Comic Con and Hall H

29 Jul

Comic Con 2014 was my first Comic-Con. I was there networking for a film I’m producing Wraith of Love. Not that I haven’t followed it in previous years or never been to another convention, but San Diego Comic-Con is something special. And in the last 6 or 8 years it has become a pop culture phenomenon, causing so much fan frenzy that convention goers stand in line for hours, many even sleeping outside of the convention hall the night before to get into Hall H the following morning. Keep in mind that Hall H holds about 6,500 people, but at some point in the Comic Con rise to fame, fans were so worried about not getting up early enough to stand in line that they started sleeping outside.

Hall H Hobbit Panel 2014

Inside Hall H during the Hobbit panel 2014.

You heard me right, people sleep outside of a convention hall of their own free will to sit with 6,500 other fans to see a sneak peek of a movie. This is one part of the fan experience that I have never understood. And while sleeping outside for a movie isn’t exclusive to Comic Con, I feel like it’s the ultimate showing of this “commitment” and there was a particular incident on Friday night that just rubbed me the wrong way.

Hall H line at Comic Con 2014

The line outside at night for Hall H at Comic Con 2014.

It was a little after 8pm on Friday night and my friend Susan and I were walking past the convention center to attend an art show and network event. As we walked by the grassy knoll where the line for Hall H is during the day we saw it filled with fans spreading out their sleeping bags and staking their claim of a small piece of land to sleep on. I asked my friend if this was indeed the infamous Hall H sleeping line and she said YUP!  I proceeded to have a small rant about how I couldn’t understand any movie being so important that people feel the need to sleep outside to be the first to see the trailer. My friend was very nice and let me rant. But this wasn’t the worst part.

After the art show we came back towards the convention center to meet friends for drinks at one of the hotels. The line for Hall H had grown and my rant came back. As we continued to walk there was also a line of fans setting up outside the exhibit hall doors on the concrete sidewalk. We asked if they were also waiting for Hall H and this young woman said quite indignantly, “No, we just want to get into the convention tomorrow for panels in Ballroom 20 and autograph signings. There’s more than just Hall H you know.” We couldn’t believe it. But seeing this display of “fandom” got me really upset. Every single person who had chosen to sleep outside that night had made the choice willingly, while there were just as many people (if not more) in the downtown San Diego area that were sleeping outside that night out of necessity. They didn’t have a home or a hotel room with a bed lying empty. And they were lucky if they even had a sleeping bag, let alone a pillow and an extra blanket. And for the fans who had paid for a hotel room that night all I could think was that money could have gone to a charity to help the homeless.

Homeless in San Diego

Homeless in San Diego

Many times we take for granted the simple comforts we have, like pillows and blankets. We’ve all been guilty of it. Hell I sleep with 3 pillows myself! But I would like to see something change in regards to the thousands of fans who sleep outside during Comic Con. I propose two ideas:

1)      If fans want to sleep outside they should have to donate to a local charity that works with the homeless.

2)      The convention company, or production company(s) that are “causing” the fans to sleep outside, set up hotel rooms or a shelter for the homeless so they can have a hot shower, a warm bed to sleep in and a hot breakfast in the morning.

I firmly believe these are both viable options and not too much to ask for. If 6500 fans each gave $10 to sleep outside that would be $65,000 raised in one night alone. We as a society must help take care of those who don’t have the same advantages we have. If we let part of our society fall into ruin, the rest of us aren’t far behind. Fans and makers of these comic book movies shouldn’t have a problem with this considering that superheroes are created to defend the weak. Let’s use our own superpower of “fandom” to make change in the world. Heck, JJ Abrams and Disney are doing it with the new Star Wars: Force For Change, why can’t Marvel and DC Comics come together and create Hall For The Homeless? Just a thought ladies and gentlemen, but every big change starts somewhere with one person. Who’s with me? I hope you’ll share and maybe at next year’s Comic Con a real difference can be made.

