In this day and age, most of us of a nerdy inclination have been to a convention, expo, or fest of one kind or another. Some of these have been overwhelmingly good experiences while some have been shockingly bad ones. There are ways to minimize the disappointment.
How to Enjoy a Convention
There are things that you as a fan can do to ensure that you have a good con and to make sure that those around you also have a good con. Conventions are a shared experience and not solitary one.
1. Embrace the Community Aspect – You are passionate about something enough to spend money and time to be around like-minded people, so be around them. That does not mean closing yourself off in an area of the convention floor with your friends making smart comments. You can certainly do this and there is a time and a place for smart comments, but don’t become too cynical and ‘cool’ to have fun. Talk to people. Interact with people but do it without judgement.
2. Plan – If you just go to a convention without a modicum of planning, you will probably not get to do what you want to do. That is not to say that the entire day must be planned out on a tight schedule, but a rough idea to start from helps with success.
3. Access Level – This one is a touchy subject for many. In today’s world, we have other things that we have to spend our money on and you should take care of your obligations first and foremost. With that said, higher levels of access have added perks that might be important to you. For instance, in some conventions there is a VIP level that allows you to skip most lines and grants you early access. This is important for some. The early access allows you to walk the sales floor fairly unencumbered. In some cases, this will also give you a better chance for giveaways and special deals. Being able to skip lines is an even bigger benefit. Rather than stand in a line for Nathan Fillion or Sir Patrick Stewart for a seat that might be off to the side or behind a pole, the ability to immediately go to the front of the line guarantees a better vantage point. In some cases, there is also special VIP seating as well.
4. Follow the Rules – If you are in a Q&A, don’t just randomly yell things out. This is annoying for those around you and for the presenter. There is a time for questions and a way to ask those questions. Continually yelling and interrupting others is not the way that these things are handled. If someone asks you not to run, don’t run. Maintain societal norms. And watch your language. Conventions are a great way to pass our passion on to the younger generation. Nothing can ruin a day faster than being subjected to rude or obscene language for those that do not wish to hear it. Nothing can ruin a day faster than being removed from an event for those that cannot keep from using this language.
5. Cosplay or Don’t – Many people enjoy dressing as their favorite character. Many don’t. If you are going to dress as a character with an eight foot wingspan, your movements are going to be severely limited. There are things that you probably should not do. You should not be walking the floor on Saturday afternoon at 3 PM. At this time the convention is its most crowded. Your movements will be hindered and other people do not want to be hit in the head with your wings. If you are not dressed, do not stop everyone that is in the middle of the aisle and ask for their pictures. This does not mean just take their picture anyways. You can still stop people, but try not to do it in a high traffic area.
These guidelines should be common sense. Sadly, once we wiggle into our latex Spider-Man tights, our common sense goes out the window. Follow the guidelines and you are guaranteed to have fun.