Tag Archive for convention

Ending Convention Rape Culture

DC-Cosplay-Video-600x254As the popularity of cosplay has risen, so have the number of assaults and insults that cosplayers suffer at large events. San Diego Comic-Con 2014 just passed, and some of the biggest stories to come out of the event were about an underage cosplayer who was found bloodied and unconscious in costume, and a famous cosplayer chasing down a man who groped her friend.

Unfortunately, many cosplayers unwittingly contribute to the very convention culture that endangers them. They contribute, not with the costumes they wear, but by trying to be polite or by not knowing what to do when incidents happen. It can be a very distressing and embarrassing to be objectified or assaulted at a convention, and knowing exactly what to do can be hard. So here are three basic rules of how to react in these horrible situations:

1. Don’t be Polite!

CosplayCreeps-2Every convention has huge numbers of bloggers, vloggers, press, internet personalities, and regular patrons who are combing the floor for cosplayers to put on the spot. Many of these jerks ask inappropriate sexual questions or try to touch you in ways that make you uneasy (hugs, leering at specific body parts, filming/photographing specific body parts, etc). If you are uncomfortable DO NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO PLAY ALONG! Regardless of how witty your response is, questions and behavior of this nature is disrespectful to you and contributes to the convention culture that objectifies cosplayers. Tell them that they are being inappropriate, and end the interview. Tell them that you are not comfortable with them putting their arm around your waist, and step away. Tell them that your “eyes are up here” and walk away. No amount of Facebook likes or Twitter followers are worth encouraging these disgusting convention parasites.

2. Be Loud!

Black Canary Cosplay

Black Canary Cosplay by Miss-LolaMarie

If something inappropriate happens, BE LOUD ABOUT IT! I know this can be hard because it is an embarrassing situation, but acting fast and getting people to notice what is happening is the best way to insure that predators are caught. Shout at the person to STOP and state what they are doing. For example, “STOP TOUCHING MY BREASTS! THAT IS NOT OK! THIS GUY/GIRL IS TOUCHING ME INAPPROPRIATELY!” and POINT THEM OUT! The more people who see the person, the better the chance of them being held responsible for their behavior. Hopefully someone will even snap a picture of the asswipe.

(Although I agree that they deserve it, I do NOT recommend physically striking the person since that can get you into legal trouble down the line.)

3. REPORT!

72808_632272580120728_389343122_nDo NOT just move on with your day after an incident happens. Report it to the convention staff (and make sure they really take note of it!) or the police if the incident is serious enough. We want predators removed from the convention, so we need those in charge to know that they are there! Even if you didn’t get a great look at the person, TELL AN OFFICIAL and let them know what you do remember. Often, these creeps bother/assault multiple people in a day. DON’T HELP THEM GET AWAY WITH IT! The truth is that we really don’t have dependable statistics on convention harassment, because so many victims don’t report their assaults. We need to start making officials take notice of this problem, and the only way to do that is to inform them EVERY time it happens

4. BE A WITNESS!

cosplay-is-not-consent

Cosplayers can’t wait for other people to stand up for us! WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES!!

Help yourself and other cosplayers by being aware of your surroundings and looking out for trouble. I realize that we shouldn’t HAVE to do this, but unfortunately, the reality is that this is a necessary precaution to help protect ourselves. If you see something happen BE LOUD and REPORT! Stick around to tell officials what happened, or take the initiative if nobody else has the guts to report what happened. We can’t wait for white knights to save us. Cosplayers have to stand up for ourselves.

 

Assholes and predators are in geek culture, just like every other community. It is NOT your fault if someone is insulting or assaulting you. It doesn’t matter what you wear to a convention, EVERYONE deserves respect. If we are going to change this culture we need to band together and send the message loud and clear that we are NOT going to put up with this. We cannot wait around for other people to step up, we have to start stepping up and speaking up for ourselves!

