Sunday, January 22, 2012

La Salle Comic Con: Thoughts and Review

Last Wednesday, La Salle Taft had its first convention about the popular media called comics, and not surprisingly the event was called the La Salle Comic Con. 

The first time I heard of this con was last year early December, as I received a formal invitation coming from a Miss Risse Flores asking if I were available to come over as judge for the cosplay contest.  Frankly at that time I have never heard of La Salle starting any form of convention, as the buzz never really got around the cosplay community until that time.  So at first I was very cautious about it: the idea of a possibility of getting involved in a out-of-blue event calling itself a convention and adding cosplayers as a means to sell tickets without caring for them, or inviting sponsors but selling things short is something I would try to avoid any association with, especially since I'm known to be involved with

But further investigation proved otherwise but it opened up a new can of mystery worms: the event seemed like a private affair with no indication of any ticket selling.  And as typical of La Salle security, a lot of information about me is needed to help set up a pass for me to enter, particularly parking.  When I asked if I can bring a friend along, they needed the same amount of information about him, plus all the potentially expensive electronic equipment I might be carrying with me.  Which explains why they were very insistent on pre-registration, with completing all information asked a must.  Also, the part about cosplayers being students and "professional" cosplayers not allowed also created a murmur among the cosplay community.  I'm sure this might have been surprising and new to some cosplayers as it was with me as well, so much that part of the reason I agreed to become the judge is mostly out of sheer curiosity.

The event happened on a Wednesday, so I took a day off to attend the con.  Met up with Wilson at noon at McDo right beside La Salle and drove in.  I got a bit worried because the guard was not familiar with the event, although he took out some forms and found out about it and even was nice enough  to recommend a parking place nearest to the event (unless that was listed in advance, which I never knew).  The event was slated to start at 2:30pm so we were very early.  The reason was that since they got me as judge for the event, might as well show them a reason why I was asked, so I brought along my Zaku costume that won in AFA Singapore.  The organizers knew this in advance so they helped me out in by preparing a dressing room for me and other cosplayers in one of the classrooms.

An event staff was assigned to us by the name of Daphne and she was very helpful in taking care of our needs, and I was able to cosplay for almost an hour before the event started, and after that Wilson decided to cosplay as well by borrowing my costume while I was attending the opening.

The event was organized by a group of literary and publishing orgs like the Malate Literary Folio.  The event itself wasn't as elaborate as the other more established events but for its first time it was decent enough start.  The staff and organizers were polite and attentive to the needs of their guests and sponsors.

Yuchengco hall was an open air covered hallway which approximately has an area of almost the size of Bahay ng Alumni in UP (this reference is for those familiar with UPAME's events) but the actual con area was half of it, the other half probably left open to keep the hallway free for pedestrians.  There were comic related booths there, and some non-comic booth like the Cosplay Props booth. Talks were given by the invited artists particularly Rob Cham, Carlo Pagulayan and Budjette Tan (who btw, was 30 minutes late hehe).  I was one of the four cosplay judges, the others being cosplayers Ryan Simbul, Kia Keary and GDAP's Ranulf Goss.  20 participants cosplaying characters from comics/manga and the cosplay activity was split into two parts, with the talks in between although I noticed there were issues in the numbering system, and who is supposed to go onstage as compared to the cosplay list given to the judges.  But it was rectified on time, but it was a hassle trying to figure out what had happened.

The finale was given out by the Philippine X-Men cosplay group, with a short skit and a catwalk featuring their costumes.

Congratulations to the winners of the cosplay contest, namely:

First Place [P10,000] Lucky Calif cosplaying as Aayla Secura of Star Wars comics
2nd Place [P5,000] Jazminne Huang as Kirarin of Kirarin Revolution, a shoujo manga
3rd Place [P5,000] Maria Hernandez as Eclairette (forgot from what comic)

The con ended at around 8pm as scheduled.

Now for the review portion.  Although I understand that this was the school's first time to have an event of this nature, I have a number of suggestions that may help them organize a much more smoother event, if they plan to do it again next year.

