Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Planning For Conventions: A Guide Pt. 1

As we move closer to restarting the convention cycle starting from Anime Los Angeles a week after the new year, many have the simple question of "how to I/we prepare for an anime or comic convention?" Every year, time and time again I put in night after night detailing everything that goes into planning for a convention.

Today, I'm going to give you some tips on how to prepare for anime and comic book conventions. This first set of tips is a fraction of everything I can tell you, and this is only coming from myself - the other staff members have their own tips and tricks.

  1. BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET. Conventions can cost a fortune to attend. Room costs, food costs, cosplay, and spending money for Dealer's Hall can add up pretty quickly. Make sure that you can afford what you want to spend. Use a spreadsheet program like Excel to keep track of how much you've spent.
  2. Use Google Maps or some sort of maps program to scout the area to not only determine where the convention is located but also what's around. What's there to eat? What modes of transportation are near the convention site? Is there a pharmacy or bank nearby? If you look beforehand, you'll be better equipped to know where to go.
  3. Buy food beforehand, but don't spend your entire food budget on groceries. Stocking up on groceries will save you money versus eating hotel food or food in the area. My suggestion is to buy water (and if you want, some sort of sports drink), pastries like coffee cake or danishes and orange juice for breakfast, instant ramen and crackers for lunch, & snacks like trail mix or chips for in between. Don't forget about the cups, plates, paper towels, and utensils. I don't advise on buying food for the whole weekend. Have some left over so that you can head out and eat something decent, even if it's fast food. If you decide to bring back the food into your room, you already have drinks which means that you don't  have to buy more than you need.
  4. Do your research on the most important steps, liking knowing when pre-registration ends or when the hotel blocks open. Visit the forums of the convention, and see if that convention has a Twitter account or a Facebook page. More than likely, these sites will give you advance notice on these events giving you the edge.
Next time, I go through the headache that is booking and managing your hotel room.

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