So you're going to a convention? That's great! Conventions are a lot of fun and a great place to meet new people who love the same things you do. There's a lot of things that can go into preparing for a convention, that you may not be aware. Here's some of my tips to help relieve that "am I forgetting anything" feeling!
First things first, my number one tip is: if you are cosplaying and you have to travel, purchased a hard-shell suitcase. Fabric ones and other non-sturdy suitcases can risk any fragile costume pieces getting damage during transport.
While on that topic, it's probably good to mention, that you should plan your cosplay line-up accordingly. If you have to travel a long distance and use public transportation, you need to take this into consideration. Some cosplays (such as huge armor sets and large props) may simply not be transportable via suitcase. There's always the option of having it shipped to your hotel (if they allow that) or choosing a different route cosplay wise.
Number two! Make sure to give yourself enough time to build a cosplay! Don't start a complicated project only a week or two before the convention. Be realistic and use your time wisely. You don't want to end up having to pull countless all-nighters days before the convention just to finish a cosplay. Even if you don't finish a cosplay in time, don't fret! Just save it for the next one and enjoy your time at the convention (in or out of cosplay).
To jump back to the topic of suitcases and packing, have you ever got that "I'm totally forgetting something" feeling? Me too. And I've totally forgotten so many things! I've figured out a way to help me avoid that after all those times. Make a list! And don't just make it the night before, make it days before. That gives you time to go over the list each day and really make sure you've noted everything you need. Sometimes you just happen to forget something or not think about it in the moment your initially writing your list.
Don't forget the essentials either! I know most of us (cosplayers at least) are trying to remember not to forget our wigs, wig caps, costume pieces, etc and can get caught up in doing so. But you need to remember your basic necessities as well! What are you going to wear when you're not in cosplay? Got your tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, razor?
Number four! Make sure to have your batteries charged! You want to have your phone, iPod, game system, camera, etc at full battery when you leave. It's simply more convenient and phones just come in handy when trying to find your way around or needing your ticket information.
That leads me into my next tip! Have all your tickets printed out. Or confirmation email or bar-code. Usually the convention's FAQ section will clarify what you need to present when picking up your ticket. It's good to have those documents ready to go in multiple medias. It'd suck to have you phone die by the time you reach the front of the line and it's annoying for everyone else if they have to wait for you to pull up your email.
What about planning your days? Most conventions will list all their various activities (panels, signings, cosplay gatherings) on the website weeks prior to the actual conventions. This can help with planning out your days and cosplay line-up. Remember to note line times. Larger conventions have longer lines and people sometimes line up hours before the panel/signing. If it helps, writing it down in some sort of easy-to-carry planner can be useful while at the convention.
Speaking of gatherings, attend them! It's a fantastic way to meet fellow cosplayers, photographers, and con-goers interested in the same things as you. I've made so many friends just by hanging out at gatherings and chatting with people. It's also fun to see all the cosplays from the same fandom as yours.
Here's a couple other cosplay-relate tips to take note of when prepping for a convention.
If you're a cosplayer or photographer, get business cards! This will help cosplayers find the photos of them after the convention and help photographers in tagging the cosplayers when posting photos. They're also a great way to exchange information quickly and easily when you meet someone you want to catch up more with later!
If you have the time and budget, try to buy or make different bags that match the costume of the character you're cosplaying! At the very least, try to incorporate pockets into your cosplays. They will be desperately needed! You want to have a place to safely store your belongings (such as your wallet and phone).
Something that's always said, multiple times, but is never a bad thing to note: shower! Please shower before you hit that convention floor and maintain good hygiene while there! Conventions can be crowded and no one wants to be at an event where everyone smells bad. Be considerate of those who are around you.
Avoid convention food! Not saying it's bad, in fact it can be pretty good or unique. This tip is mostly for those who are on a budget. Convention food is typically hiked up in price (and to the max). If you're trying to keep your spending on the lower end, eat else where. It's a good idea to travel a few blocks away from the convention before looking for food, hit up fast food joints or buy food from places like Target or Walmart that you can eat "cold" or heat up in your hotel's microwave.
Wait till the last day to buy! Unless you see something selling fast, it's a good idea to wait till the last day or day before last to really look into buying some goodies. Booths will typically lower their prices or have sales on items on the last day. They want to leave with as little items as possible! At some booths, you can even haggle down prices.
My final tip (for now) would be to secure room, travel and tickets as early as possible! Tickets are usually cheaper the further away the convention date is. As the convention draws near, they usually go up in price. Try to grab them early when they're not as expensive.
While on the topic of tickets, a lot of conventions will connect with and sell tickets through Eventbrite. Their tools make it easy to find and plan conventions in your area!
It's good to book your travel and hotel early. Make sure you have the funds to cover the place yourself or you're 100% certain no one you're rooming with will back out on you. It'll suck to have to pay those early cancellation fees. It's a good idea to have clear guidelines when booking rooms with others about things like this (such as splitting the fee or when it becomes too late to back out without paying one's share). Travel is also cheaper to book early (depending on the mode of transportation).
Thanks for reading. I hope some of these tips will come in handing for your next (or first) convention! I'll probably be back with another post like this in the future, as I think up or come across more helpful tips!
~Positive Outcomes Only~
So here's a little over view of the Ani-Me Holiday Fest event I attended.
The convention was a lot of fun. It's was a local, free convention that took place in a mall. The area itself was on the smaller side but it still had a large amount of people attending. And for the area we're in it's definitely one of the bigger (or even biggest) local conventions. The cosplay scene or amount of cosplayers who attend and cosplay at this series of conventions has definitely grown! There's so many amazing cosplayers too! And all the cosplays, whether bought or handmade, are so well done and always look great.
The two group photos were taken by Boss Man on Facebook. We had a gathering for all the cosplayers at the con and another one for all the League of Legends cosplayers since there was quite a few. Keep in mind the photo below wasn't all of the cosplays who attended, either.
It was fun talking with and meeting the other local cosplayers. I also entered the little cosplay competition and derped out a bit on stage because I have no perception of time, whoops!
There were also some pretty cool booths/tables! I really loved all the artist tables, they're all so talent--I wanted to buy so many prints. There were some funny and creative panels and performances, as well.
I cosplayed as Slay Belle Katarina from League of Legends and let me just say, this cosplay did not want to be made. Everything technology wise, like my sewing machine and Dremel kept breaking or not wanting to work correctly. So I had to improvise and injured myself many times in the process, then proceeded to ignore safety directions for products like Bondo and spray paint--breathed in way too many fumes I shouldn't have and got it in the cuts on my finger. Follow the safety directions! Don't take short cuts like me in attempt to finish something in time. Luckily I ended up getting help doing the sanding on my props from my cousin. She'd never done anything of the sorts, nor is really interested in it, but she's super supportive and helpful and it was really nice of her to help me out!
I'm pretty happy with how this costume turned out. I wish I could've gotten the props a little smoother but I didn't choose the best materials to make them from. I also wish some of my stitches and seams were nice, but my sewing machine kept doing odd things which messed up the stitches, ate the fabric or resulted in loose/un-stitched pieces that I had to resew. It still got the job done and unless you're specifically looking at the poorly stitched parts it's not ever noticeable.
I created everything but the shoes from scratch on this costume! The headband was an old one I removed all the decorations off over and replaced the fabric with green. Then I made antlers and attached those to the headband. I made the pattern for the dress using muslin before sewing the final product.I made all the belts from scratch as well and punched all the eyelets in both the belt and corset pieces, then added Velcro so the extra ends of the belts would stay put. I also created the striped fabric by combining two different ones and hand sewed all the furry bits onto the costume. I'll have more about all the specifics in a later post.
Overall, the convention was super fun and I love seeing how the Ani-Me conventions are growing. I really enjoyed the artist tables and fellow cosplayers. It's always fun to see and share creativity! I'm so excited and will not only be attending, but help in judging the cosplay competition at the next Ani-Me convention, Ani-Me 5.0.
~Positive Outcomes Only~
Just writing a quick blog post about my experience at Summoners Con. For those of you who don't know, Summoners Con was the first League of Legends only convention! And it was pretty awesome :)
Registration seemed easy enough, but I honestly can't comment too much on that. I was one of the first in line and got my badges early.
