Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SDCC 2015 Preparations: the Con schedule

It is almost upon us... the release of the 2015 schedule for San Diego Comic Con!  The official SDCC panel and event schedule is released one day at a time, two weeks before the Con, so the next few days should be very exciting!


How I Make My Schedule
Last year I made a spreadsheet to compare the panels The Boyfriend and I were interested in. This helped us compare what panels we both wanted to see, which panels were located in the same or nearby rooms, and the timing of the panels so we could factor in travel time, time spent in line, and when we could go to off-site events and the Con floor.

For example: We decided to do Geek & Sundry in the morning, line up for Room 6A by noon, and made it in for the Outlander and Vikings panels! After, we planned to check out the Jobs in Video Games panel, but forgot about it and went to the Exhibit Hall instead. That evening, we grabbed dinner, then went to the Geek & Sundry MTG party!


























The first thing I do is have The Boyfriend pick out everything on the official schedule that he might like to see. Then I plug those into the spreadsheet, along with my own choices. Everything is color coded and organized by time and location. I also look at the panels that occur before and after, to gauge how hard it might be to get a seat and how early we should line up. This helps maximize the number of panels we can see.

Once I have done this, I make a couple of different plans, run them by The Boyfriend (who actually doesn't care that much, he's a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy), and then create a final schedule with some back-ups. Our Plans B and C account for long lines, room shut-outs, or if we want to spend extra time at an off-site.

While it seems like I put a lot of work into our schedule, it takes very little time to prepare and gives us a good guide of where we want to be, travel time, line time, and what else there is to do. As SDCC n00bs last year, this really helped us maximize what we did each day and we left the con feeling like we got to do everything we wanted.

The point of having such a detailed schedule, for me, is not to rigidly adhere to it, but to know what other options are available if Plan A goes to pot.


Resources
There are plenty of resources to help Con goers figure out how they want to spend their time.
  • The MySched app will record your personal panel schedule/choices and give you an idea of how popular a panel is. 
  • The SDCC app has a zoomable map (and works without a wifi or cell signal!)
  • Off-site events are listed on blogs like the SDCC Unofficial Blog and Crazy 4 Comic Con
  • Those blogs and other forums are also filled with tips on how much time to plan for lines, when the Con floor is the busiest, and other useful information.

Here are a few tips I found helpful last year:
  1. There is so much to do that no matter what you choose to participate in, you will be missing some other awesome panel or event. Do NOT get too bummed out by this - that's just the nature of a Con this big!
     
  2. Look at the map ahead of time and download the SDCC app, which has a zoomable convention center map that you can access without a wifi/data signal. If you do need to change plans on the fly, you'll at least know which direction to walk in!
     
  3. Leave plenty of time to stand in lines and walk between panel rooms and off-site events. Also remember: trolleys happen. You will get stuck waiting for a trolley crossing at least once if you leave the Convention Center (also, obey crossing rules and be nice to the crossing guards and police - they are there to help keep you safe!)
     
  4. Related to #3, look at what panels are scheduled in the room before and after the panel you want to see. If something popular is scheduled immediately after, you may lose out to someone who is waiting for a later panel and arrived in line earlier than you. Unfortunately, how early to line up depends on the room and panel, and anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours may be required.
     
  5. If you are panel camping, please be courteous to the other Con goers - someone sitting next to you is probably very interested in the panel going on and doesn't want to hear about how hungry you are and all the toppings you want on your cheeseburger (true story).
     
  6. Your personal schedule is not set in stone - if you happen across something cool and want to check it out instead of visiting a panel, do it! And sometimes you get to meet cute guys in kilts!
We forgot there was a panel we wanted to see and went to the Con floor instead... Boy, am I glad!

How do you prepare your SDCC schedule? Do you plan and prep like me, or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person (like The Boyfriend)? What are your favorite things to do/see at conventions? What are you looking forward to at SDCC 2015? Leave a note in the comments!

3 comments:

  1. This is awesome! I love your spreadsheet. What a nice way to try and keep track of everything. I take a look at the schedule and go from there. Honestly, I'm at the point now where I just go and do whatever LOL

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  2. Oh wow... I just write everything down on a piece of paper and hope for the best. This year the issue is collectibles, panels, and press rooms. How am I going to do it all!

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  3. This is actually really helpful! I am gonna have to do something like this haha

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