Conventions 101

This is a blog idea that has floated around in my head for a while and Amazing Comic Con reached out to me about writing this for the Las Vegas event June 23rd to 26th, 2017 I thought why not!

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Geek Girl 2016 Star Wars Meet Up

The words Comic Con and conventions have become a common word in the nerd and geek communities especially with the rise of geek and pop culture. Big cities and small towns a like now have their own Comic Cons and the Mecca of all Comic Cons in San Diego is even harder to get passes for. Conventions of every sort from steampunk to TV shows like Super Natural are rising in their own popularity and each convention has so much to offer! Panels, celebrity signatures and photos, meet ups, dances, vendors, artists, costume contest, fashion shows, and gaming rooms. Some even offer concerts or special events depending on their emphasis. There is so much to see and do that you may feel overwhelmed depending on the size of the con. Needless to say there are reasons why most cons span three to four days! If you have never been to a convention you might not know where to begin. If you are wondering this is the blog for you!

What to do pre-con? First thing to know and realize is that unless you are attending a small con you may not be able to do everything you would like. I recommend deciding your top, most important, and exciting things you want to do. And a few back up options as well. I start with looking at panels. If my favorite celebrities have anything special scheduled. I also check planned meet ups because it’s always fun to meet people passionate about the same things you are. As a cosplayer I also look through social media for any cosplay photo meet ups as these are usually not arranged by the convention and are genre, or fandom, themed so people are in similar costumes. Some events, like dating events and costume contest, require preregistration so keep this in mind and be aware of the deadlines for these events. These extra events may also have additional fees to participate. For example, some steampunk convention have a fee for tea parties or tea duels because of the added cost of food and drink.

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I met so many other Wonder Woman fans it was amazing! So much love and fandom! Emerald City Comic Con 2016

If you are terrible with time management and remembering things some cons now have phone apps that allow you to select the scheduled events and set a reminder. Usually these are available closer to the convention date. What ever you decide to do remember that rooms can only hold so many people at once so there are caps on the number of attendees. Make sure to plan enough time to get the location of the event and be prepared to set in line.

Now that you know what you want to do plan you budget! Or even do this before you know what you would like to do. Allocate money for food and how much you have to spend with vendors or artists.

I also recommend finding a friend(s) to go with! You may already have a friend or two into this sort of thing or the type of con want to go to. Cons can be a lot of fun, I have gone solo and in groups, but I have found having friends to share the experience with makes it better.

When it gets closer to con time about a week before I start an immune boosting regimen. I also take take this during and for a week after con. For me this is increasing my water intake and taking a vitamin c supplement every day, twice a day! There are over the counter items you can take to boost your immunity or you can adjust your diet for healthier nutritious foods. Do your research and find what options work best for your own health and lifestyle.

If you bought new shoes for your adventure (causal con goer or cosplayer) make sure to break these in before con.

You have waited for months or maybe close to a year for the convention and the time has come for your adventure!  The most important thing you can do, no matter how many days you are going to a con, is self care! For me this is important as a cosplayer and casual con goer. If you aren’t feeling well then you won’t enjoy yourself! After all that is why you are going right?! To have an adventure!

What do I mean by self care? I will break it down.

  1. Hydrate. Carry a water bottle on you or make sure you have budget enough to purchase this at the venue. Purchasing can get expensive just to warn you. Getting dehydrated at conventions is no fun! You increase your chances of getting con crud and it just makes it harder to enjoy yourself.
  2. Bring snacks. Personally, I like to bring protein bars, gogurt (which can be frozen and help keep other items you might pack cold), those amazing pouches of applesauce, and string cheese. These are small so they are easy to carry in back pack or purse. I personally recommend higher protein options and healthy snacks. But I also have friends who pack higher carbohydrate foods because that is what works for them.
  3. Allow yourself to take a break. Sit down for few minutes throughout the day. Leave the convention hall if you find the amount of stimulation too much.
  4. Make sure to schedule time to eat meals! Even if it may be in your hotel room. Put a reminder in you phone if you don’t think you will remember this.
  5. Personal hygiene! Take a shower every day. This is for your own physical and mental health and for the courtesy of others. This is another component of not getting con crud.
  6. Also, make sure you go to the bathroom when you have the opportunity, especially
    in costume. Because you may be arrested by a bunch of Star Wars Mandos and locked in a cage when you already delayed taking care of this vital function. Believe it or not this literally happened to me.

