by Adam Riske
Do buy your tickets in advance. You’re going to spend a lot of money if you attend a movie convention. There are very few ways to do it on the cheap. It’s best to not think about money all the time and have fun (it’s like going on vacation in that way) and nothing puts a damper on the experience more than the admission fees to some of these conventions. Think about it. You’re all ready to go and you brought say $200 to go to the convention, then you get there and admission for the weekend is $100. That leaves you with $100 to go to this convention for three days. That means maybe one autograph, one DVD or poster, lunch and parking. It’s better to buy your tickets in advance because you get that expense out of the way ahead of time and can just focus on spending money on what you want to spend it on the day of the event.
Do attend panels, screenings and other special events. There are so many fun things to do at a convention if you look past being there just to shop and get autographs. I strongly recommend attending panels because you get behind-the-scenes tidbits and trivia about your favorite movies that way (most celebrities go to conventions in candid mode and will tell stories that go beyond the usual PR nonsense) and they’re free. Screenings are another great way to spend your time even if it costs you a few bucks. It’s like a delightful capper to the event to go see a movie with an audience of like-minded individuals (horror fans or comic book fans). I saw an early screening of You’re Next this way and it’s one of my favorite movie-going experiences in recent years.
Do get there early or go late. If you go early (e.g. on the Friday of the convention when they first open) there are fewer fans there and you can walk around with more ease than you can on Saturday, which is usually the busiest day for a convention. My other suggestion is to go in the last few hours on the last day of the convention (usually a Sunday) because this is the time where the vendors are most looking to make a deal and you can get some good prices on movie merchandise.
Do wear comfortable clothes. Many conventions happen in the summer so I recommend going in shorts (convention floors filled with people can be very hot) and gym shoes (you’re going to be doing a lot of walking so no flip flops or you’ll have the most tired feet of anyone at the show). Exceptions are if you go to the convention in costume, which, if that’s your thing, then go nuts. It’s most important that you’re having fun.
Don’t go with someone who has a different agenda as you. The worst is when you are at a convention with a friend, and through no fault of anyone, they have a different agenda as you. Sometimes conventions are better as lone-wolf experiences. For example, I was at a big comic/pop-culture convention once and my friend was there to shop and I was there to get autographs. The entire time we both wanted the other guy to go with them to do the other thing and as a result we had to eventually split up and meet later. Also, don’t go to a convention with someone who isn’t a fan of the genre the convention is celebrating. You will hate them and your life by sharing this experience. So, if your girlfriend/boyfriend doesn’t like horror then don’t take her/him to a horror convention because they will give you crap for having to be there and you will get into a fight with them because they are ruining your good time.
Don’t be ironic. What I mean is “go in the spirit of the convention.” If you are at a Comic Con, don’t be the guy who is above it all and is making fun of people in costume. If you’re at a horror convention, don’t make snide comments about the people with a million tattoos and piercings. These people are there to have fun just like you and this might be their one opportunity all year to be themselves. If you’re personally at said convention with these other “freaks,” then odds are you are a degree of “freak” yourself. Talk to them, have fun, don’t be a judgmental dick. Who knows? You might make a new friend.
Happy convention going everyone!