All of these thoughts/opinions are based around the happenings and truths surrounding cons. Let’s break this down into the core points, shall we?
- Bring a lot!
- Don’t loan anyone money! Unless you owe them something (and even then >.>) try to keep your money just for you. It’s not your fault they didn’t bring enough money & you most likely can barely afford you as it is, let alone someone else -.-
- Budget & prioritize. Make sure to count on spending $$$ for gas, parking, registration, *hotel, & food before anything else. Don’t worry about having enough money for the dealer’s room, those are all luxuries anyway and can be dealt with by getting the business card of the dealer & going on their site to buy stuff at a later date.
- Make sure to bring cash because most dealers won’t accept credit/debit; granted, with the development of certain technology, it’s becoming less and less the case.
- Keep track of your spending so you don’t wind up in the red post con =.=
- In my opinion, budget for buying food vs. making. Making your lunch for the con means that you have more stuff to carry (and less space in your car), a more limited option of what you can eat with little flexibility, more work pre-con, & the fact that now you have to worry about lugging around a cooler full of food that may/may not be perishable, but in either case more cumbersome than buying food in the area of the con.
- Buy from restaurants/fast food places in the area of the con, but don’t buy food from inside the con itself. Usually, the food sold at a con is very expensive and you’d just be better off going to places in the area. This also (usually) gives you more variety of what you can eat than just depending on the sometimes crappy con food.
- Eat regularly! Don’t try to “save money” by not eating for a majority of the day, especially if it’s a Summer con and you’re planning to stay all three days. In order to have enough energy for all the con activities, and to avoid getting really sick/fatigued/passing the f*ck out, you need to make sure to keep your body nourished and hydrated. If nothing else, make sure, namely when it’s a Summer con, to have plenty of liquids to stay hydrated and to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke, passing out, and the like. Food is honestly the last place you want to cut corners with financially, and you need to eat to live, so there’s no getting around that ~.~
- Seeing as cosplaying is always an optional thing for con goers to do, treat every cosplay as if it’s a budget cosplay. Unless you’re making a costume as per commission, make your cosplay the cheapest way possible. Who wants to spend a crapload of money on a costume they’re most likely only going to wear for this one con? This isn’t to say cut lots of corners/doing a bum-rush job making the costume, I’m just saying that you shouldn’t use the most expensive materials to make it when altering a few things in your wardrobe that you never wear can achieve the same affect. Also keep in mind that just because you spend a lot of money on your costume, doesn’t mean you’re going to get a lot of pictures or what I like to call ‘acknowledgments’ (getting a hug, high-five, LARP battle, arguing with someone else from the same thing in character, etc.), which makes taking ‘budget cosplay’ to heart all the more pertinent.
- Even though I often break this advice myself (-.-), try to cosplay for the season accordingly. If it’s a Winter con, cosplay something ‘hotter’ (multiple layers, dark colors, etc.), and when it’s a Summer con, cosplay something ‘cooler’ (few layers, lighter colors, etc.). This way, your cosplay can complement the weather by keeping you warm/cool as need be.
- Even though this can be very hard sometimes, try to make costumes with the ability to sit down, go through doors, use the restroom, and walk for long distances in mind. Nothing like having an awesome cosplay, but you basically have to strip down to your bare buttocks just to use the restroom, or not being able to sit whatsoever, especially if you’re like me and are flat footed or have some other foot/leg problem that impedes your ability to stand/walk for long periods of time.
- Proper shoe ware! Maybe your character wears sandals, but sandals aren’t always the best shoe ware, especially if your walking a lot/long distances on concrete. Your feet will be dead by the end of the con, so really consider your shoe wear for your cosplay before you go, less you wind up in a situation where you’re basically committing orthopedic suicide -.-
- Beware of cosplay malfunctions! If you cut too many corners, you most likely will have these. So, always bring some tape, thread & needle, hot glue gun, whatever to be able to mend your costume if/when it breaks down, less you wind up walking around the rest of the con with an important part of your costume MIA.
- Be mindful of character props! Some costumes can have the awesomest props, but have them be woefully impractical, like whenever cosplayers decide to make props the actual size they would be according to the show, case & point…
…I’m not saying this is a bad cosplay/prop. They’re both pretty freakin’ awesome, but what the f*ck are you supposed to do with that prop? It’s too big to do anything without accidentally knocking the f*ck out of someone. It’s like he traversed too much in the territory of awesomeness and wound up smack dab in awesome but impractical.
Anyway, make sure your props reflect what it’s actually supposed to be, but always cut back on the things that make it too unwieldy or just plain dangerous.
In the case of prop guns, you can make your gun very realistic, but according to the policy of some cons (like Otakon), that almost automatically will result in you getting into trouble with con authorities (or worse, actual police authorities), so why even bother? Just stick to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle when making props and avoid making props that are so true to the show that they become super cumbersome and unwieldy or just plain troublesome.