San Diego Comic-Con Tips from a Newbie: Schedule Planning (Tip #3)

So, it was exactly two weeks from Comic-Con yesterday! While that simple fact is exciting in and of itself, it also means they’ve released the daily schedules! If you’ve already gone through the list, you might be pretty overwhelmed by the sheer number of panels offered, even within the same time blocks. However, I’m here to offer my suggestions and let you all know which panels I’ll most likely be checking out in addition to other potential activities during any down time.

THURSDAY JULY 9

10:00 am – Wrath of Con Bloggers, Room 14A

This panel is a must for any fellow geek bloggers. It boasts Tony B Kim (Crazy 4 Comic Con), Megan Gotch (The Nerdy Girlie), Leonard Sultana (An Englishman In San Diego), and Alyssa Franks (Friends Of CCI), who will all discuss their blogs and how to succeed as a geek blogger. All of these lovely people are on my Comic-Con Twitter list, which I mentioned in my previous Comic-Con tip post last week. I expect it to be super informative and fun and a welcome beginning to my second Comic-Con.

10:45 am – The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, Ballroom 20

A definite  must see for all of you Trekkies out there. Personally, I am more a fan of The Next Generation because I grew up with it, but I still enjoy the original series too. This panel is a pretty ridiculous concept since Kirk is a fictional character, but William Shatner will be there reading from the actual book that’s debuting at Comic-Con. Since Family Guy’s former EP is going to moderate, I have to wonder if fans are going to be treated to another Rocketman-esque performance. Get in line at least 2-3 hours ahead for this one.

12:00 pm – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Hall H

Ok, so this is a Hall H panel, which means count your lucky stars if you really want to get into this one. As you may know, people will camp out the night before just to ensure their seat in Hall H all day since they don’t clear the room. If you’re a die-hard Hunger Games or J-Law fan, be sure to pre-plan hardcore. You might get lucky if you get in line 3-4 hours ahead, but it will all depend on how many fanboys and girls are already in line when you get there. The hall holds approximately 6,500 people. I may actually get in line for Hall H around 11 am mainly because of the later panels I want to see in there.

12:30 pm – Return to Gravity Falls, 6A

If I give up on my Hall H idea for Thursday, I will end up at this panel for sure. Gravity Falls is one of the best cartoons on TV right now. I went to this panel last year and it was one of the highlights of my con experience. Alex Hirsch is so damn entertaining. He had a puppet of Old Man McGucket that he acted out a scene with and a few of the other main voice actors were there as well. They even had a few small swag items for everyone. If I do go, I’ll have to make sure I’m done with Season 2 since they’ll be talking about the ending.

1:00 pm – Science Channel: Raiders, Raptors, and Rebels: Behind the Magic of ILM, 25ABC

This panel sounds pretty amazing. You’ll get to see Behind the Scenes stuff for Industrial Light and Magic’s work on some of George Lucas’ biggest blockbusters. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just think about the visual effects in Star Wars or Jurassic Park. Now you’re interested right?! They’re promising surprise guests and a huge giveaway, so this is definitely something you should consider attending.

2:15 pm – Doctor Who: BBC America’s Official Panel, Hall H

My boyfriend and I are huge Doctor Who fans so I was super excited to see this panel was happening. He was super stoked to see the Master as Missy this past season and Michelle Gomez, the actress who plays her, will be there along with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. While Capaldi isn’t my favorite doctor (I’d much rather see David Tennant), this is still one of my top choices for Thursday’s schedule. This is probably going to be the most popular panel of the day, however, so like I said before, I’d get in line by 11 am or earlier.

3:45 – Sherlock, Ballroom 20

I’m a fan of Sherlock, but this panel is a maybe for me. I’d be completely on board if Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were going to be there, but they haven’t been announced as of right now. It might be worth it just to hear Steven Moffat speak about his work, but I have a feeling this panel is going to be largely overshadowed by the Doctor Who one. It might make it easier to get in though, who knows?

5:00 – Spotlight on Jhonen Vasquez, 32AB

Squee! Johnny! Invader Zim! OMG I am so excited for this panel! My high school years were filled with Jhonen Vasquez comics and cartoons and I’ve always wanted to meet him in person. I’m hoping there will be a subsequent signing as well. The focus of the panel will mainly be Johnny the Homicidal Maniac so I’m hoping that means there is some news like maybe a Johnny movie??

6:00 – Her Universe Fashion Show

I only caught the very end of this last year and regretted it sorely. Upcoming fashion designers submit designs, and upon acceptance get to actually build their outfits, which are based off a cosplay or an existing franchise. The winner gets to design a collection with Her Universe and Hot Topic! Personally, I am rooting for Leetal Platt to win. She’s an amazing designer and just won both The Jury Prize and Best in Show at her FIDM debut this year. Check out her amazing collection.

