Tip of the Day #: 3 ways to Prepare for the San Diego Comic-Con…

Back Camera

With Comic-Con just 5 months away, the time to plan is now. Certainly with the news that Spider-Man is returning home to the Marvel Cinematic universe will add an unparalleled anticipation as we approach the show. The biggest issue on the minds of many hopeful attendees is when will the general badge sale be? While getting a badge and hotel is a must, I also believe there are other essentials to consider. San Diego Comic-Con is like no other show. The intersection of the industry, fandom, and imagination, creates a unique opportunity that can not be ignored. It is not an overstatement to say that over the years, the annual pilgrimage to San Diego has changed my life. Starting in 2006, this marks my 10th Comic-Con, and I can confidently say that I would not be the same person if not for the SDCC experience. To me, buying an Exclusive or seeing a celebrity is just the tip of the iceberg with so much more laying beneath the surface. So on the eve of a stressful badge sale and a hotel scramble, here are a three life changing ideas to consider that might change your life too.

Being at the epicenter of geekdom means we are at the heart of what drives multiple billion dollar industries; passion. Passion is what pulls us out of the quicksand of life and propels us in new directions. Be honest with me, when you look into the rearview mirror of 2014, is all you see is a few hazy events or uninspired moments? It is so easy to fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent- paying bills, pushing out another widget, chasing kids, making other people happy (or rich), etc. In the quiet of your heart, you dream of doing daring things and pursuing a dream that seems impossible. Comic-Con is the perfect catalyst for you. Whatever you are passionate about, there are others already doing something similar- and waiting for you to join them. I have found that SDCC is a fertile ground for opportunity. Meeting the right people, engaging in key activity, pursuing the right risk, can send you into a life altering trajectory. However, it all starts with knowing what you want to do. Your dream doesn’t have to be big, it just needs to be yours. It doesn’t even need to be fully formed- but taking a step and committing to action is the most important part. From creating a new comic, a new product line, a meet up, or a new cosplay, I’ve seen it all happen because of Comic-Con. But it only happens to those that pursue it. So don’t settle for a life someone else has determined for you. Take a step of faith and pursue a passion worth committing your life to. Regardless of pain, sacrifice, and disappointment, you won’t regret it. As an example, I’ve been particularly inspired by the stories of CON*Quest Journals and Nerds In Recovery.

One of the biggest aspects of the show that has really emerged as it’s strength, is the power of the tribe. What has traditionally been done privately in the past, fans now attend with open pride- like badge of honor. There are the kind of people that go to SDCC and the type of people who don’t- and that distinction is important. Going to this show is more than just finding some nerd swag or seeing a preview but it’s a chance to declare to the world that: People like me, do things like this. The power of this Comic-Con tribe is very powerful. Over the next 5 months, be intentional with connecting with this community. Whether it’s adding SDCC to your Twitter bio or the same hashtag to your tweets, help the tribe find you. Start intentional dialogue through Twitter, Skype, forums, etc to build relationships leading into Comic-Con. Plan a ‘meet up’ before or at SDCC. Fellow fans are more than willing to connect but they need you to reach out. I’ve been truly blessed with awesomeness of our tribe and the willingness to connect in multiple ways. Trust and relationship is the foundation of any change, personally and professionally. Investing in the connected economy is the most important thing you can do. The Friends of CCI Forum is a great example of the connection that occurs year round.

