As I was reading through the comments of my post inquiring information on the Ontario, California based anime convention Anime Los’ Angeles (ALA) and how it compare to Anime Expo (AX), there were a few comments that caught my attention. These comments focused on the fact that ALA was a fan run convention that will never succumb to corporate greed and draw in the normies (unlike Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con according to these commentators).
Personally, I’m a fan of corporate and industry ran conventions (or at the very least, conventions who have some sponsorship from corporations and members of the industry). Anime conventions with corporate/industry backing have the means to bring in the big name heavy hitters of the anime industry. In addition, they also allow the major players of the anime industry to have world premiere of new and upcoming anime projects that you (almost) never get the chance to see at your local small-to-medium size anime convention.
Content creators such as myself love attending conventions that feature big name guests as it gives us superior coverage and content for our brand. It’s not to say that fan-run conventions don’t make for great content, but let’s be real: You’ll get more flies drawn towards your honey pot if your honey pot just happen to have somebody like Mamoru Miyano in it because you reported on him talking about his latest roles during Anime Expo.
(And no, I did not attend any of his panels at Anime Expo because my Black ass KNEW any and all Mamoru Miyano related panels would be jam packed with fans and I am not willing to stand in line for 10 hours for a seiyuu I’m barely a fan of just for internet traffic).
As nerd culture steadily enter the mainstream limelight, there is this looming shadow of fear that has been overcast on the world of nerd culture. This fear is of both smaller and larger fan ran conventions yielding to the all-mighty dollar offered to them by major corporations – forswearing their humble grassroots beginnings.
Can’t blame them on this one, really. We see this happen often with conventions grew massive in size and income. They get accused of “selling out” (note: knowing your worth and the worth of your brand isn’t “selling out”; that’s broke jealous dusty nigga/hipster talk). Once they “sell-out”, the content of the convention becomes water down and lose focus on the fan-driven material in favor of industry related items presented on the programming. Therefore, the loyal fans of the con since day one up and leave the con.
Now, if you’re a critical thinker, you can see where this is going and know the solution to this problem. If people are dreading that some big conventions are “selling out” for big businesses, then that means that you are going to have people who are still in favor of fan-run conventions that won’t “sell-out”.
Think about it: you have a market of fans who don’t want anything to do with major conventions that have corporate backing and they’re going searching for cons that are operating on the grassroots level. They would rather spend their money towards conventions that favor fan-related content and programming over what some Japanese industry jackass who snorts cocaine off a teenage schoolgirl’s ass while she’s cosplaying Ichigo from DARLING in the FRANXX in his office at nighttime thinks what makes good programming at an anime con (okay, probably isn’t that extreme, but you get my point).
It’s that “for us by us” mentality that most nerds crave when it comes to anime conventions. Fan run content that shows the true passion and appreciation of fans of this medium in an event that provides the means for such fans to talk about their love for anime – in person with other fellow fans.
Fan-ran events means you have the freedom to express your fandom and love for anime through any means without worrying about an overhead busting your balls telling you what you can and cannot have in your programming (it’s not to say that fan run conventions have overheads busting balls as well, but they’re more lax than say somebody who works for a big anime business).
There’s a certain magic of fan-ran conventions that allow programming such as a room party block with free drinks, a massive cosplay parade downtown, ribbon collecting, and cosplay stripping shows that most of your major big business ran convention wouldn’t dare allow. This magic you can’t find at most industry ran conventions. Is it true that these industry cats understand what fans want in terms of content for their cons? Sure, but it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna provide the means to fulfill said needs.
So, will fan-run conventions go away anytime soon? No. Why?
Because there will always be a need for them – no matter what.
Note: I am about to burn some bridges with people in the St. Louis anime convention and cosplay scene with this post, ain’t I? Bet.
Second Note: This is a freewrite. There’s no order of my paragraphs in terms of flow.
“You should all pay attention to me! I want people to take pictures of my cosplay! I work hard on it!”
An annoying, feminine voice behind me rang out in the halls of Gateway Convention Center during the morning hours of Archon St. Louis The owner of the voice is a bit of a…what the word I can use that won’t (easily) offend people of the LBGT community? A fairy. A very narcissistic, attention whore, drama starting fairy. But I’m used to him and his attitude. This guy, whom I shall call “Narcian”, is a well-known, highly egotistical, arrogant, eccentric (shit-tier) cosplayer (in our area) who believes he has magical, spiritual powers (trust me; that’s just 1% percent of his issues).
(And I thought my ego and narcissism problems were terrible)
His parents never gave him any attention or love; so he grew up seeking and demanding attention from others. I spent a good year and a half avoiding this man thanks to traveling to other conventions outside my hometown; helping me forget that he existed. As he tried (and failed) to get people to notice his cosplay (even photo-bombing a Marvel Comics cosplay gathering), I realized something:
“Wow! I haven’t missed shit while I was away from this con scene!”
Between Anime St. Louis 2018 and Archon 2018, I skipped out on other St. Louis conventions to work on myself, traveling(to Los Angeles and Atlanta), and to have a little extra money in my pockets. When I came back to the St. Louis convention scene, I was reminded – thanks to Narcian – that I truly wasn’t missing out on anything that St. Louis had to offer for their nerd culture cons. It was a reminder on why I decided to say fuck this con scene and explore other scenes across America.
The weeaboos here who never left the St. Louis area (or at the very least, aren’t bettering themselves) were doing the same shit: Bitching about how much they hate their current low paying 9-to-5 jobs, being stuck in the rat race, looking forward to going to the bars and clubs and conventions on the weekends, causing/starting childish drama and beef with people, and refusing to level up.
They love to complain about how their lives aren’t going anywhere, but won’t put forth the effort to make a change.
And don’t try to convince them to leave St. Louis for a larger weeaboo festival with superior guest lists (featuring Japanese voice actors and creators) and more to do that they love to fantasize about attending. They’ll hit you with excuses such as “I don’t want to travel by myself”, “traveling cost too much money” (but wasting money at the club/bar isn’t for some odd reason), and – my personal favorite – “You’re just going to do the same shit out of town you do at home!”.
Please. I’m doing the same shit at conventions outside my hometown (like exploring and spending more time in Downtown L.A. as opposed to Anime Expo itself) and yet you guys are okay with repeating the same things in your lives.
To them, being in a state of everlasting comfortable mediocrity is an amazing and great thing. Why apply yourself with self-improvement when you can have the same things you’re used to every day. Every week. Every month. Every year. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it – hell, don’t even upgrade it because there’s no reason or logic behind it! That’s how St. Louis runs; may it be politics, entertainment, or weeaboo shit.
Let’s take Anime St. Louis for example.
Anime St. Louis has been around for thirteen years (if we’re counting Kunicon: their first convention). Naka-Kon, another Midwestern Convention held in Kansas City Missouri/Kansas area, started around the same time as Anime St. Louis Naka-Kon brought in guests straight from Japan (such as the J-Rock band ALSDEAD, Nobuo Uematsu, Junko Takeuchi a.k.a the voice of Hinata’s husband, and Takashi Kisaki.
Anime St. Louis? I mean, they gotten voice acting legends and icons such as Richard Epcar, Keith Silverstien, and Troy Baker. But you can see them at any convention across America. Naka-Kon. In bumfuck Kansas. Can land guests. Straight from Japan.
And yet Anime St. Louis can’t do the same?
My grips with the St. Louis con scene don’t end with the convention either. The community itself is filled with toxic, drama causing, pathetic otakus who have nothing going on with their lives outside of playing dress-up as their favorite anime Chinese Cartoon Characters. As a result, they attack Black cosplayers for cosplaying outside their race, playing favorites during cosplay contests (and by playing favorites, the cosplayers and judges are probably fucking and sucking/eating each other out the night before the cosplay contest), and even spread their drama to other Missouri conventions: harassing anyone who aren’t in their clique and make them feel unsafe.
Don’t get me wrong: There’s drama in every convention scene around the world. You do need to learn how to deal with it and not get involved (and never create it). But there’s a feeling of joy when you go to a new con scene outside the hometown one and have a fresh start. Nobody knows who you are – making you automatic neutral to any conflicts. You dealt with drama and know how to read people so you can sense any drama-makers in a new con scene. Sure, once you’re cliqued in with a group drama might arise, but you can leave said clique.
This isn’t to say that all St. Louis cosplayers and con-goers have this loser, drama mentality. One of the first people to leave this scene grew popular outside St. Louis with her cosplays despite her haters here. I saw her recently at Archon and she looked incredibly happy with her life after St. Louis. Another major cosplayer from the St. Louis area (who’s a master of using duct tape and 24 hour cosplays) left town and blew up. He networked with some major players of the YouTube scene and is doing great with his life.
Hell, recently an associate of mines made a status about how they were felt discouraged on cosplaying at Anime St. Louis because the judge allows past winners (a.k.a their friends) to use the same cosplays that won them cosplay contests years previously. This inspired the associate to leave the St. Louis area to explore other conventions with their cosplays. Others have agreed with them and want to explore other conventions with the associate. Folks are giving up on the St. Louis and starting to understand that there’s more to the cosplay world than this small ass shithole city’s scene.
And to be honest, I am happy for them. I am glad to see people bettering themselves.
To conclude this rant of a freewrite, the St. Louis convention scene sucks outside of Archon (thanks to their old-school style of not playing the bullshit game). If you’re a seasoned con-goer who travel across America (or the world) for conventions, don’t come to St. Louis (unless its’ for Archon or work).
There is no progress here and you’re better off skipping over STL. If you’re a rookie con-goer, I do recommend coming to Anime St. Louis to get your feet wet and dip off once you earn enough experience. To the con-goers who keep doing the same old bullshit: Stop it. You niggas are Level 5 Terra and Locke off Final Fantasy 6 playing around in Narshe while we got people about to raid Kefka’s Tower at levels 60-100.
I’m about to get blacklisted from Anime St. Louis because of this I bet.
Oh well, I’ll show up to the con without a badge drunk as fuck next year and throw a giant room party (doubling as my Birthday party) as a final farewell to the St. Louis anime con scene on May 4th, 2019.
Note: This is a freewrite. This is an article without order or structure.
Disclaimer: To my fellow St. Louis weeaboos: This is not a jab towards the anime conventions Anime St. Louis (ASTL) and Anime Senpai. Although people wouldn’t have to jab at these cons and go outside of the STL area for bigger and better cons if these two cons weren’t doing the same bullshit every year.
