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Your costume looks great! Someone wants your picture! ….and you just stand there with a goofy smile, feet together, arms at your sides… Don’t just stand there! POSE! But how!?

Cool poses are how you sell your costume to the camera. Your pose completes your costume by putting you into character and giving your outfit context. Without a good pose your costume isn’t going to live up to its full potential. No one wants a picture of you blankly staring at them, even if your costume is the best they’ve ever seen. The photographers want a little bit of acting, attitude, and style. People appreciate it when a cosplayer looks rehearsed, and they really appreciate it when a whole group of cosplayers can get into an interesting pose quickly and make it look natural. Group shots that are well planned are some of the most impressive photo-ops that a convention has to offer.

How can you pose better? All it takes is a little practice.

You can start off by drawing the poses that you want to enact. Not too many, start with three or four. When I say draw, I don’t mean that you have to be an artist. Just do a little stick figure doodle of different poses that you think would look cool. If they look good as a doodle on paper, they will probably look good in person. This is especially helpful for group cosplays because it allows you to get all the messy coordinating out of the way on paper, and it allows you to show people where to stand without showing them physically where to stand.

Practice your poses in a mirror and as a group if you are cosplaying as a group. You need to see what you look like in order to get the pose down right. Have your sketch handy so that you can refer back to them, and talk to each other about how to change things up. Once you have your pose down, practice getting into pose from standing so that when someone stops you at the con, you all know where to go.

What are some good rules for creating a good pose? Generally speaking you want to lift your limbs away from your body. The idea is to break up your silhouette to make your pose very readable in any light. Always lift your elbows beyond the point of feeling stupid, and spread your legs in an uncomfortable fashion as well. Typically the more uncomfortable you are, the better you look. Also always try to stretch while posing. If you are standing, elongate your neck and spine. If you are pointing, really point. Over articulate everything. If you are squatting, get really low until it burns. Which brings me to my next piece of advice: start doing squats. It will help you hold those low poses longer without shaking.

When planning a pose you want to think in levels. You need to fit your group into a fairly small space in order to all fit inside the camera lens. In order to do this, you need to stack people. Have some people reaching up high and elongating, while others are crouching, or even sitting.

STRETCH AGAIN! Start stretching daily to improve your range of motion. On the day of the convention, take ten minutes to get in a good stretch before the convention so that you are all warmed up and ready to strike some intense poses.

Don’t forget the face. Practice in a mirror from time to time and find your best angle. Do you look better with your chin up or down? Straight on or head slightly turned? Remember what your face feels like when posing so you can recreate the look for the camera without the help of a mirror.

That’s about all there is to it! Keep these things in mind and you will be posing like a pro in no time. Please feel free to look through some of my cosplay pictures to get a better idea of how to coordinate a group pose if you need more help.

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Hi there readers,

Here are some of the video interviews that I did for Nerd Caliber at Connecticon 2012. I know there are more out there somewhere, because I did interviews the day before this in a different costume, but they don’t seem to be up yet. I will post them when I find them!

League of Legend Cosplayers


Super Mario Group

Catwoman

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To go with my steam-punk attire I have made a sci-fi bolero and another skirt. The bolero matches the ball gown skirt that I already made, but you’ll have to wait to see them paired together until september!

I actually started this skirt months ago when I made my bustle because I loved the fabric. However at the time, I couldn’t decide what to do with the skirt to make it interesting. I didn’t have enough fabric to make a full-length skirt, and a knee-length circle skirt seems a little plain for a costume. I’m striving for extravagance, here. So I decided to tack the skirt up on itself to create some bustling in the front. A little short by itself, but I think it will go great with the right pair of bloomers, or used as an overskirt. to embellish something longer. I know I’ll use it for something!

I tend not to iron things before I photograph them, I know. It is just so painful to iron something only to store it in my closet for a month or two before wearing it out.

As I said before, the bolero is the same material as the full length skirt I recently put together. It’s a heavy suiting cotton which takes on different colors in different lights; sometimes it’s green, sometimes grey, green, or brown. I didn’t have a pattern for a bolero, so I had to wing it. I did print out a free pattern from butterick.com, but quickly realized why it was free–thankfully before cutting. The free pattern was just totally wrong, especially the arm holes, and would not have been wearable. Recognizing this pattern flaw right away prevented me from waisting any valuable fabric. Yay! But now I had no pattern.

