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Unread 01-27-2013, 03:02 PM   #1
Amanita
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Dealing with con security?

This is a little something that's been bugging me since my last local con, and I'm wondering how to deal with it next time it happens.

You see, our local con uses these plastic zip ties to mark props that they've inspected. Sounds reasonable, right?
Just a couple of problems.

One is that I had one security staffer who checked my two lightsaber hilts put zip ties on each of them, that were obviously meant for much larger, thicker props than mine. When she was finished, the ends of the ties stuck out almost a FOOT at right angles from the hilts. I asked if she had something to shorten those incredibly long tails with, and she snapped at me "No! You can't cut those shorter, we have to be able to see them!"
Those "tails" not only looked stupid, they were long enough to be a hazard on their own- very likely to get caught and snagged on my own robe sleeves, or to get caught on other things. And had she done this prior to my act in the costume contest, I would not have been able to perform it at all- the act called for me to do a routine with them, a full dance/kata. Those tails would have made that impossible to do safely, constantly interfering with my grip, and getting in the way.

The other is an issue that happened to me and some other people I know from the local cosplay community- in some cases, the ties were put on so tightly that they were all but impossible to get a knife or scissor blade underneath afterwards, unless you wanted to risk scratching the paint/leather/metal of your prop. In all cases, it would have been possible to make the ties just loose enough to remove after the fact, without that being a concern. (loose enough to get scissors under, without touching the surface of the prop)

I know next year I'll likely have much nicer props- either handmade or purchased from a high end sabersmith. Am I being some sort of special snowflake for asking that those ties be applied so that they don't damage a several hundred dollar piece of equipment when it's time to remove them, or for asking that the ties not become a safety hazard and nuisance unto themselves?
And how do you deal with snotty or rude security staff?
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Unread 01-27-2013, 03:33 PM   #2
Talismand
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honestly you cant really "deal" with them. I had the same problem when i was cosplaying as a MF3 full ghillie sniper with the camo netting on my airsoft M99 berret. One of the security staff came up and said i had to put a huge orange thing on it if i wanted to keep it out. There was a guy nice enought to have something i could use but it ruined the whole feel of it. just something the you need to plan and deal with when bringing props sadly. you could negotiate the loose tags though never hurts to try ^^
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Unread 01-27-2013, 03:34 PM   #3
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Well, this might make me sound like a bad person but allot of the times I find the weapons policy's too strict or unfair at some of the conventions I attend

ontop of that most of the con security dont even know the weapon policy at all they just know all props need to be peace bonded and the wonderful cherry on top is the people at the peace bonding station aren't even all clear on the specifics of the weapons policy!!!!
you can go see one person at the station who would ok your prop, while the people on the next shift would have not let your prop through,
in cosplay videos Ive seen tons of cosplayers with peacebonded props that I know for a fact violate the weapons policy, so what is even the point of having a weapons policy of none of your staff know it (cough AX cough cough)

find out what color the zip ties are before you go to the con and peacebond them yourself.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 03:39 PM   #4
Talismand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daylight View Post
Well, this might make me sound like a bad person but allot of the times I find the weapons policy's too strict or unfair at some of the conventions I attend

ontop of that most of the con security dont even know the weapon policy at all they just know all props need to be peace bonded and the wonderful cherry on top is the people at the peace bonding station aren't even all clear on the specifics of the weapons policy!!!!
you can go see one person at the station who would ok your prop, while the people on the next shift would have not let your prop through,
in cosplay videos Ive seen tons of cosplayers with peacebonded props that I know for a fact violate the weapons policy, so what is even the point of having a weapons policy of none of your staff know it (cough AX cough cough)

find out what color the zip ties are before you go to the con and peacebond them yourself.
this one has wisdom beyond words ^^ im going to have to try that :P
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Unread 01-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talismand View Post
honestly you cant really "deal" with them. I had the same problem when i was cosplaying as a MF3 full ghillie sniper with the camo netting on my airsoft M99 berret. One of the security staff came up and said i had to put a huge orange thing on it if i wanted to keep it out. There was a guy nice enought to have something i could use but it ruined the whole feel of it. just something the you need to plan and deal with when bringing props sadly. you could negotiate the loose tags though never hurts to try ^^
It's a federal law in the US for all "toy guns" to have and orange tip. They were just trying to save you trouble from the police.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daylight View Post
Well, this might make me sound like a bad person but allot of the times I find the weapons policy's too strict or unfair at some of the conventions I attend

i worked security at Anime Boston, and i find most of what you said true, when it comes to the weapons policy its so vague that they don't really know the deal...but most of that comes from them looking for real weapons...yes i have seen people walk around with real swords as part of there cosplay, and while you may personally not use them and are safe with them, you can cant on the person next to you its all for safety

