RTX is so close and it's really exciting, but I'm still finding people who are asking questions about how the event works, when things are being released, what there is to do, etc. Well, as a 6-year veteran (yes, six), this is my list of important things to remember and do to help prepare for RTX. I really think it can be useful for people who are new to cons, or have been going to them for years. Check it out!
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. It's a fun weekend with a lot going on and you may forget to eat lunch or breakfast, I know I've done it myself. But you will feel a whole lot better in the long run if you even snack on some granola or an actual meal. Plus it will give you energy to run around and have more fun! More importantly though, stay HYDRATED! Even if you are inside, you're doing a lot and those panel rooms can get pretty warm with all those people. Carry around a bottle of water with you.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR ELECTRONICS. There's a good chance you'll be using your phone, camera, Switch, DS, or other various electronic device throughout the day and it's possibly the battery may run low or die. BRING A CHARGER. You can find outlet around the convention, but the smarter move would be to bring a portable charger so you can carry it on you while charging. It'll make your life easier, trust me! And if you're going to be using a camera, maybe bring a couple extra SD cards, just to make sure you don't fill up and have nowhere to save your pictures or videos. It can't hurt.
STAY HYGIENIC. Listen, it can be tough and embarrassing, and with the convention being packed with thousands of people, you'll want to make sure that you don't smell bad. Take a shower at least once a day, wear deodorant, maybe carry some around, especially if you expect to be outside often. It's a bummer when you're sitting next to someone that doesn't smell too good during a panel, and it can be awkward to tell someone that or to hear it. Do everyone a favor and make sure you don't have any body odor during the convention.
BRING A PACK. You're going to need something to carry around those chargers, water, and especially all that merch you may be buying. A backpack, purse, or some kind of tote is going to be great for that. You can store snacks, water, your phone, your schedule, and everything else in one location. You can pack it the night before too so you're out the door in the morning on your way to the convention center. Just like being back in elementary school.
SHOPPING. If you're going to be shopping, shop smart. The Rooster Teeth store they have set up may sell out of items, so plan ahead. Same with other booths around the convention floor. Don't pass thinking you can come back later and buy it because it might not be there! Also, if you're going to buy stuff at the beginning of the day, be prepared to carry it around, or drop it off at your hotel at some point, because most places don't always hold items for you. That's what your backpack is for too! ;)
BE SAFE. It's a community-based convention and most of the fans are very nice, but still be smart while in Austin. Let someone know your schedule, or if you're venturing off from the group, tell them where you're going and about how long you'll be. Keep your phone charged so people can get a hold of you. If you're going out around Austin after the convention closes, I highly suggest bringing a friend and not going by yourself. Not saying that anything will happen, but it's just being smart.
PICK UP YOUR BADGES EARLY. You don't want to wait in line Friday and miss some of the convention. Most of Thursday and Friday morning you can get your badges early from multiple locations. It'll save you some time, give you the security that you're set to enter the convention hall, and allows you to look at all the cool stuff you'll get in your swag bag. They will likely have badge pick up at the Hilton and Convention center. They may or may not have it at the JW again this year since there aren't really any events there.
SCHEDULING. The schedule has already dropped so you should be making your plans for panels and autograph sessions before the event. Keep in mind though, a lot of events overlap so you won't be able to see all of them. Be realistic and pick your favorite ones that you definitely want to see. If you're not VIP, you can end up waiting in a line for an hour and a half just to get a so-so seat. Plan ahead if you want to get a good spot, and don't be upset or mad if you don't get into a panel.
USE THE APP AND TWITTER. RTX has their own app that allows you to add panels and autograph sessions to your schedule, view guests, set reminders, news, maps, info, and upload photos. It's amazing and worth it for you to download. Make sure to follow the RTX Event on Twitter, but especially RTXLines as they tweet updates on lines and their status such as when they're open, when they're filling up, and when they're capped. ENABLE THEIR NOTIFICATIONS ON YOUR PHONE. It's a life saver if you're not sure you should even try waiting in line.
BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS. This can go a few ways. Make sure that you're nice to everyone in general, even if they aren't being nice. It'll bring down the mood of the entire weekend if you get into a fight with someone over something trivial and stupid. If you have a real problem, talk to a Guardian. Be considerate of people on the showroom floor as well. There will be a lot of people and it will get crowded, but as you push your way through, be respectful. Say "excuse me" and "I'm sorry," just be polite while making your way through the crowd.
BE CONSIDERATE OF THE RT STAFF AND GUESTS. This one deserves its own section. We're all fans and want to meet the people we love, but they are going to have busy schedules. I'm not saying that you won't meet them, but if you didn't sign up for an autograph session don't expect that you will meet with a guest 100%. Even then, stuff can happen and they may need to leave early or cancel. Be respectful, they're people too! If you see them on the show floor, be kind and approach them normally and don't run them down; just because they're a special guests, doesn't mean they're not people too, maybe. If you run into someone and they have to go, then they have to go. They have a schedule to keep too. Their Guardians might usher them away, but don't be mad at either of them (see my Guardian section below). And don't be upset if your meeting with someone is only a couple seconds long. There are THOUSANDS of fans, and only three days to meet them all. They can try, but reality is, they won't be able to. Just keep at it, be respectful, and maybe you'll run into whoever you want to meet again. It will happen quite a bit if you're just walking around.
VIP VS WEEKEND PASS HOLDERS. Obviously price is a factor here. If you don't have money for the $600 cost of VIP, then there's not much you can do about it. However, if you can, VIP can really change your RTX experience by allowing you to do more and meet more of the staff. It allows you in and out of panels more quickly, you get access to the VIP lounge where staff can frequent, early access to a lot of things, and special events that only VIP can get into. Obviously the biggest plus here is the easy access to panels in my onion, and the VIP party is a blast too!
PRICE IT OUT. This goes without saying, but a trip to Austin for RTX can cost a lot, but there are ways to cut the price down some. (A lot of this information can help for next year if not now). Book your flights early, but compare them too. Some are cheaper than others. Room share with friends. If you split the cost of a $1200 hotel room with four people, it's a lot less of a burned on your wallet. I suggest making sure you know the people though and don't mind snoring. Don't forget about the cost of food, drinks, and merch. Factor these into your budget plus extra so you don't have to worry about missing second breakfast!
GUARDIANS. Guardians are volunteers from the community that dedicated their time and effort to make sure that RTX functions properly and stays safe. They stand out in their matching shirts; you'll know when you see them. Be nice! Just because they tell you a panel is full, you can't go somewhere, or need to leave, don't be mad at them, they're doing their job. Be respectful and do what they say. If you have a question, find a Guardian and ask. If they don't know the answer, they can help you find someone who does. Just, please be nice to them!
COMMUNITY. I'll try to keep this section shorter. RTX and Rooster Teeth are all about community. Talk to your fellow attendees and make new friends. Chances are you'll find some lasting ones! Exchange RT usernames if you want to stay in touch but don't want to give them your phone number. Throughout the entire weekend there are going to be community meet ups from different groups too. The OCC, RT Florida, RT Pennsylvania. Canada is even having its own luncheon in Austin! If you want to know if your community is having an event, give a shout to RT World, they can hook you up with some information. The point is, this company is based around community, get to know them, say hi, make some new friends.
RTX AFTER HOURS. Oh my goodness there is a lot to do after hours at RTX! There are a bunch of community events like I posted above, actual RTX events, SideQuest (which I highly suggest trying out), and the city of Austin itself. Check out 6th Street, try the food, go explore! Just be sure to do it safely. Take someone with you. I'd suggest not going along, but if you are, at least let someone know where you'll be. If you're looking for places to go, things to do, or how to traverse the city, I suggest this handy guide made by an Austinite from the community! Download it and keep it on your phone for the weekend.
RTX ISN'T PERFECT. I'm adding this as an afterthought after writing all this out. RTX has its ups and downs. I know I've been upset with a few things that haven't been handled well this year. But RTX is still very new. It was only created in the past 6 years and it's growing and changing all the time. They'll try out new things' sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. But remember, RTX was built on community and we're all there because we love each other, Rooster Teeth, and the things they do. You can be upset about issues, but don't let it define your weekend!
I hope to run into a lot of community members that weekend! And remember, stay respectful and safe, and have fun. Those are my top three tips for the weekend.