The Collective Bloggers are back in their respective countries, but after SDCC, all I can think of is the next con, how to make it easier on myself. After 4 very intense days in San Diego, I realized a) I packed way too many clothes to go to SDCC and b) there are a few necessities that each con-goer needs to make it through a day (or four) at the local or not-so-local fan convention.
1) A refillable water bottle and snacks
Food is expensive and lines are long. Do yourself a favor and bring a refillable water bottle and something to munch on whilst in line. Bring along granola bars, pretzels, Red Vines; whatever you can fit in your gear and preferably, something you don’t mind sharing. Making friends in line via food can be key when you need to take a potty break and dip out of line for the bathroom. Also, many of the swag bags at different events include some sort of logo-ed water bottle for fans, which is how I came to own a Star Wars/Petco water bottle with infuser (true story).
2) a portable phone charger/battery pack
This one can seem like overkill if you’re just a casual congoer, but if you plan on tweeting, taking pictures or texting lost friends, your cell phone battery can die rather quickly, and wall plugs are not easy to come across. I’ve heard a lot of different suggestions as to the brand of portable to pick up, and I really don’t have an opinion on the matter, to be honest. Whatever is in your price range and works for your particular needs should be fine, as long as you’re realistic about your phone usage and have what you need to accomplish your con goals, you’ll be fine.
3) comfortable shoes and a sweater, a bag to carry swag
I cannot stress enough how important the right clothing and accessories are, and I’m not even talking about cosplay (yet). Having a comfy pair of shoes that you feel okay wearing as you walk around and stand in line all day (or multiple days) is key to physical contentedness. A sweater for sitting on while in line or donning in ice-cold panel rooms is also a smart idea, even in the middle of summer. Also, a bag/backpack might be a good idea, if the free convention bag isn’t sturdy enough for you. The bag fans received when registering at SDCC was huge, bulky and went over both shoulders like some grotesque version of a paper backpack. I ditched it on day 2 for a canvas tote bag that was big, but sat under my armpit all day and fit all my goodies, including a change of shoes. Cosplayers, plan your costumed days and give yourself a day off. Trust me, you’ll need a rest from all the pictures and comments. Now, if you’re anything like the Spaniard, you’re meticulous about cosplay and accessories (and I commend you). On the day that she cosplayed at SDCC as Briar Rose, she had the brilliant idea to carry around her camera in a “picnic basket” that went with her outfit. If you’re a cosplayer, make sure to utilize your accessories, make them as functional as possible, and then let your noncosplaying friends know that if they hold your bag, you’ll buy them Starbucks.
4) a paper, pen and business cards
Regardless of your purpose at a fan convention, a pen and paper always come in handy. You might want to take notes on an interesting panel, grab an autograph from that favorite you see on the convention floor or compose a short and sweet haiku while in line for Hall H. While your phone can double as a recorder and camera, taking notes on your device really wastes that precious battery. Why not go old school? Also, if you’re a professional, you should really have business cards to pass out. Each member of Team Collective had business cards to hand over to those cosplayers we took pictures of, panel members we admired and even line buddies we bonded with (I’m thinking of you, Erin!).
5) a friendly attitude
You’re at a convention, have fun! Don’t go looking for people who don’t ship your ships or watch your shows, go looking for a good time. Don’t fret when you miss that first panel of the day because your friend forgot her badge in your car and you had to drive through traffic twice to get it to her. Have a plan B and C and D, and then be flexible. You’re going to encounter more people than you expected, longer lines that you thought and more traffic than you dreamed possible. Go with the flow, or else your time at the convention is going to be rough.
My next fan con will be Comikaze in October then the Supernatural Convention in November (and my Jensen Ackles photo-op!!!), and there’s no way I will be unprepared for either weekend-long adventure. Whether you’re attending a convention for an afternoon or an entire weekend, remembering these 5 items is sure to help the time go smoothly.
xoxo C. Diva