If you're important enough that you might be nominated for an Eisner this year, you'll want to know this: the six people who will be ruthlessly judging you have been selected. You can see their mugshots and descriptions here.
It's kind of crazy that I've been immersed in San Diego Comic-Con all these years and never knew the Eisner panel was so small. I thought it was some large and shadowy organization like the Academy Award judges. But apparently I was only half-right; these 6 judges select the nominees in April and then "professionals in the comic book industry" will vote on them.
The deadline for submitting nominations: 17 March. CCI will share the guidelines in January.
I find this very endearing: if you bought an ECCC pass as a Christmas gift, you can create a special gift certificate to give to the lucky recipient. There are 3 different designs and you can download them from the ECCC website.
Also, consider this your final reminder: if you can't go to Emerald City after all, and need to request a refund, 31 December is your deadline. And let's be honest, you won't remember to do it once you're visiting your parents and going to your hometown bar with old friends at night and playing with your new tech toys - so it's probably best to request that refund now. You can do that by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 1-888-718-4253.
ECCC has made 2 exciting announcements:
1) They're partnering with the Pacific Science Center for 2015
2) They're giving away PacSci IMAX tickets
It's a simple contest, but you have to act fast. Follow ECCC on Tumblr and reblog the contest post with your favorite Hobbit-related gif by 5 pm on Monday, 15 December. Tickets are valid through the end of June.
As for the ECCC 2015 partnership - details are to come. Feel free to speculate.
If you're staking your 2015 SDCC hopes on becoming a volunteer, act now. The interest list is open.
To be clear, this isn't the list to become a volunteer - it's the list where you officially tell CCI you'd like to become a 2015 volunteer. It ensures you'll get the email notifying you of volunteer registration. Yes, the process is that multi-stepped. It goes like this: returning volunteers get first dibs in Priority Volunteer Registration in early 2015. After that, it's first come, first serve through online volunteer registration.
To sign up, go into your Member ID account and click the Volunteering tab.
You might want some hard odds on getting accepted, but I can't help you with that. I do know that many thousands of people apply and only some are accepted. So go ahead and sign up, but make peace with the fact that you may not be chosen. (Something you're no doubt used to by now.)
If you want a San Diego Comic-Con press pass for Christmas, you only have a few days left to apply.
12 December is your deadline here, and I'd suggest starting right now if you haven't already. Depending on your category - print, broadcast, production company, blogger/podcast, documentary, online press, freelance journalist, photographer or videographer - you'll need to assemble various materials and plead your case oh so eloquently and generally get organized in a way that's best not left to zero hour.
ECCC cosplayers: if you want to demonstrate your glory for all and sundry next March, you can register for the Emerald City Comicon costume contest between 5 January and 27 February. You need to have your gameplan mapped out when you sign up (for the most part) so start thinking about it now if you haven't already.
The content will happen on Saturday, 28 March, at 8:00 pm. Excitingly, there are new categories for 2015.
If you want to participate in the contest:
You need a Saturday pass and you need to register for the costume contest itself. Here are the rules:
- You must know what your costume is.
- Your costume must be new - you can't recycle last year's. However, "new" in this instance means "cannot have been used to compete at ECCC or any other costume contest." If you just walked around in it at another Con, that's fine.
- You can enter as a single person, a couple/duo or a group - limit is 9 people.
There are two categories, which I'll quote verbatim because I have no idea what "Worbla" is:
- Tailoring (costume primarily cloth, fabric, spandex, etc. with emphasis on tailoring)
- Tinkering (working w/ Worbla, electronics, armor, anime-sized weapons, with emphasis on hardware)
If you want to attend the contest:
You need a Saturday pass. You don't need an extra ticket beyond that; you just need to get in line.
I have no idea what the prizes are or what expertise level is expected at this contest. But given that cosplay seems to be a serious pastime across the globe, I'd imagine we'll see some impressive costumes. At any rate, this might help some people decide whether or not to buy a Saturday pass.
If you scored a 3-day pass to Emerald City Comicon, but have since learned you won't be able to attend, you have a month to request a refund. The deadline is 31 December.
