San Diego Comic-Con Prep: Schedules & Spreadsheets

As we get closer to Comic-Con (it’s officially next month), it’s almost time to start making those difficult decisions about what you’re going to do with your time, which offsites you’d like to hit up, and which booths you want to make sure you don’t miss. And the best way to do that is to start getting prepared, and to do it early.

Before we start, let us re-iterate that we’re not advocating for you to plan out every second of your day at Comic-Con. There is literally no way to do the entire convention in four and a half days, and some of the best experiences at the convention come from just letting yourself explore. However, there’s also a lot of really cool things at the convention that you might see and think, “Oh, I want to check that out,” and when you actually get the convention, you won’t remember. So for that reason, we’re big advocates of using spreadsheets during Comic-Con.

CCI’s official schedule for all five days will go up on MySched. This is an awesome tool, in that it displays the entire Comic-Con schedule, and you can use it to build out your schedule. Simply create a login, and start adding your panels, to build a schedule.

MySched

We love MySched, but we don’t recommend only using MySched, because it only lists out official Comic-Con International panels and autograph signings. If ABC has an autograph signing you don’t want to miss, or you want to schedule in time to get in line at the Marvel booth to pick up your exclusives – this app won’t help you with that.

But fear not, Comic-Con attendee. The odds are high you have either Excel or Google Drive on your computer, and you can make your own schedule (really, it’s not hard). We use a pretty simple schedule, that’s color coded based on three things: Things we absolutely want to do, things we might be interested in (maybe’s), and back-ups. We break it out by day and by hour, but if that doesn’t make sense to you – break it out another way. We also add booth #’s on here for things that we’re interested in checking out. Plus, as you get closer to SDCC, this is a good, quick way to see if something that just got announced has any time conflicts with other things you’re interested in.

Here’s my 2014 schedule, and as you can see, there’s plenty of open time scheduled in, and I’ve got panels, offsites, and even Nerd HQ panels scheduled in.

schedule

If you don’t feel comfortable making your own schedule, or if you’re looking for a base to start from, you can also use Dustin Majitsu’s wonderful Google Drive spreadsheet, which you can download and customize. His version is much more detailed – it includes everything from a grocery list to a packing list to exclusives you want to pick-up, and more.

dustin

Will you be using a spreadsheet this year? Have you used one in the past? What do you like to put on yours? Let us know in the comments.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site’s resident panel guru.

  • I have a google calendar for sdcc. Easy to schedule in multiple plans and still see clearly on my phone during the day. I also print out hard copies for scribbling changes and accessibility when WiFi is bad.

  • Jon Reeves

    Yes, I can’t emphasize Cat’s point enough: Print out a hard copy. Your batteries will fail, or WiFi will be bad, or something. My personal schedule is a simple text file, printed two-sided. (And there’s a spare copy in my hotel room.)

    Also note that MySched doesn’t include off-sites, so another reason not to rely on it exclusively.

  • Yes, that’s a great point. And one that doesn’t just apply to schedules but EVERYTHING at Comic-Con. Badge e-mails, party invitations, exclusive confirmations, whatever. Hard copies are so important.

  • Howard Davis

    The best “spreadsheet” to use is the Comic Con scheduling program. You can add, subtract, and modify which events you want and it can be uploaded to a calendar for either Google accounts and/or Yahoo Calendars (which is what I used last year). I would receive notices on my smart phone when an event would about to start.

  • Rebecca N

    Years past my brother and I had excel spread sheets similar to those above, we moved into Outlook calendars dedicated to my schedule his schedule and offsite events, now it’s google calendars which we can add to from MySched and any additional events and activities, confirmation numbers – booth numbers in the TASK option to pick up exclusives, etc. MySche can be it’s own calendar which will update according the WiFi and battery life. Which ever way works best for you is cool. I like Google synced to mySched and my phone (and a spare charger to charge the phone when it’s low)

  • Imecoli

    Sadly, on some days you can’t plan a schedule, it is based on what time the panel you want to see is. You may have to sit through several panels to insure you get into what you want to see, case in point, Legend of Kora had a full house in ballroom 20 mostly because the Firefly reunion panel later in the morning, but I also feel this helped build the fan base by exposing some who never may have considered watching the show.

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  • Sally

    I’ve used the official comic con app in previous years for scheduling. All I’m getting when I open it and click on comic con is that the event is coming soon. Is it a problem with my app or is the app not going to be working this year? ….or is it really coming soon? I thought last year I could get on there sooner.