Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10 Things about Comic-Con

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Yeah... I have TONS of things I want to say about my time in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con. And, as I mentioned yesterday, there's still a lot going on. BUT, I wanted to take this Wednesday's list and tease you with a few things I saw and learned at Comic-Con. 
10. The people. You read about everyone being smelly, that nobody takes showers, that bad breath reigns, and that the general Con-goer is uber-geeky. Well, I only encountered a few smelly people throughout my time, though I was frequently surrounded by horriffic breath. But, more importantly, two things. First, everyone there is a dork about SOMETHING. Maybe their obsession isn't yours, but there is a camaraderie amongst those who are passionate about something in the pop culture realm. And second, people are friendly. Three of the four days I wasn't really near my friend Kelly at all, and I had no problems spending hours in line chatting with those around me.

9. Food. I read everywhere that food would be very, very expensive. And rather crappy. So, taking the advice of the internet, along with the kindheartedness of a friend of a friend, I went to a grocery store first thing off the plane Wednesday. And I proceeded to buy too much. I bought a loaf of french bread, a half-dozen bagels, a couple of the small bags of rice-cake-chips, four apples, a box of nutri-grain bars, and a bag of goldfish. I also brought a box of cheerios and three packs of poptarts from home. I was overstocked. But I also didn't have any protein... so the second afternoon I was feeling weak. (solved this bringing leftovers from the previous night's dinner for lunches!) And the food was a little higher than theme park prices, so it wasn't outrageous to me. I didn't actually purchase any, so I can't comment as to the quality, but I certainly saw plenty of people gobbling it down! (particularly the nachos and the soft pretzels!)

8. Previews. Many, many people will tell you that the main reason that they attend Comic-Con is for the previews. You can see trailers before they're released. You can see pilots of shows that have not yet aired. You can see full episodes and movies sometimes, weeks or months before they are set to broadcast. Some will be great (54 minutes of the pilot for Terra Nova?? yes, please!) and some won't (talking hot tub episode of American Dud Dad). There are more previews that you can possibly attend (three took place on Saturday afternoon, nearly simultaneously), so choose wisely!

7. Celebrities. As someone who has met a couple in real life and interviewed another handful of actors, I sometimes get a little desensitized to them. Plus, many will remind you that they're just regular people whose job is acting. Yes, it's cool that you're in the same room as Matt Groening or Bruce Campbell. But I tell you what... when Noah Wyle was introduced during the Falling Skies panel, I almost cried. Yep, I totally had a crush on him when he was on ER... and apparently I might not have completely gotten over that. I felt like a schoolgirl as I stared at him smile and wave.

6. Over-preparation. Everyone tells you to read everything you can. Study the maps. Print out the charts. Pack anything you might need. Pack extra shirts and socks so you can change into something not sweaty. But, that's too much. I read enough, and perhaps not even enough. But I overpacked. And over-printed (people say the book they gave you is too thick and heavy to deal with... but it's pretty easy to navigate and prevents you from going through multiple sets of pages!).

5. The airport. It's really close to downtown / the gaslamp district / the Con. This is notable because I was really nervous about how much traffic there would be leaving San Diego on Sunday. I had an 8:15 flight and I decided to take a 4:45 shuttle... which had me at the airport in less than fifteen minutes. I felt like it was a much longer trip when I arrived, but I guess I didn't go straight to the hotel, either.

4. Lines. People tell you that Cons are really just lines. Well, to a certain extent, that is certainly true. I waited in line for about 90 minutes just to get my badge to enter the Con. The next day, I waited for four hours to purchase passes for the 2012 Con... which meant that I indeed missed the opening panels of the day so that I could deal with something 51 weeks in advance. And that's not even talking about the lines for the individual rooms.

3. Time. Remember grad school? Or having young children at home? Or just those weeks when you are putting in a million hours at work and hardly sleeping? Comic-Con is kind of like that. Thursday and Friday I was out the door of my hotel at 6am to get in line half an hour later. Thursday night I didn't get back to the hotel until after 10, and Friday it was after 9. And I still had to do other things! Saturday and Sunday were slightly better... I left at 6:20 on Saturday, and I felt a world of difference... which is good since I didn't settle back in for the night until about 10:30pm. Sunday I slept until a leisurely 7:45am, though after my flight I had to drive home and was struggling to focus the last few miles at 10pm!

2. Priorities. Priorities are everything. You can either try and hit several things throughout the day that you are really excited about, or pick one room that has four or five things (or more!) that you are somewhat interested in seeing. That way, you're much less stressed out in trying to run around.

1. Swag. There were a lot of freebies throughout the Con. My favorite? The Falling Skies hoodie that everyone who was in the Falling Skies panel on Friday received a ticket for. My least favorite? The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad pins that those panels gave us tickets for. We all wondered why the panelists and moderator kept mum about what we'd receive... it didn't take long to find out why!

If you've been to Comic-Con, do you agree? If you haven't, what did you find most surprising? And, yes, stay tuned as I crank out some more fabulous stuff about the Con!
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