SDCC 2016: Waiting in Line for Saturday Hall H Wristbands

SDCC 2016, Saturday NDL, Hall H, wristbands, umbrellas
Next ArticleSDCC 2016: Con Man
Comments (14)
  1. Michael says:

    I was on the asphalt all day too, and while it was miserable, I think the @HallHLine Twitter account and the followers tweeting it were more to blame for people freaking out than anything the security/operations team did. I was assured MULTIPLE time by MULTIPLE members of the operations team that this is where we needed to be, and that we would indeed get wristbands at 9PM. I tweeted this information to the @HallHLine account…did they retweet it? Nope. But what they did retweet was every single person spreading false information and hysteria….REPEATEDLY. They had no interest in spreading any sort of positivity; only misinformed panic that ended up being 100% false. Having been WAAAAAAAAY further out on the island last year and getting a C wristband; I knew we would be good, so I never panicked. But being on the ground with you; I could see the realtime results of this false information being spread and THAT was incredibly aggravating to me, not the wristband process!

    I won’t pretend that the @HallHLine account doesn’t serve a good function at times (i.e. monitoring where the line is if you want to keep walking around inside or where the wristbands are at once they’re being distributed), but they’re also not associated with Comic-Con International and are, essentially, doing nothing but retweeting hearsay without reservation. There comes a certain point in the day that you have to be confident in your decision to have camped out all day and drown out the internet noise…I’m certainly glad I did.

    1. Joshua Krueger says:

      That asphalt was terrible wasn’t it?

      But I have to agree with you 100%. The @HallHLine can be helpful to get a barometer of what is going on, but at times, it feels like mob mentally takes over, causing people to panic, and make things worse than perhaps they actually are. There were rumors of wristbands being handed out at 7pm, among other things.

      I was not too deeply concerned either, as we also were out on the island the previous year, and judging the best I could based on the length on the line, I looked to be in about the same place as last year, which resulted in a “B” wristband. The main concern I had was the meeting I saw happening between the staff as wristbands were being handed out. Clearly nobody seemed to have a good grasp as to what was going on with the staff. Unfortunately now we can only speculate as to what happened, but my best guess as to what happened was something changed with the morning crew with the routing of the line, and that did not get transitioned to the staff working in the evening.

      Fortunately, I do think that most people wanting to get into the panel did make it in, but there were some other issues I heard the next day–for example, one person said they had gotten in line fairly early in the morning (3:30am I think?) but the staff accidentally let one of the 4 chutes into Hall H in a row, and people that had gotten in line at 7:30am made it in. However the group of people in an earlier chute were left SOL. I did not bring this up in the main article, as I cannot really corroborate it, so I didn’t really feel it should be a part of the main article.

      I think you are spot on with your attitude regarding the line, though. I sure hope you had more preparation than I did on Friday! This sunburn on my poor, pale skin was killing me for a good couple days!

  2. Andrew says:

    Well I was in the conversations with the Comic-con people and the security team and lets just say that your paranoia was justified. When the group giving out tickets were coming through they noticed that section of line, the original statement was “they are not in a comic-con approved line so they will not get tickets”. Not only was this the original thought but they actually sent a runner ahead of them (in the vest with the red lights and everything) to tell the people on the marina and in the park the parking lot would not get tickets and they would have to get behind them on the basketball courts. I was in the marina and heard this so I went to the front of the parking lot to see just what was going on and that’s how I heard about all of this.
    Now there were legitimate complaints from the people lined up at the marina about the parking lot, mainly due to the fact that it was not an official Comic-con line there was no policing it causing the back end of the line to balloon considerably with people cutting in, (by best picture estimates there were 200 people in the area then grew to over 1000 when the tickets were to be distributed). As you know line-cutting in Comic-con is the deadliest sin there so although I’d say 75% didn’t cut, the remaining 25% who did made it rotten for everybody behind them.
    Either way back to Comic-Cons original stance which was “the parking lot is invalid”, they were not the ones that changed their minds, the security team changed it for them. When you have 1000+ upset people in an area and some have been there since early in the morning on scorching hot asphalt the emotions will also be high, the man in charge of security made the decision that “we cannot have any riot or anything riot like, we got nothing for that, you have to give them the tickets” (granted they were wristbands but I remember him saying tickets) That’s when they circled up, contacted their higher ups (not sure who) and decided to give the parking lot tickets.
    Now somebody did say they had a picture of a person telling them to be there (saw it, all you see is the back of a person in a green shirt, no sign or anything) but I fully believe somebody told them to sit there, who in there right mind would sit on black asphalt with no shade as a guess, and the security team handling the line should have controlled it better. Add to this there were people in the back of the parking lot who did get wristbands…but was later found out they didn’t even have badges for Saturday, sounds like you were gone before that, but that didn’t help anything either.
    So after all this was finally completed because of the drama from the parking lot issue and how late it was at that point a lot more people than they expected were staying overnight so they had to get them situated before they even started the marina park area. They finally started at 1am and were done about 2:30, the entire time they would complain and point at the parking lot as the source of any issues people were having. I ended up talking to a nice Aussie couple who were in the parking lot with you about all of this and they were very bummed to here that last part but at least we made it in and after that its just a story to tell. Except for the fact that Comic-Con has been forced to address this and said that a new statement will be added that all lines must be “comic-con approved” which sounds like had that been in place then no, the parking lot would not have gotten wristbands, but you still have the issue of a comic-con personnel telling people to sit there. So all clear as mud and doesn’t matter now because hall H on Saturday was amazing and I’m happy I was also apart of it.