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Rainfall’s Wonder Woman

A few months ago, I was asked to help bring my hero to life. I thought I was dreaming when Sam Balcomb of Rainfall Films brought the initial idea to me. Was it possible that Wonder Woman might finally be represented well on screen? Would I really get to help make that dream into a reality?

Rainfall Wonder Woman sketch

Sketch by Sam Balcomb

Since that fateful day, I’ve been able to talk about Wonder Woman even more than usual. Breaking down everything from Diana’s history and motivations, to classic comic poses and ancient Greek myths. We decided to heavily base our short on the Perez-era Wonder Woman, complete with ThemAmazonsyscira and monsters out of Greek mythology. We poured over my collection of Wonder Woman comics to capture all the details, even if they would go unnoticed by most of the audience. Through it all, the Rainfall team was adamant about being true to the character, and making a truly kick-ass female superhero.

Then there was the most daunting task of all: designing the outfit. Costuming is a huge part of my life, and I’ve tried my hand at Wonder Woman’s costume before, but we really wanted something unique that would pay homage to Diana’s Greek and warrior roots. It had to be functional, but still capture the iconic look that is so familiar to pop culture. We finally settled on two distinct looks, a more armored suit for the flashbacks to Paradise Island and a sleeker look for the city scenes. Our incredible costuming team, Heather Greene and Sarah Skinner, were able to create the entire costume from scratch, including the leather armor and steel scale maille. Yours truly braided the Lasso of Truth!

On Rainfall SetThe days on set were incredible. Everyone was thrilled to be a part of the project. Rileah Vanderbilt, who plays Wonder Woman in the short, was incredibly dedicated and a huge Wonder Woman fan! The stunt team was incredibly talented and we all watched in amazement as Wonder Woman, with their help, flew for the first time. America Young, Clare Grant, Alicia Big Barda and Wonder WomanMarie, Christy Hauptman, and myself filled out the rest of the Amazons. It was so much fun getting to know these wonderful women while dressing up and playing with swords. It was even more fun to reconnect with all of them at Comic-Con 2013 a few weeks after shooting. Rileah and I even hit the convention floor cosplaying as Wonder Woman and Big Barda, also from DC Comics.

This was truly a labor of love. By combining our talents and passion for this character, I believe we were able to create something worthy of the Amazon Princess. I will be posting more info about this project in coming weeks, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy our passion project!

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Batgirl’s Doctor is In: Dr. Andrea Letamendi

swteeAndrea Letamendi is one of the most interesting figures on the convention scene. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and puts her knowledge to geeky use by speaking about the psychology of Superheroes, Science Fiction, and Cosplay. When she isn’t speaking on panels, Andrea works as a researcher at UCLA, does work for Marvel and DC, and creates amazing cosplays of her own.

Kimi: You’re known as @ArkhamAsylumDoc on twitter, do you have a favorite Arkham inmate in the Bat-verse?

Andrea Letamendi: Oh yes, I have many favorite Arkham Baddies. I can’t deny the power that the Joker has psychologically–he is such a mesmerizing and puzzling character because his acts of villainy and destruction do not always seem rationale or explainable. My favorite villain from Gotham’s Rogue Gallery is the Penguin, because of his tragic story. He seems to frequently try to reach out and connect with others, perhaps just looking to be understood, and that is incredibly relatable.

latemendi_batgirlK: You were recently depicted in  Batgirl #16 as Barbara Gordon’s clinical psychologist. Why did Gail Simone immortalize you as part of DC cannon?

AL: Last year, before the Batgirl annual, Mrs. Simone reached out to me to ask some questions about trauma recovery. Essentially she was writing about an important time in Barbara’s life during which she was recovering–both physically and psychologically– from the severe injury from a gunshot wound when the Joker attacked her (See: The Killing Joke). As a Batgirl reader and DC fan, I was more than thrilled to answer anything she wanted to know. My background in treating soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with psychological and physical injuries best prepped me to give anecdotes and explain the relationship between the therapist and the healing client. Little did I know that Mrs. Simone would not only write some of my suggestions into her comic, but also include me as a character! It was truly a surprise– and I feel the honorary gesture was not just toward me but for the psychology community as a whole.