7:00 – E-textiles and Cosplay: Learn to Sew a Working Light Circuit, 30CDE

I’ve actually seen this workshop listed before at other conventions and around Los Angeles and have always wanted to do it. I’m not big on cosplay, but I’m down for anything related to lighting and learning a new skill. You even get to hand sew and take home a working light circuit. Pretty sweet!

8:00 – Son of Name That Movie – Room 9

This panel is actually kind of a game show format where you can get randomly picked to play. They choose a bunch of movie clips for you and you have to name as many as possible. I feel like I would be pretty good at this, but it’s hard to think that quickly under pressure. Nevertheless, it seems like it would be entertaining to at least watch, but there will be prizes for 1st-4th place winners.

9:00 – Spirited Away Screening – Horton Grand Theatre

This sounds like the perfect way to unwind on your first night of Comic-Con. One of Studio Ghibli’s biggest films will be screening along with the lure of trivia and prizes. It’s hosted by Her Universe and Hot Topic, so be sure to dress your best.

FRIDAY JULY 10

10:00 am – The 16th Annual Animation Show of Shows – Hall H

A panel solely dedicated to short animated films who are all award winners. The best way to find your new favorite animators or animated character. ‘Nuff said.

11:30 am – Space Command: A Hopeful Future – Central Library

This panel has some amazing people on it including Bob Picardo(!) and focuses on the new sci-fi series with footage and a Q&A with the actors.

12:00 – AMC’s The Walking Dead – Hall H

I’m a bit biased here because I watch the series, but I have a feeling this will be one of the more badass panels for Friday. There’s so much drama and terror happening from episode to episode and the writers always throw in amazing twists.

1:00 – Archie Forever – Room 4

Archie is one of the first comics I ever read. I remember when grocery stores used to carry the Archie and Veronica digests that were on the magazine racks in the checkout lines. This should be a fun panel and attendees get a free gift bag!

2:30 – Game of Thrones – Hall H

One of my favorite shows at the moment. I didn’t get to go to the panel last year but might attempt it this time. They always give great swag bags at this panel. I know last year it was a backpack filled with stuff branded with the “All Men Must Die” graphic with the 3-eyed raven. Worth a shot especially if you’re willing to wait in line overnight.

3:15 – [adult swim]: Robot Chicken – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront

I love pretty much everything that Seth Green does so this is sure to be a fun panel. Definitely get there a few hours ahead to get into this one.

4:15 – Bob’s Burgers – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront

If you get into the Indigo Ballroom for Robot Chicken, just stay in there til 6 pm. I just started watching Bob’s Burgers, but am already in love with the Belchers. I love Louise, especially because she’s voiced by Kristen Schaal, but Tina is so fantastically weird and awkward. Probably will have a giveaway too.

5:00 – Archer – Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront

Archer is a fantastically crazy and witty show that is worth your time and a little of your sanity. The line will most likely be long for this one, so like I said before just go to the Indigo Ballroom earlier and stay through this panel. The banter between the cast will be worth it.

6:00 – Starz: Ash v. Evil Dead, 6A

Really quite excited for this show. I loved the Evil Dead movies as a teenager and Bruce Campbell is such a cheeseball. Be forewarned though, it will be pretty gory so don’t bring any kids under 13.

7:00 – World Premiere of Justice League: Gods & Monsters, Ballroom 20

I am a fan of the animated DC shows, especially anything that has Batman in it. This is supposed to be a unique take on some of our favorite Justice League characters, which may prove interesting. Paget Brewster, formerly of Criminal Minds, is voicing Lois Lane so she will be there on the panel to make me squee like a fan girl.

8:00 – Be a Financial Superhero Even if You Aren’t Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark, Room 4

I am always interested in improving my financial situation so this nerdy take on it will surely be useful if you’re like me.

8:30 – Klingon Lifestyles, 6A

A  klingon stage play with Bat’leth battles? Sign me up!

SATURDAY JULY 11

10:00 – Are You Ready Kids?: Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants, 6A

America’s favorite sponge has his own panel and will surely be entertaining! All the voice actors will be there and there will be a Q&A in addition to trivia and prizes. Take your kiddos if you have some.

10:30 – Temple of Art, 24ABC

I’ve been supporters of these guys since the beginnings of Temple of Art and donated to their Kickstarter campaign. There are some truly great artists involved including the great David Mack.

12:00 – The Simpsons, Ballroom 20

I reeeeaaaallly want to go to this panel, but it will most likely require getting in line pretty early. Nancy Cartwright (my fave Simpson voice actor) will be there and they’ll be talking about the next Treehouse of Horror, which are always some of my favorite episodes!

1:00 – Seth McFarlane’s Animation Block, Ballroom 20

If you’re a fan of animation, stick around Ballroom 20 for this one and check out Seth McFarlane’s shows (American Dad, Family Guy, etc) including a new one called Bordertown!

