Be realistic about your SDCC downtown hotel dreams

6 FEBRUARY 2019

 

Hey, hey, it's almost Valentine's Day. And if you're calculating just how much to splash out on your latest paramour, remember that another expense is looming in your future - the deposit on your San Diego Comic-Con hotel room.

Early Bird's been running for a few weeks now, but most of the hotels - even the best one, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina - are still available. That tells me that hope still springs eternal among Comic-Con attendees, who year after year prefer to gamble on the hotel sale lottery and its dismal odds, rather than choose the sure thing that is an Early Bird room.

(In case you're a first-timer who doesn't know what Early Bird is: You can book a room now, paying all nights up front. The lodgings aren't lux but they are definitely yours and you can skip the existential horror that is the SDCC hotel sale. Read the details here.)



Most of you are familiar with the terrible SDCC hotel lottery. If you're not, know that it's actually worse than the badge sale in some ways. A very tiny number of people squeak into good downtown hotel rooms; everyone else either thinks they did well but winds up with a motel by Sea World, or they think they'll get a Sea World motel and wind up with nothing. Somehow the assignment email always manages to surprise and devastate.

Even worse, it's an anxiety that lingers. You find out about Hotel Day and get nervous; it comes and goes; you wait for the first batch of hotel assignments, wait another week for the next batch, wait for the wait list to go live. Etc. It's torturous and it just goes on and on.

So why am I bringing this up now? Because I just tried steering a first-timer toward Early Bird and she got insulted and informed me she was deciding between the Marriott or Hilton Bayfront. Okay then! That's kind of like deciding between an invite to the EW party and a private dinner with Jason Momoa, in that neither is going to happen for 99.7% of us. And I'm not saying that to be mean; I just want to manage expectations, because Hotel Day is rough.

What you can do now:
  • Book an Early Bird room. (Again, the Sheraton is closer than a lot of the hotels you could get in the lottery - just saying.)
  • Start making back-up plans for a hostel, time share, family friend's sofa, etc.
  • Team up with roommates to afford an egregiously priced downtown room outside the CCI sale.

Most likely you'll roll the dice on Hotel Day. I know that. But before you sail into those waters and get dashed upon the rocks, consider steering your ship into the safe and welcoming harbor that is the Early Bird sale. Most of the hotels are on the shuttle route, you'll save money and you can spare yourself the anguish of waiting for that email that never says what you want it to.

Like this one:



Or this one:


Just think about it. Early Bird - you can settle your hotel business now and skip the gut-wrenching anxiety storm soon to descend on the rest of us.



ETA: I should clarify a few deposit facts. I know some of you are new to SDCC and you're probably baffled and maybe a little panicked about the hotel rates you're seeing online. So here are your options:

Early Bird: If you book a room this way, through CCI, your rates are quite reasonable but you have to pay your entire bill now.



The hotel lottery:
This is also through CCI. While you are not guaranteed a room, any room you do get will be significantly discounted over what you'd pay otherwise. (Usually.) The lottery works like this: you jump into a waiting room (sound familiar?) and wait to get picked for a session. Once you're picked, you enter your personal information and your top choices for downtown and non-downtown rooms. Later you get an email with an assigned hotel (which often is not one of your choices) or you get an email saying you got nothing. (See above.) If you're assigned a room, you'll be asked to pay a 2 night deposit. So if you get a room that's about $300 a night, you'll need to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 plus taxes and fees. It's refundable for a while.



Random hotel rooms you find online:
You can prowl around the websites for Marriott Marquis, Omni, Manchester Grand Hyatt, Horton, Hilton Gaslamp and other downtown hotels but you'll usually get a "no rooms available during those dates" message. If you are allowed to book a room during SDCC, the rates will be astronomical. Don't let despair drive you to this level unless you can truly afford it.


FWIW, I have a safety room at the Gaslamp Comfort Inn, half a mile from the convention center, $550 a night, no deposit, cancellable til 3 July. Not my ideal, but I know I have a downtown roof over my head no matter what. If you are as risk-averse as I am, calculate what you are willing to spend in a worse case scenario and see if you can arrange a back-up. It'll make the hotel sale a lot less stressful.

