The Pros of Cons!
My Mama used to say that there is a “nut for every screw in this world” and there is nowhere better to realize that than when fans come together at conventions.
Whether it is sports, theater, movies, fashion, Anime … there are tribes who can attend events to celebrate what they love.
For me and my tribe – The Binge Watchers Council – we got on board with the “Cons” this year!
Even the mainstream is aware of the BIG San Diego Comic Con event held every summer. That one has become enormous enough to get National media attention but there are MANY other smaller ones where you can have an excellent time, meet favorite celebrities, get fan merchandise and show your support for what you love.
Whether it is Pop Culture Con, DragonCon, SuperCon, WhedonCon, SciFiCon – there is something for everyone. As for our tribe – we started with two: WhedonCon – because we love all things associated with Joss Whedon, particularly Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Raleigh SuperCon. Both were fantastic for different reasons and only encouraged us to try more.
We screamed like little girls when we saw “Spike” and others, we met new friends in line for photos, we saw a great city, we bought tons of stuff and we dressed up.
Here are a few tips we discovered along the way to maximize the Con experience.
Do your research!
Thanks to websites and social media you can find the “Con” that suits you. This is how we found WhedonCon. We wanted something very specific. We also wanted a mini-vacation. We live on the East Coast and WhedonCon was in L.A. With proper planning we got to enjoy Hollywood AND meet Spike! (That was a really big deal for us!) Don’t just randomly pick one – select it because you WANT to go there or because it happens to be close to you. Make the most of your time.
Pay the $$ for the photo you want!
The one-on-one Celebrity photos cost extra money, but if it is a celebrity you have admired for years – totally worth it because they chat with you and that makes the fan experience amazing! Watching my nephew pose with his idol, “Kirk” from “Gilmore Girls”, was a happy time for our whole group and one he will never forget.
DO the Cosplay!
At the SuperCon, we dressed up. This required weeks of looking and planning ahead of time which added to the fun for all of us. When we reached the convention, dozens of people would pass us and say, “you look AMAZING!” or shyly ask to take our picture. By the end of the day, WE felt like celebrities! Oh, and one more note – pick a pose for your character. It adds so much value to the photo being taken. This leads us to …
Make sure your costume works for your plans!
My fellow Binge Watcher had an amazing costume – Ruby from RWBY. However, it also came with a ginormous scythe that she had to carry around with her. Concurrently, I was one of the Amazons from Wonder Woman and had a heavy shield and sword. The props made the costumes great but did not suit our agenda for walking around a crowded convention hall. Make sure the costume suits your planned activities. Our third Bingewatcher had been to Cons before – she was Harley Quinn which was comfortable, and she only had to carry a bat — not have her cloak stepped on over and over!
Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by your idols!
It is not always the case, but we were all pleasantly surprised by how friendly and nice the celebrities were. Particularly, James Marsters who played “Spike” on Buffy. Yes, I know I have mentioned him a lot but seriously! He was the NICEST person with good things to say to each of us. Go meet that guy!
Talk to people in line!
It is hard to bring up your love of Doctor Who or The Lost Boys at work. Everyone at the Cons “gets you” though. That person beside you in line? They will understand so – chat them up about your favorite shows and scenes, make some friends while you wait. These are YOUR people!
Get the Merch!
The best part for me is all the Fandom items available for sale – caricatures, swords, T-shirts – oh my! there are so many options of things to get that will make your “collection” one to be envied.
Not just of the celebrities – pose with other Cosplay folks. On a rainy day, stuck updating spreadsheets or writing papers – you can look back on your photo with “Star Lord” or Ewoks and smile.
Pay for the fast pass or VIP pass, if available.
It costs more but trust me – skipping to the front of the line maximizes the time and the fun! If you can afford it – it is worth it!
Bottom line – life is about experiences! The experience of the Cons is unique and fun. We hope to see you at our next one!