Advice for Convention Newcomers?

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24 / M / North Carolina, USA
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Posted 12/25/17 , edited 12/26/17
It's finally settled that I'll be going to Ichibancon 2018 next month. This would actually mark my very first anime convention, 2nd overall. Even though I'm going with a friend (whose's already been to Ichibancon at least once), I'm unsure of what to expect when I go, in terms of crowds/mobs, panels, parties, etc.

Anyone whose's gone to one before (regularly or nay): any advice on what to anticipate.
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Posted 12/26/17 , edited 12/26/17
Get a map and time table so you know what you want to see and when to see it, the more popular events might fill up quickly so go early, bring a bag/small backpack and pack + wear deodorant because if it's anything like the cons I've been to they're really hot and crowded and you don't want to be "that" guy sweating everywhere and spreading your stink to other goers, also bring a pen + paper if you want autographs, a cardboard tube if you want posters, cash if you want to buy merchandise, a phone charger external battery, plus maybe some snacks and drinks because it can be expensive and the lines long if you buy it there.
huwoji 
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Posted 5/20/18 , edited 5/20/18

Damien27 wrote:

Get a map and time table so you know what you want to see and when to see it, the more popular events might fill up quickly so go early, bring a bag/small backpack and pack + wear deodorant because if it's anything like the cons I've been to they're really hot and crowded and you don't want to be "that" guy sweating everywhere and spreading your stink to other goers, also bring a pen + paper if you want autographs, a cardboard tube if you want posters, cash if you want to buy merchandise, a phone charger external battery, plus maybe some snacks and drinks because it can be expensive and the lines long if you buy it there.


Hi Damien! I'll be attending my first Anime Con in two months time and I must say your points are very helpful. Glad I read about them. ^_^
Vahvi 
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Posted 5/20/18 , edited 5/20/18
Sunglasses indoors for reasons you'll thank me for when the time comes.
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Posted 6/2/18 , edited 6/2/18
Plan on lines bring snacks and bottled water.
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Posted 6/19/18 , edited 6/19/18
Bring whatever you may want autographed. I just take the dvd inserts in page protectors. Most cons will provide sharpies for guests to use, but you would bring your own if you really wanted.
Have cash. Budgeting can be hard, but have an idea of what you want. Most cons list autograph prices (or a ball park), so you can have some idea of what you need to bring. Many vendors do take credit cards, but cash is still your best bet. If you like to buy lots of merch, then bring more. Also consider food prices, cons can be rather expensive for food and drinks (I bring lunch, snacks, and drinks, and only buy if I need to). I avoid buying anything the first time going through vendors/artists. Unless it is something you really want and you don't want ot risk someone else getting it, you can usually wait. It helps control spending and you tend to buy what you really want. If possible, take pics of the booth or item so you can remember where it is later. Try to stick to your budget as much as you can, $10 over might be ok, but $100 can be a lot for some people.
Plan for lines. Try to figure out when the con allows lines to start, many are 30 minutes before a panel or autograph session, but it can vary. Some panels will fill up quick, so try to get there early to avoid disappointment. Also see if they clear out panel rooms inbetween. If they do, be in line for it, but if they don't, you can go for a panel earlier and try to move up. Pretty much everything as a line, so remember that it is just part of a con.
Have a camera. You might find cosplays you like, some guests do photos at the table so you need a camera for that, and panels usually allow photos. Even if it's a good phone camera, it is nice to have something.
Phone charger or external battery is a must. Don't want to have your phone die on you at a bad time.

Remember to take care of yourself. Use the washroom as needed, eat and drink often. Shower daily and use deodorant (bring some to apply during the day too). Don't take things too seriously, cons are suppose to be fun.
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Posted 2/6/19 , edited 8/8/19
From the experience from being a director for a smaller convention, these are things I always advise attendees to look for/do before coming:

1 - remember to hydrate and eat. More often than not, any faintness/weakness/getting sick at con is due to not drinking water or eating properly. It's understandable that you're excited, but you need to take care of yourself. Carry a bottle of water and some snacks on you, or if you're in cosplay, get your spotter to do so for you.

REMEMBER TO SHOWER/BRUSH YOUR TEETH! Hygene is important!

2 - Do not feel obligated to participate in panels/events. For your first con, just let yourself experience it. If you want to participate go ahead, but don't feel obligated. Most allow for simple passive enjoyment. Do not be worried about leaving a panel if you don't enjoy it; most panellists/event people understand people will leave if they want; you are not obligated to stay for the duration. Obviously don't make a scene about it, just quietly slip away. With guests, try to be respectful... they're usually very busy and if they do not seem willing to chat, don't force the issue. Expect that some will charge for autographs and pictures; they may be professionals, but cons are where they make the majority of their income. VA work does not pay that exceptional.

3 - Wear comfy shoes. Try to avoid things like Chuck Taylors, sandals, etc. You will hate yourself when after 3/4 days you can barely move. Men, invest in baby powder or some moisture wicking underwear... you'll know what I mean. If you're not cosplaying, wear light, breathable clothing. Cosplayers, be sure to have ready access to more comfortable shoes.. trust me, 7 hours in costumed boots/shoes/whatever. Also have a change of clothes handy... sometimes you just want to change into something comfortable.