ECCC panels, artists and exhibitors are live

24 JANUARY 2019




Emerald City Comic Con STILL has tickets available for every day but Saturday - and if you buy by tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 25, you can still get your tickets mailed to you.

On the fence? Lucky for you, ECCC published their list of exhibitors, artists and panels today - so take a look and see if you're swayed.

Here's my quick panel assessment:

Thursday: Heavy on cosplay and comics. That's traditional for Thursday. Since I may not roll into ECCC until Friday, I was relieved not to see anything I couldn't miss - but there are definitely some good choices, especially for creatives.

Friday: This day is more mixed, with still plenty of creative panels, creator spotlights, paranormal stories, LGBTQ+ this and that, cosplay and science. And you get to bask in the splendor of Boy Meets World, George Takei and Ian Somerhalder.

Saturday: Another mixed day, with plenty of fandom panels for Doctor Who and Star Wars and other fans, sci-fi, cosplay and some random panels celebrating cats in comics, goths and other niche nerdness. I'm here for it, but I still like Friday better.

Sunday: Stranger Things kicks off the day on the Main Stage but overall it's kind of a light day. A sprinkling of comic content, cosplay and nerd culture, pretty much. And of course there are panels for little nerds as well.

Overall ECCC seems to be sticking with the diversity, comic and creative panels that have made them so popular in the past - but there's plenty of other fan, cosplay and science material as well. My day of choice is Friday but YMMV.




Now. Let's talk about your nocturnal Con life. You'll be in Seattle so obviously you can find something to do by just walking outside your hotel. But you have a few official options open to you as well:
  • A Star Trek lecture involving "rare photos, memos and footage" (Thursday)
  • A Battlestar Galactica discussion involving the same (Thursday)
  • Guardians of the Sexy burlesque show (Friday and Saturday)
  • Kracklefest 9 with rappers and bands (Friday)
  • ECCC Western Championship of Cosplay (Saturday)

Finally, don't forget the photo op and autograph sales are live - and you can sign up for the Funko lottery on 4 February.

Emerald City is just weeks away!



Catching up with ECCC

6 JANUARY 2019








Emerald City Comic Con is just 9 weeks away - which feels pretty crazy, since some of us are still recovering from New Year's Eve. And surprisingly, even though the 4-day tickets and Saturday sold out almost immediately, Thursday, Friday and Sunday are still available. Also, for the first time, ECCC is partnering with Lyte to offer up refunded tickets. So you might get a full ticket yet.

Let's review the reasons why you want to go - or what you can anticipate, if you already have your tickets.


  • The best comic book creators will be there. I'm not just talking about the same faces you see at all the other Cons, but writers and artists you won't see anywhere else.

  • The celebrities on deck so far include the Boy Meets World cast (yes, Cory and Topanga are coming to Comic Con), some of the Stranger Things kids, Brienne/Gwen Christie, George Takei, assorted actors from Battlestar Galactica, Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, Wynonna Earp, etc

  • The extensive gaming area will include tournaments and free play, console gaming, board games, RPG and an indie games showcase.


  • Penguin Random House is holding exclusive "Book Club" sessions at the Con that sound like they're cross-genre.

  • The cosplay is top notch. I won't get too political here, but anyone in Nerd World is aware of the resentments brewing over "real" cosplayers and the ones assumed to have more impure motives, such as launching their modeling careers or advertising various websites and products. I can promise you that ECCC will offer up some inventive and deep-nerd cosplay.


Also keep these deadlines in mind:


  • Photo ops and autographs go live at noon PST on 17 January. 
  • If you want your tickets mailed to you, buy before 18 January.

I know 2019 is just starting to crawl out of time's womb, but now really is the moment to think about which Con you're going to attend this year. You already know if you're not going to San Diego Comic-Con; as you consider all the other Cons filling spring, summer and fall, think about starting off your nerd calendar with ECCC, one of the best Comic Cons in the world. You'll get all of the fun of a bigger Con and hardly any of the stress. And right now it's completely within reach.






