e:sherlock

Sherlocked takes place next weekend from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th April. Benedict Cumberbatch will be in attendance alongside a raft of Sherlock cast & crew including Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss & Louise Brealey. I’ll be attending as part of their Fanlocked Team & will be proving full coverage of the event (phone signal permitting!) including live tweeting as many of the panels as possible & lots and lots of photos. I’ll also be hosting a Q&A with Claire Pritchard Jones, award winning head of make up on Sherlock on the second stage on Sunday at 10:30 am (talk is free). Do come & ask lots of questions!

I thought I’d put together a few tips in case anyone’s interested.

Venue

Sherlocked is taking place at the Excel Centre. To get there take the DLR & get off at Custom House. You don’t need an extra ticket. Just use your Oyster card/underground ticket.  When you’re at Custom House just follow the walkways up to the venue. If I recall it can be a bit of a trek from the entrance to the halls so make sure you wear comfy shoes.

The convention opens on the Friday but it doesn’t look as if there are any guests on site then. So you don’t need to register then if you don’t want to but if will likely be a lot quieter than Saturday morning if you want to get registration out of the way. Also if you’re interested in the exhibition or the sets the Friday preview will be the quietest time to see them.

If you’re travelling in on the Sunday & not staying near the venue make sure you give yourselves lots of time to travel if you have something you want to do early morning at the event (like a photoshoot or Rupert & Jonathan’s talk on the main stage or if you want to watch Claire’s Q&A). Sunday the London Marathon is taking place which means London will be bursting at the seams & short journeys can end up taking a long time. For example I live 10 minutes walk from Tower Gateway DLR but on the Sunday can’t take the quickest route to get there as the runners are on that route. That means I have to take a one way system put in place by the police which means a 10 minute walk can take close to an hour depending on the number of people. So if you have something scheduled early morning give yourself time especially as the DLR comes every 15 minutes or so. You don’t want to be stressed before the day begins.

At the venue

Print out all your tickets in advance. If you have a weekend/day pass with lots of extras get a little A5 plastic wallet to keep them all in & maybe write on the top of each one what they are as it makes them easier to identify at a glance.

Print out your schedule & if you have a package it might be worth writing out your timetable on your phone so you can keep track of where you need to be/when.

Photoshoots

You’ll be asked to put all your belongings on a table once you get into the photoshoot area so make sure you’ve got a bag to keep everything secure. I think if you’ve got a package you’ll be given a goody bag on registration but don’t use that as your main bag as everyone will have the same one which will make it a lot easier for someone to walk off with yours by mistake.

Photoshoots move very quickly. They literally take about 7 seconds per person. You’ll have time to step into frame, smile & leave. The speed can throw people so if you’re nervous about the shoots practice in front of a mirror (sounds daft but it does work) or choose a pose in advance that you want to do (even if it’s just Benedict’s pointing pose) as that way you’ll be more relaxed & it will show in the photo.

Make sure you’ve checked that you’re comfortable with how you look before you get into the queue & if you’re wearing a pass & don’t want it visible make sure you tuck it out of sight.

Photos are instantly printed out for you & given to you as you’re leaving the photo session so don’t forget to pick it up. That also means that if there are any issues such as your eyes being shut that can be solved instantly for you.

You need something to keep your photos safe in. The ideal is a slim plastic rigid box that they sell at conventions & signing events (I have one & they’re brilliant) but a cheap quick alternative is a slim A4 hard backed folder & a set of hole punched plastic sleeves to go in it. That shouldn’t cost you more than £4 in total & will keep your photos & autographs safe as you can just put each one in a separate sleeve.

Autographs

I think if you have a package you get given an Event Programme which you can get all the guests to sign. They’ll also be on sale at the event.

If you want a 10 x 8 photo signed & were thinking of getting one there because they’re official licensed images they cost £3 each at the event. They’re the standard promo shots. You can see them all on the pre-orders page here. The only ones they don’t have up are Benedict’s as he isn’t available for pre-order. If you don’t want to pay £3 you can print your own (I have tons on my site) or choose say a poster for everyone to sign. If you’re platinum/VIP Benedict has some limits on what he can sign. He won’t sign deerstalkers etc as he signs those for charity.

If you’re nervous about the autographs think of one thing you want to say to each guest that takes 15 seconds to say. Tell Andrew you loved Seawall or Birdland, that you’re looking forward to seeing him in Bond. Tell Louise you’re coming to see her in Constellations etc. That way they’ll chat to you & you’ll be happy. Sometimes people expect the guest to initiate the conversation but if they’re shy types themselves you might not get much more than a hello & thank you which might make you sad. So think of something to say.

Talks

You can take photos in the talks (flash only for the first couple of minutes) but you can’t video them.

I’m not sure how questions are going to work (I doubt they’ll be open questions for Benedict’s talk for example) but don’t be shy if you have one. Just try & keep them about the guest & interesting for everyone. I’m sure everyone has tons of amazing questions about the show. I don’t believe they’ll be allowing any questions about the special.

Food

Frankly I’d suggest bringing your own. Bring water, cereal bars & nibbles & worry about eating after the event closes. The Excel is sort of shaped like a long corridor with the halls either side. All the food places are in the corridor outside of the hall the event is in. That means you technically have to leave the event to eat. Now everything is really close but depending on how frantic your schedule is you may not want to do that. Queues at these places are usually v long & they’re all hugely overpriced (they’re there regardless of event so the organisers have no say in how much they charge). It will probably cost not much shy of a tenner for food & a soft drink at any of them.  I usually try & avoid them unless I’m starving.

Other Tips

Bring cash for anything you want to buy as the cash machines in the venue will be emptied quickly & credit card machines can be temperamental if the signal is poor. They’ll be a big BBC stand & lots of people with officially licensed merchandise will be there.

Dress light & have layers. It can get v hot if there are tons of people especially in the popular talks.

Any issues find a pit boss. They’re usually dressed in red at their other events. They’re in charge of each area & will sort your issues for you. Better to sort things at the event rather than after.

Have fun! These things are much more about meeting people who love the same thing you do so try not to get too stressed & enjoy.

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