Thursday, April 11, 2013
The 4H list of Horror Convention Tips and Tricks!
I am gearing up for the upcoming Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas, TX (May 3-5), and I have been talking with some great folks on the TFW Facebook page, many of which are going to their first Horror Convention. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned throughout the years while attending these conventions. So, here are my main tips and tricks for all you Horror Con rookies out there! Let me know if you have any specific questions, and if anyone has any other tips to add, please leave a comment below!
HORROR CONVENTION SURVIVAL TIPS:
1. First and foremost, make sure you bring lots of money. But...spend it wisely and budget for what you want. For example, check off all the celebrities you want to meet and get autographs from. Autographs range anywhere from $20-$40 a pop at most conventions. So, average about $30 an autograph. After you have that total, then bring more for t-shirts and merchandise you might want to buy. Also, bring the cash with you at the very beginning. Most hotels will have an ATM in them, but the lines at the ATMs can be long and the ATMs can run out of money with so many people using them at one time. Also, bring smaller bills...probably nothing larger than a $20. The autograph tables appreciate if you use exact change and it keeps the lines moving quicker. A lot of the merchandise tables will take credit cards also, so you can use those when you can to save your cash for the smaller companies' tables that might not take credit cards.
2. Bring a backpack to carry all your stuff in. Even if you don't take much, you will pick up a lot of stuff from around the convention like DVDs, T-shirts, and other merchandise. You will definitely need something to carry everything in.
3. When bringing DVDs to be autographed, leave the actual DVD and the Plastic case at home. Just take the cover art paper insert since that is most likely what you will be having signed. No need for the actual plastic case to be taking up all the room in your back pack and adding extra weight to it. The best way to keep your DVD covers protected is to take a 3-ring binder filled with those clear plastic top loader sleeves/pages. Keep the DVD insert in these before and after you get them signed. But...be careful and make sure the ink is dry on your autograph before you put it back in the sleeve so you don't smear it! These pages are also the perfect size for the 8x10 photos you can purchase from the celebs. Again, just be careful when putting them in the sleeve and make sure the ink is dry as to avoid smearing.
4. Speaking of autographs, I find it is a great idea to take your own Sharpies with you. If you want the guest's autograph to be a certain color, bring that color Sharpie with you in case that certain celeb doesn't have it. Most guest will have about every color Sharpie there is, but some just bring the standard black and silver. So don't hesitate to ask if you want them to sign using a color Sharpie that you provide.
5. If you are bringing posters to be signed by any of the celebs, you will obviously want to bring them in a poster tube. I find it a good idea to label on the outside of the tube which poster it is along with the names of who you are wanting to get the signatures of for that poster. You can use the normal cardboard tubes, or if you want to store all your posters in one tube, you can get one of the larger, plastic poster tubes like these found on amazon.com.
6. I know it's too late for this year's TFW, since the hotel is sold out, but always try to get a hotel room at the hotel where the convention is being held. You might could save a few dollars by staying at a different hotel a little ways away, but believe me...you are not going to want to drive back to your hotel late at night (especially if you are doing the midnight film screening), and especially if you have had a few drinks. It is much better to just be able to hop on the elevator and head to your room. Also, after being on your feet all day, it is nice to just be able to head up to your room for a bit during the day to take a rest or a quick power nap before the evening film screenings. It's also nice to be able to take some stuff back to the room after you purchase it so you don't have to carry it around all day.
7. Bring lots of snacks. If you are staying at the hotel, you might just want to plan on breakfast and dinner at the hotel restaurant (it can be pretty pricey). Save some $$ and just eat some snack type foods for a light lunch during the day. Also, last year at TFW they had a snack bar set up downstairs with the convention that had some pretty reasonably priced food and drinks, so take advantage of that for some of your meals.
8. Make sure to bring comfy clothes, most importantly, comfy shoes. You are usually on your feet most of the time, so make sure you have shoes that will be comfortable to walk around in all day. Also, don't be afraid to dress up in a costume. It is always lots of fun to see everyone dressed up and you will usually get lots of photo requests...you will be a mini-celebrity for the weekend! Speaking of photos, obviously you do not want to forget your camera!
Well...that is all I can think of right now. If any of you have any hints/tips that you have learned at conventions in the past, leave a comment and let everyone know!
Thanks, and have fun!!