Everything I Need to Know....I Learned at NJCON
Last year was my first year going to a Supernatural convention. I went to the one and only Boston show, and that was for only the one-day general admission Sunday ticket (see my other article, “Best Day Ever”).
This year, I took the plunge and upgraded to the Silver weekend package, which included guests on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; the much-espoused karoake party on Friday; seven autographs; good seating; and a cool placard to wear around your neck.
For those unfamiliar with the different packages available, the next step up from Silver is – of course – Gold. This give you all the Silver benefits, as well as a Saturday night cocktail party and a breakfast with an appearance, in this case, by Jared and Misha.
So it goes without saying that I had a lot to learn about attending a full weekend with fellow Supernatural fans. Here's hoping that some of these things can help you when you attend, too!
Get in Line Early and Often
One of the unfortunate things about Supernatural is that...well, its so damn popular! That means these conventions are jam-packed with fans just as enthusiastic as you. So get into line early – in NJ, it was helpful to be an hour early to get a decent place up front for photo ops and autographs. The karaoke line was snaking around the hotel lobby over an hour before the doors opened. Lines to ask guests a question were at least fifty fans long – meaning many of them did not get asked (a quick note on questions – please, make them intelligent and well-thought out – the guests appreciated those questions so much more than the quasi-hypothetical ones that the audience outwardly groaned at. Even Misha quipped a few times, “Hope you didn't mind waiting that long in line to ask that!”)
On Sunday, the headliners – Jared and Misha for this weekend – were scheduled to appear. The ballroom swelled with the general admission attendees, making getting in line for anything that day so much more important!
Certainly its great to make use of your time in line, which leads me to my next suggestion....
There will be a lot of waiting at the convention. Waiting in line, waiting for the stage to be set-up, waiting, waiting. So be a chatty person and strike up a conversation with those around you – guess what, you already have something in common with them! If you are a little bit more introverted, or hoarse (I almost lost my voice!), bring a kindle, a book, some knitting, a deck of cards, or your earbuds if you want to grove to tunes on your phone. In addition, make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. A comfortable backpack or bag with you helps, as long its not digging into your shoulder all day. And what should be in that bag? Funny you should ask.....
Crazy as it seems, I soon found out that when I was not waiting for something in some line, I was running to not miss something. Even if you are staying at the hotel as I was, it's helpful to keep on you whatever you need for pretty much the whole day – there's nothing worse than realizing they are announcing last call for autographs for Jim Beaver when the book you wanted him to sign is up in your room! Also, its great to have water, some protein bars or small snacks, backup batteries or SD cards, a phone charger, any photo op or autograph tickets, and some cash. Oh, and that bible for the weekend, the convention schedule. Be sure to mark this sucker up – there are often two or three things going on at once – and you will need to circle, mark, highlight, scribble on this.
A Few Last Things
One night my roommates and I collapsed in the hotel room and it was all we could do to dial a local Chinese restaurant for delivery. Lucky for us, I had requested an in-room fridge be brought to the room to store leftovers, which made for a fantastic breakfast the following day (don't make that face – you know we've all done it!). To avoid pricey in-hotel food, be sure to check out local area restaurants, delivery places, even convenience stores.
I used to work in the hotel business, and its a hard career choice. Those folks behind the front desk or making your beds don't make a whole lot of money – so let's not make their jobs any worse. Sure, they may not understand our fandom, but be sure to treat them with kindness, and it will be returned.
In addition, the Creation Entertainment folks that produce the conventions work tirelessly to bring us close to the actors of this show. Many of them are volunteers. Thank them graciously for their time, and ask questions politely – they answer them again and again.
I hope this little guide has helped, and I hope to see some of you at NJ Con 2013! I'll be wearing my Gold placard proudly!
For all the latest Supernatural info and article links, follow The Winchester Family Business on Twitter at @WinFamBusiness
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