Catrina Dennis is a Los Angeles-based writer, journalist, host, and producer. She has worked with numerous production companies and editorial outlets to produce award-winning media campaigns and magazine-worthy content. Catrina is currently open for freelance and full-time work. Hire her!
Here it is, folks: June. With the thick layer of unexpected heat comes California’s massive summer con season, which includes hits like San Diego Comic Con, Anime Expo, ColossalCon, and many more. With busy days and varying schedules, the average con attendee might not use every app on their phone — but there are plenty that I’ve found helpful, and I wanted to share those before “con season” truly began to set in.
NerdOut (Apple/Android) is a self-described “mobile nerd event calendar”, and thanks to a community of editors, it is easily one of the best guides to local events for anyone looking to familiarize themselves. Specific, big panels for conventions, as well as great after parties and cosplay gatherings, can often be found in this app. NerdOut is easy to use and has been my go-to for evenings at my favorite conventions for months.
One of the biggest reasons that people leave conventions on stretchers (or rather, the least horrible reason) is dehydration. Plant Nanny (Apple/Android) is my daily app for monitoring my water intake, and it functions as a cute game as well. Players are given a plant to raise, and the less water that planet gets (according to your diet plan) the quicker it dies. Since the plantsare adorable, that kind ofguilt can weigh on you enough to go grab a glass. It’s not intrusive, but it often does the trick when I need to keep my water up, and that;s important at a con where it’s very easy to forget.
I’m not big on cosplay, but when I do decide to dress up, I try to do it to my best ability. CosPlanner (Apple/Android) is a greatresource for organizing your costumes, planning out and budgeting for future projects, and effeciently performing that final check before packing your costume away for the convention.
This one is optional, but I always try to have an app handy for quick transportation back to my hotel from the con. Whether you’ve had a long day in a bulky costume or you’re crawling back from the evening’s festivities, it’s always best to take a car so that you get homesafe and stress-free. There are plenty of apps out there, so choose the one that’s best for you.
Many conventions are building their own apps that include their full maps and schedules, ways to plan out your day, and even (with some) the ability to connect with other convention goers during the convention. One of my favorite examples of these apps would be New York Comic Con’s official app, which went the extra mile last year and included a way for attendees to report any unsafe activity, and allowed them to call for help from convention staff discreetly. Check the convention’s website ahead of time to see if they don’t have an app. In the event that they don’t, plugging the schedule PDF into a good reader will help you locate events and schedule points in a slightly less maddening manner.
As we head into convention season, I hope this guide helped you have an even better time than you were already going to have. Enjoy the rest of your 2016 con season!