    1. Joshua Krueger says:

      Hi Andrew,
      I really appreciate reading another perspective on this. The thing that sort of gets to me about this situation though, is saying that the parking lot is not the “Official Comic-Con” line. Let me explain what I mean by this.

      If I am coming to get into line for something at Comic-Con, there is usually a person at the end of the line, holding their blue and white “end of the line” sign. In this case, there was that person, and that person was standing in the parking lot, directing people into the columns/chutes. To get to this person, I walked by 3 Staff Pro people, who directed either myself or other people also heading to the Hall H to this parking lot, where this green shirted person was standing, with the sign indicating this was the end of the line. I don;t really see how the line can become any more “official” than that. (On top of that there was a point when two green-shirted Comic-Con staff people asked us to make our lines more straight, because the line had begun to drift diagonally, and they wanted to fit as many columns of people in the parking lot as possible, again, more officials seemingly providing reasons this is a legitimate line).

      I can completely see your point from one perspective though, when saying this is not an “official” line–when I lined up here, I was thinking to myself, “this is not the normal place the line up, what is going on?” It was strange. I wanted to get in line when the line hit the trees on the island, it would have made for a much more comfortable day. But based on the way the line was being handled, it looked like several hundred, if not thousands, where going to be crammed into this parking lot. So I sucked it up, and joined the asphalt-dwellers. And having staff direct people here really, in my opinion, makes that line the “official line” no matter where the line normally would route.

      Cutting is really a horrible tragedy of Comic-Con. Most people who attend Comic-Con seem to be stand-up individuals, but these people really get under my skin. I am sure Comic-Con has little funds to spend on staff for line management, but they routing of the line through this parking lot certainly seemed like a breeding ground for cutting. Once the staff began handing wristbands out in this area, they had staff at the back of the columns. But at the point, it was hard to tell what damage was done. I was fairly close to the front of the third shoot, so I could not see to the very back much.

      But again, I thank you for your opinion! It seems like every year, there is some quirk with the Hall H line that needs to be fixed. I have a feeling given the sheer number of people Comic-Con has to deal with, there will always be some sort of tragedy that happens. We can only hope that SDCC learns from its mistakes, and we ourselves are as vigilante as we can be when getting in line. I think I will be getting names of the line staff, and taking photos as a safety measure, in case things do go the wrong way at some point.

      1. Michael says:

        Oh wow…well, I am sorry to hear that. I didn’t know that it got so bad because I was near the front of chute two and legitimately had been directed there and waited all day. The groups in front of me did swell out a little, but nothing out of the ordinary…but I guess I hadn’t noticed the back getting too out of control because I was too far away to really see after nightfall.

        Sounds like a mess because I was definitely led to that spot in line by someone with an “End of Line” sign around 8:30am Friday morning. If it was REALLY wrong, I expect it will be sorted next year for sure. It sucks for the people who didn’t get wristbands due to cutting also really sucked for those of us on the asphalt too. It was VERY VERY hot and unpleasant. Really grateful my friend brought me an umbrella from Ralph’s.

  3. Rosamaria Lognion says:

    glad you guys got wristbands . . . sorry about your sunburn . . . hope you are OK from all that

    1. Joshua Krueger says:

      Hi Rosamaria!

      It is nothing a little Aloe Vera and time won’t cure. It is still pretty red, but the pain is beginning to subside. Going to work has had a lot of different reactions to, “Holy cow you are red!” to people looking at me but seemingly too afraid to ask what happened. Unfortunately we had some important vendors come into my work on Tuesday, which was rather embarrassing. I got in front of though, and we had a good laugh!

