Fan Expo Dallas Dallas Fan Days will be taking over the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center again April 6-8, and it's bringing with it a pretty huge lineup of special guests, including Jeff Goldblum and a reunion of the cast of Back to the Future.
The event always draws a pretty huge crowd, and it can be a little overwhelming, especially if it's your first time.
So what do you take with you? How do you act? What do you do while you're there? Can you ask celebrities for hugs? What about cosplayers?
The official event Twitter account (@FANEXPODallas) often asks followers for their #ConTip suggestions for getting the most out of the show. Here's some of the wisdom that has been offered there, along with some of our own suggestions based on attending Dallas Comic Con in previous years.
What to wear
Unless you’re going in costume, dress comfortably. Jeans and a t-shirt are perfectly fine (and it doesn’t even need to be a nerdy shirt, though the place will be packed with people who can appreciate a good one). Wear comfortable shoes, as you’re going to be walking and/or standing quite a bit.
If you're going in costume: Make sure to check out Fan Expo's policies on props and weapons on their website.
Also, more than one fan on Twitter said what we were all thinking (please heed their advice):
What to bring
If you order your tickets online ahead of time, don't forget the barcode they e-mail you. You should be able to show it on your phone, but you might want to print it out just in case.
If you plan on taking a lot of photos you should make sure your camera batteries are charged and you have plenty of space on your memory card (or your phone, if you go that route).
Also, many of the booths – and most celebrity autographs – are cash only, so bring plenty of the green stuff. And if you’re going primarily to collect autographs? Bring a binder and sleeves to keep them in.
Oh, and one thing you don't want to bring: Outside food or drinks. There will be lots of stuff in the convention center (though, yes, it may cost you more cash than you'd like. I'm not a fan either, but a nerd's gotta eat).
What to do
Have fun! Enjoy some panels, meet some celebrities, do some shopping (just don't buy all the old comics based on video games -- I'm after those), and make new friends. It's a great opportunity to spend time with like-minded individuals. There's even a sci-fi speed dating session on the schedule, if you're looking for the Clark Kent to your Lois Lane.
Even the special guests know that meeting people is an essential part of the convention experience.
You can see the full schedule of events online. While you're having fun, though, don't forget to eat and stay hydrated. Take a break if you need to.
If you're going to events/panels, plan for them to take the full hour, though the times will ultimately vary.
Celebrities are people too, so respect their time and attendance. Many of the special guests at Dallas Comic Con don’t allow you to take photos of them while in the autograph lines (Fan Expo volunteers will let you know if this is the case).
More often than not, the guests love meeting fans. Just don’t be the person that they rant about on Twitter later because you wouldn’t leave them alone.
Celebrity Q&A/panel etiquette
The panels and celebrity Q&A sessions can be awesome, because it's a good chance to pack a big crowd of people into a room to talk to some of their favorite celebrities and ask them questions (in an orderly fashion).
There are some rules, though. One of the most important: Don't get up to the microphone and ask for an autograph or a picture or a hug. That's what the autograph lines and paid photo ops are for, and you'll just annoy the hundreds of other people in the room that are there to hear the celebrity talk, not awkwardly turn down your request for a selfie.
If there's a moderator for the Q&A, they might ask a few questions to get the ball rolling before opening up the floor to fan questions. There should be microphones placed in some of the aisles, so seek those out and line up if you've got something you're dying to ask. (As someone who has moderated some of these panels in the past, we love a good question as much as you do.)
Wait, I have to buy photo ops and autographs even after buying a ticket?
Sadly, yes. At least in many cases (particularly with the bigger names). Understandably, some people get upset at the idea of having to buy these things on top of buying a pass to the show itself, but because of the way agreements with the celebrity guests tend to work out, you have to pay separately for their time and signature.
It can be worth it, though. How else would you make a photo like this happen?
You can buy photo ops in advance here.
Cosplay is not consent
You will see some amazing cosplay at Fan Expo Dallas, and most people in costume are more than happy to let you take a picture with them. But do the right thing and ask the person in costume if it's OK to take their picture before you do it, and definitely don't go putting your hands on anybody else without their permission to do so.
Don't be that creepy person that gets inappropriate with your fellow nerds at the show, no matter how they're dressed. Seriously. You'll just get kicked out and make us geeks look bad.
To my knowledge Fan Expo Dallas hasn't had any problems in this department in the past. Let's keep it that way.
And while you're at it, don't do this, either: