After conducting any military operation, every military unit ranging from squad on up, conducts an after action review, or AAR. The exercise forces leaders to assess what went well and what did not, so that they can improve unit performance in future operations.
While this post will not do that exactly, it will make recommendations about what San Diego Comic-Con attendees should know or do before attending future Comic-Cons.
1. Panels or Exhibition Hall: Not Both
If you are interested in attending a particular panel, whether it is at 10 in the morning or late in the afternoon, expect to get in line well before 8 a.m. if you hope to get a seat. Even if you have no interest in any of the four panels before yours, the only way to guarantee that you get a seat is if you stake out your territory early
The problem is that Comic-Con does not clear out attendees after each panel, so once rooms like Hall H are filled in the morning, only a small percentage of attendees leaves after any given panel.
The good news is that people who “camp out” in these rooms have ready access to a concession stand and bathrooms all day long.
Similarly, some vendors like Hasbro, require attendees to stand in line for hours in order to have the privilege of standing in line in the exhibition hall to purchase merchandise. This process, of course, burns a ton of time.
Therefore, convention attendees should plan on dedicating a day to each.
2. Bring a Collapsible Chair
As I noted above, endless lines are part of the Comic-Con experience. Standing for hours can be frustrating and unbearable. However, if you bring a good book and a collapsible chair, the experience suddenly becomes a lot more relaxing.
3. Bring Sunblock
The lines at Comic-Con can sometimes stretch for up to a mile or more, which means that attendees will spend more time in the sun than they may have anticipated.
4. Bring Warm Clothing
While the temperature outside can range from pleasant to hot, some of the panel rooms have their air conditioning on overdrive. As such, it can get really cold. Having a jacket can make a huge difference for a convention attendee’s comfort.
5. FedEx Your Merchandise
Carrying your recently purchased merchandise through dense crowds and for several city blocks can be a painful experience. Fortunately, there is a FedEx store inside the Convention Center where you can ship your merchandise home and avoid the hassle.
6. Bring a Tripod for Your Camera
Keeping your arm up and holding a video camera for long periods of time can be tedious. Bringing a tripod makes it easier to both enjoy the conference and get more footage.
7. Bring Extra Batteries and/or Your Charger
Getting into good panels sometimes requires staying in one room for most of the day. Using a mobile phone or similar handheld device to record events all day can quickly drain batteries. Fortunately, the convention center offers many electrical outlets where one can plug in a charger.