As an event organiser for animation/comics/cosplay-related fanbases, chances are you’ve invited at least a few guest cosplayers for event publicity and entertain event attendees.
However, its pretty important that these guests get to enjoy themselves too.
I often see lapses in guest management at such events, so here’s a list of to-dos/not-to-dos as reference.
Way Before Event
Ok, so the guests have just confirmed their attendance..
- Event details: Let your guests know EXACTLY what they’re supposed to do for the event as soon as possible, so that they’ll have time to prepare for any performances, or to make any costumes. Be open to negotiating with them.
- Flight, Customs: Get all relevant details from the guests so you can confirm their flights early, let them know their flight details(Airport name, Flight no., check-in timings for arrival and departure, terminals/gates where available, airline company.)
.: Make sure to apply for any required visas in advance.
.: Find out how much baggage allowance they’ll need, whether they want to bring their merchandise to sell, as well as whether they want to bring their own helpers/entire family down.
- Hotel: Book the hotel early to avoid full occupancy. Confirm the hotel name and location with the guests so they can research the surrounding areas to see what they want to do in their free time.
.: It’d be good for the hotel chosen to have free Wifi available for the guests.
- Food: It is your duty to find out every guest’s individual food requirements (Vegetarian, religious, allergies), so that you can effectively plan for event food catering, pre/post-event excursions’ food stops, inform fans of what food they should not give, brief your guest caretakers etc.
You won’t want your guest to suffer from skin rashes on the second day of your event from a food allergy, or have them eat bi bim bap for their entire event duration, yeah?
- Make it clear to any external organisations/individuals that all private arrangements with the guests must have your consent (Indicate the right person for getting the consent), so your guests don’t disappear or become too exhausted for your event.
.: On the other hand, make sure that you honor the consent given or given a proper, polite explanation in the case of a last-minute change, to both parties, otherwise it’ll bring unnecessary stress to the cosplayers and present an unprofessional image.
- Drama: If its possible, find out from reliable sources if any of the guest cosplayers have any form of ‘explosive’ dramatic history beforehand, so that you can plan accordingly and avoid any awkward moments on stage.
.: Don’t force them to perform with each other. Or share the same room. Etc.
- While planning pre/post-event activities, do check with the guests if they want to check out any specific places/interests that you could incorporate into the activities.
- Be sure to inform the guests regarding any last-minute changes, keep them informed.
- Arrival: Be prepared for possible flight problems (Delays, problems in checking in costume parts), arrange prior communication methods.
.: Pick up the guests from the airport. Let the guests know the description of the people picking them up if possible, or the general easy-to-identify location to go if they can’t find them.
.: Be on time, prepare for jams. Don’t let the guests wander around lost at the airport and be subjected to forced bribes by corrupt airport guards while asking for directions.
.: Make sure the person picking them up speaks their language, if possible.
.: Be prepared to assist the guest with possible luggage problems.
.: Know any food places that are open at the airport/nearby, in case the guest is hungry/thirsty.
.: Find out about nearby mobile sim card shops.
.: Plan to allow the guest sufficient sleeping hours.
- Always have a translator/guest helper around the guest where necessary. Be sure to have a reliable form of communication with the guest should he/she need to go elsewhere.
- Post news about the guest’s merchandise and fan sessions early so that fans have time to save up or prepare the right fansigns/gifts/etc.
- Movement plans: Plan the movement of the guests out efficiently for minimum crowd management with the use of blocked rooms, back corridors and staircases, etc.
.: Hire the right helpers/crowd control management personnel with both patience and adaptability, that can easily reject fans’ requests without appearing rude.
- Transportation: Plan a clear route and have backup transportation plans so that the guests can get out safely without hassle.
- Do not place your guest cosplayers’ booth (if any) in the middle of a narrow walkway, or between other exhibitor booths. It’ll just make for a jam even hours before the guests are expected to reach the booth.
.: For merchandise-selling, arrange for trolleys, small-change for the guest cosplayer and other logistics where required.
- Brief the MC(s) regarding relevant information of the guests to avoid embarassing situations.
- Meet the guest sessions: Where possible, prioritize the desire of the cosplayers to interact with fans over the need to end a session exactly on time, plan for buffer time for especially popular guest cosplayer sessions.
.: Ensure the stage helpers are prepared for any over-zealous fans or unexpected incidents.
.: Get at least one stage helper who knows how to use a DSLR (to help fans’ photo requests)
- Plan such that the guest has sufficient resting time before event segments, do not subject them to a continuous day of programmes without sufficient rest.
.: Have some buffer time for a short rest in case they get tired.
.: If there is sufficiently long breaktime, be flexible about allowing the guests to freely wander about the event on their own and interact with fans, but attach a helper/translator to go around together as a point of contact in case any help is needed.
- Interviews: Be alert to insensitive questions from media that may make the guests uncomfortable, be prepared to help out the guests.
- Resting area: Have a closed-off private room with air-conditioning, seating and preferably a mirror for the cosplayer guests to rest and touch up on their makeup. Fans should not be able to peek into the room.
- Water: Often missed out for guests during judging panels or pre performance. It’s pretty sad to see a guest going around asking the public for water for over 5 minutes, making a “I want water” hand-to-mouth motion.
- Food: Never ever forget about the meals for the guest.
.: Be prepared to have a helper takeaway some food from nearby eateries if necessary, and have extra provisions around.
- Always have a translator/guest helper around the guest where needed. Have a reliable form of communication with the guest should he/she need to go elsewhere.
- Do not restrict your guests’ movements after the event, do not force them to ‘stay in the hotel until tomorrow’. Let them have their fun exploring the city.
- Sending off: Send the guests to the airport in advance of their check-in time, in preparation of possible traffic/human jams. Do not pass the guests money at their hotel and ask them to ‘go home’.
.: Stick with the guests until they check-in properly, so that the guest cosplayers won’t be distressed if they can’t speak the local language and the check-in counters are suddenly closed, as an example.
.: Bad publicity for your event if he/she has to post on social media asking for help to check-in.
- For any unpleasant incidents/drama that happen during the event not directly from the actions of the guests, do not communicate this to the guests and expect them to help solve your problems for you through their popularity.
What do you think about this article? Any additional tips for leaving better impressions on guest cosplayers?
Comment below, let us know!