Dealing with your badge sale disappointment

10 NOVEMBER 2018




Today was your last chance to go to San Diego Comic-Con 2019. I don't ever recall Open Registration being this early, which may bring an extra sting to your defeat; you have eight months ahead of you in which you'll listen to everyone else get excited while you know you're staying home.

Open Registration has been difficult for years, but this year did seem especially competitive. I had seven people I was buying for and not one got picked. Granted, I was very lucky during Returning Reg so it all balances out (kind of) but I heard (and saw firsthand) many sad tales today. One of my friends, who's gone to SDCC with her boyfriend-now-husband for the last 7 years, got nothing and is vacillating between shock and crying. And when the death of John Rogers, CCI President, was announced, it just intensified what was a gloomy day for many attendees.


If you got nothing - or "just" a Thursday or Sunday badge - here are your options.

Go anyhow. 

You can show up, take pictures of the cosplayers, go to public parties and try to feel like an attendee. Would I recommend you do this? No.  You'll feel more like a ghost as you see people line up for activations and panels you can't get into, and you'll still suffer through the uglier parts of Comic-Con: crowds and long wait times for restaurants. 

See if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone.

This has gotten harder and harder to do, but see if you can shake the tree and find a studio, publisher, retail or industry contact with a badge to spare. If you live in LA, this isn't a Herculean feat.


Stoically prep for next year.

This is the most sensible option. Make friends in the SDCC online community and work with a reputable group next Open Reg. Or build a local network of nerds and fans from your city's Comic-Con, film societies, comic shops, gaming nights and cosplay clubs. You'll meet people who might want to join forces for San Diego Comic-Con 2020.

Start researching other Cons. 

My friend screamed at me today when I said this to her. SDCC is where she and her husband have their rituals, their restaurants, their memories, etc. I get it. Nostalgia is powerful. But if you're not going to SDCC, there's no point in sitting home and moping. Look at ECCC, NYCC, Salt Lake, DragonCon, Denver, Gen Con, London and so on. No, they won't be SDCC but they'll have their own attractions and offerings and in most cases, offer an easier attendee experience. Just go. Or look into a different kind of convention. Two of my ex-SDCC friends recently went to a true crime convention and had a great time.


Keep an eye out for Comic-Con jobs.

Some places will need help setting up and tearing down, handling transactions, passing out swag and promotions, or being a glorified gopher. Sometimes you'll have to send in a headshot and look pretty, and sometimes not. Before you commit to anything, see if you actually get badges and access. If you don't, or you only get 45 minutes a day to roam the convention center, it may not be worth it. Two of my first-timers had Exhibit Hall jobs last year and they wound up wishing they had more freedom to explore.


Keep your Thursday/Sunday badge.

If you're new to SDCC, you might naturally assume that Saturday is when the glory rolls forth. It's actually pretty glorious on every day, and Saturday can be a revolting mass of humanity. So yes, your Thursday and Sunday badges are worth going for. There are plenty of offsite events to busy yourself with. And SDCC can be tiring and baffling for first-timers; taking a break in the middle to slow down and collect yourself is actually a good idea.


I'm so sorry if you didn't get a badge. Obviously it's a devastating loss. But try to look at it as a doorway to a new adventure. Use your SDCC budget for some exotic location and don't look back. SDCC will be there the following summer.


SDCC Open Registration is here!

10 NOVEMBER 2018





11:14 a.m.

And it's over. All badges for San Diego Comic-Con 2019 have been sold.

10:47 a.m.

Friday is gone.

9:43 a.m.

Saturday is gone. Slow moving sale.

9:27 am

Preview Night is gone.

8:38 a.m.

Just got a panicked text from someone who can't find their code - as in, they can't find the CCI email with the link and code. If this is you, remember that your unique registration code is also listed in your Member ID account. Just log in and click on the Registration Info tab. You'll see your eligibility status and your code.



8:03 a.m.