preview-nightTake a Risk 
I get asked all the time, ‘how do I know what to do?’. A good indicator is this- if it scares you, do it! Author Seth Godin says, ‘You will never do great work, unless you try something that creates fear in you’. It’s in the fear that you make your best art. Whether it’s cosplaying for the first time, starting a new blog (and writing everyday), creating a meet up at SDCC, or making a new never before seen thing, you can not escape the risk. Good or bad, allowing people to react to your art, inspires you to create more. Sometimes that reaction is painful. However, once you embrace the pain, you realize it can’t hurt you anymore. For me, embarrassment, looking foolish, being a failure, is all intimately part of my story. I have failed more time than I have been a success- and there is no way around that fact. This very post will seems foolish to some…I’m ok with that. When I look back at the rearview mirror of 2014, I clearly see decisions I made that led to failure. However, those things were directly tied to something game-changing and pushed me beyond my own perceived limitations. Put yourself in a position that if something doesn’t happen or someone doesn’t show up, you will look foolish. I promise you, the results might not be what you expected but your life will be better as a result. Life is too short to play it safe- and fortune seems to favors the foolish. I can think of a million example of this but one would be what The Geeky Hooker has done at SDCC each year.

We live in a connected economy now. This means that knowing what you want to say and who you want to say it to, is almost more important than discovering a ‘big idea’. Through the community of Comic-Con, I have heard countless number of stories of fans discovering their dreams and as a result, changed the course of their future. If this describes you and something you are doing (or have done), I want to hear it. Leave a comment below and help the tribe connect with each other.

…And more posts with tips and advice about this year’s show!

8 thoughts on “Tip of the Day #: 3 ways to Prepare for the San Diego Comic-Con…

  1. The biggest thing SDCC did was bring my husband and I closer together. It is a trip we prep for and work for all year. It is a time for each of us to do things we want to do but better yet do things we want to do together – sometimes learning something new from the other. My life is completely changed because of SDCC in more ways that I can probably even list. It has brought back my childhood best friend, it has led me to new friends, it has shown me what I can and can not handle, and it has shown me more about myself and my husband.

    When I look back on 2014, there is one particular moment that stands out in the Comic Con world and that is my husband and I spending an entire evening talk with you, Tony, in Philadelphia and us closing up Panera because we just couldn’t stop talking to each other. It was a glorious opportunity that I am forever grateful for. Getting to know you beyond Comic Con was just the topping on that comic con’s cake… and we met Karen Gillan and Matt Smith at that show 😉 – so you can see how high you rate with us. We thank you for the time you shared and we can’t wait to do it again.

    • Wow, what an encouraging comment. Thanks for sharing an example of how connecting- whether with a spouse or friend, can change things in life. Yes, it was a great night chatting with you two and a huge blessing to me personally. Hope we can do it again soon! Thanks for the beautiful comment!

  2. Tony – thank you so very much for the wonderful mention. You are the one who is inspiring! I remember reading your blog not long after we came up with the idea for the Con*Quest Journals and feeling so in awe of what you have done. And I am so grateful that you actually replied to my email! Just that step alone, for a new business, is a huge victory. We can’t thank you enough for your kindness and support.

    • You are so kind- and a great example of trying something to achieve your dream. Who knows what shape or form CON*Quest will take but the most important thing is that you are going for it. Thanks for sharing your journey with us all and I look forward to what happens. Thanks for the generous comment!

  3. Even as a veteran attendee, I am talking all of those talking points to heart! Number 3 especially resonates with me. Last year, during the week leading up to and during the actual week of Con, I decided to jump in with both feet into the webcomic arena- after almost a decade of hemming and hawing. It was such a valuable experience as a semi-failure but it showed me that it wasn’t the end of the world and made me want to bounce back even stronger!

    It also reminded me of how much the Comic-Con has impacted my life since the first strip I posted was about Hall H! LOL

    Your articles are always super positive and helpful and encouraging and words cannot express how valuable that is to this community so keep up the excellent work!

    • What an inspirational story! Thanks for your courage and we look forward to what doors it opens for you. I’m humbled by your compliments and grateful for your comment! Hope to meet you there this year!

  4. cool advice for the sdcc and for life in general. being connected w/people around you and being passionate about life is a great way to live. it inspires others to find that passion. also insightful comment about failure leading to opportunity. reminds me of the stream-of-consciousness novel i tossed in the garbage three years ago. i regretted it but if i hadn’t i could not have birthed the idea for this current one. interesting post idea.
    got my hotel booked in little italy. can’t wait!
    take it easy brother

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