Friends Behind the Mask

In last year’s Comic Con issue, I wrote about cosplay in regard to personal discovery and was able to practice what I preached at Rhode Island Comic Con after the article was printed. Cosplay has played a huge role in my adult life and I like to share what I’ve learned with everyone. This year, my panel, Limitless Cosplay: Networking and Making Friends, will appear on the Friday schedule soon to be released. This panel, co-hosted with fellow cosplayer and friend Shawn Todd of Sith Lantern Cosplay and Je’Daii Leather Crafts, will attempt to help attendees understand the value of comic cons and cosplay in regard to how they make friends and business connections, like photographers and established organizations, while offering tips to improve.

bedazzlerComic Con is a convention, which is just another name for a conference. The difference between the two is a conference is considered formal while a convention is informal. This informal gathering grants attendees liberties like cosplay and showing off their inner nerd in public. Why would anyone want to do this? Just like sports fans wearing their jerseys, so can nerds show our “team spirit.” Our teams have names like Potterheads, Trekkies, Browncoats and more. We are passionate people just looking for our place to belong and more of our kind. Comic Con is a perfect place to belong with our brethren, and it couldn’t be any easier. Whether it’s in the halls checking out the costumes or standing in line for a panel starring our favorite popular celebrity, this mecca brings everyone from the woodwork.  It’s the literal bat signal and all the Batmen are flying at the commissioner on the roof. You never know who you’re going to meet! Man, woman, alien, wizard, Jedi or brony.

We look to comic books for entertainment. We want to be amused. We are also social creatures. Once we get over the initial anxiety to leave the house or anxiety of talking to people, we make it to the show. Now to initiate conversation with a stranger, who is just a friend you haven’t met yet!

  • Make eye contact
  • Approach with a smile
  • Give a compliment about their costume, the pin on their jacket or bag, their hat or scarf. Compliment anything that is not something they can’t control, like their height or looks.
  • Give a reason why you like it coupled with “I’m [insert your name here]!” while offering a wave or maybe a handshake. (Be warned, there are people who don’t like to be touched or have costumes that prevent you from being able to shake their hand.)

At that point they should introduce themselves. If they’re receptive to making new friends, they may continue the conversation. If they end it, don’t take it personally. Comic Con is busy with so much to do they might have to get somewhere. (Also look for clues that now might not be the best time to chat prior to pulling the trigger.) But as big as the con is, you are more than likely going to run into them again. And maybe the next time, they won’t be in such a rush. How will you know until you give it a try? 

So if you’re interested in boldly going out in cosplay to level up on your friend-making and networking tips, join us at Comic Con on November 10. We can’t wait to meet you. “Allons y!”   

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