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Unread 05-10-2004, 03:31 PM   #1
Dany
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Masquerade/Con Prep: What do you do?

I have these moments from time to time where I feel like babbling about what works and doesn't work for me in various situations..and now is one of them, and hey, I'd like to see what you have to say about it.

The question:

How do you prepare and organize when getting ready for a masquerade, or any convention for that matter?

I started doing some of this to a lesser extent when I used to go to Highlander conventions a few years ago, and I've realized that with some tweeking, it works really well for masquerade and convention planning...So, here it is, all for you


I realized that while electronic everything is very easy and convenient, it also means I can only access it if, say, I'm at work. So printing off things from the con website made it to where I didn't have to be online to get info. In recent time, I've also found that using those prong-tab things and classifying stuff has been really helpful too.

Example: For CostumeCon, I had a folder with no divisions that I attached 2-hole prongs to. On one side, I put my important documents, such as:

-Copies of my hotel and airfare reservations
-Membership confirmation
-Ground travel instructions
-Contact info for con-roomies/other parties (cell phone, etc.).
-"How to find me" info (costumes other people I may be meeting would be wearing, meeting locations, etc.)

On the other side, I kept all of my programming items..lists of programming, times, progress reports, that sort of thing. I'd go through all of this and highlighted the items I wanted to attend, and then put together a draft "schedule" as it were, so that I made sure I didn't plan things on top of one another. This schedule had everything from when I departed for home from work the day I flew out to when I got home after the convention, and was kept on top of all the other info. Obviously I didn't stick too tightly to that schedule, but it was helpful to keep me aware of when I was doing what.

I kept a smaller, separate folder for my Masquerade materials. This folder consisted of drafts of my documentation, costume source images, the Masquerade rules, any last minute things I needed to do at the con, etc. It worked in tangent with a calendar notebook that I use to plan on what parts of my costume I would work on when, and due dates for the various parts. As things got closer..the CD for the audio and the finished documentation and backup copies went into the folder as well.

So..that's a bit of my own foolishness... How 'bout you?
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Unread 05-10-2004, 10:58 PM   #2
Eleryth
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That's really awesome. You sound super organized! I wish I could be like that...

I usually just put all the necessary papers into a binder/clipboard (the things you've listed above) and left it at that. I haven't needed costume documentation or anything, but that might come in handy in the future. Also, I usually didn't get the schedule until registering, so I highlighted on that (although, I did plan out roughly what I wanted to do based on what the internet said - there are always changes at the con, though). I should print off your list and keep it handy.... I am sure it will be helpful for others, too.

The only thing I could never do, even though I'd have it planned, was the working on the costume on certain dates. I sorta have to be inspired....
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Unread 05-10-2004, 11:19 PM   #3
Dany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleryth
That's really awesome. You sound super organized! I wish I could be like that....
It comes from working admin for people who are chronically disorganized. If you don't have all your "poop in a group" as a friend of mine used to say, things fall through the cracks. While I am more organized by others, I am by no means as together as some people I know.

Essentially, think of it like organizing for college. The convention is Review Week, the Masquerade is Final Exams. and all the pre-work before the convention are your classes and assignments. Some people work better when everything runs together on a whim, or at the last minute, other people are very structured and need to work in the frames of a schedule. I'm a little bit of both. I like to have a series of "deadlines" that I can bend and shape according to my lifestyle, knowing that it all has to be REALLY done before I get on the stage.
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Unread 05-20-2004, 05:55 AM   #4
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Wow, Dany. I just sort of run in circles and scream until something happens.
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Unread 05-20-2004, 10:16 AM   #5
Dany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry
Wow, Dany. I just sort of run in circles and scream until something happens.
Oh THAT is how I finalize my presentation, usually. And soundtracks. Lots and lots of soundtracks.
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Unread 05-20-2004, 03:59 PM   #6
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well I guess I have a sort of simlar system.

About a week before the con I make a check list wich is divided in to sections. Sections consist of lists each costume and all of the parts and accesoires for that costume, other clothing (how many pj's/regular outfits I will need), hygene products, information/printouts, skit matirals, binders and art matirals, and then just miss items.

I then try and gather theres matrials in as orederly a manor as posible. No matter how order I try and make it, it always turns out that 2 days before the con I've got a half packed suitcase and a pile of things all over my bed.

I like to use zip lock bags for all accesories and small parts, these help keep things together and keep little costume details from getting lost. These zip lock bags can be great to keep dirty items in untill you can get home and wash them-- no smell!

