How to Volunteer at a Comic Con

Comic Con

Volunteering is a great way to check out a convention, not only does it save you money, you get a great experience that comic con and or only shows can offer you. If by chance you are not a big fan of the show that you just attended, there is really no money loss and still have some for the next convention on your list. I wanted to start writing some post on volunteering, especially for all the new people that are interested in checking out the convention scene, and give an idea of where to start. 

Some of the comic conventions I have volunteered at, San Diego Comic Con 7 years, Phoenix Comicon 2 years, Phoenix Comicon sister show Fan Fest 1 year, and Amazing Arizona Comic Con 1 year, I even tried a fundraising Run in 2008. Some of those conventions I have attended with a regular badge and more recently a media pass. I wanted to share with you all 10 steps on how to volunteer at a comic convention! Yes some of these may be so obvious, and some may ask why even write about it? I am hoping this will come in handy one way or another, whether its a first timer, or the 100th time.


1. Find a Convention
Most of the conventions these days have volunteer opportunities that you can try, every show is different but the first and foremost step, is to find a show. My two main shows are San Diego Comic Con and Phoenix Comicon. There are so many shows out there it all depends where you want to travel, a local show, big show, small show. I have a motto, its never to early to plan for a comic con; once you have a convention in mind, don't hesitate to start your research.

2. Gather all the information
Find the link on the shows website and read all the information, all shows vary. Check out when the volunteer window is open, as some shows have a deadline or specific time frame. See if  you will need and account with that website, if they are still accepting volunteers, requirements, restrictions any info on volunteering. Save all the information, whether you write it down, bookmark it, or print it out, this way you will have all the information you need to proceed and plan. 

3. Apply
Now the fun part, APPLY fill out the form or send your information to the specified email listed. Make sure you fill out all the information they are asking for, that way your application will not get denied or delayed and will make a smoother process. Before hitting the submit button make sure you double check everything and make sure all the information is correct and up to date.

4. Follow up / Confirmation / Response
Keep an eye out for any emails the show may send your way, make sure their emails are clear on your recipients list of your email. Sometimes emails go to the junk box and are never to be seen again. Reply if it says reply, I always keep every email at least until the show is over. By saving the emails, just in case something happens you will have documentation. The show may send you a confirmation email, or a volunteer form to sign and send back. Some shows have a waiting list as well and will ask if you want to be put on it, just make sure you follow through with all responses and respond when asked to.

5.  The Boring yet Important Part
If you have made it to this stage and have completed steps 1-4 already then you are almost there! The shows probably have by now or if not soon sent out some sort of packet, these usually includes rules, regulations, whats expected of you and basic guidelines of the show. Make sure you read everything as I have mentioned before every show is different. Some shows are more strict than others, as in wearing business casual clothes, have to be ready for your shift at a certain time and so on. Make sure you read everything and agree to it, if by chance you do not feel you will be able to fulfill any of them, cancel your application. Shows that have meetings before hand, try to make it to those meetings as well, and make sure you are also aware of the ones that must be attended.

From previous photos

6. Schedule
Every show is different when it comes to scheduling, some have it to where you can show up and tell them what time you want to work. Some have schedules that are put out before the show, and some you can pick your shift the day before. Having a program of the show you are attending helps, look it over and create a battle plan, what you want to see and do. This will give you an idea of when to sign up for a shift and be able to see all you want to see while you are at the show. Make sure you leave enough time to get to the venue, check in and allow time for the unexpected things that might come about, especially if you are traveling.


7. Volunteer and enjoy the perks
After all that work of applying confirming and reading you are now finally able to be at the show! Show up on time, make sure you know when you shift(s) are, when and where you are suppose to report to. Some shows give their volunteers a range of things for donating their time, whether its free swag, a day pass, or even a name tag. Enjoy them because they are awesome, and fun to have when you look back on your time at the show.


8.  Remember you have to start somewhere
If you are a first time volunteer you may or may not get the duties that are not that popular, or the duties that may seem like they are not doing anything productive. Each duty at a show does have a purpose weather big or small, most start out at line managing. Although it may seem boring, it can be really fun and I have met some great people during my line managing days. After a few times volunteering if you stay with the show, the duties usually get better. I know with San Diego Comic Con over the years of volunteering the duties have gotten better for me.

9. Have Fun
Have fun at the show, make friends, talk, engage, communicate. I am a bit of an introvert but have been working on it as well. I have met some great people over the years of volunteering, some of them have even been very helpful in the process of me having a website now days. Give other volunteers you talk to your communication card, that way you can keep in touch long after the show and possibly meet up the next year. While having fun take notes, of how you like the process, how you got to where you are at the show, see if you are liking it and if you want to return to the show the following year. 


10. Share and Repeat
After all of that, you have to share something, make sure you share you experiences of the show. Share on social media, with friends, family and other nerd birds like yourself. If you had a coordinator that stood out to you or enjoyed working with them, let them know! The people who run the shows, the volunteer department, managers, coordinators, they all work just as hard. If someone does a good job tell them! If you are interested in the same show next year repeat steps 1-10, you will seem like a pro, and if you are trying a new show just complete the 10 steps! 

Did you find any of these helpful? Have you volunteered at a comic con before? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.

Until next time Watchtower
Over & out


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