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Fan conventions are a lot like field trips — they’re a fun break from the real world, but you’ve got to keep a strict itinerary and a vigilant headcount or else you’ll be leaving little Timmy off the school bus on the way back to the city before you know it.

Okay, so maybe fan conventions aren’t exactly like field trips — but it is good to have an idea of when and where everything is happening before you get there.

So, say hello to our annual guide to Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC), the city’s premier pop culture event, which kicks off this weekend. As you strap into your costumes and print out your tickets, we’ve got all the details to keep you on track.

WHEN?

MEFCC is taking place from April 11-13. Opening hours are as follows:

April 11: 2pm-10pm

April 12: 12pm-10pm

April 13: 11am-9pm

WHO?

You can interact with celebrity guests at their scheduled meet-and-greet sessions or watch them speak during In Conversation panel events. A full schedule of panels are available online, but timings and prices for individual meet-and-greets are as follows:

Zachary Levi Image Credit: Supplied

Zachary Levi – Dh220 (autograph) to Dh260 (photograph)

April 11: 6pm-7pm signing session

April 12: 5pm-6pm signing session; 6.30pm-7.30pm photo session

April 13: 3pm-4pm photo session; 4.30pm-5.30pm signing session

Iwan Rheon – Dh110 (autograph) to Dh150 (photograph)

April 12: 2pm-3pm signing session; 7.30pm-8.30pm photo session

April 13: 3pm-4pm signing session; 7.15pm-8.15pm photo session

Benedict Wong Image Credit: Supplied

Benedict Wong – Dh150 (autograph or photograph)

April 12: 1.45pm-2.30pm photo session; 3.45pm-4.45pm signing session

April 13: 12pm-1pm photo session; 1.45pm-2.45pm signing session

Katie Kassidy Image Credit: Supplied

Katie Kassidy – Dh150 (autograph) to Dh185 (photograph)

April 12: 2pm-3pm signing session; 4.45pm-5.45pm photo session

April 13: 1.30pm-2.30pm photo session; 4.30pm-5.30pm signing session

Ross Marquand – Dh150 (autograph) to Dh185 (photograph)

April 11: 4.30pm-5.30pm signing session; 7.30pm-8.30pm photo session

April 12: 2pm-3pm signing session; 3.45pm-4.30pm photo session

April 13: 2.30pm-3.30pm singing session; 5.45pm-6.45pm photo session

Tara Strong – Dh150 (autograph, voice recording or photograph)

April 11: 4.30pm-5.30pm signing session; 6pm-7pm photo session

April 12: 2.45pm-3.30pm photo session; 4pm-5pm singing session

April 13: 12pm-1pm signing session; 4.30pm-5.30pm photo session

5 THINGS TO DO: EXCLUSIVE SCREENINGS, ARTIST ALLEY AND A CHANCE AT FAME

1. HELLBOY SCREENING: Head to the MEFCC Theatre to catch a first come, first served afternoon screening of ‘Hellboy’ starring David Harbour (3pm-5.30pm on April 11), which releases in cinemas in the UAE on the same day.

‘Hellboy’ to screen today Image Credit: Supplied

2. ARTIST ALLEY: Take a walk through the Artist Alley for fan art, original creations and professional comic book renderings from regional and international artists.

3. ACTING MACHINE: Pre-register online for the MEFCC Casting Call by Miranda Davidson Studios to kickstart your acting career. The sessions will take place from 6.30pm onwards on April 12, and 6pm until closing on April 13.

4. PANEL DISCUSSIONS: Every celebrity guest will hold a 1-hour panel over the weekend, so make sure you check the latest schedules online.

5. STAGE SHOW: Enjoy live music on the main stage outdoors, and the finale of the cosplay competition from 6pm-10pm on Friday night. Rock group The Boxtones will take over on Saturday from 4pm-5.15pm.

MEFCC WORKSHOPS

Sessions will take place in classrooms outside the Main Hall with sign-ups on location.

ALL DAYS

‘KICK-OFF: A GUIDE TO STARTING YOUR OWN COMIC BOOK’ WITH YASSER ALIREZA AND ZAID ADHAM — 6pm-6.45pm

Learn everything you need to know in order to kick off your first comic book. Follow Adham and Alireza’s journey with their first comic book series, ‘Wayl’, in a step-by-step presentation. Attendants will also write and draw their own one-page comic.

THURSDAY

CREATING A VILLAIN FOR YOUR COMIC BOOK WITH ANDREW HENRY – 5pm-5.45pm

International comic artist, illustrator, digital painter and animator Andrew Henry will be giving away valuable pointers on how to bring to life the perfect menacing villain for your comic book.

FRIDAY

DRAWING COMICS 101 WITH CARTOONIST MATT SMITH — 2pm-2.45pm

Canadian-British cartoonist and comics educator Matt Smith will show you everything you need to know to make your first comic, from creating expressive characters to showing movement and drawing sound. Perfect for kids aged seven and up.

GAMING JOURNALISM 101: WHAT IT TAKES TO WRITE ABOUT VIDEO GAMES WITH NICK REGO AND ISLAM EBRAHIM — 7pm-7.45pm

Nick Rego and Islam Ebrahim from IGN Middle East will be dishing details about video game journalism, including how to get started with writing reviews, what it takes and how to pitch story ideas to publications.

SATURDAY

MONSTRESS OF IMAGINATION WITH SANA TAKEDA — 4pm-4.45pm

Meet the Hugo and Eisner Award-winning artist behind the epic fantasy series ‘Monstress’, Sana Takeda, and learn how she developed her talent, followed by an intimate Q&A.

HOW TO DRAW RICK AND MORTY WITH DAVID ANGELO ROMAN — 5pm-5.45PM

Learn to draw the weirdest characters in the universe from the guy who does it for a living, David Angelo Roman.

Don’t miss it!

MEFCC runs from April 11-13 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Various MEFCC ticket packages are available online now, starting with single-day passes at Dh115.