Pen and paper. Yes, I know — you have a smartphone, you can jot down notes or phone numbers or what have you on that…ah, but what if you run into Stan Lee in the hallway? I’m not a huge autograph hound, but you don’t want to lose out on an opportunity. Also, smartphones die or lose power. You might want to have paper to write phone numbers, information on panels, etc as a backup. Yes, I know this sounds silly, but don’t come crying to me when you are in the middle of the vast Exhibitor Hall, trying to remember where you saw the awesome T-shirt you wanted to buy. If you had written down the booth number or given yourself some direction back to said awesome T-shirt, you wouldn’t be crying when you can’t find it again. Trust me. I’ve been there.
However, reading this was a nice paradigm shift for us, because it is so written from the viewpoint of…the others. you know, the “new” people, the Normans…
Q & A Okay. I want you to hear me now and believe me later. Perhaps one of the most PAINFUL thing about these panels is when they open up questions to the audience. If you want people to like you, try to keep your questions short and sweet. We don’t need to hear your life story, how you got to the Con, your career aspirations, your costume details, etc. Yes we KNOW you love their work/their show/their writing, etc. Don’t waste time with the accolades. It gets annoying. Oh, and could you please make sure it is a QUESTION and not some general comment you just must make known to the other thousand(s) of people sitting in the room? Please, be interesting. Ask a good question. This is your one chance to ask your favorite comic writer/artist/actor/director/important person on a panel a burning question. Do you really want to be known as the guy/gal who asked them something stupid? And if you aren’t sure if your question is stupid…well, it probably is. Part of the reason people disparage fanboys is because of the Q & A. Seen the William Shatner SNL sketch? Yeah, learn it and love it. Try to be a good fanboy/girl. Okay, off my soapbox about that now.
Part Two has an even more surreal — for us, anyway — anecdote:
If all else fails, make your own party! You’d be amazed how many other people will join you to watch Torchwood in your hotel. (Just follow the rules of your hotel of course.) Also, I’ve been banging the drum to meet lots of people. You never know who you might meet and what they might be doing. Last year a friend of mine was hanging out in the hotel bar at the Hyatt (a popular evening hangout) chatting with someone he had met earlier in the day. As they were talking, friends of this new acquaintance joined them in the bar. Turned out they were a bunch of comic artists and writers! Not only did he get his own private time with people he had seen at Q&As earlier in the day, but he was able to get invited to a party with them! It can happen (usually when you aren’t looking for it, of course). The key is to be open to opportunties. Some events will fall in your lap. Others you’ll have to search for. The larger your network of contacts at the convention, the more likely you are to hear about some cool evening event.
There is so much that is charming about this story. First, is the idea that meeting comic book writers and artists at a comic-book convention is somehow…cool. Second is the demonstration, yet again, that comic book folks are the most accepting open creative types on earth. Hello, New-friend-we-just-met-five-minutes-ago, let’s go party with Joss Whedon! Third, Comic-Con is really where any amount of wacky shit can happen, and that’s why we love it.
Sometimes, from our ancient point of view — Comic-Con is for comics and cartoonists — we forget that our con is just one con inside a dozen other cons. We may never be able to see the show from the new perspective, but we can at least be a little more sympathetic. These people are not so different than you and I…it’s the Pale Green Pants Phenomena yet again!
Anyway, whoever Benson is — for such a sensible person, she should include a bio on her site! — her con guide is full of practical information for…whoever you are.