Now when the bitterness from NärCon have calmed down a bit, I’ve started to think about what I want to get out of a convention. How would the perfect convention look for me, what activities would really excite me?
I do not think it is possible to create a single con that would be perfect for everyone, and what I want to get out of a con changes with my mood and company, so keep in mind that it’s only a “in the best of worlds”-scenario.
Most of the time I will probably spend talking with friends, but I can do that outside the con, so they also need something that I wouldn’t get from a regular meetup. For me the only thing that really interests me are the stage shows. Opening Ceremony, Cosplay Show, Closing Ceremony, and other random fun shows like gameshows and talk shows.
The opening ceremony is usually the most boring of the stage shows, so it need something special otherwise I won’t go. If it’s only reminders like “Eat, Drink, Sleep, Shower” and talking to guests then I won’t bother going. The opening ceremony need to get the excitement going and leave me with a feeling of “Yeah! It’s started!”
The cosplay show should have the normal walk on, and skits. Nothing more. No performance contest. If the con is big enough to attract a lot of good cosplayers then the contest should have Novice/Intermediate/Master categories (otherwise just a single category). Then it should also be optional for the Master category to do performances.
The contest should have an intro-skit, an intermission-skit, and a closing-skit, all made by the same people and have a clear storyline between the three. The winner of Best Skit get the honor of doing the three intermission skits next year, this will make it more attractive to compete with a skit and it would hopefully attract the groups that normally do intermission skits to start compete again. Prize categories for the contest should include both Best Cosplay, Audience Choice, and a lot of smaller more fun prizes. The winners should get some kind of physical prize such as a trophy.
The closing ceremony should tie the weekend together, give out prizes and show an after-movie. It should leave me wanting to return next year.
I also want to see fun activities and gameshows, like Jeopardesu and Grand Batsu. They don’t have to be that serious and should just be about having fun with contestants.
The venue should be easy to get to. I’d say max 2h by train from Stockholm, with no need to change trains. And then when you arrive in the city, the con should be located either close to the train station, or close to a bus-/subway-stop.
Also close to the venue there need to be a food store, a hotel, and the sleeping halls. Food, drink, sleep, and showers are the most important things for a pleasant convention experience, and the con should make it as easy as possible to get access to it even if it doesn’t directly generate money for the con.
The venue itself should have both indoor and outdoor areas, but should be planned in such a way that everything can take place indoors in case of bad weather. This includes not selling more tickets than the indoor area can handle.
The stage must be indoors, no exceptions. It should be a big stage with permanent light, sound, and video arrangements. Comfortable seats for the audience, do not make the audience stand. Think a real theatre stage, like the one UppCon had.
The venue and its outdoors area should have charm and character, providing good photoshoot locations for a variety of themes.
There need to be dedicated changing rooms for cosplay, with lots of mirrors and space to move around.
The indoor area should have big and open areas with big doorways for big cosplays, as well as smaller areas for lectures and places to hang with friends. These smaller places need to be comfortable and not too loud. Avoid stairs if possible.
Guests I want to see are people that can bring something to the Swedish cosplay community. Guests with knowledge that can be shared at lectures. I do not care about fame, I want to learn. Either that, or guests that are real entertainers, that can do stage shows and participate in gameshows. I do not want to see guests that get invited for their fame, and is then never seen at the con, providing no value to the visitors.
Since I mostly go to conventions to cosplay and meet friends, there are not that many activities that interests me. I only participate in a very select few activities and those are lectures and workshops about cosplay related subjects. And even then I only go if I have nothing else to do (my priorities are: stage shows, walk in cosplay, hang with friends, and lectures).
How it’s organized:
Everything is open, everyone should have insight into how decisions are made, how they reasoned to come to these decisions. The visitors and community should feel that their input is valuable.
The organizers should listen to their visitors. And I mean really listen, not just look at the statistics of a survey and see that the visitors want cosplay guests and then just invite the one with the most Facebook likes. No, they need engage in the community and find out what the visitors really want.
It should be rewarding to work as a staff at the con. Consider even paying money to the staff in the less popular teams. Take care of your staff, do not overwork them.
I don’t mind there being a lot of people at the con (more people to see my cosplay, and more new friends to get to know). But both the organization and the indoor-venue need to be able to handle all the visitors.
I don’t mind the ticket price being high, if it means that the quality of the con is also high.
Edit: If the con is open 24/7, then the food stores run by the con need to be open as well. If the con is not open 24/7, then it need to open around 8 in the morning (or earlier). Maybe even provide real breakfast like cereal, bread, and porridge for cheap/free (like DinoCon:01 did).
That is what I can think the perfect convention should have. I probably missed a lot, but it is what I could come up with right now.