There’s something magical about older, fan-run local conventions. I guess it’s because these conventions are run by fans who came from an era were conventions weren’t a place for popularity contest (through cosplay or otherwise). An era was being a nerd wasn’t mainstream or cool. Fans came out to these events and cosplay because of their passion, love, and respect for nerd culture.
To me, this is why Archon St. Louis stands out as the dominant force in the St. Louis convention scene. Plus, there’s the appeal of Archon allowing room parties and people to drink alcohol (in the hotel area) without stuck-up straight edge weeaboos being mad; Unlike other local conventions (such as Anine St. Louis) that claim to be “Family-Friendly”, but you have cosplayers high on hard drugs at the rave, weebs getting wasted on the con floor because they can’t handle their liquor, and otakus having orgies at the main con hotel.
(We still remember that Homestuck orgy from an ASTL long since passed you sick fucks.)
But what is Archon? Archon is an internationally known sci-fi and fantasy convention (they carter to other media pop culture group, but Archon’s bread-and-butter is the sci-fi and fantasy side of the game). Every year, Archon brings in world-renown figures hailing from the world of entertainment. Iconic figures such as George R.R. Martin (the first guest of Archon), Ray Bradbury, Billy West, and Phil LaMarr have graced Archon with their presence: bringing in thousands of their fans to their standing room only panels.
Sure, you can see them at panels at the bigger conventions such as San Diego Comic Con or Dragon Con; but what makes Archon worth going is that personal experience of being with these guests at their panels of say 500-1000 people; as opposed to those larger conventions and being in a room with these icons with 3,000-5,000 nerds. Would you rather waste thousands and thousands of dollars at these gigantic, cramped conventions where the odds of you meeting these guests and have a short chat with them are lower than you fucking a fine cosplayer at your hotel room?
Or would you spend the time and money traveling to a smaller, more warm and welcoming conventions where you can spend an intimate time with the guests?
Now that I think about it, it’s funny how I use the words “warm” and “intimate” to describe the Archon experience. Again, it does go back to how Archon is run by OG (original gangsta) nerds who came up in a time where nerds were bullied hardcore and weren’t welcome by normal society, but there’s that welcoming, warm vibe that surrounds Archon (because of what these guys went through).
Regardless of your nerdom (may it be anime, comics, sci-fi, movies, etc.), Archon welcomes everyone. Nobody will come up to you and get in their feelings on how you’re cosplaying as an anime character at a Sci-Fi/Western media convention (can’t say the same for you weeaboos who love to get in ya feelings and go up to non-Eastern media cosplayers saying they don’t belong at anime cons).
Believe me; check out these pictures of a few non-Western (influenced) media cosplayers I took (while drunk and stoned so that’s why their pics are blurry):
You may be wondering (due to the title of this post) at this point why I am doing just one local convention from here on out? It’s simple: Archon is much mellower and lax compared to the anime conventions in the St. Louis area. Wizard World St. Louis is an industry ran convention; meaning no freedom to go wild.
Anime St. Louis is “cool”, but larger conventions such as Anime Expo, Anime Central, and Anime Weekend Atlanta have better guests and have the funds to obtain guests directly from Japan. Anime Senpai just started their first year in 2018 and came from the remains of a few dead conventions that crashed, burned, and failed.
I have no hope for Anime Senpai lasting longer than five years at the most.
Archon has the longevity factor. It’s been around for nearly 45 years and each year they do something to make it better, bigger, and net new and old fans. Unlike other conventions in our area, they don’t play around. It’s a convention for everyone regardless of age and fandom. Have a cosplay even if it’s not sci-fi or fantasy? They don’t care – bring it to Archon! You will find people who enjoy it (if it’s not too obscure).
Archon is amazing and I love it.
‘What more can I say?
I wouldn’t be here today
If the old-school didn’t pave the way!’ -Brand Nubian
I arrived at my hotel. I went over to my table where my crew’s bottles of liquor and mixer were. I took two shots of my friend’s E&J (sorry Rath!). After that, I grabbed a glass and specific bottles and mixers: Vodka, Captain Morgan Apple Smash, Midori, Pineapple Juice, and Sprite. One-by-one, I pour the liquids in the glass. Thanks to the efforts of the Apple Smash and Midori, the drink gave off a lovely green color. Perfect.
Just Monika I said to myself.
Just Monika is a cocktail I created for a party that I was going to throw at another hotel I had reversed (which was canceled due to unforeseen events). Initially, I was going to debut it at the party to celebrate DDLC’s first anniversary, but shit happened and I decided to do it for a friend’s party I was bartending for. I started sipping on it, letting the alcohol enhance my dark side and get me further in my zone (more on the dark side and “the zone” at the end of the chapter)
I hopped in the cold shower (cold showers help me stay awake when I’m tired) and kept Saiyan Pride on repeat. All my focus was on being the best genderswap Monika I could be (and in the world). I want people to recognize me. I want racist DDLC cosplayers to be mad at me for being a black man cosplayer a white/Asian character. I wanted to install fear in any other males doing a genderswap DDLC cosplay at the con. My aim isn’t to compete with other Monika cosplayers: Most are either women or dudes wearing skirts. I want(ed) to stand out (which I will explain in about five paragraphs below)
(Also, not gonna lie: There was a Monika cosplayer – who knew she had an ass and wasn’t shy about showing it off in a very short skirt who walked past me as I was returning to my hotel. I lowkey was thinking of shooting my shot with her in my cosplay if I saw her again.
Thank God for Atlanta.
Thank God for thick women.)
I got out of the shower, put on my Monika cosplay, and hit the con floor. And of fucking course, my legendary bad luck in cosplay had to hit me hard. I was the only Monika on the con floor. Awesome! But there weren’t any other DDLC cosplayers about. This always happen to me: Whenever I decide to put on a cosplay from a fandom, nobody is around. But when I am in not in cosplay it’s like everyone wants to wear their shit (hell, back in 2016 at Anime St. Louis, there was about 3-5 Umineko: When They Cry cosplayers in a group; a year where I decided to not wear my Goat Butler cosplayer, but I digress).
Maybe I should do my cosplays in the morning instead of in the late afternoon/night.
Not only that, nobody knew who I was cosplaying as or from. I had this problem at Anime Expo when I first did my Monika cosplay and I was doing it solo. I figured that the reason why I wasn’t being noticed was that I didn’t have her ribbon. To fix that mistake I went ahead and ordered one on Amazon for AWA…expect it was small as hell and wasn’t the size of Monika’s gigantic bow. Now that I think about it, I think I might just forego the hair ribbon and get a white headband without a bow and wrap it around the ponytail of my wig (imagine Ryu’s white headband from the Street Fighter Alpha/Zero series). Plus, I refused to wear a skirt for reasons.
The thing about these types of cosplay as a male is that every male fucking wears a skirt. If I was to wear one, I would be no different. Sure, I have my race as an advantage, but that is something I was born with that I can’t control: easy mode. I rather work smarter and harder to be different. I much rather have a blazer tailored made to fit my body type than to get a generic DDLC school blazer off some cosplay site.
I also am not a fan of competition. There are more female Monika cosplayers than male. I can’t compete against them: they’ll win. The average male Monika cosplayer wears a skirt as previously mentioned. Again, won’t compete against that. I rather dominate by taking a different route; making you Monika cosplayers study my style once I master that cosplay and get in known on a global scale.
You male Monika cosplayers can wear a skirt and be like every other males.
You guys can get your Monika cosplay outfits off ebay and Amazon.
I’m going to stand out – like Monika herself.
(My version of Monika is inspired by the Business Casual fashion look, so that’s why I wear jeans instead of a skirt. The example pictured below):
After being disappointed that nobody knew who I was cosplaying as, I headed back to my room out of discouragement (plus, a friend of mines told me he could smell the alcohol on my breath [I had taken more shots with a friend in his room prior] and advise me to get rid of it, rest up, and sober up. Thank you, John, for being real), a Froppy-Chan (My Hero Academia) cosplayer along with two of her male friends spotted me. “Are you Monika?” she said with a smile. I took off my sunglasses to make eye contact with her, replied with a smile, and said “yes”. We started talking about the game, the themes of it, and our favorite characters – although short because I was drunk as hell.
Man, she was cute. Maybe if I wasn’t drunk I could have more of a deeper conversation with her about the game’s themes. Maybe shoot my shot with her and make her male friends jealous at and hate on me.
Is it horrible for me to be inspired to sober up in order to either take somebody’s else woman or make her male friends mad at me cuz we were vibing a little bit? Yes. But it did awaken something deep inside me: What if I just not use a strong substance like liquor and have fun cosplaying as Monika and talk to women naturally who know the character? Even if I don’t get “physical activities” at the end, I still had done these things:
1. I made somebody happy that I was cosplaying as their favorite character and that would have brightened their day.
2. I could have made a female friend that was based on mutual, platonic interests and learn what makes women click and get advice on women by women.
3. It’ll be on some self-improvement shit. One Percent Better.
Maintaining my smile, I held my head up high and marched back to my room to recover and freshen up for the night. Even if one stranger knew who I was cosplaying as; that was it for me. Well, not really. I wanted more people to know me for my cosplay. It was motivation for me to keep doing it. Keep improving. Find flaws and errors in my cosplay and work on them. Always seeking to better myself.
This time around, I was going to do and act better. Don’t you fucking dare drink any liquor tonight, Benjamin. You don’t need that shit to talk to women or anyone else. Be you even if you’re cosplaying tonight.
Let me tell you guys something: This worked in my favor. More on that in a later chapter.
Way later in the night, I was walking around in my Monika cosplay, scanning the scene after the late night parties ended and the “secret panel” proved to be a bit boring for me without my friends around (who had retired to the hotel after a few conflicts and bullshit among us). I am about to leave when I hear a girl with a few male friends say “Hey Monika, come over here!” I walked over to her direction and she was all smiles and giddily about seeing a Monika cosplayer.
We started talking about DDLC and about our favorite characters. I remember her saying like how she likes Monika because of how it looks like she sticks her ass out when she talks to you (in her sprite) and how she wanted to select Monika but she didn’t have a route. I wanted to chop up some game with and spit but I didn’t proceed for a few reasons:
1. She looked underage. Which, now that I think about it at the time of this writing, she probably wasn’t; Given her and her crew were sitting outside the 18+ secret panel room (and the area the blocked off for anyone under 18) and they had beers. I blame myself for being an idiot who didn’t take a power nap to regain my mental focus after being up for 17+ hours with only 5-6 hours of sleep the night prior.
She had about three guys with her. It’s not that I’m scared of any dudes around their female friend(s), but given my mental fatigue, there was no way I could have an advantage for myself to spit game with her and beat out the competition (this is going to sound pretty fucked up but trust me; usually if a woman has a few dudes around her, they’re trying to get in her pants. This isn’t always true, however).
