How To Get Into Comic-Con For Free

By  · Published on July 28th, 2010

If you had to miss out on all the waiting-in-line fun of Comic-Con 2010 because cash was a little short this time around, or if you went to Comic-Con but regret spending so much on it, this handy guide should make everything a bit easier for next year.

This isn’t one of those guides where we encourage you to get a fake mustache and pretend you’re a mustachioed J.J. Abrams in order to sneak in. No, dear reader.

We would never support anything like that.

What we do support is this fool-proof way that gets you an actual, non-forged, totally real, basically free ticket that you can flash around anywhere at Comic-Con and not have to worry about being chased by security when your spirit gum comes loose and your mustache is hanging off your mouth.

This is how to legitimately get into Comic-Con for free.

Step One: Register a Website

This can be as simple and free as heading over to blogspot or wordpress and snagging whatever sounds slightly professional (we suggest For example, if you’re name is Louise, maybe you choose Louise’s Movies.

The name is almost unimportant, but it can’t sound offensive or juvenile. The key is to make it look like it’s at least barely believable – so nothing like Louise’s Poop Fart Movies. On second thought, even that might work.

If you’d like even more prowess, spend the seven dollars it takes to register a URL and direct your blog page there.

Step Two: Get Some Business Cards

There are a few websites out there that will print up free business cards. You definitely get what you pay for, but they are small cuts of paper that have your name and business contact information on them – and that’s really all you need. You’re not Patrick Bateman here or anything. Use common sense about whether the site is a scam or plans on making you sign up for stuff before getting your free business cards and X-box.

If you care to, throw down a few bones to get your own business cards made. They are usually inexpensive if you go with simple designs and a company that’s not the best of the best of the best.

If you’re a go-getter, go get some card stock and print up some cards yourself.

Put a movie reel on it, put your website name, call yourself the editor-in-chief or head writer, and you’re on your way.

Step Three: Write Three Reviews

While you wait on your business cards to come in the mail, write a few movie reviews. Three is a solid number. Choose stuff you just saw so that they are fresh in your mind. Make them around 700–1000 words and make sure the sentences flow together decently.

The great thing about this step is that if you’re interested in writing film criticism, it’s the first step on the road toward the practice everyone needs to make it happen. What did you think over all about the movie? What were its strengths and weaknesses? How was the acting, directing, score, design? Why did things work or not work?

The other great thing is that if you have no intention of writing film criticism, you can bust these reviews out quickly without putting much effort into them. If you have more time waiting on those business cards, you can write a few news articles if you’d like. Just cover the who, what, when, where, and why of some casting news or a project in development.

Step Four: Get Your Completely Free Comic-Con Press Badge

What most people don’t know is that Comic-Con has the most relaxed rules about what constitutes a member of the press in the history of conventions and festivals.* Their policy is that if you can produce a website, a business card, and a few samples of your writing work – they’ll give you a pass into the Con. Thus, instead of buying a four-day pass, you can get one for free provided by the Con itself.

Depending on the method you use, it may not be completely free (but How To Get Into Comic-Con For Not All That Much Money wasn’t a very snappy title), but it will undoubtedly be cheaper than the hundreds you’d spend on tickets. Plus, those sell out fast, and press registration remains open until about two months before the event. Not too bad.

I spoke with a ton of people while waiting in lines at the Comic-Con this year, and more than a few had press badges for their own personal blogs. One even seemed aware that he was gaming the system by taking advantage of the lax definition of journalism set forth by the event coordinators. One joked that his mom was the only one that read his site. One had just signed up for a website back in April and couldn’t believe she got the press badge she applied for on a whim. None of them wanted their real names published.

There’s no reason why you, dear reader, can’t also take advantage of this excellent loophole. Sure, you’ll need to find a floor to crash on and some sort of transportation to San Diego, but maybe this alleviates the noose-like grip on your budget just enough to make going possible. Besides, do you really want to be the one paying full price when Big Bob’s Movie Reviews and Biscuit Gravy Manufacturers are walking around with their free press badge?

See you when registration for 2011 opens up!

* Having a press badge doesn’t get you any special access to anything. It’s free, but waiting in line is the standard.

Enjoy our Comic-Con 2010 coverage from the comfort of your own home.

Related Topics:

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.