Some times in addion to the costume check lists I make little quick refrence drawings for how the costume is put on, espicaly if some one other then my self is whereing the costume. (although genraly I usualy like to get up early, prepare all the costumes, and then just dress the cosplayers my self).

For refrence matirals, I usualy start about 3 days before the con, if I was smarter I'd start earlyer. Anywho, much of the referce I use is screen caps that are on my comptuer. I chose the best or most important images (if you can get a front back and side view of the costume that's great) and lay them out in photo shop. I like to have at least 2 or 3 pages of refrence, so that more then one judge can look at the refrence at a time. If my refrence comes from art books or manga, I select the most important pages and book mark them. I find that since I'm allready v. nurvous going to judging, it helps if I have all of my matirals in order ahead of time.

Gah! I've been talking forever. We'll thats basicly the system, it works ok.

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Unread 05-20-2004, 04:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dany
Oh THAT is how I finalize my presentation, usually. And soundtracks. Lots and lots of soundtracks.

Well, at least we're similar on one level.

I don't know. I work best under stress, so I usually am pretty last minute about everything.
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Unread 05-20-2004, 11:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry
Well, at least we're similar on one level.

I don't know. I work best under stress, so I usually am pretty last minute about everything.
hooray to last minute work! although im doing pretty well on my cosplays, i still do pretty well under pressure...everything just looks a lot nicer when its made with extrememe frenzy madness...but i made sure to give myself a lil deadline so that I woud actually be in a cosplay frenzy earlier than normal!
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Unread 05-21-2004, 12:38 PM   #9
Dany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry
Well, at least we're similar on one level.

I don't know. I work best under stress, so I usually am pretty last minute about everything.
Last minute can be fun...but last minute as in "cutting a wig a half hour before you have to be in the Green Room" last minute is something I am desparately trying to avoid.

Luckily for me...I already have a costume made for BayCon's masquerade that's done (though I need to reattach some buttons). This means I can skip ahead to the Renaissance festival stuff...and San Diego!

The confirmation of my badge came in the mail yesterday..so that is getting 2-hole punched and put in the folder today
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Unread 05-22-2004, 01:45 PM   #10
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From my experience, more important than almost any preparation is food and water before you go on. I know many people with stage freight can't eat while waiting for their skit, but something little in your stomach settles nerves, and water is always good to have around. A make-up bag for last-minute touch ups is also helpful.
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Unread 05-22-2004, 02:57 PM   #11
Dany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelicstar
From my experience, more important than almost any preparation is food and water before you go on. I know many people with stage freight can't eat while waiting for their skit, but something little in your stomach settles nerves, and water is always good to have around. A make-up bag for last-minute touch ups is also helpful.
Food and water, but not too much, of course...too much food and you feel really heavy and tired (or in rare cases, queasy..I've had that happen), and too much water will have you dancing the bathroom dance.

Neither situation is very pleasant when you're trying to mentally prepare to go on a stage..
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Unread 05-22-2004, 03:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelicstar
From my experience, more important than almost any preparation is food and water before you go on. I know many people with stage freight can't eat while waiting for their skit, but something little in your stomach settles nerves, and water is always good to have around. A make-up bag for last-minute touch ups is also helpful.
I completely agree there. I've been on medic staff for the past two and a half years at multiple conventions, and I can't tell you how many fainting spells we've had to deal with.

People get over heated/don't eat/don't drink enough water/dehydrate, etc.

It's a really nasty thing, but if you don't take proper precautions reguarding eating, you won't be going to *any* cosplay.
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Unread 05-23-2004, 01:39 AM   #13
Dany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherry
People get over heated/don't eat/don't drink enough water/dehydrate, etc.
I am poignantly reminded of something..well, tonight in fact..a something to add to the hydration part: Don't drink caffeinated beverages, especially if you get nervous/hyper/jittery really easy.

It will only make it worse.

Sitting here after having taken migrane pills (that have caffeine in them) made me think on this. Doh.....

Note to self: Get headache meds WITHOUT caffeine for San Diego ComicCon. No one wants to watch Dany bounce off of the walls in the green room. OK, wait, maybe they do, but I tell you, it simply won't match the costume.
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Unread 05-23-2004, 05:09 AM   #14
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Thought of something else related to the masquerade.

Have a backup plan in case your CD doesn't play, if you have music or whatever. Friends were told this right before the masq, and didn't really have time to have a plan b - but they threw something together, and just when they started it, their prerecording came on. Turns out some systems have a problem with burned cds. Just be aware of this. Also, if your skit has any speaking, prerecord it! This way, everyone can hear you. And practice, too. That's essential.
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