Our own personal Hunger Games are just an hour away. Are you ready??

There's been a lot of talk about demand for next year. My observations:
  • It's seemed like the SDCC mania has abated just slightly over the past few years; quite a few people I talked to this summer said they wouldn't return. Yet all but one of them changed their mind. 
  • With the CCI hullabaloo over SDCC50, we may have more combatants than usual. However, I don't think your average bear is thinking about San Diego Comic-Con in November or tuned in to the early SDCC50 campaigns. 
  • Many of us perceived a drop in the usual number of Returning Registration spots and theorized that maybe more badges would be available in Open Reg.
I guess we'll just have to see.

One last-minute tip. If you're managing multiple sessions for people today, make sure you know exactly whose code goes with what session. Obviously you want to be fair, but it can also help if you run into problems. One year I had to contact CCI about a person who never got a badge despite my going through the system and they asked what registration code was used for the session. So it can matter.

Good luck. I'll post what I find out.




SDCC Open Reg is tomorrow!

9 NOVEMBER 2018





 
Is it hard for anyone else to believe that tomorrow - Saturday, 10 November, 9 am PST - is Open Registration for the 50th San Diego Comic-Con? This is a monumental occasion. If you've been around for a while, you remember the days when an online badge sale was something you got around to when you felt like it - and if you're been around for a really long time, you may remember the days when you had to mail in a form. (Before my time, but I like hearing about it.)

So. Let's say you're a first-timer, trembling with excitement and nervousness about your very first SDCC badge sale. You probably have some idea of what's in store if you got far enough to create a Member ID and get a registration code. Let's review it all anyhow.



  • Tonight you'll go to bed at a decent hour and forswear all damaging substances. Why? Because your wits need to be sharp for the badge sale.

  • Tomorrow you'll click the magic link provided between 8 and 9 a.m. PST. Does it matter when? There's a whole school of online thought about this, but I will say that my lucky Ret Reg sessions came from the close-to-8 am waiting room session and the almost-9 am waiting session. In other words, don't worry about it.

  • Once in the waiting room, you'll see the infamous spinning blue circle that seems like you're being brainwashed. You'll see mild nerd jokes from CCI. You'll see a lot of social media meltdowns. If you're smart, you'll organize a little camp of drinks and credit cards and your buying group documentation - last names, Member IDs, days requested, payment methods. 

  • If family members, housemates or anyone else seems like they might be a nuisance, you'll warn them to leave you alone. You absolutely cannot take your eye off the ball for a second during a badge sale. During Ret Reg, I heartlessly locked my brand new kitten in my bedroom despite his cries because he has a gift of shutting down laptops with a single paw. If you have rambunctious pets, make sure they cannot interfere with your equipment by leaping onto keyboards, chewing on cords, etc.

  • At 9 a.m. PST, CCI will tell you the sale is about to begin and everyone is being organized randomly into groups. This is when your anxiety will skyrocket. Minutes will tick by, you'll wonder if people have been getting placed in buying sessions yet, you'll keep checking Twitter - and eventually you'll find out that yes, other people are buying badges while you're being ignored.

  •  If you stay ignored: it's going to hurt. First you'll hear a message that Preview Night badges are sold out, then Saturday is gone, then Friday is gone, then Thursday, then Sunday and then CCI announces it's all over, you lost, good day, sir.

  • But if you do get picked? Try to calm your shaking hands. You have some time. You'll be asked how many attendees you're buying for: 1, 2 or 3. Be careful - people have accidentally hit 2 instead of 3 and ruined a friend's fate this way. And if someone else buys your badge for you? You can still enter your buying session to buy for 3 other Member IDs.

  • You'll then be asked to input their last names and Member IDs. If someone has already bought them a badge, the system will tell you so. Then you'll pick from the badges that are left - be careful here too so you don't skip a day. Then you'll be taken to a new screen where you'll put in your credit card info, buy the badges and close out.

None of this is quantum physics. While badge sales used to be a nightmare of crashing systems and weird glitches, they usually proceed pretty smoothly these days. You might get bounced; if so, just use the same code to log back in. The real danger is human error. If you do fall victim to a glitch, screenshot everything and email CCI immediately.