The convention center itself was fairly small. Which was expected though! It was a first time convention so I expected it to be similar to other small cons I've been too (like Sac Anime a few years ago or Da Ani Kami Kon).
To sum up the layout. There were I believe like 3 main large areas. A room with some booths and computers set up, the main room where most of the panels took place, and the summoners cafe. In the hallway-ish area there were other merch booths and what looked like an autograph area, registration was around the corner there too.
I will say it was a bad idea for them to put merch in the hall and next to the exit/entrances, but they were working with a smaller area for A LOT of people.
The had a cool nexus set up -I took a photo^. The lighting at the event was really cool too.
<Poro from a merch booth. They had some good merch booths in my opinion. (I think almost everyone bought a poro xD).
So as for people. There were a lot of people! If you didn't know, they did sell out of tickets and I'm pretty sure everyone showed up. But it was fun!
People were really friendly and talkative. I got the chance to meet and befriend some new and awesome cosplayers! -There were soo many amazing cosplayers there and photographers.
This was a photo taken from the Creating Original League Content panel. Here people were asking popular League/Youtube personalities questions and they were answering them -so q&a.
I didn't grab a picture because I participated in it but they did host a cosplay masquerade. Super casual. Everyone walked on stage and posed for a few seconds to let people take photos then walked off. At the end you got some small prize for participating. It was fun.
They also had musicians preform. So in this photo is Lunity. I also saw The Yordles for the first time -super good- but didn't get a photo.
Nicki Taylor preforming.
Apparently they did sound checks and practiced only shortly before hand. So when she was covering the song Warriors she forgot the second verse. It was really fun how they handled it though. Super casual and no one mind. She was "extending the convention" (since she was the last set of the night). They just restarted and she got the lyrics on her phone. It was still a really great set.
I actually liked the whole feel of the convention. It was casual and friendly. It didn't feel like there was some strict divide between the con goers and the guests like you can get at other cons.
I'll note they did end up getting off schedule and having to switch some things around for various reasons but it didn't get off by too much. Once again, first time con -didn't expect everything to run perfectly and didn't mind whenever it didn't.
I got the chance to meet and take photos with quite a few people too! Doublelift >
A lot of guests would just hang around the convention and talk to their fans until they had to be somewhere.
Here's something. When going to take a photo with Doublelift no one had noticed him yet so there was just me and a few people.. But then Sky (Williams) saw him and shouted out to everyone "Look there's Doublelift." It was great xD Still got a picture with him before there was too much of a crowd!
Got one with Sky Williams too! :D
We ran into Sp4zie when heading to the con.
He was all over the place. He hosted the panels and such.
My friend Courtney (Arcade MF) really wanted a picture with The Yordles after hearing them play their set. So at the after party we ran into them and got the chance to. They're super nice and it was great talking to them, they gave us free The Yordles bracelets.
I even got the chance to meet Missyeru! She was dressed as Jayce too! She was also super sweet and it was great getting a chance to talk to her.
I also met Riot Jynx! She was so nice and wanted to grab a photo with me as well :3 Met Vensy too! She was the Lulu! They're cosplays are so perfect!
Towards the end of the night I ran into Lily Pichu. Her Annie is so cute! ^^ And she's so cute and shy and sweet.
This was me and Courtney in our cosplays. We got some photos in the lobby (on a nice camera) and even got to do a small shoot with some other photographers. Can't wait to see the photos.
Met and befriended some cosplayers as I mentioned earlier. :) This was one of them. Her poro cosplay is too cute!
Courtney's friend cosplayed Twitch. It was so well done.
We got a chance to go to the after party. That was fun. Met some more people there too! It eventually moved from this room to somewhat in the lobby -I think so people could have conversations. xD
Courtney, Andrea and me! I love these girls. It was so great getting to hang out with Courtney again and meeting Andrea. Can't wait for next years con. Love having cosplay buddies! :D
Oh! P.S. The hotel it was hosted at was super nice. Also, heels are a bad idea. My feet killed me! xD
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