Oh well. A lesson that I had to learn to apply in the future (but at least I’ve gotten over my fears of talking to women and I accepted the fact I don’t need liquor to talk to them and be the best version of myself when I’m interacting with them)
Going back to the visual novel panel, I remember Chris saying how the Fate series completely dominated the visual novel anime genre (as it is the most popular VN anime of all time with how strong it’s going). Which is funny, because last year, I was attending a panel ran by Kana Ueda – the voice actress for Rin Tohsaka from the fate series. She talked about how for her, attending Anime Weekend Atlanta with her fellow voice actors and reuniting with a veteran Japanese voice who was once her mentor was “fate” (for them meeting there). Hearing Chris words on the VN scene, seeing people who still have a passion for it, and cosplaying as Monika, I couldn’t help but reflect on Ueda’s statement on fate.
Perhaps it was fate for me to go to that visual novel panel, network with him (being unaware that of his work Anime News Network), talking to people about how visual novels made them happy and being upset that the genre is on the decline. Was it fate that I saw that Hanyuu cosplayer after having two When They Cry related dreams? I guess. Did fate lead me to that Floppy-chan and that girl who was happy that I was cosplaying as Monika and made me want to do better with it and inspired me to not throw in the towel? Who knows?
As I am finishing this chapter out, I am reminded of a Facebook post I made about how I remember when the fate series was a bit of an obscure VN series that was popular in Japan, but didn’t get much traction in the Western otaku market beyond your hardcore VN fans. This wasn’t on some hipster, “I knew about the series before it was popular” shit: It was me being in awe that a game made by people of humble background reached heights that nobody could imagine for the genre or in anime fandom in general.
Some dumbass accused me of being a hipster and stated that “nobody gives a fuck about shitty visual novels”. I laughed. A week later, I was in Los Angeles for Anime Expo. I was walking around the Downtown area where my eyes met this massive Fate/Grand Order poster hanging over a bank. I was with my friend (whom I told him about the dumbass saying that bullshit) and we laughed. I wanted to post a picture I took of the poster and replied to his comment saying If nobody gave a fuck about shitty visual novels why they got this poster out here? on some petty shit.
To the dumbass who said that here’s something for you:
My unforgiving pettiness aside, I really do hope the visual novel genre does make a comeback. I’ll do more cosplays from it. Hell, even if it doesn’t, I’ll keep doing it – no matter what.
Continued in Chapter 3.
In the book Relentless by Tim Grover, Tim speaks on two accepts of the human’s psyche: “The Zone” and “The Dark Side”. The Zone is the dark, quiet lonely place within your mind. You shut everything in the world out to be in your own. It’s a calm, relaxing, and focused place.
The Dark Side is that: The darkness part of your mind where only you know your deepest, true desires – your true self (Persona lol). Rather than let your dark side control and ultimately – destroy you – you control it. You use the darkest parts of your personality to push yourself towards you end goal(s).
JUST MONIKA COCKTAIL:
1oz Light Rum
1oz Captain Morgan Apple Smash
4oz pineapple juice
Top with Sprite
Combine Ingredients sans Sprite in a shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour mixture in a Collins glass. Top with sprite. You can also rock the ingredinets with sprite and then pour the mixture into a Collins glass.
(The only reason why I used vodka in this story because my dumbass left my light rum in a homeboy’s hotel room the night before)
Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) left me starving. Starving for more. More networking opportunity. More ways to get my name out there. More ways to improve myself. On the final day of the convention, my crew and I went to smoke a blunt on our hotel’s garage parking rooftop before leaving our city for an eight-hour trip back home to St. Louis. As we smoked, we spoke about our successes and “failures”. Wins and losses. Triumphs and disappointments. Out of my team, I had the most wins; since I set my sights to hit the majority of my goals (such as making money bartending at a friend’s room party, networking with people within the industry, etc.).
They congratulated me for success and were happy for me.
But I wasn’t.
Sure, I hit a few goals. I went out and did what I was supposed to do build my brand. You’re not supposed to be praised for doing your job like everyone else. I wasn’t happy that I didn’t do more. I was disappointed at myself for allowing myself to get sidetracked and play myself. However, these disappointments, combined with my success started to fire me up. Disappointment turned into desire. Desire turned into drive. Drive turned into action and planning.
For once in my life, I was excited to go back home after a vacation. I needed to go back so I could plan out the next year con season, write about my adventures. And of course, work my ass off for the next con season and come back completely dominating it.
Anime Weekend Atlanta left me starving.
On Friday, I went to a panel that caught my attention weeks prior: “Whatever Happened to Visual Novel Anime?”. I have a slight interest in the genre and was wondering why visual novels and anime based on the niche have been on the decline for the past 3-7 years. I went; seeking knowledge from somebody who was much wiser than myself.
The panel started. The host introduced himself, spoke about his passion for visual novels ,and revealed an amazing fact about himself: The panelist – Chris Adamson – is a writer for Anime News Network.
I had to network with him; no matter what.
I was in awe by the deep knowledge Chris dropped on us about the history of visual novels anime and why they were not as popular as they were back in the 2000s. The answers were “simple”, yet layered with complex facts. The facts included the following: the lack of effort and innovation from VN creators. Long-time fans losing interest. Animators struggling to add every minor detail form the visual novels into the anime version. There were also the lack of sales of products relating to the anime and visual novels.
Chris broke down every little detail with graphs, pictures, videos, audio, cited sources, sales figures, you name it. He was armed and prepared to attack us with knowledge and education. Clearly, he studied this genre with depth. Clearly, he was passionate about visual novels and wants it to see it recover from its slump.
At the end of the panel, he left the floor open for questions. I shoot my hand up high in the air before anyone else (if you’re ain’t first your last) and asked him this question:
Do you think there will a renaissance of visual novels and anime based on anime, and if they the VN industry does crash, do you see it rising from its ashes?
I’ve since forgotten most of Chris’s reply (thanks to smoking weed all weekend and being an idiot for not recording the panel), but he brought up an interesting point: He does believe that visual novels could come back, thanks to the success of the American visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) with its innovating meta-narrative (he even suggests that a DDLC anime could work through streaming services with Monika going through your watch history, fucking with the audio/video, etc.). Chris also mentioned that with more Americans entering the VN fray that could lead to the niche revival from a Western’s standpoint.
After the panel, I was completely floored and astonished by his wisdom. I had to network with him. Deep down in me, there was a fire building up. The fire of craving more knowledge. There were other guys with me who also had that fire in them. Out of the 20-30 people in attendance, only five of us stay after the panel (to speak with Chris). Two were working on their own visual novels, two were fans of the genre and also hungry for more knowledge, and of course, me; who was moved by this.
As we were finishing talking, a Yuri and Natsuki (DDLC) cosplayers walked past us. We all smiled as we were just talking about DDLC earlier. I smiled even harder; as it got me excited to rock my Monika genderswap cosplay the next morning on Day 3.
And by the next morning, I mean I decided to have shots of rum for breakfast and plotted to wear my “No Coonin’!” shirt to The People of Color (I fucking hate how black people us that term as a black man) Photoshoot in hopes of offending any self-hating Uncle Toms/Coons/Nergo Bed Wench nigga nerds with it at the shoot instead of cosplaying as Monika at the shoot.
Which, said plot was used against me.
I arrived at the shoot. Since it was a multi-media shoot, the host had people take group photos by genre (movies, anime, comics, etc.). Of course, you had cosplayers from comics, video games, and anime. Mainstream shit. However, nobody was cosplaying from any visual novels series (a testament of the decline of interest towards visual novels). I was sad and angry. Sad because there aren’t many Black nerds who are into visual novels. Angry at myself for deciding to (unsuccessfully) troll people with my shirt and not going to the shoot with wearing my Monika cosplay.
This is me being utterly arrogant, but I don’t give a shit: If I would have gone with that Monika cosplay, I would have been the only Black cosplayer in that group doing a visual novel character cosplay. Is Doki Doki Literature Club a normie tier meme visual novel? Yes. But it’s still a visual novel. And I would have earned that honor and respect of doing something out of the norm. A black man. Doing a gendswap cosplay. Of a visual novel character. A piece of media which black people don’t really fuck with.
I could have spoken good game about the visual novel niche and get my fellow Black nerds hip on it. I could have introduced people who never played a VN before into a new world; which in turn could have gotten people into playing them.
But I’m a fucking idiot.
(By the way, there’s going to be more of my arrogance later. Please leave if you’re offended by people having pride in themselves and their passion).
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
From The POC Cosplayer Shoot
I left the POC shoot and decided to take a few pics inside the convention center. As I’m wandering around I spot a black woman wearing a shrine maiden outfit. Red pants, disconnected sleeves, white top, and purple hair. For a split second, I thought she was cosplaying as the PC98 era Reimu from Touhou (Highly Responsive to Prayers, Lotus Land Story, etc.) and I was smiling from ear-to-ear at the “fact” that there was a black woman cosplaying as the old-school version of Red Sanae.
Upon further inspection, she wasn’t wearing Reimu’s trademark red bow, but rather black horns with cracks in them.
Wait, is she cosplaying as Hanyuu from Higurashi I asked myself.
I poked her on her shoulder and asked. She smiled and I started to geeked out. Somebody still has love for Higurashi and is cosplaying at the con; (to my knowledge) she was the only Higurashi cosplayer at the con. Either way, I was just fucking happy to see somebody cosplay as a character from one of my favorite visual novel anime series.
I took her picture of course and told her that her cosplay was lovely. My only regret is that I didn’t tell her I appreciate her for cosplay as a Higurashi character and that it made me want to do a When They Cry cosplay again (I used to cosplay as Goat Butler from Umineko for a while). I should had left my friends behind and let them go back to the hotel while I chopped up some game with the woman.
It’s funny because days prior to AWA, I had two When They Cry related dreams. The first dream was of me at Anime Weekend Atlanta. I was cosplaying as a genderswap Bernkastel, but I got kicked out from the con for being too drunk (Bernkastel drinks wine and gets drunk so I had to play the role you know even in my dreams), not wearing my badge, and telling con staff that I don’t give a fuck about having a badge.
The second one was of me at Anime Expo. I was wearing a way better version of my Goat Bulter cosplay. As I was walking out and about there was a group of Umineko cosplayers. A Bernkastel cosplayer spotted me and asked if I wanted to join them for a few photos, which I agreed to.
And then I woked up.
