We have attended Comic Cons all over the place. We have been to Star Wars Celebration in both California and Florida. We have even attended the London Film and Comic Con. We love New Orleans Comic Con by Wizard World and look forward to Pensacon every year. Dallas and Houston have great cons. One of the best cons we ever attended was in Galveston. We haven’t been to San Diego…yet. However, we have learned from each con on how to make the most of them.
Comic Cons can be stressful for an introvert. I have social anxiety. Large crowds in a small space stress me out. I don’t like it when people bump into me. Most people that attend Comic Cons, though, are introverts themselves. Remembering this reduces stress of a con. This is a safe place for nerds and geeks and it allows us to assert our extroverted side. We often run into former students at Comic Cons. Often, they were the quietest students in our class, but when they are cosplaying at con, they are stopping every five seconds to take pictures with strangers. Cosplaying allows people to step out of themselves and be someone else for a day.
Another source of stress of attending a Comic Con is trying to do everything. You can’t. There are too many things limiting you, mainly time and money. To have a successful con, figure out what is a priority. If you love collecting autographs, you may have to miss a panel. To help with this, study the website of the con. Figure out what people are going to be there on specific days. For example, at the upcoming Pensacon, Natalia Tena (Tonks from Harry Potter) is appearing Sunday only. If we didn’t read the website, or follow on twitter, and we only planned on going on Saturday, we would have been disappointed.
Making a schedule can also lead to successful con. You can’t be in two places at once. You have to figure out what your priority is, and schedule everything else around that. For last year’s Star Wars Celebration, our priority was getting autographs. Our schedule was based around that. By not scheduling a panel in front of an autograph, we met everyone we wanted to meet. Remember you have limited time at a panel, so planning helps.
Finally, budgeting is important. Besides paying for autographs and photo-ops, there is many other things on which to spend your money. I always describe Comic-Cons as “jewelry shows for nerds.” Planning helps. If you really want to get autographs, budget the amount of money you want to spend. Most cons list the prices of autographs and photo-ops on their website. Of course, you are going to make impulse purchases, just make sure you spend your cash on what you planned on spending it on as well. In fact, bring cash. While Square is appearing more often at Cons, cash is often the quickest way to do some transactions, and in some cases, the only way.
The most important advice we can give for a successful con is to have fun. Make small talk with the celebrities, ask the artists questions, attend panels. Most of us attend cons to remind ourselves of that little person inside of ourselves. Let that person out.