Anime North Report 2012

Here we are, the usual Anime North roundup all the regulars are used to since we kind of launched the blog at the same con. Of course I tried several events out that are related to professional geekery and fan-to-pro activities, and I wanted to give you the lowdown.

Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers: Based on my book, I’ve had mixed results with the panel before – it really needed to be jazzed up. So I took more of a focus on what I found in my investigations and made it more personal. I had a great response from the audience this time, and think I found the proper way to make this panel work.

I’m not sure How often I’ll do this, and would like to pair up with some cosply experts for other cons. But it definitely worked with the personal detail.

Why You Don’t Have Your Dream Job: Arguably my most depressing panel, this one was even more depressing because, despite being done at 11 at night, it was extremely well-attended. That doesn’t necessarily bode well for the economy.

I focused a bit more on exercises and what people could do, and I think it helped them feel a sense of control. I’m likely going to modify this presentation to be more exercise-driven and interactive as that sense of control is important.

I will confess that after many years of doing this panel I’m a bit tired of it. I do it at many cons, and it is kind of depressing. But people seem to want it, and maybe the new focus will work.

Fan Networking: This event was derived from a similar one done by Venus DeCoy. The focus was simply to introduce people to good networking, have each of them say what they did and were looking for, then turn them loose to network. We facilitated a bit by mingling.

This simple approach – done at midnight of all times – worked fantstic. People were energized, social, had fun, and exchanged business cards. It didn’t take much to get it to work.

Why didn’t it take much? I think because:

  1. It was clearly a networking event and the goals were spelled out.
  2. Asking people to focus on what they did and who they were looking for encouraged networking.
  3. During the introductions we encouraged people to talk to each other so they were primed to do so. After 2-4 introductions you already can see who should be talking to whom.

I’m definitely making this one a regular part of my events. It’s fast, effective, easy to prime, and people get a lot out of it.

As for the rest of the convention (including my gameshows), it all went pretty good. I did notice a few more hands-on and career panels there:

Fandom In the Real World – Which discussed the real-life applications of being a fan. I am all for Fanhacking, and loved seeing this.

  • Writing Young Adult – A look at the pitfalls of writing in this genre.
  • A writing workshop.
  • A panel on editing (always appreciated).
  • A panel on digital distribution of anime and manga and how it’s developing.
  • A panel on worldbuilding.
  • A lot of cosplay panels that were often hands-on, from wigs to photography to budget. Very detailed and impressive.
  • A good deal of doll panels, some that were full-bore engineering.

Lots of great stuff, and things people can use. Looking forward to going there next year – and maybe I’ll see you there!

Steven Savage
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at