Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Engage Podcast's guide to conventions!

Hi guys
With DST3 days away, I thought it was a good idea to write down some useful tips for attending a convention!
Before I start, you maybe wondering "why is Simon in a position to give me advice on attending cons?"
In order to answer your question, I need to make use of The Doctor's TARDIS. Because I'm going to need to use a bit of time travel to explain it!

I think a good place to take the TARDIS back to first...would be between 2003-2005 (ish!).
As around that time, I attended quite a few small conventions with my Mum and Godfather, but they really aren't worth mentioning!
The second place the TARDIS would land, is 2010 where I attended London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court 2. This time I went with Jamie and his Dad...although we only went for a day so I didn't gleam much advice from that event either!

It's not until 2012 where me, Jamie and Phil attended our first Destination Star Trek event. Where my wealth of convention knowledge is formed. As we spend two enjoyable days up there covering the event!

Pop back into the TARDIS for one final trip. To February of this year, where I ventured over to Frankfurt for DSTG on my one man Away Team. This time I was able to envelop myself into the convention whole heartedly, making it possible to attend the convention for the full three days!

OK enough about me! Time for some convention tips!!!

Tip #1-Book early to avoid disappointment!
Depending on whether it is a convention abroad or in your home country, make sure you book your convention ticket (and additions) at your earliest opportunity. As this is quite an important part of your convention I would spend a lot of time researching what ticket you want.
Here are something's to think about for your convention ticket: 
  • Price-fit your ticket around your will need money left over to enjoy the convention!
  • Perks- does it have extra's you really want like Reserved Priority talk seating and exclusive content!
  • 'Happiness'- I know this one sounds bonkers...but buy a ticket that will make you feel happy and comfortable while your at the convention. As if you pick the wrong ticket, you won't enjoy the experience as much!
This also goes for hotel rooms, as you don't want to be stuck in the expensive position of traveling to and from the convention everyday! 
Just like the convention ticket, I would recommend doing extensive research.
Here are something's to consider while choosing your convention hotel: 
  • Distance from convention centre- make sure it's staggering distance away from the convention!
  • Price- fit the hotel around your budget...and don't just book the first hotel you see!
  • Parking- check the hotel has free you might be able to leave the car there, without spending money on expensive convention centre parking charges!
  • Food- make sure your hotel has a restaurant or cafĂ©...just encase you get a bit hungry after a busy day wandering around the convention! 
 Tip #2- Plan...but don't plan so you avoid disappointment...again!
This is another tip that sounds absolutely bonkers...organise your days at the event 'loosely'. As when your at a convention, you get in the mind-set that you have to see and do everything the convention offers. But in reality, you can't do it!!!
SO don't plan your convention days down to the trust me it will fall apart within ten minutes of you entering the convention!
My recommendation is to sort the events you want to see into different groups like:
The booked group- which are events you've already paid to see or do.
The quite like to see or do group- events your interesting in seeing or doing...if I get there in time!
I would also recommend buying all your (known) autograph/photo-shoot covers and autograph pictures on the day before the convention or if that's not possible the first day. As Then you can just put the picture into the cover straight away without having to worry about it getting damaged!
 Tip #3-Budget
Before the convention your going to give yourself a budget to live on in those hectic few days. From experience I would imagine that would be a pretty big sum. Although though my experiences, I've always found that you always spend a lot less than you anticipate.
So I would recommend that you budget high, spend low! This way you will feel a sense of achievement, when you discover you didn't spend the entirety of your budget!!!

Tip #4- Be sensible
At the convention your going to do an awful lot of walking, so it is in your best interest to wear sensible footwear! As by the end of day one (whenever that it) your going to feel very tired, and your feet are going hurt...a lot!!!
Like I say they are going to be extremely long days, so make sure you rest every now and then during the convention. As your body won't be able to keep up with everything your 'trying' to do.
Your body will also need plenty of sleep before each day of the convention. Listen to your body when this happens!!! 
Try to make time to do simple obvious things like having something to eat or going to the the adrenaline makes you forget all about these important things. If you miss them then you could end up getting dehydrated making you faint. This unfortunately could make it possible for you to miss all the exciting things you want to do!
I think that's everything, enjoy the event and I hope you find this advice helpful for your convention expedition!
This is Simon from The Engage Podcast signing out!

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