  4. Eman says:

    I was at the island when this “controversy” occurred. From my perspective, it did NOT look like an official line in the parking lot for the following reasons:

    1) No line tape and no cones – In a big area such as that parking lot, you would see some semblance of order in the form of cones and tape to guide people in an orderly fashion. There was NONE of that in the parking lot. Case in point when you go to the basketball courts at the island there were cones and tape there as well to divide and guide people.

    2) It wasn’t actively policed properly – This is just straight up FACT. People were coming from Joe’s Crab Shack entrance and just staying inside the parking lot and staying inside to get wristbands. It wasn’t until the late evening when security closed off the two back entrances.

    I’m not saying the line was unofficial, what I am saying is that its simply BS that either Comic Con Staff or Security half-ass’d that section of line management and allowed that situation to deteriorate.

    I fully believe that there were plenty of LEGITIMATE people waiting in that parking lot, but I know for a FACT that there were PLENTY of individuals who came in around 7pm – 9pm from the backside that caused it to swell to those numbers.

    At the end they HAD to give out wristbands to those in the parking lot. It is a lot easier to let down people in sections than have one enormous crowd shout bloody murder and riot.

    This really all could have been avoided if they just upkept that parking lot, but lack of personnel to manage along with zero line organization made that day a real pain.

  5. Joshua Krueger says:

    Hi Eman,

    I can certainly see your perspective on this. In fact, while standing in the line, the legitimate people surrounding me were deeply concerned about cutting by the sheer chaos that was going on in the parking lot. It certainly was not handled as it should have been. I really hope the line staff next year either provides cones/tape to sectionalize this area better, or better yet, stay away from this parking lot all together. It was horrid in this spot, and caused much more chaos than it should have.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

  6. Jancee says:

    Wow, seems like a lot of trouble for a convention…is it really all worth it? I legitimately wonder this, because as an introvert, it’s hard for me to imagine waiting in line all day to get a pass to spend another day fighting crowds and standing in more lines, lol. I like to watch all the coverage from home, but I don’t think I’ll ever go.

    1. Joshua Krueger says:

      Hi Jancee,

      Violet and myself are actually big introverts. I won’t speak for her, but I myself have a hard time connecting with people, unless they actively try to have a conversation with me. In fact, anything related to small-talk or just “hanging out”, or partying is the bane of my existence, to which I avoid at all costs. Comic-Con however is a very welcoming atmosphere (for the most part), and while I complained a lot in the article above, I don’t regret my decision and know that (again, for the most part), people were doing their best, and things happen when there are just swarms of people to herd around.

      If you have an interest in going to SDCC, and a couple people to go with, I highly recommend giving it a shot. Again, talking is not something I am very good at (heck, writing is not even a forte of mine, why am I writing on a blog?), but generally you will meet people in the most random of situations that share similar interests as you. Last year on Friday, Violet and I yet again spent the day in line for Saturday, but we actually had a lot of fun. Others in line began conversations with us, and we all wound up playing board games a lot of the day/night.

  7. James Greig says:

    This was our 12th year, and our 12th where we spent Saturday in Hall H. So, we have gotten up early, spent the night, stayed up late and done all those things you have to do to spend Saturday in Hall H. The reality is that there are an awful lot of wonderful panels at Comic-Con con, and it really is Comic-Con, not Movie Con and it’s a shame people are spending the day in the Walking Dead Lot. The fact is before the Twilight soccer moms decided the needed to camp out, there was no Hall H line. Frankly, I don’t think there needs to be one now. Losing a day cooking outside is just crazy.

  8. Joshua Krueger says:

    Hi James,

    When did you get in line this year? Did you get up early and manage to get in? Get a wristband and return in the morning?

    There are a lot of panels at Comic-Con, and in a way it is sad that this seems to have turned into “Movie-Con”. I plan on a possible future article discussing this further, so I will have to collect all my feelings on this so I can come up with a cohesive thought.

    It is unfortunately that the line has ballooned into what it is now, with the sheer insanity that Hall H as become. It almost feels like it is M.A.D. syndrome (mutual assured destruction), where people get in line, so others get in line earlier to make sure they get in. Then people get in line even earlier, and that just snowballs out of control.

    Unfortunately I am probably pat of the problem. I tend to over-plan and over-worry when it comes to getting into anything or doing anything on time. I will plan very far in advanced for any activity to ensure I don’t miss it. This translates here, to when I see people getting ready for Hall H, I am a worry-wart, always checking the status of the line, and if there is a question-mark as to how the line looks, I am there.

    But thank you for your response! I love reading everyone;’s perspective on Hall H and Comic-Con in general.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow by Email
Subscribe Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 19 other subscribers