I ended up starting with a pattern for a bodice, and did some major modifications. I raised the neckline, thickened the shoulders, cropped it, rounded the bottom, etc. The pleating is totally my own, no help from any sort of pattern there. The “sleeves” if you can call them that, are actually from a pattern for a cap sleeve but are supposed to be half that size. Instead of folding them in half, I just lined them and used the large version. It is a very dramatic shape, but I was going for a sci fi look after all. Plus if I’m going to wear a skirt that’s three times my size, I’ve got to balance things out up top. now I’ve got to come up with a shirt that will go well with this bolero. Sleeves or no? Leave me comments!

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Remember that skirt I posted in this post? Well I told you I had added channels inside the seams to put draw-strings through so that I could bustle and change the skirt to fit the occasion, and now, I have pictures to share!

Here is that very same skirt with the drawstrings tied up. I bought some extra long shoe laces off of ebay, and strung them through the channels. When the drawstrings are untied, the skirt hangs at its full length, but when you pull the drawstring, the skirt gathers around it to form this stunning bustle.

Here is a close up,

And from the other side. The skirt can’t be made super short, but it the drawstring can pull it up to about my knees, if I wanted.

Yup, I’m very happy with how it turned out.

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Connecticon! The most diverse convention in New England. Connecticon has every genre that a Nerd could ever want: Anime, Gaming, Tabletop, Larping, Steampunk, Trolling, Comics, Memes, Literature, Fantasy, Webcomics, etc. I first attended Connecticon back in 2003, it’s very first year, and have watched it grow into one of the area’s biggest multi-genre cons. And this convention will continue to grow, as indicated by its massive increase in attendance this year. The official numbers have not yet been released, but the staff said that they almost sold out of badges on Saturday, and they had more panel submissions than ever before. Here is my review of Connecticon 2011.

Time and Location: The middle of July is a nice time to have a convention, especially when the building that it is held in has air-conditioning! The Connecticut Convention center is a great place to hold a large event. It is very spacious, and has relatively nice decor. Instead of the plain white walls that other conventions are filled with, Connecticon has pretty red carpeting, chairs, windows, and large staircases both inside and out which can be used as nice backdrops for cosplay photography. Because the convention is held during the summer, more people can attend because they have fewer commitments to school and sports. Though the weather isn’t always perfect, as we saw on Friday which was hot and extremely humid, Connecticon typically has a nice day or two, and very nice evening weather.

Parking: Parking at the Connecticut Convention center is wonderful. Connecticon set up a deal with the Marriot parking garage, which is attached to the Convention Center where attendees of the con could buy multi or single day parking passes for a discounted rate. What’s even better is, all parking passes came with in/out privileges!!  This is awesome if you want to leave the convention center to get food, have a hotel a few blocks away, or want to go home to change and then come back for evening programming. This year, a one day pass was only $15. So if you filled your car with five people, a one day parking pass was only $3 a person!


Food: Food at the Convention Center is a little limited. They have one vending area where you can get junk food like french fries, chicken nuggets, and lo mien, a cafe where they have coffee, donuts, and apples, and a starbucks downstairs in the Marriot. But that’s all that’s in the convention center. Plus the food is pricey. A small thing of french fries was $3 if I remember correctly. And I mean small. Plus there were not many healthy options. Hartford is a city, and so there is food in the are, but Hartford is also not a very safe city, and you wouldn’t want to have a group of young teenagers in conspicuous costumes roaming the city streets in search of food after dark.


Merchandise:
The Dealer’s room was very spacious, with a good variety of items for sale, I thought. They had manga stands, steam-punk booths, girly frilly things, dvds, weapons, and a lot of art and hand-made items in the dealer’s room as well. A big improvement from last year, they did allow bags into the dealers room this year. Last year there was an hour wait to get your bag back from the bag check, and some items were lost or damaged. While the convention still did not allow bags into the gaming area, letting attendees bring them into the dealer’s room prevented a lot of headaches. The Artist’s alley, as with all conventions these days, was over-packed. The room was both too small, and there were too many artists in it. There was not enough isle space to stop and browse, and still let people (in costumes especially) walk past.  The lighting was also a big problem, as it was very dim and unreliable. I heard several complaints about the lighting situation, but the staff said they were guaranteed to fix that next year by moving artist’s alley to a better location.

Lines: Overall there were very few lines. Though there were required lines for main events, there wasn’t any problem getting people into the events. There were a few problems with some of the more popular panels filling up rapidly. I myself waited in line to get into the Uncle Yo stand-up comedy act because all seats were filled for the first half of the performance. I eventually did get in, but missed most of what I wanted to see. Connecticon staff did film the act from the beginning, and are going to post it on youtube for those who were not able to get in.

