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con survival guide y'all....

#1 User is offline   pc1971 

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:45 AM

Anime Con season is here again, with Anime Central(ACen) ahead of us, I decided to post my handy-dandy sexy sexy survival guide. And before someone says, "who the hell are you to tell us how to survive a con," well, let me tell you... I've staffed Acen a number of times (since 1998), as well as GenCon, Anime Expo, and a few other conventions, as well as being an attendee to many more. That said, this is basically what I've learned and found to be useful as a means of having fun and not losing my mind while at con. As always, your miles may vary.....

1. the program book is your friend. it's like that overly-large programming book you hate to lug around with you but it is inestimably useful so use it.

2. prior planning prevents piss-poor performance. even if you are only coming for one day, plan ahead what you are doing.

3. expect the unexpected, everything from event times being changed to potential cosplay malfunctions.

4. if an emergency does arise, don't freak out and ask for help.

5. come with friends. there are too many weirdos out there. this goes especially for girls. I’ve staffed at gencon for 15 years and cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had to alert event security over stalker-ish issues.

6. meet and make friends with some con staffers. as crazy as the con can get we're a good resource in case you need help... and most of us are pretty darn cute.

7. bring extra money. trust me, just TRUST ME.

8. never underestimate the power of sleep. sleep deprivation is NOT fun, contrary to what you may have heard.

9. bring your own food. this will save you money as hotel food is a ripoff and a lot of delivery places won't deliver to a hotel. plus it's safer than roaming the streets looking for a place to eat if you are from out of town like I was for AX2k.

10. don't bring anything you want stolen, broken, or otherwise abused, this includes children and younger brothers and sisters... and cameras, laptops, portable game systems. the hotel and con are not responsible if anything happens to them, you are.

11. don't engage in activity that could get you hurt or in serious legal trouble. not only is it bad for you it's bad for the con. it could also end up on YouTube as well.

12. con have rules to keep things running smoothly and to ensure everyone is safe and able to have fun, follow the rules. if you fail to follow the rules and get removed from the con, you don't get the right to complain in any open forum about how the con sucked.
13. if you are underage, no alcohol. period. too many bad things can happen to you, the people around you, and the con.

14. in addition to making friends with the con staff, be nice to the hotel staff. if you've got issues that the con staffers can't fix, maybe they can.

15. trashing your room or the hotel in general is not a good idea. you're not the who, led zeppelin or snoop doggy dogg, heck you aren't even deputy dog. so unless you can pay for the damages DON'T BREAK STUFF!

16. treat everyone, con-goers, con staff, and hotel staff with the same respect you'd expect.

17. lock your damn car, if you drive. also your car makes for nice place to store dealer room swag, but not a nice place to sleep, that's what your hotel room is for.

18. don't be afraid to ask for help. there is no shame in calling mom and dad if you need the help and it's beyond the scope of what the staff can do for you.

19. keep your money/id/etc in something more secure than a wallet.

20. try to avoid carrying cash if at all possible. if you can swing it with your parents (if you are minors or lack a credit card) have them get you traveler’s checks from the bank. if they can lost or stolen you can get them canceled and re-issued.

21. no freaking the normals. if the con has to share activity or hotel space with non-con goers, be respectful of them and do not freak them out in any manner. nothing makes life hell for a con staffer than getting chewed out by the hotel about how the attendees are scaring the other guests.

22. bring a camera, bring several, i learned that lesson the hard way in AC06 when we shared the hyatt with a high school prom...

23. if you meet one of the guests, please do not drool, remain calm and polite. and let the translators do the translating for you... unless you are a native speaker. chances are you'll only embarrass yourself and provide the guest with a good laugh or totally offend them.

24. for the love of whatever brand of god you worship, bring a sketch book, two words: fan artists. also if you're lucky some of the guests might sketch or autograph your book too.

25. keep all electronic devices, like cellphones, portable games, and laptops charged up. especially your cellphone.

26. in addition to eating something other than junk food, make sure to drink plenty of water. dehydration sucks. soda, junk food, and sugar in general dehydrates you faster than normal, keep that in mind.

27. for the sake of world peace and the good of the con: bathe.

28. get some exercise at the con, even if it's just walking around (which you'll probably do a lot, but i digress). it will help keep up your energy and help you sleep better. swimming is a good aerobic exercise for those of us that hate walking, and the hotel should have a pool.
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#2 User is offline   Washu Takahashi 

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 12:48 PM

View Postpc1971, on 22 April 2012 - 10:45 AM, said:

7. bring extra money. trust me, just TRUST ME.

