Post Comic-Con 2013 Wrap Up Video

Here is my final big post for SDCC 2013. In this video, I mention my favorite highlights from the con, show off some pics, and talk about a possible solution of the Hall H camping dilemma. As always, I invite your comments and feedback down below. Thanks so much!

36 thoughts on “Post Comic-Con 2013 Wrap Up Video

    • Woohoo! There was so much more but it’s all a blur now. Preview Night seems like a month ago right?! Already looking forward to next year!

  1. Tony after sleeping on the concrete Saturday Night in order to just see the Breaking Bad panel, my idea was why not attempt to move the Hall H-worthy panels to Petco Park? It’s capacity is wayyyy more! Then move the Ballroom 20 panels to Hall H, 6A to Ballroom 20 and so on and so forth.

  2. Just trying to figure out if it was mostly Whovian madness on Sat/Sun that caused most of the Hall H issue? What was Fri/Sat like for Marvel day? Does anybody know what time the latest people queued up and still got in? Same question Thurs/Fri?

    • I guess it was the Whovian madness. ( and the True Blood, Marvel, Game of Thones madness).
      I waited in line for Hall H for about 20 minutes on Thursday and got in at around 1pm and also had no problems on Sunday, I waited like 5 minutes and got in around 1:30 when there was a massive Whovian exodus. Friday and Saturday I tried several times, but there were at least 5 rows of lines already waiting, so I didn’t even bother to wait, it looked hopeless.
      I think we all know what the easiest solution is: start the everyday schedule with the panels with the most dedicated fans, like Dr Who, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones… so other pople have at least a chance to get into Hall H without camping.
      A girl who goes to NYC ComiCon told me, there are huge screens in front of the halls there, so people who can’t get in, can at least see what’s happening inside.

  3. Tony, if you come up with a consensus solution on Hall H, please let Comic Con know. The Hall H issue was one of the key complaints at Talk Back Comic Con panel. They know they must solve prior to the completion of the convention center extension.

  4. Also as for Hall H something definitely needs to be changed. We got in line at 6am for the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones panels thinking we had a decent shot and still didn’t get in. It was pretty disappointing but I still had a good time. I have a few ideas on how it could possibly be fixed for everyone to be able to enjoy at least one big panel during their trip.

  5. Uhg… Hall H… As a first time attendee I was just shocked… There is quite a bit of what I would describe as ‘mob mentality’ fostered at SDCC and it’s really a shame. Between the insanity of trying to get a Hasbro or Lego ‘exclusive toy’ and letting Hall H consume your Con… It’s really sad.
    I’ll be there with my 10 yr old Nephew next year and I’m devastated that I will have to tell him he cannot go see the animation and/or movie panels he likes because you have to sleep outside all night in order to get in…
    Sunday night I walked right into Hall H for Dexter. I thought maybe the rumors had been greatly exaggerated. But when I exited Hall H at 7:30pm there were already 500+ people in line for Friday… When I arrived at room 6A for the Defiance panel at 8am Friday the line stretched all the way until the land ran out…
    I was really bummed when I realized that I couldn’t get into individual panels I was interested in because someone who didn’t care about the 10am panel was taking up a seat just to see something much later in the day…
    So, Yes, let’s fix this… I have spent a lot of time thinking on this too… I don’t want to bitch too much until I can offer up a solution, so maybe a roundtable of people can brainstorm a workable solution?

  6. Had a great time at Comic-Con even though none of my friends were able to get passes. It actually made scheduling easier as I only had to argue with myself which panel would be better to attend. So much to do….. Tried train commuting from Los Angeles to San Diego all 4 days which worked successfully except for the lack of sleep. Saved a bunch over staying in a hotel. Unfortunately I am now suffering a case of con crud and hopefully I will be able to catch up on sleep this weekend.

  7. Husband and I have decided that next year we will *have* to camp, due to the epicness that is the movie releases for 2014. We would prefer not to, naturally, but it would seem that we are left with no choice. There were so many complaints about line cutting, and rudeness from Con-goers and security alike, and issues of people not knowing where the line was, which caused many problems. My husband and friends got in line at 4:30 a.m. for the Thursday (BR20) and Friday (Hall H) panels, and one of our friends stayed the night from midnight on for the Saturday panels. They were so exhausted, they fell asleep in panels for which they had stayed the night!