4 - Cosplayers with big/clumsy/restrictive cosplay - HAVE A SPOTTER! You need eyes or help with a costume, trust me. Spotters can help you deal with crowds/lines/etc. Most cons require one for elaborately involved cosplay (fursuits/helmets with limited visability, large accessories like wings, etc).

5 - Take some time to read your con pamphlet/booklet/website and learn the layout. Take a look at the panel/event list and take some notes at what you want to see/do. Some people thrive on spontaneity; others try to structure everything. If you find yourself wanting to see to much, you'll burn out.

6 - Vendor/Artist room... the great trap. Do not, as Korralli said, immediately start buying stuff. The vendor/artist room is designed for impulse purchases; give yourself some time to just wander about an look at stuff. Do not be afraid to speak to the vendors/artists if they do not appear to busy. The busiest times in the vendor room is when it first opens, and right before it closes. Best times to go are during big con events, such as any cosplay contests, guest keynotes, etc. Think about what you'll do with your purchase if you make one; you do not want to be lugging around some heavy thing for hours.

7 - LEARN WHERE THE BATHROOMS ARE! Learn where water stations are!

8 - Expect lines and crowds. Expect a lot of people. It happens. If you have problems with crowds, you may want someone with you.

9 - Do not be afraid of the con staff - they are there to help you. Ask them questions if you're not sure. A well run con's staff will have daily schedules, know the lay of the con, can help in emergencies, etc. They are a great resource. Just don't ask them every little thing. Do forgive them if their answer is short or clipped; as someone who helps organize and run a con, there are tonnes of things going on in their head at all times, some are watching for problems at all times. Almost all are exhausted, but still will take time to help. Listen to the staff if they request you move from somewhere or line up; they have to maintain security and safety of thousands of people, or more. Most staff are volunteers, and usually are just as much of a fan as you are.

10 - It's understood that you're an anime fan, and most people at cons are... with that said, try not to butt into converstations. Most attendees will simply include people into talk about something, and most are accepting of people joining in. If you're pulled in and don't want to participate, just smile say something like "i'm good' and walk away. Try not to be the know-it-all

11 - Understand that for some fellow attendees, the con IS the highlight of their summer/year. Some people will be more excited than others, and it can be trying. Patience will go a long way at a con.

12 - Do not just take pictures of cosplayers. Always ask permission. If you're walking around and you see a photo taking place, stop and wait for it to finish or walk around. Consent is the name of the game with cosplay.

13 - If you're being harrassed/bullied, or something has happened - SPEAK TO STAFF IMMEDIATELY! They will not hesitate to action a serious complaint or concern. If you want to complain that some panel or event sucks, sure you can talk to them but that's near the bottom of their totem pole of issues. Medical/harrassment/bullying/abuse is serious, and most cons I've talked to take it VERY seriously. This is also true of non-attendees.

Cons do attract outsiders to take pictures/yell stuff/belittle the attendees. Most are harmless and will simply ask to take pictures and leave well enough alone. Others will go out of their way to harrass what they consider 'stupid/gross/nerds'. Still speak to staff, they will know how to handle this.

14. Most cons should have quiet rooms and gender-neutral washrooms - Ask staff for assistance with this.

15 - Do some research about where the con is. If you live in the area, you can ignore this. Learn where the good, but cheap, food is. The more you save on food the better off you'll be. Learn where to avoid in town.

16 - Most importantly, be you. This is a gathering of like minded people who have common interests - enjoy it!

As I think of more I'll update this list.
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Posted 2/7/19 , edited 2/8/19
^^^^

Good list!!
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Posted 5/29/19 , edited 5/30/19
Be extra-nice to hotel/convention center staff. They are suddenly surrounded by very weird people who aren't acting like business conference attendees, and even if they're not bothered by all the strange outfits, they don't know what's considered polite. They usually know *nothing* about any kind of fandom. (One staff person asked me if the convention assigned everyone the names on their badges.) If the convention has been there for a few years, there are usually some staffers who love it; they're very helpful and a joy to be around.

Be appreciative of cosplay, even the stuff you think is tacky or too simple. It takes courage to show up in public in a costume, especially if you know you don't look much like the canon character. And even basic costumes help everyone enjoy the convention because it feels more like a party.

Portable snacks help - protein bars, poptarts, even candy like M&Ms if that's not too unhealthy for you. It's a high-energy place and you won't realize you're tired until you're hitting bottom.

Do a walkthrough of the artist area and the vendor area without buying anything, and on the second pass, consider your budget and what you want to get. Remember that you may be carrying it around for the rest of the day. Which brings me to:

Bring a bag - vendors may not have one, artists almost never do; bring something lightweight that's big enough to carry what you buy.

If there's something too bulky or dangerous to carry home (like a knife), remember that you can mail it to yourself. (That costs more, but the option is there if you need it.)
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Posted 7/10/19 , edited 7/10/19
pack beef jerky or snacks , for eating in line waiting , and bring toilet paper becouse they will run out lol and enjoy the day your there to have fun lol stay hydrated and try the delicious food lol
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