K: In addition to being an adviser for Marvel and DC, you are also well known as a cosplayer. What pushed you to start cosplaying?

AL: I have essentially been cosplaying since I was a teenager, if you count “dressing up as a Jedi character that you made up” cosplay. I’ve always felt drawn to dressing up as characters I love, but it truly wasn’t until I started attending conventions in 2006 that I initially became involved with cosplay and the cosplay community.

tumblr_m8l6lqxB8k1rslvxlo1_500K: Which costume is your favorite to wear to conventions?

AL: My favorite costume is probably my Steampunk Huntress costume, although I have  a Battlestar Galactica costume in the works and it may quickly become one of my favorites!

K: You’ve found a way to bridge the gap between your love of psychology and your love of comics, are you trying to do the same with psychology and cosplay?

AL: I’ve found that my love of cosplay has led me to ask questions like “what draws us to certain characters?” and “why do we feel fulfilled or content when we’re wearing someone else’s clothes?” I also believe there’s something empowering and psychologically inspiring when we dress up as a superhero that we look up to, even if they are fictional. In my mind, it was inevitable that these two universe’s collide, which is why me and my colleague created a Cosplay Survey and plan to continue exploring the motivations, expressions, and backgrounds of cosplayers. I also believe that we can use real-world data to debunk or disconfirm myths about cosplayers. I feel as though psychological science can tell a story that allows people to see how adaptive, healthy, resourceful, and social cosplayers really are.

K: What conflicts have you faced between your geeky hobbies and your career?

AL: Actually, even though I initially felt distanced and a bit misunderstood in my field, I’ve recently discovered that people are generally interested–and even quite inspired–by some of the work I’m doing in the comics and cosplay community. I have to say that I was surprised by this and it reminds me that people just want to get to know you and that the field of Psychology can be particularly open and supportive of these other hobbies. I’d like to think that goes with other social sciences disciplines.

WCpsychLEFTIMG_5276K: Briefly, what have you learned about the Cosplay community through your surveys and your Psychology of Cosplay panels?

AL: We have learned that cosplayers represent a very diverse and social group. I think the single most important thing we have learned is that we simply do not have any evidence that cosplayers share any one feature or characteristic beyond their passion for costuming and performing. Stereotypes about cosplayers, therefore, are not currently supported by anything other than bullies on the internet.

You can visit Andrea’s blog at Underthemaskonline.com or follow her on Twitter @ArkhamAsylumDoc.

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PreCon Skin Care

WWFacePrepping your face for a convention is as important as prepping your costume. Unless it’s covered by a mask, your face is a major focal point of your cosplay. You should do everything you can to take care of it!

Convention Prep

DON’T Try Anything New!
The clock is ticking down until the convention. You’re frantic to get your costume done, your trying to figure out your schedule, and the excitement is building. Now is NOT the time to try a product or procedure on your face for the first time. That tanning lotion that your friend loves could leave you looking orange, you might be allergic to that new moisturizer, and even new makeup might do some damage. Experiment when you have a little more time to fix any problems that pop up, and stick with your regular routine right before the convention.

Plucking and Waxing
Make sure you pluck a few days before the convention and/or get waxed at least a week before the convention but ONLY if you’ve had it done before! This gives your skin plenty of time to heal up if there is any irritation. Waxing is more unpredictable and tends to show up more when it goes wrong, so leave more time to fix the problem. DON’T TRY WAXING FOR THE FIRST TIME RIGHT BEFORE A CONVENTION!

water-glassHydrate
Water is the magic beauty potion you’ve been overlooking for years. Start drinking as much water as you can about two weeks before the convention. It will keep your skin clear and help you avoid flaky dry spots. It will also help you avoid chapped lips, red eyes, dark bags under your eyes, and maintain a healthy weight. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water helps your whole body, so drink.

