Happy Comic-Con Month! 6 Tips for First Timers

Today we are 2 1/2 weeks away from Comic-Con! If you’ve never been to SDCC- this convention is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. The planning and preparation is next level- especially if you want to maximize every moment. Walking into Comic-Con without a battle plan will only lead to catastrophic results. The next few weeks will be crucial for being ready for the 4 days in San Diego so here are my 7 ways you can prepare now.

1. The Battle Plan
It’s important to start talking with your circle of SDCC friends about what you want to get out of the convention. If this is your group of friends first time to Comic-Con, there is so much to experience with the showroom floor, panels, offsite events, hunting for Exclusives, seeing screenings, meeting celebs and more, that it is easy for chaos and anxiety to take over. When my group first went to Comic-Con, we didn’t really coordinate our con values and we ended up missing each other for large parts of the show. So for your group, it’s important to ask each other what matters the most to each friend and what you want to experience together. You may choose to do your own thing during the day but coordinate your evening meals and offsite activities together. Without a game plan, someone inevitably gets left out or get’s disappointed. Start discussing it and go into Comic-Con with a clear expectations as individuals and as a group. For example, this year, the Supergirl panel and Stranger Things panel are opposite each other in Ballroom 20 and Hall H on Saturday. What a dilemma!

2. Exclusives
We are in the height of Exclusive announcements with new ones being released almost daily. Whether they are toy trinkets, action figures, or high end collectibles, there will be pretty much something for everyone. Over a hundred Exclusives will be revealed ranging from the inexpensive to the pricey. This can hit your budget AND your schedule hard if you are not ready for it. Make a list, check it twice, and decide if you have been naughty or nice. For some Exclusives, you just have to go to the booth early and buy. Some you have to line up early in the morning and get a lottery ticket in the Sails Pavilion. And some you have to preorder online first. Here is our list at Andre’s Exclusives that you might be interested in. Like everything at Comic-Con, you have to FULLY commit to go after an Exclusive- so decide before hand what you really want.

3. Offsite Events
How you spend your evenings has almost become just as important as how your spend your days. Just a few years ago, the aspiration after the con for most was finding a good place to eat and maybe hang out in the lobby of the hotel. Now there is something awesome to do all day everyday besides just Comic-Con. But you have to plan effectively. Some great offsite events are already sold out with others close behind so get your tickets now. We are kicking off the con with Game of Bloggers, while open to the public, you can also rsvp with as a media guest. Some events, like the Her Universe Fashion Show is not ticketed but will fill up to capacity before the event which means you need to include early arrival into your planning. There are already many events that are overlapping so you will have to make some tough decisions about what you and your group will try to do. Check out my Offsite Events page for the latest options and encourage you to check out the Comic-Con After Party event called the Red Wedding.

4. Gear Up
For the time being, Amazon is your friend… but not much longer. Time to order your nerdy t-shirts, backpack, power supply, books, and anything else you might need by July. One of the most important decisions you will need to make is about footwear. I’ve never been so grateful or miserable when it came to picking the right shoes. The key is get a pair that offers good cushion and arch support. Plus make sure you break them in a couple of weeks before- not at the show. Check out my Survival Kit episode for more and 10 Weird Things to Bring to Comic-Con.

5. The List
It’s amazing how easy it is to connect with those that we follow online and admire from afar. Never before will there be such a concentration of scum and villainy than at Comic-Con. But with the hype and craziness at SDCC, it will be easy to miss incredible opportunities to meet those that have influenced you over the years. And I don’t mean celebrities. While they make for great selfies, meeting a celeb will hardly change your life. However, meeting and chatting with a blogger, author, or content creator might be the very best thing that ever happened to you. But you have to make a list of who you want to meet and start reaching out. If you wait till Comic-Con to try to find someone you admire, it might be too late depending on their popularity.

6. To Cosplay or Not to Cosplay?
Being just a few weeks out, time is dwindling away so if you are cosplaying, you better well under way. Remember, the point of cosplaying is to have fun while expressing yourself. If this is your first time, I commend you for stepping out and taking a risk! Being a cosplayer means you are a part of the show. Whether you are a first timer or a cosplay veteran, we are super grateful for every one of you. You inspire us with your creativity and passion- so remember that during all the long nights slaving over your costume. Check out my Cosplay Tip video for first timers.

A few important odds and ends:

  • The official Programming schedule won’t be released until two weeks before the show. Which means expect to see the Thursday schedule on Thursday, July 6th.
  • Besides seeing the showroom floor, the only Programming on Preview Night will be CW screenings in Ballroom 20.
  • I’m continuing my special podcast series called ‘Comic-ConVersations’. Subscribe to get the latest episodes!
  • Check out CCI’s Toucan Blog for more helpful info!

Hope these 7 points helped get you focused and prioritized. My most important posts are coming up this month like; how to get into panels, how to plan your week’s schedule, most common mistakes, and the top ways to make this the best experience of your life. Thanks for reading and please leave a comment about how you are planning with just 3 weeks left.

4 thoughts on “Happy Comic-Con Month! 6 Tips for First Timers

  1. Pingback: Getting SDCC Ready! – R Cubed

  2. For some reason this year I am feeling very overwhelmed. It is our 7th year, we should be ready to go. I am so far behind and I can’t seem to get myself going. The only MUST do’s are Game of Bloggers, the Red Wedding After Party and making sure I get the Hero Within swag and exclusives. And I don’t say all that because Tony is my friend, I say that because Game of Bloggers is my favorite thing to do at SDCC now, I love meeting everyone and it is a wonderful affair. I love supporting Hero Within as I believe in it with all my heart. It is great products and a great idea base. I feel a true part of something when I am supporting Tony and his ideas, so at least that part of my SDCC is determined. The rest is all gravy.

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