Taking proper care of overseas guest cosplayers at your event.

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..

Now what?

- 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.

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- 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.

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- 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.

2a75- 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?

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- Health: Find out if your guests have any drug allergies or medical conditions in case of medical emergencies.

- 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.

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- 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.

Before Event

- Be sure to inform the guests regarding any last-minute changes, keep them informed.

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- 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.

During Event
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- Know the location of the nearby pharmacies to get gastric pills, period pain relief medication, 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)

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- 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.

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- 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.

Post Event

- 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.

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- Not compulsory, but it’d be nice to have some gifts for the guests to thank them for coming as well :)

What do you think about this article? Any additional tips for leaving better impressions on guest cosplayers?
Comment below, let us know!

Interview with Animenz and theishter – Post-Attack On Piano Concert!

So I had the privilege of being able to attend an anime music concert recently, titled “Attack On Piano”. (https://www.facebook.com/attackonpiano)
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At this concert, majority of the songs were performed by two popular pianists, theishter and Animenz, flown all the way across the world from Canada and Germany respectively!1270570_580980475281090_336883568_o
Source: https://www.facebook.com/attackonpiano

You can also find them at:
Animenz:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Animenzzz
and
https://www.facebook.com/Animenz

TheIshTer:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TehIshter
and
https://www.facebook.com/ishter

Surrounded by fans post-concert, I decided to contact them for an online interview instead; they were gracious enough to accept my request almost immediately.
For both fans who enjoyed their concert as well as overseas supporters who really wanted to be here, do take the time to read their thoughts and reflections below :)

[Q: Question asked by me , AN = Animenz, TH = TheIshTer]

Q: To start off, any favourite foods that you guys encountered in Singapore while you were here? I noticed the post about the durian ;)

TH:

CHICKEN RICE!! Boy, this was really tasty. But other than restaurants, Animenz and I went to the local food court as well; and the food there was absolutely delicious. I really loved the atmosphere of local food stands in other places (very much like the Halal food stands in New York, for those who are familiar)

AN:

Oh man, where do I begin? This is because I generally adore Asian food, especially noodles and soy bean products. I think there were absolutely no dish I didn’t like during my stay in singapore. Well, except for the Durian. I immediately vomited when I tasted it the first time. But I assume this is a “normal” reaction, if an “ignorant” westener tastes something exotic like this for the first time. Seriously, I never would have imagined that a fruit can have a taste that strong. One drop of durian juice could probably flavor a bathtub of water, lol.

Q: This is something that many people instinctively remarked when they first heard about the concert: One German, one Canadian, and a concert in Singapore, why the strange combination, Wow!

Of course I can ask the organisers about their perspective, but many of us are also interested in your point of view: How did this charity collaboration come about, and why did you choose the first collaboration to be in Singapore instead of being in Europe or North America?

TH:

Actually, the coordinator contacted us to perform for a charity, so that was the reason for the Singapore venue. In fact, Singapore is a GREAT place to have collaboration concerts due to the fact that it’s such a small country and anime fans are merely at best, just hours away from the concert.

AN:

In fact, I would even fly to Alaska if the concert was held there, because I thought this is a BIG chance for me to finally meet up with some fans and of course Ishter himself!

TH:

^ That’s true, it really is a special meeting. A pianist from Germany and Canada is a very strange combination as you said. It doesn’t happen, and it wont happen often so from both our perspectives as well as the audience, we’re really glad that the event actually happened!

Q: How did you find the Singapore audience’s reaction/participation during the concert, as well as any post-thoughts after the meeting with your music fans?

AN:

It was mind-blowing. I never expected an audience of this scale. And their enthusiasm and participation (especially that Shingeki No Kyojin salute when i appeared), it was the best audience I could ever wish for. I felt like a Rockstar in the Budokan, lol.

TH:

As for the post-thoughts, I really thought about how lucky we are to have these kinds of fans. All the support… it’s incredibly inspiring. For some reason, instead of being egotistic, this realization of our fame actually made us more humble in retrospect because of how surprised we are of the audience reaction. We couldn’t believe that people are this passionate about our arrangements and transcriptions, and thus it motivates us to work harder in the future.

As for me, I saw my love for performing for the first time. I realized how much joy it brings the painstaking process of arranging and transcribing, and sharing it to the world. To think that the ideas, the emotion and the passion I put into the music is actually being appreciated by others… it’s the greatest feeling a musician could ever experience.

Q: How did you get to know about anime/manga, what was the first series and first song that interested you (That you can remember)?

TH:

The usual Dragonball, Pokemon, etc. mainstream anime is how I knew about anime, but I think it was when I watched Evangelion with my older cousin was when I truly wanted to know more about this type of animation. Obviously I was a kid at the time so the DEEPNESS that is Neon Genesis Evangelion went completely over my head. Like wtf is happening lol.

After that, I started watching anime on TV when I was in the US. I still remember vividly the dubbed anime that was shown on TechTV like Serial Experiments Lain and Gatekeepers 21.

As for the song, the farthest I could remember was arranging the Chobits OP – “Let Me Be With You” long ago, and To Aru Kagaku no Railgun’s OP for my first ever sheet music transcription about 3 years ago.

AN:

I have a really similar story like Theisther:

I also watched mainstream anime series like Digimon and Dragonball Z on the German television and when i watched Elfenlied, the first “real” anime besides the mainstream stuff, I was immeditely hooked. I think Elfenlied gained a lot of fame when it aired, I used to be a hardcore PC gamer and it was mentioned on a gamer forum. After watching Elfenlied, my interest began to change from PC gaming to anime watching; and I began to actively searching for anime series on the internet and streaming on Youtube.