Back to reality. I marched back to my hotel. I started listening to an interview with Tim Grover (author of Relentless, the trainer of Basketball icons such as Kobe Byrant, Dwayne Wade, and Micheal Jordan). I was trying to think of a plan as I prep for my Monika cosplay. I was overanalyzing and overthinking. I remember in the first chapter of Relentless Grover stated the best don’t think,
They act. On instinct. And let their instincts do the work.
From that thought, I turned off the interview and started to listen to Saiyan Pride from Dragon Ball Super on repeat. The echoing piano notes. The percussion building up to the arrival the horns, strings, and bells. I was entering my Zone. I was inviting my Dark Side to do the work. Tunnel vision and laser focus.
I wasn’t going to allow myself to fuck up further.
In my eight years of traveling to conventions and browsing through convention social media pages/groups, there is one ailment that tends to impact many an otaku: Post-Con Blues. Post-Con Blues is the feeling of depression and sadness at the end of a convention. Many will have to wait a year or so to see their cosplaying friends and weird ass costumed brethren, dealing with the “normies” of the real world. I’m going to be real: I do not get this post-con blues thing. It sounds goofy to me. Ever since my first convention (Anime St. Louis 2010) I never felt this feeling of sadness. Did it suck that I had to return to the real world after my first convention? Kinda.
I say kinda only because I figured years ago if I go back to work, spend and save my money wisely, I could continue and traveling to conventions and write about my experience on them (althrough seven years later after my first convention but whatever, I’m lazy). Going to conventions weekend after weekend would burn me out and destroy my bank account. Seeing the same people and cosplays would bore me quick.
Another counter messaurement I have for post-con blues is my hobbies outside of anime. I love reading books (business, self-help/education, money, etc.) – so I focus my attention on those things. I kick it with my friends when we’re free. Watching anime helps as well…when I have the time (being an adult working 60 hours a week is brutal).
Something to help keep my mind off cons for a bit.
If I do get upset after a convention, it’s more so I’m leaving a more cultured city and returning to the hellhole that is Saint Louis, lmfao. I remember being treated with so much love at Atlanta when my crew went to Anime Weekend Atlanta back in 2014. People were friendly, polite, helpful, and not on some bullshit back in St. Louis. I love St. Louis, but we are fucking backwards. We are too slow to catch trends and by the time we do get trends, it’s too late. I’m not saying Atlanta is perfect, but when you know your city barely has any culture and you go to a city full of it, it changes your mind about your hometown.
Now, my next statement will be harsh. Cruel even. But you guys know me – I don’t care for the feelings of others (for the most part). I personally (again, I) think if you have post-con blues, that simply means you have no life outside of your anime hobbies. Sorry, but that’s how I feel. If your life revolves around whacky ass Japanese cartoons (and you’re not making money or major moves off it), you live a sad life. If you use conventions to escape your problems rather than reward yourself for solving them (that you can control mind you), you’re an idiot.
To conclude this short little essay or freewrite or whatever, I don’t’ get post con blues. Never have and never will. I feel that I have means to avoid that shit and do better myself, but that’s just me. If you have post con blues, then do something about it rather than whine about it.
Note: This is merely my prediction of the convention scene based on my seven or so odd years of experience a member of the anime and sci-fi convention scene. As such, these predictions may not hold weight. Please do not hold it against me if my theories or predictions aren’t right in 2022.
Browsing through the East Coast convention group “Casual Uncensored Congoers Kindred Society”, I encountered an interesting question asked by the administrator of the group. He asked how do we see the convention scene changing within the next five years. He then followed up with if we think American voice actors will still remain as the dominate guests, if cosplay remain a money generating commodity, and if there will be new content featured at conventions based on upcoming new ideas and trends.
Replying with my thoughts, I stated that I don’t care if people make money off cosplaying/cosfame (while realizing that bubble will burst). I also predicted that the type of guests that we will see a shift from voice actors to social media personalities, cosplay guests, etc. As I typed, I started to deeply think about the future. Things will change in five years; I have no doubt about it. Personally, I believe we are starting to see this new change of the future today. With social media growing each day, it’s easier than ever before to communicate with fellow fans – as well as the ability for content creators to showcase their talents and gain attention.
Cosplaying and attending conventions are both niche hobbies. As niches, it’s natural for the two to evolve and change overtime. What changes do I personally think hold for the future of these hobbies? Well, let’s talk about it!
PART 1: The Current Scene
We cannot discuss the future without addressing the present, and how it’ll shape the upcoming years. From what I’ve noticed, the current state of the convention scene is run by four major elements: Social media (the umbrella for both cosplay and personality fame), money (such as businesses and corporations), the mainstream (such as the “nerdy is cool” trend” and the general convention public and corporate influences. As stated earlier, I could care less if people attempt to make money through social media and cosplay. You should take advantage of both cosplay and social media – as it’s a useful tool to fill your bank account (if you’re smart and work smart – not hard)
If you have to do a lewd cosplay version of Reimu from the Touhou series to get a stack, go for it. If you have to perform goofy acts as Deadpool at a convention for your social media platforms, go for it. Money and fame attract people. Attention follows the money. The Money pays attention. I’m sure you heard the story of the Japanese cosplayer who claimed that she made over $100,000 in a course of two days during the Japanese anime convention Comiket a few years back. I bet you that many are attempting to emulate her success once that report came out.
The fastest route for some (mainly female cosplayers, blessed with great generics) to make big bucks is through lewd cosplayers: a rather controversial career path within the cosplay community. If done right, a lewd cosplayer could easily make $10,000~$13,000 a month through Pateron, sales, etc. Sex sells and people are buying. There are some (mostly jealous, insecure women and beta male virgins) who believe that lewd cosplayers are ruining the community. They think that the focus should be on cosplayers who have craftsmanship skills – not tits and ass. Non-lewd cosplayers are vocal about their hatred for sexy cosplayers. It doesn’t help that most of these sexy cosplayers are involved with some form of controversy – which will slowly ruin the image of this trend if not taken care of.
Assuming if these controversial lewd cosplayers and cosfame people continue to generate controversy (and if people stay in their jealous, hating feelings), then I can see this trend’s bubble bursting. Too many people will enter this bubble in hopes to make it big. While sex sells and attention pays out, you still need a great (and marketable) personality and brand. Jessica Nigir, whom some consider to be one of the founders of the lewd cosplay trend in the West, still makes money – despite she doesn’t do lewd cosplays as often as she used to; Thanks to her brand.
With the “nerdy is cool” trend, there’s an increase of attendance from those who may not be true nerds. With nerd culture and hobbies becoming more acceptable each day, people are hopping on the bandwagon to take advantage of it. More people (may they be real nerd or not can be ignored here) means more money for conventions – especially for conventions who’re profit. Corporations are taking notice; therefore, they want in through sponsorships. This leads to conventions becoming corporate. This isn’t necessary evil, but one must understand that few may not accept the idea of larger conventions going corporate.
From my personal research and experiences, the general convention and cosplay public community is divided on the upcoming changes. There are some who view the corporate changes, the (lewd) cosplayers who cosplay for money, and conventions going corporate as great things for the scene. Opposite, the old-school nerds are fighting against these changes in hopes that it won’t ruin and “corrupt” the traditional, imitate homely feel of conventions they’re used to (and thus, will be driven out). They refuse to accept the fact that things change. Will the corporatization of conventions become a problem within the next five years? We must wait and see then.
Discussing the future is impossible without addressing the present. Lewd cosplays and social media personalities are cosplaiyng for the money. Nerd culture is slowly becoming accepted in the mainstream. Fans fear that the convention spirit will be lost overtime, while some see this as a great idea. Or there may not be any changes. Only time will tell us in the future.
Part 2: The Future of the Scene.
The trends of today will influence the trends of tomorrow.. We’re seeing the seeds of the future planted today. With the advent of easier access to information on anime series , fans can research creators and artists of their favorite series effortlessly (thanks to the Sakuga community providing comprehensive information on these creators). Because of this, I predict that these creators will become the main guests for conventions. Now note that larger conventions such as Anime Central and Anime Expo were ahead with this, but mid-size conventions will follow suite once they increase their budget to emulate this.
Social media has impacted this new era. Like it or not, social media personalities/”celebs” are becoming more known – so much that they’re too are becoming guest of honor. Digibro – the prolific (and infamous) anime vlogger was a guest at Anime Expo 2017. Veteran Dragon Ball historian YouTuber Geekdom 101 is hosting his own convention (KamehaCon). Social Media is the superior choice for content creators in this community to become known. The more you’re known (because of your content), the more likely one could become a guest at conventions.
Social media has also created the lewd and non-lewd cosplay money boom. As with any major boom, this bubble will burst Once that happens, I imagine the following scenarios:
1. The majority will be out of work and money. They’ll be too scared to make a move and give up.
The minority will take advantage of the bubble burst (as well as a few others). They will work harder and smarter to stay relevant and make money during this time. Think Amazon during the Dot Com bubble burst and how they survived it through smarter tactics.
It will be a hard time for the cosfame people to recover and find work during this burst. But the smart ones will rise. Besides, sex sells. People love seeing their waifus being lewd up by a sexy woman. The bubble will recover and the trend will start anew.
Larger conventions will become corporate. They will increase prices on badges and will become stricter to appeal to a boarder consumer. The possibility of these conventions losing their homely, fan feel is high. But do not dread! If there’s a positive to this then it’s the fact that these corporate conventions will have more money to bring in bigger names from the industry. Not every convention will go with the corporate flow. Smaller cons will still have their welcoming, personal home-like vibe and will refuse to do this.
Finally, we will see the end of the norimes who are bandwagon “nerds”. I see them out once either nerd culture becomes a part of everyday culture. They will stop caring after this. You already know that this will make the gatekeeping elitist nerds happy: seeing the normies whom once bullied them for liking anime out of their nerd club. Do I think this will bring us back to the old, golden days of the conventions? Possibly not.
Trends come and they go. The cosfame trend bubble will burst. We’re seeing upcoming social media personalities as big guests. Trust me: Do not sleep on them – social media is the new television. Conventions will become cooperate, and some will lose their classic fan feel. And the norimes who were on that fake nerd shit? They will go away.
Part 3: What Will Remain?
Tupac famously said that “some things will never change”.
We can say this about the convention community. Despite this community changing every day, (for better or for worse), there are some accepts that will never change. Humans are social creatures who thrive to connect with others. Conventions will always be a place for fellow nerds to come together. With that said, this also brings in drama. Drama will never end. People will always start shit and bring their beef to the conventions. Smaller and mid-size conventions will refuse to grow big and corporate. Those conventions will remind fan run. There will always be those who want to cosplay because they love to: not because they want money or fame. Opposite to that, cosfame and lewd cosplay will be hot; given that sex sells and people love money and will seek to gain it by any means in this capitalistic society.
