RTX is right around the corner, and that means a lot of excited Rooster Teeth fans converging on the heart of Austin. For some, this is their first convention. For others, they're veterans of the convention scene. Whatever your con-going background happens to be, I've got some helpful tips for you to make your experience as awesome-packed as possible! This is, of course, not all encompassing, but sort of a "Jenn's top recommendations" kind of list.
1) DRINK WATER. EAT FOOD. As obvious as this may seem, the chaos and excitement of the event can cause these basic necessities to fall to the wayside. While the convention itself is inside, you'll be walking around a lot, in a space with a lot of people, and sometimes have to *gasp* venture outside in the 100+ degree weather. Hydrating is obnoxiously important. And no, energy drinks do not count towards staying hydrated. If you're in the Gatorade camp, that's fine, but drink actual water as well. Too much Gatorade actually has the opposite effect on you (electrolytes = salt = not helpful). Make sure you take the time to eat actual food as well. Candy and chips are not food. Granola bars are good food supplements, but not replacements. Please keep some kind of snacks on you for long waits in line, but whenever you're done doing whatever it is, go get actual food. There are food options within the convention center, as well as several close by.
2) Shower daily, at a minimum. You will be sweaty and in close quarters with other sweaty people. Deodorant is important and should be used regularly, but it isn't a magical impervious barrier. You need to shower. For your own health and for those around you. I routinely shower twice a day during RTX, and I bring a travel deodorant with me to the convention to reapply throughout the day. Do NOT use perfumes/colognes/etc to try to cover up smells. Not only does it not have the intended effect, but many people have sensitivities and allergies to these items. Be courteous to the noses around you!
3) Have a realistic plan. The schedule will be coming out soon, and it's very tempting to say "I'm going to do everything!" Unfortunately, unless you're a 3rd year Hermione Granger, it's not going to be physically possible. Lines for panels can start pretty early (no official word on what the rules regarding early lineup will be this year), and they all have seating limits due to those pesky laws of physics and things like "fire safety". My recommendation is to pick one thing each day you absolutely want to do, and do the rest of your day around that. That way, anything extra you get to do is a bonus, and you don't walk away disappointed that you missed something you were bent on attending.
4) Attending with a group? Have a rendezvous plan. The convention is big, really big, with an incredibly large number of people roaming its various parts. It's easy to get separated from your group, and the large population density can mean technology isn't a reliable means of communication. Don't bank on always being able to text your comrades to find each other. Whether you split intentionally or not, pick a fail-safe place and time to meet up in the event you can't contact each other.
5) Going somewhere on your own or with some brand new friends? Tell someone! This is not just a personal safety thing, it's also a peace of mind for your friends thing. In the event something happens (which could mean anything from running into a shady character to being in an Uber that gets into an accident to just getting lost), someone needs to know where you were and where you were intending to be. Likewise, if you don't show up where you're expected, people will worry. You don't want to make people worry do you? Of course you don't! You can make your own decisions, but just let people know what they are so everyone can breathe a little easier.
6) Get the app and follow Twitter. There is an RTX app (Android and iOS at the moment) that has been used the past several years that shows schedules and locations for all the happenings around the event. Assuming they continue that trend and update it for RTX 2017, it is immensely valuable! It not only lets you see where your favorite personalities will be and where that super cool booth you know you walked past but can't find again is, but it will be updated when schedule changes happen. There is also an RTXLines Twitter which you should absolutely follow. It's run by Guardians onsite and is a wonderful resource regarding what the status of various lines around the event are. They'll tell you if a line for a large panel has started, if it's getting full, it's been capped, and all that good jazz.
7) Be careful with alcohol/caffeine intake. With all the extra energy exertion going on, it can be easy to accidentally overdo either one of these. This partially goes back to point 1, but bears specific mention. Listen to your body, and recognize your "usual limits" will probably not apply in this heat with you running around the way you will be.
8) Have a question? Find a Guardian! Guardians are fabulous members of the community that volunteer their time to help make RTX what it is. You'll see them everywhere! They're doing everything from getting you your badge to getting as many butts as possible into panel rooms to getting you your merch at the store. Guardians can be identified by their shirts which say "GUARDIAN" on the back (also there will be 500 people all wearing the same shirt as each other every day) and are more than happy to help you out! If the particular one you're talking to doesn't have an answer, they'll direct you to someone who does. After all, RTX is huge, and as good as the Guardians are they can't know everything. Though many of us try
9) Special Guests want to see you, but they have places they have to be sometimes. You've heard them on the podcasts and in videos saying they want to meet as many people as possible, but the reality is that your favorite personalities have a schedule to keep to. They have panels, signings, and other secret stuff that isn't necessarily on a public schedule. If you see Michael Jones out in a hallway and want to say hi, don't be surprised or offended if he or his Guardian tell you he can't stop. Trust me, he wants to! But he also can't be late for a scheduled event. The staff of Rooster Teeth and the other guests of RTX would love to say hi to and take pictures with everyone they run in to, but even if they only took 15 second with each person and never went to any panels or signings they could still only get through 5700 people, and there's waaaay more than that at RTX. Don't get me wrong, you can ask! Just be ready for them to say they really can't stop and they have to go.
Related: they want to enjoy RTX too! They may want to see what's out on the show floor or show their parents a panel. Please be respectful of that too; they're people, after all!
10) Make friends! You are all waiting in that line for the same reason, so you have instant common ground. Talk to the people around you, you never know who you're going to meet! Maybe you'll recognize someone's username as the person you talk to in the forums all the time. Maybe you'll pick up some cool tips from that super awesome Ruby cosplayer over there. Maybe you'll meet a new kindred spirit who shares your love of cringey badly-dubbed animes. Who knows! You certainly won't, if you don't try talking to them.
Above all, be excellent to each other. Be safe, be smart, and have fun.