Avoid Alcohol
Yes, I’m a party pooper. You should avoid drinking during the last week before a convention. One glass of wine probably isn’t going to do much, but alcohol dehydrates your body, which causes red eyes, puffiness, bags under your eyes, and more.

Sleep!
A lot of beauty problems can be solved just by getting 8-10 hours of sleep. Red eyes, bags under the eyes, and swelling can all be signs that you didn’t get enough sleep last night. Plan on having your costume done, your bags packed, and everything ready to go so that you can spend the night before relaxing and resting.


Daily Skin Care

Wash Your Face at Night
Washing your face strips your skin of natural oils and can dry out your skin. You should really only wash your face at the end of the day to remove makeup and other build up. Washing your face before bed also keeps oils from building up on your pillowcase, which helps prevent breakouts. In the morning, just splash your face with some water instead of scrubbing away all the natural moisture that your skin produces.

Collection of bottles of health and beauty productsMoisturize
As someone who has an oily face, this can be a rather tricky prospect for me. There is a fine line between keeping my skin smooth and creating a mountain range of zits overnight. However, proper moisturizing helps fight wrinkles and helps makeup look its best. You should moisturize every morning, preferably using a product with at least 30spf sunblock. You can moisturize at night if you have naturally dry skin, but if your skin is oily, try just moisturizing around your eyes. There are lots of moisturizers on the market for different types of skin, so figure out what works for you.

Don’t Exfoliate Every Day!
Again, this is about keeping your skin hydrated and avoiding flaky skin. Exfoliating can become a vicious cycle for some women. You exfoliate to get rid of flaky skin, but that dries out your skin and causes flakes. You shouldn’t be exfoliating more than a few times a week. This is a big mistake and can actually make you appear older!

Sunblock
You should be wearing sunblock or moisturizer with at least 30SPF every day. Even if you spend most of your day inside, the exposure you get driving or walking your dog can really add up. Sun damage is the number one cause of skin damage and premature aging, and should be put on areas that are prone to showing age such as your face, neck, and chest. Don’t forget the back of your hands, especially if you will be driving! If you are planning on spending time in the sun, wear higher SPF and a hat.

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WonderCon!

I made it safely back from Scotland!  I had an amazing time, saw beautiful places, drank too much, and lost a few pounds (haha… get it… they use the UK pound…. sorry). I have several great posts in the works and am ready to catch up, but first…

Golden Lasso Wonder WomanWONDERCON!

I will be attending Wondercon on Friday only, due to Renaissance Faire obligations. I’ll be dressed as Wonder Woman at a convention for the first time since 2011! My armor is all polished and my golden lasso is ready!

For those of you who haven’t attended WonderCon, it’s a wonderful event and I highly recommend it to old-school convention lovers. It’s growing fast, but is usually compared to SDCC before it became the pop-sensation that it is today. It’s much smaller than SDCC and that leads to really great interactions between fans, creators, artists, cosplayers, and staff. The parking can still be difficult, but it’s do-able and there are probably even hotels still available in the area if you decide you want to head down there this weekend. It’s also right down the street from Disneyland, so it’s a great weekend destination for the whole family or Disney-lovers. The convention even arranged discounted Disney tickets for convention attendees!

For all my panel-loving friends, I highly suggest attending The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Friday at 1:30pm. Dr. Andrea Letamendi, you may know her as the Huntress from my Steampunk DC group, is an amazing panelist and is sure to make a great case for Star Wars! Brian Ward, the steampunk Green Arrow and copper-working genus, is going to be refereeing… er… moderating the discussion.

I hope to see you there! Follow me @LadyAdeena to find me or to get in touch!

