visit! I met Zachary Levi and it was one of the highlights of last year. So if you are not on Twitter then you are missing out.

10. Stay in the loop: Keep up to date with some helpful blog sites like When Nerds Attack and The Unoffical SDCC Blog. The Comic Con website has a iPhone App too. The handiest thing about it is the nifty countdown timer :)

Hope these tips helped you. I will be posting more tips as we get a month out from the big week. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, or other suggestions.

12 thoughts on “3 Months and counting…

  1. Hey Tony,

    Thanks so much for the useful advice! Just wondering if your next article could be on how to get into the exclusive off site events/parties? We would have loved to make it to Flynn’s Arcade or the Expendables do last year but didn’t know how!

    Cheers from England!

    Ash

    • I know one way is to keep an eye on Twitter/Facebook. Some entertainment bloggers have their own parties that you can win invites too. Same goes for networks and what not, plus some hosts contests online as well. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open.

    • Social media is a great place to start, especially if you are over the pond. It’s a great way to find out about ‘tweet ups’ and other spontaneous gatherings during SDCC. When you go to panels, asking other fans helps too. Of course, who you know helps but interacting with everyone if the most helpful. Last year on Twitter, I found out about a gathering of Chuck fans at a local bar. The cast showed up and I was able to meet Zachary Levi. So there isn’t a science to it. I would start with Twitter.

  2. I parked at the convention center last year, bought a pass again this year, and it is by far the best investment I made. Even though they don’t allow overnight parking, since there are often programs running beyond midnight, I didn’t have any problem leaving my car on-site as long as events were going on.

    • It is ridiculously easy and most people don’t even know about the pre-paid parking. Hope to meet you there. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Well heres some of the things I do in advance.
    Buy tickets to events such as Woot Stock, they are tons of parties that need pre-puchase tickets, one of my favorits is the pirate party on the old sail ship. The pirate fight in the harbor is quite a blast and the costumes are really top notch. Theres also a very elegant Steam punk party. Also look up Goldstar for discount tickets for events during the time you are in town. Theres always seems to be Comic Con related events, concerts, etc You’ll be presently suprised at the deep discounts to some related Con events.
    Also, this is a good time to look for discounts on some Backpack items that can really make a difference in your comfort level during the con. Items such as these great stools that collapse to fit in a regular backback, and the kind of water bottleswith a wide mouth that you can fill with ice and fill with water during the day from the many water dispensers. I make longer badge holders for myslef and friends. Also sometimes it can get really hot, so look for portable fans or hand fans.
    Of course now is a good time to start budgeting for a new and better camera, or start researching how to take better con pics.

    Also, this IS the time to start making contacts and if theres isn’t meetup that your interested in, well start networking now!Ad lastly and more important is the con diet.

    I’m sure theres a lot more, right now I’vw fnished ne costume, and I’m thinking about starting another. Hey, theres still time!

    Sorry about the typos and such, writing this on the run heh heh

  4. Opps forgot,
    make sure you have/make businees cards both personal and professional . Also consider bringing self address stickers for the booths, contests, and for just making those important contacts that you can cultivate all year. Also, try to incorporate those stickers on all your stuff, you’d be surprised what you may leave behind that one of your fellow con attendees will cheerfully return to you.

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