There were a great many posers at Anime Vegas: check out the standout ULTIMATE POSERS!!!!
Contrary to popular belief, posing while in costume takes skill and/or practice. Stephanie Scholl, Erin Shaffin-Townsend, and Heather Irete (aka; Sailor Moon, Sailor Uranus, and Sailor Saturn) explained the proper methods of how to pose for photos at a convention.
General tips from the Scouts;
* step out of the way of passer-bys to avoid causing bottlenecks and allow less chance of people stepping into the view of the camera
* before a photo, “check yourself”. Make sure skirts are pulled down, hair isn’t a mess, you don’t have spinache between your teeth, and so on.
* if you are carrying a bag PUT IT DOWN or behind you or hand it off to a friend. Keep it out of the picture as much as possible.
* Practice getting into character before the con. Study up on typical stances and actions your character typically makes and then do those actions yourself. While you may be an awesome person, people want your picture because you are dressed as a character they like and not because you are you. Be that character.
Group Posing Tips;
* lining up tends to be an instant fail. It’s hard to get everyone into a camera’s view and it’s simply dull.
* consider character relevance. Keep main characters center stage and lesser characters on the side while at the same time trying to display character relationships.
Tips for Posing with Props;
* beware of your surroundings. People tend not to enjoy being smacked with a 7 foot scythe (or even a 12 inch wand) no matter how cool the scythe (or wand) happens to be.
* when solo: use the prop as the character would (if possible); weild a sword, wave a wand, lick a lollipop. If not enough space place the weapon “dynamically” behind you or tilt it upright in front of you.
* in a group weapons should be in the back if they are large
* obey con rules, you don’t want your weapon taken from you and despite the feeling that some rules are made simply to annoy, they’re NOT. The rules are there for a reason; protection of others as well protection of the con.
Never (try not to!) forget that the most imporant aspect of cosplaying is having a good time.
During the panel on “How to Pose” the Scouts allowed several member of the audience to demonstrate different tasks and emotions.
A note of warning from Sailor Uranus; if any photographer makes you uncomfortable DO NOT feel bad about leaving the situation and if worse comes to worse, CALL THEM OUT!
While no single panel at any convention could ever teach a native English speaker Japanese within an hour (especially not a scatterbrained “AmeriFinn” like me), Panda Cubed’s panel at Anime Vegas, Japanese the Easy Way offered up extremely helpful tips, advice, and resources to allow even the most feeble minds the opportunity to overcome their lacking language skills and become proficient writers, speakers and readers.
Panda Cubed began the panel with a quick run-through on general tips;
- don’t depend on anime/manga: most characters speak with a peculiar dialect and use tons of slang that would be improper to use outside of the manga/anime world.
- if all you want to do is speak Japanese (and not write or read) then take a beginner’s college course: it’ll teach you the basics and you’ll most likely be able to pick up cues to move on your own.
- if complete fluency is what you desire, be prepared to spend the rest of your life studying Japanese.
- Japanese is completely different from English, if you aren’t up for an eternity figuring out a language, try something closer to English.
Panda Cubed’s offered the best and most fun advice, “if you ever plan on going to Japan (or) want to make learning easier and faster, buy a DS!” Their recommended DS games included My Japanese Coach and Beautiful Kanji Training along with Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten. When someone says, “the best way to learn is to play video games” I’m certainly not going to say different though be forewarned; DS educational games tend to require at least a bit of prior knowledge in order to pass the first round of a “beginner’s level”.
If learning Japanese (kanji) via manga is of utmost importance Panda Cubed suggested Kanji de Manga (a Manga University publication). If it’s just a matter of familiarity which is needed, Panda Cubed suggested childrens books along with the Japanese version of Disney movies as they are strict concerning propriety as well diligent in their translations. Panda Cubed did warn, “all of your favorite movies will be annoying to watch in Japanese as many nuanced meanings will be lost in translation.”
The Q and A segment allowed Panda Cubed to go into some very important information for any wannabe-Japanese-speaker to know concerning social manners;
- there is an important difference in the way a male and female speaks Japanese. A female can get away with mistakes, it’ll be seen as “cute” but a male should take heed. It’s best to learn Japanese (if being taught face-to-face) from a person of the same gender.
- Native Japanese do not have a definite way of saying “no”. Don’t be pushy when searching for a speaking partner. Try a language exchange site like lang-8.com instead.
- Read up on culture differences if you plan on going to Japan. If you are doing an exchange program, you don’t have to know any Japanese to get by when you first arrive. You’ll learn as you go and your exchange group will all speak English and help you out.
- Decent reading materials concerning culture in Japan would be Culture Shock! Japan by Reiko Makiuchi, Learning to Bow by Bruce Feiler, and The Empty Chair by Jeffery Deaver.
- If you are a meat eater, you smell. In a vegetarian-based society, meat-eaters have a certain unpleasant stench to them. To not offend the noses of those you meat overseas, try vegetarianism for 4 months before you go.
After just an hour, I feel far more prepared to (re)attempt learning Japanese. I’m a bit disappointed that all my attempts to learn from anime and manga were in vain, though with all this great info I’m sure even I can master the complex Japanese language.
*Panda Cubed travels around the United States, visiting conventions and holding panels to share a wealth of information. To learn more about Panda Cubed, their travels and their panels visit Panda3.