It was as hot as hell that Sunday morning! I mean 102 degrees at 08:30. The last day of the last Otakon Baltimore would possibly ever see. There I stood outside of the Baltimore Convention Centre with a hand full of fliers trying to give them to attendees to advertise our fledgling business selling costumes and accessories. As they were paper, my sweating palms were causing the ink from our printer to blur and well, people were not that anxious to receive them as unbeknownst to me, Otakon 2016 was in the Sunday morning final stretch. That period of time when folks were taking their last lap, looking for discounted swag and catching the last bit of that awesome feeling you get when you’re among your tribe. Did I mention it was hot as hell? I emphasise this because we (my partner Maya and I) did not have passes as we dragged our feet trying to decide if we wanted to go in the first place. We knew we needed some pics of the show for ad material and we asked a friend who had a pass if he would take some for us. He said, “Sure!” and then didn’t. Anyway, I digress. So we came up with this awesome plan to get up early, get downtown, hand out fliers and start building our empire. That was the plan.
What actually happened was Maya decided it was too much effort involved and stayed in bed and I went alone. Our friend sent us two blurry pics of someone’s foot. It was in cosplay (I think) and I ended up standing on the outside sweating like Niagara Falls all over our fliers. Being of reasonable intelligence, I can figure out if something is or isn’t working pretty quickly and I knew this wasn’t working. So, I put my clipboard with the fliers on the ground and took out my Samsung S3 and started taking pictures and video of the people going in and out of the air conditioned Nirvana of the convention centre. To my surprise, people posed and mugged for the camera even in the wilting heat. I ended up having so much fun that before I knew it about 2 hours had passed. I then packed up our damp fliers and headed for home where I used the free version of Windows Movie Maker to create what would turn out to be Kawaii Doragon’s first comic con video. It was horribly amateurish. The editing was awful and we ignorantly slapped someone else’s music on as the soundtrack. We could not have been more proud! (It remains on our media channels even now).
Fast forward to January 2017 and we went to AniMore which was also in Baltimore. Yes we had passes! Like any serious media team we had our mobile phones fully charged and were ready capture the magic! Truth be told, we didn’t do half bad. The owners of AniMore were impressed enough that they gave us press access the following year (2018) and carte blanche access to their computers to update their social media during the show. Of course by 2018 we had real cameras, wireless mics and the whole nine. After AniMore 2017 we pretty much just started grinding, ZenkaiCon, AwesomeCon, Otakon (at it’s new home in D.C), Katsucon, New York City Comic Con, Anime NYC, Galacticon, Ocean City (MD) Comic Con, ReGen Who, a zillion local ‘cons, parties, mashup meets, you name it. If there were cosplayers there, so were we. Our dream, to be a recognised and respected media outlet for these type of events.
As we go into our 3rd year it seems to be starting to pay off. We’ve made friends with show owners and voice actors, people actually recognise us at shows, we have been producing our own news show, “Animeshon Genjitsu” for a year, we have developed a marketable product to sell to show owners, we have been able to hire people and most importantly, people have even learned to pronounce our company’s name correctly! Our friends and family who don’t watch anime, game or cosplay ( we have made fans out of a few of them) have asked us why we have spent so much time, money and effort trying to turn this dream into reality, “Why ya’ll spend all that time on those Chinese cartoons?!”, I’m not making this up. And we tell them, the citisens of the anime, cosplay, gaming universe are the BEST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET! We have received nothing but love and support in our struggle to bring this thing to reality. And along the way have had amasing experiences, made awesome friends and had a boatload of fun! Thank You to all of our friends, fans and partners! We’re looking forward to an amasing 3rd year! Jim & Maya