Guide to SDCC – Part 2 – Panels

Part 2 in a series. You can read Part 1 here.

My favorite part of Comic-Con and the aspect that takes up most people’s time is the panels. With subject matter ranging from the biggest movies in Hollywood to the smallest indie web-comics that you’ve probably never heard of, SDCC panels are where the magic happens. In this post I will guide you through how to have an awesome time at every Q+A, discussion, and footage premiere at the con:

How to Make Your Panel-Going Experience Awesome:

  • Get There Early – Any attendee hoping to hit up a panel in Hall H, swing over to the next panel in Ballroom 20, and then head back for the last one in H is going to end up a sad and angry attendee. No, this doesn’t apply to the super small panels where the room won’t even fill up, but as SDCC grows these are quickly disappearing. People wanting to get into big rooms or popular panels should line up at least an hour in advance if not two. Each person will have to judge on a panel by panel basis, but I’ve definitely learned to expect everything to be packed.
  • Have Something To Do Beforehand – Two hours in the Hall H line doesn’t fly by, no matter how excited you are for the Tron footage. A book, iPod, DS, PSP, iPhone, or someone to talk to are all good ways to pass the time while you are waiting for next event.
  • Bring A Camera – No one wants Hugh Jackman to show up two feet away and all you have in your hands is a schedule and a power bar. Don’t feel like you have to rush out and buy a $3,000 camera to get your picture with Jim Lee though. Unless you’re a serious photographer, a cellphone camera will probably be fine to capture the best stuff.
  • Decide Early if You Want to Ask Questions – Even the smallest panels will have a lot of audience members that want to ask questions of the panel and unless you think early and act fast, you’ll probably end up at the end of a thirty-person line when they’re only accepting five. Decide before you sit down if this is the panel to ask that burning question and plan your seat so it’s near the microphone.
  • Applaud Everyone – Even that television producer you’ve never heard of put in the effort to fly out, go in front of a crowd, and accept that every person on the panel will get more love then him. That deserves a clap. Same goes for everyone on a panel.

How Not To Ruin Other People’s Panel-Going Experiences:

  • Be Courteous To Others Around You – Control your elbows, don’t yell across the room, and don’t wildly wave your hands in the air so ferociously that they hit the person next to you in the face every time Ryan Reynolds looks in your direction.
  • Don’t Ask Stupid Questions – No, you can’t be in their next movie. No, they don’t want to go drink with you. No, they won’t take you to prom. Don’t be that person everyone boo’s when they go up to the microphone.
  • Don’t Tell Your Life Story – Tim Burton doesn’t care how much Sweeney Todd changed your life. Peter Jackson doesn’t want to hear about your college project based around him. It’s questions and answers. The answers shouldn’t be “thank you.”
  • Don’t Try to Videotape Exclusive Footage – The security people may not be rocket scientists, but they can see the flip cam hidden in your lap. Don’t cause a scene.
  • Learn To Hold The Applause – Denzel Washingtion deserves a big round of applause. Every sentence Denzel Washingtion says does not deserve a round of applause.

Come back tomorrow for the guide to shopping and the exhibit hall!

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