Still debating if buying a badge to that one convention is worth it?
After attending 20 conventions in the last six years, regardless of size, popularity, or fandom, every con has a staple benefit to having a badge. Here are my top 10 benefits to buying a badge.
Free classes in a future career field
Surprisingly, not many people take advantage of this programming perk. Professionals from walks of life submit their panels to conventions resulting in a robust workshop track.
Voice Overs, Journalism, Authoring your first book; Opportunities to learn the basics of a real world trade is awesome and at no additional cost to you. Keep a notebook and pen handy or open up that note app on your phone to record some of that free information.
Sneak Previews to Major and Independent Studio Releases
Where there’s a row of viewing rooms, you’ll find a list of shows screening 24 hours over the convention weekend.
Conventions often partner with local studios, giving attendees access to the latest in upcoming shows. Or this could be the perfect opportunity to catch up on several shows over the weekend. So, grab plenty of snacks and get ready to binge watch with little interruption.
Free guides to new hobbies
Similar to the free career coaching, programming is chalk full of new hobbies you might not of heard of.
I know I discovered the art of tea ceremonies one year just by skimming the guidebook for things to do.
From learning the tools involved for building your first Gunpla to how to start your own collection of movie memorabilia, stumble upon a new hobby that’s just right for you.
Free Play Gaming Area
Another overlooked perk to having a badge is having access to free games all weekend. As well as free entry into gaming brackets to win some sweet swag.
Arcade cabinets, dance pads, and motion gaming galore. Tables specially open for tabletop gaming and sometime a pit for LAN parties.
Just be kind to the controls, so the company providing these freebies will come back next year.
Free Grab Bags stuffed with promotional codes
How exciting would it be to know about a new figure release or a returning show before anyone else does?
Grab bags are the staple thank you gift for purchasing early bird badges. Sure, there’s tons of those flyers with codes for early access to games or movie downloads. Their also chalk full of information for premieres, convention exclusive discounts and more.
Candid discussions with celebrities
You’d be surprised at how enjoyable it can be to sit in and listen to a simple Q&A with a pop-culture figure. These discussions can range anywhere from career path to what are their thoughts on nutella. With a badge, you get access to any panels Guests host or industry panels being presented to you. Why not take advantage of getting up close and personal for an hour or two?
Catch freebies from promotional booths
Again, with a badge you have access to a variety of vendors. My favorite thing to do in the Dealers Hall is look for the big name booths holding raffles for goods that I plan on purchasing later. Its also a great way to preview items that could be online after con.
Grab a ticket or listen for the person shouting on a mega phone about “Free Stuff Here”. Going home with even more free stuff is always a fun experience.
Discover a new rising artist
Ah, the Artist Alley. A place of wonder in handcrafted goods from talented crafters. Take some time to browse this area if time allows. There’s plenty of artwork, bags, shirts, and other works to admire. Grab a couple business cards, stop and chat about the artist’s craft. For a small fee, you can commission an artist to recreate your favorite OTP to frame in the living room.
Just try to remember to pick up your commission later.
After Hours Events
Nothing can prepare you for a party with geeks at night. The convention scene is notorious for wild parties, but not all of these events have to involve alcohol.
After Dark panels do tend to bring on the 18+ crowd all in good fun. Hear you favorite voices reading bad scripts or join in on the dances with underground DJs. Grab a late night meal with other costumed denizens or catch a show in the main event area.
With a badge, you can do it all or stay glued to one area of the convention all weekend. Either way, your purchase goes towards the convention’s budget for paying retainers, hotel block fees, and other necessities for running a weekend long event.
What are your perks for buying a badge? Let me know in the comments below.