    If SDCC would just hand out wristbands or better yet, do some kind of online lottery for the Hall H and/or BR20 panels, maybe that would help solve the problem. Lottery tickets would be associated with the badge holder, so without both, you either a)couldn’t get in or b) could go into a standby line. The panels would be free, of course, to badge holders. Nerd HQ has sold their tickets with huge success the last two years, and my friends love the panels over there due to the intimacy and less pressure to “camp out” with the risk of not getting in. It also makes their Con schedule much more predictable, a huge advantage when there is so much to see and do. Nerd HQ doesn’t list their panels until three or four days before the Con; SDCC could do the same thing as soon as they had talent booked-or people could just sign up for the lottery, and take pot-luck for whatever happened to be in the Hall or BR20 that day.

    Now, I know you said you weren’t going to reveal the solution that is rattling around in your amazing brain, but I’ll bet money it’s close to what I just suggested. LOL 🙂 I’ll be emailing or writing to you with further info on my experiences this year! JL

    • Yea, the amount of planning that now has to go into preparing to get into a panel is pretty crazy. You have to get into line so early that it affects your enjoyment of the panel your actually in! Something has to be done for sure. At the right time, I will form a ‘cohort’ to tackle this problem. I won’t sit idly by as fans have a bad experience because of camping. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and thanks for faithfulness to the site. See ya next year!

  8. Great video, Tony! I’m interested to hear about your Hall H solution. I think getting up at 3 am is just too early for me! It was fun getting to hang out with you this year!

  9. Hi Tony! First let me say a big THANKS for all the work you put into your blog! Your tips were helpful and your enthusiasm is contagious!! This year was my second Comic Con and I loved it even more than the first. However, I do agree with your concern with the problems with Hall H and am really glad you are thinking about solutions. Both years I attended I was able to get into Room 20 by lining up at 8am, but was told that the only way to get into Hall H was by camping all night. Since I’m a 59 year old woman who attends alone, this really isn’t feasible for me which means that there’s no way I’m ever going to see what’s going on there. I agree with the suggestion of a ticket lottery which would pretty eliminate the line.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and thanks for helping me keep up to date!

    • Thanks so much! Yea, it’s disheartening that the Hall H line is so out of control. Not everyone is capable to camp out overnight and it will continue to affect the show in the future. I can really see it getting out of hand (even more than it is) unless we band together for a solution. Hopefully we’ll have some options by next year. Thanks for your faithfulness to the site and hope to meet ya next year!

  10. Awww Tony not to worry on the WB party…you can’t be expected to know who every Hollywood Celebrity is! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Hall H! Each year gets worse…something needs to be done. Personally I would not mind if they considered some sort of lottery system for Hall H. And I hate the lottery system…so yup I’m at that point! At least I would know & not have to wait 9 hours to be sooooo close but heartbreakingly denied!

    Thanks for all your helpful hints! 5 years in and still learning! 🙂

  11. I got to see you in person too, on Wednesday night under the stars or something like that party, but I didn’t want to bother you. If CC would be chosing a Mister Comic-Con, you would definitely win.

  12. Comic-Con of old was always “First come, First served”. You decided what you wanted and made a line for it. Now Comic-Con rules wants to make everything random. Want an autograph? Get in line to get inside. Once inside get into the random ticket drawing line. Draw a ticket and if you don’t get a winner you can go to the end of thousand person line and try again but most likely your first choice will be long gone and without a 2nd 3rd or even 4th choice your day is shot by 10:00 am. For my local paper I followed a group of fans who found that the best chance to get your 1st choice of an autograph signing was to get into line at 3:30 in the morning. Now lets be honest Tony when was the last time you had to wait with the masses to get into Hall H or to draw a ticket to get the autograph of a popular TV show cast?

  13. If anybody has a solid plan for the Hall H line (or any panel room line), please contact Comic-Con. They want to find a solution, so any suggestions are welcome.

    Now here are some things that have been discussed with them already that you all should keep in mind…

    Ticketing the panels for Hall H creates several new problems. With a ticketing system, it’s assumed that Hall H will need to clear the whole room, then re-fill it again. Hall H itself takes well over an hour to fill the whole room, which means that the gaps between panels will have to be much bigger than the 15 mins it currently has, which means less panels over all in one day. Hall H fits 6500 people, so if there are hypothetically 6 panels in one day, we’ll need to find space to put six different lines that can fit that many people each.

    Petco Park would be a great option, but there are some issues to consider. It’s an outside venue, and weather is an unknown factor. The studios themselves have expressed reluctance to showcase their panel in such a large venue, due to the perception that they’d rather have a fully packed room making them look better, than a quarter filled stadium that gives the impression of people having a lack of interest on their stuff. Renting out Petco park will also effectively raise the badge prices even more.