Q: What has kept you going strong in creating all these musical pieces[maybe I can have a better term for ‘musical pieces’] for these few years? Any specific memorable moment(s)?

AN:

I received piano lessons when I was 6 years old and therefore my interest for classical music began very early. This is the reason why my sheets occasionally has elements of classical piano pieces. My two main inspirations were either piano Sonatas from Beethoven or the piano pieces from Liszt. But one of my goals was also to incorporate as many elements as possible from the original track in my transcriptions. Therefore I experimented a lot and use unique rhythms for the left hands, or including “three hand techniques” which basically means, you play three independent voices with only two hands. I actually didn’t know the concept of “three hand technique” beforehand, it was just derived one day from my countless experimentation on my piano. Many people don’t know, but I spend a lot of time for every single one of my sheet. Sometimes, I even struggle hours and hours for a single bar of the sheet, because I wanted to achieve the “perfect sheet, where every written down note is absolute”, same as Beethoven has intended with his works.

TH:

As for me, for 9 years of piano experience, I’m completely self-study with absolutely no classical training or music theory whatsoever, so literally everything I learned is “monkey see monkey do”. The first person who inspired me was Kyle Landry which is how I learned about octave melodies and arpeggio left hands. After that, I also admired classical pianists like Yundi Li and Lang Lang as I discovered how much they love performing in front of people (and actually the pianists who inspired me to have my signature big left hand jumps style~)

But all in all, the absolute person that inspires me to keep going is Pianeet. He is literally the anime piano god pianist, and my ultimate wish is to genuflect in front of him and touch his holy hands (no homo).

Q: Is there any specific genre/theme of anime series that interests you the most? As well as the type of anime music that is to your preference?

TH:

For anime shows, I have the two extremes from awesome fun to really serious and dark shows. Slice of Life is one genre I really love watching, but at the same time I also love watching Psychological anime with dark themes as Psychology is what I’m actually studying in university and I’m really interested in similar topics like that.

For anime music, I really like ones that incorporate orchestral strings. There’s something about a fusion of j-pop style with drums and electric guitars and paired with a full size orchestra that’s really fascinating.

In another note: I’m a massive fanboy of Haruna Luna, Kotoko and Minori Chihaya. Iyaaaa~~~

AN:

Oh wow, I can’t believe how similiar both mine and Ishters tastes are.

Yes, I also like all kind of anime series, from comedy to drama, and I also especially love slice of life and thought-provoking animes. But I think I have a weakness for trainwreck series aka “so bad it’s good again”-anime. It’s just too much fun making fun of them. As for music, I love every kind of orchestral soundtracks, especially those that include a choir to create a “epic” feeling. Asides from that, I generally like all kind of anime music, I think the only pieces I don’t like are the ones with extremely high pitched voices and a very fast tempo. Oh, and a massive fanboy of Kalafina and FLOW here. I think many fans will kill me for saying this but I don’t like Vocaloid music at all, lol. Mainly because I dislike artificially generated voices since I am grown up with classical music….

Q: A few fans mentioned that both of you got to travel to Singapore’s STGCC convention this year, and they were wondering if you guys happened to meet TAMUSIC, another amazing musician invited from Japan? (http://www.youtube.com/user/violinpiano2)

I’ll also ask something linked to that: Do you think that anime music collaborations with musicians of other musical instruments/vocalists would be something that you may want to try out in the future? Or do you already have any individuals/groups in mind : )

AN:

: Yes we both met him there, he was just sitting in the booth with his trademark sunglasses, like a boss. I hesitated a bit before I approached him, but in the end, I even took a picture of him.

TH:

He also seemed to be a bit tired when we saw him at his booth, but he was still nice enough to allow us to get a picture~

I think it’s inspiring to see him grow in fame as it shows that it’s possible for Animenz and I to be successful also. Anime cover musicians aren’t really that mainstream yet, so the accomplishment of TAMUSIC and Marasy is something to marvel at.

As for collaborations, I think they are very healthy for musicians. For me, I’m more of a solo performer so once in a blue moon, a piano duet collab or a piano + viola collab is refreshing and allows us to experience a workplace with someone else than ourselves. It also seems like a “special event” to the audience, and really makes it exciting that way.

AN:

Yeah, I can definitely see that the trend for collaborations on Youtube is already rising! Many anime pianists are collaborating with either a singer or strings already, and I definitely believe this is a really cool opportunity to strengthen the relationships between different Youtubers. I usually upload piano solo pieces, but I can tell that the duets with Theishter are definitely more fun! Especially our latest Jiyuu No Tsubasa duet.

Q: Last question folks. Any message you would like to give to the fans who attended your concert, as well as those from around the world?

AN:

Thank you so much for coming to our concert in Singapore! We wouldn’t have made it so far without your support and we will definitely make another live performance happen in the future! Stay tuned!

TH:

I’d like to say that we owe our success to you, the audience. Without you, we would have only been closet anime fans who occasionally play the piano, but you all have allowed us to combine our best hobbies: anime and piano.

We’re still young in our musical career and we hope that you’ll stay with us through this journey, through exciting times but through tough times as well. In the end, it’s the love for anime and piano that will keep us together, so let’s enjoy that connection as much as possible~ Until next time!

And that’s it for the interview! I really hope you enjoyed their answers; and I sincerely hope they’d grace us with their presence again in the future ^.^ Do support them on their youtube and facebook pages if you love their music!