1:45 – Spotlight on Stan Lee, 6A

The man, the myth, the legend; Stan Lee! Go listen to the wittiest, sharpest 90-something year old comic creator you will ever meet! He is seriously the best.

3:00 – The Muppet Show Coming to ABC, 6A

If you don’t want to see the Muppets, you have no soul.

4:00 – Starz: Outlander, Ballroom 20

I’ve read the first book and seen the first episode and I have to say, I am pretty impressed with the TV show’s adaption. I have a feeling it’s going to be even better than the books. Go for sexy scottish accents and beautiful period drama scenery/costumes.

4:45 – Dark Horse: An Afternoon With Joss Whedon, Hall H

Another no-brainer. Joss Whedon has churned out some of the best cult-favorites i.e. Buffy and Firefly. You’ll get to hear what he’s working on next from the man himself!

6:00 – The Geek Shall Inherit: A Look at the Evolution of Geek Culture, 14A

I might be biased because my friend Dr. Janina Scarlet is on this panel, but you should definitely go to this one. A panel of smart people will be analyzing geek culture and most likely making you feel a lot better about being a geek.

7:00 – Fight Club 2, 5AB

I think everyone needs to be in the same room as Chuck Palahnuik at least once. I’ve seen him twice in person and it’s always a little different or I learn something new about him or his books. Fight Club 2 has been greatly anticipated so here’s your chance to ask all those burning questions you had after you saw the end of the film in 1999. (now you feel old don’t you.)

8:30 – The Character of Music: Classic Horror Special Edition, Room 8

Memorable music pretty much makes or breaks a great horror film. This should be a pretty cool panel with the composers from films like Friday the 13th and Dawn of the Dead.

SUNDAY JULY 12

10:15 – Fantastic Fans and Where to Find Them, 6A

I might also be incredibly biased with this one, but you should definitely get to the convention center on Sunday morning for this panel. My boyfriend, Justin, will be speaking about Harry Potter fandom along with a bunch of other lovely people from The HP Alliance, International Quidditch Association, and others.

11:00 am – Sixty Years of Gumby, 29AB

Gumby is one of the only claymation style animation that I liked growing up. I have a soft spot for the little guy and this panel will have pretty much everyone involved in Gumby ever.

12:30 – American Horror Story and Scream Queens, Hall H

This sounds like a pretty fun panel especially if you’re a fan of horror and American Horror Story in particular. It will probably be a lot easier to get into since Sunday usually has a lot less people.

1:00 – Official Sailor Moon Panel, 6A

If Sailor Moon was as much of a childhood favorite for you as it was for me, you need to go to this panel. They’ll be sharing news about the new Sailor Moon Crystal series and probably have a giveaway or two.

2:15 – Starship Smackdown XV: Battle of the Intergalactic Stars Edition, 6A

My boyfriend is pretty stoked about this one, so if you’re a dude I’d say check it out. Panelists get drunk and talk about which starship would win in a fight. Sounds pretty hilarious to me.

4:00 – Full-time Creative Work on a Part-time Schedule, 24ABC

This is going to be a great panel for all you fellow creatives out there. I dunno about you, but I have a hard time balancing my regular work with my creative projects and making money. Should be useful and they’re giving away a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Even if you can’t make it to all the panels you want, you should definitely check out all the stuff going on in the exhibit hall as well as all the events outside. This site has a bunch of the outside events listed to make your life easier.

Anyway, good luck and happy Comic-Con!

San Diego Comic-Con Tips From a Newbie: Who to Follow on Twitter (Tip #2)

In my last post, I focused on What to Bring With You Everyday to Comic-Con, which included your phone charger or extra battery. It’s very likely that you will be constantly on your phone, checking social media and posting to it in addition to the dozens of other activities smartphones can do nowadays. One of the best uses of your phone checking time during Comic-Con is to follow Comic-Con activity on Twitter through the hashtags #SDCC, #SDCC15, and #ComicCon2015. All of the companies who have booths or tables have a Twitter account and will be posting throughout the convention about giveaways, signings, special surprises, sales, and other announcements. This is your way to gain an advantage over other people who may not realize how to find out about these things. Aside from companies posting from their booths, however, you will also find information on the activities going on outside of Comic-Con in the surrounding areas. There are hundreds of simultaneous events happening during Comic-Con and there is always something to do. Additionally, many die-hard fans and convention veterans will also post their own tips or leads on things they’ve found out about, which can be infinitely useful. There are sometimes secret parties that pop-up last minute or random giveaways outside too. Last year I got a sweet Transformers fanny-pack when I was walking towards the Gaslamp District.