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12 Responses to “Comic Con and Hall H”

  1. Antonio Jones July 30, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    So you are saying I should have to donate because I am camping out because I am not homeless? How does that make any sense/

    • actinglikeachef July 31, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      It’s about making a difference. You are privileged to be attending Comic Con and I believe that we should be using this huge outpouring of fandom to make a difference in the world. The money you would be spending on a hotel room or to buy a friend a drink or dinner for staying at their place could be going to help people in need. People who camp out for movies feel special to be doing that. What I’m saying is that you and others should realize that camping outside in the elements with no shelter isn’t all that special.

      • Antonio Jones July 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

        From what I read you have never braved The Hall H Line yourself, so pretty much your opinion isn’t that valuable. Why don’t you ask othe people who have actually camped out for panels and other things about what they think. Why don’t you do some research about what has been going on all thsee years before you say something like this, as you seem to be misinformed in my opinion

        • Antonio Jones July 31, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

          Also when you have Celebrities like Lee Pace, Andy Serkis, Misha Colins and others coming to the line to meet with the fans and to talk and take pictures with them it is very special.

        • actinglikeachef July 31, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

          I’m glad that some of the actors come out and say hello. I’m trying to show that there is a way to turn the passion that you and so many fans have into a huge force for good. Look beyond the movies for a minute and consider what a force for change (in JJ Abrams words) you all could be.

  2. Con Goer July 31, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    As long as the Con doesnt have enough space for all who want to attend this will happen. Some people do attend these things because they WANT to make sure they see the movies, special presentations, etc… Stop being a jerk.

    • actinglikeachef July 31, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’m trying to show that there is a way to turn the passion that you and so many fans have into a huge force for good. Look beyond the movies for a minute and consider what a force for change (in JJ Abrams words) you all could be.

  3. Jill July 31, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    Not from San Diego and never been to Comic Con (sadly), but I think you have the spark of an excellent idea. I am assuming the city of San Diego looks the other way/turns a blind eye for this magical weekend and doesn’t typically let thousands of people sleep out on their streets (or wherever Hall H is). In many big cities plagued by homelessness there are many places homeless people cannot sleep and often will be chased away by police. I see the author’s point. We are taking for granted our warm beds and choosing to sleep on the floor out in the elements for a grand opportunity. While the homeless man down the street is doing the exact same thing but out of need and necessity. What I believe the author is saying, is rather than just sleeping out side, be apart of something greater (what make Comic Con even more amazing?). Instead of getting your free spot on the sidewalk, pay ten bucks for it. It’s a city sidewalk, the city could therefore collect the revenue and use it for homeless resources. All great ideas start somewhere. And most go through a creative process before arriving at their final destination. To all the nay Sayers and Haters, glad no one said the shit you’ve said to the author of this blog, to your favorite directors and actors. That movie you were sleeping over night outside to see may never have been made. But in all reality, haters are everywhere. I’m sure people did say discouraging things to those actors and directors, but they were smart enough to ignore them.
    Keep up the good ideas–someone has to come up with them! 🙂

    Sorry for the typos I’m sure I made. Writing this on mr phone :/

    • actinglikeachef August 1, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Thank you Jill 🙂 It warms my heart to see others get excited at this idea.

  4. Hall H For Life August 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Why don’t you donate that $200 you’ve raised so far for your project to help the homeless instead, Sarah?

    • actinglikeachef August 1, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

      I donate to various charities throughout the year sir. And maybe I’ll find someone who has a passion for helping the homeless to team up with me and create this project. One reason I put this out there. So far I’ve had a lot of positive feedback (besides you and the Con Goer) which makes me believe in this idea even more. So maybe I’ll see you in the Hall H line next year collecting donations 🙂

      • Hall H For Life August 3, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

        Not a sir. And as long as you’re not haranguing the people in line, I’m sure they will give you a fair response, if not money. The way you’ve presented your idea is the reason for the pushback. Set up the fundraiser and then ask people to donate rather than berate them for lining up for something they found to be fun. Especially as it was your first time at Con and you obviously had no idea what you were talking about…

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