Tips and Pro Tips make all the difference
What to Wear
If you are going to E3 to network, I would recommend business casual attire. You don't want to bump into someone you want to network with while wearing basketball shorts and a Goku button up! You want to make a good impression! After all you are representing your studio, channel or brand.
- Comfortable shoes (Don't come in toe shoes, you will just look out of place)
- Button up shirt (preferably a light color because it is usually very warm)
- Optional tie
- Nice pair of Jeans/slacks
- Sunglasses (LA is very bright and there is very little shade outside the convention center)
What to Bring with You
You definitely don't want to show up to E3 without a bag. Chances are, you are going to end up with a bunch of stuff you can't carry.
The first few years I brought a standard Jansport, which had a lot of space, but it dug into my shoulders during the long walks/waits. I tried a messenger bag, but that too became uncomfortable.
For the last for years I have been using a single strap backpack. It has enough space for my stuff/swag, while being comfortable enough for a long day's walk. I highly recommend looking into getting one of these bags.
An excellent option for a single strap backpack is the KP Sling Bag, The KP sling bag is sleek and stylish, easily meeting the needs of a business casual scenario such as a convention or business lunch.
The KP sling bag is water resistant and features and padded interior great for tablets and other electronic devices. It also has a hidden compartment, great for your wallet/passport.
Unlike most single strap backpacks, the KP sling bag can be worn on either shoulder. A fantastic feature for long days at the convention center or traveling around town.
You are going to want to bring water. A refillable thermos/bottle or a couple of plastic water bottles would be a good idea.If you run out, there are a couple of water fountains around the main halls where you can always refill. If water is not your thing, a sports drinks work too.
You are definitely going to be offered energy drinks while you're attending E3. I am kind of against them, since they will just make your thirstier and possible jittery. I wouldn't pack any to be honest. Too expensive and water does the trick for me.
If this is your first E3 I can't stress how important business cards are. If you are an up and coming youtuber/streamer or a freelance game developer, a business card is essential. I would recommend carrying your business cards inside of a steel card case that will keep them safe and allow for easy distribution.
You are going to need to carry more then ten cards with you on any given day. Be sure to keep your spare cards inside of your backpack/purse etc. If you are wondering how many cards you should get printed, I would estimate that 200 would be more then enough for all three days and after parties. Make sure to get them printed a couple weeks in advanced. You don't want to have to pay for rush delivery/printing.
Know the Halls
Figure out Where to Eat In Advance
Make sure to do your research beforehand! Zomato makes it easy to find places around Downton Los Angels with their lunch and dinner search options. Make sure to plan out where you're going to eat before you make the trip to the show floor!
But when is networking approriate? How hard should you hustle? When and where is best to meet people?
On the Show Floor
Waiting in line is a great time to network. Think of it this way, you and the people in line already have a lot in common.
All you have to do is start up a casual conversation. If the person is down to have a friendly chat, chat away!
What are you to talk about?
- The demo you're waiting in line for
- What game/etc are most excited for?
- What do they do in the industry (animator/designer etc)?
When you are about to part ways make sure to seal the deal and hand them your business card.
At an After Party
One such event that anyone over 21 can attend is the Gamedev Drinkup. I would recommend the gamdev drinkup because it is a great way to network and meet interesting people. This event is very laid back and casual. Just people drinking and talking. This is a great event for people that are just breaking into the game industry or are fresh out of a game design college.
SWAG: Dos and Don't
DO: Keep An Eye out for Hot Ticket Items
Hot Ticket Items
- Art books and Art Prints
- Collectible Figurines
- Patches/Pins and Coins
- USB drives
Of course there are a plethora of shirts, magnets, lanyards and novelty items. I still have a can of Overcharge (the energy drink from Sunset Overdrive) somewhere in my room.
(Please) DON'T: Be a SWAG Hog or a Whiner
I bring this up because every year I see someone get annoyed or angry at this fact. I've seen a grown man raise his voice at someone because he didn't get a free T-shirt. Don't be that guy. Don't be the guy who takes too much or whines when they run out. Fact of the matter is, you will survive without a video game shirt.
Not All Lines Are Equal
Everyone is going to tell you this "Waiting in line is a big part of E3" and "Long lines are to be expected". Don't fall for these traps. One year, there was a huge AAA game I was excited for. My friends and I deiced to wait in the 3 hour line, because you know, it had to be worth the wait. Guess what happened. When my friends and I finally got into the private theater, they showed us the trailer of the game and gave us no new info. No demo, no new footage, no gameplay, nothing. It was a three hour wait! The only thing we go four our trouble was a T-shirt.
How does someone with a general access pass avoid this fate? Easy, just ask someone working the booth. Ask them how long the wait is, if you can play the game/if there is some cool swag etc. The people working the booth will fill you in. I've avoided waiting in lines to nowhere ever since.
First time customers to Uber get a free ride (up to $22) if they use the promo code FEELING22. Uber has also maintained a presence at E3.
Sign up to Lyft with this link and get $50 in credit added to your account! I would also suggest using lyft line as a great way to get from your hotel to the convention center for cheap.
Sign up to Lyft with referral code DANNYLV100 and get your first ride FREE.
Get Your Coupons Ready
Know Your Route: Public Transportation
Public Transportation Routes
LADOT DASH shuttle bus F will take your through Downtown LA and straight to the convention center for only 50 cents! It stops running around 6 pm, so be aware!
Metro Expo line (light blue train) has a stop at PICO station that will leave you a few blocks away from the convention center.
Selfie Stick (For the Youtuber/Blogger on a budget)
One thing you might want to look into it is a portable phone charger. You are going to be using your phone a ton. Taking pictures, making calls, texting, networking etc. Your battery is going to die. I've seen it happen every single year.
Sure, they've added some phone charging stations, but did you bring your charger? Do you have time to wait your turn to charge your phone? The answer is no, you want to be on the show floor, playing games, meeting people and enjoying your E3 experience!
Use this Shortcut!
See You at the Show!
If you found any of these tips helpful in any way shape or form, please feel free to tweet me and let me know! If you see me at the show don't be afraid to say hi! I really enjoy meeting new people and socializing. You can probably catch me at one of the Gamedev drink ups or Indie meet ups! Have a great E3!
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