12 NOVEMBER 2016
Is your head throbbing with a post-election headache? It's been an ugly week, and many of us are facing acrimonious Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving dinners bound to feature aggressive debates. If like me, you have relatives furiously correcting each other between Holland, New York and San Francisco, the rest of 2016 may look pretty contentious too.
So here's a happier idea to contemplate: San Diego Comic-Con. Okay, the badge sale part is far from happy, but right now you can keep your eye on the prize and fantasize about all the idyllic panels and parties you'll experience next summer. You can almost feel that Ballroom 20 seat underneath you, right?
And of course - I know you know this - that means good planning. 2017 Pre-reg will take place early next year, with Open Registration not long after, and that really isn't so far away. To anchor SDCC 2017 in your mind and your future, you might want to start mapping all this out now:
1. Your buying group. Discuss your methodology and rules. Not to be all stodgy about this, but so many "groups" are people promising to be all in, while really belonging to multiple groups and shutting down as soon as someone gets them in. Think about who you can trust and start talking now about it.
2. Your safety hotel room. A lot of people have been on this for months but that doesn't mean all the rooms are snatched up. Other hotels haven't even made any rooms available yet. Start calling and Internetting around and see what you can get. And remember, this only matters if you want to stay downtown. If you're okay with staying far out, you can rely on the Early Bird sale.
3. Your back-up Con. We're facing 2 sales in a smaller timeframe, which might mean washing out might pack a tougher emotional punch. So think now about where else you might like to go if you don't get a SDCC badge. Obviously I'm an Emerald City fan but Salt Lake, Dragon Con, NYCC, Gen Con, Boston, Denver, Silicon Valley, Phoenix, and so on are all contenders. Start researching alternates now and pick one that gets you somewhat excited so your badge sale failure won't feel quite so fatal.
4. Your traveling companions. I know the SDCC cliche is a gang of friends all having fun together, but there are thousands of people who either go alone or would like to go but don't have friends that share their interests. If that's you, don't let that stop you from going to Comic-Con. It is fun by yourself and you'll meet a lot of people who feel like immediate friends. Plus a lot of people who go "together" barely see each other because they're always at different panels and events. But in the event you do want to go with someone, if only to share hotel expenses, start looking around now. Ask coworkers, long-distance friends, fellow fans, and don't feel weird about it. Expanding your social network is part of what's great about Comic-Con life.
5. Your budget. Saving money is always smart when it comes to Comic-Con; you might not get a discounted room in the hotel sale, a roommate might bail at the last second, your car might die and you need to buy a plane ticket, etc. And of course you'll always want to spend spend spend when you're there. Make a savings plan now, and if you have the kind of family members who like to be generous around the holidays, don't be afraid to ask Santa for a Comic-Con contribution.
I really do think the badge sales will come up fast. The holidays are always busy, and then there we are plotting our badge sale domination, our Hotel Day strategies, and it just accelerates from there. If you've been to SDCC before, you know that planning is the key that opens the door to a fulfilling Con. And if you haven't? Study up, kids, starting now. You've got a wild road ahead of you.