Ten tips on how to avoid being “THAT Person” at MCM (or any other convention)
At Geek Syndicate we LOVE conventions and we’re sure you do as well. The biggest one held in the UK is MCM London Comic Con and the May Expo, now a fortnight ago (!), is a fond memory in many of our minds, with a lot of con goers already thinking ahead to October’s convention. MCM London holds a dear place in my heart and like many others I attend both May and October every year, it’s like the geek pilgrimage we all try to make.
Conventions are great for indulging in your passions (Gaming? Comics? Girls with cat ears? Doesn’t matter, cons pretty much have it all), meeting up with friends, making new ones and spending all your money. Overall it’s a pretty fun experience and every year MCM always manages to bring something new and interesting to the table. Unfortunately every year MCM, like any other large social event, also attracts certain kinds of people who can ruin a person’s day.
I’d like to think that none of these convention ruiners hang around on GS too much; at least not the ones who purposefully go out of their way to upset others or just generally act like a dick. However, sometimes a perfectly wonderful human being can be totally unaware that what they’re doing may be bothering, pissing off or all round annoying others.
So here is a rundown of Ten Tips on how NOT to be “That Person” at MCM (or any other convention)*:
- Keep in mind the space you have around you, and the people who may be occupying that space; Don’t suddenly stop in the middle of an aisle, if you need to turn around or change direction then try and move over to a less crowded spot to do so. If you’ve stopped to look at a seller’s table or display don’t step backwards without looking. All of these things will help you to avoid crashing into other people or getting in people’s way. Being mindful of your feet will also prevent stepping on any toes or cosplays.
- ASK PERMISSON TO TAKE A PHOTO! If a photo session is already going on, then go ahead and snap a few shots. If you see someone you want to take a photo of you’ll end up with a much better result if you ask them first! Plus, remember the golden rule for cosplayers: If their arse is on the floor, it’s photos no more! I can tell you from personal experience that myself and my fellow cosplayers will purposely turn away or pull a face if we catch you trying to sneak a photo of us chatting with friends or stopping for coffee.
- Don’t eat and walk! We know MCM has some great food stalls and the ExCel centre offers a wide variety of places to eat but they also make sure there are plenty of places for you to stop and sit down. The main hallway has lots of tables and chairs and this year MCM opened up a whole hall just for sitting somewhere quiet. The dangers of eating and walking are many – don’t be the person to spill ketchup on a cosplayer’s outfit or stink up a whole section with your snack!
- Keep it clean! So you’ve sat down for your food and drink but now you’re finished? Tidy up and throw your rubbish in the bins! I don’t want to hear any nonsense about you not being able to find any – ExCel has loads of bins. The hall even has separate ones for different kinds of recycling. A big complaint from con goers about this May’s MCM is how much rubbish had been thrown on the floor. The bins get emptied regularly throughout the day and there are plenty of them around, you have no excuse to throw ANYTHING on the floor.
- Got a large prop or big cosplay? Tip number one goes extra for you! Not in cosplay but have a backpack on? It’s just as important you keep an extra eye on where you swing that thing especially when it’s on your back, turning around or stepping backwards holds even more danger of you smacking someone in the face or body.
- MCM and other conventions are now much more family and disabled friendly. People will have little ones with them or may be in a wheelchair, use crutches or have a hearing or visual impairment – this shouldn’t disrupt your day in any way but you may need to be prepared to move from a seat or keep bad language at bay around little ears. Just like in any other public space there is always an area intended for people who need that seat more than you might.
- On a similar note to number six – consider how appropriate it is to bring a pram or buggy with you onto the convention floor. Something like a sling or other carrier for the smaller children will be easier on you and those around you. If your child is old enough to walk then leave the buggy at home or in the cloakroom – especially when you want to make your way to the more crowded areas of the convention. You don’t want to run the risk of having the buggy or pram knocked into or even pushed over, it’s easy to miss them in a crowded aisle. You will also fall into the danger zone of bashing into other people, running over feet, blocking the way or possibly damaging a costume or prop.
- Attending a panel? Think about what you want to say in advance. Going to a panel or having a photo with someone you admire can give any of us butterflies, so if you have a question or something you want to say make sure you get ready before it’s your turn. Keep in mind that everything at MCM is run to a schedule – if the actor/writer/model’s photoshoot time slot goes over by then minutes then the panel they have to be at will be late starting by up to thirty (if you include them having to travel from point A to point B, get mic’ed up, have some water or a snack etc). It can be hard, I know, but even if you don’t know what you want to ask when you get the chance either pick a relevant topic, keep it simple or just say “Thank you for being amazing” and move on.
- The guests, panellists and exhibitors are people too; please remember to be respectful to not only your fellow con goers but also the people you are there to see. Imagine your work day or day at school consisted of a few hundred to a few thousand people all wanting a part of your day to chat, ask a question, have a hug or take a photo. If those people started to be rude, demanding or cry because you didn’t give them EXACTLY what they wanted then you’ll get more than a little tired and stressed out. Exhibitors and sellers are there to work as well – respect them and their merchandise, sometimes it’s appropriate to try and strike a deal and sometimes it’s just plain rude to ask for a massive discount. Put yourself in their shoes….and then pay for those shoes if you want them, don’t walk off without paying!
- You’ve heard it a million times – shower and wash your clothes! If your cosplay can’t be washed there are a few tried and tested ways of keeping them fresh; try a fabric deodoriser before and after use, keep your cosplay hanging up in an airy and dry place between cons, use scented draw liners or dryer sheets in and around the cosplay or just stick it outside to air out before wearing. Not in cosplay? This counts for you too, you may love the tee you have on but give it a wash before con and please don’t wear the same thing for the whole three days – conventions can get hot and you will
10A. You know you’re going to get sweaty, you’re conscious of the fact you may start to smell a little less than fresh, so you bring along a body spray or aerosol deodorant. That’s great and thank you for thinking in advance about your fellow con goers! Just please don’t spray yourself in a crowded area. There are LOTS of quiet, out of the way places you can stop and freshen up, this is in addition to the toilets. Using body sprays when in the hall, hallway or any other crowded area is like pepper spraying the people around you, it’s not going directly in your face but what about the person behind you or to your side?
*Gosh, writing disclaimers are starting to be my thing now! Obviously not all of these tips apply to everyone and there will be people who none of these apply to (you golden few) – I must admit to breaking a couple myself over the years (especially the stopping randomly in an aisle or not looking where I’m going) I know some things you can’t help, like getting nervous when talking to a guest or getting sweaty, and some people reading this may think I’ve left out some glaringly obvious ones (which either means I’ve totally forgotten or I do them myself and don’t realise) But just like with my other article/list none of this is intended to cause anyone offense.
Ok, Peace! Nerd Girl out!
GS BLOGGER: Fia @madame_fifi