Although I briefly hit on it in this article, I’m going to revisit making check lists for conventions. It doesn’t matter if it’s an anime, comic book, Greek organization, or tech con/expo/etc., this advice still applies across the board; granted, some of these things are anime/manga/videogame themed convention specific.
Now, when people hear making a checklist for a convention (or any trip), they may think that it’s tedious or that it’s a good idea & that they’ll try it. If people go the route of making a checklist, however, will not necessarily know their head from their arse as to what to put down on said checklist, how detailed it needs to be, how to organize it, etc. So, here’s my kinda tutorial on how to make a relatively detailed checklist for your con going needs.
Why do I need to make a checklist in the first place?
Welp, if you’re still not on the bandwagon it’s very simple: a) your memory isn’t as good as you think it is; b) forgetting things, especially things quintessential for your trip, is never fun, hence having a checklist. Especially with today’s technologies, namely smart phones, tablets, MP3 players even, etc., it’s super easy to create & have digital copies of your list ready to be mass produced or simply reprinted at a moment’s notice (assuming you have a readily available printer ~.~).
There’s also the good old-fashioned pen & paper method but the way I organize my lists I much rather use the computer & its available programs, in my case Microsoft Word. This makes it easy to have multiple versions of the same list, copy/paste/edit it from con to con, it’s easier to maintain, & it makes it way easier to keep things prim & proper. Nothing like making an awesome list via the pen & paper method, only to lose it, spill juice on it, you have messy handwriting & can’t read it, & all that (non)funness. At least with a digital copy, if nothing else, it’s easy to replace, assuming you have a saved version; granted, you should never make any type of document on a computer & not save (& often).
Everything I do involves the computer (including my job & giving panels [virtually a side-(non paying) job]), so I could never create a document & go more than 10 words without saving. Seriously, after losing enough high school & college papers/time to not saving/saving often, you learn to be a paranoid saver. Moving right along…
Before I continue, here are some awesome apps for your phone, MP3 player, tablet, etc. you can use to, not only make lists, but take notes in general: Evernote, Catch, &/or Google Drive in general (especially if you have a Google powered phone). These are perfect for taking quick notes, making checklists, organizing your notes, & a bunch of other things. Besides being accessible on your handheld electronic device, you can also access these notes online, so all your data is available both online & on your tech device. If not this, you can do the good old-fashioned DropBox method, where you can make a Word document, put it in dropbox, & use your tech device to open & view it & sometimes alter it as well. Of course, all of these methods require some type of tech device, & if you don’t have any (& don’t have a smart phone), then you’re S.O.L. <.<
Okay, how should I do this as a cosplayer?
*(Notice my awesome skills with transitioning >.>)*
I mean, as far as cosplay is concerned, this is absolutely crucial. Nothing like going out-of-state for a con, or at least far enough that you don’t plan to be coming back home every day, & realizing you forgot the most important piece of your costume (wig, weapon, an entire layer, etc.). By making comprehensive lists of all the materials of your cosplay, this can be avoided (maybe not entirely, but better than nothing). When making a checklist, don’t just write down the name of the character; i.e., Grimmjow (Bleach), write down the complete list of items needed for that cosplay for however many cosplays you have, case & point below…
Above is my cosplay list for Otakon 2012, where I cosplayed Rin Tohsaka (Fate/Stay Night) & Emiya Kiritsugu (Fate/Zero). This was the first time I did 2 cosplays per con as well as the first time I started doing the checklists (all night long, giggity!). It made things way easier to remember, I didn’t forget anything (granted, I should have “remembered” to get something like a garter belt for the thigh-highs X/). As I was packing my suitcase, I would check off the items as I went, so I could tell what I did have & what I didn’t have, what I packed & what I didn’t pack, it was super happy awesome time using this method. Heck, as hinted to before, it also doubles as a shopping list for what I need to buy for the cosplay, ’cause I generally start making a list like this & populating the cosplay section well before the con & before I actually start getting the cosplay materials together.