And if you're new - please know that the odds aren't great. There will be a lot of people competing for badges tomorrow. Try to maintain perspective. And always remember SDCC is not the only Con worth going to. 2019 will be full of exciting Comic Cons with easier badge sales. I promise.

Talk to you tomorrow.





You can buy and sell ECCC badges on Lyte now

9 NOVEMBER 2018





If you've trafficked with Emerald City Comicon before, you know their badge system works a little differently than some other Cons; you can buy a bunch of badges without saying who they're for, but you haven't been able to resell those badges legitimately or turn them in for a refund.

And if you missed out on getting the ECCC badge you want (it happens), you have to lurk around StubHub and Craigslist and other places to buy a ticket, usually at inflated prices.

That's all changed now.

How It Works

Emerald City is working with Lyte to adjust some of their previous badge practices. Essentially you can both resell a badge you don't need and buy a badge you weren't able to get - no scalpers, ticket scams or mark-up in the mix.

  • Let's say you really want a full ECCC badge but didn't get one. You can "reserve" one through Lyte for any badges that become available.
  • Or maybe your friend bails on you or you get sick or some deadline rears its head - and you tragically can't go to Emerald City after all. Instead of eating the cost or trying to sell your ticket online, you can resell it to Lyte. 
  • How much will you get if you resell? A "fair market offer." Decipher that as you will.

This should bring some hope to those of you who didn't get a full ECCC badge, and offer flexibility to those of you with unpredictable and demanding schedules. It also opens a different Comic-Con window to those of you who don't do well in tomorrow's SDCC Open Registration badge sale.

You can put your name on the Lyte badge reservation list here.

Open Registration is 10 November

31 OCTOBER 2018






Happy Halloween, Samhain and an early Dia de los Muertos, my spooky nerds. If you were one of the many, many attendees who didn't get a Preview Night badge a few weeks ago, then CCI gave you a scary half-trick, half-treat today: Open Registration for San Diego Comic-Con will be held on 10 November, 2018.

Good news? Bad news? I'm-not-ready news? Apparently early Open Reg is the new way of SDCC now - and it does seem to carry an even more fatalistic feeling, coming so early. Before the trees have even gone bare, you may know for certain that you are not going to San Diego Comic-Con.

Or you may know for sure that you are and can settle in with some security.

Two reasons to be optimistic:
  • If you do fail to get a badge, you have more than enough time to make alternate plans. Emerald City, Boston, New York, Gen Con, Salt Lake - you have so many options. 
  • There does seem to be a widely held (if unproven) theory that CCI held back more badges than usual for Open Reg. So your chances may be better than normal. (Or they may not, because #50 may be attracting more combatants than usual.)
As for the sale itself, it will proceed like normal. If this is your first sale, I'll spell it all out for you as we get closer. And if you're so new that you haven't even created your Member ID account yet.... Bad news, you won't be going to SDCC next summer. Only accounts created before this morning can participate in Open Reg.

Have fun tonight.


ECCC Saturday is almost gone

18 OCTOBER 2018



For ECCC 2017 and 2018, Saturday took a week to sell out. Within 24 hours of the 2019 badge sale, Saturday was 95% sold out.

There are a few left now as of Thursday night, but I wouldn't wait much longer if you're looking to get all 4 days. Good luck.

ECCC tickets are live

17 OCTOBER 2018


12:20 pm

And I've gotten my first complaint about full tickets being sold out. Apparently some people still think of this as a sleepy 2nd-tier Con that's easy to get badges for. While it's not quite as competitive as SDCC or NYCC, it's still highly popular and not an easy get.

I'd advise jumping in now to get all 4 days if you want them.

12:14 pm

Looks like full tickets are gone - but you can still get all 4 days separately. You'll just pay a bit more.


