I'll be going to my first convention this August, a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. My wife got me and my daughter (a huge sci-fi fan) gold passes for the whole thing, and I'm looking for advice from people that have gone to conventions before.

Some of the questions I have:

  • What would you suggest I bring to collect signatures?
  • What about photo ops? Are the stars usually cool about that?
  • My daughter wants to wear a Star Trek uniform but I don't. Will I stick out? OR will she?
  • What can we expect at the various parties?

We're looking forward to meeting Kirk, Spock, Data, et. al. However, I really don't know what it'll be like. Can anyone help give me a general overview of what to expect at a con?

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    Offtopic: This would far better serve a forum than a Q&A looking at scifi. Plus, you're rambling questions are all over the place. Feb 11, 2011 at 20:54
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    This question meets all the guidelines of blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective and so is perfectly acceptable here.
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 11, 2011 at 22:36
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    It's on-topic, I'd say. Oh, and @Eight, Bolt is not rambling questions ;-) (It's "your") Feb 12, 2011 at 17:55
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    Would advise the asker to split this "post" up and ask many specific "first convention" questions, they will be of more use to the community. Obviously one asks stack exchange questions to get the answer you need (by definition it's a selfish activity). However great Exchange questions benefit the community and everyone that will in future ask that question. Specific and detailed questions help the community, long rambling many pointed questions don't. Hope this helps.
    – user296
    Feb 14, 2011 at 11:10
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    @maguirenumber6, I did. My daughter got a photo with him and got his signature in her favorite book, Vulcan's Heart. He was a very nice man.
    – BoltBait
    Jun 8, 2015 at 17:39

3 Answers 3


I'll take a shot at this.

What to bring for signatures. Well, I've been to a good many conventions and 'the stars' seem to like to autograph pictures. That's not to say an autograph book is frowned on, but if you've collected a batch of 8x10 pictures with autographs, (IMO) it looks nicer and goes better in a binder :)

Oh - a hint from an athlete I heard. Ask them to personalize it - as in "To Dave" or "To the Smith Family". Some celebrities prefer that because it means the autograph will NOT show up on eBay. Regrettably, there are hounds out there who get kids to stand in line and get 'generic' versions of autographs so they can re-sell them. Some celebs don't care, some do.

Photo ops. If you paid for an autograph and a professional/stock photo, I've yet to meet one celebrity who WON'T take a moment for a quick picture from a digital camera. Again, some celebrities don't care, but show respect. I have a picture of Jason Carter (Marcus from B-5) picking up both my daughters, one in each arm, when they were 10 and 5 (now 23 and 18). He was one of the most personable stars I ever met.

A Star Trek uniform at a Star Trek convention? That's the only place where you can wear one and NOT stand out :)

Parties.. Depends on who runs them. I've seen some wild ones where they served "Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters" (stuff looked like Windex and tasted worse). I've seen others where they're just huddled around a TV watching a favorite episode. It's a crapshoot.

Remember one thing, though. You will meet a LOT of people and some will stand out more than others, and not always for good reasons. You'll notice some social misfits and some people with other social challenges. Don't let the minority ruin the experience.

Have a good time!

  • Thanks for the response! My daughter is considering bringing a few of her favorite Star Trek paperback books and using those to collect signatures. Do you think that would be OK?
    – BoltBait
    Feb 17, 2011 at 22:18
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    Anything legitimate should be ok. When Peter Jurassik (Londo Mollari from Babylon-5) unexpectedly showed up at DragonCon back around 2000, I was in line for an autograph and said "If I'd know you were coming, I would have brought my 'Tron' DVD" (he was "Crom"). He smiled and said "That's from a LONG time ago!". I've brought an old item or two for musicians to sign (album covers, etc) and they don't seem to mind. Asking them to sign a BOOTLEG "something", however, would be a different story.
    – David
    Feb 18, 2011 at 17:39
  • Along David's line, I went to a minor league baseball game that Sgt. slaughter was at, and had him sign the GI Joe movie did. He chuckled about it, and then posed for a picture with me and my friend in one-armed headlocks.
    – Joe
    Jun 6, 2015 at 9:44

Some practical tips:

  1. Have a budget. There will be plenty of stuff to buy - try to consider in advance what you can afford and keep to it.
  2. Make friends. Make an effort to speak with other people. Many people are shy but just try it! Exchange contact details with people you get on well with - you may see them again at other conventions.
  3. If you are travelling a long distance, why not check out the location in advance and see if there are other things to do in the area before or after the convention? Make a mini holiday of it. This will be extra great for you since you're taking the family.
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    ALL good suggestions! The dealer's room alone, in most conventions, will allow you to spend enough to go bankrupt in less than an hour. Friends are a LOT easier to make at a con, since you know you already have something in common. And Vegas (to use the OP's example) is FULL of things you might want to do (or might want to shield your daughter from)!
    – David
    Feb 16, 2011 at 11:39
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    @David - good point. My daughter is 14 so I plan to keep an eye on her.
    – BoltBait
    Feb 17, 2011 at 22:15

I know this is a simple answer but, first time out, just enjoy. Let your daughter be whoever she wants. Don't worry about autographs (more than likely you'll see them in the booths and can approach them there). Frakes is easy to deal with; if he's there. Otherwise, don't blow a ton of cash. Just meander and take it all in.

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