    Satellite feeds of the panel would be convenient to have, but the studios aren’t completely open to that idea, since they can’t have full control over the video feed in that kind of setting. At least some of the studios have lately been open to at least show the panel portions over youtube or hulu plus after Comic-Con is over.

    Separate badges for people who want to go to panels and people who only want to go to the exhibit hall is an interesting idea that would cut down on the amount of people who need to be in lines. Reserving a section for “VIP badges” would ease the stress of lining up for some privileged people. However, Comic-Con in general does not like the idea of creating separate “classes” of attendees, as they still adhere to the spirit that everyone is equalized there, no matter where you come from, or how much money you have. Also, how will they handle distributing who gets specific panel badges and who does not.

    Moving Comic-Con to a bigger convention center only means that instead of having to deal with 140,000 people, they’ll have to deal with 170,000, 200,000, or 250,000 people. The lines will ONLY be longer.

    Comic-Con has basically become a competition as to who is more hardcore of a fan. That’s what really started this whole line problem **coughTwilightcough**

    • Thanks for your in-depth thought about this complicated subject. I don’t think there is a real easy solution but something has to change or we will be stuff with this outwit, outlast, outplay mentality at Comic-Con, which I am starting to hate. Thanks for your comments!

      • I have a good chunk of thoughts here about what could be done. Any input is welcome.

        When or IF San Diego actually breaks ground and expands the convention center, how would we all feel about reserving that extra building for either a giant place for lines, or make it a closed circuit video feed of the panels (basically a place for overflow rooms)? Of course doing so, might prevent Comic-Con from having more space for more exhibitors. Comic-Con could also consider keeping the cap of attendees the same despite the added space that the expansion brings, and they’ll just have to charge us more to compensate for that.

        Assuming the expansion doesn’t happen, there are a few improvements they could do now. Change the entrance and exit doors of Hall H. Part of the problem of refilling the room has to do with the fact that the exit lines and entrance lines cross paths. Maybe make the current exit doors the entrance, and the current entrance doors the exit.

        Line management will have to be diligent in capping the lines to only 6500 people at one time; possibly as much as 8500 for the chance that 2000 people will leave at one point. This way people at the back won’t have to completely wonder if they are getting in or not.

        There are two primary areas outside Hall H that is just mostly grass. The one directly outside is being used for the Hall H line, but the other grassy area behind Hall H is just empty. They could possibly create a closed circuit enclosed tent area there as an overflow room that has the video feed of the Hall H panel. Not sure where Ballroom 20 could be accommodated for this just yet though.

        One thing that may discourage lining up too early is to actually eliminate some panels altogether. Maybe have two blocks of panels in Hall H / Ballroom 20. The first block can be from 10AM – 2PM, then the second block can be from 4PM – 8PM; effectively creating about 3 panels each. The reason for the split in the middle is to clear the room, and refill it. Attendees will just have to choose between which block they want to line up for. Each block can have a really popular panel as a “headliner,” so at least a portion of the attendees will have something good either way if they can only get into one block. The leftover people waiting in line who wasn’t able to get into the first block of panels, will be allowed to be first in line for the second block of panels.

        The last suggestion is probably more wishful thinking than anything else, but can we all unanimously agree NOT to stand in line earlier than 5AM? Maybe even have Comic-Con officially stop people from staying in line early. SDPD could officially block off the line area, disperse any “unofficial lines,” and have them monitor the crowd to make sure no one gets hurt once the line “opens up.” I’ll say this here, before Twilight invaded Comic-Con, just about NO ONE stayed overnight for panels. At best, people showed up as early as 4AM, but if you showed up at 6AM-8AM, you could still get into the panel rooms. Twilight fans honestly set the precedence to wait in line as early as possible, and now it’s just become habit. Let’s break that habit people!

  14. My Wife and I LOVE the Hall H panels. We’ve only been going to SDCC for 5 years and for us SDCC is now all about Hall H. We live in SD and attend several other comic conventions in So Cal. So we can shop for toys and art at those conventions. But even in the few short years that we’ve been attending, Hall H has exploded. I think the hysteria that it’s become is largely due to social media. Just a few years ago, people just showed up. Now thanks to FB and Twitter, everyone is reading comments like “If you’re not in line for Hall H by 5am, you’re not getting in”. So people panic and show up even earlier. And let’s face it, if you’re getting in line at 3am, you might as well just spend the whole night and get in line at 10pm. Not to mention that when Eddie introduces many of the panels he first asks “How many of you spent the night outside” which gets a huge roar from the crowd. Then he asks “who is planning to spend the whole day here?” another huge roar. People don’t leave Hall H any more, they spend the entire day. And why not, if you’ve waited in line for 12 hours to get in?

