Convention season is upon us once again and I definitely couldn’t be more excited. I always have an amazing time, whether it’s an anime convention, comic convention, gaming, etc. etc. But every year I see certain things that make me facepalm.. And I mean really, really hard. And while it’s definitely cool to be a nerd again, that means more and more newcomers are flocking to all the activities, so I took some time to put together a quick list of tips, tricks, advice, and altogether just me being an old-timer ranting for you guys.
1.ASK, ASK, ASK
Remember to ask cosplayers before taking pictures. You wouldn’t walk up to a random stranger on the street and just snap a picture.. So why would you do it just because someone is in costume at a con? And while they might be used to getting their picture taken, no one likes getting their picture taken when they’re not ready for it. Don’t be afraid to politely stop and ask them for a picture – I can guarantee that 99.9% of cosplayers will stop, be polite and pose for a couple photos.
2.LIMIT THE PHOTOS YOU TAKE
When taking pictures it’s totally easy to get lost in the moment and get carried away with selfies. One or two photos is fine, but just remember that as you are enjoying the con and meeting so many awesome people – cosplayers are there too enjoy it too. Not all of them are dressing up for the attention.
3. ASK BEFORE POSTING
If you’re with the media and taking pictures for a website of any size, be sure to let the cosplayer or ANYONE for that matter know ahead of time. Most cosplayers are okay with their pictures hitting the internet but there are some that rather not have it be on a mainstream website. Other cosplayers would like to know so they know where to look up their pictures for a later time.
4.DON’T BE A PERV. NO, SRSLY. EYES DOWN HERE PAL
It’s not polite to stare or be a pervert – whether you are at a con or not. I definitely understand that some of the outfits that cosplayers wear are super sexy, but it’s still creepy and uncomfortable. A quick glance is fine, but limit it to just that – a quick glance. To have someone giving you that awkward stare or even going one step further and saying “I’m undressing you with my eyes.” – is seriously creepy. Just no. Stop. Thnx.
5. LOOK, DON’T TOUCH
People work hard on their outfits and costumes, and as sturdy as it may look.. a lot of the time the props and outfits are held together with foam and super glue. Ask before touching someone’s outfit or their props. Some cosplayers are there for photo shoots or to take part in costume competitions and the last thing that they need is for something to break right before the big reveal with no way of fixing it.
6. AGAIN, LOOK.. DON’T TOUCH
This definitely goes hand in hand with #4. Just because someone’s outfit may be a bit revealing, doesn’t mean they want it. Or you. Or probably any of it. It’s just common respect. Would you slap a strangers ass on the street? No? What about your mom? Still no? Ok, that’s what I thought.
7. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF
That also goes for making cat calls at other con goers. Cons aren’t not your personal dating service and it’s become synonymous that if you have a feminine reproductive organs and attend a con, you are fair game. Even guys are subject to the constant stares, gawking and even groping. It’s not saying you shouldn’t feel like you can’t approach anyone at a con, but do it with some tact.
8.DON’T BE A DICK
It’s always good to offer constructive criticism, but never when it’s unwarranted. In fact, cons are a way for a lot of the creative types to break away from their normal self for a while, and be someone completely different – AND IT’S AWESOME. A lot of these people worked really hard on their outfits and judging someone just because their version of the cosplay isn’t 100% spot-on OR because they couldn’t afford ‘top of the line material’ is just mean and kind of dumb. Of course, it’s never going to be 100% spot-on, a lot of these characters aren’t based on real people and the cosplayers aren’t anime characters so relax with the negative comments. It’s takes a lot of hard work, bravery, and love for the fandom to go out in cosplay.
9. PLEASE, FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYONE – HYGIENE!
While I shouldn’t have to touch base on this point.. I swear every time I’ve attended a con 3 out of 10 people surrounding me must have forgotten to bathe for the past week. I’m not trying to be mean here but I’ve been in plenty of panels where the room smells worse than anything Angry Video Game Nerd has ever conjured up in a fit of rage. I do get that some cosplay outfits get really hot but it’s a convention with thousands of people. With the average con-goer being 17-25, it’s a given that you should know how your body reacts in situations like that. So if you do tend to get a bit musky, pack some travel deodorant or quick spray to freshen up mid-day. I know there have been several events that I’ve left for a couple hours to go take a shower because I definitely couldn’t handle my body rocking like that.
10. BE PATIENT AND NICE.
And overall just have a little respect and common courtesy. Not just to your fellow man, but those working the events too. A lot of them are volunteers and just like you, they want to enjoy the convention and have a good time after their shift is over. The last thing they want is somebody screaming at them for something that they might not have power over.
11. STOP BY THE GAME ROOM
For some of you, this might come as a shocker, but a lot of Cons have game-rooms. Sometimes it’s just a mash up of the latest and greatest of console gaming, but sometimes you can get demo copies of unreleased titles and even enter to win some sweet prizes if you stick around for a bit. Just remember to be gentle with the equipment because there are others that want to enjoy them too in between panels.
12. FREE STUFF IS AWESOME, BUT NOT EVERYTHING IS FREE
Cons are a great place to score some limited edition swag and great promo material for some of your favorite comics, shows, games, etc. But there are two rules to this. Don’t overtake. I know everyone wants to get stuff for their friends, but if your friends wanted to all the cool stuff, they should have come too. There isn’t enough free stuff to go around for even a fraction of the attendees, so only take something if you are really into it. The second part of this is something that goes without saying – DON’T STEAL. Vendors have to make a living just like everyone else and everytime something is stolen, that’s something that they can’t sell and something that they have to use more material to replace. And to even get a Vendor spot at a Con, most companies and brands have to pay a couple thousand months in advance to secure a spot, let alone money they put in to staff and any celebrity/cosplayer endorsements and meet & greets they set up to have at the booth. And with a lot of the vendors coming from out of state, it’s not like they can run across town and grab some replacements. Also a lot of shops have undercover employees and stealing is a sure way of getting kicked from the con and maybe even being banned.
13. PLAN ACCORDINGLY
Con’s of any size aren’t just something you can show up last minute and do everything. Imagine it being like a Disneyland for Superheroes! There’s going to be lines, FOR EVERYTHING. If you really want to see a certain panel, be sure to get there early enough. A lot of the popular panels fill up fast and tend to hit their capacity about 30-40 mins before the panel even starts.
14. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES IF YOU CAN.
No joke. You’ll be walking and standing a lot. The last thing you want is to be in unbearable shoes. I’ve done it before and it sucks!!!
15. STAY SAFE
You think this would be common sense but I’ve seen far too many people get injured from the most ridiculous things. It really makes me facepalm. Cosplayers? Don’t fight with your home crafted weapons. Con-goers? Don’t run and glomp your friends that you haven’t seen in ages. Sure, it’s fine to say hello and be excited, but be aware of your personal surroundings. Just because you might be safe, doesn’t mean those around you would be.
16. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN.
That’s what Cons are all about right? Having a good time with friends, meeting new friends because of shared interest, and making awesome memories. And if you can just keep an eye out for your surroundings and watch your mouth (and your eyes) a bit, then you are guaranteed to make some amazing memories that will last a lifetime.