 

Kimi’s Cosplay Interview for Examiner.com

I was interviewed by Examiner.com about cosplay, gaming, and how the two are linked. Read up to get the inside scoop on my upcoming cosplays, my dream cosplay, cosplay advice, my favorite alcoholic beverages, and more!

Special thanks to Claire Broderick, the gaming writer for Examiner.com who came up with such great questions!

Kimi’s Cosplay Interview on Examiner.com

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Herding Dragons: My Wild Talents Con Game

I love adding a unique twist to my convention games, and my Wild Talents game for Gateway 2012 was no exception. Months earlier I had been inspired to set my game in the world of Skyrim (mostly because I was playing it every waking moment), but I wanted to give my players a completely unique experience. A major role reversal was in order.

When my players arrived, they were greeted by my trademark gaming table. I’ve had other GMs scoff at my admittedly overdone layouts, but I find that players really appreciate the amount of preparation and it starts everything on a very positive note. Folders were laid out on the table, each one labeled with a symbol that represented the character that lay within. I never let players see the character sheets before a game, so these symbols were the only clue they had to choose their folder. I find that this forces players out of their usual go-to roles and really ends up stretching their creativity during the game. It also negates the show-up-early-to-get-the-best-character strategy.

I gave a brief description of the setting, carefully avoiding giving away the big surprise I had in store for the players. Skyrim is a typical fantasy setting with a bit of Viking flavor thrown in for good measure. Wizards and warriors are commonplace, and dragons are the enemy of mankind. Many of my players were very familiar with the video game and had a very set image of what they were expecting from this game. Boy, were they in for a big surprise! After my explanation, I let them open their folders to see the portraits of their characters.

The reaction was amazing. The players were shocked, delighted, and a little thrown by the dragons that greeted them when they opened the folders. Each dragon had a unique “thu’um”, a magical phrase in the language of the dragons, that gave them thier powers and the dragon’s name was translated from Skyrim’s dragon language to reflect their powers.

  • Fendufyn, “The Devouring Bane”, was the biggest of the dragons and had a thu’um that turned his skin to stone.
  • Qorohgol, “The Raging Lightning”, had skin that became electric, and electricity is VERY dangerous in Wild Talents.
  • Haslovaas, “Song of Health”, was the most intelligent of the dragons, and had the ability to turn ethereal and heal through his thu’ums.
  • Strunduving, “Storm-wing Devourer”, was the smallest and fastest of the brethren, with a thu’um that gave him super speed.
  • Yolvolun, “Fiery Night”, was another of the bigger dragons and had a ranged thu’um that shot fire at any unlucky targets.
  • Lizinjot, “The Icy Maw”, was designed as the counterpart to Yolvolun, with capable physical stats and an ranged ice thu’um.

I explained that they were young dragons who had hatched together, but had never seen any other dragons, including their parents.

One of my important GM strategies is to leave personality information off the character sheets. Yep, I don’t tell them who they are. I specify important connections to other PCs (family relationships, similarities, past history, etc), list their stats and powers, but I let the player assemble all this information into their character’s personality. Most players are totally thrown when they sit down at one of my convention games for the first time, but I find that it actually increases the role-playing at the table. Instead of forcing a square peg into the round hole I created, the player is able to form a peg they are comfortable with and that fits in the hole that the party creates. Players are incredibly creative and come up with great ideas that would never have occurred to me. This also increases the player’s personal investment in their character and the game as a whole.

Now this game could have gone one of two ways. The choice that many players would have gone with would be the majestic, wise, and ancient dragon route. My players shunned that for the more quirky, Looney Tunes meets The Three Stooges style game. They decided they were all adolescent brother dragons and immediately started beating on each other and looking for girl dragons. Yep, they rolled initiative and started wrestling in true brotherly fashion. Although it was unplanned, it served as the perfect introduction to the Wild Talents combat system and really started the game off with a bang.