    It’s only going to get worse before it gets better. I’ll be curious to see if Comic Con keeps things as is or tries to do something to address the issue for 2014.

  15. I love this discussion and these suggestions; this year I did not see ONE PANEL in Hall H and only made it into Ballroom 20 once! In fact, even some of the panels in Indigo were so full I didn’t make it past the outside line (even after a couple of hours waiting). Nobody wants to spend their time at Comic-Con standing in line, and it’s especially demoralizing when you’ve been standing for HOURS and you STILL don’t get in the room! Camping is NOT an option, I think it is ridiculous and hey, I paid over $200 a night for a hotel room so screw sleeping outside!

    A short-term solution to the Hall H nightmare would be to have separate lines in each of the tents, forcing attendees to choose which panel is the most important to them. So what if it takes a hour to clear the Hall? Big deal! I’d rather have a system that allowed true fans to see the panel that is the top priority to them. I’m a huge Regular Show fan. Their panel was at 10 am in Indigo, followed by Adventure Time. When I got in line at 7 am, the line was super duper long and filled with costumed Adventure Time fans. I did not make it inside for the 10 am panel NOR the 10:45 panel. There were kids in line crying! It was so sad! I pondered the question that if the AT panel was FIRST, followed by RS, then maybe I would’ve had a shot.

    Same thing for the Sunday panels. I’ve never seen Dr. Who but I love Breaking Bad. But who could get in Hall H that day when people began lining up to camp out at 5 pm SATURDAY evening? (This kind of crap shouldn’t be allowed or it will balloon into people camping out for DAYS ahead of time for EVERYTHING).

    If there were separate lines for each, and the rooms were cleared, then people who really cared about each panel would have a fair shot at seeing it. I am not a fan of Adventure Time or Dr. Who and I would’ve vacated the room after I saw what I wanted to see. I never “camp out” in the panel rooms, it’s just unfair to real fans. Why should I sit through a True Blood or Dexter or Hobbit panel when I could care less?

    The FUN THING about Comi-Con, for me, is sharing all of that glee and excitement with my fellow fans. When I made it into the American Dad panel (halfway through after waiting for HOURS), I was sitting between people who were obviously there for the True Blood panel that followed. They were TAKING NAPS, talking, texting, yawning, etc. And I was sitting there, in the WAY WAY WAAAY back row, trying to listen and catch a glimpse of the people who put together one of my favorite animated series.

    I know there’s a lot of crossover fandom, but making us nerds CHOOSE which ONE is the most important would be a step in the right direction. I think more popular panels should be scheduled to coincide with one another, again to force a choice.

    Glad to see others are hating on Hall H and the entire system. I don’t mean to sound like I’m miserable or bitching but something has to be done….as a Las Vegan, I can tell you that we would be THRILLED to host Comic Con in the future…we have lots more room. Just something to ponder! 🙂

    • There are many of us who definitely do not want to camp in line, so the fact that there are so many that are willing to do that kinda sucks. It also irks me when I’m sitting in a panel I want to be in, only to be next to a person who is showing absolutely no interest in it.

      Now the solution of having separate lines has the single issue of the fact that there isn’t enough space to accommodate that. We’re talking multiple lines that has to hold at least 6500 people each. I also think it would require at least two hours to completely clear a room and refill it. That lost of time only means that there will be less possible panels, which also means that there is a chance that a panel you would have wanted to see will never have existed anyway.

      Regarding Las Vegas. You wouldn’t happen to know if the Las Vegas Convention Center has a room big enough to hold 6500+ people like Hall H does, as well as an adjacent area next to it that could hold the lines for it. The main advantage of having Comic-Con in Vegas, is the choices and choices of hotels to choose! I think part of the problem on why there are people more than willing to camp in line, is because they don’t have a hotel room to stay in anyway. I’m sure Vegas can handle 150,000+ people for five days as well.

