The Casual Geek

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Tips and tricks for Comic Cons

For the first time goer, it can seem very daunting when you attend you first comic con. It was very much for me. I’ll give you a little background. I went to one or two “comic cons” when I was a little kid when they were really just comic themed swap meets. Nothing like it is today. My first comic show as an adult wasn’t until 2014 here in Texas. It was at the Irving Convention Center and I had NO IDEA what to expect.  Since then, I have gone to shows across the country of varying sizes from small intimate ones in hotel conferences rooms to one of the largest in the world. I have learned a lot since the beginning. This is really a “if I knew then what I know now” letter.

Meeting Celebs:

One of the biggest draws to conventions is meeting people. From A list to D list celebs will be there. Two things that people often forget are that for the most part they are just normal people who are just as happy that you enjoy their work as you are and that they are also there to work. Have a normal conversation with them but like I said, they are there to work. One of the most shocking things to me when I went to try and meet Steven Amell is that he charged $50 for an autograph. There is a small group of guests that you can just go up to and shake their hand at no cost. Most of the time though, guests who don’t charge for just meeting will charge a nominal fee if you just want to take a quick selfie with them. The best advice I can give is if you don’t want to pay for a signature or take a picture is ask one of the staff there if you have to pay to meet.  Most guests are so nice and there are certain guests that will talk with fans for minutes, regardless of line size.

PLANNING:

I have fallen victim to this more times than I would like to admit but conventions can get expensive quick and there is so much to do while you are there. The best advice I can give is figure out what you want to do there. Are you looking for a certain item? Do you want to get a photo opportunity/signature with a guest? Are you going to catch all the panels? Figure out what you want. I am a strong supporter of paying with cash only so I don’t go wild on the shopping side and planning my trip before I even set foot at the convention. Most cons have pretty up to date websites that announce their schedule at least a week in advance. Take a look at what excites you and draw up a little schedule. This may sound silly but you don’t want to schedule a photo op or waiting in line while the panel is going on. If you are going with someone, scheduling also helps out the other person by ensuring that everyone gets to see what they want. Also, bring snacks and a water bottle. These are life savers.

PANELS:

YES!! So many times over, YES! This is by far my favorite activity (second is hunting for comic signatures) to do. Based on the guests and what fandom interests you, you can learn about upcoming info on shows, behind the scenes details, and see the humor of celebs. I strongly encourage going. Bits of advice, most panel rooms will have a finite amount of seats and very rarely do they allow standing room. This being the case, you may have to stand in line for seats based on how big the panel is. Most places empty the previous panel but it is always good to check the conventions room clearing policy on their website. Panels are so much fun.

COSPLAY:

You will see people dressing up as their favorite characters all over the place. Some are very elaborate with many working parts, other people may just have a simple mask that they made or bought that day. In my experience, there is no bad cosplay and people are enthusiastic to show off their character interpretation. That being said, feel free to ask them if you can take a picture of them or with them but do not just try and take a picture without consent. As the tagline goes: “Cosplay is not Consent”.

A COLLECTOR’S LIFESAVER

I wanted to share something with people that I find very helpful. I like to collect comics and have a respectable collection (nothing that would cause eye-popping, but I think it is very respectable). I know some people collect movies, games, and others prefer music. Well as you may know, keeping track of all of them can be a pain in the butt. Some people have everything jotted down in a book (we have all seen them in the store) or they keep an excel spreadsheet with all the information. That is good and well, but what if you leave your book or cannot remember if you have something or not? I have a terrible memory and I have fallen prey more than once of getting excited about finding a comic, taking it home, and discovering I already had a copy. It is the worst but I found a solution!

My friend Fabio, an ardent Batman fan, introduced me to an app called CLZ Comics. This was a game changer for me as a comic book collector. The basic premise is that you put in all of your collection, you can scan the barcodes or type in the title and the app will pull up the comic and store it in a database that is right there at your fingertips. The app auto-fills all the details including the people involved in creating the comic, a short premise of that issue, and a nice copy of the cover. Why it is so great is that you can search by artists, writers, titles, or characters and the results will pull up based on your criteria. Going to your next Con and want to see what parts of your collection an artist was involved in? Just search that name and POOF! Right there.

