Boy oh boy is the con getting close! I’m starting to get all con brain all of the time and I’m just as excited as kid waiting for Santa. I LOVE the con.
Of course, we’ve reached the most fun and frustrating part of the whole experience – planning. We’re not the types to stick with any one track or any one style of panel. Over the years, we’ve learned that three – four panels/events is all we can reasonably do in a day. When there are over 3000 scheduled – it can be a nightmare of compromise and opportunity cost!
Here’s a few rules we try to keep in mind:
- We can’t do it all. No, really, not even 5%.
- Crowds are extra exhausting. Choosing smaller events/panels means more in a day. Plan at least an hour plus travel time in front of any major guests
- Avoid fan panels. (I love that Dragon Con has these; however, I find them to be such a quality crap shoot, I’d rather take my chances with the more informational type panels)
- Choose the nonnegotiable events and try to work around them. Practically they all have to be negotiable, but it does help to have an idea of the things we’d most like to see.
- Any panel with professional guests discussing process of their craft from filmmakers to steam punk has potential to be inspiring and excellent.
- We gotta sleep, eat, crowd watch, and shop.
- Remember – crowds are thick. Gotta pay attention to where the events are to be sure we can get from one to the next.
If you’re curious… here’s our process.
We download and print the official pocket program. We go through it line by line and viscerally choose things that might be interesting or things that repeat to give us options. At this point it is all “may be interesting” or “I know I want to see at least one costume contest so I’m circling all of them”. Because I’m apt to like things for any of the fan tracks, I really do look at every single one. Then we take our choices and favorite them on the Dragon Con scheduling app. Now, comes the painful part. This year, our favorite list was over 100 entries! The obvious trouble spots, like Saturday at 2:30 start to become apparent. We can also see where where there are conflicts that can be resolved by clever scheduling for guests that appear in multiple panels. Some of them are obvious choices over others and the black X’s slowly outweigh the green highlights. Getting to this point takes a few hours. Hey, I don’t cos-play, I can spend lots of hours making my Clark Griswold itinerary!
We’re still not there! We still haven’t come up with something that is even close to do-able. We’ll make some edits, do some more planning, then be ready for it to change when we get there. The best laid plans don’t always take into account the actual experience. We never know when you’re going to be distracted by something else going on, meet some fun folks, too exhausted to even consider sitting in another panel, or hungry. Yeah, food. remember to eat Susan.
This year – We know we’re going to the National Puppet Slam at the Center for Puppetry Arts (bought tickets already, this one is for sure). We’re determined to see a Face/Off artist , table top gaming panels, art/copyright discussions, Warehouse 13 guests, Venture brothers creators, a collection of short films, a costume contest, video game developer, Jim Butcher, and some random after-dark movie. If at all possible, I really like to throw a few in there that I have no idea what they are. It can be a fun and unexpected way to discover things. We’ll see how it goes – right now, I have to walk away from it all for a few hours to do laundry so I don’t have to go naked!
If you’re curious what a big con looks like from a human with huge crowd anxiety that prefers off the beaten path events, be sure to follow me on instagram @theboredzombie. Trust me, even though it is awful and hot it is totally worth it and I’ll show you how I manage to survive it including a new Dragon Con survival bag fresh off the sewing machine.
Did I mention the con is coming? Did I?? I may be bouncing around a bit with a modified no rhythm geek girl happy dance.