EPAC 07 - El Paso, TX 2007
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Taken from our panel, "So You Want to Cosplay?" from http://www.elpasoanimecon.org
Pictures from http://www.elpasoanimecon.org
Thoughts about the convention:
- Leaps and bounds more organized than last year. A lot of the issues I mentioned last year were improved greatly for the con this year.
- The website was updated much more regularly this year than last, and information was posted sooner - there weren't many "TBA" pages in the last month before the con. I've heard that some people won't even try a convention if the website isn't updated regularly. Maybe this helped the attendance.
- Lots of great anime in the rooms this year - some more well-known series mixed in with the obscure stuff. And I got to see two completely weird shows - Magical Shopping Arcade Abenoboshi and the Revolutionary Girl Utena Movie. It's always a great time when you can talk about a cracked-out anime with other anime fans (and the Utena movie was completely cracked-out... I could follow the symbolism until the magical car wash turned Utena into a big pink car).
- Loved the idea of holding a Smash tourney with a Wii as the grand prize. And showing the gaming on a large screen definitely generated interest. It was nice to see the tourneys running more smoothly than last year, especially with additional consoles for the tournament games. There was also quite a bit of free play, so the non-tournament players got to Smash a bit, too.
- It was really fun to do a panel! I hope the people who attended learned something about starting a cosplay project of their own. We had a big turnout and the audience seemed to like the participation "design a costume" part. Maybe next time we should split the panel into a "getting started" and "more advanced" panel.
- The cosplay masquerade was much better in the auditorium than in the panel room. This was my first time judging, and I definitely have some suggestions for next time (now that I've been on the other side of the table):
- Skits first, then walkons. Or walkons first, then skits. It was chaotic to try putting them all together.
- Any way to have microphones and/or music? Several of the skits were impossible to hear on stage, let alone in the audience.
- The sign-up list was extremely difficult to follow. The list NEEDS to be in order for the judges to know who's who. No-shows need to be scratched off the list. There were lots of Naruto and Kingdom Hearts cosplayers, and it wasn't easy to figure out who went to which costume. There were also quite a few people who didn't show up at all.
- Something needs to be said about where the costumes came from. Someone who bought their cosplay shouldn't win a craftsmanship award. This needs to be spelled out in the rules for next year. If someone wants to do a skit in a costume they purchased, they should only be able to enter for a presentation/skit award. We (the judges) had to make a lot of on-the-fly decisions about who actually made their outfit. This should be asked of the cosplayer when they sign up for the masquerade (there wasn't time to ask them during the cosplay - we tried, and it was way too crazy). The rule about costume origins ("only anime/video game/J-rock/J-fashion costumes may compete") NEEDS to be enforced, or not made a rule at all. If original characters can't compete, then don't let them sign up for the masquerade.
- The cosplayers need to be more organized. It didn't seem fair to have some people randomly coming back up on stage and hopping into other people's skits after they'd already done a skit or walkon. And it made it harder for the judges to keep track of who was who.
- There should be a rule put out there about "stage fighting limited to 1/4 speed", like the rule A-Kon has .
- The vending room was a huge improvement from last year. Plenty of Pocky and Yan Yan, Ramune, and ramen to go around. The small character goods were also a nice touch, and a step closer to the dealers' room we all want to see.
- THANK YOU for putting a list of nearby places to eat in the program books! Helped out immeasurably.
- The programs were a nice touch. It made the whole con seem more professional.
- I hope the attendance topped 1000 like the staff was hoping. There seemed to be a lot more people than last year, which means the con is really growing. I'm glad I got the opportunity to assist and help this new con get off the ground. Looking forward to next year!
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