I shared my Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Comic Con and Top 10 Don’t Leave Home Without List last week and received some great comments. Thanks all for sharing lessons learned from past Cons. As we close in on the final week of the Con, I want to post on how to have an awesome Con experience. This is the only time of the year to enjoy an event of this magnitude and it takes intentionality to maximize its potential. Here you go and please leave comments with other ideas:
1. Embrace the pain; There is nothing easy, simple, or efficient with Comic-Con. Large crowds and scarce seating capacity will affect your attitude worst than a having a Ceti Alpha eel burrowed in your ear. So accept it and enjoy the fact that everything you do will take 3 times longer and will be 3 times harder. Surrounded by thousands of fans, you will not out-run or out-wit everyone. You’ll win some and lose some- and that’s okay. A positive attitude doesn’t happen by accident, it’s a choice. So go with the flow and be thankful that you were able to get a much coveted ticket to ‘nerdvana’.
2. Share the love: Getting to know new people can change everything. If you leave without meeting new fans, then you really have robbed yourself of the best part. By sharing your story and networking with others, your experience will be 10 times better. I know it’s hard for you introverts but remember, it’s a small world and taking a step of faith can open up all kinds of possibilities. A dinner invite, a saved seat, and Twitter follow can literally change your life. Don’t waste it by being your same, conservative self- take risks.
3. Bend the Spoon: This means believe in yourself and take initiative. Most of the time, it’s easy to let a key opportunity pass because of hesitation. When you see a celeb, writer, producer, or more importantly, a cute girl, go for it immediately. Don’t be obnoxious, but pay a compliment and ask a specific question. ”Wow, how did you make that costume? How does this Con rate with others? Were you always a Comic Con fan? Remember, celebs are real people too, treat them that way and they will treat you the same way. Gawking and asking for photos is what everyone else does. Also, be bold and ask a question in the panel. My friend asked a fun question to Eliza Dushku and we have laughed about it ever since. Be different and bend the spoon.
4. The Hangover Part III: Besides the great exhibitor floor, panels, and events to attend, the Comic-Con night life also offers an epic amount of opportunity. But beware. Even though Comic-Con is just a 4 day event, view it more as a marathon and not a sprint. One unlucky night of too much Romulan Ale and you will find yourself regretting it the next day. To maximize your experience, play it moderate and be at 100% each day. Your body will thank you by the end of the week. Don’t end up being the continuation of the Hangover franchise.
5. Play by the rules: No system is perfect and it only works is if we all play by the rules. That means you shouldn’t engage in line cutting or slipping into rooms. I know it’s nice to skip the line but remember that your faithful comrades have been waiting for hours (or sometimes overnight) and you wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to you. Pay your dues and support the system.
6. Be kind and rewind: Before you get upset about something, you will be surprise how far you can get by just asking with a smile. One time, I tried repeatedly to get a coveted Star Trek shirt by waiting in line and I failed several times. By just walking up and explaining my dilemma kindly, I got a shirt. These workers are fighting off the zombie hordes all day long so a little kindness will go a long way.
7. Let go of your personal space: I know it’s nice to have a buffer zone of seats around you while enjoying your favorite panel. But soooo many seats get sacrifices because they are not together. So as you see late comers wandering around, frantically trying to find seats, consolidate what is around you and offer multiple seating. I know it’s counter intuitive, but a compassionate gesture goes a long way. Who knows you might need it reciprocated back in the next panel.
8. Splurge on yourself: Unless you are fortunate enough to live locally, this trip is going to cost you- and this economy isn’t easy on anyone. But, this is the one time of the year to be less practical and get what you have been waiting for. You made it this far so spend a little extra on yourself. To you penny pinchers, stop doing the internal math and pull the trigger. Get that shirt, collectable, autograph, etc that you always wanted. It will last forever and hopefully the debt won’t. After a few years of going, I have forgotten one Con to the next, but the memorabilia has helped solidify it in my memory.
9. Level Up, the Hard Way: My biggest challenge to you this year is to personally thank a Comic-Con worker each day. Just pick one worker a day (or more if you like). Whether paid or volunteer, these myriad of Comic-Con workers are fighting a hard battle. Massive lines, long days, and disappointed fans can really create a toxic experience and these guys have to deal with it all day long. I have had a chance to get to know some of the key workers in different areas over the years. They are hard working fans that are dedicated to running the best show possible. Pay them a compliment and thank them for their service. I know it will be hard, but trust me, it matters. Plus, it’s great for ‘leveling up’!
10. Finally, Dream BIG: My guess is that if you are attending this special and magical place, it is touching at something that is at the core of your heart. This is so much more than just seeing a preview, getting swag, or seeing celebs. From all this pent-up passion, there is probably something greater stirring in you. Stop containing your passion and share it with the world. Maybe from this, you need to start a new website or new blog for like-minded fans. Maybe you need to quit your job and take a step towards the comics industry. Maybe you need to go back to school to learn about illustration and design. I heard a great quote that said:
“Stop being an imperfect version of someone else and start being a perfect version of you”
Whatever it is, make it big and go for it. Comic-Con is not only about you finding other misfits but it’s also about you discovering yourself. Don’t just sit on it till the next CC but take steps and make your dreams come true NOW. All those stars, artists, producers, and directors you experienced were just like you at one time. All they had was passion and a dream and they made it happen. As Master Yoda says “Do or do not, there is no try”- or was that Mr Myagi? Either way you get the point.
As a result of this trip, make 2012-13 the best year ever. Thank for all your support, comments, and feedback to my site this year. I truly hope you have a phenomenal Comic-Con and I hope to see you there!