Conventions 101

Convention season is starting up again and somewhere out there, hundreds of people are thinking about attending their very first convention.  Let’s face it: walking into a moderate to large con for the first time can be totally overwhelming.  That’s why we’ve put together today’s post with some tips and suggestions for con goers both new and old!  I’ve been attending conventions since Dragon*Con 2008 and every year since, I’ve heard a good tip that I then proceed to integrate into my own convention routine.  So that said, let’s begin!

Before The Con: Do Your Homework
This covers so many things but it’s the best and pithiest tip I can give you.  If you do a little bit of googling before the convention, it’ll make your life a ton easier.  Even knowing roughly how big the con is can do wonders for you once you actually arrive especially if you can find a map of the convention.  For example, there are some conventions where you need to buy a badge in advanced or else you won’t be able to get in.  A quick google search can be incredibly useful here.  Of course, there are likely to be plenty of volunteers on the ground who can clarify things for you but it’s always helpful to do some homework first.

Conventions tend to release their final schedule of panels a week or two before the show.  It’s worth taking a look at before hand so you can see what panels are must-attends for you.  You have to be realistic here though.  It’s unlikely you’ll be able to make 4 Celebrity Q+As in a row if the convention is the sort to clear the room between each panel.  If there’s a high profile guest that you’re dying to see, plan to get in line for them at least an hour before hand.  Some won’t let you even start a line before a certain time but you can always mill around the area.  (It’s a completely different game if it’s a convention where you can stay in the room from panel to panel.)  Be willing to be flexible as something will inevitably pop up during the con.  I usually mark 2 panels as must-sees and then make a ‘These would be nice’ list to supplement it but I also tend to not do tons of panels at cons. Continue reading