The bonus interview this month is with a man who went to THE Comic-con in San Diego this year and I asked him to answer some questions about his experiences. Here’s his take. If you’re like me (never attended SDCC) you will likely be surprised by the comments below. Thanks so much, Stephen, for sharing your insight with us:
My first time to comic con San Diego was 2014. Tickets (badges) were capped at 130,000. I tried to be prepared. I read tips from CcSD official site, tips from CcSD unofficial blog, read the schedule of panels and tried to pick the panels of most interest. Still, I was not prepared enough. 130,000 people inside but another 40.000 or so outside that don’t have badges doing the usually free activities outside that don’t require badges . All of these people were in line for whatever I was doing at the time, in-line for bathroom, for hotdogs, for different panels, etc
I didn’t wear a costume. Only a small percentage of participants wear costumes, but they get their pictures taken all day. So when you see pics from CcSD , it looks like everyone is in costume.
No celebrity sightings other than related to various lectures , presentations (collectively called panels.) Most celebrities sneak in the secret entrance, attend their event, then sneak out again. They will then do interviews from media outlets (so when you see news coverage it looks like every attendee is a celebrity.)
Comic-con is different every year—different rules, different panels, but crowds are the same, and I still had fun. 2018 was trip number 5 for me.
HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU ATTEND:
I attend as many days as I can get badges, usually 3, but one year 2 and one year 4 days. Attending CCSD is much better with at least one other person, but it’s easy to make friends in line
I’ve never attended preview night as those badges are very limited. But it seems that a big part of preview night is first dibs shopping on all of the exclusive collectibles, available in limited supply.
HOW TO SCORE A BADGE (TICKET):
There are usually 2 rounds of badge sales, the first in November, is only available to the 130000 attendees. You are entered in to a lottery system at the same time on a Saturday morning. At the scheduled time, the computer randomly invites people to attend, you are allowed badge purchase for yourself plus 2. Preview night is gone within minutes, followed quickly by Saturda , then Friday, Thursday and Sunday are gone within the hour. The process repeats for the 900,000 registered emails in late February for the remainder of the badges.
I like movies, so panels in Hall H are my favorite. Hall H seats 6500 and usually has panels from the big movie studios or big TV series. But you have to be in line the night before, get a wristband, and be back early the next morning.
Venues range in size from 200 to 6500. With panels ranging from major movie studios to panels on how to copyright a comic book character. At any given time, there are 20 different panels—with a line to get to each one.
The most fun was just outside, no badge required but you must have a separate ticket. The San Diego symphony performed the musical soundtrack to the latest StarTrek as the movie played on big screen. To an outsider, everything may seem weird; to us everything feels like home.
AM I TOO OLD TO GO:
Most people are in the late 20s, but I am 58 and didn’t feel out of place. If you are a fan , you are welcome and nobody notices your age. Stan Lee is over 90 and treated like a rock star.
Come prepared—prepared to be hot, prepared to stand in line, prepared to be surrounded by people who may not have showered all weekend, (hotel rooms cannot accommodate everyone) prepare to be amazed, prepare to spend money, (you’ll find lots of vendors, all the major toy manufacturers, costumes, art, comic book vendors, comic book artists, etc) prepare to have a good time even if you don’t get in the desired panel or get the collectible.
Read the tips from official web site including the toucan blog, but also the SDCC unofficial blog provides much more information about the con—badge sales, hotels and everything outside the con like parties and free shuttle bus service from most area hotels to the con all day and all night.
I hope this gives a glimpse into CcSD. If you have questions, I will try to answer them.
Oh, yes, your readers will want to know that CcSD is not limited to panels and vendors. Sony usually has a room for their latest video game play. And you’ll find an anime film fest, children’s movie fests, regular movie fest, board game play, (Dungeons and Dragons, as well as others) card game play (Yu Gi Oh and Magic the Gathering to name just a few.)
Chances are you could talk to a thousand people, and none would share the same con experience.
Thanks Stephen, I really appreciate your time. How about it B2BMers? Have you been to SDCC? Have any experiences you want to share? Feel free to send me an email. I’d love to get your unique POV. Until then remember…you are Born2BeMore.