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August 20, 2018

How to get the most out of conventions



What you are about to read should be considered the bible when attending Comic Cons . For actors and artists to paying customers alike.

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Alex Lloyd Gross Photo Delaware Valley News.com Scott Wilson meets fans at a convention.

Alex Lloyd Gross

FOR ARTISTS AND ACTORS

1 Chances are you are coming to make money selling autographs or photo ops. Remember your fans work for a living. Often times for a boss who is a jerkoff and does not pay them nearly what they are worth. Not everyone can afford everything. You have to make it worth while to your fans.

2 Spend time chatting with them instead of herding them through like cattle. Fans are really quick to pick up a fake “Nice to see you” . By chatting with them you may get into a conversation that ends up with fans buying something extra you have,or spending a few extra dollars at your booth. For example, in Philadelphia at a recent convention, , Katerina Law ( Spartacus) was raising money to get medical care to help homeless cats. Most people are animal lovers and will respect that. She got a few more people at her booth to spend a couple more dollars because of that fact.

3 If you are paranoid about photos, then don’t come. Fans want to take photos of you and don’t want to have to pay to do it. The fan your handlers chase away with a camera might be on their last dollar and you ( or your handlers) attitude just chased them away. Yes you will get a small minority of fans that will support you anyway, but look at all the people not stopping by your booth.

Remember, there are bigger names than you there. Chances are near 100% that fans attended a Comic Con in a different city ( or maybe a different year) and that actor treated them like royalty. Now this fan will tell everyone you viewed them as dollars signs, not as people.

4 Know the shows you were on. Your fans get very upset when you forget what character you were married to, who who you killed, or what your character did. Especially during the Q&A sessions. Remember, your fans remember you as the doctor, cop, crook or whatever. Some may want inter action with that character. Have fun with it.

5 Dress great. Fans might not want to remember you in a t shirt and shorts.  At a convention a few years ago, Anthony Michael Hall wore a suit and tie to Wizard World Philly. Clare Kramer wore something stylish as well.  Gena Lee Nolan looked great too.. If you are a female wrestler or cover girl, You WILL draw more traffic to your booth if you are in a short skirt or shorts as opposed to everyday street jeans.

6 If you are a comic book artist try and talk with your fans as you make the sketch for them. You may increase the black and white sketch to a full color piece.

7 Be at your booth early. It allows your fans to meet you earlier and take in the entire experience. If you intend to take a break and walk around, post a time that you will return and stick to it. Stay at your booth as late as you can. You don’t know how many stragglers will see you there with little to no line and take the opportunity to visit your booth.

FANS AND ATTENDEES

1 EARLY EARLY EARLY. You want to plan your visit to comic con a year in advance. save your money. You will avoid ATM fees that way. You may be able to negotiate dealers into a lower price with cash.

2 Arrive early on the day(s) you want to come. Get a floor plan and study it. That way you can be one of the first to get to the booth that you want. Some actors have lines that take several hours to get through. If you are pressed for time due to work or other matters, a VIP pass might be right for you .

3 When chatting with an actor , check to see if there is a huge line behind you. People are waiting. Think of the most important things to say to this person before you get in front of them. That way, you do not hold up the line. Remember, they really don’t care that you watched a VCR tape of their show 25 years ago at grand mom’s house, especially when there are several people behind you,waiting. They are on a schedule as well.

4 When shopping for collectibles, shop around. You don’t want to pay $25 for a Gotham City police badge when a dealer eight isles over is selling the exact same thing for $5.00.

5 If it’s an item you want and is not in high demand, go during the last day of the convention and try to work a deal with the vendor. You may get lucky. However the vendor may not be able to budge on the price. Then it’s your decision on if you want to buy it or not.

6 Bring patience with you. If all you care about is meeting John Smith and you purchase a VIP ticket and arrive early, assuming Smith takes his stage at 10:30 a.m. you can be finished by 10:35 a.m. When you leave,you cheated yourself out of the entire experience. Walk around. Chances are you will see things un advertised that will interest you.

7 Take advantage of social media. A lot of actors, artists and vendors have Twitter or Facebook. Do your homework before you arrive. Some vendors may have an online special availble by a printed coupon redeemed at Comic Con.

8 If you want to go alone, great. If your friends cannot make it, search the web for people with your same interests, that may be going to that Comic Con. You might meet some new friends.

9 Wear comfortable shoes. You don’t want to have to break in a new pair that day. Be prepared to walk and be on your feet a good portion of the day. That includes any costumes you may wear. If they are uncomfortable in an hour or so, by five hours, they will be unbearable.

10 Know what you are talking about. If you don’t care about selling an autograph anything signed is great. However if you can get a rare piece signed, even better. Do your own research to determine if you want a notarized witness. Signed items without a notarized statement are only an opinion that the signature is real.

11 Some artists will not sign things. Be respectful of that. There are restrictions that some people might have .

12 Know what things cost before you get them. Make certain you have the money. You do not want to get an autograph or sketch done and find yourself short on cash and unable to pay.

The most important thing is to have fun. Everyone there is there for a different agenda. If the star is really only interested in talking to you if you have a dollar or if a fan only wants to talk to you about a role you did 5 years ago, roll with it and go on.

Some fans spend their vacations around Comic Cons. They travel to different cities, some get to know the artists or actors. They get remembered.

In the words of Stan Lee at Wizard World Philadelphia, “Meeting me is no big deal, I am boring”. Thousands of fans that stood in line to meet him would disagree.

THIS ARTICLE AND ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT BY ALEX LLOYD GROSS AND CANNOT BE RE PUBLISHED OR REPRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR.


Alex Lloyd Gross
Alex Lloyd Gross has the reputation for aggressive news coverage. With over 40 years experience including working at The News Gleaner, and had his work published in books and magazines that span the entire globe. With a strong background in emergency service related topics, he can bring forth a perspective that others cannot.
A contributor to Starfile Photo Agency for 20 years, Alex has been given access to and has photographed luminaries of both stage and screen.
He now shares his talent with you.

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One Response “How to get the most out of conventions”

  1. March 7, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    with monster mania right around the corner, this is a must read.

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