Let me start this off by saying that I loved Comic Con and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. However, the trip did open my eyes to a few things that I wasn’t aware of before, which is the fact that most of the people on tumblr who sit in front of their computer and cry about how they wish they were at SDCC? They would hate it.
So let me explain you a thing.
This was my first year attending Comic Con. And while I loved it, it was also one of the most frustrating experiences ever.
The fact is that there are a lot of people at SDCC. A lot. So if you have social anxiety or simply don’t like people, then SDCC is not the place for you. We don’t have final numbers for this year yet, but considering over 130,000+ people attended last year, and this year there were even more attendees, you can 100% bet that you’re going to be constantly engulfed in a sea of people. What’s worse is that even though the convention center itself is very large, with that many people around, it feels tiny, because there are always people crowded around you. There are always people passing you, bumping into you, touching you. If you don’t like strangers getting up close and personal with you, then you will hate SDCC.
Having such a large number of people also means that there’s lines for everything, from going to panels to getting food to going to the bathroom to just simply walking around the convention center. In fact, I’d estimate that I spent most of my time at SDCC waiting in a line. This means everything moves at an incredibly sluggish place, and what’s more? You miss out on great panels and experiences because you’re stuck in line. If you want to go to one single panel in one of the three big rooms (Indigo Ballroom, Ballroom 20, or Hall H), then consider your whole day busy, because there’s nothing else you’ll be able to do except stand in line. You’re going to miss lots of really fun smaller panels or even bigger panels for other things that you’re interested in, simply because you’re waiting in line for one panel. You have to pick and choose your favourites.
The reason behind this is that they do not clear the room between panels. This means that people will get there early, essentially camp out through all the panels in order to just make sure they get in and get a good seat. They will sit through panel after panel of things they’re not interested in, in order to be able to snag a seat up close during the intermissions. This means that the people who actually wanted to go to an earlier panel often cannot get in, simply because there were others in there, “saving their seat” for later panels. In order to see the Teen Wolf panel, I had to sit through the X-Files panel and the Brave New Warriors panel. Luckily, I was interested in both of those, but if I weren’t, then it would have essentially been a waste of my time and a seat taken for someone who actually DID want to see those panels.
You can wait for four hours to see a panel and not even get in.
Now, for Indigo Ballroom and Ballroom 20 panels, you probably want to make sure to get in line at least 3-5 hours before your panel, just to try and make sure you get in. Hall H panels, however? You’re going to need to camp out the night before, mostly if they’re early in the day panels. If your panel is at 6pm in Hall H, then you can probably get there at like 7am and wait and you’ll be fine. However, if you want to go to one of the earlier ones, then you’re going to need to sleep overnight in line. Sunday is the big TV day, and the panels went, starting from 10am: Supernatural, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who, Community, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy. When we got to Hall H to see how long the line was at 4pm on Saturday, the line was already over 200 people long. That means people were camping out for panels starting more than 21 hours later. And when I say camping, I don’t mean actual camping, because you’re not allowed to bring tents. In fact, you’re technically not allowed to take up more room than a single person would. This means you’re literally sleeping outside, with no protection from the cold weather or rain (because, hey, it did threaten to rain).
Hall H can hold over 7,000 people. And come 4am, when we walked the line? It was already over a mile long. A mile long, packed full of people, all sleeping overnight, just to get into Hall H. Come 7am, it was probably a hell of a lot longer. And most people? Got little to no sleep at all, so they spent all of the panels pretty much exhausted.
So understand that when you complain about not being at SDCC, it’s not sunshine and rainbows and casually strolling into a panel and seeing exclusive content while Matt Smith sits ten feet away from you. It’s lots of waiting and annoyance and impatience and tiredness and hating everything ever omg random stranger #55,934 stop fucking touching me.
In fact, people who are at home on tumblr really have the best fucking seat in the house. You not only get all the videos of the panels (most likely from a better seat than you would have ever gotten if you physically went to the actual panel), but you didn’t have to wait for hours in line, and you didn’t have to pick and choose between your favourites. You guys were watching panels and interviews and seeing photos and had a steady stream of content appearing to you guys, all from the comfort of your rooms, with easy access to food, drinks, bathrooms, etc., that none of the people at SDCC actually got to see because we were too busy standing in line (often outside! In cold weather! Wtf, San Diego!) to see one single panel and debating whether or not we were hungry enough to get someone to hold our place in line so we could go wait in another line in order to spend $8 on a small plate of nachos. We’d spend all day in line to see one thing, and then we’d come back to the hotel room and get on tumblr, so we could catch up with all the other millions of interesting things that happened that day at SDCC that we didn’t get to see, but you guys have known for hours.
So yes, I got to go to Comic Con. I also got to pay for a plane ticket, pay for my SDCC ticket, pay for my hotel room, pay for food and drinks and public transit and etc. I also got to spend most of my weekend waiting in lines and hating life. Would I exchange my experiences for anything? Of course not. Do I regret going? No way. Will I go again next year? Probably. But when you guys complain about why people at SDCC got to see exclusive content that you guys didn’t get to see? Well, take my word for it: we earned it.
But I do get it, of course I do. It sucks that we got to see the DW 50th trailer when BBC isn’t even sure when they’re going to release the trailer for the general public. I totally empathize. I think it’s a bit ridiculous that they’re just not releasing the trailer at all. Were I in BBC’s position, I would simply release the trailer a month after SDCC for the general public. But it would also be nice for you guys to realize that, in order for us to actually see the trailer, we had to drop $1000+ and wait for 20+ hours in line, so just try to cut us some slack. (EDIT: I’m adding this in because I’ve gotten lots of people being upset over this area; I’ve literally seen wank posts like “UGH WHY DON’T I GET TO SEE THE DW TRAILER SDCC PEOPLE SUCK I’M A BIGGER FAN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE THIS” hence why I wrote this “please cut us some slack” area. I don’t mean that I was entitled to exclusive content and you guys weren’t. I just mean, please don’t blame us or say that it’s unfair for us to have seen it and we don’t deserve it, because the BBC changed their mind.)
I’m not saying that SDCC wasn’t fun, because it was. I am not ungrateful for my experience. But I just hope this post can open some of your guys’ eyes, because when I signed up for SDCC, I did not think it was going to be like this. And hopefully, this post will make some of you feel better about the fact that you didn’t get to go, because it’s definitely not for everyone.
((Sidenote: I honestly felt bad for the people who wanted to see Supernatural and Breaking Bad, because honestly, with the DW 50th anniversary, the Whovians essentially took over the line. There were not a lot of Breaking Bad fans in the panel, which is a shame, because it’s Breaking Bad’s last season, and I’m sure there were a massive amount of people who would have wanted to go. Unfortunately, SDCC had scheduled Breaking Bad BEFORE Doctor Who (because ???? idk man, SDCC people don’t understand fandom organization, apparently??), so all the hard-core Breaking Bad fans who didn’t start camping out at 4pm weren’t lucky enough to get in.))