For someone like me who has never attended San Diego Comic Con, preparation was, for lack of a better word, a bitch.
When my boss offered me the chance to go, I shrugged at his later questions at what panels I was gonna try for, saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I suppose I might just wing it.” My cavalier attitude was met with hearty guffaws and I sat at the computer later that night, searching for guides on how to prepare oneself for SDCC. As I researched (read wasted time on Facebook), I noticed a video from Aggressive Comics. Amid the satire were several nuggets of truth, but I felt it wasn’t enough to weather the proverbial storm of Comic Con. I also stumbled upon a GeekWithCurves blog post about how to prepare for the convention and that particular piece of writing was invaluable. It saved me numerous headaches and it showed me just how unprepared I was for a convention of that scope. When the schedules were released, I sat down as soon as possible and chose 3-4 panels each day with several alternatives just in case I was unable to get in, leaving ample time to wander the exhibit hall or meet up with friends (or eat). I felt I was being silly doing this, but I was just a naive girl, unaware that SDCC was NOTHING like a convention in Dallas.
Once I actually arrived and collected my badge, my super awesome roommate kindly gave me one piece of advice: collect all swag I could and any tickets/raffles/room cards should be put immediately in the plastic sleeve of my badge. This oddly did not prevent me from losing several tickets for giveaways and my room key, but I struggled to remember this piece of advice as my pockets filled with small papers.
I wish I had stopped to look at the convention map provided to me at pick up.
Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe my awe at the sheer amount of people, nor does it describe the excitement I felt at seeing all the displays and booths in the exhibit hall. Throw in a little anxiety at cosplaying for the first time and meeting people I’d only spoken to via internet and you had me: a lost, red faced girl from Texas. I ended up missing the cut offs for several toys during preview night and I ended up flabbergasted in a cab back to the hotel, empty handed and dazed.
I wish I could say the rest of the days were better and I accomplished things.
I think at the end of SDCC, I went to TWO panels on my list, and enjoyed four others I happened to wander into. I also successfully purchased the few items I really wanted out of sheer luck. I cosplayed successfully with a large group for Steampunk Saturday and I met many people I’d only dreamed of meeting.
So what did I learn? I need to research more and take my husband. I missed so much that happened off site and having another person with me would have helped in those moments where I couldn’t be in two lines at once, be it for The Hobbit in Hall H, or trying to get that Derpy Hooves figure to give away to you all. I vow to make at least FOUR panels on my list, to attend two off site events, AND to somehow wire a camera into my glasses so the next time I bump into Nathan Fillion, I have photographic evidence.
There’s always next year, right!?