The short answer is that you don't. Not even close. I attended my first #SDCC last year and unfortunately will be missing all the geektastic fun this time, but I know I'll be back. Just like the Terminator but without the glowing red eyes or the intent to kill anyone. Okay, there were a few times that I thought about killing people last year, but I can only take getting smacked in the head by a ginourmous costume sword so many times.
I've been thinking about what I'll miss and what I won't miss and thought it'd be a good idea to share some of what I gleaned from my first experience. You see, I'm not a veteran or an expert on this con just yet, but I did get some very good first-timer impressions that may help you as you head to sunny California next week.
Choose Your Costume Carefully
I love taking pictures of everyone who spends the weeks leading up to the con prepping costumes that are perfect down to the last button. #SDCC had some of the most amazing cosplay I've ever seen but many people didn't think things through before they got dressed. Remember, you have to carry that weapon, navigate the crowd and stand in those heels all day. Also, no one wants to walk away looking like an extra from The Walking Dead unless that's how they started the day so take it easy with the fake blood.
The Lines Are Long
There are lines upon lines upon lines upon lines. You will wait in many of them and not even get in because the rooms are not cleared after each event. If you absolutely, positively must see a panel, especially one that's sure to be popular, then camp out. A sleeping bag and a pillow and a whole lot of determination better be packed in your carry-on.
Don't Spend All Your Time In Those Lines
In the midst of all the chaos and the rush to see the next big thing, don't forget that the con is happening all around you. In the time you wait in a line to be one in a room of thousands, you could have gotten a bunch of autographs, checked out lots of vendors and artists and gotten up close and personal with people at some of the smaller panels. When you schedule your time, don't schedule it all in lines.
Don't Try To See It All
Yes, yes, I understand this may be the one and only time you make it to #SDCC, but no matter how hard you try you are going to miss stuff. Stop stressing about it. There is so much to see and do that for every thing you miss there are ten better things you'll see. Just slow it down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment. Don't worry about what you missed and just relax.
Going to #SDCC is a lot like having a baby. You have a very specific idea of how it's all going to happen, but the likelihood of it all going exactly as planned is next to zero. If you forget part of your costume, then wing it. If you don't get the one collectible you wanted, then pick one of the others that are sure to catch your attention. If you miss a really good panel, pick a different one to attend.
I hope everyone getting ready for #SDCC has a wonderful time this year. Eat! Drink! Be merry! And someone please send me lots of pictures because I hate you all just a little bit for being where I wish I could be next week.