20. try to avoid carrying cash if at all possible. if you can swing it with your parents (if you are minors or lack a credit card) have them get you traveler’s checks from the bank. if they can lost or stolen you can get them canceled and re-issued.

7. And make sure it isn't all on you! Put aside money for food/gas/whatever else you need to survive and get home somewhere else separated from your spending money, or you're more than likely to spend it.

20. I have to say I really disagree with this one. The majority of people in artist alley as well as a good chunk of the vendors in the Dealer's Room do not accept credit/debit. If you intend to be buying stuff from them, bring cash. BUT, make sure that cash is secured. Put it deep in your bag, ladies can stuff it in their bras if they lack pockets, or give it someone in your group you trust.
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#3 User is offline   JediNight 

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:17 AM

This came up in another thread, but the Acen Guidebook App can also be accessed online here, even if you don't have a smartphone:

http://m.guidebook.com/429/

The Program book is, of course, the most comprehensive guide on what's going on at Anime Central. But the Guidebook app can be handy if you lose your program book, or just find it more handy to look up on your phone.
Probably the most useful part of the app -- you can add panels to a personal schedule, and the App will warn you if the schedule has changed at the con, and if it affects events you currently have in your personal schedule. (AKA "real-time" updates)

The event schedules are under the "Tracks" section. As you can see, this means the events are conveniently broken down into common themes, such as Main Events, Panel Programming, Guest Events, etc.

#4 User is offline   Defyplums 

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:16 AM

I completely agree with #6-I've staffed cons for three years and even if the volunteers/staff are super busy, they are also super friendly and helpful. Kinda in our nature ;)
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#5 User is offline   Grand Master Brief 

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:44 PM

24. for the love of whatever brand of god you worship, bring a sketch book, two words: fan artists. also if you're lucky some of the guests might sketch or autograph your book too.

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#6 User is offline   Piccolo Sky 

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:49 AM

Also, as far as your own food is concerned...NOT 2 family-sized bags of Doritos, a bag of candy bars, a twelve pack of Coca-Cola, and some Pocky for snacks. You'll just feel like crud if you do that. REAL food. Fruit, veggies, and non-sugar drinks in addition to the crap. Bring a cooler. You'll have plenty of time to unload and load it and hotels give you ice for free. If you're lucky enough to stay at one of the "lower end" hotels like the Hampton Inn, you can get a nice breakfast every morning for free that will keep you from piling on the junk food later.

#7 User is offline   Fantasia 

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

^this all the way
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#8 User is offline   Kaay-chan 

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:11 AM

View Postpc1971, on 22 April 2012 - 10:45 AM, said:



8. never underestimate the power of sleep. sleep deprivation is NOT fun, contrary to what you may have heard.


27. for the sake of world peace and the good of the con: bathe.

28. get some exercise at the con, even if it's just walking around (which you'll probably do a lot, but i digress). it will help keep up your energy and help you sleep better. swimming is a good aerobic exercise for those of us that hate walking, and the hotel should have a pool.


8: Seriously guys, this. Besides the fact that you'll feel better, the last thing you want is to accidentally start dozing off someplace that isn't your hotel room (Or you're home, if you're commuting), not to mention how much it sticks to feel yourself drifting off because you sit down at an event you've been looking forward to for forever and the exhaustion hits you like a truck.

27. This this this this this. And it's not just for the sake of other con goers. I'm of the opinion that showers feel amazing. I take mine at night so I can take my sweet time, inadvertently turn my bathroom into a sauna, and just chill and wash the day off of me. The extent to which this gets multiplied at a convention can't be quantified, especially if you've been sweating in your cosplay all day. I know at the end of the day you're exhausted from everything you've done, but the more tired you are, the better a Nice. Hot. Shower. is going to feel.

Also deoderant.

Also bring fabreeze or something else to clean off/ de-stink your cosplay because people forget to factor in that only some of the con-stench comes from unwashed bodies. The rest of it comes from washed bodies that smell fresh as a daisy running around in yesterday's sweaty cosplay.


Something else to add: Unless it's raining and months of cosplay will literally go down the drain if you go out in it, avoid the tunnels connecting the hotels to the convention trail at all costs. Besides the fact that they are enclosed spaces with poor (if any) ventilation so tainted by confunk you can feel it on your skin, the reality is that it's faster to just cross the street.

