So maybe this title is a bit misleading and won’t end up with you being crowned King or Queen of Supanova. Still, the Melbourne and Gold Coast branches of one of Australia’s favourite pop culture events are coming up soon, and I’d like to think that this guide will help you make the most of it.
1. Bring cash.
My number one, most important rule for conventions. It may sound a bit shady, but it’s a very practical tip. A lot of stalls (especially artist stalls) don’t take EFTPOS. There will be ATMs, but the lines for them are always massive! And getting cash out at shops that do let you get cash out usually charge.
Of course, it’s hard to predict exactly how much money you’ll spend. Budgeting beforehand is always a good thing – take into account food, drinks, artist stalls and of course, sweet as collectibles.
A related tip: never, ever put your wallet down. It’s not even because someone will steal it, but conventions are so hectic, it’s relatively easy to put your wallet down, forget about it, and walk off. This happened to me once. I was lucky I realised after about five minutes and went back to the last stall I was at, and they’d put my wallet somewhere safe.
2. Wear sensible shoes.
Maybe I’m just a wuss, but if I’m going to be walking around for roughly six hours, I’d like to have shoes I can walk in. Of course, this is a little harder if you’re a cosplayer who has six inch heels. Still, bringing a spare pair of shoes you can switch into will be the best decision you will make, if only to walk back to the train or tram in, or to rest in.
3. Bring food and water.
Seriously dude. Even if you plan to buy all your food, a spare bottle of water never hurt anyone. And let’s face it – food can be expensive at conventions and festivals, not to mention the huge lines. Having some back up snacks is a good idea, and also delicious. It means you’re spending less time in a line and more time checking out the convention. If you’re not game for convention food (not every loves fried chips on a stick, I hear), conventions aren’t held in a vacuum. Often there will be shops outside of the expo area. Of course, research before you go.
4. Bring a bag.
Whether it’s a backpack, messenger bag or something else, having a bag makes it easier to buy lots and lots of things. Some shops will give you your purchases in a bag, but even then, you’ll be carrying around heaps of plastic bags. That means it’s more likely you’ll lose something, or just be cumbersome and annoying.
Sometimes bags can get in the way of your costume. In that case, hire someone to carry all your stuff. (No, that’s silly. Just accept that if you want to buy stuff, a bag will be very useful.)
5. Bring extra everything.
To a reasonable degree, of course. But doing things like charging your phone and camera before you go and bringing extra memory cards is obvious. You don’t want to be wandering around at 4pm not able to find any of your friends because you’ve run out of batteries, or not be able to take photos of an awesome Doctor Who cosplay because your camera is full.
6. Schedule, schedule, schedule.
When Tom Felton (probably better known as Draco Malfoy) came to Melbourne’s Supanova, the lines were unbelievable. Convention staff had to cut off the lines after a certain point because they were just too long. And Tom Felton, even though he was sick, stayed until every single person got their photo (even though the rest of the convention had more or less ended. I should know, I was the last person in the queue Saturday evening.) Not every celebrity is as patient or nice as Mr. Felton, so figure out what you need to get to, and get there early.
Some panels fill up really fast too, so it’s worth looking at what will probably fill up fast, and line up early.
7. Check out artist stalls.
I really think the Artist Alley is one of the best parts of Supanova. You get to look at local and new artists’ work, and even buy it and get it signed. And chatting with them is always nice too. Basically, artists are cool and you should hang out with them and buy their stuff.