Quote:
find out what color the zip ties are before you go to the con and peacebond them yourself.
be careful with this i know con security who have kicked out con goers because they tried to cheat the system...it may be unfair but remember its for your safety..and it also is for their own sake so that police arnt involved.

also some cons change color every year so people can't try to peace bond at home....

the first poster had a bad break and a security guard who to me sounds like she was power mad. if it was me i wouldve gone to security and told them what happend and if they could re bond it in a better way...most cons allow that since you arnt going against it just asking if they can help you with it

my advice i learned from a friend...if you have the space put a tiny key chain loop to the peace bond band can go on it and isnt in the way of the actual prop

like the bottom of a sword handle, or barrel of the gun
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Unread 01-27-2013, 11:15 PM   #7
Leslianna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanita View Post
This is a little something that's been bugging me since my last local con, and I'm wondering how to deal with it next time it happens.

You see, our local con uses these plastic zip ties to mark props that they've inspected. Sounds reasonable, right?
Just a couple of problems.

One is that I had one security staffer who checked my two lightsaber hilts put zip ties on each of them, that were obviously meant for much larger, thicker props than mine. When she was finished, the ends of the ties stuck out almost a FOOT at right angles from the hilts. I asked if she had something to shorten those incredibly long tails with, and she snapped at me "No! You can't cut those shorter, we have to be able to see them!"
Those "tails" not only looked stupid, they were long enough to be a hazard on their own- very likely to get caught and snagged on my own robe sleeves, or to get caught on other things. And had she done this prior to my act in the costume contest, I would not have been able to perform it at all- the act called for me to do a routine with them, a full dance/kata. Those tails would have made that impossible to do safely, constantly interfering with my grip, and getting in the way.

The other is an issue that happened to me and some other people I know from the local cosplay community- in some cases, the ties were put on so tightly that they were all but impossible to get a knife or scissor blade underneath afterwards, unless you wanted to risk scratching the paint/leather/metal of your prop. In all cases, it would have been possible to make the ties just loose enough to remove after the fact, without that being a concern. (loose enough to get scissors under, without touching the surface of the prop)

I know next year I'll likely have much nicer props- either handmade or purchased from a high end sabersmith. Am I being some sort of special snowflake for asking that those ties be applied so that they don't damage a several hundred dollar piece of equipment when it's time to remove them, or for asking that the ties not become a safety hazard and nuisance unto themselves?
And how do you deal with snotty or rude security staff?
I think we attend some of the same cons and I have this issue too. They are on there so tight that I can't get them off without ruining my prop, so I tend to leave them on there, not to bypass security, but simply to not ruin my prop. They are usually brightly colored too...so the never blend in. I understand all the rules and reasons, but you'd think you could trim the "tails" so at least when taking photos, you could hide the tag.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 11:39 PM   #8
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Having been con security putting on zip ties before... I'm sorry you had to deal with that.

The con I staffed out allowed me or people to cut the tails off the zip tie or orange tape but that's not all conventions. There are different ways to put those on props, though mind you there are a few prop's I've stared at going 'wtf? How the hell am I suppost to peace bond this?' which typically means that they're not allowed.

The typical method of cutting the zip ties is by using wire cutters. However, you could potentially scratch yourself with that because the cut edge is kinda sharp. They shouldn't be extremely tight to scratch paint, with the exception of the helt of a katana and sheath because of the way your suppost to zip tie it to be secure. (it's unavoidable a bit because with it zip tied like that there is no way to go about opening it and stabbing anyone, or yourself if you trip or something.) That if anything shows a lack of training on security a bit.

My advice, just go with it. Weapons Policy is up to the higher ups, so complain to them about it. The lowly security grunt, while you can report was a bit rude, is not the problem in this situation.
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Unread 01-28-2013, 03:12 AM   #9
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If you have to deal with things like this before a sketch, I'd suggest asking if they could essentially have someone cut the tie before the sketch and put it back on after (a very few cons actually have a weapons wrangler for sketches and they hold onto weapons prior to the sketch and often after (this is why on rare occasion at a few cons you see live steel or pyrotechnic guns in sketches) it's Extremely rare though, so dont count on it, but always check if you have a very involved sketch.