The Wild Talents system ended up being a perfect fit for this game. I was able to create powers that actually matched the dragon thu’um powers in Skyrim, as well as give the dragons stats that were appropriate for their species. It also worked to create the HUGE number of NPCs that the dragons eventually fought. WOW, do six teenage dragons plow through human NPCs! As always, the players ended up really enjoying the Wild Talents combat system. I did learn that I need to color code the NPS sheets for the next time a run an overpowered game like this, to make managing the large number of them easier! Better living through office supplies!!

As we moved through the story, I was absolutely floored by the level of role-playing in this game. My games are all very open, “sandbox” type worlds that encourage lots of role-playing and player empowerment, but this group took it to the next level. I was basically just along for the ride. Without pre-generated personalities to confine them, each player came up with an amazingly vibrant and unique personality for their adolescent dragon that matched perfectly with their stats and abilities. They fought with each other constantly (what else would teenage brother dragons do?), but were also very protective of one another when danger threatened. There was never a dull moment, and watching the players revel in being the dragons and not the bite-sized humans for once was a delight.

All the role-playing did take a lot of time though, and there is no time to waste in a convention game. Taking the advice of the Happy Jack’s RPG podcast crew, I had designed my game in modules to provide more flexibility in the story. There were five total parts or scenes to the story. Scenes one and three were vital to the story, but scenes two and four could be skipped if we were running short on time. I had multiple plans and NPCs prepared for the finale (scene five) so that the scene could be quickly adjusted to fit the remaining time in our convention game. This high level of flexibility takes more prep time, but it allows the game to run seamlessly during the convention and lets the players resolve the game in the allotted time. It also allows the GM to run the game again and enjoy a completely different experience. Even with all the freedom the players had in this game we ended almost exactly on time.

I could tell the game was a huge success because everyone left the table as friends, and many of them were actually tweeting to each other in character for many days after. It was an amazing experience and I was truly honored that Fray, Stephen, Will, Kurt, Matt, and Sam all chose to be part of my game. They are incredible gamers and I hope to see them at my table many times in the future.

If you’d like to read the play-by-play of this game from a player’s perspective, read Matt’s blog post about the it at Monkey in the Cage.

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Dealing with Player Ignorance

Running one of my convention games. (Not the game in question)

I have GMed many convention games, but I ran into a new problem a few months ago. One of the players in my game had a fundamental misunderstanding of a pretty simple scientific principle. I will not go into specifics because I do not wish to embarrass that player or narrow down which game I am discussing.

The players were engrossed in the game and having a blast trying to come up with a solution to my challenge. They were all great people and it was a very positive game, however suddenly one of them suggested an action that defied the laws of physics. Two other players jumped on board, and the remaining players looked at me with their eyebrows raised.

I casually asked for clarification, hoping they’d catch the mistake themselves. No luck, so I very politely questioned their logic, asking if that was really what they meant to say. Surely, their basic elementary school knowledge was just a little rusty, right? Wrong. They defended their position, restating their faulty understanding of earth science. The logic behind their actions was sound, they just didn’t state the right materials to do what they wanted. I was at a crossroad, do I impose my scientific understanding on the game to insure it’s correct and risk embarrassing the player, or roll with it and prioritize fun over academic correctness?

Against ever instinct in my teacher body, I rolled with it. Why? Well there were two main reasons.

First, I didn’t want to penalize the characters for the players’ ignorance. They had found a good solution, but simply did not have the scientific background to choose the right materials to make it work, even though the materials were available to them. Often we play characters with knowledge or qualities different than our own. Shy players can roll skills to give speeches and technology dummies can roll to hack computers, so it didn’t seem fair to kill their creative idea when their character would have known exactly the right material to choose.

More importantly, I didn’t want to kill the fun. It was a one shot game with people I didn’t know well. If it had been my normal gaming group, I might have argued the point and then bought the player a beer. I didn’t know these players well enough to push them. They might have gotten mad and walked away, or been perfectly polite but not enjoy the rest of the game. We were all there to have a good time and it seemed pointless to risk that over a small mistake in their plan. That said, if this had been a campaign I would have pressed the point because I wouldn’t want the physical laws of my universe to be altered long term, but again, I would know players in a campaign game enough to debate it with them.