  16. I agree with Jennifer above that — in keeping with the Comic-Con philosophy of equitable access for all — they should move to an online lottery system for Hall H ticketing, with wristbands picked up with badges at registration. They would have to put armed guards with those boxes of wristbands at registration, right?! Since most people stay for the entire day in Hall H, each day would have its own separate ticket drawing, and if you win, you get your wristband for entry for the entire day of panels. This might get tricky when it comes to groups/families/couples, so they would have to figure out a group lottery option, so groups could stay together. There would still be lines, but rather than “will we get in or not?” the lines would simply be for the best seats. I won’t go anywhere near Hall H because I’m not willing to camp out overnight, but I’d get up super early to get in line for a decent seat if I had a wristband/pass for one of those days!

    • I like the idea of having guaranteed access to a full day of panels via wristband / ticketing. It’s no different than going to a music festival, where only people with a wristband / ticket can get in for the whole day. BTW, at the moment, Comic-Con is not assuming that everybody who came to San Diego for the event will have access to the internet (the internet has been an ongoing huge complaint by the “old-timers” as it is). So the lottery will likely be an onsite ordeal, and not an online one. For reference, although I haven’t done it myself, I believe this method is also already being done with the autograph sessions. Now people will just camp out just for the opportunity to get in the panel lottery system, and/or the autograph lottery.

      In all honesty, if panels becomes a lottery system, I’m going to choose not to bother with panels altogether. Although it has huge flaws, I like the idea that I could theoretically walk into any panel if I choose to do so, and if there is space for me. Maybe the big panel rooms like Hall-H and Ballroom 20 could work out a lottery system. I’ll just stick with the smaller panels then.

  17. So the main problem as I see it, is too many people and limited room space and limited time.

    I think a simple solution might be to create additional overflow rooms with live or delayed video feed from the panels — and ideally that would include the studio promo clips.

    SDCC already provides delayed footage of some of Hall H/Ballroom 20 panels later in the evening — they can expand on that and post a schedule. I attended one of these in SDCC 2012 and everyone in the room reacted to what was happening onscreen in almost the same way so that the experience felt half-way authentic. After all, most of us are gazing at the screen above our heads even when we’re in the actual room.

    And they already do this for the Masquerade — using the Sails Pavillion and other rooms. Don’t see why they can’t do this for other events.

    We could have the rooms presenting delayed footage well into the late hours of the night — I’m sure that fans would rather be sitting inside rather than camping out on the concrete. I’ve always been disappointed that the convention hall seems to close so early just when the evening is getting started.

    The only problems currently with the above:

    1) With the delayed panel footage — there was only one room for this purpose and given the # of panels that took place in Hall H and Ballroom 20 — the decision to show which panel and in what order — was up to the projectionist and at times the audience. So there was no guarantee that you’d be able to catch the panel you missed. At the very least, we could have two rooms, one devoted to Hall H and Ballroom 20.

    2) The room was rather small and I’m not sure everyone who wanted to see the footage was able to get in. (missing both the original panel and its taped follow-up == double kick in the pants!) SDCC could at least keep Ballroom 20 open late for this purpose.

    3) Any studio provided video clips were not included in the footage, which of course remains a tremendous disappointment.

    • Overflow rooms with the panel’s video feed is something I would want as well. There are a couple of obstacles in the way right now though. SDCC will need to negotiate with the studios if it’s okay to even do that. I think the studios will be fine with it, but will probably do the whole “no exclusive video” rule. Then there’s the issue of where will SDCC put the overflow video feed room?

      There’s actually some reasons why some rooms can’t stay open later. Part of it is just the simple agreement that SDCC has made with the Convention Center as to how long they want each room open. The other reason is that some rooms requires prep work for the following day, as well as clean up duties. Of course there will be an increase of man hours that need to be spent in order to allow the programming to run late into the night. There’s also the parties that the studios throw at night, which will make them be reluctant to have their panels running during those hours.

      BTW, the nighttime delayed video feed of the panels is an ongoing “experiment.” If SDCC is finding that there is growing demand for that option, they will for sure expand it to accommodate it. I haven’t been to one of those myself, but has the room that they’ve been using getting full to capacity, with a long line waiting outside?

  18. I think there is no equitable answer. PETCO Park makes the most sense to me especially for all the big events being announced next year.

    • Petco Park would be a great option, but there are some issues to consider. It’s an outside venue, and weather is an unknown factor. The studios themselves have expressed reluctance to showcase their panel in such a large venue, due to the perception that they’d rather have a fully packed room making them look better, than a half-filled stadium that gives the impression of people having a lack of interest on their stuff. Renting out Petco park will also effectively raise the badge prices even more.

      • True but the ego boost for their films with up to 20000 attending would be amazing! Also, more tickets could be sold that day!

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