Finally, what will remain are the various guests of the industry ranging from voice actors, online personalities, artists, creators, and so forth. We appreciate the people who gave life to our favorite characters through their vocal talents. We give much respect to the personalities who sit in front of a camera and passionately analyze their favorite series. We will continue to celebrate our favorite creators whom dedicated their lives and time to create such marvelous creations. Our love for these creators will never change.
Our love for this hobby is forever.
It’s interesting to speak about the future of the convention scene as we’re seeing the changes of the present impacting the unseen future. Currently, the cosfame appears to be a dominating force with the prize of money behind it. Larger conventions becoming corporate seem unavoidable, but some already saw this coming and accepted this. The unseen future reveals that social media stars of nerd culture could become major guests; as they’re growing ever popular. Change can be either scary or great – some will embrace it and work with it., Others will attempt to fight against the change and either become successful, or lose.
YouTuber’s illacertus’s states this about change in his animation summary of Robert Green’s book The 48 Laws of Power, and this is my closing statement:
Don’t fight change. When you catch yourself in the futile attempt to resists a new order, remind yourself that did you not only missed the opportunity to predict it, but to adapt to it in time.
The 2018 convention season draws near. You’re always broke from spending $500 on half-naked anime girl figurines. You love to spend $300 on anime Blu-rays, but somehow, you don’t have enough money for a convention. Do you think your mommy and daddy are going help you pay for your weeaboo dress-up festival? Of course, they’re not! You’re a grown man (or woman) now. Just like your friend whom you borrow money from for cons, they’re tired of funding your hobbies. Maybe you’re not broke, but you suck at money management. You’re the type of person to not have their priority together and splurge your cash on useless crap.
Because I’m a nice person, I’ll teach you how to get your money right. I’ll promise you that with my guide, you’ll have more than enough money saved up for you next convention adventures. It’s my duty and ethical obligation to help my fellow nerds stack money for their passion.
My guide is not for you begging ass, broke ass nerds (who always mooch off their friends). This is not for people who refuse to make money on their own. This guide is not for skeptics who believe saving money is impossible. Go away. You’re wasting my time and yours – but mostly my time. Do you tend to blow a check, or dip into savings for wants, rather than needs and raining days? Good. Get the hell off this guide – people like you will never learn. My advice is only for those who are serious about saving and getting their money right. I only help people who are willing to better themselves.
If you’re still here then that means you’re serious about wanting to save for conventions. Let us begin.
Obtaining a hotel room should be your utmost priority (next to buying a badge/pass). There are two categories for convention hotels: The main hotel(s); where most of the action takes place, and the secondary Hotel(s); for those who want a cheaper option and/or avoid crowds. The main hotel’s full price can range from $230-$1500 depending on the convention, location, hotel brand, days etc. Secondary hotels range from $180-$1000.
Most conventions hotels will accept room bookings about eight (8) months in advance (before con starts). Normally, the convention’s social media team will provide an update on when this will happen. Once they give the dates for room bookings, you want to start stacking up immediately.
Let’s say that you want to book with the Waverly Hotel (the host hotel of Anime Weekend Atlanta [AWA]). The hotel will allow room registration on October 3, 2017,* (the time of this writing) and the convention starts on September 20, 2018. The total cost of staying at the Waverly for four days is $700. This gives you about 50 weeks (or about almost 12 months) to stack. Ignoring assets and other forms of income, let’s say you get paid bi-weekly. You’re given 24 paychecks prior to saving if you’re working a regular 9-to-5.
Let’s do some math.
$700/24= $29.16. $29.16/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $14.58 $14.58 is how much you need to take out of your check a pay period. Put the $14.58 in a savings account (or any other accounts you do not have normal access to). If need be, consider opening a new bank account separate from your main one. If you bank at Bank of America, open an account with Commerce Bank, and then deposit the hotel money in that bank. Destroy any and all credit/debit cards linked to the bank – you do not want to spend any money on that account. Repeat until you reach your target goal.
(Please note that many banks are different with their savings account. Some may require you to have a minimum amount of savings to keep the account open.)
What if you’re splitting a room with four people (you included in this four)? Well, that’s simple! $700/4 people = $175 per person. Take your $175 and divide it by 24 checks. That’ll equal to $7.29 a check that you need to put aside.
Regardless if you’re alone or with a group, keep taking the money out of your check and stack it up until it adds up to the total amount of what you need. Remember not to touch it until it’s time to transfer your funds into your checking account, or when you need to give the money to whomever the name is on the hotel’s bill.
With the hotel taken care of, it’s time to tackle your badge situation. Now, should you save up for a badge, or go all in and buy one ASAP? That is dependent on you and your situation.
(*NOTE: AWA has yet to accept room bookings at the time of this writing)
Is it better to just go all in on a badge and pay for it now? Should you stack up for badge overtime and buy one in the future? Let’s go over each option and decide which is best for you.
Let’s say the badge is $45 at its cheapest (usually the first tier of pricing). If you can spend $45 and not be hurt by it, then go for it. Yes, you’ll lose money, but you won’t lose time waiting for your badge in line at at-door registration. Trust me: Losing time is worse than losing money. Money, we can gain back – time, we will never recover. You’re investing $45 in extra time – extra time you can spend on panels, autograph lines, chilling with friends, etc. To be quite honest, that’s a win-win.
Losing both time and more money is lose-lose.
So you can’t afford to invest in a badge quite so soon. That’s okay; you can stack up to the desire tier pricing. Maybe you want to save up for the second tier that’s coming up in two months. Or perhaps you want to wait and save for the final tier before online registration ends in six months. That’s cool. I can work with you on either or.
The second tier badge price starts at $55, the price increase will start on December 3rd, 2017. This gives you four paychecks until December 3rd. 4 paychecks divided by $55 equals $13.75 ($55/4=$13.75)
For the six months option (October 3rd to March 3rd): 12 paychecks/$75 = $6.25 a check. Again, just like your hotel money, place this money in your savings and do not touch it until you hit your target goal.
How you will get to the convention is up to you, and it will be different from person-to-person. Sadly, humans cannot teleport, so you must figure out a mode of transportation. This section will be broken down into four sections: Air, Road, Rail, and Public Transportation/Ride Share
Admittedly, I have never traveled to a convention by air. From what others told me, it’s best to book your flights as soon as your hotel and/or badge. I would personally put aside around $100-$200 a check for about 8-10 months if you have 100% confidence that you’re traveling by air. You might go a little over your target goal for the tickets, but it’s better to have more cash than what you think you need. Do not delay as airline tickets will increase their price as your departure date draw nears.
It’s not wise to wait.
In general, you want to book your rail tickets (such as Amtrak) months in advance. I say that you want to buy your train tickets around the same time you booked your hotel rooms and/or badge. The sooner, the better. Why? Because you don’t want to waste more money as time passes. Use the same method for booking and saving money for an airline flight as you would use for plane tickets as mentioned above.
CAR: This will depend on how far you’re traveling, your car’s MPG, and how many people you have riding with you. A trip to STL to CHI will cost you around $60-90 in gas. From STL to ATL will cost you $90-120. Again, this is dependant on your car and the people riding/driving with you. I would start saving up for gas money about three months before the convention.
Let’s take St. Louis to Atlanta as an example. When traveling with my friend to ATL, he charges me around $40 for the trip. I put aside about $20 a paycheck a month prior to us heading to Atlanta.
I really hope I don’t have to break down this simple math for you guys.
PUBLIC TRANSIT/SHARE RIDE: If you need to use public transit, taxi services, or a shared ride to get to a con, please research what bus, train, etc. you need to take for the convention. Bus and train fare will be dependent on the city you’re in, as well as share riding to a convention. In general, I say put aside at the $10-$30 for your choice of public transit and share ride a month before the convention (if need be).
If I know I’m doing a $20 Uber to get to my convention hotel, I put aside $5 from each paycheck about two months prior. So $20/4 bi-weekly checks = $5 I need to put aside.
Don’t forget to tip your driver. Don’t be a cheap ass.
You gotta eat and stay fueled up. Ever danced at a rave on an empty stomach? It’s not fun. Fast, cheap food or dine-in at a high-quality restaurant? Cook your own food if you have a kitchen suite? Again, this section depends on your budget and needs. If you’re planning on eating out in fast food places, your budget should be around $40-100. Are you planning on eating out at non-fast food places? You want to save around $130-200. If you’re cooking your own food, I say around $60-200 depending on how many people you’re feeding. Before I forget, you should have about $20-40 aside for a snacks budget just in case you’re walking around the convention center all day and you need lite fuel (such as cereal bars, fruits, etc.)
If I’m planning on eating out at fast food places, I place my budget at about $60 for the convention weekend. Knowing this, I give myself a month before the convention to put aside $30 a paycheck until I hit $60.
When I’m in Chicago for Anime Central, my friend, his crew, and I go to Hofbräuhaus for one night and dine in. Knowing that he preps for this dinner, I put aside around $40 two months prior. Two months gives me four bi-weekly paychecks. With this, I put aside $10 a check until I hit $40 and keep that $40 in my savings until it’s time to transfer my funds into my checking account.
This section is optional and you don’t need to party to have fun at cons (but it’s better that way). If you’re like me, then you’re about convention partying life. Therefore, this section is for you. In all honesty, this varies from person-to-person and their needs. If you’re just going to one party, you may need just one or two bottles, a few mixers, and a case of beer, which will run you about $35-$75. If you’re hosting a room party, then you may need to spend about $150-$1200. Feel free to check out my “So You Wanna Host a Room Party” article for more information.
I usually wait until after I check into my hotel and have everything ready before I buy my liquor. You do have those people who love to drop out of the hotel room at the last minute. That extra money could help in a situation. It does suck though.
Boy does it suck.
But you can make it not suck by stacking up six months prior to the convention if you’re 100% sure you’re hosting a room party. I’m projecting that my room party for Anime St. Louis* 2018 will run me $600 in alcohol, mixers, and other goods. Given my room party will be on that Saturday (May 5th, 2018), I must plan on saving my money aside for the party on December 5th. For two weeks up to May 5th, I will put aside $50 until I hit my target goal.
$600/6 months = $100 must be saved each month.
$100/2 bi-weekly paychecks = $50 taken from each check.
Of course, your room party budget will be different from mines. This is just an example of breaking down the math and planning.
