Geek 101: Conventions
Recently, Michelle and I attended Fan Expo Dallas. It was my first convention experience, and I don’t think I could have had a better one. We got to see some amazing Q&As, which we talked about extensively on Tipsy Cast, bought comic art, and were about 50 feet from James and Oliver Phelps (aka Fred and George Weasley) at one point. While the overall experience was extremely positive, I did leave feeling like I was a bit behind in my geek education…geekucation? Let’s go with that. Which brings us to Geek 101.
In an effort to motivate myself to fully embrace my geeky tendencies, and to help others who might be new to embracing geek life, I wanted to start a Geek 101 series to walk us all through the crazy elaborate world we inhabit.
In the spirit of my inspiring Saturday at Fan Expo, I thought I’d start with conventions.
Conventions, or Cons, come in all varieties. There are “everything but the kitchen sink” cons, as well as cons for specific fandoms (I’m looking at you, Bronies and Pegasisters). The Con of Cons, in my estimation, is San Diego Comic Con, which draws major players from movies, television, comics, and beyond. It’s insanely hard to get tickets, due to its usually stellar lineup of guests and first looks within a number of fandoms.
Based on my experience at Fan Expo Dallas, I’ve put together some pointers for navigating Cons. Enjoy!
I know this is probably a given to most people, but you’d be surprised. Cons draw A LOT of people, and they’re all very excited to be there. So don’t push, call names, or anything like that. This goes double for event and venue staff. They are there to make sure you have fun in a safe and organized way so respect their rules. Mostly, just go with the flow and smile. If you see someone breaking the rules, like cutting in line for paid or ticketed events, let a staff member know.
“Cosplay is not consent.”
A lot of Con-goers like to Cosplay (Costume Play, more on that in a future post) as characters from their favorite comics, movies, etc. You’ll find all varieties of cosplay from a simple t-shirt emblazoned with a superhero logo, to full on Oscar-worthy costuming and makeup. You will see folks in all manner of dress…and undress. This is not an invitation for you to judge, make fun of, degrade, or in any way assault or violate a Cosplayer. If you’d like to take a picture of/with a Cosplayer, ask them first, and don’t touch them without their permission either.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Cons are typically all-day, multi-day events, and you will be doing an incredible amount of walking. It’s important to stay hydrated, even though you may have to purchase overpriced water from the Con itself if they don’t allow outside drinks. Also, make sure you eat to keep your blood sugar from dropping. The last thing you need is to pass out from hunger while you’re trying to get Stan Lee’s autograph.
Don’t be that fan.
Many Con guests make themselves available for Q&As, where audience members can publicly ask questions. In every Q&A Michelle and I attended, at least one fan asked an embarrassing question that made the guest uncomfortable. Please use common sense and don’t ask someone to basically diss their competition, who they’re dating, or if you can marry them. The entire room WILL collectively groan, loudly. So don’t do it. Silly questions, for example “What’s your favorite crayon color?” are perfectly acceptable.
In all seriousness, Cons are meant to be insanely fun so you should enjoy yourself. Make new friends, meet your favorite actors and comic writers, buy A TON of comic art, and make memories. If you do that, you’ll be golden.
Do you have any tips for Conventions? Or topics for Geek 101? Let us know in the comments!