But, you may ask, how am I to know who to follow on Twitter to be in the know? Well my dear geeks, I have done most of the work for you already. I created a Twitter list under my account @LianaRosePhoto, with 80+ accounts you should check out during the con to stay in the know. I will be adding to it in the days and weeks to come as we get closer and closer to the week of Comic-Con. Please feel free to subscribe to it, share it with your friends, and tweet me with suggestions. Here’s the list in all it’s glory: https://twitter.com/LianaRosePhoto/lists/comic-con. I’d also love to know who will be there in July so please add me and I will add you back!

Check back next week for another useful tip for navigating Comic-Con as a newbie.

21 Days til Comic-Con!

San Diego Comic-Con Tips From a Newbie – What to Bring With You Everyday (Tip #1)

I cannot believe it, but we’re already only 29 days out from San Diego Comic-Con! This will be my 2nd year attending and I am beyond excited! Last year was pretty intense for me as a newbie and I admit being a little overwhelmed by everything, especially because I was there by myself for the first two days. This year I am taking a more relaxed approach, but will still prepare as much as I can. I am putting together a series of tips that will help if you’re a newbie or a seasoned vet who is open to ways you can improve your experience! Here’s tip #1:

What To Bring With You Everyday

  • A backpack – This should be a pretty good size, but not too bulky especially if your car isn’t nearby or you’re not staying within walking distance from the convention center. Make sure it’s comfortable on your back and has adjustable straps. I made the mistake of using the bag they give you on the floor, and my back was in pain by the second day.
  • Earplugs – Ok, you may not realize it, but the convention floor is noisy! There are thousands of people walking around talking to each other, music blaring, booths playing video clips or doing some sort of demo, announcements, etc. It can be really overwhelming especially if you’re an anxious person already. Earplugs can cancel out most of that noise and allow you to focus on yourself and your breathing so you don’t freak out like I did, lol. Earplugs are also great at night in the hotels when you’re trying to sleep!
  • A plastic water bottle – Ok believe me, I am all for reducing water bottle waste in landfills, but this is one time when I refuse to use a refillable water bottle from the store. Last year I brought my metal water bottle with me and it added so much weight to my backpack. You’ll be much better off just buying a normal sized water from the store and refilling it at a water fountain throughout the day because it hardly weighs anything even with 16 oz of water in it.
  • A good camera – Unless you’re a cosplay photographer or photojournalist, I don’t really recommend carrying around a heavy DSLR with multiple lenses everywhere. However, whatever comes to mind when I say “good camera,” bring it. It can be your iPhone or a consumer grade DSLR or a small point and shoot. There is just so much happening that you are going to want a good camera, especially if you plan to blog about your experience. A good camera is great too for those random celebrity sitings (I saw Kyle Gass from Tenacious D last year!). Don’t forget your charger, extra batteries, and memory cards too!
  • Business cards – Comic-Con is great for networking if you’re in the biz or want to be. You never know who you might meet! Last year I met a cameraman for IGN at a bar in the Gaslamp District, many bloggers and cosplayers, and a wide variety of people from all over the world. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and promote yourself a bit!
  • Snacks – OK this one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how little time you have to gather snacks together during a con. Buy all your snacks the day of preview night so you’re all stocked up for the week. Be sure to bring stuff high in protein and complex carbs. The best snacks are fruit, cut up veggies (with dip if you have a container to keep it in), protein or granola bars, nuts, sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and beef jerky. These will keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to walk multiple miles every day during the convention.
  • Your badge – Duh! But seriously don’t forget it! You’ll need it to get into special outside events as well as the actual convention center.
  • Phone charger or extra battery – Chances are you’ll be checking your phone a lot at Comic-Con. Using the official Comic-Con app, following the #SDCC tag on Twitter, posting photos to Instagram and status updates to Facebook, texting your friends, listening to music while you wait in 2+ hour lines. Your phone will most likely die before the end of the day so make sure you have a way to charge it.
  • Sharpie  or pen – To jot down notes, doodle while you’re bored, or for spur of the moment celebrity encounters or sightings.
  • Sunglasses – Cause July in San Diego is hot and sunny (for the most part) and some of the panel lines start outdoors.
  • Poster Tube – This is something I was lacking last year and really wish I had. There are so many free posters during conventions and the best way to keep them looking good is in a poster tube. The Nerdy Girlie mentioned she made one out of a wrapping paper tube. The FOX booth also usually gives them away at the start of each day.
  • Handheld mirror – Especially useful if you’re cosplaying. For checking your hair and makeup before a photo is taken, and there will be lots of photos taken!
  • Light sweater or hoodie – The convention center can get cold and the weather does get cooler at night in San Diego because it’s right on the water. Layering is a good idea so you can take off and put on as needed.
  • Comfy shoes – Cannot stress this one enough. You’ll be doing so much walking. The convention center has 2.6 million sq. ft. of facilities and outside events extend a couple miles from that in every direction.

What else am I missing? What are your must haves for Comic-Con this year?