Staff: The Connecticon staff, as always, were very friendly, helpful, and patient. There was one red-head who, though not a member of Connecticon’s staff, but probably a panel leader, as explained in the comments below was really rude and cold to a group of boys in front of me in line for that same Uncle Yo act. When she walked to the front of the line to enter the room, the boys, who were first in line, told her that the panel was full, as we all had been doing for attendees that were wandering ahead of the line without noticing (?) that there was a line. She then proceeded to shove her “event leader” badge in their faces, and point to the title without a word, but with a very angry look on her face. She had no uniform on, and was bringing another what-looked-like-an-attendee into the panel with her. The boys had no way of knowing that she was a staff member (or she was pretending to be at least), and were perfectly polite in their attempts to prevent cutting in line. (There were no other staff members actively guarding the door) But she responded to them with a very unprofessional gesture.

Though the Connecticon staff was very professional, the Convention Center staff was anything but. Now, to be clear the convention center staff do not have anything to do with Connecticon. They are employees of the convention center itself and cannot be held accountable by Connecticon. However, they do have an impact on the convention experience, so I am including them in my review. I found the convention center staff to be generally unpleasant. They all seemed quite miserable and annoyed at the “kids” in Sci-Fi outfits intrusion of their convention center. They were mostly rude, did not listen to attendees when they had complaints, yelled at con-goers for running repeatedly when once would suffice, and even worse, I saw more than one convention center staff openly ogling some of the female convention attendees. If their job was to make guests feel welcome, they did a great job failing.

But again, the Connecticon staff, volunteers and paid employees, were very pleasant!

Main Events/Panels and Scheduling: The only problem with the programming at Connecticon is the there just aren’t enough hours in the day. There was a lot of really great programming this year, and though I was busy all day every day, there was still so much more that I wanted to see. I seemed to end up at a lot of comedic panels and events, which were quite entertaining. But that’s not all that Connecticon had to offer; the variety was outstanding. There was everything from giant robots and drawing with light,  to Lady Gaga and “My Little Pony”.  I thought that the “Death Match” was very entertaining, and the addition of the zombie hoard to the main events crew was very effective. The comedy tour and “Hater’s Gonna Hate” trolling panel were hilarious, as was the Uncle Yo act.  The boffer tournament was great fun to see as I strolled about the exhibit halls, and the con feedback panel was very informative. The screening rooms were a bit difficult to find, and I did not see many people in them, but there were some grate titles on the schedule. I suggest you take a look at Connecticon.org for a complete look at this year’s schedule, if you’re curious to see the vast variety, as well as what you missed.

Cosplay: From what I could tell, there were not as many really well put-together cosplays as last year. There were certainly still some really awesome costumers, and as with the programming, the variety of costumes was very impressive, but in the past I remember looking out over the crowd and seeing a sea of costumed figures. This year, there was a larger ratio of street clothes to fantastic and colorful costumes than I expected. As for the individuals themselves, I found all of the cosplayers that I interacted with to be very friendly, and willing to pose for pictures as well as talk about their costumes.

The general population’s response to my own cosplay was very positive and well appreciated. I received a lot of compliments on my appearance this weekend, and even those who did not have a camera on them went out of their way to tell me, and other cosplayers that they looked great. The staff was also very understanding of the challenges that go with cosplaying. I myself stored my convention badge in my boot so that it would not be in my photographs. Because of this, it took an extra second to pull it out and show a staff member before I entered an event hall. All staff was patient, and some, just seeing that I was in costume, and the chain of the badge poking out of my boot, said that was sufficient evidence that I was a paying attendee and let me through without me having to take out my badge (even if it does only take a second).

Other notes: Though not perfect, Connecticon is constantly making improvements; at the convention feedback panel at the end of the weekend, the staff let the audience in on many of the changes that they plan to implement next year. All of which sounded great to me. The most significant improvement to look forward to, I think, is the release of a new website. Connecticon’s website has long been known for how terrible it is. We are a community of nerds–surely by our powers combined we can do better than a site a that looks like it was built and hosted in 1999 for free. Well apparently this issue is finally being addressed, and soon Connecticon will have a site that suites its awesome.