Proper Announcement of Details
Although they were clear what kind of event it was, they weren't clear if it was open to the public, or if it was, how limited it would be.  If they did announce it, it probably wasn't announced properly in their Facebook pages, website nor even made it clear to their partners (an example is the PH X-Men site that did not mention whether if the event had tickets, but promoted the con nevertheless).  I turned up to be the advance scout to a lot of my friends who were genuinely interested in attending the Comic Con.  They didn't know that La Salle actually allows outsiders to enter their grounds, provided it would be after 2pm.  They (including me) didn't know either that the guards would no longer be able to accept anyone inside the campus after 6pm, even when it was clear in the event schedule that it would last until 8pm.  It was an event that catered mostly to La Salle students, although cosplay contestants from other schools are allowed to join provided that they are students.  But still, from its rumor-like whispers of its initial announcement last year up to the last day before the event, there were still a lot of confusion going on regarding the event.

First of all I'd like everyone to know that the hosts were not experienced hosts that we are used to in other events, so taking this into account, I'd like to congratulate them for not panicking onstage as the event flow started to quiver in all directions.  But I'll get on the nitty gritty regarding the event flow and give some advice regarding the hosts:
  • Review your lines and event flow.  As hosts its your job to make sure that everything you need to know about the event, and especially about your guests and sponsors, are taken to heart.  The last thing you need is to mispronounce or stammer their names or their achievements.  You may get lucky and introduce someone you already know, but that would make it look unfair and biased if the same enthusiasm isn't given to the other judges as well.  
  • Hosts are often expected to be able to deliver clearly their lines and make everyone understand who they are introducing, or what is about to happen.  Again, by practicing your lines before hand, this will eliminate any trouble that may come out of this predicament.
  • Talk to your co-host as naturally as possible, like he or she is your best friend.  This makes doing ad libs more easily.
  • Remember that your world is your stage, and the audience is part of YOUR show.  Engage with your audience and don't be afraid of asking questions about the event, and that includes the judges themselves or your special guests.
Event Flow
This is where I felt needed the most improvement and here are my suggestions to make sure you will have an engaging and entertaining show.
  • Always prepare the next segment at least 30 minutes before they start.  That way there will always be a smoother transition from one part of the show to the other.
  • If the next segment wont start on time, move on to the next one, and let the late segment play catchup when they arrive.
  • Always prepare for contingencies. Prepare fillers and backups.  If your important guest speaker will arrive late, let the next segment continue.  And if you cannot, improvise by asking other important people to talk onstage, like the judges or other artists, or even sponsors!  Other prominent cosplayers were present like Jin Joson and the Tux Team, but I guess they were not aware of their presence or that they just didnt know them (as some students are not even aware of cosplaying, although I heard some students mention if Alodia was present).
  • Always update your hosts on any changes.  They are your voices and faces of the event, its important to know that.
 So I guess it was not a bad beginning for La Salle's first convention.  I hope to see it happen again next year.  Photos will be up by my next blog, as I had the bad luck of running out of batteries in the early part of the event.  So I will be dependent on my friend Wilson for pics.

Special thanks to Ms. Risse Flores for inviting me and to Ms. Daphne for taking care of us during the whole event.  Hope to visit your next event next year.


  1. In more or less the same words you've told me to say in the face of mediocrity: Will do better next time ;)


  2. i agree with what you said. there were so little information that did not address certain issues like who can join or what people are allowed to do in the event. we actually emailed them due to the fact that we saw the ads late already and inquire if its still possible to register. they answered to go to their site & fill-up the form but never mentioned that (1) only enrolled students are allowed (2) its open to public but only students can join the competition. I actually replied okay but gave them suggestion to indicate those clearly in their ads and in their site so that they don't waste people's time asking and so that they don't waste their time answering probably same questions that people will ask. because even the xmen team do not know the full details and they were just promoting it. they know that its open to the public but they didn't (or maybe some of the members didn't) know that the competition is open to public enrolled students only. i hope for their next events they do take in consideration all that has been posted here. :3

  3. I hope they will take notes of this entry. =)
    Honestly, some events are like that too in Indonesia. ^^;
    But as long as the committee want to learn how to make a better & proper cosplay event, everything will be okay. =D

  4. @Chubz
    Thanks for letting me talk to you guys about it, I admire how you accepted criticism and your willingness to improve. Hope to see your event again next year. :)

    We'll see how they improve next year.

    Do you guys have people review their events? Or have an organization help out in their events? Just curious.