Luxist Guest Post: G4TV's Alison Haislip On Surviving Comic Con
The noise. The smells. The overly expensive food court food. And the hundreds and thousands of people all crammed into a giant room. This is a convention. And no matter where you work, there's a good chance you'll end up at one of these some day.
In the industry that I work in, the nerd/geek/fanboy industry, there is no bigger convention than Comic Con. Once a year, almost 130,000 Star Wars fanatics, Lord of the Rings lovers, and comic book hoarders, descend on San Diego for a full four days of pandemonium. This year will be my 3rd visit to Comic Con (July 22nd-25th), and I believe my ability to survive this event can be utilized at any convention out there. So whether you're stuck going to that annual meeting of brain surgeons you love so much or elated to be checking out the latest cars at your local auto convention, here's some pointers to help you get the most out of your experience.
1. Comfortable shoes- All you do in conventions is walk or stand in line. Sometimes, if it's a really long line, you can sit on the debatably clean floor, but beyond that, you're on your feet all day. Yes, lots of times we're at these conventions for work so it's important to look good, but this is not a situation where it's okay to sacrifice your comfort for style. I'm looking mainly at the ladies and their stilettos here, but men, this can apply to you too. 8-12 hours on your feet in bad shoes is enough to put anyone on edge, so what good are you doing your business if you're uncomfortable and agitated? Comfortable shoes are key.
3. A bag you can hold over your head- There's normally tons of swag and awesome finds at conventions, so naturally, you're going to want something to carry it all in. But, if you bring a duffel bag that you can hold over your head, you can kill 2 birds with one stone. I have found that for some reason, if you're holding a bag over your head while trying to walk through a crowded area, people will let you through easier. It either has something to do with looking like you need to get somewhere or people not wanting that bag dropped on their heads, but for whatever reason, holding a bag over your head and saying 'Excuse me! Excuse me!' gets you through a mass of people with a lot less stress.
4. Water- I know I sound a little bit like your mother here, but having water with you at all times is essential. It's hot at these conventions, and there's nothing worse than realizing you're hot, sweaty, and thirsty, only to find that the line for the one food vendor in the convention hall is the length of the hall itself. Since security rarely lets you bring in liquids from outside anymore, it's best to head to the food vendor as soon as you get into the convention, buy a couple bottles of water, and then you're set for the rest of the day. You can even carry them in that bag you're going to hold over your head.
5. Hand sanitizer- We have a saying at G4 that comes up every year after Comic Con, and that is Nerd Flu. It's inevitable that after 4 days of being immersed in large crowds of sweaty people, half of our staff gets sick. Plus, you're constantly meeting people at conventions, and with meeting people, comes handshaking. Lots and lots of handshaking. The best way to avoid contracting Nerd Flu (or whatever Flu might be prevalent to your particular convention) is to have hand sanitizer with you at all times. No need to go crazy and sanitize after every handshake or ill-timed bump, but using it frequently throughout the day could save you a lot of unwanted downtime later.
6. A great restaurant nearby- Once you've survived your day of insanity-inducing crowds and barely-edible food court food, you, my friend, have deserved a reward. And that reward should be in the form of a fantastically cooked meal at a restaurant no more than 10-15 minutes away. My particular joint in San Diego is Acqua Al 2 in the Gaslamp District. Their blueberry filet is the perfect meal to rejuvenate me after an impossibly long day on my feet. Get a good glass of wine, enjoy your food, and be proud knowing you lived to convene another day.
Follow along with Alison on Twitter: @alisonhaislip
Photo above of Alison Haislip by Courtney Lindberg, make up by Desirae Cherman, hair by Kristen Heitkotter and wardrobe by Fernanda Carneiro Designs.