Like Frodo and Sam on the way to Mordor, we have journeyed together to reach this point. We are on the precipice of the final 14 days. Every year, within the last 2 weeks of the con, I write the 3 biggest and most important posts of the year. Here is the first; After a year of planning and preparation, I believe their are a handful of things that can end up ruining your Comic-Con experience. Avoid these missteps and you will be well on your way to having a phenominal Comic-Con:
1. Not accounting for traffic or parking: Whether you are commuting in all four days or just coming in on Saturday, account for traffic and parking. The first year I went I almost spent an hour in downtown trying to get through traffic and find parking. In haste, I ended up up parking far away and had to walk across town. I was frustrated and already tired, not a good way to start the day. Plan an extra hour for traffic and parking. Your smartest move is to buy ACE Pre-Pay Parking. Hurry though, spots are limited.
2. Lack of Planning: If you’re new to Comic-Con and don’t plan your entire day out to the hour, you will not have a very good time. Most other conventions you can wing it- not at SDCC. Other than the showroom floor, if you just try to spontaneously get into panels, you will literally not get into anything. It’s INCREDIBLY frustrating and demoralizing. In a follow up post, I’ll share about the best way to plan for panels.
3. Having the Wrong Bag: I know this doesn’t seem that important but if you have the wrong bag, it can really hinder you all day long. The WB swag bags, while spacious, do not protect your valuables. Make sure you have the right bag and poster tube to protect those valuable artist sketches, posters, and Exclusives.
4. Not Bringing Supplies: Navigating the Con is physically exhausting and there is no way of getting easy food. Sure there are a few vendors spread out but the lines may be too long to get food in time. You might literally be in line from 6:00 AM and not get out of a panel till middle of the afternoon. So extra food, snacks, and liquids are essential. If you are serious about Hall H, you will have to do some waiting outside and you may not have the luxury of the grassy knoll tents. I’ve been out there some years when it was blistering hot. The only way to survive it is to have a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc. You might want to invest in one of those small pop up stools. Those heat induced headaches will end your day early. Besides having nice shoes that you can wear all day, make sure they are properly broken in and ready for the Con.
5. Running Out of Power: The Con is a black hole of power that will suck your phone dry. Because of the congested network, your phone spools all day long trying to find a signal. A single tweet could take up to an hour to go out. This means your phone will die much quicker. If your phone is dead, there is no way of finding your friends or maybe getting home. An external battery or charging case is your only hope.
6. Not Having Meds: Speaking of headaches, if you don’t bring a small pharmacy, you run the risk of getting knocked out by headache, flu, sore feet/knees, indigestion, etc… My Kryptonite is migraines. It’s the one thing that will immobilize me and ruin my day. Know your Kryptonite and have preventive measures.
7. Not Coordinating with Friends: If you have a diverse group of friends, there will be times when you will end up going solo in order to see what you want at Comic-Con. If you don’t make a plan to re-connect, you won’t see them for the rest of the day. Believe me, I know. There is always something else to distract you or your friends and you’ll end spending the con day by yourself- which sucks. Comic-Con is awesome but it’s much better enjoyed together.
8. Stressing Over Money: You are going to spend a lot of money at Comic-Con, so just accept that. Whether it’s comics, toys, or Comic-Con Exclusives, you are going to spend more than you thought you would. For those of you that fixate on getting the ‘best’ deal, you will drive yourself mad. As soon as you buy something, the next vender will have it for $2 cheaper. That’s okay. Efficiency and economy is low priority. So prepare yourself to let go of the penny pinching side of you.
9. Unrealistic Expectations: Comic-Con is a whirlwind of activity filled with many highs and lows. You WILL NOT see everything that you want. In fact you might miss a lot of things that you were hoping to see. You might not be able to get that exclusive you waited hours to get. That event you were hoping to attend might be sold out. Grumbling and complaining won’t help anyone. The higher your expectations, the greater the chance you will be disappointed. Comic-Con is a constant winning and losing battle. For most there are more wins than losses- and your expectations will help decide that.
10. Nerd Rage: From the crowds, to waiting in line, to missing panels, it’s easy to develop serious nerd rage at Comic-Con. There are tons of things to complain about- and do enough of it and you will ruin your day. A bad attitude affects your friends as well as your fellow con-mate in line or in panels with you. You have everything you need to generate synthetic happiness even in the most dire circumstances. When you consider how many people were not able to make it to Comic-Con and if you relish in the fact that you are one of the fortunate few, it’s easier to let things roll off your back. Don’t sabotage your own happiness.
If you have ever let one of these ruin your day or if you have one of your own, please leave a comment. see you in two weeks!!!