Alert readers may have noted that this year, I did not attend San Diego Comic Con because while I submitted all the required materials in advance of last December’s deadline, I never heard back if the press pass was actually approved.
I think you can see where I’m going with this.
I received an email from the SDCC press registration desk telling me that my credentials required reverification. This normally happens every other year (odd years for me), and was the source of my headaches in 2015. And so the fact that they’re asking for verification again for 2016 suggests I was never verified last year.
Then again, in the runup to the show, I was regularly (as in multiple times per day) receiving emails inviting me to press-only events, interview opportunities, and the like, leading me to believe that maybe I was approved. It’s not like I could check, as you can only claim your press badge if you have the barcode that you get sent when approved, and I was never sent a barcode, so basically I have no idea where I stand with the SDCC organization at this time. So I sent ’em an email at the indicated address:
I got your email 20 minutes ago about press verification being due for 2016.
Unfortunately, I’m still waiting on my verification for 2015. I submitted well in advance of the deadline, received a confirmation of submission, and then nothing.
As instructed in the verification details, after six weeks I emailed this address and received a reply that questions should be sent to this address after six weeks. I did so again a month later, same response. Another month, same response (I still have the email chain from this process if you’d care to see it).
At this point, it was time to make flight and hotel arrangements and I was not going to shell out two grand with no indication as to whether or not my credentials would be waiting.
So far as I know, I’m the only journalist that attends SDCC solely to cover the webcomics pavilion; I get quoted by the likes of Heidi MacDonald and Brigid Alverson, and Scott McCloud’s cited me as a useful source of information. I’ve been credentialed for SDCC from 2006 to 2014; I don’t know if I was ever credentialed last year, and I’m not willing to try for 2016 unless I know that my application (which was acknowledged as received) is going to end up in front of an alive human that can render a yes or no decision. Being told I don’t qualify any longer would be a disappointment, but it would at least be an answer.
Please advise as to the likelihood of my verification actually being reviewed this year, and I’ll do my best to make my case as to why I have earned credentials.
I immediately received a canned response:
This automated response is to let you know that your email has been received.
[repeat of first email’s intructions for applying for press credentials]
As of this time, it appears that the situation is unchanged from last year — that the email address provided for questions is solely automated, that no human will ever get back to me, and that after nine years of of covering SDCC I have become persona non grata. That last bit is not a problem — it’s up to SDCC to decide who constitutes the legit press and who doesn’t, but I am at least deserving of an actual rejection instead of being in limbo for (as of this writing) the past eleven months.
I might never get a reply from SDCC which I suppose means I won’t ever go again — that would be a shame, but unless somebody from the SDCC press reg desk is reading this, there’s literally nothing in my power to change the situation. So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to fly home from a work trip tomorrow night, and on Saturday morning I’m going to walk to the New Jersey Transit station by my house and head into New York Comic Con.
It’s overcrowded, in a dead part of the city, in a nightmare of a convention center, with no webcomic presence to speak of, but the press application approval process took four days¹ and I’ve had my physical badge at my home for a month. San Diego may have things to teach Reed Pop about line-wrangling and floor layout, but Reed’s all over the registration process, and I’m curious to see if any of the Demonakis magic has seeped into NYCC since Reed bought Emerald City Comic Con.
Spam of the day:
23 Second Abs
Better than yesterday’s promise of restored vision and Tuesday’s promise of bigger breasts, but still no sale. The one thing that’s pretty good about being a chronically-underweight stick figure (my suit guy had to measure me three times before he would believe the numbers on his tape … I really am 181cm and 60kg) is that you got abs. Late 40s, still got a sixpack, yay me.
¹ Based on their published schedule, I shouldn’t have expected a reply for nearly four weeks.