On that topic: this is the midwest guys; Bring an umbrella and a warm sweatshirt/ jacket/ windbreaker and remember--especially if you're from out of town and want to take some time away from the con at some point to see the city--Lake Michigan makes things around here colder; the closer to the lake you are, the colder it's going to get.
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#9 User is offline   -JUNK- 

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:49 AM

View PostWashu Takahashi, on 22 April 2012 - 12:48 PM, said:


20. I have to say I really disagree with this one. The majority of people in artist alley as well as a good chunk of the vendors in the Dealer's Room do not accept credit/debit. If you intend to be buying stuff from them, bring cash. BUT, make sure that cash is secured. Put it deep in your bag, ladies can stuff it in their bras if they lack pockets, or give it someone in your group you trust.


Don't expect the ATMs around there are going to be full of money.
Because all them plastic holders just found out the dealers hall mostly accepts cash... :rolleyes:
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#10 User is offline   Kaay-chan 

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 01:03 AM

View Post-JUNK-, on 03 March 2014 - 04:49 AM, said:

Don't expect the ATMs around there are going to be full of money.
Because all them plastic holders just found out the dealers hall mostly accepts cash... :rolleyes:/>


OH right that reminds me: Withdraw as much cash as you think you'll need ahead of time. Even if the ATMs at the Convention Hall do have cash in them when you try, the charge something like a $5 fee, regardless of what kind of card or what bank you use.
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#11 User is offline   Enjeru 

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:54 PM

^ Just an FYI, there is a Chase ATM at the CTA station down the street from the convention center.
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#12 User is offline   Kaay-chan 

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 03:17 AM

View PostEnjeru, on 04 March 2014 - 09:54 PM, said:

^ Just an FYI, there is a Chase ATM at the CTA station down the street from the convention center.


Ooooh good to know. Did not know that.

Still, doesn't help anyone who doesn't bank with Chase...=/
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#13 User is offline   Sailor Moon Crossplayer 

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 11:02 PM

A majority of the dealers have those card readers that hook up to smartphones.

#14 User is offline   CrimsonAnime 

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 01:55 PM

View PostEnjeru, on 04 March 2014 - 09:54 PM, said:

^ Just an FYI, there is a Chase ATM at the CTA station down the street from the convention center.

This is super helpful! I usually try to get my cash before I get to con but knowing that if I forget or want to get more, that one is that close..well that's just awesome.
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Posted 08 May 2014 - 02:08 AM

Check with your bank of choice before going out of state. Some banks -such as mine- will block credit use on a debit/credit card if they are unaware you are out-of-state thinking the charges are fraudulent. The only way around this is to use your card as debit. The problem is though, is that most swipe methods that are tied to phones (such as in the dealers room or AA) are running transactions as credit and don't have the capability of running your transaction as a debit. Most restaurants and even Mitsuwa default to credit transactions leaving you in quite the pickle. Letting your bank know this ahead of time ensures you have access to your account for the most part. While your bank can approve credit transactions for two states (your home state and Illinios) it cannot approve all of the home states of the vendors who will be selling in the DA and AA. In this case, I would suggest safely secured cash over relying solely on your debit card.
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#16 User is offline   brasilianman 

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 01:40 PM

I would also dedicate some cash just for food. For those out of state, fill yourself up during the morning breakfast at the hotel. It'll be cheap and servings will be huge. Then eat something light for lunch and then try to bulk up for dinner. there's several restaurants in a nearby plaza filled with restaurants (and fun nightclub themed areas for those 21+) and it'll be way cheaper than the hotel restaurants. That way your expenses will be reduced than usual. Stay away from deliveries (unless you truly want to) for the delivery drivers may take at least 2 hours minimum because they are also bringing orders for the 1000+ people ordering at the same time as you.

Those in state (or at least 1 hour within the convention center) try to do the following:
1. Buy as much dry/store-able foods. Most rooms has microwaves where you can heat up your food so you can have a decent meal without spending so much money. All you need is water and/or bowl, specially if its soup.
2. If unable to bring food, have a family member/friend bring some goodies. Packing can be a hassle and you may forget a few items or 2. Try to see if you can ask someone that lives nearby to bring you a few items to help you out and you won't have to spend a dime (except for a favor for that person hooking you up).


I'm sure many of you have developed your own survival guides and may also have tweaked it over the years but for the first timers, this is a good foundation to build from. Just remember, buy the food directly from the hotel during regular lunch hours if you desperately need it but don't be surprised to buy a water bottle for at least $3.
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