Comic Con International at San Diego is the stuff legends are made out of; people line up by the thousands to earn a spot at the coveted panels, signings and celebrity appearances. Marvel and DC shell out big bucks to let everyone know they are the biggest games in town on paper and film, backed up by the Disney and Warner Bros studios posses, respectively.
Because the SDCC is full of marketing and exclusive news and previews about everything comic and book related, attendees go through great lengths to maximize their experience. “We all made it to Hall H” is the mantra chanted by all, attendees, writers, producers, directors, cast and crew, all alike, all as proud to be there. Everyone at the Con does their best to make the journey memorable since we are all in!
There are a few hacks and tricks you can use to ensure a spot at the coveted line, especially for Friday and Saturday. These are the days were most bombs are dropped and the fans are treated to never seen before antics, trailers, previews, and announcements. It’s not easy but with some effort and cunning, you can make this dream come true.
1. Procure a badge at all cost.
If you haven’t qualified through the lottery system, see Badge FAQ for details, there are people who will sell them to you online and on-site. Fair warning, the badges are non transferable and someone who sells them must provide you with the paper ticket and RFID badge to gain entry. If for some reason you get asked for your ID and it doesn’t match the name, the staff can remove/ban you and ban the person who is named on the badge. Some guests resort to sharing the same badge with family members and friends so they can go in and out the main hall during the day. Be careful and don’t draw attention to yourself if you are going to do so, and remember that only those with a badge can get wrist bands to reserve their spot in line for Hall H.
2. Share the responsibility of standing in line with a group of people.
Since you need a badge to get the wristband, people in line have to ensure they save the spot in line continuously for up to 24 hrs before the doors open. However, you are in luck! Comic Con is notorious for altruistic gestures and people are willing to cooperate to secure a seat in the coveted Hall H. If you have a small entourage, or are on your own, tweet, send FB posts, and attempt to gather allies via social media to take shifts. One human can save the place in line for up to 5 humans total, so there is no need to be there at all times. Just make sure no one leaves the site unattended, and that you are all present by 7:30pm the night before the event to get the band. Everyone must be in line again by 7:30am to be let in during the first seating. Miss this deadline and you will need to…
3. Have a good cover story to be able to rejoin the line or reenter the Hall H line and area if you missed the queue and have the band.
I admit my friends and I had to step away from the line and Hall for different reasons, and we all got back in through different methods. Ask a supervisor if you missed your group in line and they will help you only if you have a band. If you don’t and got into the hall anyway, make sure you get a pass to leave the area and return or they will not grant you access. Hall H is so popular people line up after it has filled up with the hope of filling up the spots of those who vacate the premises. Some people leave and trade the badge, with the exit pass, so someone else can enjoy a panel. This is done as a thank you for helping with the line or just cause. If they catch you though, the consequences will be dire for all involved. Proceed with caution.
4. Bring cash or food. It is a long haul.
Because you cannot easily procure food in Hall H or go outside and come back with sustenance, you will need to either suck it up or bring your own food into the place. If you have kids, make sure you equip yourself with whatever you need to survive, and drop off minors under 12 at the daycare. You can get a pass to tend to your kids amid breaks. It’s doable but you need to keep track of time or they will not let you back inside.
5. If all else fails, volunteer or get a job running security.
You may not get assigned to Hall H on your first run but if you network and prove your worth, you may get a shot. Check which company the convention center has hired for security and join the staff. There’s not a lot of other options past this other than…
6. Getting a pro or press pass.
If all else fails, become a bona fide member of the press or star in/create content that becomes popular and gains you notoriety worthy of a pass. Blogs, articles and freelance writers can request passes to the event, or they can apply for a table at artists ally or the exhibitor hall. You will need to prove your worth so plan accordingly. If you are there with the power players chances are you will score reserved seating.
May the odds be ever in your favor.