12:13 pm

Just a reminder - you can book your hotel too when you're done. I booked a room at the Sheraton, natch, and rooms with double beds were already unavailable for Wednesday night (king rooms were available.) In my experience, ECCC hotel rooms tend to look booked and then be available again - but it's best to book your room now.

12:06 pm

That was painless. I was in the queue at noon and into the buying session at 12:02.

How are you doing?


11:58 am

Tickets for Emerald City are about to go live. The sale should go smoothly - but I expect full tickets will sell out quickly. If you are planning on going and want the full show, make sure you get in at noon PST on the dot.

Tomorrow is the ECCC ticket sale

16 OCTOBER 2018






The ticket sale for one of the most exciting Comic Cons happens tomorrow - Wednesday, 17 October, at noon PST. I'm referring, of course, to Emerald City Comic Con.

I've sung Emerald City's praises many times - you can see two examples here and here. But here's a quick summary of why I love it and why I think you could love it too:

  • ECCC feels like a real comic book convention - not a booming Hollywood hype machine with a few boxes of back issues crammed in. 
  • The Artist's Alley is like no other. It's not shoved in some ignored corner of the convention center. It's a major part of the Con and it's spectacular.
  • Their guests are on point. Generally speaking, there is one room that functions as a Hall H and that's your main option for seeing TV and movie guests (who tend to be really good.) In some ways, that simplicity adds up to an easier and more satisfying Con.
  • In fact, pretty much all of ECCC is easier. Lines are shorter or non-existent, your hotel will be very close and so will most of the events you go to. 
  • Eating, drinking and sleeping is more civilized than at NYCC or SDCC. There are plenty of bars and restaurants right there. And you can sleep in without missing the day's events, because you can usually get into them last minute.
  • The cosplay is world class. 
  • The tickets and hotels are at a friendlier price point than San Diego and New York.


And - sorry to rub salt in your wound - this is a very attractive option for those of you who didn't get an SDCC badge last weekend. Open Registration offers you a second chance but the competition will be stiff. Putting Emerald City in your back pocket can take the sting out of missing San Diego.




Conquering the Sale

  • There will be a queue, as with most big Con ticket sales. Put aside some time for this.
  •  Full tickets will go fast. You should be able to still get all 4 days separately but Saturday has sold out within a week the past 2 years. 
  •  Hotels will go live at the same time.
  •  Don't spin out with anxiety - this isn't as ruthless as a SDCC badge sale. Just be prepared with your hotel choice and your credit card and you'll do okay.

To get tickets, go here tomorrow and wait for the sale to go live.

And if you're on the fence - say yes to this. ECCC has gone from a cool local Con to a semi-secret gem popular with comic fans to one of the highest-rated Cons in the world. Take a chance and go. I don't think you'll regret it.


Returning Reg is here

13 OCTOBER 2018





10:26 am



Well, that was fast. And rather dismal: compared to last year, hardly anyone I know did well. I got lucky fast and then so did a friend's code. But mostly there was an odd lack of activity in my group. One friend's group didn't get in at all. Another group I know that is always supernaturally lucky did get about half their members badges - but half didn't.

One theory: CCI shifted the allocation of badges, saving more for Open Reg - and the high interest in SDCC50.

If you bombed out today, stay confident about Open Reg. And while I say this every year, it goes double for 2019: having a partial badge is not that bad, because of all the offsites that will almost definitely be happening. Yes, I know the offsites weren't great for 2018. But with the hullabaloo SDCC is making about #50, I'm sure many companies will seize what they see as a great marketing opportunity. You will be kept very busy outside the convention center next summer.

So how did you do?



8:38 am

Returning Registration is just minutes away. By now you've (probably) logged into the waiting room, conferenced in your digital war room and braced yourself for the worst - or the best.

I've heard a few reports of people getting kicked out of the waiting room but nothing else so far. Let's hope for a smooth badge sale like last year.

I'm manning a few sessions but will report back any issues I hear.

Last minute Returning Reg prep

12 OCTOBER 2018






Do you feel lucky? Fortune favors the prepared, as they say - so make sure you're ready for tomorrow in these specific ways:


  • You have your money locked down. If your bank account or card limit is a fragile thing, you might want to check funds tonight. Should your card fail, CCI will circle back to you to get it sorted. But it's best to have everything smoothed out now.

