As the minutes…nay SECONDS tick down to the Game of Thrones panel at Comic-Con, various sites are giving their advice for how to see the things you want to see and stay sane while battling 130,000 other people and waiting for four hours in line.
For us, we have a few concrete suggestions on how to “do” Comic-Con:
2) Print it out, go over it and mark what you want to see with a highlighter. (Yes there is probably an online way to do this, but we like being able to shuffle papers to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
3) Once you have that, go into the MySched page of the website create a user name or login if returning,and select your MUST DO panels.
4) Now export it to iCal, paper or iPhone — whichever you prefer. We like iCal since it will beep you a few minutes before your next event.
5) One you have a reasonable schedule, that’s it! Stick with it! Don’t second guess or pout that you can’t be in 18 places at once — someone will be wherever you aren’t and you can read about it later online! That’s the modern way. Just go “hangout” with your “circle.” or “scumble” or whatever they call it.
For those who have more complex plans, other websites are explaining what to do and how they deal with anger, loss and acceptance.
Erin at When Nerds Attack has an aptly titled piece called “How To Avoid A Comic-Con Meltdown!” with some brutal first hand perspective:
I wish I were not writing this post from personal experience. I wish I could just give you speculative advice and not advice based on my own terrible actions. However, I am the girl who cried on the exhibit floor at San Diego Comic-Con. More. Than. Once.
I cried out of sheer frustration that was brought on by repeated disappointment, mostly surrounding bad management, decisions and lack of communication at the Warner Bros. and Fox booths. Without going into lots of detail I will say that information given on one day did not match up with what happened in reality and when I showed up at a designated time, things were not what they should have been.
This is Comic-Con, and if you are going for the first time, with high hopes of signings and photo opportunities and meeting all your favorite stars, please heed my warnings.
Erin addresses the growing realization that going to Comic-Con and seeing/meeting Robert Pattinson/Jason Momoa/Clive Owen/whoever is now a consuming dream for some people, and some people need to ratchet it down a notch:
7. The higher your expectations, the harder your fall.
8. To paraphrase the Fight Club movie, you are not a unique snowflake. Every attendee at Comic-Con thinks they are the biggest fan of someone or something. They think they deserve every good experience, that they should have every opportunity, and every wish granted. This just is not so, your Comic-Con experience is no more important than anyone else’s is. I know this seems like shitty things to say but chances are, at one point or another you will be feeling a little sorry for yourself. You might even make that little pouty face and noise and if you were 3 years old, it would be acceptable. We are all here at Comic-Con because we love to celebrate popular culture, you are not a unique snowflake.
Meanwhile, Shawn Marshall writing for The SDCC Comic Con blog has more complicated ways of doing things:
I recently heard someone discussing their experience, last year, of waiting 4 hours for the infamous Avengers panel in Hall H…and ultimately not getting in. In a similar vein, I thought about the time I waited nearly 3 hours for The Big Bang Theory Panel…and did not get in. As I reflected more on the horrible feeling of wasting valuable Comic-Con minutes in fruitless lines, I thought it might be helpful to some if I shared my strategy to make the most of the experience.
In general, I think a mistake many of us make is to look at panels in too simple a light. If you are like me, you look at the schedule for each day and decide which panels or screenings you’d like to attend. If you follow the good advice of many on the topic, you take it a step further and make sure to double-book yourself, as there are so many curves that can happen in a day and you can frequently come up short on your first choice. For many, this is where it ends. The rest becomes a blur as the frenzied crowds absorb us at the event. It is because of the frenzied nature of this King of Cons that I developed a new way to look at panels.
Marshall’s way involved weighing percentages of enjoyment vs investment and then comparing and…oh, whatever it is, you will probably need a slide rule. We say the heck with that. Set your heart on ONE OR TWO THINGS for the four days. If one of them involves camping out, buy a sleeping bag and some sterno and some hot cocoa. Spend the rest of the time hanging with friends and finding new things. Just try not to get stabbed in the eye and you’ll be fine.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.