Anyway, I give Connecticon 2011 4.5 out of 5 stars. I heard a lot of attendants say that this was the best weekend of their lives. I don’t necessarily share in that level of enthusiasm, but I still had a really great time. As I said earlier, I wish that there was more time in a day so that I could experience more of Connecticon. There was just so much going on, I feel like this con could run a second weekend no problem. The people were great, the activities were great, and the parking was so affordable! Yay Connecticon! Keep up the good work.


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If you’ve never been to an Anime, SciFi, or Video game convention before, you should know that they are a great way to meet new people who share your interests, spending the day attending awesome events and seeing some real characters! But you should also know that they involve long days on your feet, waiting in lines, and moving through dense crowds of people. Conventions can be an absolute blast if the properly planned, but they can turn into a flop if an individual is unprepared. Long tiresome days can even be dangerous without the necessary supplies.

Doom and gloom aside, there are different things that a con-goer will need depending on whether or not they will be cosplaying–that is, dressing up in a costume. So I have separated the survival kit into two sections; items that everyone should bring or have access to at the convention whether you are cosplaying or not, and items that cosplayers should remember to bring in addition to the basics.

Stuff Everyone needs:

Medication– Obviously  if you are taking any daily medication, you should bring it with you to the convention. Bad things happen when people don’t take their meds, and ambulances can put a stop to the fun real quick.

Camera – There are going to be a lot of people dressed in costume at these conventions, as well as actors and stars from your favorite shows or games. A camera comes in handy for when you want to preserve the moment. It isn’t so much a necessity as it is added fun.

Money – Don’t go anywhere without some emergency cash or cards. You never know what you might want or need it for.

Identification – In order to pick up your convention badge, you are going to need some form of picture identification. Will will also need this ID later if you want to get into any of the 18+ events.

Comfortable Shoes – Unless you are at an artist or dealers booth, you are going to be doing a lot of walking. And even if you are at a booth, you will probably still be on your feet all day. A convention is three days long, and you don’t want your feet to be covered in blisters on the first day. So please, stay comfy.

Water and Food – Necessity. You need it to live and to stay conscious. And you need real food too. You cannot live off of that vending machine down the hall for three days. Please, bring food with you to the con, or at least have money and a plan for where to get some good food.

A Plan – Conventions are packed with events and panels, all of which overlap. It is very easy to miss something that you wanted to go to because you don’t have a schedule or because you haven’t decided on your event priorities. You don’t have to plan your day out down to the minute before hand, but it does help to say to yourself, “Okay, I know I want to go to the masquerade, so I’d better get in line at X o’clock and I will have to decide between panel A and panel B at 2.” Having a rough idea of where to go when will help you maximize your weekend.

Cosplayer Survival Kit: this is a list of added supplies to bring if you are attending the con in costume.

Glue – Maybe a good thing to leave in the car or the hotel room, but it is useful to have some craft glue handy incase anything on your costume falls off.

Scissors – Again, for fixing costumes which involves cutting thread. Another thing to keep in the car or room.

Tape – This is one I try to keep on me. If something is on the verge of breaking and I need to hold it together until I can get to the glue, having a roll of medical tape or duct tape in your purse is useful and saves you the walk back to the car if it can be fixed with tape. But obviously, this takes up a lot of space, and so many will decide to also, keep this one in the car.

Travel Sewing Kit – More and more conventions today have “Cosplay Repair Stations” where some materials are provided on-site to fix your broken costumes with. But, supplies are limited and if your costume breaks well into the con, there may not be any left of what you need to fix it. Having a travel sewing kit with you in your car or hotel room is a good idea.

Safety Pins – This is a must-have in your pockets or shoes or where-ever you can stick ’em. Safety pins are a life-saver for costumes that are getting their first wear. If there’s something that isn’t laying how you want it to, pin it down. If this part is feeling kind of heavy and you’re afraid the seam won’t hold, pin it up. If an elastic snaps and now your leg warmers are falling down, pin it back together. I keep pins on me all convention. Things shift and move with wear, and where you thought that piece might have fallen may not be where its falling. So pin it now, and later, tack it in place with your travel sewing kit.

Hair Pins – For securing wigs to your head! I also always have these on me in my pockets the whole time that I am wearing a wig. You may think that the wig is secure, but things shift throughout the day. Instead of taking all the pins out to re-pin the whole thing, just reenforce it to prevent a shift if you feel it, or to prevent further shift if its already moved a little.

Well, that’s it for my list. Sure, there may be other things that you want to bring depending on your costume or your plans for the day. A lot of people bring a sweatshirt, a change of clothes, and their gameboys, but these are what I consider necessities. Have fun at the con!

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