*Disclaimer: I am not hosting a room party for Anime St. Louis 2018. Do not come up to me asking if I’m running a room party. This was just an example.
Adding it all Up
We have the numbers; now let’s add them all up. The total will be your target goal for savings. Below is an example based off my personal funds for major conventions, so your numbers will vary. Some will save more money than I. Others will save less. This is all dependent on the conventions you’re going to as well as funds and time.
TRAVEL (Road): $40 for my share of gas money
PUBLIC TRANSIT: $6
PARTY GOODS: ~$120
I’m going to take that $971 and divided by 11 months (until Anime Weekend Atlanta).
$971/11 months = $88.27 I need to put aside each month until the week before AWA for 11 months. By going bi-weekly paychecks I can put aside $44.13 per paycheck. This does exclude any forms of secondary sources of income. Applying my other sources of income to build up will make me reach my goal faster and earlier. This is giving or taking some items away (such as badge and alcohol)
Tips on Making (More) Money
Conventions aren’t cheap; that’s not a secret. I know people are struggling to make ends meet as well as putting towards their hobbies. It’s a cash drain, believe me. I understand. However, you can always make extra money to add to your funds. I’ll break down a few simple and easy ways to make extra money for you to use for the con.
WORK EXTRA HOURS/USE PTO
This is the simplest way to gain extra money. If you see that there are extra hours or shifts to be picked up at your job, jump on that chance. Does it suck that you have to give up free time to make more money at the job? Yes. Is it awesome to have a little bit of extra cash in your pockets for the convention? Yes. Go through some hardships now so you can have a better time later. If those hardship means working more hours at a job you don’t like, so you can go to a convention and escape from the workforce for a few days (or even work on your business AT the con), then do it.
If your job allows it, you can use your Paid Time Off (PTO) hours that you’ve stacked and use those hours on your off day. Then, when you get paid, put the PTO money into savings.
SELL/FLIP PRODUCTS ONLINE
Do you have old video games, comics, mangas, etc. laying around at your house that isn’t of use to you? Sell them on eBay to make extra dough! After you research and study the value of the items you want to sell, just create a listing for them on eBay, Amazon, Craig’s List, etc. You can either sell your own product if you have your own business or flip other people products. I personally flipped items from Loot Crates to gain extra cash for funds.
SELL DRUGS/INVEST IN A DRUG DEALER
Don’t do it. You’re not a dope boy/dope boy investor in college anymore. If you are a dope boy then all I have to say is be careful and watch out for the haters and fake friends.
…Althrough you could sell drugs to the partiers at conventions to make extra cash. Just a thought.
INVEST IN A LEGIT BUSINESS Your homeboy is a real estate investor or owner and has a great track record of returns on investments? Invest with him.
If you need more ideas to increase your income or have a new source of income to fund your weeaboo hobbies, I recommend the following, as they have helped me with increasing my income and manage my money:
Saving money for conventions shouldn’t be so hard. Yet, so many weeaboos struggle to do so. Sometimes, people attend conventions without a budget or money at all! Having a budget and money saved aside will help you out in the long run, as it’s nice to have extra money. Not having money at a con isn’t fun. Nobody will help you out – it’s up to you to have cash. With this how-to guide, I hope you learn how to save and manage your money for future convention events. I believe everyone should have money save up to maximize their fun at cons. Start saving now! Do not wait until it’s less than a month before the convention to save. Apply what you’ve learned from this guide for the future!
Besides, nobody will feel sorry for your broke ass. Get this money and save it.
NOTE:This is the text version of the audio discussion between my friend DJ Killzown and myself on the same topic. The link to the YouTube will be provide below.
A convention is a wonderful place to meet and befriend new people who share your passive for nerd pop culture. You can be yourself without being ridiculed for who you are. However, just like in the real world, you still have to obey the laws of the land, use common sense and logic at conventions. Just because somebody is cosplaying as a sexy Slave Leah outfit doesn’t give you the right to touch her. Somebody has a cool prop you’re admiring? That’s great! Just ask permission to hold and touch it first. You don’t wanna ruin the con experience for yourself or somebody because you’re on some childish crap. Don’t know what not to do at conventions or need a refresher? Well, we’re here to help! Not Taking Care of Your Personal Hygiene
Look, there’s no excuse for not taking care of your hygiene; both in the real world, and at conventions. You need to shower and take care of other hygiene issues before you hit the con floor. Take a damn hot soapy shower. Use deodorant. Brush your teeth. Comb or brush your hair.. Freshener your breath. People are sensitive to body odor. You are being selfish when you do not bathe. Again, there’s no excuse.
Disrespect Personal Boundaries.
People attend conventions to have a good time. They don’t want it ruined by some creep or somebody breaking their props. It should go without saying, but think before you act. Keep your hands to yourself; cosplay is not consent. People have worked hard for months on their costume and props. They don’t want it destroyed by some touchy grabby idiot. Please ask for a picture before you snap one. Don’t become that one creepy photographer that gets talked about within the community.
Ghost the convention Please, support the convention. If you want the convention to flourish, you must buy a badge. Ghosting hurts the convention as they lose money to stay afloat. Every penny counts. If you want better and bigger guests, convention to expand, and an overall better home con, supports the convention. Buy a badge.
Consume drugs/alcohol beyond your limit
Partying is not a secret at the convention scene, so I’m going to say this: please know your limit when consuming drugs or alcohol. Don’t consume drugs or alcohol on the convention grounds. Leave that shit in your room If you smoke trees in an illegal state, spray yourself down or cover the smell with tobacco smoke. Be aware if law enforcement catch your ass with that shit, you’re getting locked up, no tolerance. Do not drink if you’re underage. Do not serve underage people alcohol. . It’s not worth it.
I hope our tips will help you improve the quality of your experience at conventions. We wish you a great and happy convention season!
Please! Check out our audio discussion on the topic on YouTube!
Okay, so I lied about taking a break from drinking. I took another shot of Viniq because I’m an alcoholic and it’s delicious. But mostly because of the fact that I’m an alcoholic. Okay, now I gotta prep and get somewhat sober for the Umineko/Higurashi meet. I checked my phone for the time. 5:20PM. Good. Just forty minutes until I have to meet up with the cosplayers. That’s more than enough time to get ready which is great, given an old friend just messaged me on Facebook.
“Hey Ben! We drinking at the Red Bar! Wanna join us?”
Tyler is an old online and ACEN friend of mine. I’ve known him since maybe around 2010 on the old Anime Central’s forums and /cgl/ (the cosplay and gothic lolita board of 4chan), way before the ACEN’s Facebook groups grew and became the shitholes that they are today. He invited me to the Red Bar, one of the Hyatt’s overpriced bar and grill restaurant (great food though).
“They’ve food down there? My dumbass started drinking on an empty stomach. I need some food badly.” I replied.
“Yea, they got a great menu. We’ll still be here by the time you get here.”
“Alright bet!” Food sounds great along with old friends and I already know I need the food for extra drinking. Well, time to make my way to the Red Bar.
I hit the Red Bar up. I spot Tyler and his crew sitting around a tall, smooth white glass table. They had already finished eating and drinking, but stuck around for my food to arrive and eat. The server gives me a menu and I look over it, trying to search for any foods with meat.
“Ben, you like pineapples and hamburgers?” Tyler asked.
“Yep, separate. Never had the two combined. What’s up?” I questioned him. What weird food entrée you’re trying to convince me to eat? Ya white people be eating some weird shit.
“Try the Tsunami Burger. It sounds weird, but trust me, it’s great. It’s a little sloppy though.”
“Hmm, it does sounds good. I’ll take it!”
I placed my order. As we waited, we reminisced on our wild days of /cgl/ and the ACEN message boards. One topic that was brought up was whiny old ass, entitled ass nerdy crybabies who blamed the rave for the parties and bad things happening. They would spend hours from the precious day to bitch about how ACEN focused more on the raves and parties, than the actual anime related content. Each rant ended with the following:
“I’M NEVER COMING BACK TO ANOTHER ACEN AGAIN!”
“IF ACEN KEEP THEIR FOCUS ON THE PARTIES THEN I WILL GO TO ANIME MIDWEST INSTEAD!”
“Can I get a 420 hook up for next ACEN?”
“Who was that cute guy I blew at the rave you had such a huge dick I need it inside me again”
I tend to reply with a smartass remark such as “So we’re seeing ya next ACEN?” or “Nobody cares. You’re coming back next time.” I tend to get blocked bythe butthurt nerds as an result.
As we finished the story, my Tsunami Burger arrived. As a proud, card carrying member of the FatAss Hamburger Eaters Society of America (FAMESOA for short), this burger gets my personal rank of “Top Tier Burger”. Visually, the burger has a vivid aesthetic as supported by the chopped bright yellow Pineapples, flashy green from the green peppers, teriyaki paints the buns coast-to-coast, which overlaps the veggies and fruits toppings.
The sweetness from the pineapples and the light spice from the peppers work in synergy to provide a salty and sweet flavor from each bit- fuck this burger the buns are falling apart too much sauce and water based veggies and fruits. 0/10 this burger is banned from FAMESOA. I do not recommend it to any other members.
Seriously, it was a great burger but again, tomatoes, pineapples, and teriyaki sauce weakens beard, thus creating a finger food mess.
Fuck, its 6:00. Gotta head out! I paid for my food and bid farewell to Tyler and his crew, and head to the smoker’s area, which the Higurashi/Umineko photoshot was taking place.
Wow. Fuck, there’s only six When They Cry (WTC) cosplayers this year (Beatrice, Battler, Willard, Tohya, [Umineko], Rena, and Mion [Higurashi] cosplayers) compared to years past (I think there was about 15-20 WTC cosplayers in 2015 when Ryukishi07 was a guest). The fandom is dying in the ACEN community. It’s disheartening to see a cosplay group I’ve supported for about 5 years fading away. Maybe I should had brought my Goat-Kun cosplay with me this year despite years of damage on it. Oh Well.
Sniff, sniff, sniff. No. That’s not me crying at the eventually death of the Higurashi/Umineko cosplay community. I’m sniffing some good kush. Normally, I’ll be okay with people smoking tress, but around an area where there are photoshoots going on? You know ,there are young kids and non weed smokers around my dude? Come on now! At least wait until after sunset when all the straight edge baby nerds are gone. If you gotta smoke, at least get a vape so you won’t have that loud smell carrying over or go to the woods by the Hyatt.
Goddammit you fucking stupid idiots are ruining this shit for everyone else.