Two fun facts: while 3-day passes are indeed sold out, single day passes for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are still available. So you can still see the full show; you'll just pay a little extra. Also, there's no Badge Resale where all the refunded badges go up for sale at once like with San Diego Comic-Con. Instead passes are made available to the public as they get refunded.
Hopefully you won't need to request a refund, and you spent Thanksgiving being smug with gratitude at having an ECCC pass and/or SDCC badge.
For a few years now we've been hearing about the expanded convention center. When would it happen? How many people would it hold? Where would we go if it didn't happen?
We all know the planned expansion is on hold, but the idea that SDCC might just up and take itself to a different city with a bigger venue has always lingered tantalizingly in the air. However, that possibility looks like so much dust now.
CCI has officially said - in the voice of David Glanzer - that an expanded center "is not a must" for staying in San Diego: “An expansion would be great for the city and us, but if it doesn’t happen we’ve been able to make do without it, and if we can mitigate the concerns we do have we’ll be able to stay here.”
What? We're going to struggle through a severely capped Registration Day forever? It's never going to get better??
Some of those "concerns" have to do with hotel room rates and space at satellite venues. Yawn. I do like that San Diego is plotting new ways to hold onto Comic-Con but it's not exactly a surprise - we're an annual summer gift to the local economy and many business owners and politicians are keen to keep us around.
This article details a few of the efforts being made on our behalf:
- Asking local hotels to keep their rates at 2016 levels for 2017-2018. So far almost 30 of the 50ish hotels in the SDCC block have agreed.
- "Major waterfront convention hotels" - wild guess, that would be the Hilton Bayfront, Marriott Marquis and Hyatt - will offer meeting space.
- The convention center will offer a discounted rent, which this year was nearly 200,000. I actually thought it would have been higher.
Okay, so all of that is well and good, but it's not going to admit more attendees. And I found this quote mildly irritating: "Comic-Con has expressed concern over the last several years that it's getting very expensive for their attendees to come to San Diego and while they recognize that they're here at a premium time of year, they feel they're being taken advantage of to a degree. I believe that Comic-Con is ours to keep but we can't get too cocky and create an environment that doesn't work for their customers."
An environment that doesn't work for us? That wouldn't be San Diego at large - I'm fine with the city and I think most other attendees are too. It's the actual policies and practices of the Con itself that we have a gripe with. And money isn't one of them. CCI has frequently referred to the fact that they want to keep badge prices low, but I think this should be a low, low priority on their Fix List. The demand for badges is overwhelming. That means people are more than happy to pay the current badge prices and would probably pay more. Ditto hotel rooms - you don't see the Day's Inn selling out and the most expensive rooms at the Hyatt lingering on the site for weeks. People are willing to spend on Comic-Con and the expense is not what we're unhappy about.
Anyhow, that's the update. San Diego may be our home forever, but that means the current struggles may also be our lot forever. Fingers crossed the powers that be find a way to finance the expansion.
It looks like we can expect another MTV rager next year at Comic-Con; the MTV2 Fandom Awards will tape on 9 July 2015 at SDCC. (Thursday, as with other years.) The show will air that Sunday, 12 July.
No word yet on who will headline the show. Is the 2015 show happening at warp speed or is it just me?
So the dust has settled since we all got handed our first round results in Pre-reg. Some of us got lucky, some got nothing, and some of us landed in that weird gray zone of ambivalence known as the Thursday/Sunday split.
This isn't the worst thing that can befall you if you're a local. Thursday has plenty of great panels and a well-stocked Exhibit Hall; Sunday has great deals and lots of children's panels if you're a parent. But if you're planning on travelling to San Diego Comic-Con, you now have to decide if it's worth it to spend on four nights in a hotel just to get 2 days at the Con.
Here's my perspective. If the Con was the only thing in play, I'd probably cancel my Sunday badge and just fly in and out on Thursday, or maybe just spend Weds and Thursday night there. But there is so much else to do at SDCC outside the Con proper. You should know this, because you were there last summer - but let me remind you of:
- All the cool promotional attractions that it can be normally hard to make time for - like GOT experience, ziplining, all the Adult Swim stuff in PetCo Park, Assassin's Creed this past summer. These get better every year and they can take up a full day.