    SLCC

    You think I am joking but I am not. I really had to pee! I spent like 30 minutes helping a lost girl and when it finally was okay to go about my business I get a text. Stay where you are. Next thing I know all of the Mandalorian Mercs at the con surround me. March me through the con and lock me in the cage. Where my sweet husband purposed to me. And the whole time I had to really pee!  I told him if he ever purposed he had to make it memorable and he totally came through! Salt Lake Comic Con 2013

  7. If you have medications you take daily do not forget to take these! Put a reminder in you phone if needed! I have a medical condition myself and I pack extra everything even if I am at the con for one day! If you would like to read more about that I have a blog focusing on this topic.
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Geek Girl Science Activity Center 2016

I always bring a back pack (usually it is smaller so it doesn’t distract from my cosplay). I recommend you do the same. Here are my recommendations of what to put in it.

  1. Make sure to have cash on you for food in case a vendor or restaurant run into issues with the credit card machines. Or in case you have a transportation issue and need to pay for a service home or to your hotel. Since this emergency based money I keep it away from my spending money.
  2. Have a small first aid kit. Conventions do have first aid areas but it never hurts to have this on hand.
  3. I know some cosplayers and con goers who even being deodorant with them.
  4. I pack a portable phone charger too. I have friends who pack multiple chargers. Mainly because we like to play PokémonGo and it really drains batteries at convention. But also so if we need to contact a friend we have the means to.

Other tips for cons.

  1. I have been at several conventions that there are so many people cell phone towers can’t process the amount of calls so phones do not work at all. I recommend having a meeting time and location with your con adventuring buddies to check in on each other. Especially if there are children involved. I have helped a child I didn’t know get through a crowd for 60,000 people to the information desk to locate her family because they were separated in the crowd and their cell phone didn’t work. It was an extremely unpleasant experience for the kid.
  2. If I have never been to a convention location before I like to get a layout of the place on the first day. Things I figure out: Where can I find food inside the convention?
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    Steamposium 2016

    Bathrooms? Panel areas? A quiet space in case I need a break? Alcohol ? If the con has a TakeThis’ AKF room where is it located? If you have anxiety issues this can be your best friend!

  3. Be aware of the cons harassment policy. Especially in cosplay. Many cons have very strict rules around this. If you do not feels safe or you are being harassed speak with a security guard or con staff.
  4. Be nice to the con staff. 90% of the time these are volunteers who are giving up their con experience so you can have one. And some of them have given up months of their lives to make this happen.
  5. Sometimes you can haggle with dealers on the last day. Many would rather sell their wares then haul it back home. But if you really want something and there are only a few of the item. Don’t wait. Once it’s gone it is gone and chances are rare items won’t be there the last day.

If it’s your first time cosplaying here are a few pointers!

  1. If you have high heels or uncomfortable shows bring an extra more comfortable set. If I have to walk from my hotel to the con I have slip on shoes or flip flops for this. These are small enough that they fit nicely into my little back pack. My feet particularly appreciate this after walking the con floor in heels!
  2. Check the dress code and weapon policies so that you don’t get asked to change/leave or have the weapon you worked hard on making taken away. Each con has different rules so make sure you look into these.
  3. If you need a break it is okay to deny pictures. Just be polite about it. Remember you are a patron too!
  4. Bring an emergency costume repair kit. Some conventions have cosplay first aid stations now but they may not have what you need.
  5. Remember to get pictures of your costume! Either on your phone or schedule a photo shot with a photographer. If a photographer gets your picture at the con don’t be afraid to ask for a business card. Many photographers do this for a hobby and would be happy to let you download the file. If you want to have guaranteed files defiantly schedule with a photographer.
  6. If you have something time sensitive I recommend not going in costume. It’s so much easier to get through the crowd without a costume.
dragon con 2013

Dragon Con 2013

The second most important thing about any convention is to have FUN!!!!!!

If you are interested in checking out Amazing Con Las Vegas but aren’t sure about travel to this convention make sure to check out their about them page for hours, location, panels, and programming or  these travel deals. Many conventions also have these type of information on their websites.

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