After the photoshoot (which was literally 10 minutes), we spent the reminding 50 minutes talking about the When They Cry series, Touhou, and general otaku shit that I forgotten over the course of a week due to alcoholism. Tohya, the leader of the WTC cosplay group, brought up the Umineko fighting game “Golden Fantasia”, and my face lit up. I have the game on my laptop, and I haven’t play against a human opponent in years. Chance time!
(If you do not know about Golden Fantasia, imagine Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 meets Guilty Gear, but with Umineko no Naku Koro ni characters throw into the mix. It’s a fun but obscured anime fighting game, but with a very small community. It is getting an official English release soon, and I hope it’ll revive the community.)
Seriously, I want more people cosplaying from Umineko at ACEN next year. If you’re an Umineko or Higurashi cosplayer reading, please cosplay as a character from the series next year. I won’t though ha ha ha!
Tohya and I headed back to my room. Upon arrival, he was impressed by the alcohol I had laying around the room.
“Are you planning to make a bunch of screwdrivers tonight?” I had some vodkas and a giant bottle of orange juice on the table of my room.
“Nah, just have them around for a friend’s party tomorrow. Although having some Screwdrivers don’t sound too bad right now!” I laugh while setting up my laptop and the game. God I got a problem with alcohol.
Alright! Game is booted and we’re ready to roll! I gave him a fair warning that I wasn’t going to go easy on me, in which he replied he won’t do the same for me. I like that! The respect between two fighting game players that understand you must play at your full best. We chose our characters, me with the sibling team Battler and Ange, and him with the “Oh you piece of fucking shit you’re making me hate you” team of Dlanor and Ronove.
So, Dlnaor and Ronove. Fuck them. In Golden Fantasia’s meta, the combination of these two gives the player a pure defense heavy team, as they’re consider to have the best defense in the game, and it doesn’t help that their already large health stack up with one another. Yay.
And then we have their godddamn synergy of their fucking skills. Jesus. Dlanor’s skill is “Armor Boost”, which does what it says on the tin. It increases her and her ally’s defense by 50%. Ronove’s skill is Counter Boost, which increase damage from counter hits. Dlanor has great poking counter tools, and Ronove, who’s already a fucking walking brick wall can do stupid bullshit by having Dlanor’s Armor Boost on him. It’s annoying.
So if you ever play this game I hope you enjoy fucking fighting a loli tank with a sword and a butler tank with a sexy mustache. Because I did not for the first match.
We’re playing, getting into the fight. Tohya’s jamming to Jay Z’s “Dead Presidents 2”, which I “modded” into the game’s music soundtrack (I just simply replaced the audio track of Ange’s stage). During our first match of the game, I combo into Battler’s grope special from his bread-and-button combo. Tohya’s friend Battler (the Battler cosplayer who I also invited) made a funny in-fandom joke.
“Why is Battler trying to grope Dlanor? There’s nothing there! Also, I wonder what happens if he tried to grope Ange, his sister, with that move?”
I replied “Well, I’m pretty Ange would enjoy being groped by her own brother. She has a pretty heavy brother complex.” We all laughed because it’s the truth.
(One of her in-game endings has her stepping and grinding her shoe on Battler’s head, demanding that he calls her “Mistress Ange” each time she spanks him. See, that would be incredibly hot if it wasn’t her brother. Maybe if the sub was either her friend Lucifer or best friend Mammon, then it’d be totally hot).
We went on for a few more matches, and talked about how deep and fun the game is. He also shared my hopes that MangaGamer’s English release will bring back interest to the series to the West, as we are passionate about the Umineko series and want the community to strive once more.
Okay, enough of that heart felt sappy side of me and my weeaboo longing for my favorite fanbase to be revived. You guys are here to read about my tales of debauchery and I promise to deliver! As Tohya and I were finishing up some final matches, my boy “Bucket Wave” (fake named inspired by his love for vaporwave and bucket hats) came through with his giant Bluetooth speaker, lights, trees, and Whiskey!
Yea, it’s turn up party time! It’s Friday night of ACEN and we’re getting fucked up.
Fair warning: The following is straight up pure debauchery. Some debauchery I may have forgotten over the course of the aftermath of ACEN. To remember some things from the ACEN weekend, the following paragraphs were written with me under the influence of alcohol pre-editing. Took some shots of the reminder Martell I had and some UV Blue mixed with sprite while watching Otaku no Video (it’s a great OVA). Hopefully it’ll give me drunken recall.
You’ve been warned.
Alright, so drunken memory recall did not work. It only made me drunk. Fuck it, here’s what I can recall from Friday night up until I had passed out around 5 in the morning the following Saturday (which was more of an exciting day).
Bucket Wave and I took some shots of whiskey, waiting for my boys “Bowser”, “KW”, and “Yakuza” (he’s not an actual Yakuza, he’s a fan of the Sega video game series) to come up and pre-game with us. I owed Bowser some money for a blunt, Yakuza is an old internet friend of mines from the Persona group “Shin Megami Tensei Network” (who apparently members of said group were helping co-hosting the Persona orgy at ACEN) and I promised JW I’ll drink with him and do shots to help get us right for the night.
Following the whiskey and Hennessy shots (provided by Yakuza), Bucket Wave suggested we do some dabs off his wax pen. Usually, dabs get me incredibly fucked up. Like you ever seen the Truth Commercial with the girl “Sara” straight up melting into the couch, stoned the fuck outta her mind? Yeah, that’s me off dabs.
Oh well, it’s Friday night of ACEN, and we’re getting fucked up at 9:00PM. I plan to be fucked up throughout the night. You think I’m just gonna end with 3 shots of Hennessy, 3 shots of Whiskey, an alpha version of my Sailor Saturn cocktail, and hits of dabs? Nah fuck that! We’re about to head to the smoker’s circle and smoke some blunts too!
The Smoker Circle is already bumping. Nigga, there are half naked ravers and cosplayers walking about and shaking their asses and doing cool tricks with the raver sticks (I don’t know nor care about what they’re actually call), some young college-aged nerds doing keg stands (how the fuck did these white boys manager to sneak in a keg I dunno), s a d b o y s sippin’ lean and listening to vaporwave, crazy cosplayers snorting Special K, and us smart niggas smoking trees and drinking alcohol because we are good noodles.
Fuck that lame ass rave. The Smoker’s Circle is where it at.
My crew settled at the little cut inside the stone pillar (the cut that has the door that leads into the maintenance center of the Hyatt) and sparked up a blunt. Maybe two blunts? I can’t remember, I should have made notes as I went along. Just know the kush was making me feel good along with whatever else I had in my system. I get a message from my boy “Flash” asking if I was still pregaming and if I wanna kick it with “Bgod” (actual nickname) their crew. Of course I’m down.
So, here’s a funny story about Flash and I. Around pre ACEN 2015 (or 2014, can’t remember), me and Flash had an online beef. I was doing my usual shitposting and trolling on the groups when I had went after Flash. Flash got mad and wanted to meet up to fight in Chicago, so I could back up my “internet tough guy” talk in real life. I was like “Alright. I ain’t from Chicago, but meet up in ACEN wit that shit nigga”.
ACEN 2014 or 2015 came about. I’m at my boy’s party smoking a Black and Mild on the balconey. I spot a group of young cats breaking down trees, upset they forgot to grab a rillo (White Owls, Game, Zig-Zag, etc.) beforehand. Me being the utter asshole I am, I gave them my last Black and Mild so they didn’t have to walk 20 minutes to the Moblie station for a rillo.
As I gave a random guy form the group a rillo he asks “Are you Ben Snow?”
“Yes.” I replied back.
“I’m Flash. The guy who wants to fight you. I didn’t know you were actually nice and chill in real life! Sorry about that whole shit, it just that people love to run their mouths online around Chicago and not back it up in real life.”
This dude wasn’t an internet tough guy as I originally thought. The dude was well built as well as looking like he can legit fight physically. We talked about nerdy shit for about an hour and clicked well, and ended our online beef right there. Back to the present, I’m up in their place smoking one of my blunts with his crew, just chilling and talking about our own ACEN plans and trying to find more parties to kick it. As we are trying to figure out our next move, something told me to check my phone.
‘Room 10xx. Throwing a crazy party like last year.’
“Ayy, ‘Sid’ is throwing a party at his suite again this year. Let’s hit that up!” I suggested to everyone. So Sid and his legendary parties he hosts at ACEN. Oh man, holy hell! For the past five years I’ve known Sid and attending his parties, they always are so lit and wild. There’s a 90% chance that it’ll get shut down by the police, hotel staff, and convention security because of noise complaints. And I don’t mean his next door neighbors bitching. I mean, the entire floor in which he host his parties tend to rant and bitch about the noise levels. When you go to this man’s parties, it’s standing room only. Good luck trying to find space to sit down and chill, because you won’t.
Well, time to go to one of the ACEN’s masters of lit parties.
As always, Sid’s party is packed and wild. Even with him having a two story vast suite, the room is jammed with people. Music and voices are sounding thunderous, dominating all other noises. Do not try to speak over the music, you’ll lose. That’s how lit Sid’s party can be.
While chatting with people I know who’re already at the party, Sid comes up to me and we reunite for another night of alcoholic and drug fuled madness. He jokingly tells me that he was hosting one of the many ACEN origies on the top floor, and that I should join in. I laughed, and headed up there with Bucket.
There were people on the top floor, but no fucking. One very small (perverted) part of me was low-key hoping there was an orgy going down. However, I’m socially awkward and shy around people I do not know, so I wouldn’t get any action regardless.
Poor me I blame society and Christianity for making me like this. Especially Christianity
I’m on the top floor, talking to Bucket, drinking beers and what now when our friend came up to us. They’re clearly distressed, upset, and scared. Something happened. Something that pretty much made me want to fight. Somebody who I thought was a friend did something to another friend of ours ( I won’t go into details because I don’t wanna stir up drama).
I was furious. How could somebody who I called a “friend” for years could do this to another friend? Nah, nah, nah, fuck this nigga, I’m killing him in front of all these people for what he did. How could you do that to a friend man? Before I lost wheatver sense I had left, I decided to leave the party. Alcohol+my temper+that bullshit = me being arrested for murder. Somebody in our crew suggested to go to one last party. Good. Because I can’t be here any longer.
My boy heard word about a VIP suite party going on in the Hyatt. A VIP suite party must be banging as hell. I mean, it has the word “VIP” in it, so it must be a great party. Let’s head there! We get to the room, and it’s mostly dead. I can’t really be too upset, it’s almost 3:30 in the morning, and most, if not all parties were wrapping up. There were a few stragglers partying about but nothing major really. Eh, nothing is really going on here, the alcohol and weed is getting to me, and I’m tired as all hell. I’m gonna head back to my room and past out.
