Notes on the New Fandom Survey from Eventbrite to be Presented at SDCC

Recently there was a new fandom survey with data that will be presented at SDCC.

Here are the results from on ICv2: http://icv2.com/articles/columns/view/31899/new-eventbrite-survey-reveals-convention-demographics-spending-patterns

It gives an a good overview, but it is missing a few points.

Now the survey was very interesting with screenshots of it here:

Eventbrite Fandom Events Survey 2015 page 01

Eventbrite Fandom Events Survey 2015 page 02

Eventbrite Fandom Events Survey 2015 page 03

Now I had plenty of notes for the survey which I sent to the organizers/reviews by email which are basically here:

Safe at cons is a complex topic that was asked in the survey. I’ll be leaving the notes out about that for now.

Let me start with the notes on Page 1:

4. With regard to cosplay (dressing in costume at shows), which statement best captures your attitude?

  • I don’t cosplay
  • I sometimes attend in a mask or costume but it’s just casual
  • I am a serious cosplayer and spend a lot of time working on my costume
  • Cosplay is the main focus of my fandom and the reason I go to fan events

These were the only options offered.

There’s actually a few more levels to this (as many con-goers and especially cosplayers know). You can be serious cosplayer with spending a lot of time on costumes it is series/character/version dependent. It’s not just “no”, “casual”, and “serious”.

What missing here is an important aspect commissioners: There is also a large commission business who create costumes for others. Some will be a part of the Her Universe Fashion Show, plus as many are fashion designers as well and they add more levels to what is considered cosplay and geek fashion, which sometimes cross. Especially with beach fashions, lingerie designs, etc. Some of these come from official art and/or inspired by other artists such as No-Flutter.

Plus cosplay when going to cons for cosplay, usually means doing photoshoots. For an increasing number of cosplayers now this also means to get photos which can be then sold as cosplay prints online (sometimes just as digital files) and possibly at future shows.

Turning cosplay into profits does not apply to everyone and I would say does not apply most of the people who go to conventions (I would approximate 90% and higher), however there are lots of people want to be cosfamous (being famous because of cosplay online with tens of thousands, to millions of followers on facebook and twitter). You see this with the rise of more and more print sales/shops, etc. which are easy to setup on platforms like storenvy, etsy, etc.

In a related note another reason with cosplay is to get noticed in cosplay (then liked, shared, and promoted through social media). This usually falls into the impressive and/or sexy categories because of you build up a fan base and notoriety it can turn into a continuous stream of income. Maybe (and usually) not enough to replace a job/career but it can be significant and this is before additional fan funded activities such as donations, twitch streams, etc. Again this does not apply to everyone.

These are short notes on the topic and I have given a more in-depth analysis about the Cosplay Economy during my presentation at Anime Expo 2013.

Again, getting photos to turn into saleable items does not apply to everyone. Many of the venues have beautiful locations in where people like to shoot. Sometimes this is why they do the shoots to get great photos in beautiful locations.

I have been continuing my research into these topics including the 18+ versions of the Cosplay Economy and the International Cosplay Economy. These are also partly included above.

This also does not cover the charity work done by cosplayers for various, hospitals, etc. The 501st being a prime example.

However, the pursuit of cosplay photos (even if not for sale post-con) has also lead to ghosting/lobby coning at conventions, which is using the facilities of a convention for photoshoots and not paying for the convention itself.

Some conventions are working to combat this by requiring badges to be had when doing photoshoots. Some are working to have a photoshoot only badge for cosplayers and photographers. This normally does not occur at the mega events yet. Though you are seeing more photoshoot setups made for photographers and cosplayers, along with the usual beautiful locations.

When they are selling cosplay prints at a con this becomes the primary reason why they cosplay at a show. As a part of fan relations. However this more applicable to those who are selling as a part of vendors/artist alleys, etc. If you are hired/sponsored/asked by a company to cosplay then of course that will be a primary reason to cosplay a show. This is not be confused with any competitions at conventions which can be a primary reason why people cosplay at conventions.

Page 2:

Point 5: Asks about Fandom Related Ticketed Activities

Now fandom related ticketed activities are increasing with many occurring in cities. These are common in cities such as NYC and LA and many cities also have fandom interest venues such as Battle and Brew in Atlanta, The Waystation a Doctor Who themed bar in Brooklyn. There is an increasing number of these with cosplay hosts. Two that come to mind that happen often Club Cosplay run by Bernie Bergman (@NERDSLIKEUS), and the various Sonicboombox events held in NYC and at various cities around convention times. These type of events are often held in nightclubs and in many cases have various sponsors such as fandom interest companies such as local stores (comics and pop culture shops) the various monthly box services (Loot crate, Hero crate, Nerd Block, etc ) along with occasional alcohol sponsors and many times having cosplay hosts. The hosts are a draw for the events as people like to go and meet and possibly party with them. Hosts usually also receive a percentage of the admissions and profits.

Many companies also host their own parties as a mix of brand awareness especially at the larger mega class events.

Separately there is a large amount of fandom related burlesque events which are almost all ticketed, and have a large amount of at door cash sales. Nerdlesque as this is called is a very large discussion topic as well for events.

In many instances there are overlap in the content at the events so there could be the nightclub atmosphere, along with a burlesque show, cosplay hosts, etc. It all depends on the event, venue, the booked talent, and things of this nature.

Beyond the nightlife there is a huge rise in fan oriented public gatherings with things like escape games, zombie runs, etc. Almost all are ticketed in some way, and these are increasing in number. Would the Star Wars marathons also be included in this? Would the events at theme parks like Disney, Orlando, be counted as well? This is something to consider when talking about the fandom related events.

