So, we’re at T-minus 12 days until preview night, and it’s too early to start packing your bag already, you’re already stressing out about the schedules for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday being released, but what else is there to do right now to get ready for the con?
1. Catch up on your comics
Maybe this is a given, but it’s a good idea to catch up on your comics, your TV shows and anything else you could possibly be spoiled for. If you’re like me, you won’t want to walk into the con and have someone tell you the ending of an issue you’re looking forward to or a movie you haven’t seen yet before you get a chance to check it out. So make sure you’re as caught up as you can get if you care about spoilers!
2. Lists are your friend
The best way to stay organized at comic con is to know what you want to do and when. The big schedule can be really overwhelming, especially when there are lots of panels that you want to see in different places throughout the day. I usually take the big schedule, look through it, then make a big list of everything I want to do, what room it’s in and at what time. Then I toss it into a gmail doc (makes it easy to coordinate schedules with friends I know are attending or with the other GRCT ladies) or excel spreadsheet.
Here’s part of my spreadsheet from 2009:
It’s a lot of overlapping stuff, but going in, at least you’ll have a quick reference for where everything is and what you most want to see, and if you find that you won’t be able to make it to your first choice panel, you can tell at a glance what else you wanted to see at the same time. And instead of having to always flip through the giant comic con program, you have a much shorter list to deal with on a daily basis. I also find it’s helpful to look up booth numbers beforehand on the exhibitor’s list and make a note of the ones you know for sure you’ll want to visit.
3. Finalize your cosplay
Make sure you have all of your components purchased and ordered. If you’re still missing a sword or a pair of boots, it might be time to get your specialty items sent rush order to you. At this point, it’s probably best not to rely on standard shipping if you want to make sure that you have all of your items in time. A few years back, I barely managed to get an item shipped to me in time for the con, due to a mix-up. And even if you DO manage to get everything just in the nick of time, you don’t want to end up the night before, trying to piece everything together, do you?
4. Start looking at off-site activities
While Comic Con is lasting longer than ever these days (the convention center is open until midnight this year), there are all kinds of activities happening outside of comic con proper. There’s an annual Zombie Walk, this year, the premiere of Jon Favreau’s (dir. Iron Man) Cowboys and Aliens is happening at the con, and did you know that Mission Valley Theater in San Diego is already selling tickets for the midnight showing of Captain America: The First Avenger?
There’s a fairly up to date and comprehensive list of off-site activities here.
5. Use twitter!
I’ve found that one of the best ways to get the jump on comic con giveaways and screenings and information is twitter. In years’ past, I’ve won prize packs, gotten tickets to screenings and gotten studio passes to panels just from twitter alone!
Of course, this is just a small sampling of the twitters I monitor, but it’s a good mix of dedicated fans, bloggers, official accounts and studio accounts. If someone you want to see is going to be at comic con, it’s a good idea to follow them on twitter, whether they’re a writer, an artist or any other kind of celeb.
And probably the best thing you can do right now is to not get overwhelmed. There’s a lot to do both before the con and during, and the best thing to do is stay organized.