I was asked by Eventbrite to give you some advise today on how to attend your first convention, and you can share your own advise too! Check them out! They are a great place to find your next convention! I have been to all sorts of conventions in my life, and I’m even president of the anime club at my college where we will go to conventions and share the gospel.
My first convention was the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim 2016. My friend and I drove four hours to LA by ourselves and both of us were underage at the time and scared out of our minds. From that experience I learned a few things… Here are my ten tips for attending a convention for the first time!
1. This was the first time I cosplayed somewhere that wasn’t a photo shoot in my back yard. If this is your first time cosplaying and you are sewing your own costume, start sewing a lot sooner then you think you need to. Always watch anime while you sew, probably the anime that you are cosplaying. Watch the character in motion and visualize in your head your costume draping your body the same way it does in the anime.
2. Have a “first aid” cosplay kit. Include safety pins, bobby pins, tape, a needle and thread of the color of your costume (when in doubt use white thread) small sewing scissors, and anything else you think you might need.
3. I was actually in the middle of sewing my costume on the drive down to the convention. I put the needle in my mouth for just a moment, and a few seconds later I realized that it was no longer in my mouth. I panicked. I thought I swallowed it! Was I going to die? My friend looked at me confused and trying to drive at the same time, “Do you want me to take you to the hospital?” I started freaking out. But then I found the needle on the floor of the car. The lesson is, don’t sew in a moving car, and if you are going to swallow a needle, don’t be underage and make sure you have health insurance. If you are eighteen or older and have health insurance, go ahead and swallow all the needles you feel called to swallow.
4. You need some sort of bag for your wallet, props, a snack, water, Xanex, a bed sheet, and all those kawaii pillows you buy. Be creative with your bag, make it look like something your character would use! If you aren’t cosplaying, still make sure that your bag is big enough to fit that pillow and action figure, but small enough so your girlfriend doesn’t have to massage your shoulders at the end of the day.
5. Now, why do you need a sheet in your bag? If you are an introvert like me with anxiety, you need to take breaks. The best way for me to take a chill pill is to find a place (not necessarily a quiet place because there really is no such thing at a convention) and put my sheet over my head. Then I read a couple of the psalms from my portable bible and I drink LOTS OF WATER. Drink so much water under that sheet that you have to pee afterwards. If you are worried people will think you are weird hiding under a sheet, don’t. Everyone there is weird and probably understands anxiety and introversion.
6. My friend who I took to my first convention and I bonded over martial arts. We both took a sword class that was actually a class on all seven forms of light saber dueling. We decided to do a flash mob in the middle of the convention! We were video taped by Disney and Target, and Target put us in three commercials paying me $1,000! (I used that money to go on a missions trip to Japan.) We were also interviewed a couple times for being the only female Jedi cosplaying that day. The point of this is, HAVE FUN! Don’t be an ordinary convention goer. Think outside of the box!
7. 3,2,1. These are the rules guys. Every day you need at least 3 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower. PLEASE take care of yourself. I need a lot more sleep then the average person, so I need to budget sleeping into my schedule. Don’t be afraid to say, “No, I need to go to sleep right now.” I know you may have FOMO (fear of missing out) but think about it in terms of quality vs. quantity. I promise you want a quality convention time rather then running around half awake for the whole time.
8. For food… not only am I a picky eater, but I have a restricted diet. I basically live off a fruit and vegetables. YOU NEED TO EAT. When it comes to a convention, I give you permission to 1, spend extra money on food, and 2, eat ANYTHING so you at least have some fuel in your system. For conventions, I might just carry a bunch of yogurt in my bag because that is the only thing I will really eat on the go. Also drink lots of smoothies. (Don’t put soy in it, that stuff will change your genetics!) AND WATER. “PCPO, drink it down and let it flow!” I give you permission to sing this to all your friends. “Pee Clear, Pee Often!” Find yourself a little hydroflask and put all the anime stickers on it. This is your new best friend. Name it and drink it!
9. For the love of all things animated, CLEAN THE BODY GOD GAVE YOU. I don’t want to smell your armpits ok? Especially if you sweat in your costume, trust me you need to shower. Don’t do that thing. Don’t be that guy.
11Love everyone. Now, some people may consider me one of those super average convention goers. But sometimes, I feel push back because of my “averageness”. I don’t walk around conventions trying to convert everyone to my faith, but I am not afraid to talk about how much God has impacted my life. Respect all faiths at conventions and don’t judge someone by a label. If someone says they’re a “Christian” that could mean ANYTHING! I’ve seen “Christians” go protest at conventions. I personally think that’s ridiculous. I want to encourage people in my faith by participating in the convention, not yelling at people! Get to know people for who they are. Ask questions to get to know people better. If someone makes you uncomfortable, don’t immediately put up a wall. Everyone has a story. Everyone was created with a purpose. EVERYONE can be friends, not matter what your faith, ethnicity, sexuality, or favorite anime is. Going to a convention is your chance to put your true self on display, and that can be a scary thing. Don’t go there to tear someone down. Life people up because you have similar interests! If there is one thing I’ve learned from going to conventions, it’s that I have never felt so loved and included before. Conventions are a place to meet your new family.
If you have any questions, please ask them! Let’s start a conversation! What happened during your first convention? Have you ever had a hard experience with judgmental people? What advise do you have for a first time convention goer?