Top 10 Things You Have to do at C2E2

Happy C2E2 Week Everyone!! To kickoff the countdown until the Best Weekend of the Year, here is my Top 10 list of essential activities, tips, and advice for the Chicago convention.
1) Get photographed by Cosplayers Canada guy 

Believe me when I say this: the Cosplayers Canada guy is really cool. He stopped me two years ago just to take my picture (I was dressed as Tintin), and it was one of the most memorable moments during my time attending C2E2. He takes amazing pictures, he travels around the country taking pictures of other Cosplayers, and he puts these professional-grade photos up online for everyone to enjoy. If you spot him, it’s definitely worth asking if you can get your picture taken. Also, follow him on Facebook!
*Note: I recently contacted him and found out that he is not able to attend C2E2 this year, which is sad. But, if you’re getting ready to go to another convention in the coming months, check to see if he’ll be there!
2) Buy at least one piece of art in the Artist’s Alley  

Now, I’m not saying that you have to buy an immensely expensive piece of art, but buying at least one small piece of work will mean so much to that artist. Most of the artists that exhibit their work at conventions are independent, and this is their life’s work, so support it! Some artists offer pieces as low as $2, so you’re not breaking the bank; you are, however, helping to finance more prints, travel expenses, and work supplies for the amazing artists that go to C2E2. Plus, you get to have an awesome keepsake that was hand-crafted and one of a kind.
3) Take lots of pictures 

There’s no good way to describe a convention. These things have to be experienced, but they provide incredible memories for those who attend. To preserve these memories, this means taking lots of pictures. One of the most fun things my friends and I do is take pictures with other people who are cosplaying as our favorite characters. This builds a community of nerds while introducing you to some really cool people, which brings me to my next point:
4) Talk to people, but most importantly…compliment them if you like their costume/shirt/whatever  
Harley Quinn was half French and told me that she grew up reading Tintin. She was so thrilled to see my costume, and eager to take a picture with me. People like thos are the reason why I love C2 :’)
There’s a lot of trepidation that occurs when one attends a convention. Geeks and nerds get a bad rap a lot of the time (I promise you, we do shower), and some people might feel intimidated about going to such a big event. But I can assure you that most people who go to conventions are just as nervous; I think about things like “what if I get separated from my friends?”, “will people like my costume?”, “will I go hungry if I run out of snacks?” The most important thing to remember is to not be afraid of people at conventions. We’re all people, and we all have a passion for something, and we may all have something in common. So talk to people, compliment their costume or t-shirt or other swag, and be kind to others at cons.
5) Meet one of your favorite celebrities 

A lot of the time, you have to ask their hospitality staff if it is okay to just go up and say hi, because they have to get through a huge volume of people who are paying for signatures and photos, but it’s worth asking. Last year, my friends and I met Natalia Tena, Veronica Taylor (original voice of Ash from Pokémon), and Ernie Hudson (who is the biggest sweetheart EVER). If they say no, you’ve got to remember that they are people too, and maybe they are there for a limited time to do signings and photos. Just be respectful.
6) Try something new 

Whether it’s your first time or your fifth time going to C2E2, try one thing new. Go to a panel, or a fan gathering activity, or even take a class (yes, they have classes at C2E2). Or, try out a cosplay, or wear really nerdy stuff. It’s one weekend out of you life, so take some fun risks!
7) Act the part 

If you’re cosplaying at C2E2, try acting the part. The first year we went, we saw someone dressed as L from “Death Note.” He looked just like him, but what sold it was his mannerisms and introverted attitude, which were modeled after the character. We were blown away by how he portrayed the character. Also, other fans appreciate if you act like the character, and it’s so much fun. You don’t have to do it all day, but try it out.
8) Collect business cards 

This is something I do at every convention I go to. Most artist, writers, and retail booths have business cards at the ready. I save them so that I can refer to them each year, especially if I liked the person and their work. And if you like someone you met at C2E2, check out their social media pages so you can keep up to date with all the cool stuff they’re doing.
9) Bring your own snacks, water, and cash 

C2E2’s website actually encourages you to bring your own snacks. Food vendors at McCormick Place are overpriced, and don’t have much of a variety. I always stock up on high-energy snacks (granola, trail mix, etc.) to keep me going. I also bring a bottle of water. McCormick Place has water fountains in case you need to fill up, and it’s free to use. Also, if you’re planning on buying anything, bring cash! Most vendors–food or otherwise–only accept cash, so bring enough to get you through the day. Just be careful and keep all money secure.
10) Be fearless 

As I said earlier, big conventions can be daunting, but try not to lose your cool. If you’re having trouble finding a booth, or bathroom, ask one of the hospitality staff! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re going to the convention to have a good time, so don’t let fear get in your way. And chances are that there are other people there who are just as nervous as you are; it’s human nature. In the two years that I’ve gone to C2E2, I’ve never met a rude person, so don’t worry! Just hang loose and do what you want to do.

I hope you find these tips helpful! Everyone finds their own experience at C2E2, so don’t take my word for it entirely. You might come up with something really cool to try each year. But always remember: be respectful, have fun, and party on!

Follow me on Twitter for live tweets during Saturday’s show!

Note on Images: all the images in this post were taken by me at the 2013 and 2014 C2E2 events.

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