19 FEBRUARY 2015
Given the stampede for Preview Night badges, it's easy to forget that some people actually don't want to go all in when it comes to SDCC. Some just want to pop in for a day or two and that's enough for them.
If that's you, and this is going to be your first year at SDCC, you might want to take a look at last year's programming for an idea of what is offered on what day. There's no guarantee that most patterns will repeat, but Comic-Con does tend to follow a basic framework.
Preview Night is your chance to explore the Exhibit Hall and try to get exclusives before all attendees are let in. (That's the theory, anyway; in reality Preview Night has gotten more crowded every year, to the point where it doesn't look much different from Thursday.) There are also a series of pilots screened upstairs in Ballroom 20. But if you don't catch them then, they're usually shown during their own panels later on.
And as far as exclusives, many vendors bring a certain number each day to ensure that people with every kind of badge have a shot - so don't think Wednesday is it for you. I'll tackle the subject of exclusives as we get closer because it's gotten incredibly complicated in recent years, with tickets and rules and multiple rooms and pre-orders. If you're a first-timer who has your heart set on getting some (once they're announced) I'd advise really doing your homework online on the best strategies. It's very easy to miss out otherwise.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday have the biggest panels, especially Saturday. I hesitate to make any solid predictions, because any of this could be swirled around, but you can usually count on Friday being animation day over in the Indigo Ballroom, and Walking Dead/Game of Thrones in Hall H. Marvel will probably colonize Hall H on Saturday. That said, I know many of you are excited over Star Wars and Marvel more than anything else. I'd imagine we'll see both having multiple panels spread over the days. But the footage and cast announcements and other stuff that people live and die for - that's usually Hall H, Friday and Saturday.
Sunday is slightly more manageable in terms of breathing room in the Exhibit Hall. Maybe everyone is hungover or just sick of the Con at that point. In any case, you can usually get good deals from vendors so it's worth making the rounds. In terms of panels, Supernatural, Sons of Anarchy and Doctor Who own Hall H - assuming Doctor Who returns to us this summer. Because Sunday is officially Kids' Day, there are a lot of panels for kids of all ages - interactive, workshops, entertainment and so on.
There's just too much for me to summarize here, so again - go hunt around last year's listings and look at your areas of interest, whether that's gaming, Hollywood panels, film festivals, etc. You'll have a better understanding of what's on the docket every day. And if it turns out you do just want a single day badge or two, as opposed to the whole enchilada, that's all the better for your budget. Plus you're opening up a 4-day badge for an attendee who really wants it.