The first time I ever attended a convention, specifically a convention that dealt with science fiction, fantasy, games or anime, it was around six years ago, and during that time, I didn’t attend as a mere spectator, but as a Stage Manager, as I was helping out a friend of mine who was one of the organizers of the convention that was held at SMX. I remember being on my feet the entire time, and only had a few minutes to really enjoy everything that was going on. However, I did manage to see that everyone else was having fun.
Fast forward it to six years later, I find myself attending these things again as some of it does come hand in hand with the things that I still love, and things that I have gotten interested in, such as comics, due to my job, as I write recaps of shows from MARVEL (Daredevil, S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, etc) and from DC (Arrow). So far, I’ve been to two conventions- NexCon, which happened last May; and the more recently concluded ToyCon 2015, which happened a week ago.
During both conventions, which were my first two conventions in a while, I realized that there were just some things that every new convention goer in the Philippines should remember, and I made a list of them, in order to enjoy the experience better. I hope you enjoy! And hope to see you at the next convention!
1. Go with a friend!
I went to NexCon alone and I went to ToyCon with a very good friend of mine. While I enjoyed NexCon immensely, I loved ToyCon as I had someone to share the experience with. Plus, I had the very good fortune that that friend of mine was pretty good when it came to bargain bin diving for comics, as she was able to find a bundle of comics for me that I really did want. Also, he or she will be able to take your picture with a cosplayer or with statues of Captain America or Darth Vader standing nearby.
2. Know what you want in terms of what you want to buy.
Conventions can be pretty hard on your wallet, especially with all the awesome discounted comics, and all the cool merchandise at the convention. So that your wallet won’t hurt too much when you leave the convention, already have in mind what kind of things of memorabilia you want, so you can streamline your decision. Me, I like buying comics, so I immediately look for bargain buys in the comic bins, especially if it’s discounted, so that’s mostly the only thing I bough during ToyCon.
3. Buy tickets way ahead of time and know the schedule of activities before the actual con.
This will allow you to avoid long lines, and knowing the schedule will allow you to plan out which day and what time you go to the convention, and it will also allow you to be able to buy tickets ahead of time for any special panels or events that will happen.
4. Check out the website for celebrity appearances or appearances by any of your favorite artists or writers.
For NexCon, there was a booth with two Filipino artists who were working with MARVEL and DC, and were doing on the spot commissions. If your fans of a particular artist or writer, make sure that you check the website first in order to know who will be there, so you can be ready with a blank variant cover or an issue on which they worked on so that they can sign it for you. Never pass up an opportunity like that, as those kinds of opportunities are usually once in a lifetime. Also, if you are fans of some cosplay celebrities, then check out if they are there, and get your picture taken with them, or ask for some tips for your own cosplay.
5. Participate in events and activities if and when you can!
At NexCon, there were debates, trivia contests, an auction, and a geek music trivia contest that one could participate in. Don’t be shy to participate in these events as it is all in good fun! Plus, who knows, you might be able to win some cool prizes from participating in it. It never hurts to try!
6.Don’t be scared to take pictures with other cosplayers or with statues of your favorite character or supehero.
Whether you are in costume or not, it would be fun to have your picture taken with the statue of a stormtrooper or Thor or the Hulkbuster suit. Or, if there are people whose cosplay impresses you, or if there are those who are cosplaying as your favorite character, then go for it. I regret not having my picture taken with a Mystique, Deadpool, Darth Vader, several lightsabers, and a Harley Quinn.
7. Last but not the least…. Cosplay, but only if you want to.
Don’t be afraid to cosplay as your favorite character to conventions! Conventions are some of the only moments in which children all the way to full grown adults dress up in really well made costumes, outside of Halloween, so take advantage of this! However, if this is your first time, you might not want to cosplay, and that’s okay as one can “stealth or closet cosplay”- dress up in the colors of your favorite characters, and get inspiration from sites like Disneybounding. Also, make sure to check the theme of the convention so that you won’t be so out of theme.
HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE!
Once you enter a convention, leave all your fears and worries behind and just ENJOY the entire experience! After all, conventions are some of the few moments in a year in which one can leave reality behind and in which one can indulge in their favorite fandoms!
How about you? What are your biggest tips when it comes to going to a fan convention? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments below! Also, what conventions have you gone to and enjoyed? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from other fellow fans!