Feature: Six things I learnt on my first London Film and Comic-Con
Last week I travelled to London to attend one of the big film and comic-cons of the year, London Film and Comic-Con, held at Earl’s Court. A place where a myriad of comic, film, gaming and television sci-fi and fantasy geeks were going to meet, spend money, have photos taken with their heroes and get autographs. I had previously attended a couple of smaller conventions based mostly on talks, but nothing quite as big as this. This truly was my first big comic-con. I hadn’t really known what to expect, and wasn’t really prepared. So, for everyone thinking of attending the London Film and Comic-Con this October, or any similar comic-con, here’s what I learned…
1) Pre-book it
The comic-con lasts for three days, but in the end my friend and I only managed to get in on the Friday even though we had been hoping to attend the Saturday too. Why? Because I hesitated and did not pre-book our tickets for Saturday online. This was partly down to shifting arrangements and discovering we could stay in London than originally planned, but nonetheless I had a chance and I missed it. This meant we were relying on buying tickets on the door, and anyone who went to LFCC on Saturday will know that the queue outside was huge! So the lesson here? Pre-book all the days you intend to go. I’d also advise pre-booking photo shoot tickets too, as this will save time and guarantee you get that photo…
2) There’s going to be queues
Queuing, according to a convention savvy friend of mine, is pretty much a given. You’re going to be queueing – to get in, to get photos and to get autographs. Probably for the toilets, stalls and food when its super busy too, so be prepared to be patient. When it comes to queuing to get in, if you intend to start queueing early, then I’d advise taking something to drink and perhaps a something to read – though you can always chat with friends or fellow queueing geeks. Also, depending on the season I would think umbrella’s and coats would be useful too. Inside, you can reduce the amount of queuing required by pre-booking photo shoots and by having cash to pay for autographs, otherwise you’ll have to wait in line for the sales desk.
3) Take some cash
My friend and I wasted a good few minutes of possible geeking and shopping to dash outside to get cash, so its worth remembering to have it on you before you go in. Stalls do take cards, but autographs need to be paid for in cash if you want to just queue for them, instead of going to the sales desk first. Also, its going to easier to pay for small items with cash then constantly using your card.
4) Ask cosplayers before taking pictures/expect people to take pictures
This was mentioned on the conventions Twitter feed, that if you see a cool cosplayer, its polite to ask if you can take a picture instead of just snapping. It also means you’ll get a better picture as the cosplayer is likely to pose for you. Meanwhile, if you’re cosplaying yourself, expect a few people to ask if they can take your photo too.
5) Save up, this is going to be expensive
I knew I was going to spend because the place would be full of stalls – though in the end we never had time – but I hadn’t realised quite how much money you spend, and how quickly, buying autographs and photos! You also have to buy tickets for the guests panels too. So, be prepared to spend and perhaps save up some special money beforehand, or even set yourself a limit.
6) Have fun!
Obviously despite all the serious advice above, conventions are meant to be a fun few days to splash out, meet people of similar interests, cosplayer and meet some of your heroes, so enjoy it!