Did I make the right choice? I still ponder that question. The game finished smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, but maybe they would have enjoyed themselves if their plan had failed. It really boils down to an individual’s personal goals for the game. Mine was for my players to enjoy themselves, and I succeeded, but I might not make that same choice again.

Oh, and after the game I casually brought it up to the player privately and suggested they look it up when they got home. The teacher side of me couldn’t give up completely.

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10 Convention Necessities for Cosplayers

Cosplaying completely changes the convention experience. The crowds, schedules, lines, and costs are only more stressful once costumes are added to the mix. Here is a list of “must-haves” that will make your cosplay experience easier.

1) Emergency Repair Kit

This is a large kit that you keep in your car or hotel room for the length of the convention. It should include a sewing kit, duct tape, fashion tape, a hot glue gun, industrial glue, masking tape, permanent markers or touch-up paint in the colors of your costume and props, stain remover, and fabreeze. Crazy things happen at conventions and it’s best to be prepared for anything.

2) Business Cards

These make a cosplayer’s life a lot easier. Nobody wants to take time to spell out their Twitter handle or email address in the middle of the busy convention floor. You don’t have to spend money on these. Even if you just write your contact info on a bunch of post-its ahead of time, photographers and other cosplayers will really appreciate it.

PRO TIP: Be careful not to put your personal phone number or full name on these cards, unless you are willing to deal with stalkers showing up at your house. Set up a cosplay email account if your email address includes your last name… or if you have a crazy complicated email address.

3) Pockets

Pockets are one of the most difficult things to build into a costume, especially women’s costumes. A place to store your cell phone, your ID, and a credit card are worth more than gold when it comes to working the convention floor. Whether it’s a hidden pocket glued into the top of your go-go boots, a small matching bag that you make out of extra fabric, or a significant other who is willing to follow you around with a backpack, it is vital that you have a way to transport your stuff. Make sure you at least have your ID somewhere on you in case something happens.

4) Floor Kit

This is the mini version of your emergency repair kit and should go with you around the convention. I highly suggest fashion/2-sided tape (the pre-cut strips are best), small tube of super glue, eyelash glue, and lipstick are the musts. If you have room in your bag or pockets, I also suggest masking tape.

5) 3 Different Poses

You will get asked to pose for pictures so put some thought into it before you arrive at the convention. Photographers will usually shoot a few pictures in a row, but they will lose interest faster if you stand frozen in the same pose for all of them. Try to hold a pose for a few seconds, then switch it up. Practice poses at home in front of a mirror, or have a friend shoot pictures of you. Most people at conventions are not professional photographers and they will do you no favors by setting up the shot or making you look good. Practice makes perfect!

6) A Posse

Conventions are big places where all manner of people are shoved into a high stress environment together. If you can, attend a convention with friends or other cosplayers. They will hold your props while you stand in the bathroom line, help keep an eye out for up-skirt camera pervs, and take pictures of you when you see your favorite celeb.

7) Snacks & Water

Dehydration and empty stomachs can ruin your day very quickly. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when you are caught up in enjoying yourself. Suddenly you realize that you haven’t eaten in six hours and the line for the nearest food is 45 minutes long. Have a granola bar hidden somewhere on your person. Water is harder to transport (and bathroom breaks are a pain in some costumes) so be sure you hydrate extra in the days leading up to the convention.

8) Gum or Mints

Conventions are crowded. Bad breath sucks. Enough said.

9) Costume Check List

These will help you get your entire costume to and home from the convention. Nothing sucks more than getting dressed and realizing that you left that amazing belt buckle that you made is still on your sewing table. It’s even worse when you realize that you left a vital part of your cosplay at the hotel when you were in a hurry to get to the airport. A check list makes sure every little bit stays with you. It’s worth the extra effort.

