Comic Cons are a great way to meet your favorite celebrities, make new friends, find unique clothing and collectibles, and create new memories and experiences. For the new Con-goer, conventions may feel overwhelming, especially if your first is at a big convention. There’s bound to be amazing cosplayers and celebrities that leave you speechless and weak in the knees. With the abundance of creative vendors and exciting entertainment, attendees may not realize they’re missing out on optimal fun or–more importantly–accidentally doing something inappropriate. Here are Comic Con tips for a geeky good time.
Comic Con Tips for a Geeky Good Time
DON’T Touch or Inappropriately Comment Towards Cosplayers
It doesn’t matter what a cosplayer is wearing–Cosplay is not consent. A cosplayer is not looking for inappropriate advances but is creating and becoming a beloved character. Legal repercussions can ensue, and you will very likely be kicked out of the convention.
DO Compliment Cosplayers and Ask to Take Photographs
Ask permission to take photographs of cosplayers. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but this gives them the opportunity to pose for the picture as well. Cosplayers often spend countless hours and money on their character; they appreciate the verbal compliments and requests for photographs.
DON’T Touch Celebrities Without Their Permission
Some fans use photo-ops as an opportunity to kiss a celebrity on the cheek or go straight in for a hug. Do not do this. Celebrities have personal boundaries just like anyone else. Many of them will do a typical “side hug” for pictures but if you want anything more, please ask. Many celebrities will not mind giving a big hug, doing a special pose, or other requests as long as you ask first.
Side note: if you ever see John Barrowman, he is up for almost anything! He is wonderful!
DO Briefly Tell Celebrities How Much They Mean to You
Briefly is the keyword here. Unless you’re the only person in line, there will be people waiting behind you for a turn to meet the celebrity. Celebrities appreciate hearing how much they mean to people or the impact they or their character(s) have had on people. But don’t ramble on. Try to keep it sweet and to-the-point. Practicing while waiting in line is helpful. Typically, you have about 5-10 seconds while a celebrity is signing your item to say what you want to say until they have to move on to the next person–especially if it’s a big-name celebrity. Lesser known celebrities often have more time to spend with fans. This rule does not apply to celebrity panels. (See below.)
DON’T Begin a Panel Question with How Much You Love Them
They know. We know. You wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t already known.
DO Give Celebrities Their Personal Time
If you see celebrities out and about, give them their space. They’re already giving their time for fans at the convention; time outside the convention or walking to where they need to be is their own.
DON’T Bring Gifts
This is a hard one, but fans need to keep in mind that celebrities are flying to various places and cannot fit every gift into their luggage. (It’s like a neighbor gifting you wine glasses after the moving trucks sealed the doors for your next PCS.) Do not bring unsealed food items (especially homemade) unless it’s a celebrity known for accepting them.
But only if you’re comfortable with it! Sometimes it’s great to attend a convention in regular clothes and just have fun as you are. But if you’re on the fence about dressing up, go for it! Whether it’s something simple or elaborate, other convention-goers will appreciate the effort and bravery, especially if you’re new to cosplaying. Many cosplayers are more than willing to offer their own Comic Con tips and tricks if you ask.
DON’T Forget the Essentials
Use deodorant! Comic Cons can get hot very quickly and you’ll be around many people. Also, always wear comfortable shoes. (Exceptions are for cosplayers, in which case, we hope you picked a character who wears comfortable shoes.)
Items to bring include: snacks, water, camera, portable charger, a small mirror to check yourself right before photo-ops, hand sanitizer (don’t catch “Con-Crud!”), badges/tickets, ID, and money/debit/credit cards.
Having cash is highly recommended as some celebrities only accept cash for autographs; otherwise, you’ll have to pay a credit card fee. ATMs can be found, but lines form very quickly and you don’t want to miss your autograph opportunity! Refreshments are often pricey at Cons so packing snacks and water bottles can save on costs.
DO Smile and Have Fun!
The point of conventions is to have fun and hopefully meet some favorite celebrities. You may even meet your greatest friends at conventions so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. It beats boredom in the long lines!
DON’T Pass Up the Panels
A big draw for Comic Cons is celebrities. The bigger the celebrities, the bigger the convention. Many people go solely for photo-ops and/or autographs without caring about what else the convention has to offer. However, you’re missing out if you don’t attend panels. The panels include discussions with celebrities (fans are often able to ask questions), cosplay workshops, history of different television shows and movies, writing or drawing workshops, and so much more! Conventions typically have a list of panels including descriptions, times, and locations. Check out what interests you. You can learn a lot from them and they’re usually upbeat and fun.
DO Check Out the Vendor Area
Fans will find a wide variety of booths in the vendor area. Comic books, Pops, geek t-shirts, nostalgic toys, tattoo artists, writers, handmade clothing and accessories, tabletop gaming dice, and other unique items you cannot find anywhere else. Many of these vendors are self-employed businesses and will give you more attention than big businesses. Quite often they enjoy discussing geeky obsessions and answering any questions you have about their wares.
DON’T Be Strict in Your Scheduling
While it’s great to have a plan (and is recommended), you also need to remain flexible. Sometimes things happen that are out of the convention’s control. Lines can be longer than expected, a celebrity may decide to do something different or cancel last-minute, or the schedule that’s printed may have to be altered. Nothing is guaranteed. Conventions will reimburse you if you buy a photo-op or autograph tickets for a celebrity who can no longer attend, though this often does not include reimbursement for admission tickets, even if you were going just for that particular celebrity.
DO Bring Protective Covers for Photos
You can find these much cheaper at regular stores than paying for them at the convention.
DON’T Hold the Line for Lots of Friends
Holding the line for one or two people isn’t a problem. But holding it for five or more? That’s just disrespectful. Be respectful of others around you.
DO Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always keep your valuables safe. Crowded places are a good place for pickpocketing. Be careful not to bump into anyone (which can be difficult at big conventions), of stepping on cosplayers’ outfits, and watch out for little kids.
The biggest and most basic rules are to be respectful of everyone around you and see more than just celebrities. You’ll have a wonderful time exploring the convention scene, creating enjoyable memories, and more than likely making lifelong friends. Go on an adventure to your closest Comic-Con. Don’t forget your camera!
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