They say misery loves company, and nothing could be truer for overnight lines at conventions. There are people who claim they’re fun, they like the lines, and those people are lying. There is no joy to be found in these lines — aside from the joy you get from the people around you. Those people are going to save your life, whether you know them or not. By the time you make your way into Hall H or Hall D23 or the Celebration Stage, you’re going to know the people around you, and probably know them well.
As previously discussed, we have normalized the idea of waiting in lines for hours or even days at a time to see content at conventions. It’s stupid and really shows something fundamentally broken in a system that makes the most dedicated fans sleep on concrete sidewalks or floors. We do it, though, and we keep doing it for convention after convention. I’ve been personally done it three times in less than a year, and my back is hating me for it. But there’s one good thing that can come out of those experiences, aside from getting to see footage and people you admire, and that’s friendship.
While not an overnight line, the first time I truly made a line buddy was while trying to get into the Star Trek Beyond outdoor screening at Comic-Con International in 2016. It was hot, I didn’t have enough water, and I had no sunscreen. It was kill or be killed. It was there that I met several lovely gentlemen who shared sunscreen with me. The event was “if you draw the right-colored ticket from a bag, you’re in with a plus-one” type of deal. James, whom I clicked with immediately, assured me that if I got him into the screening, he would get me into Hall H. I was the only one in our group to pull the right ticket, and come Friday night, I was camping out with a guy I had known for less than 48 hours and a girl I had known for years via Twitter. We still chat, and I’ll be meeting James and his fiancée for dinner this Comic-Con.
The idea of going into one of these lines alone isn’t exactly a fun idea — I got lucky for Hall H when I met James, but I didn’t count on getting lucky again. This time, at Star Wars Celebration, I reached out to Jason Ward at Making Star Wars to get advice on the con. When I mentioned that I was going alone, he graciously invited me to hang out with him and a bunch of other people. I ended up on an episode of Steele Wars and made a bunch of new friends that night. When D23 rolled around and I found out Jason and his group was going to do the overnight line again, we teamed up for a second time. It made things so much more enjoyable and I met a few new people, including two of three of the boys from the Star Wars Underworld Podcast.
If you’re not lucky enough to make friends before you jump in one of these lines and you’re solo, there are plenty of people there doing the same thing. Twitter has made it easy to find other people going after these lines, but even if you just jump in line, you’ll meet the people around you. You need them to hold your place so you can go to the bathroom. If you’re debating doing an overnight line and you’re worried because you’ll be alone, rest assured everyone else around you is going to be just as anxious, miserable, and sleep-deprived as you are.
The atmosphere in Hall H, Hall D23, or the Celebration Stage is nothing like you’ve ever experienced. Whether or not that feeling is worth it to you is something you’ll need to decide for yourself. It’s something to experience at a con at least once, if for no other reason than to say you did.
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