10) A Plan

Conventions are becoming very popular. Parking, tickets, hotel rooms, and panel lines can be a real nightmare. Trust me, there is NOTHING worse than showing up for a convention in costume and figuring out that the only open parking is six blocks away. Do your research ahead of time. Know where the parking is and how much it costs, buy your tickets days or weeks before, and know the costume and prop rules for the event. It will save you a lot of time, stress, and disappointment in the end.

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Debut of Sif & WonderCon

What a crazy weekend! I am still recovering and it’s Thursday. Seriously, who’s idea was it to have my Irish music persona and cosplay persona collide? Two days of cosplaying at a convention with a concert and night of heavy drinking in between is not the best idea. Fun, but not the best idea.

Sif debuted at WonderCon and was a huge success. I was asked to pose for more pictures than ever before and got more complements than ever before, despite the fact that most people couldn’t identify my character. Oh well, they still appreciated the craftsmanship and the overall impact. I consider this to be my most successful cosplay to date.

There are many reasons for this, but here is a list of the biggest differences between Sif and my previous cosplays:

- I was the only Sif at WonderCon (I’m pretty sure) and this made me stand out. It also helps that I was nearly 6ft of bright red woman warrior. I did not blend in.

- I finally invested in a good quality makeup kit. It made a huge difference in the photos and the quality of the images that were taken at this convention. I felt a little ridiculous putting it on the first day, but the impact it had on my cosplay was undeniable. I looked good the morning after St. Patrick’s Day! I can’t  even begin to explain how amazing that is!

- I’m getting better at posing and working the convention floor. Despite my experience working at Renaissance Faire and performing on stage, it’s taken me a while to get comfortable as a cosplayer at conventions. I still have things to work on, but I’m getting much more comfortable.

- I picked a character very suited to my body type and physical features. This is always a smart move with cosplayers. A woman as tall as I am can look awkward in group pictures, but when you’re supposed to be a Norse goddess it makes more sense. I’m working on some cosplays for San Diego ComicCon that are not in my body type, we will see how that goes…

- My outfit is friggin’ leather. That’s just stinkin’ impressive and badass. Not to brag, but it is!

I still have improvements to make to this outfit, but overall I am incredibly pleased with how everything turned out. I’m hoping to have a photo shoot with this outfit very soon and will be posting a gallery once I finish collecting all the images off the internet. If you have a good picture, please email it to me! I’d love to see it!

I did discover that this is the best cosplay to wear in cold or rainy weather. It was POURING rain on Saturday. The cloak is very resistant to water and isn’t harmed by the rain! The hood flips up to protect my leather headpiece and makeup. Even the boots are actually pleather rain boots! It was unplanned, but it worked out very well on this stormy WonderCon weekend.

A goddess is not afraid of cold weather!

WonderCon was a very fun convention, and I hope it returns to Anaheim again next year. There is a bigger variety of vendors at this show since the booths are probably much cheaper than at SDCC. The crowds are also much smaller. Everyone says it’s like SDCC was 10 years ago, but I wouldn’t know. I love the current Comic-Con for all it’s crazy size and commercialism, but I really enjoyed WonderCon as well. The parking was a mess. The traffic in the whole area was terrible and the shuttle buses were a mess because of it. We spent a very large percent of Sat dealing with that situation. Not fun. I highly recommend getting a hotel in walking distance, or if you wait until the last minute like I did, get a hotel with a shuttle. Sunday was very much improved because of my Saturday night hotel stay and the parking/shuttle it provided. That was my only real problem with this convention, and it was made worse by the rain. I hope they can come up with some productive solutions for next year to keep the traffic flowing more smoothly.

Overall, it was an amazing weekend that I will never forget! I met and got to spend time with so many incredible people and revel in my two favorite pastimes, performing (cosplaying and an MWOW concert) and drinking. What could be better?

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