- All the parties that you have every intention of going to, but then miss because you fell into bed after a full day of panels completely zonked. When you don't have to get up in the morning for a panel, you can have a very good time the night before.
- Nerd HQ. No SDCC badge required here, and often the best celebrities and coolest panels.
- Gam3rCon. Not just games - you have tech launches, bands, comedy shows and rooftop parties to attend.
- The city itself. Go to Coronado Island, swim, visit the science museums in Balboa park.
And of course, you can always just relax. I know that's not a word we associate with Comic-Con but when you don't have a Saturday badge, you can spoil yourself. Get a massage. Hang out poolside. Order up room service and lay around in bed eating ice cream and reading all the comic books you bought the day before.
As always, there's nothing wrong with deciding to put your Comic-Con dollars elsewhere. If you haven't been to some of the other big non-SDCC Cons, you might think they're all rinky-dink basement events full of fifth-tier actors and a lot of back issue comics. That may have been the case 5 years ago, but these days these other Cons can hold their own. I've already beat the drum for Emerald City and Salt Lake in particular, but look around and take a chance. I think purists who will only hold out for San Diego would be surprised at the firepower other Cons can offer these days.
But before you cancel that SDCC badge, hold out for Open Reg. And think outside the convention center walls.
Now that Pre-reg is over, the usual cries and complaints are echoing across social. This isn't fair; get it together, CCI; the teams and groups are skewing the system; etc.
Here's what I think. One, of course most of us weren't going to get a badge. It's only Pre-reg. That isn't some devious shortcoming on CCI's part, it's basic math. CCI can't let only previous attendees go to Comic-Con, therefore a huge number of us weren't going to get a badge today.
Yes, it went fast. I think it should be slowed down, with smaller groups let in, for Open Reg. I say that because I was one of the people caught on a cusp, and it sucked. I saw Saturday was low, then got in; somehow at that exact second Saturday and Friday sold out; Thursday was marked as sold out too with 0 available, yet it let me buy Thursday badges. Given how fast everything went, I think a lot of people were in the same situation I was - expecting one thing when they got in and finding something very different. It seemed even the system couldn't keep up with itself.
I don't know if fewer badges were sold, as everyone is speculating. CCI may have decided to offer a higher number in Open Registration, but it's more likely they just improved the speed of their network. The team approach also made it go fast. I know that isn't what everyone wants to hear.
As for those groups and teams - this strikes many people as unfair. I'm thinking it might be best to restrict badge-buying to just two people. The most fair method would be one badge bought for each Member ID, but that would force a lot of people to attend without any friends. On the other hand, the current system still leaves some friends and family members in the dust while others get lucky. My vote is for 2 people per registration session.
If you're super angry right now, and are cursing San Diego Comic-Con while stabbing pins into a wax poppet, then I will repeat my suggestion to try other Cons. I know SDCC is frustrating. It isn't worth it for everyone. For comic book nerds, Emerald City still has passes available (and hotel rooms and passes are way cheaper than SDCC); cosplayers have Phoenix Comicon to hit in June; DragonCon is a great choice for sci fi/fantasy fans and general partiers on Labor Day Weekend; Salt Lake City Comic Con in early September is massive and can hold its own with SDCC, with only a slight shortcoming in the Hollywood arena. Don't think SDCC is the only show in town - it isn't.
Overall, there's no perfect solution. I'm sorry for all of you who didn't get a badge today, but buck up - you've still got Open Registration to look forward to. I washed out too today (as an out-of-towner, do you really think I want to pay for 4 nights in a hotel for 2 days at SDCC?) and I still feel confident about Open Reg.
Finally, as I said earlier - be good to yourself today. We all just went through a very stressful morning.
It's all over.
On the whole, today went smooth and fast. It has taken less than half the time to sell these badges than it did last Pre-reg; that could be because they're saving more badges for Open Registration, or it could be that they've juiced up their system. Preview Night went very quickly.
