The thing about programming is that when big vendor (let’s call them Orange) releases a new OS, there’s a good chance you’ll spend a day with an immense headache wondering why things just stopped working.
I’m really annoyed because Bronycon staff seems to be blaming artists and their feedback from last year for this problem.
Except that isn’t the problem at all.
This is a huge convention.
Stop acting like it’s tiny. You’re refusing to accommodate and realize that each year you get at least a thousand more attendees.
I’ve been to MULTIPLE conventions, and nearly all of them have a clear and fair seperation of artists VS merch vendors.
Nearly every Artist Alley I’ve seen is set up as a lead in to the main vendor area.
Basically, people pass by the artists and browse to consider what they want, then they go to the vendor hall, buy what they want, and on the way back they’ll pass the artists again and spend whatever they have spare on their artwork.
This is typically how convention vendors are set up.
Anime Expo: A big long hallway of artist alley leading to the big open vendor hall.
MWFF: Multiple rooms in a hallway with artists selling prints that lead to the main vendor’s hall.
Anime North: Arist Alley on one side, Vendors on the other. Option to go to one or the other first, and an easy area in the back to go to the other one once done shopping through the first.
Also, your artists are going to need more tables/space than the merch vendors because there are more freelance artists than their are companies wanting to sell a bunch of merch like t-shirts and toys.
That’s why at MWFF for example there were multiple rooms of nothing but artists, and then a biiiig room for the merch vendors.
I decided to create this post based on my experience at Supernatural DallasCon, on some Do’s & Don’ts, and what to bring, and what to leave at home.
I flew from Philadelphia and came in Thursday before the convention, and left Monday after it was over.
If you’re traveling to the convention (more than an hour), you’re first instinct is to pack everything you can cram into your suitcase. Do Not.
Planes get cold. A light jacket or small blanket is very wise here. Pack this in your carry on.
Laptops are optional. I did use mine to watch a movie on the plane, but I also brought a magazine and book, and wound up sleeping during one of my flights. I used it for a total of about 3 hours in 5 days; 2 of those hours were on the plane. I could’ve left it home. However, some people used theirs to do school work, post pictures, etc. so this is all up to you.
For my 5 days, I took 4 shirts, a pair of jeans, a pair of jean shorts, a pair of capris, a pair of sleep shorts, 2 bras, 4 pairs of socks, 5 underwear, and one pair of shoes. I should’ve brought different stuff.
Now if you’re like me, you want to look decent in your pictures. Bring either a nice shirt or comfortable/cute dress for pictures. I didn’t do this and had to go buy one from walmart.
*rolling vs. folding tends to save space in your bag. I rolled all my shirts and built a “wall” around the inside of my bag and packed everything else in the center. Lay jeans and thicker materials as flat as possible. If you need pictures, ask and I’ll show you what I’m talking about.*
I saw a few people wear the same outfit for 3 days (not very clean…) so I’d advise one or two bottoms (local weather/season appropriate), and a new shirt for each day. Comfortable shoes are a must. Mine were walking shoes. Not the most stylish, but definitely better than flips flops or heels.
People said it would get cold at the convention, but there are so many bodies, I spent a lot of time sweating. Shorts and a tee, skirts or dresses, etc should be fine. But if you tend to run cold, wear what keeps you comfortable. Just keep in mind it does get hot being squished in with that many people.
If you’re cosplaying, make sure to pack the things you need, obviously. and make sure you’re actually going to do it. I packed cosplay clothes and props and didnt need them, and this took up valuable bag space.
Shampoo/Conditioner, body wash, shaving stuff, deodorant, toothbrush and paste. Any make up you may need.
Pack snacks. Though I still have some left over, bring snacks. Eating at the hotel can be expensive (depending on the hotel), and you do get hungry through out the day. I brought fruit roll ups, beef jerky and graham crackers. Gum is also good for walking around.
At the Convention
The hotel can be expensive. Find the facebook group for your convention, and find room shares. I did this and my roomates are now some new best friends.
Our hotel had a free shuttle. Most do. If yours does, this saves money on taxis to go eat. But check the schedule, and check to see what is within walking distance. Delivery places will deliver to hotels by the way.
I brought a back pack to carry stuff with me, and almost everyone else did as well (a large purse works too). I’ll tell you what I had in my bag, and you can add or subtract whatever you need.
Phone. Phone Charger. Wallet - though I had a “gold lanyard” and it held my ID, cards, cash, hard tickets, and folded schedule. Medicine Bag (pepto pills, ibprofen, colgate wisps - for breath checks, allergy meds, hand sanitizer, inhaler, lexapro - bring anxiety meds as well. I forgot mine) Emergency Makeup Bag (powder, mirror, eyeliner, pony tail holder, bobby pins, chap stick, deodorant) *Folder (PDF tickets, schedule, pictures for autographs, photo ops) Snacks and Water
*I highly suggest a folder. I used this to keep all my PDFs together, and for keeping my photos from getting bent.
