If you have a passion for a particular TV show, movie series or comic, there’s probably a fan group for it somewhere out there, and there’s a decent chance that there is also either a convention devoted to it or a media convention that includes some content related to it. Going to a convention can be a great way to meet fellow fans, creatively express your interest in the entertainment and just have a good time, but your first time can also be intimidating. The tips below can help you get ready.
Conventions are known for being friendly spaces, but if you are going on your own, you might feel more comfortable if you are able to get to know some people ahead of time. Online dynamics can be a little trickier to navigate, but look for a place where newbies are welcome.
Save Your Money
Getting into a fandom and becoming a regular at conventions can be a lot of fun, but it can also get expensive. You might need to look at areas where you can cut back, and you may be surprised at how much you can save. For example, you can change your relationship with your student loans and take years off of payments by refinancing. It only takes a minute or two to find out more about student loan refinance rates and what you are eligible for. If your monthly payments are lower with the new rate, you can put the money toward your convention travels. Try to decide on a budget before you go since you can spend a lot of money on food, drink and merchandise if you aren’t careful.
One of the biggest complaints many people have after a convention, whether it is their first or their fifteenth, is that there was too much to do and impossible to get to everything. Review the schedule ahead of time to get a rough idea of what you want to do, and make sure you understand whether any special advance signups or fees are necessary. Be flexible in case an event is too full or you’ve just made some friends you end up doing something else with. You should also make a point of pacing yourself. It can be so easy to get caught up in the excitement that you forget to get enough food and sleep. Stay hydrated, take breaks as needed and take it easy. You don’t have to see or do or buy everything on day one or even at your first convention.
Every subculture has its own set of rules, and conventions are no exceptions. Feel free to ask more experienced attendees about etiquette. It’s generally considered good manners to ask people in costume before you take their pictures and to avoid touching them without permission. Feel free to ask questions in the Q&A portion of a panel, but frame your questions concisely, and avoid anything that is in the dreaded format of a comment instead of a question. If you have the chance to interact with actors, artists, writers or other celebrities, be respectful of their time and personal space.