They also have similar apps for movies, music, and books. Based on the size of your collection, the prices vary between $1 and higher.

Click on the icon to check out their website and see if the app is right for you. ENJOY!

collectorz-logo-black-border

Learn a little bit more about everyone’s favorite Merc with a mouth!

See the movies before they come out!

movies

If you are like me, you love movies. I love the blockbusters, the under-the-radar flyers, and will even see the WTF’s any chance I get. I am a strong supporter of getting the theater loyalty cards since many of them come with some perks that pay for themselves within a few visits. I do know that one of the biggest pains in the butts for people are the ticket prices. Depending where you live in the country, a movie ticket can sour to almost $20 per person. I think that is ridiculous. I go to an AMC in Dallas in a mall that saw its glory days come and go. The AMC is fantastic and has over 16 screens of first run movies but I only pay about $6.25($8.50 for 3D) for a ticket. The reason I say this is that I kid you not, 6 miles down the road is another AMC at a different mall that is nearly $16 a pop. Same company, same concession stand, and same screen quality. It blows my mind.

I’ll get to the point of this post, I was at a comic show a couple of weeks back and I came across this interesting find for the first time that I think all those movie fans out there would really enjoy. I was going passed a woman that was giving out chances to see the movie “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” before it was released. You just had to put a code it that was on the flyer to see it. Later that day I went online (www.sonyscreenings.com), created my account, redeemed the code, and that was all it took to get my free screening tickets. The day of the event was pretty standard for anyone seeing a preview of anything. You needed to get there early (about an hour) before the show, they gave out wristbands, and they took your phones in very neat little stapled paper bags. They had a little Q&A about the film and gave out a good amount of prizes before the film. The movie was delightful and I highly recommend it, but the best part was that it was FREE!

Well about a week later I get an email notifying me that there are other films in my area that are doing early screenings. Well to make a long story short, I have now signed up for two studios early screening and they are fantastic!

The two that I use are:

www.Sonyscreening.com

www.wbtickets.com

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

Starting on this endeavor!

Thank you for taking time to take a glimpse in to my brain. I am a twenty-nine year old based in Dallas, Texas who loves different fandom, simple as that. I thoroughly enjoy the influx of sci-fi, fantasy, comic, and all around interesting topics have become pop-culture staples and been embraced by the wider populace. I do have interests that are deeper than others, and I will be the first to admit that I fluctuate between the mainstream pop-culture topics, such as up-coming Marvel films, to the items that have not had the light so wonderfully shined on, i.e. great fantasy authors, but I think deserve more attention. My interests range from trivia, to Marvel and DC comics, films (both good and bad), books that I come across through blog posts, and so very much more. I cannot tell you how many times I have been recommended by someone to check a show out and POOF! I am now twenty hours in and I could not have imagined how I had gone so long without it in my life. This blog will really serve as a mix of things that come to mind or an account of an idea or topic that I wanted to dive in to.

I started this blog because the day after I got tickets for San Diego Comic Con 2016 I had con on the brain. This will not be my first comic convention, (that was actually when I was seven or eight in San Diego) but my first time tackling the behemoth that is SDCC. I was looking through a bevy of posts ranging from the MANY “SDCC Survival Guides”, to the “Top 15 tips of getting the most out of SDCC”, and finally “SDCC Gear Bags for each day” and was inspired by the writers to throw my hat in the ring. I have set out not to try and be the fountain of all “nerd” knowledge, but just a guy who enjoys a variety of different fandoms who wants to share what I know and think about a wide range of pop-culture topics. As my website indicated, I am a casual yet dedicated fan to a variety of fan cultures. I am just as happy spending several hours on YouTube watching videos on comic facts as I am spending the same amount of time learning the science of space travel. I am interested in many things. If you have something to share, I am open to it and look forward to it!

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