Take a shower daily. Even if it’s the last thing you do, BATHE. All those bodies together is hard on the sweat glands and olfactory senses. I don’t want to smell your BO, you don’t want to smell mine. Deodorant is not a substitute for a shower. Neither is perfume/cologne. On that note, go easy on the perfume/cologne. Most people have a sensitivity, and it can cause asthma attacks, allergy issues, or migraines. Rule of thumb: if you can smell you, it’s too much.
Brush your teeth regularly as well. I feel like I shouldn’t have to mention this, but I do. And keep mints or mouthwash, or wisps with you, especially for photo ops. Do you want to meet [insert your celebrity idol] with garlic onion breath? No. you don’t.
There are lots of things to buy at the convention. Tickets, and merch being the big deals. Vendors sell fandom related jewelry, posters, toys, tickets, cups, etc. If you plan on buying these, make sure you can get them in your bag. I got a poster and a couple other little things that fit easily into my bag. And bring lots of money. The vendor stuff can be expensive.
Creation has a table that sells pictures and posters for autographs. While this is awesome, it adds up quickly ($6 per 8x10 and up). There are loads of various Jensen/Dean, Jared/Sam, Misha/Castiel pictures, but not many for the others. I highly suggest hitting up walmart and printing out your own 8x10s before hand. Get 1 for every person. I bought 3 extra autographs, and 3 extra pictures while there, and would’ve saved some money bringing my own pictures. Another option is something all stars can sign, IE something that just says Supernatural (like your favorite title card).
Some people make door posters for other guests to sign, or simply to show a fan is in that room. These are fun to look at, but don’t stress over having one. I spent time and money on making a button wreath and it didn’t work out so I tossed it after it kept falling off my door.
Do’s & Don’ts
Questions: Please, for the love of god, don’t waste time intentionally. It’s normal to get nervous and stutter a bit (I did multiple times), but don’t waste time with long drawn out backstories. Short, sweet, and to the point. And don’t ask for help doing a cartwheel - on stage - and for the love of christ do NOT call your inability to do one a “disability.”
Don’t get personal. If you wouldn’t want someone asking you, don’t ask them. Be respectable.
Don’t shove people. We’re all excited, hot, and tired. Don’t be an ass. Say excuse me.
Do talk to people. Even if only for the time you’re in line. You all have something in common at the convention. They could be your new best friend.
Don’t stalk the stars. If you see them walking around, treat them like a human. If you see them being swarmed, just watch from a far. I was lucky to have a few interactions with some guests at DallasCon because of this. If possible, ask if it’s okay to approach them.
Do, be hopeful you’ll see someone. I was fortunate enough to see Genevieve, Osric, Jim, and Mark . I spoke with them and they’re very lovely people. Again, be polite, and don’t get to personal.
Do have fun. It’s crazy and hectic, but fun. Go outside and get some air if you need to. In fact, go outside for at least 5 minutes every day (weather permitting), it’s good for you.
Sundays are pretty slow for non gold members, so you’ll have a few hours of down time (my day didn’t start until 2pm). This is a good time to pack, read, or just hang out.
The best advice I was given: Bring half as much stuff, and twice as much money.
It’s a very intense experience, especially your first time. But it’s so much fun. You will make at least one friend while there, and that’s almost enough in itself.
*—Editing to add—*
Be careful if you drink. Being sloppy and drunk is not classy, and you don’t want to make an ass of yourself. I got tipsy for the first time at DallasCon, and I missed karaoke night because I lost my phone. You don’t want to miss stuff.
Related, don’t take a drink you didn’t see be made. I was stupid and did this, and although I was lucky and only got a little drunk, it could’ve been way worse - and I knew better. Be smart, be safe.
A deck of cards, or cards against humanity is a good way to kill time. There was a massive CAH game going while I was there.
They aren’t all nice, but be nice to the volunteers. I met a few really sweet ladies, and a couple sour apples. The nice ones made up for it. They aren’t getting paid, and they don’t always have up to the minute information, and that’s not their fault.
Valerie is a bit intimidating, but she’s actually really nice. Just don’t give her attitude and you’ll be on her good side.
Creation says no videos (which I thi k is crap), but you can sometimes sneak it depending on your seats. Pictures are okay, so make sure your phone or camera is charged and ready to go.
Again, some volunteers will let you sneak video- another reason to be nice to them.
Don’t (openly) laugh at someone who cries when they meet a celebrity. It’s very overwhelming, and you don’t know how important that person may be to them.
I cried the first time I met misha. Hard, gross crying, for like 10 minutes and wound up having an asthma attack.
It is silly to cry, but help them calm down, they’d appreciate it.
Autographs and photo ops move crazy quick. Have your stuff out and ready to be signed, have your ticket ready to be handed to the handler (you get the stub back, don’t worry).
During autos you usually don’t have time to chit chat, especially with the big four (J2M2). Kim, Osric and Rob usually have smaller lines and a few extra seconds to talk.
During photo ops, if you want a hug that’s not part of your picture, face away from the camera. This isn’t “supposed” to happen so you didn’t hear it from me. Again, the big four don’t have much time, but the others have a few extra seconds.