Thursday, August 23, 2012

Geek'd: the convention survival guide

As all things in the world, there is a certain way in which to best survive the stresses and exertions of an event.

Conventions like FANeXpo 2012, which is due to open tomorrow is no exception.

Hence why there exists the world famous convention "Rule of 6-2-1" that everyone ought to adhere to when attending a multi-day event. Especially one that would generally mean that there would be a huge convocation of people under one tiny roof.

So what exactly is the Rule of 6-2-1?

It means: 6 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day and finally, 1 shower a day.

Anyone who has been to a convention knows that the temptation to stay up at all hours of the evening for fear of missing something is often strong and overpowering. But it's not a good way to go about your weekend.

6 hours of sleep is important to allow for you to be well rested and alert while posing for photos or simply walking around or standing about in line for long periods of time. Keep yourself under control and don't get overly excited. Keep to your schedule and sleep.

Keeping busy and doing things at the convention may mean you'll forget to eat or drink. Don't.

Seriously, these things aren't worth starving yourself. Much less dehydrating yourself for.

And yes, the fare at the convention itself may be overpriced and all around unappetizing for those that didn't pack a meal with them (more on that later). And the lines for food everywhere is long and painful as over 50,000 people descend on the event and pack the places around it.

But seriously, you do no one good, least of all yourself by getting sick and requiring medical attention.

And finally... 1 shower a day. Why is showering part of the rule?

Because you're packed tight with a huge number of people indoors and in costumes that probably have never been laundered in their life that they wore riding downtown in a stifling bus or subway, sweating out of every pore in their body in the meantime.

No, this may not describe you, but it certainly describes enough people that attend conventions that the mythos of "Convention Body Odour" is rampant and prevalent at every convention in the world. And proximity is enough to make you carry that smell home.

Seriously, shower. For the sake of those that you stand around.

Here are some other rules for you to consider before you head to FANeXpo - or any convention for that matter.


Conventions were originally created as a place for people to get together, exchange ideas and find rare, hard to find cult items back before there was something called the internet.

Yes, conventions were originally a place for fans to buy stuff, not for weirdos to dress in weird costumes. That kind of came as an afterthought to the whole phenom.

And that premise remains today, with a exhibition floor that takes up the majority of the space reserved for the convention. But because of this, inevitably, you will be toting around a lot of stuff by the end of the day. And as any shopper would be able to tell you, the more stuff you tote, the easier it is to lose something and the harder it is to get yourself around.

So what's the sense in showing up with a lot of things without even getting into the convention?

This is particularly true for people who show up in costume. The more you carry, the harder it is for you to get into a pose for a picture, or the more cumbersome and ultimately damaging it can be on your costume.

If you need to carry more than your convention pass, a camera, phone and money (like a change of clothing) then bring a backpack with you for ease of conversion. Otherwise, leave it to pockets and side bags.


Except for the 6-2-1 Rule, planning your weekend is probably one of the bigger things you have to do before and during. And if you're serious about your events, your autographs and your merchandise, you make your schedule and you stick to it.

And it goes beyond taking into consideration long line buffers and picking events, it's about planning where to go to eat, knowing where the washrooms are and what entrances you can use that will get you into the floor faster.

It all streamlines the event for you and allows you to maximize the fun.


Conventions are not conventions unless you are there with some friends. But you and your friends may not be interested in the same thing. So you will inevitably split up at some point in pursuit of different passions.

But how will you get in touch with each other afterward?

And before you pull out the trusty cell phone, the service can be spotty at FANeXpo and whatmore, the place is crowded and noisy. It's incredibly difficult to hear cell phone rings or text pings.

That's why, ahead of time, prepare a meeting place for you guys to go to once your event is done and over with. This way they know where to track you down if you're holding their wallet for instance. AND STICK WITH IT.

Happy FANeXpo people!

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