SDCC Tips #2: Attending Panels…

Posted: July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

For those that read our blog I apologize for the non-postings.  I (JOhn) got a new job and am in the middle of packing for my move back to Michigan this weekend.  SDCC fever is in full swing and with less than a week away there definitely is a ton of stuff going in the toy world.  I am hoping to have some more posts up as well as some helpful info on exclusives at the Con. 

But for now here is helpful information if you plan to attend any panels (What?! There is more to do than just buy toys?!  Get out of here!)

If it’s popular SDCC probably will have a panel for it.

Here are some tips:

  1. What is a Panel?:  Like most other comic conventions, a panel is a time and place where fans gather to learn about their favorite pop culture obsessions with the creators, producers or actors.  Panels cover anything from comic books to video games to upcoming movies and TV shows. 
  2. Know Your Schedule & Panel Room Locations: If you ever have went to or plan on going to SDCC you undoubtedly have heard of Hall H and Ballroom 20. These are the two largest rooms at the convention center but also the most popular and most crowded.  This is where you will see panels like (Twilight, Big Bang Theory, Psych, The Expendables 2 etc.) If you want to see a panel in one of these rooms be prepared to be in line extremely early…(more on why in a min.)  Other panel rooms are smaller, but make sure you are familiar with their location and that room’s schedule.  Knowing what is before or just after the panel you want to see can help you plan out your day. has posted the panel schedules and has some helpful maps and scheduling tools including an iPhone app (which is actually becoming functional) to help plan out your day.
  3. Get there Early:  Panel rooms are not cleared out after each panel. This creates “panel campers,”  people that stay in a room the entire day and are usually only interested in one or two panels.  Plan to be in line at least a few hours before your panel and if it is really popular…otherwise there is a good chance you will miss it.  People will campout overnight (sometimes multiple nights for the beginning of the con) to make sure they get to see the panel they want to.
  4. Ask Smart Questions: After the Actors/Creators/Producers finish their talk they usually allow fans to ask questions.  Once this portion begins my advice is to leave the panel.  The vast majority of fan questions are either terrible, terribly specific (something the actor won’t know or it’s trivial), can’t be answered (the answer would include spoilers), or ask the actors for something (ie. a hug, autograph or some other time consuming crap.)  It’s rare that a fan will ask an educated worthwhile question.  So if you are inclined to ask a question go for it but think twice otherwise you could get booed.
  5. Make Friends in the Panel:  If you plan on being panel camping, make friends with people you are sitting by.  This can help if you have to get up to use the bathroom (which you can do, but don’t forget to grab a panel ticket on your way out or you won’t be let back in) and you don’t want to lose your seat.  Being nice could also help you avoid being stabbed with a pen (not like what happened a couple years ago.)
  6. Clean Yourself: If you plan on camping at night or during the day make sure to clean yourself so you don’t smell.  It is really annoying to sit next to a smelly fanboy, because they haven’t showered or cleaned themselves in a couple days.  At the very least bringing some deodorant and gum can save you some embarrassment.
  7. People Love Free Crap:  If they are handing out free swag at the panel get ready to fight people for it.  People love free stuff and will pretty much trample you to get it.  This happens more on the convention floor but it can happen in panels too.  So prepare yourself.

My thoughts on panels:  Panels can be fun.  I was able to go to a few panels last year and enjoyed myself.  But nothing groundbreaking is announced that I would want to waste an entire day camping out for just to see one panel.  If you love panels, then have at it.  But you really won’t catch me in line for Hall H.


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