To compare, here's how last year sold:
Preview Night sold out by 9:32. Saturday and Friday were gone by 10:26, Thursday by 10:51 and then it was all over with by 11:15.
Preview Night was gone by 9:25. Saturday and Friday disappeared at the same time, around 9:40. Thursday and Sunday were gone by 9:48.
I know those of us who washed out want to believe there were fewer badges sold today, so we have more of a chance in Open Reg. Whether that's true or not, it's important to stay positive and be glad we have 2 chances at a badge, not just one.
Well, that was a bitter pill. I got picked before Saturday was announced as sold out, and as soon as I got to the badge screen it said only Sunday was left. Somehow it let me buy Thursday badges as well even though they were marked O available.
That was one fast sale.
Saturday is almost sold out.
Preview Night is gone. This sale is moving faster than the last one.
Preview Night is already low.
I know. It's beyond nerve-wracking.
We're just minutes away from getting sorted. So here's my final advice - screenshot the critical pages once you get in. If, god forbid, something happens and you get frozen or booted midway through your sale, you'll have evidence to take to CCI. Traditionally they've been pretty good about compensating people who legitimately got picked for a badge, but got zapped by a glitch.
And if for some reason you haven't done your homework for today, use these final minutes wisely:
Don't forget to hit the bathroom before you settle in. It was 2 hours before they called it last Pre-reg.
Also make sure you've adjusted your power save settings. And if you think any of your badge sale comrades might have slept through their alarm, now's the time for a check-in.
Not that I expect an answer from them or anything.
The waiting room says at the bottom that badge sale inventory will be held for 5 minutes only. I'm pretty sure that's a typo and it should say 15 minutes. I just tweeted CCI to confirm.
The confused people who see the badge sale talk and ask how they can participate reminds me that SDCC attendance is pretty much an insider's game at this point. It’s an actual skill set where you have to know to get your Member ID and navigate the badge sale - to even get a ghost of a chance at attending, outsiders have to master that learning curve. Usually they find out too late and then they forget about it until the following year when they see more badge sale buzz and it's once again too late. SDCC is definitely not for the casual fan.
It's here. We all know the process and the right approach, and there's nothing to do but wait and see if the Comic-Con gods smile upon us today.
I think the most important thing we all need to remember is that today offers just a fraction of the badges available, and we all get a second chance in Open Registration. (Except those of us who get a Preview Night badge.) The odds are probably against you, me and anyone else getting the perfect badge. Those of us who do will be a lucky minority. So don't feel like Fate kicked you in the teeth today if you wash out - you'll be in good company.
I really miss those sweet, sweet days when Pre-registration meant walking up to the Sails Pavilion, filling out a piece of paper and handing it with your credit card to a bored-looking lady behind a terminal.
It's Pre-reg Eve. By now you've tested your browser, swapped info with all your badge sale comrades, and set aside a credit card.
But don't forget to also retrieve your Badge ID number. Just go in your Member ID account and click on the Registration Info tab. People keep saying the process is the identical to last year's and it isn't exactly - it's almost identical, but you do need your Badge ID number to access the waiting room.
Good luck. I'll be live-blogging and Tweeting the sale tomorrow like always, and will keep everyone posted with updates as soon as I hear them.
CCI's Toucan blog came out with advice today on Pre-reg. It's worth reading, although a lot of it is the same question with different people involved. ("Can I buy for my husband/friend/give my Badge ID to another Member ID/etc?" NO is the answer to everything.)
What I found most salient: the fact that we will NOT know our place in line. While that was kind of expected, the explanation was interesting. "There is no virtual line. The line was removed when we went to the random selection process. Members are randomly selected in groups from the waiting room for their registration sessions. Not only are you assigned randomly to a group, but those inside the group are sorted at random." Then they go into a cereal metaphor in which we're all Cheerios waiting to be eaten. They don't draw a parallel between soggy left-in-the-bowl cereal and not getting picked/eaten, but I'm sure we're all thinking it.
