SDCC vs. PHXCC Smackdown: Volunteer Edition

I am already counting down the days till the next Phoenix Comicon and San Diego Comic Con. I have discovered a hidden treasure amongst the scene of comic conventions. Be a Volunteer... Volunteering is a great way to check out a Convention. Not only does it save money on purchasing a badge to attend the event, but also give a behind the scenes look at how the event is put on and the hard work and dedication that is put into them. 

         Comic Con Smackdown

My Convention resume:
First Convention attended: San Diego Comic Con CCI Edition #39  (2006) Attended/Volunteered. Also appeared in Years  ’07, ’08, ’09, ’12 ’13, ‘14 '15

Others since then: Phoenix Comicon 2014 (first time), 2015 Attended /Volunteered 
Phoenix Comicon Sister Show Fan Fest 2014 Attended/Volunteered for the first time

With the sizes of these two conventions there processes are obviously different and yet I love both. I am sharing with you some of the differences of the conventions, and some of the perks and bonuses one will get when donating there time, for some of the most wonderful times of the year. 


San Diego Comic Con [SDCC] vs. Phoenix Comicon [PHXCC] 

Involvement
Phoenix Comicon One Saturday a month in the time leading up to the convention is when they have an all hands meeting, where all the volunteers gather and get ready for the show. I started attending these meetings in March 2014 just a few months before the convention in June. I was stoked because the meeting fell on my birthday weekend and was excited for something new. After a general meeting we would break out into our departments I choose Operations/Exhibitor Hall staff, and I was not disappointed. I was interested in this department due to helping out the exhibitors and being able to roam the floor. 

SDCC Because of the size and capacity of SDCC there would be no way for them to do this which was a total different experience for the Phoenix Comicon. However you get the satisfaction of being part of one of the biggest conventions of the year, and one of the most sought out conventions. 

Shifts
PHXCC Lets you choose when you want to work and try their best to accommodate you and your schedule. They actually have a set schedule that they use throughout the weekend like if you were working a regular job. So if you get all your hours done Wednesday, Thursday, Friday you would have sat/sun all to yourself and not have to worry about volunteering.  I choose to complete my hours and devote my time to the Exhibitor Hall and did it for both the Phoenix shows. It was really fun the first time of roaming the floor and talking with the vendors and/or artists that are there, at the same time you are “working”.


SDCC  Volunteers are able to choose which four hours they want to work, day of or day before, when finished with a shift they are free to roam the halls for the rest of the day. If a volunteer wants to pick their shift for the following day, they can do so after the designated time set by SDCC that allows volunteers to pick a shift. The day you volunteer is the day you get in for free. The shifts you receive are random, they say the more you volunteer the better the assignments get, some of the assignments are better than others but I always say to myself, this is your ticket be happy.

Exclusive Volunteer Swag!
PHXCC Depending on what your “role title” is they have special tiers of swag (free stuff) that you would receive. Not only did I get a fancy looking Staff badge, I received another full event pass for a guest, a t-shirt, key chain, pin, food vouchers for the designated area they had for volunteers and the coolest of all a NAME TAG!

SDCC is one of the biggest shows out there, I call it the Superbowl of Comic Cons. It was easier to get into it in 2006 when I first attended but now it is very difficult and like winning the lottery. My ticket in for now is volunteering and that is one of the big benefits of their swag you get is, when you volunteer you get that day free and be able to attend the convention. If you complete four consecutive shifts you receive an exclusive SDCC volunteer t shirt. Something that I at least know was new for me, was volunteers from the previous year were able to get into preview night for SDCC. It was well worth it as I received more swag at least the super hard ones to come by like all the collector TV guides the WB offers and more. Although that was one of the best perks for me, they are not doing it for 2016.


Experiences
PHXCC Being an exhibitor hall staff really had its perks, getting in before the doors open to the public to help with vendors and answer any questions or see if they needed assistance. It was interesting to see the hall before the public was allowed in and see how full it would get during the day and then empty out at night. Saying hi to some of the guests and thanking them for coming (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and getting one of my trading cards signed and Danny Slavin from Power Rangers Galaxy) Overtime, and with all the meetings and communications with others you almost end up having a whole other side of family.

SDCC The more you volunteer the better your assignments get, when I first volunteered in 06 it was running errands from an office, to managing lines, to stamping peoples hand in a panel room when they leave, they all have their moments. Talking to other nerds while I managed lines, discovering a new aspect of the con Artist’s Alley in 2013. Meeting people and keeping in touch with them all year long, and realizing that you are part of one of the biggest and hardest to get into Comic Cons of the year...its pretty awesome.

When it comes down the winner is… there is no way I would be able to choose which was better, it is like asking what is your favorite fandom you can’t just pick one, well I can’t anyways. These are two massively different shows with very memorable experiences and both with completely different perks. This is a great way to experience a comic convention for the first time, then just repeat for many years in a row. So far being able to choose which is the favorite of them, that mission is deemed a failure for the time being. Both of these conventions have become a big part of my life and has driven me to volunteer at other conventions whenever I can. 

Have you volunteered at any conventions? What were some of the perks or your favorite memories of volunteering?

Until next time....
Watchtower over and out

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