Glenn Hicks, 2014, The Arts Guild

Fan Expo 2015: Our Experience, Our Advice

We are pretty pumped to be returning as a team to Fan Expo Canada for our fourth year. It’s been an incredible many years covering the expo, with thousands of photos and dozens of videos to prove it. Over the years we’ve traditionally put out our signature “Survival Guide”. To be honest, if you are in Toronto, “surviving” is too excessive a word. We’ve also found that there are just a few things you really need to think about.

fanexpocanada#1: PLAN!

Fan Expo Canada offers alot. In fact, it offers so much, you are going to be put into a scenario where you have to pick either or. Almost never are you going to be able to do everything. For us, we bounce between one event and another, spending just 10 odd minutes getting the shots we need. Even that pushes our schedules to the edge. Plan what you want to see and stick to that schedule. It makes for a smooth expo experience, and you’ll find yourself getting less stressed (and tired from walking around). You can also download the handy app from Fan Expo by Guidebook that provides an easy on-the-go schedule for you to carry around. Not to mention any updates will be seen right on the app.

#2: Bring Some Snacks & Water

A few years back, there weren’t as many options there are now, thanks primarily to the awesome food trucks parked inside the expo. With that said, food is a) expensive and b) a hassle to get to if you want to have lunch at the exact time everyone else wants to have lunch. Also, getting to food from one venue to another is a pain. Carry not-so-messy foods like granola bars to kill cravings when you are running around. Also, make sure you bring lots of water. The walking alone will get you dehydrated. We know that all too well from experience.

#3: Actually Enjoy Yourself

I can see people reading this going “don’t be silly, of course we enjoy ourselves!”. I highly doubt that. People get caught up in the excitement for sure, but their head is always around stuff like “OMG, photo op in 2 hours!!”. Fan Expo invites hundreds of vendors like LEGO. Visit their booths, engage in what they are doing, maybe even take home a couple of freebies. While Fan Expo is known for its celebrity guests, there is so much happening that its sad when people don’t interact. The artist alley is my favourite. From current university students to full-out professionals, the alley has something for everyone. It’s not about whether you like their art, but simply consuming knowledge and learning a thing or two about new crafts.

mtccc#4: Understand The Building Layout

The folks who run Fan Expo have made it a whole lot easier over the years to get around the expo. With two buildings to move around through, it’s a pretty smooth experience (minus the time it takes to go from one place to another). However, finding things such as the facilities, security desks, and specific vendors is not that easy. Carry a map with you at all times and understand where everything is. It certainly takes the stress out of figuring things out. Not cool when you want to use the washroom and can’t find it!

#5: Don’t Forget All The Extra Stuff

Extra batteries, memory cards, food. Don’t forget to bring your charging cable, portable battery, etc. All of this sounds trivial, but as people who shoot literally from start to closing all four days, the turnover we have with our batteries and stuff is ridiculous. That isn’t even the problem. The problem is finding a charging port after to actually get a move on. You don’t want to have to waste your Fan Expo time, and the money you’ve dropped on your tickets, spending time in a corner, sulking, while your phone gets charged again. Again, not cool.

Photo Credits: Fan Expo program book cover (c: Fan Expo) and exterior shot of the convention centre (c: MTCCC). Cover photo by Glenn Hicks, 2014, for The Arts Guild.