Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Year in Cosplay and Comic Cons Part One

I haven't wrote too much lately; I been in the process of finding my own voice at a late age in life, for a long time I was having issues writing, creating content and drawing, I felt as if my voice was shut down after a long time but part of my soul and physical being were still active towards creating and interacting with other people.

My friend Kim, last year ask me probably for a fourth time if I wanted to go to Metro Con and as many times I replied "I'll think about it" after checking that two of my favorite musicians which are Caleb Hyles and Jonathan Young where invited I feel some regret that I didn't requested on time the days to go; but certain cosmic event the one who was my assistant manager which later became my manager ask me if I could switch with someone else my schedule, which let me had Saturday off.

Without hesitation, I said "yes!" I will take Saturday off and work the next day without any problem. As soon the schedule change happened I called Kim and explained that I was heading for the convention, it was going to be my first time officially and I was excited because I finally could see two of my favorite musicians but also to sit down and spend time with my friend.

On the way to Metro, I realized I forgot to ask her about parking space as I had no clue about that bare necessity that within Tampa is a privilege because it rains way too much and I ended up parking on a spot that cost me US$40 which I could had avoided if I knew I could park behind the hotels or in the convention center and the overall of the experience for the four days would had been US$40 and it would be under roof.

A year later, I finally took the time to explore the options through the website as every con offers information about parking spaces and they aren't expensive, but as a newbie I made the mistake on my first day towards finding parking; second, it wasn't difficult to navigate through the tickets and security check points, in fact it's quite straight forward but every single convention is different and if you buy the tickets in advance it can be annoying as well if there is a carryover promotion from one year to the other, because people who volunteer aren't properly trained to know what to do with certain sales.

One aspect, one important aspect you need to know is to bring money because if you want autographs, celebrities won't take credit card and a similar situation applies to the artists in the artist hall, where not all of them will take plastic; but the vendors they usually 99% have PayPal or any other similar form of payments such as Apple Pay. also some vendors they can hold your purchase before the vendor hall closes and you can retrieve it before you go home which is really convenient.

Food wise not all the convention centers offer the same variety, the Orlando Convention Center offers an amazing variety of food that is tasty and varied but opposite to the convention center in Tampa Bay, that the food options are extremely limited the people who are assisting should note what restaurants are near and if they will fulfill their dietary needs on site our outside.

A good thing about the two convention centers I mentioned is that they are located near different food establishments, as food on site can become a problem due the high prices they place to create a profit. Walking distance in Tampa is better because there are a lot of stuff around, while in Orlando walking near International Drive it will take a lot of your day and not even thinking about using Uber Eats or any other delivery service because that is an extra amount to your budget.

Set a budget if you go to the vendor's hall and artist alley, same with autographs, set a budget that is friendly to you, that you know you will have money to eat and pay for parking and won't screw you over until your next paycheck, which is important that you can enjoy your experience to the fullest.

Organizing your time is essential to enjoy the panels, as much of the panels are only an event for the day and that's it and they usually aren't repeated by the subsequent year, sometimes newer hosts go and panels that aren't that full tend to be the best ones on some cases as it leads the interactions better and you can learn about the culture and social norms that are within the conventions, but also to meet other nerds and make friends on the panels.

Lines can become ridiculously long, is also one reason I had avoided so badly doing photo ops as I feel I can lose some valuable time exploring other faces of the cons, albeit from friends that I made on the cons they mentioned that the photo ops are actually quite fast and whenever they are group photos they are even faster. Some of the things that bothered me but is understandable is the fees that are payed for the photo ops and selfies, they are negotiated by the celebrities and the agents.

Not all the guests charge for photos and autographs and also that depends on the convention, my experience with Metro Con and Mega Con was split, to explain better I will divide this with each con. Mega Con brings A-List to Central as well it has a section dedicated to content creators and cosplayers, regards is Mega Con Tampa or Orlando, in Mega Con the celebrities charge each for the autograph, now the tricky part comes to understand the rules some of the cosplayers who are invited charge for the photo as it part of their personal branding and it can go between US$10 to US$25 but they don't charge for the autographs, albeit more famous cosplayers i.e. Jessica Nigri or Yaya Han will also have package included within the photo ops.

Metro Con is far more interesting as is less celebrity oriented but more fan oriented, which it can be unique towards the experience. They also bring cosplayers, but they don't have a specific space as they are outside interacting with fans and they blend in, which you can be sitting anywhere and suddenly expect one of the cosplayers that are guests and throw a small show in the middle of the hallway. Also with Metro since it's more fan oriented you can get more merchandise related to the guest and even get autographs for free if you bring anything to sing, but I will continue talking about my experience in my first year as a con goer in an upcoming entry.