Another option is to carry a rubber band or two and (after getting permission) use it to hold the tie in place (WITHOUT HIDING IT) to make it more manageable. Some cons might allow you to, for instance, bend the tie upward along the sword hilt and tie it in place around the bottom of the "blade" so it's still visible but isn't a bother. (hope that makes sense)

Also, just to agree, I hate the "orange caps on guns" rule, it ruins all the sketches (though some cons will allow you to use a removable cap and remove it for sketches and photos --- ALWAYS ASK FIRST THOUGH)
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Unread 01-29-2013, 11:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tigersoul View Post
Also, just to agree, I hate the "orange caps on guns" rule, it ruins all the sketches (though some cons will allow you to use a removable cap and remove it for sketches and photos --- ALWAYS ASK FIRST THOUGH)
The alternative being the cops tackle your butt for having a "real gun".

Yes, some con ops staffers are power mad. I've had plenty of props tagged and one that even was tied too tightly and did scratch the paint. Worse when we tried to get it off afterwards. It was easier to leave it, cut the tails off and use it to hang another tie from next year. But you can get staffers who understand when you voice your concerns. Last year they tied it loosely on my crowbar so while it slid around it still didn't come off. Was easy to hide it for pictures.

And really...it's not all the staffers fault anyways. They have city, state and federal rules to deal with, plus all the morons who ruin it for everyone else. As a former Rover the stories I could tell about people who couldn't behave themselves. That's what really makes it hard on decent cosplayers.
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Unread 01-29-2013, 11:35 PM   #11
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I've encountered both ends of con security. At the only Onicon I went to the security was practically non existent for checking weapons and some guy was walking around with live, unsheathed steel all the weekend.

I think the major issue is that con security is basically volunteer work that's daunting and thankless. Many of the people working seem to be roped into the job by friends and family and really just don't want to be there. So they seem to take it out on the convention attendees. I've heard people mocked and abused by staff and worse.

You just get people who aren't too pleasant sometimes. There isn't much you can do, you can try to argue but risk getting kicked our or banned.

Sometimes people are just assholes.

You could try to attach a small loop to one end of your prop, sacrificing accuracy for the sake of avoiding it getting damaged by the ties. I would also contact the convention runners and let them know about your experience so they can try to improve for the next year.
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Unread 01-30-2013, 03:20 AM   #12
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You can see one of the saber props I might have for the next con here:
http://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/index.php?topic=21780.0

You can see why I wouldn't want to risk scratching it by having to cut off a too-tight zip tie.
Fortunately the guy who's head of security at our con is pretty cool, it's some of the others I worry about.
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Unread 01-30-2013, 03:34 AM   #13
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The thing is, the job of security guard exists so that there is an immediate line of defense and enforcement in the case of an incident. They're there so that the cops don't have to become involved. The trouble is, some people in the job have control issues and prefer aggression without regard to people's actual needs. Explain what you need from them calmly and politely and with acknowledgement for the rules that you have to follow, and if they don't budge, find someone else to talk to.

I was under the impression that one had to have certain training or certification to actually be security, so I'm scratching my head at the idea that people do it as a volunteer.
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Unread 01-30-2013, 03:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanita View Post
You can see one of the saber props I might have for the next con here:
http://www.fx-sabers.com/forum/index.php?topic=21780.0

You can see why I wouldn't want to risk scratching it by having to cut off a too-tight zip tie.
Fortunately the guy who's head of security at our con is pretty cool, it's some of the others I worry about.
wow, I can see why you'd be concerned (didnt see a price listed though) I actually have one of the movie-authentic replicas I was considering using as a prop in the future (the ones that cost like $199 now) kinda scared to take it though hearing what I'm hearing... but seriously, why the buck would they need to tag something like THAT? you'd think the con staff would know we dont have real working lightsabers(TM) yet!
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Unread 01-30-2013, 10:41 AM   #15
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I used to be so in line with con security, but from my experience weapon checks are just a nuisance and aren't evenly enforced. Zip ties put on my props get cut off and thrown away in the bathroom as soon as I'm out of sight. If security stops me again I play dumb and claim it was another cosplayer with the same outfit. Get new zip tie, remove zip tie.

luckily many of my costumes have double swords so I can use each sword to cut off the other's zip tie.
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