Conferences and conventions “Cons” are popping up left and right. MomoCon, DragonCon, MGCC, AWA, RuffleCon, TribalCon and AniBlaze are just a few of the hundreds of cons lovers of animation, manga, design and more can choose from or attend. These conferences are filled with likeminded fans of the industry with big desires to interact and make new friends. For some in the industry of content and costume supply, conventions are their bread and butter…it’s how they survive.
Our RNG Entourage is no stranger to cons. Most of the friends we have and people we’ve meshed with are those from these conferences. There’s nothing better than CONnecting – pun intended- with people who are obsessed with your interests and go to the ends of the earth to express it.
It should be made clear that Cons are not your lighthearted festivals with funnel cakes and clowns. These are hardcore, content rich events with die-hard fans who live their character’s lifestyle or the industry everyday. Many are actually working in the industry, make a living from their writing or are aspiring to do so. The nickname Otaku is not taken lightly. People have turned this once derogatory term into something they hold dear. If you arrive at a con with a happy-go-lucky attitude, it should be because your anime character is just like that…as these attendees are not your average fair-goer, they mean business. Otaku and lifestylers are the essence of the con be it SailorMoon or Sanrio.
So how do you mix and mingle with these intense, dedicated individuals? You do your freakin’ research! Learn about the history of the con, the number of people that usually attend (this is extremely important) and read reviews. In fact, Live Journal and online groups where these individuals build and nourish their craft are going to be your best guide in getting to know what to expect at each show. If you don’t do your research you might as well not go. This isn’t the kind of event you just walk into and hope the for the best. That’s a fools approach. Know your audience and understand what you’re getting yourself into. Having some background on the conference is what will ensure you have a good time and your investment was spent wisely.
AWA host some incredible fashion shows
Prepare In Advance
Find others who are going and ask them which are the best panels to visit. Create a schedule or use the conference tools to plan in advance. Find out which of your favourite characters will be there and carefully decide how you want to meet them. Will you go in character to get their attention? Are you prepared to stand in long lines with other fans waiting to be near them? Is there an additional cost to meeting the star or getting a book signed? Ask all the needed questions so that you can do whatever is needed to ensure a good experience with the unique content cons provides.
Amani Middle Eastern and World Dance Conferences offer Cultural Dance instruction from around the globe.
Conventions can range from $40 a ticket to nearly $400 depending on where you’re going. Those that feature animation, media and opportunities to meet writers and producers are usually in the lower price range. Those that include dance instruction, gala shows and more are upwards of $400 and sometimes higher. No matter what the cost, they are worth it because you take away so much. The good thing is many of these offer payment plans or alert fans early on so they can save months in advance of the actual show date.
Con attendees also have to factor in costuming, food, hotel and transporation. The bigger conferences (ComicCon, DragonCon, RuffleCon) only take place in certain cities (San Fran, New York, Atlanta, Toronto, etc) so they are often deemed chance of a lifetime experiences. It’s an investment that you’ll want to set aside in an auto-withdraw account.
Because this is big business, it is prone to scams and people who promise something that doesn’t even exist. There are two Comic Cons. One is in San Francisco and another in New York. The name is branded with a copywright. Anyone else calling their event “Comic Con” is in breech and liable to be sued based on improper use of the name. However, you find people dropping that name on conferences left and right when the official name of the conferences is something else entirely. It fools eager newbies into ticket sales, taking their money and giving them more of a comical experience vs the real deal. If a conferences doesn’t have a website, reviews or a fan following on a social platform it’s either brand new or hasn’t been established yet or may not even exist. It may be a day long event or art market vs a convention. Those shouldn’t cost more than $100 at most and should be labeled as such.
Fun times on AWA’s Japanese Street Fashion Track
Just Do It! Go!
Conventions are extraordinary experiences where fans can meet the fiction they love so dearly. It’s an opportunity to become part of the material you watch and read. Fans fuel the industry of conventions and conferences, building empires for those who produce it. The insiders and those in the know are always publishing about who and what will be at these great events. “Having an amazing con” is based on preparation which includes saving money and research on what you want to participate in as many of these events are non-stop four to five day parties that are bursting with knowledge and zealous fans who bring the content to life. Role playing, LARPing and the like were born and thrive in these environments. Take the time to explore these brave new worlds. They will change your life!
K-Pop Spontaneous on the DragonCon Silk Road
*Many thanks to our pal AA for sharing her glimpse of conventions past and present via video. Be sure to say hi to her on DragonCon’s Silk Road.