Today was your last opportunity to get a badge for San Diego Comic-Con 2017. And if you're like most people, you didn't get one.
Open Registration seemed more futile than ever today. I was working with a sizeable group of people and none of us got picked as the first minutes ticked by. We watched our screens in disbelief as Preview Night sold out and all the while my phone was buzzing with the same text from friend after friend: None of us are getting in. Are you?
Eventually some of us got picked and one of the 6 sessions I was handling came up in time to nab a few Sunday badges - but the overwhelming majority were never selected. While CCI doesn't release the number of people in the sale, it does seem demand was record high today. And that's not good news for any of us. Even those of us with 2017 badges can't count on going next year.
Let's go over your options.
You can show up in late July, photograph the cosplayers, lose yourself in the crowd and go to the outside attractions. (Some of them. Some require a badge to get in.) Would I recommend you do this? Not unless you already have friends who will be there, and you can make solid worthwhile non-Con plans. Misguided people often think they'll be tripping over celebrities and strolling into A-list parties as long as they reach the area. This is incorrect. You'll just be suffering through a lot of crowds and long wait times for restaurants.
See if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone.
People do occasionally luck out 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. Otherwise it's hard to pull off, but go ahead and try.
Stoically prep for next year.
This is the most sensible option. Make friends in the SDCC digital community and get their advice, then work with a reputable group next Open Reg. If you don't trust online people, put some effort into building a local nerd-fan network. Comic shops, film clubs, cosplay organizations and gaming clubs are all places to meet people who would be interested in going to San Diego Comic-Con. You don't have to be best friends with them - just keep in touch.
Start researching other Cons.
The other sensible option. NYCC, DragonCon, Silicon Valley, Denver, Gen Con, Boston - there are so many options out there for you. Don't assume they're all some kind second-rate geek carnival offering a subpar experience. While most of them don't have the same Hollywood starpower as SDCC, they will have some and the experience is usually smoother and more productive than San Diego, where you spend half the time in line.
Keep an eye out for Comic-Con jobs.
The pay usually isn't great, but some places will need help setting up and tearing down, manning a booth, passing out swag and promotions, or being a glorified gopher for busy talent and executives. 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.