Cosplay conventions. If you've ever been to one – and you're not much of cosplayer – it's a surreal, wonderful world. There's amazing craftsmanships, characters brought to life, characters remade in new genders and genres. You're not only through the looking glass, but everyone in Wonderland looks fabulous.
Cosplay cons, with their specific focus, may not seem ideal for career events. I, of course, beg to disagree, since I think any convention is good for a career event. Obviously I have some suggestions for how you can add career events to Cosplay Cons or this would be pretty short . . .
I hear the term "Media Con" be used more and more lately to refer to those cons that are just, well . . . everything. You know a con may have started as SF, or fantasy, or anime but after awhile it's about many media in all but name. Comic cons are certainly evolving into "geek media", and there's cons dedicated to broad media interests, or broad but specific slices (such as pulp fiction, etc.).
So in my roundup of the way cons can go farther, of course I had to speculate on what the more general/media conventions can do for career events. This includes those cons that were always general media or evolving that way.
So I discussed how I think Comic Cons can go farther career-wise, next up is a focus on one of my personal favorite: anime cons. What do I think they can – and should – do career-wise in the years to come?
Well anime cons have a few unique traits:
- Despite being anime they tend to be multi-media and often cutting edge. Anime's always had a hip thing going for it, even when it was being made fun.
- There's a heavy emphasis on creativity and use of talent – art, web-pages, costly, etc. Go to even a small con and be amazed.
- The attendees also tend to be very technical – from programmers to being internet-savvy to digital art.
- There is, in my experience, more emphasis on professional development. I'm not 100% sure why this is, but I should analyze it.
- People have a more intimate knowledge of the industries they're fans of.
So my take is that anime cons have a good foundation, but need to leverage what's really unique about them. To do career events, I recommend anime cons:
- Leverage the diversity. You can experiment with all sorts of career panels and events because, if your con is of any size, someone is probably going to want to attend these events. This gives you a chance to find out what works best. In short a decent-sized con is a great laboratory.
- Use the skill-development focus. Many cons already do such panels, so adding a more professional emphasis to them – such as lists of professional resources and associations – would be a good idea.
- Try project-oriented educational and career events – from works at a con to a project outside the convention such as a group manga, novel, etc. Since anime fans tend to be "product-oriented" this will help them and help your con's relations.
- Feel free to try more technical panels such as ones on web-design, programming, and so on. You'll probably find a lot of response. For extra fun, tie it into your own technical elements – such as if you use webcasting for events.
- Take your industry panels into professional directions, such as talking about trends, industry issues, etc. There's plenty to cover in international media, video games, and so on. You'll get a good response I'm sure.
Anime cons are already a pretty powerful package career-wise, with a strong cultural foundation. Working with this will let you turn it into a powerful career engine.
– Steven Savage