This was my first year going to Comic Con, and I feel it's kinda my duty to share the stuff I learned with all of you guys.
- Saturday Panels: The panels on Saturday are kinda a double-edged sword so to say. On one hand, some of the best panels of the week are done on Saturday. On the other hand, you have some of the biggest lines you may see in your whole life. So, there are three things I suggest:
-b) Commit, and I mean commit. Like for example, I went into the line for Mythbusters two hours in advance, thinking I'd get a good spot, but when I get there, I see that I probably wasn't getting in.
-c) Do a group line wait thing. What you do is, you go in a group of at least 3 people, and every hour or so you switch off. But this is something you should avoid doing as it usually pisses of the people behind you. What I suggest is that you make a deal with the person behind you that if you or someone in your group are the last people to get in, they can switch out with you.
- Don't be afraid to ask cosplayers for a picture: Some people might be a little shy when it comes to asking a cosplayer for a picture of them in their costume, but this probably couldn't be more wrong to do. See, your average cosplayer actually likes flaunting the thing they put all that time and effort making.
- Plan out what you want to do in advance: It really helps when you plan out everything in advance. What I recommend is that you also plan a backup activity in the event of you not being able to get into a certain panel or the Exhibitor Area is way too crowded. In my opinion, the best place for backups are usually the Anime Rooms, even if you don't care for anime. It's great because 1) it's rarely crowded, and 2) it's a great place to just sit down (other than on the floor) and relax.
- Don't be afraid to talk to the guests: Many of us (myself included) are or were at one point kinda afraid to speak to guests at conventions such as this. But many don't avoid (if not enjoy) talking to the people that pay their bills. On Saturday, I was waiting for my ride, and guess who walks by me? Rocco from Mega64. He looked pretty busy, so I simply said "Hello!" to him, and he gave an even simpler "Hi" back with a smile.
- Guests have to sign your book for free: You know that little souvenir book you get at registration? A little known fact is that Comic Con requires that all guests have to sign that for free. So, if you want someone's autograph, but don't want to fork out $50 or so for it, have them sign that. Though, not all people charge for autographs. Heck, I got a free signed mousepad from the producer of Fate/Unlimited Codes (even signed as "To Dan")
- Feel free to ask for as much swag as you want: Funny story, I was on my way into the convention center, and at the crossing is where a lot of the swag is given out. One person is handing out these huge Mythbusters buttons, and I jokingly say "Hey, can I have like 5?" and she actually hands me five of them!
- Get the big bags: While you are given a good sized shopping bag with the book and other stuff, try and get one of the big bags for free. One of the things I really regret is not getting one of those. They're these huge 3' bags to put all your loot in that typically have stuff like Mythbusters, or Chuck or Doctor Who on them and they are supposed to be given out for free.
- Get used to the area: Even small detours can really screw you up. On Sunday, I was going down to the convention center, and one of the freeways was closed for whatever reason, and we were literally driving around pretty much in circles for two hours.
- Find a "hang out" spot: If you get tired, or separated and need to meet up, it's always a good idea to pick out an area for that. My brother and I picked out the east part of the second floor (where the anime is screened). We actually met some cool people and saw some awesome costumes there, along with being in a giant Caramelldansen.
- If you need water, go to Anime Rooms: Let's face it - with thousands of people packed in an area, no amount of air conditioning is going to keep every area cool. If you're looking for a nice drink of water to help cool you down, do not, and I repeat, do not try and get it from the drinking fountain. The water from those will typically be either a) warm, b) have really low water pressure, or c) both. What I do suggest you do is quick run into one of the Anime Rooms, as they should have a water cooler tank with cups set up, just outside of the door.
- The closer a booth is to a door, the more crowded it will be: Companies often fight over who gets the booth closest to the entrance, and have the best view coming into the Exhibitor Hall. So, if you're looking for a place with smaller crowds, I suggest you go towards the back of the hall.
- Bring your own food: This is a bit of a no-brainer, not only for Comic Con and other conventions, but also for movie theaters and museums, because chances are that the food there will be ridiculously overpriced. I saw a sandwich going for $8 there!
As for conventions, next up: Youmacon.
I'll talk about the contest more when I get home and look at shipping rates. Plus, I'm staying with relatives out in CA, and I take it they don't like it when I hog up their computer.