Erin is back with some more tips and advice for San Diego Comic Con. If you remember she recently shared a post on how to eat like a pro while attending the convention. This time she’s here to share some words of wisdom when it comes to avoiding a meltdown during the four craziest days of the year.
How To Avoid a Comic-Con Meltdown
I wish I were not writing this post from personal experience. I wish I could just give you speculative advice and not advice based on my own terrible actions. However, I am the girl who cried on the exhibit floor at San Diego Comic-Con. More. Than. Once.
I cried out of sheer frustration that was brought on by repeated disappointment, mostly surrounding bad management, decisions and lack of communication at the Warner Bros. and Fox booths. Without going into lots of detail I will say that information given on one day did not match up with what happened in reality and when I showed up at a designated time, things were not what they should have been.
This is Comic-Con, and if you are going for the first time, with high hopes of signings and photo opportunities and meeting all your favorite stars, please heed my warnings.
1. At any given time there are about 14 official panels going on in the rooms upstairs and in gigantic Hall H. You cannot be everywhere at the same time. Once the schedule is released, decide what you would like to see and do and then pick two, perhaps three back-up plans.
2. If you want to see a popular panel that starts at 1:00, your best bet is to get in line for that panel as soon as you get to the convention center. Do not expect to get into a Fringe/Walking Dead/Smallville/Chuck panel if you walk up 30 minutes before the start time. That is not how it works. Fans will wait 3 or more hours to secure a seat, sitting through hours of programming they aren’t interested in just so they can be there for the one they are interest in. The rooms are not cleared between panels so you can get in early and stake out a spot and wait the whole day if you want to.
3. However, remember, while you are waiting, more things are going on. If your day is planned with back to back panels, in different rooms, you are going to end up missing something. You need to decide what your priorities are but be prepared to alter your plans. And then alter them again. And again.
4. Many booths offer signings on the exhibit floor. If you are interested in those signings, find out if tickets are required, and how distribution of those tickets will take place. If there are no tickets, just a line, find out how early, and where, that line will start. After you get your answers, go ask someone else. If the answers are different then mention that and ask which one is correct. Ask, ask and ask again.
5. Things are changing all the time on the floor. It’s impossible to keep up. You can put total faith in someone at a booth only to come back at the designated time to find what he or she told you was incorrect. It happens and it’s nobody’s fault. Try not to get angry, although you really will want to punch someone. You cannot change anything and yelling at a booth employee will not make things better. If this happens to you, you need to put one of your back-up plans into motion.
6. Keep in mind that sometimes ticket distribution of signings will take place upstairs, far away from the actual singing, and sometimes hours, or days beforehand. If you are in line for a panel then you can’t be in line for an autograph session. Which one is more important? These are questions that you will have to answer. These questions suck, I know.
7. The higher your expectations, the harder your fall.
8. To paraphrase the Fight Club movie, you are not a unique snowflake. Every attendee at Comic-Con thinks they are the biggest fan of someone or something. They think they deserve every good experience, that they should have every opportunity, and every wish granted. This just is not so, your Comic-Con experience is no more important than anyone else’s is. I know this seems like shitty things to say but chances are, at one point or another you will be feeling a little sorry for yourself. You might even make that little pouty face and noise and if you were 3 years old, it would be acceptable. We are all here at Comic-Con because we love to celebrate popular culture, you are not a unique snowflake.
9. If you find yourself feeling crabby, pouty, entitled, angry, frustrated, sad, on the verge of tears or any combination of those, take a time out. Get a Mrs. Fields cookie, take a stroll behind the convention center and find a quiet spot to gather yourself, regroup and make a fresh plan.
10. Get a mantra; “Flexible is Enjoyable” is a good one.
Have you had a Comic-Con meltdown? How do you keep your cool? Please comment with your stories and suggestions!