  • Your friends are clear on everyone's Member ID, last name spelling and badge preferences. I have seen people fail to get badges because someone had someone's last name spelled wrong. I once bought someone more days than they asked for. Another time someone sent me their Member ID with a hyphen in it and I figured it out with seconds to go. If your info is on a spreadsheet, check and make sure it's correct.

  • You understand the proper time zone translation. Maybe you're traveling, maybe you still think of badge sales as not happening in Daylight Savings Time; just make sure you know what 9 am PST looks like in your land.

  • Your tech is ready. You've tested your browsers, ensured you have a device that won't hang, have a system so you can talk to your buying group while still keeping an eye on your waiting room.


Last year Returning Reg went quite smoothly; of course not, everyone got a badge and that could be you tomorrow. If so, don't spiral. You still have Open Registration. And even if you get partial badges, you'll be fine. All of the 50th SDCC hoopla means there will be plenty of activities going on outside the Con.

Good luck. I'll live blog the sale as much as I can tomorrow but it should go pretty quickly.

Quick reminder about SDCC Open Registration

11 OCTOBER 2018





I know your nerves are going haywire right now over the hand of Comic-Con fate that will descend on us in 2 days. But here's something else to think about - and work into your conversations - over the next few days and weeks.

We don't know yet when Open Registration is, but we do know last year it was well before the holidays. We also know CCI shuts down Member ID registration before the open badge sale. So if you have any friends, beaux or family you'd like to bring along next summer, make sure they register for their own Member ID soon.

There's going to be quite a bit of press about SDCC 50, so it's possible interest in next summer's Con may be even higher than normal. Make sure you do everything you can to help out your first-timer friends who want to go next July.

Tips and answers about Returning Registration

8 OCTOBER 2018






We're just days away from one of the most gut-wrenching mornings of the year. And while Returning Registration is only open to people who attended San Diego Comic-Con this past July, apparently some of you are still headed into your first badge sale. I guess that's not surprising, since many first-timers probably got their badges through a friend who handled the 2018 sale.


Below are answers to the questions I've gotten about Returning Reg.


You can only buy for people who attended 2018.
If you were a first-timer this year, you might be eager to open the door to your friends who haven't gone yet - but that will have to wait for Open Registration. This Saturday, you're only allowed to buy for people who swiped their badges this past summer.


They have to be official attendees, not press, pros or anything else.
The various categories of SDCC citizens can involve a fair amount of crossover. People quit their blog/outlet job and lose their press credentials but want to keep going to the Con; or they decide to embrace the freedom of an attendee and leave vendor life behind. However, only people with a 2018 attendee badge can participate in Ret Reg. If you or your friends are transitioning from one category to another, you'll have to wait for Open Reg.


You can't Paypal, Zelle, etc - this is credit card only.
 I know - some of you have dodgy credit or certain card limits or some other barrier to slapping 3 Preview Night badges on a Visa. The only answer here is to transfer funds to a debit card, make some arrangement with your bank for a temporary card or borrow someone's. Or find someone kind enough to cover you while you make installments.



There's no payment plan. You need to pony up on the spot.

I got an angry email this weekend from someone who informed me there was no way they could pay almost a thousand dollars this weekend. I don't make the prices. But they have a point everyone should consider - if you're working in a buying group and get picked while Preview Night badges are live, that's 3 badges at almost $300 a pop you'll need to pay for.

Now imagine you're covering your own session and someone else's and they both get picked for Preview Night for 3 badges - that's $1800 you'll fork over. Ideally your comrades will pay you immediately but it's still something you're responsible for covering during the transaction.


If someone buys you a badge, your waiting room session is still active - but you'll need to use other member IDs and names.
Several people asked me this. Let's say a friend gets picked and buys your badge. You're taken care of - but you're still live in the waiting room. Should you drop out? Will your session be cancelled? No and no. Once you're picked, you can buy other people badges by inputting their last names and Member IDs. The system doesn't know or care that the person (you) who started that waiting room session already has a badge.

