How to Prepare to Attend a Movie and TV Show Convention
You have been accepted and accredited as a member of the press to a convention (written about here, here, and here). Whether its a film convention, a television show convention, or both, preparation for attendance is the same. Following these steps will ensure that your attendance at a film or TV show convention runs smoothly.
Conventions post all of their activities online weeks before a convention takes place. These activities are usually referred to as panels.
Select the Convention Panels
As a webmaster or the head of your organization, it is your responsibility to go through the list of panels and select which panels you want your writers to attend and report on through articles on your website (and/or social media posts).
Take note of the start times, stop times, and locations of each panel. When organizing and assigning panels, make sure not to create time conflicts. You have to give your attending writers enough time to get from one panel to the next. If Panel A ends at 5:30 P.M., don’t assign Panel B – which begins at 5:30 P.M. – to the same person.
Select Alternate Convention Panels
Something will go wrong with the popular panels that you have selected. One of your writers will get in line too late, etc. By having a list of alternate panels selected (a B-list of panels), you will be ready for this eventuality. You will be able to shepherd your writer to the next, most valuable panel on your list. As list of alternate panels can avoid downtime or missed opportunities.
Popular panels will have a line of people that want to get in and attend e.g. a The Walking Dead panel. These lines begin four to five hours before the panel begins. You have to plan for that eventuality in advance. That should also factor into what other panels you assign to the writer attending popular panels. If they will be waiting in line, they won’t have time to attend a panel before the popular panel.
Disclose Coverage Responsibilities
Tell your convention attending writers what is expected of them in advance of their attendance (so that everyone is on the same page). This will eliminate miscommunications before they occur.
Use the Convention App
Some conventions offer a free downloadable cell phone application. Some apps come with a map of the convention floor e.g. the New York Comic Con App. If you get lost or don’t know where a panel is, the app will give you the info that you need e.g. your current position on the convention floor.
Some apps allow you to place your panel schedule into them. Some apps will alert you when a panel is about to begin.
The app is usually advertised on the home page of the convention.
Convention Article Setup
Tell your writers in advance how you want the convention acknowledged in the title and body of their convention articles. Do you want them to acknowledge the convention with the convention’s abbreviation, the full title of the convention, the abbreviation and the convention year, the full title of the convention and the convention year, or a combination of all of the above?
Tell your attending writers how you want the convention acknowledged in the tags of their articles. I usually go with the official title of the convention. It makes things simple. Reference “Convention Article Setup” if you have something else in mind.
Tell your attending writers what category (s) to choose for their specific convention articles.
Time Sensitivity of Coverage
Unlike film festivals, convention coverage is time sensitive. A few days after the convention ends, their coverage is worthless. Your writers need to get their panel coverage up the same day as the panel or by the next day. Their writing schedule should be structured during conventions to accommodate this quick writing turn around.
Do not overbook them or their writing will suffer.
Plan everything in advance. This will minimize surprises.
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