How to Attend A Convention: How I Survived New York Comic Con
I have never attended a major convention such as Comic Con before in the past (neither as a fan nor a member of the press). Being able to attend NYCC was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I had a blast attending. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the event but I did learn a few things along the way that may help newcomers at these types of large conventions. What follows are some general thoughts and tips that are crucial to surviving your next convention event.
1) The Amount of People Attending
Take the number of people you think will be there and times it by 10. Before getting to Comic Con I had originally intended to create a gallery or article of some kind chronicling the best cosplaying. The amount of people on the showroom floor made it next to impossible to stop someone and take their picture or interview them about their costume (It is possible with the proper equipment and such but all you're doing is aggravating everyone around you). Imagine going shopping at Wal-Mart on Black Friday and expecting to be able to browse the TV selections calmly. You will just end up frustrated.
***This is the line to see Dan Harmon***
Just be aware that everything will take longer than you think it will. You may think "Oh this event isn't mainstream like The Walking Dead, not many people will be there..." Wrong. The panel will be filled. If you're not waiting in line before it starts, you may not get a seat.
2) Pre-plan Everything
NYCC had free booklets that listed all of the booths, artists and panels that were going on for the whole Con. It had maps, descriptions of panels etc... I'd imagine most events like NYCC have something similar. Live by this booklet. Whether you're going as a fan or a member of the press; make sure you know where and what time everything is you want to attend. If you want a good seat at a panel get in line at least half an hour early.
You can't go to everything so pick what is most important to you and make sure you don't miss it. NYCC had an App for your phone that allowed you to flag certain events and send you reminders when they approached. Realize some things will change. Events and signings could be postponed or added entirely. Be on the lookout on social media for updates about everything you are attending.
NYCC had a personal list to surviving the con that you can see here. My favorite quote from the book was "Naked is not a costume" which forced me to reconsider my attire for the entire week.
***Who let this guy in?***
3) Bring Sandwiches!
Seriously. The last thing you want to do is spend over an hour in line to spend 10 dollars on 2 frozen chicken tenders and 4 fries. Don't try to leave and get something outside of the Con either. It's a waste of time and money. Bring a backpack and make a sandwich before leaving.
A backpack is also good to have for all the cool stuff you'll either buy or otherwise acquire. It's not called a "Swag Bag" for nothing!
4) Ask Everyone For Permission For Everything
This is mostly in reference to the cosplayers. I'd say 95% of people cosplaying are flattered when someone wants a picture of them. Professional or Amateur, they are dressed in a costume awesome enough for a picture. Just don't be a creeper about it and take candid photos. Ask the cosplayer if it's ok. If you see someone posing for pictures already don't run over and stand with everyone taking pictures. Wait for them to finish and verify it's ok. You'd hate to accidentally anger someone you admire. This goes for anyone at booths or artists as well. Just be aware some people don't want their picture taken and are just there to have a good time.
I attended an interview with Max Jay where the creator of The Witcher comic prefered to not be filmed. No ill will, it's a preference. This leads into my next point.
5) Be A Good Person
I don't mean this to sound like an after-achool special but some people really forget this. We're all human beings. So when you knock down a railing, stop and pick it up. Don't stare at it and run away (this happened A LOT). There are some horror stories from cosplayers of creepy people touching them inappropriately. Everyone hates the guy running from booth to booth taking anything free he can find.
Just because you're in a fantastical place with superheroes walking around and celebrities talking about your favorite shows doesn't mean you're not in reality. Treat everyone the way you'd like to be treated. Everyone is just there to have fun like you! So, thank you in advance for being a good person! Oh god, this did turn into an after school special didn't it.
If you guys have anything else to add to the list let me know in the comments down below!