How do you even become cosplay guests with no skill?
LOL I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or honest seriousness but, here’s what I got!
First and foremost, being a convention guest is not just an honor and a priviledge, it is a job.
A job that has responsibilities and expectations, and should be treated as such. When Sylar and I go to a convention as a guest, we are 100% working.
We have a work resume for conventions, a contract, a portfolio of programming, and more. Because that what you are really, programming. Even if all they want you to do is sit at a table and sign things, thats still programming. Its your job to represent the convention, and give con goers more content for the tickets they bought. You owe it to them to make sure your 100% postive, there, working, and providing something they can’t get anywhere else.
And all con guests are asked to attend for different reasons. Some cosplay guests are asked to come because they are widely known for their technical skill and they will provide programming related to that. Or they simply have a huge fanbase, and are keeping their fanbase happy at your location, therefore spreading that market around.
Sylar and I work hard on our panels. We’re also trained speakers. Both he and I have taken classes, in college, about public speaking. We implement that and our presentation experience into all our panels. As well as our meet and greets at the table, interviews for the con’s media (there is a ton of backstage media going on that most con goers don’t know about. A lot of con time for guests is spent locked up in some empty room giving an interview,) and any floor time we have.
We also have 7 yrs experience working conventions. We have run cafes, hosted events, planned gatherings, organized raffles, done mutiple panels and workshops. We’ve also worked as Guest Liasions ourselves, written out program guides, sat at registration tables, and MCed masquerades as well as judged them. All things that involve systems, filling out paperwork, knowing how to handle negative situations, and doing menial tasks. Heck, we’ve even done set-up and break down for dealers halls. We know cons.
And this is something valued because honestly, its not a job for everyone.
Lots of cosplayers out there with amazing technicality skills just don’t like catering to crowds. They aren’t good speakers. Or they don’t have it in them to sit at a table for 6 hours just listening to strangers speak and ask them questions. Or they might hate having to write out workshop forms. And thats okay! But thats the difference between who gets asked to guest and who doesnt.
Guests have to be okay with not getting time to shop, not getting time to hang out with their friends, and devoting all their energy to the convention goers. Devoting their whole day to smiling and talking and making sure everyone who meets them goes away happy.
If you are interested in coming a guest, awesome! My biggest tips are;
Figure out what service you can provide to the convention experience. What are you good at that you think a con needs? How can you expand that? How can you turn it into programming? Are you a health nut – maybe do a panel on dieting and working out, anime style! Awesome at writing and editing? Fanfiction panel! A cosplayer who loves acting but hates sewing? Think about being a commentator for Cosplay Chess or the AMV contest!
Start volunteering now. All cons need volunteers and this is the best way to gain experience in the feild, just like any other job. I have friends that started volunteering as security for a con and now they run a convention of their own. No joke. It’s also helpful to know and understand the inner working of how a convention is run if you plan on guesting at one. It helps you help them by knowing what types of panels work best, what programming would work for that con specifically, or even just give you ideas on what their budget for you might be.
Write. A. Resume. Seriously. Just like you have a resume for job searching, write up a resume for cosplaying. How long have you been cosplaying? How many costumes? What skills do you have? Armor making? Public speaking? What experiences? Any awards? What topics are you an expert at that can be turned into an hour of programming? Put it alllllll dowwnnn in youurr resummmee.
Also, protip, you can always write to a a convention’s program director yourself and ASK to be a guest. It’s a job. Submit your application.
Hope this helps!
And funnily enough – this is all information that we talk about in our panel, Cosplay and Convention careers. Where not only do we cover working for cons, but we cover translating cosplay and con work into LIFE CAREERS and how to translate being in a maid cafe to a resume for a 5 star resturant hostess. Lol. My entire Graphic Design resume is pulled from cosplaying. And now I am a full time graphic designer for a state university.