Just the Basics: Picking Your Con
Celebrities. There’s always that moment where you get an email or see an ad where your FAVORITE actors are going to be attending a con, leading panels, meeting fans, and signing autographs. It’s important to think about not only how badly you want to meet these celebrities, but also how much it will cost. Sometimes tickets to their events cost extra. Often, access to meet and greets as well as signings are an extra blob of money too. Be careful with your funds!
Merchandise. Chances are the Merchandise at your con is focused around the genre of the con, but there’s almost always a stand or two to represent every fandom. If you’re at a scifi con, there’s probably a stand with some anime merch. If you’re at a Comic Con, there’s probably a stand with some brony merch, etc. Some cons are focused more on merchandise than anything else.
Genre. Are you suuuper into anime, but not-so-into the British Television scene, or the comic scene, it’s best to take that into consideration. Though fans of all types will definitely be there, chances are you won’t get the most out of the panels or merchandise.
Panels. Do you love to learn? Do you love to make friends? Do you like to play games? Then a con with panels is definitely something for you. While deciding which con to go to, make sure to go the websites of the cons you’re considering and see if there’s a schedule for you to observe. Some cons have little or no panels and mainly focus on celebrity meet n greets and merchandise.
Cosplay Viewing. Maybe you’re all about seeing your favorite characters and observing the amazing craftsmanship and character brought to the table by the attendees. Or you just love to take pictures. Either way, it helps to google image or youtube the con to get a feel for the ratio of cosplayers vs regular attendees.
Cosplay Competing. If you want to compete, always always ALWAYS check the website to make sure there’s some sort of competition for you. Sometimes cons don’t host competitions, or the ones they do host are miniscule.
Social Opportunity. A lot of con-goers see a con as an opportunity to spend time with and make friends. It’s the time where they feel comfortable coming out of there shell. If this is the case for, you you should definitely make sure that there are some social events on your con’s schedule. Interactive panels, Concerts, Dances, and Karaoke, for example.
Pricing. Some cons are cheaper than others. If you’re looking to go to a merchandise con, it’s more fiscally responsible to only go for one day. Not just to reduce your spending, but also because most of the cons don’t switch out their vendors, so it would be like going to the same store with all the same products two days in a row. Smaller, up and coming cons tend to be cheaper and have less people, that being said, they often are trying really hard to appeal to a new audience so you may find that there are many more, well-organized events. Be sure you’re going to a con that represents what you’re looking for though, or it will definitely not be worth the money.
Location. Often, it’s best to stick to local conventions because it’s easier and cheaper to drive locally then to fly or road trip to the city. Not to mention you don’t HAVE to get a hotel if the con is local. Alternatively, if your area doesn’t offer the right con for you, remember save up your money for transit and lodging. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people buy a badge and get to the con, then realize they didn’t book a room and all the hotels in the area are full.