It's Pro Badge season - are you a pro?

19 AUGUST 2015

Here's something to do over the next 2.3 months; ask CCI to give you a San Diego Comic-Con professional badge. That's right, Professional Applications are open.

Remember, this isn't registration - that comes later. This is the stage where you either apply as a first-time professional or reconfirm your status. You'll need 3 sources of verification, including one from the last 3 years, and a fair amount of either achievement or luck. If you do get blessed by CCI's panel of judges, you'll register for your badge and any guest badges in the spring.

So let's talk about who counts as a professional, because it's gotten more stringent in recent years.

Creative Pro

These are professionals who "take an active role in the creation, design, writing, editing or production of comics, animation, films, books, video games or toys." Also "those responsible for the content of websites that promote the historic or ongoing contribution of comics to art or society." Yes, that all seems very stretchy, but don't think you can slip in with a few flimsy credentials to your name. Those days are over.

Trade Pro

These would be the agents, managers, publicists, sales reps and biz dev executives of the world, who "need to attend the convention for business reasons." No support staff allowed - well, that's what they say, but I say it depends who you work for. Some people are just too important to travel without their minions.

So realistically, how hard is it to get a pro badge? Harder than it used to be. I won't torture you with tales of the years when even a homejob blog shakier than this one could get you into the Con - but it did used to be a lot easier, which some disgruntled creatives and suits are still grumbling about. I had a rather demoralizing call with an agent right after I got home from SDCC this summer, and she listed several reasonably established writers who couldn't get pro badges. Hence these cold words from CCI: "Not all applicants who meet the guidelines can be accommodated."

And if you're curious how many will be accommodated, they claim "over 13,000 complimentary badges" are given to professionals and their guests. Which isn't really that many. But that's not to discourage you from applying; if you fit the definitions, go ahead and throw your hat in the ring. It can't hurt.

The deadline is 31 October. Happy Halloween to you.


  1. What's your source for the 13,000 complimentary badges? Is that just pros, or does it include press?

    I did see this on their Professional FAQ page:

    Comic-Con International processes over 12,000 professional applications every year. With this kind of volume, we need to employ temporary staff that may not necessarily be familiar with your personal credits.

    12,000 is a lot of applications! And that's per year. Only 1/3 of professionals (roughly) need to apply each year, since pro status is good for 3 years.

    1. The Toucan blog gave the 13,000 figure:

      The wording "professionals and their guests" doesn't sound as if it includes press. So yep... that's a whole lot of applications.