I was going through some of my old stuff and stumbled across something that I wrote a few years back. With Dragon*Con being right around the corner, this seemed appropriate to repost!
If you’re one of the ones fortunate enough to have a convention pop up in your neck of the woods, then by all means I suggest checking it out. And why is that, you ask? Aside from a cult, where else are you going to find a larger group of like-minded individuals? As the safer alternative, I highly recommend to anyone that they attend a convention, at least once. Be it sci-fi, anime, or what have you, it’s a good opportunity to gain a broader appreciation of your genre of choice. Of course it can be a bit daunting, so I’m here to offer my services in preparing you for such an endeavor. This guide is not only for you neophytes out there, but for you con vets at well, because, well, sometimes even we need a reminder or two.
The first thing that you’ll more than likely notice, especially if you are a newbie, is the fact that there are some people in this world that make your devotion for a particular series/character seem almost normal. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is all in the eye of the beholder. It’s either something to aspire to, or something to shy away from. On the subject of social interaction at conventions, even if it goes against every fiber of your being, I strongly suggest speaking to some of the people there. Sure, you might be as pale as Rei from Evangelion due to your constant shunning of sunlight and human contact, but I guarantee that they’ll be someone there that can relate to you. If you see a nice costume, complement them. If you like someone’s shirt, let him or her know. For the love of humanity, remember your upbringing and show some decency, though. Just because someone is dressed up as Naga from Slayers is no reason to hold a conversation with her cleavage.
The best way to describe the feeling you’ll get the first time you walk into the Dealers’ Room is that of fandom overload, as you’re going to see just about everything you have possibly ever wanted, and then some. While the more seasoned vet is used to this, it can still be pretty overwhelming at times. You can always tell who’s the newbie in the Dealers’ Room, because often times they are the ones you’ll find on the ground twitching and giggling madly. My advice here is to simply narrow your search down. Make a list of the things that you really want, and would probably have a hard time finding outside of the convention. If you still have it in your budget, you can then start hunting for whatever odds and ends strike your fancy. Random Sidenote – food money should not be mixed in with this budget, and neither should your hotel expenses. You need to eat, and spending money meant to cover the hotel room has been known to anger roommates.
Now, this one is for the more seasoned con-goer, those individuals that have been at this for a while. My advice to you is to simply get out of your routine from time to time. It may seem painful to skip that Hentai panel that you’ve attended every year, but I’m sure that there’s something else going on at that same time that you’ll find just as interesting. It doesn’t pay to get stuck in your ways, because there’s a lot going on over the course of the weekend that you’re bound to miss out on.
And of course, the final and most important rule is to simply have fun. Do whatever you do to have a good time, within reason of course. Whether that is Cosplaying, attending panels, or getting tipsy with your friends in the sanctuary of your hotel room, have fun. I mean, after all, isn’t that what these conventions are all about? Having a bit of fun and meeting new people that share your enthusiasm for the genre? I’ve learned that you get back what you put into these conventions. So with that in mind, sit back, relax, and take in the sights. And have fun, dammit.