What else matters - and I'm going to strongly suggest everyone read this directly - is their advice on running multiple browsers. I personally feel separate devices are the way to go, rather than Chrome and Firefox on the same laptop, but I recognize not everyone has that option. So here it is - you can't run multiple tabs of the waiting room in the same browser, but you can use different browsers on the same device. Again - I think it's safer to use different devices.
I feel very detached about Pre-reg being in 2 days, which might mean my badge-mojo is weak and I'll wash out. Or maybe the randomness of it all removes the anxiety. Not sure, but I've noticed people seem pretty calm in general about it. Probably that will all change on Saturday morning.
Have you ever wondered how much money we pour into San Diego each July? Wonder no longer: San Diego Workforce Partnerships has calculated that San Diego Comic-Con made a $178 million impact for 2014. And that's eliminating some factors, like, say, the money a studio spent to have a giant sign hung off the Hilton Bayfront. So the final tally is probably higher.
You can read the whole article here (fun fact: the average convention center employee makes $13.36 an hour) and see the breakdown of wages and business. As the article concludes, "Clearly Comic-Con’s impact is far-reaching—beyond the outlandish costumes and celebrity sightings." We already knew that, of course, but it's always good to put a dollar sign on it.
Finally, despite numerous blogs posting numerous posts on Pre-reg, and CCI churning out videos and painstaking instructions, some people effed it up last year by trying to do it on their iPhone or using some esoteric browser. If you’re prone to acting randomly like that, get it together. There’s no room for individuality when it comes to an SDCC badge sale – you have to follow the process by the book.
And that's my advice. I will say that I haven’t seen too many complaints or accusations since Pre-reg was announced. Were there snafus last time? Yes, of course. Sessions closed prematurely; some people were told their Member ID had already bought a badge (which could make for a cool alternate universe/SDCC conspiracy story); sometimes the blue circle stopping spinning and just froze, truly a sign of doom.
Saturday, Pre-Registration Day
7 am - 9 am PST: You'll use your Badge ID to get into the EPIC waiting room. You'll do this using a Chrome, IE, Safari or Firefox browser, NOT on a mobile device. You will only use one computer, because if you try to log in on a 2nd device with your Member ID, it'll just cancel out the previous one. According to CCI, it doesn't matter when you get into the waiting room.
Shortly after 9 am PST: Pre-registration will go live. We’ll all be randomly sorted into a line for registration sessions. Don't refresh or you'll go to the back of the line. This can take 10-15 minutes to complete. Watch for a spinning blue circle on the page that indicates your page is still active.
Once/if you're selected, you'll enter the number of people you're buying for, then your name and their names and Member IDs, then go into the badge screen. Check Preview Night, and every box is checked for you. Otherwise, just check the dates you want. You have 15 minutes to complete this phase.
Payment: only American Express, Mastercard or Visa are accepted. No Paypal, no multiple cards.
CCI's Pre-registration page
I'll post my advice on navigating a successful Pre-reg session tomorrow.
At last we know - Pre-registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2015 will be on Saturday, 8 November. That's right - THIS Saturday. It's probably best that we don't have too many days to get anxious and worked up about it.
The process will go mostly like it did last year, although this year you'll need your Badge ID. Don't freak out if you tossed your badge after validating it; you can get your ID in your Member ID account.
I'll post actual instructions and advice in a bit. For now, clear your calendar on Saturday morning.
It's that time of year when you offer up your press credentials to CCI and hope that they find favor with them.
If you've never applied for a press pass before, take a look at the instructions and checklist and figure out if you qualify. If you're returning press, log into your Member ID account and see if you need to re-verify - you will see DUE or NOT DUE.
The deadline is 12 December. I'll say what I say every year - despite what you hear about anyone being able to get a press pass, you do need solid credentials to qualify. That said, I've seen people from obscure magazines and outlets get press passes and other people from bigger outlets get denied, so go on and roll the dice - maybe you'll get lucky.
Everyone who predicted all 3-day passes would be gone by Halloween was right: ECCC has just reported they're about to sell out.
I think if you're serious about going to Emerald City, you've already snatched yours up by now - but consider this a final warning.
ETA: All gone! But single day passes are still available.