Author’s Note: This will be my last article for Ani.ME and this has been in my drafts for quite some time. There are some things that I still wanted to discuss more related to anime conventions and cosplay but some situations (like this pandemic) have been tough.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear readers and to the people behind Ani.ME for giving me a place to share my love for anime to an awesome community. It’s been a pleasure writing for the site since 2016. - Rei Tanaka
Cosplay events and conventions have become the perfect destinations for anime, comic book, and video game fans to meet new people and just have fun. This are the perfect occasions where you get not only cool stuff from the various booths and panels you will stumble upon, you will also get to have cool freebies too (if you’re lucky!). This also the perfect times to cosplay as your favorite characters and BE them for an entire weekend.
As cosplay events and conventions around the world continue to grow as years pass, events like this big and small are not really a walk in the park to organize. We will look into organizing cosplay events and conventions.
They say everything that you really want to achieve starts with simple ambitions and dreams. If there is that fire in your heart in organizing a convention because you want your city or state to experience something that they can’t find anywhere else, then you need to have a dedicated team who would do all they can to make this happen. Yes, it’s easier said than done. With a little teamwork and of course with the same goals and visions in mind, then you are going to have epic events that con-goers will love to go back every year.
Start Small Now, Achieve Big Later
Now just because you have this dream of organizing a convention in your area, doesn’t mean that you go big immediately. Always start out small, look into what needs to be improved later, and make the event as bigger and more exciting as the previous ones. Don’t forget that all well-known conventions started out this way. If they did it, then you can do it too!
Better Venue, Better Convention
Get a venue where all cosplayers and congoers can “feel at home”. Always check if the place is wide enough to hold booths, event stages, and have free areas were cosplayers can have photo shoots. The most important thing here is that the venue should be easy to navigate and it won’t give your visitors a hassle.
Be Open to What They Want
If you’ll be organizing conventions every year, the primary question to always put in mind is this: “What do they want?” This can be the panels that they want to have, the guests, the performances, and so on. To make it easier for you, you can always send out surveys to your congoers or to potential people who would be going to your con. With this system, you’ll be able to find out what they want in your event and at the same time, what they are expecting from it.
Get People to Interact
It’s an anime convention! Time to let people get out of their shells and just let them meet and greet old and new faces together. This is why it is highly encouraged that organizers should plan out activities, booths, and contests that would allow everyone to gather and meet a friend or two. You’ll definitely be surprised at the end of the day that you got a lot of people to add back in your social media accounts as well as in some specific anime or cosplay forums. It’s just amazing!
Set The Dates and Stick to It!
If you feel that you have right team and enough resources to start a con, set the dates and stick to it. To make sure that a lot will be attending them, always schedule them in the weekends so that people will have enough to time to file leaves from work and prepare the things that they need. This is something to really take note since some congoers and cosplayers may travel from a different city or state just to attend your convention.
Always Do Research
Never ever stop learning or finding ways to make your convention an epic one. Always do constant research most especially if you’re still in the preparation stage for your event. We are already in the information age when everything that you are looking for can be found in just a few clicks. Do not stop learning and always do constant research if ever you want your convention to grow as years pass.
Guests are one of the primary highlights of the convention. You need to make sure that you invite the right people that would fit the theme of your event or it could be someone that is a huge inspiration or influence to the anime or cosplay community and/or industry. Consider doing this ahead of time because maybe the guests that you want to invite may not be available all the time due to busy schedule.
As much as some people will like to have fun, some want a little competition as a way to improve their hobby, skills, as well as having fun at the same time. Contest can be in a form of a cosplay competition, trivia contest, eating contests, and so on. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure that contest that you plan to have is fun for everyone to join and spectate.
Panels are one of the things that make a convention a thing aside from cosplay and the invited guests. Panels are usually one of the most fun places to go to because the discussions vary depending on the fandom or particular series. Be sure your even is opening slots for panel rooms because mostly likely a lot would be interesting in attending them.
As much as organizing a convention is cool and awesome, you need to make sure that everyone is safe from any type of harm. Make sure the venue is safe and they have their own security team. If the latter is not possible, you can assign a security team to help keeping the convention together.
Always Listen to Feedback
Always remember that feedback is a vital tool. It helps organizers know what to improve, what to add, and what to remove in the next convention year. Some comments might be hurtful but always take this constructively in order to give room for improvement next time. Yes, always remember that they will always be haters but keep in mind that you can’t please anybody.
In organizing a con, it requires a lot of Teamwork! Hold a meeting before and after each convention day. Plan and discuss. Make sure that everyone in the team is in sync and no one gets left behind on the plans. If something goes bad, then think of a solution together. Never forget why you have created such event and the goals that you need to achieve.
Sponsors and Merchandise Sellers
Sponsors and advertising are some of the core factors of how a convention is formed. Expand your horizons in looking for possible individuals and companies who would love to help or be part of your event. Do not stick to just particular big names; always take time to connect with startup businesses or small merchandise shops as well.
Never Forget to Have Fun!
Lastly, although conventions require a lot of work to pull through, never forget to have fun. Never forget to take time to grab a good meal, take pictures with cosplayers, and interact. That’s what a convention is all about.
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