Before I wrap this section up, let me say that it’s also absolutely important that you check things off as you pack them. Quite frankly, you should have 2 copies of the list: one solely for getting your cosplay supplies (if you’re cosplaying) & one for when you actually start packing your suit cases. You don’t want to cross something off on your packing list & think you packed it when you didn’t, & vice-versa for the cosplay materials list. Heck, I usually don’t print the packing list until maybe a week before anyway. This is due to my not liking packing until the con’s right around the corner, so I can avoid having my luggage take up too much space. Anyway, check things off only as you actually pack them, either in your luggage or your car/mode of transportation not a plane/train, so you don’t confuse yourself.
Also, (kinda) quick rant: your cosplay repair kit needs to be comprised of whatever you used to make your costume. Namely, if you didn’t really sew for your costume, then this is not necessary. Ppl. love to say “don’t forget a sewing repair kit”, b*tch, not every costume is sewn. Especially when you’re using the alteration method, or you didn’t need to cut & attach anything, this is completely unnecessary. What ppl. should say is have a cosplay emergency kit comprised of whatever you used to make the costume. Having a sewing kit is only necessary if you sewed, which, believe it or not, isn’t the default. Sewing is one of many options for making a costume, but not the only one. Okay, I’m done |-\
Well, that was t.m.i., what about everything else?
For my checking lists, I try to break down things into sections (so I already have an idea what I need), & populate them as I go. I usually have a section for toiletry items, regular clothes, cosplay & the individual cosplay items-cosplay, cosplay repair items, & an ‘extra’ section. In addition to this, I also include a grid on the bottom with the heading “Anything Else?” or something to that effect, so when I print it if I notice something else is missing, I’ll just write it in in the grid section below. Usually I’m good enough to not have to do this too much, which is another reason why I wait to the week of to print it, but I like to include that so I have a nice, neat section to add things to without it becoming so messy. Also, in the case of going to cons like anime, videogame, etc. type cons & you’ll be staying with multiple ppl. in the hotel, you may want to consider bringing your own towel(s)/washcloth(s). This way you don’t wind up in that inevitable “Where’s all the towels, I need one?” situation, especially when dealing with ppl. who are basically the towel equivalent to the cookie monster, where they have to have/use as many towels as possible. I mean, seriously, how many freakin’ towels do you need?! I also recommend bringing:
- Your own soap/body wash; let’s face it, hotel soap is super tiny & not enough for several ppl.
- Shower caps
- Pills (like Aleve, Benadryl, Tylenol, etc.)
- Febreeze (so your costume/cloths don’t smell like you’re at the rave)
- Dry shampoo, to get the oiliness out your hair without having to wash it (especially if you’re Black, b/c I sure as heck know washing my hair every day isn’t an option, not with no freakin’ perm -_-)
- Wipes/baby wipes/whatever you want to call them for when you need to do no. 2 (trust me, hotel toilet paper basically disintegrates whenever you use it & is harsh on your rear, get some wipes)
- Pill case (like old ppl./ppl. with a lot of meds to take), if you have to take daily meds, this makes it easier to organize, store, & remember to take them
- Your own pillow (if need be)
- (For women) men’s deodorant; like you’ll hear other female con goers say, it’s way stronger than even the bestest, strongest female deodorant, you can find scents that smell good, & it will keep your pits guarded/unsmelly way more than the frilly crap we usually get. I don’t have odor issues (’cause I make sure of it), but doing this at AMA, I never even had moments where I needed to reapply, it was good the entire day from one application ^.^
- Extra layers, if you have room to wear something like a t-shirt or biker shorts for your cosplay on the inner-most layer, bring them & bring extras. This way your cosplay never comes into direct contact with your smelly bits, & you can preserve the non-stench of your costume & can switch out the layers every day. Been doing that since Otakon ’12 & it helps out a whole lot
You’ve been talking for way too long, do you ever shut up?
Now, go forth & be merry with your packing lists so that you may never forget anything again…for the most part ~.~