Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Seventh Comic-Conmandment: Thou Shalt Take a Break

In my last entry, I suggested always having a Plan B for any con activity you might want to take part in.  Well, really you should have a Plan C, too.  That Plan C should be to take a break.  When there's so much to do, it's easy to get so invested in the convention that you get tunnel vision and forget to relax for a minute here and there.  Don't forget that San Diego is a beautiful city, especially the area around the convention center.  Consider stepping away from the convention center for a bit and enjoying the surrounding area.

Of particular note, the area behind the Manchester Grand Hyatt, known as Seaport Village, offers a quick, welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of Comic Con.  Back there you can grab a fine burger at Buster's Beach House and Longboard Bar, coffee at Seaport Coffee and Fudge,  a slice at Asaggio Pizza Pasta Plus, or even some ice cream at Ben & Jerry's.  The area also includes a number of small shops, and a small park, where you can take a relaxing stroll without dodging oncoming foot traffic. 

On the other side of the convention center, you'll find the Fox Sports Grill a great place to grab a drink or meal and check scores.  Even better, not far from the Hilton Bayfront, you'll find a boat shuttle to Coronado Island, and its wonderful selection of shops and restaurants, though a trip over there will eat a couple hours out of your day, at least.  Even the area of the Gaslamp District right across the street from the convention center can be an enjoyable walk.  Within just a couple of blocks, you can find delis, souvenir and clothing shops, bars, candy stores, art galleries, and even chain restaurants like Subway or TGIFridays.

So when you find yourself overwhelmed by all that is Comic-Con, give yourself a break, relax, and reenergize yourself for more fun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Sixth Comic-Conmandment: Thou Shalt Have a Plan B

In order to get the most out of any convention experience, it makes sense to plan ahead.  As much as possible, check the websites of the convention, the creators, the vendors, and other organizations to learn what parts of the show you most want to see.  Take note of what you need to do to accomplish these goals, whether it be wait in long lines, get special tickets, win a raffle, whatever, and prepare to jump through those hoops.  For example, at some conventions, the best strategy to see a popular panel is to suffer through an unpopular one occurring before it.  Sidenote: I'd like to thank The Legend of Neil for being the really popular panel right after mine in San Diego last year, thereby filling my room.  

Okay, so once you've figured out what you want to do and what you need to do it, plan to fail.  Comic convention schedules rarely fall into place as easily in reality as they do on paper.  Creators are late to signings, panels run long, lines are longer than expected, panel rooms fill up.  There are a hundred ways you could be blocked from your plan.  So while you're setting your agenda for the convention, prepare a secondary agenda.  Have a plan B for everything.  That way you're not left standing at the edge of the convention hall wondering what you should do until the next item on your list rolls around. 

Even if this agenda is as simple as a list of vendors you want to visit, anything that keeps you from wasting convention floor time will benefit you.  Many a convention regret stems from wandering aimlessly through a con, only to realize after it's over that there were five or six things you should have accomplished during that time.  

Plan ahead, and plan ahead for your first plan to fall through.