Quick programming note: my plan right now is to post smaller, mostly-text pieces from the show throughout the day; I’ve got a new ultra-light, ultra-fast laptop with a keyboard action that lets me type fast, but it sucks down battery like a motherscratcher so we’ll have to see how it goes. In any event, photos will most likely have to wait until the plentiful hotel wifi becomes available at the end of the day.
There’s a certain calm — almost a rationality — that hangs over San Diego the day before Preview Night. It’s a time when you can touch down at the airport, hop a hotel shuttle, check in, drop your bags, walk ten blocks to the Convention Center and meet Rich Stevens who has your badge¹ in the space of 57 minutes. By this time tomorrow it will not be possible to cross the train tracks and get to the show floor in less than 57 minutes². It’s a time when you can unload a pallet of, say, Android toy four-packs and make a Jenga-style pyramid taller than a man. It’s a time when plans of pre-show donut runs seem plausible³ and not a cruel joke as exhaustion causes you to sleep as late as possible before dashing to the convention center.
And it was a day that, oddly, the management of San Diego Comic Con sent a very interesting email to at least registered members of the press; I don’t know if all attendees got it, but they probably should have. There’s the usual stuff about not allowing carts on the show floor, the fact that fixed recording equipment isn’t allowed, and that prior permission is needed for commercial filming. But a few things stood out that seem to apply to more than just the press crowd:
- The general prohibition on recording during clips and footage in panels has expanded to mention Google Glass; if you have prescription Glass, you must swap them for another pair of glasses while footage is shown.
- There’s a recommendation for interviewees (not interviewers; remember, this went to press, so I wonder if it was copy/pasted from an email that went out to everybody) to not sign interview releases until after the interview is done, which should give some leverage for people confronted by the sort of jerk “media” that seem to pop up at every show.
- There’s an explicit communication of the anti-harassment policy; SDCC has come under criticism for not having made this policy available, so if this was (as I suspect) taken from a communication to all attendees, it represents a welcome (if late) improvement. For the record, the policy reads:
Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy.
Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a Comic-Con staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner. If your safety is at risk and you need immediate assistance you may also use a white house phone and dial 5911.
Security may be contacted by visiting our Show Office in Lobby C. A Comic-Con staff member will be in the office during public hours.
It’s still pretty weak given its reliance on weasel words like common sense (Emerald City has been held up as a good example of what you want your harassment policy to be like, for both clearly identifying unacceptable behavior and describing their obligation to keep all attendees, staff, guests, and exhibitors feel safe), but it’s still the most publicized instance of the policy I can recall seeing in my years of attending and covering SDCC. So yay, I guess.
Shortly, the real work of show prep will begin; boxes that were pulled inside booth perimeters will be unpacked, banners will be unfurled, people that you see once a year4 will trade labor, and scissors, and duct tape. As I write this, it’s less than eleven hours until the full force of CON descends, and may glob have mercy on those empty spaces where our souls are supposed to be.
Spam of the day:
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Hey! Leave Spock out of your crap, all right?
¹ Your mileage may vary; it’s unlikely that in your particular case Rich would have your badge, but then again the man is a goddamn miracle worker.
² I exaggerate but slightly; there are signs on the exterior of the convention center — which I did not notice in past years — that inform people from the opening of the doors it may take 20 minutes to clear the lobby area and enter the show floor or make it upstairs to panel rooms.
³ I am not in my usual hotel which is four blocks from the convention center and one block from my preferred breakfast place, with the to-go breakfast burritos. But I noticed last night that my usual hotel has three enormous construction cranes in the immediate vicinity — like on the same block — so maybe that’s not a problem. I am also at the further border of the Gaslamp, away from the loudest party spots; this has a certain appeal now that I am old and need my sleep.
4 Like Brian Sunter, merch-wrangler extraordinaire for the Penny Arcade Imperium. As the PA and Dumbrella booths face each other, Brian and I have spent years giving each other regular register-monkey nods during lulls in the crowd. I particularly associate Sunter with this show as I met him on the floor during prep some years back, about a week after he was hired in Robert Khoo’s first public cattle-call job announcement/decimation hiring process. If the tweet earlier this week about PA possibly abandoning SDCC for PAX South in future years comes true, I’ll miss seeing him.