I get near my room, and outside of it I see my friend “Goro” either getting in or out of his cosplay (Goro from Persona 5), I dun care, I just wanna past out (and finish this part of the story). I get in our room and crash on the bed.
“4:00am? Fuck, I’ve been out that long huh? Fuck it, I’ll get up the morning and go to a few panels or something.”
Oh, Ben. You’re cute.
Stay tune for Night 2! Wait, night 2? You mean Day 2 right Ben?
With the 2017 convention season starting (and me still angry with people whom won’t shower at these things), I figure that I’ll be nice and give some helpful advice to survive the convention year. These tips and advice come from my own personal experience such as budgeting, taking care of me, and saving money. I hope you’ll apply these tips for your convention plans.
Generally, the convention’s social media page(s) and website will post booking information such as the start date of booking for hotel(s) blocks (reversed sections of the hotel for the event staff, guests, and attendees) . Once the reservation dates are revealed, mark your calendar. The night before hotel reservation begins, set an alarm up to an hour early than the time the hotel will accept reservation. Have your credit/debit card information ready. If you’re a rewards member of the hotel company (I.E. Hilton HHonors), have that information ready as well. You may gain points or a discount for being a rewards member.
If booking by phone, please note that everyone and their moms are going to do the same. You may get put on hold, and there is a chance you may not get the room. Please, please, PLEASE, do not go off on the operator if this happens. It’s not their fault. Be kind to them.
Some hotels may require an one night deposit upon reservation. This is to prevent last minute cancellation and people hustling and flipping the room(s) to others at a higher price than the average (although the latter is still possible. Make every dollar.). You best be fully committed.
Now that you’ve booked with the hotel, it’s time to pre-register for the badge! If possible, buy the badge as early as possible when pricing is at its cheapest. It’s a smart investment.
Think about it: Would you rather invest that $45 on the badge right now, when it is at its cheapest and not worry about saving up, or would you want to stand in line for hours, and pay $75 for the at-the-door prices? That was $75 for extra food, a cool ass Mystic Gohan figurine at the dealers room, or at least two top shelf liquor for a room party.
If you cannot afford the badge right then and now, stack up and budget for the next tier price. If the next tier price is $50 in about two months and a week, put aside $10 aside each paycheck for five pay periods, or $25 aside for two pay periods. Then, once you got your money straight, buy the badge.
Seriously, you do not want to buy at the door. You’ll lose more money and time that way.
The 3-6-1 Rule
Three meals a day. Six hours of sleep. One bath a day. You think something as simple as taking care of your hygiene, eating, and sleep are easy tasks. Indeed they are! However, you have those few who don’t follow this rule (especially the bathing part). To those who will follow these rules, I’ll break it down for ya. 3 Meals a Day: It’s that simple. Have a healthy breakfast to provide energy until lunch time. Toast, yogurt, eggs, nuts, grains, etc. If your hotel offer free breakfast, take advantage of that, even if its food you do not enjoy. Your favorite food is free food.
For lunch, I tend to go with something between a light and heavy meal. A sandwich with chips and another side is a nice go-to lunch meal. It’s not a bank breaker and it doesn’t leave me feeling tired or sluggish because I ate more than I could handle. Dinner is where you want to eat something heavy, especially if you’re going to be going to a room party with alcohol, the rave, or doing many night time convention things. I recommend pizza, pasta, fried chicken, etc. Do not eat too heavily though.
Another helpful tip: Snack between meals such as fruits, nuts, and those fancy multi-grain bars. Drink plenty of water as well. The key is to have energy and not feel like shit because you haven’t eaten at all. Ramen and pockey does not qualify as meals.
Yes another helpful tip: If your hotel has a full kitchen (stove, oven, fridge, etc.) and you know how to cook, cook your own meals. It’s a money saving tactic and you’ll have leftovers throughout the day.
Six hours of sleep: Please, get some rest. You should sleep for about 8 hours a day, but 6 hours isn’t too bad. If you’re running a panel or event, get as much rest as you can. There is no shame in resting up and missing out on a few things at the convention to keep alert and active.
Sleep Tip: Powernaps are wonderful. If need be, take at least 30-45 minutes every couple of hours to powernap. If you’re doing something major such as hosting or partying, try to get at least 1-2 hours of sleep. Your body and energy levels will thank you.
1 Bath/Shower a Day: There is absolutely no goddamn reason for you not to shower or bathe before going out in public. A convention is not exempted. Nobody is trying to smell your nasty ass because you did not want to shower and use hygiene products. If you’re a cosplayer, plan on changing clothes, or sweat a lot, please take a shower before and after an outfit change.
It’s 2017 and we are still debating if people should shower and take care of their hygiene. Yay for human evolution.
Showering Tip: Beer showers are fun. And an early sign you might be an alcoholic. Go me!
But seriously, fuckin’ take a shower and use deodorant.
Ah the fun part for us adults: budgeting for the convention. In general, the plan is to stack up save up, and split funds for the event. No one’s budget will be alike from the other guy. This is normal. Here’s an example of my budget for Wizard World St. Louis:
Hotel: $217 ($73 for my share between three people)
Misc: $200 (Not required. For things such as dealer room, liquor/mixers for room party, “vices”, etc.)
Total: $383 ($183 if I removed the miscellaneous items)
Paydays until Wizard: 2
Friend owes me $66. Use that for the badge
Save $51.14 per check. Since I’m using the money I’m owed for the badge, this isn’t a huge blow to the budget. Take another $51.14 from income taxes.
Simple budget, yes. Admittedly, my math may not be right and I’m too lazy to whip out my calculator to get the correct total amount. You get the picture here. Just manage your money correctly and save up.
If you’re splitting hotel costs, pay up. Nobody likes a mooch.
Let me say this: If you cannot afford to go to a convention, don’t go. If you have needs such as bills to be paid, medical expenses, etc., take care of that first. Skip out on the convention if your money isn’t right. It’s not worth going broke or screwing up your money just to go to a convention.
The convention ain’t going anywhere soon. Wait until your money is right and go to the next convention.
‘Let me tell you something: You gotta find the balance between having fun and having funds.’ –Nino Brown (American rapper)
I hope my tips will help you in this convention season. If you have anything else to add please feel free to state them in the comments section!
Have a fun and safe time at the convention(s) you’re going to this year!
For the convention season, please take a shower or bath before you head to an anime/comic/sci-fi con. Nobody is trying to smell your nasty, unwashed, unclean ass because you refuse to take care of basic personal hygiene. Body odor is not cute and nobody isn’t trying to get sick because your ass do not wanna hop in the shower for 15 minutes and put on some deodorant.
Trust me, I legit had asthma attacks from overpowering B.O. from unwashed nerds at cons. It ain’t fun.
It is 2017 and i should not tell people this but this is the state of the convention community as of this writing. Hell there’s even a debate on the Anime Boston Facebook group on if people should shower before heading to a convention. An convention group. Having a debate. On if you should shower or not.
“Last night was a blur to me This mornin’ I got two with me I don’t know what to do with me Goin’ ape like the zoo with me”
-2Chainz Big Amount
Boys and girls, let me start by saying don’t ever play yourself. More on that later.
So day 1 of Naka-Kon was rather lackluster for me, sans a few events throughout the day. My crew and I arrived at our hotel around 2 PM after a decent 4.5 hours of driving down highway 70, joking around, listening to some Chrissy but classic 80s rock, enjoying unscripted interviews from wrestlers (or “shoots”), and blasting some Gundam music. Great times.
What wasn’t great was that my debit card had issues at check-in. Nice. Lets start the con season off with me overthinking and having a near breakdown because my dumbass didn’t stack my money right. Thankfully my homeboy bailed me out but I owe him $20.
Oh well. You win some. You lose some. I’ll live.
After having that problem knock out, my crew and I settle down in our hotel room. While we waited for the con to officially start we started some l flexing on social media: bragging about our booze collection for the con after parties.
Its like we’re immature frat boys ha ha ha
Following that, we hit the con floor. The convention center wasn’t as packed as we expected. Granted, people were stillt work and school. Oh well.
As we aimlessly wandered around we linked up with a few local con friends. We combined our parties for a fun adventure of walking around the dealer room, lamenting at the fact that we are broke adults with adult responsibilities.
Our money have to go to bills first, anime figmas last. Don’t grow up; its a trap like Felix.
To combat any impulsive spending, our crew decided it was best to talk shit about our favorite series. Dragon Ball is just a shallow combat Shouen series. Sailor Moon is a monotonous tale of a dumbass teenager superherorine.
Of course this didn’t last long as I spotted a Sailor Saturn figure which caused me to become depressed at the fact that I’m a broke ass adult.
I need a hustle.
Later on, we decided that nothing was poppin’ off at the con to our interest and retired back to the hotel room for a bit.
At the hotel, my crew and I did some pre con pre-gaming. Doing shots of whatever was on the table and myself playing pretend bartender.
Remember at the beginning of this post I stated don’t ever play yourself? Well, here’s the story:
I had planned on going to a panel on White-Washing in the media. A panel run by a professional writer for the New York Times mind you. I wanted to see see some viewpoints on white washing from an industry insiders and possibly network with the writer.
Unfortunatly, my dumbass drank way too much than I should had (work stress and stressing over blog posts does that to ya). My black ass ain’t going to a professionally run panel on White-Washing while intoxicated. To break it down:
Me, a drunk black dude + a white washing panel = yea no.
Its not worth having my con badge revoked because Drunk Ben wants to fight dumbass weeaboos who think white washing isn’t an issue in the media.
Instead, I went to the rave. I’m not a huge rave guy for these anime cons but most of my friends were all there. And lets be real: con raves ain’t real raves. A real rave is one that is at a run-down warehouse that you get information about through word of mouth.
The rave was lucklaster. I mean I guess alcohol and good friends made the rave slightly bareable, but if you danced to one happy hardcore track you have danced to all of them.
Granted I’m jaded and bias as fuck so that doesn’t help.
Upon general agreement that the rave was getting boring, my merry drunken band decided to call it a night and return to the hotel. We had a few more drinks, had a nice talk about Akira Toriyama’s trolling the Dragon Ball fan base before everyone passed out.
Day 1 of Naka-Kon was quite honestly lackluster. This is forgivable because it was Friday. People are still at work, school, or just setting up for the weekend. Plus you wanna save the big shit for the big day, Saturday.
I’m looking forward for the Saturday events. Saturday at cons are always eventful.