And if you input someone's last name and Member ID who already has a badge - which can happen in the fast pace of a badge sale - the system will tell you that. Just move on to the next person who needs one.


They don't release the exact percentage of badges sold, but it's a good amount.  
You're competing against a smaller number of people in this sale - so don't skip it. That said, if you don't do as well as you hope, you'll get a second chance in Open Registration. Let's say you only get Thursday and Sunday this weekend. In Open Reg, you can try again for Saturday, Friday and Preview Night.


If this is your first badge sale, follow all of CCI's recommendations to test your system.
Don't take a laissez-faire approach to this sale. Weird tech glitches and browser incompatibilities and other issues can crop up, so make sure you're in good shape ahead of time.



If this is your first buying group, be respectful of other people's information and generosity.
People will share quite a bit of personal information with their buying group - email addresses, last names, Paypal data, Facebook and Twitter info. Some people even swap credit card information. Be discreet. And don't be the person who "joins" multiple buying groups to better their chances. People will be able to tell that you're not actually participating and you'll just end up alienating potential friends and helpers.


Yes, it's probably too late to join a buying group. But it doesn't hurt to ask.
Just realize that most groups are formed by people who trust each other because they belong to the same forum or have interacted extensively online. If you're a complete stranger, people may not be ready to put their financial trust - or Comic-Con future - in your hands. It's not just a question of money and privacy, but also reliability. Can you be counted on to smoothly complete the sale? Will you try to sell your badge online six months from now, making CCI cancel all the badges in that transaction? People want to make sure nothing jeopardizes their SDCC badge, so expect some vetting. It's not personal.


And one final tip - try to keep your calendar loose on Saturday. If you do fail to get a badge, you won't want to spend the afternoon or evening with people in a glum mood. But for now, think positive!



Returning Registration is 13 October

2 OCTOBER 2018



Lucky 13! That's the day your next San Diego Comic-Con badge jumps into your life, assuring you a spot in the convention center next summer. (Or maybe not, but let's think positive.)

Returning Registration will take place on 13 October, Saturday morning, and it looks to be business as usual: an emailed link and reg code, a waiting room, your accelerating heartbeat. What is new: CCI's #SDCC50 hashtag, which they are very excited about, so please use it often.

If you need to refresh your badge sale memory, all the rules are here.

2018 first-timers: this will be your first Returning Registration. It functions just like the Open Reg you got your badge in. The good news is that your odds are slightly better, because you're only competing with 2018 attendees instead of the general public. So don't skip this. Even if you're on the fence about going (yes, there are people like this) or think you might have a summer conflict, try for a badge anyhow. You can always get a refund.

Pricing

Here's what you'll be paying:
Preview Night: $48
Thursday: $66
Friday: $66
Saturday: $66
Sunday: $45

The handling fee is $7.50. So should you get it all, you'll be paying just under $300.

(Polite reminder for you multi-Con nerds: ECCC registration is 17 October and you'll book your hotel the same day. So that may be an expensive few days for you.)

So we're off to the races. Make sure you've got a viable credit card at hand and are clear on sale arrangements with friends and buying comrades. If someone can't cover anyone financially, or may have to work, get that sorted now.

Returning Reg is here!

Get ready for Emerald City Comic Con registration - press, pros and attendees

13 SEPTEMBER 2018




If you're a comic book nerd, you obviously have Emerald City Comic Con on your mind right now - because this is the season tickets go on sale. And now ECCC has announced a few dates for all of us:

14 September: This is when Press and Pros can apply. If you get your application in by the 28th, they'll get back to you by 12 October - so you'll know if you need to buy a ticket the old-fashioned way on...

17 October: This is the open ticket sale for ECCC. It's on a Wednesday, so you don't need to worry about it conflicting with SDCC Returning Reg, which is usually on a Saturday morning.

Emerald City happens 14-17 March in Seattle. And yes, you want to go.

Stay tuned!