As there are more and more of fandom related interest events additional classifications will have to be made, simply because there are many more types. In addition to these talked about there are various ones that are not exactly open to the public (as a membership to a society or such) and then a ticket, things such as lunches, drink and draws, etc. There is so much that has a fandom interest.

Point 10:

On out-of-town cons is a funny concept, because there are con circuits & usually groups of cons are more than 100 miles away from one location. The distance is often compared with the methods of travel and costs associated with it. For example when I do NYCC by train technically it’s about 100 miles especially if I’m making a daily roundtrip. Buses are actually more common to use than planes and there are plenty of carpools especially on the east coast anime cons circuit.

There are a bunch of circuits for anime cons, but I’m not sure about if there exists yet for comic primary cons. I also don’t think this applies to a single focus set of events unless they are in the same geographic area like the Steampunk events run by Jeff Mach on the east coast.

The mega events all vary because all roads lead to them because they are always in major cities (or like San Diego it became a major hub because of SDCC). Another separate note there but it is a consideration. Everyone wants to go and participate in the mega events.

Cons bring a lot of business to the areas they are in and they benefit the travel industry as well, because people travel to the cons by planes, trains, buses, automobiles, etc.

Pretty much everyone engages in hotel shares where four and usually more people share the expenses of a hotel room.

Point 12:

Cosplay items for sale. Now this itself has a few categories.

There are items for use in cosplay such as the items and patterns sold by Yaya Han and many others, wigs sold by Epic Cosplay, Arda Wigs, the armor pieces from the armorers, and things from larger stores such as Costume Super Center, Rubie’s, etc. Rave gear is also sold (more at anime conventions) by companies such as Head Kandi (the company created by cosplayer Yuffiebunny). There are also kigus (kigurumi) sold these are usually by individuals and multiple companies. Kigus are a kind of onsie.

Here is an example of several kigus designed and modeled by DeAnna Davis (It’s Raining Neon)

This is available as a print and DeAnna can be contacted about custom kigus.

Triforce and a few others sell replica cosplay ready weapons. Volpin Props and Punished Props make all sorts of items, armor and kits. In some cases they don’t sell these at shows. Now there are cosplay books like the armor making guides from several makers such as Kamui Cosplay from Germany. In addition she travels to the US often and has her books in multiple languages. These exist as ebooks and in some cases solid state physical books. Cosplay prints may also be considered a cosplay item.

For the purposes of this the notes of this survey, I’m debating if for this we should consider cosplay guests as celebrity guests as some cosplayers have larger followings than some of the celebrity guests.

Something very important to talk about in another discussion is that the majority of cosplay items from small business they do not have the rights to sell them. At least not like the licensing deals that exist for toys like Funko, video games, and mass market items such as those that can found in big box stores. Almost all of the cosplay economy is based off of non-enforcement of copyright (at least for finished products). (The construction materials are a key part in the economy but not discussed here.) Similar in some aspects to artists who sell drawings and prints even if they never worked on a property. However on some sites like etsy copyright takedowns happen on a regular basis. There is a need for the reevaluation of the licensing of fandom properties, but this is a slightly separate topic. There can be a made a copyright system that would benefit both the cosplayers/cosmakers and the IP holders and not break anyone’s bank or be hurtful.

Point 13:

Obtaining tickets online.

This is a big point of contention at ReedPOP shows and SDCC and many mega events.

It becomes almost impossible for the majority of fans (non-pros) to get tickets. Press/Pros have different systems. Shows like PAX/PAX East should have a pro category because there are other things than fan. Press can be difficult that despite experience, you need to be part of a large reach outlet which is not always possible. There are tons of scalpers for normal fans who raid and crash the system, plus badges are expensive so it is not always possible to buy them on the day and minute of release. It might be better to have several days of stages, but there will still be ticket limits,etc. The livestream option had made it easier to still see things as it happens and be a part of it in some small way. I was doing that with the Star Wars Celebration livestreams. Livestreaming on YouTube which can be casted from phone to the big screen TV will become more prevalent.

At mega events badge lines can be pretty insane, so multiple lines can be good. Plus easy verification of check in with good systems.

“Convention’s mobile app.” With a few exceptions like SDCC & DragonCon most are actually done with Guidebook even ReedPop’s are done with it: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Guidebook+Inc so it would more be what Guidebook can improve. I suggested a GPS direction & mapper because I have had to find booths for things, and internal maps are not always helpful on the show floor.

I never did the Vip/Premium things since I’m usually press/pro/working with an exhibitor, etc. I tend to skip the premium activities too. There tends to be more geek/nerd dating things at cons as well. Those tend to have a sign up in advance as well. I have separate notes about those as well. The dating events have been a draw for people, because even in con environments people can be alone and romantic relationships can be difficult. The dating events in some cases also have a separate charge, so I include them in the premium category.

Some of the premium VIP things have separate signups and email contacts than the con does and some VIP events are also offsite.

Con websites vary a lot but any site has a lot of the same ease of access of information, another thing to consider is how they do things on social media. Have a website that is mobile ready (along with its ticketing system) is important this would be good data to get from cons. The systems for booking other things tend to link to another system not controlled by the convention.

All cons can use better Wifi/data service. At the mega events they just seem to be overloaded and cut out. I’ve also found that text works better than calls and can work in places where data is dead. Happened at the Eisners last year.

The cell companies would really do good if they had better cell and data service, even if just for safety reasons.