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22 Jan 2011 - 02:3048800
weapon and prop rules at con/expos
ok so i am curious to some of the rules of cons and expos regarding weapons ie props,
Also i am a licensed martial artist (bujikan)and i have wanted to perform in cosplay comps displaying sword drawing and tamishigerie and also skits,but i have no idear on how i would go about planing getting permission,
the rules very from place to place country to country,it is rather confusing
some say bladed weapons are ok some say they are not,same go's for wooden weapons


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G.O.D
22 Jan 2011 - 11:1948813
Different rules for different conventions but in today's times they aren't allowing too much anymore. Your best bet is to email the organisers and explain what you want to do and all and maybe you will be granted a space where you can draw it and all but lock it up when you walk over the area. Just my guess though but I'd email them and see :0)


22 Jan 2011 - 12:1348820
It's not confusing, the answer is just always no

Basically for that sort of thing you are going to need express permission, the cosplay team will be your first point of contact and they'll let you know if you need to speak to anyone else.


As a regular attendee, any sort of weapons, bladed or wooden, would be on the ban list, heck bladed would be on the get-arrested list. Wooden ones can possibly make it in for masquerade-only use but it's done on an individual basis.

The trouble is more complicated than whether the holder is safe with it, it also opens up the chance of people asking to hold one (or not bothering asking!) and then swinging it around and causing harm, or merely seeing that you have one, and thinking it's okay for anyone to bring live weapons into an event, it has happened sadly.

As far as martial arts goes, do be warned the stages are most often temporary fixtures and not designed for impacts, there can be a surprising amount of flex or bowing in them. I've seen entire speakers move just from standing in a particular spot. For that reason while not expressly forbidden they are highly discouraged, and you would have to ask the organisers and more than likely run through the act with them on the day..

If you're serious about it the best option would be more to offer it to them more as a service, an entertainment interlude of sorts, as it much more easily separates someone allowed to bring weapons and trusted to be safe, vs average congoer.

No guaruntees of course..


22 Jan 2011 - 12:1348821
My post may come across as being mean, or unfair or inflammatory but I do think it is better to be blunt rather than obscuring what needs to be said.

Everything bar Expo bans hard wood weapons - so no bokken. No metal blades at any current UK convention - ever (blunted or otherwise).

I've found most of the UK events share similar props rules so unless you're planning to visit events in other countries such as France or Germany, I can't see where the confusion arises.

At the end of the day the events have to have public liability insurance which only covers so much - if people breach the terms of it or are there aren't enforced rules to prevent breaches, the people who put their own unpaid time into running events are liable.


As for permission to perform anything at a convention along these lines, you'd need to contact the committee of the relevant event and explain in detail exactly what you wanted to do, with what, who etc. I'll be honest though, be prepared to be told no.



Last edited by Junta (22 Jan 2011 - 12:57)
22 Jan 2011 - 12:5948823
The following has been copy pasted directly from the amecon website. These are Amecons cosplay and prop guidelines and are INCREADIBLY well written and are very very good. These rules are basicly what every UK convention abide by.

Any EXPO events, like london mcm expo, midlands expo and anything run by the mcm expo group don;t abide by these rules. They have their own set of rules which you can read about on the mcm expo website, or if in doubt, find a contact e-mail of one of the cosplay officers for Expo and ask directly there.

You can find the original page the following rules have been copied from here:

http://www.amecon.org.uk/info/cosplay


"Cosplay Guidelines

Please note that these are only Guidelines and we cannot approve any items until we see them at the convention.

Costumes - Size and Construction

Costumes should be no more than 3ft (90cm) wide and 6ft 5" (192cm) tall, in other words you should fit through a door! If you are taller than this then your costume should be no taller than you! Hats may be worn that make you taller than 6ft 5", but you must be able to remove them easily.

Costumes that feature things like expanding wings can be made larger than 3ft wide, to a maximum of 5ft (150cm) but may only be used as part of the 'Catwalk', 'Cosplay Competition' and 'Omake'.

Costumes must not be constructed with sharp edges or hard (metal, wood etc) spiky or pointy bits. For example, metal armour is allowed but must have properly finished and turned edges.

Think! If your costume could hurt someone if they fell or bumped into you, don't make it!!

Weapons and Props - General

Upon arrival at Amecon all weapons and props MUST be brought to Ops, where they will be checked for safety and compliance to the rules. Approved weapons will be given a 'cosplay weapon licence' specific to the item.

If your weapon or prop is not approved it will either be held in Ops for safekeeping or you will be asked to keep it locked in your accommodation.

In some cases weapons will be approved for use in the 'Catwalk', 'Cosplay Competition' and 'Omake' but not for Floor costume use. Such Items will not be given a licence and must be kept in your accommodation or in Ops when not being used at the relevant event.

During the convention if a Gopher or Committee member asks to see your weapon licence and you cannot produce it, you will either be escorted to Ops to get your weapon checked or your weapon will be confiscated.

We trust you to act responsibly with your cosplay props BUT if you (or anyone else) is found to be acting inappropriately with them they will be confiscated for the remainder of the convention.

In ALL cases weapons should be kept sheathed, holstered or stowed while walking around Amecon, only being drawn for photo's and the like.

Weapons and Props - Size and Construction

Size
Normal weapons or props may be up to 5ft (150cm) long.

Oversized Weapons and props -may- be permitted up to 3ft (90cm) wide and 6ft5" (192cm) tall depending on construction. They must be light and safe, recommended construction materials are Foam, Foam board or Cardboard. If we can pick it up in one hand, without straining, then that's good.

Anyone carrying an oversized item will not be allowed into event rooms, the Dealers, Art, Games or Bring and Buy rooms.

Floor Costume Construction
Replica, projectile, deactivated or real weapons are not allowed under any circumstances, this means no Airsoft, BB or Paintball guns no metal Katanas, Kunai etc. Even if you tie red electrical tape around the barrel!

Martial Arts training weapons such as Bokken, Shinai or Bo are similarly banned.

Toy weapons bought in UK shops and conforming to British standards (Woolworth's, Toys'R Us, Costume shops etc) are fine to use. As are unrealistic model weapons as long as they conform to the construction guidelines.

All other Props and Weapons should be constructed from lightweight materials and have no sharp edges, spikes or points. Do not use Metal, solid wood, solid plastic, plaster etc. Good construction materials are Cardboard, Foamboard, Foam, Polystyrene, Balsa wood and hollow Plastic.

Catwalk, Competition and Omake Construction
Only real weapons, metal replica weapon or items restricted from sale in the UK are banned outright. All weapons and props for use in cosplay events are at the committee's discretion. If you wish to use a weapon or prop during these events please bring them to ops to be approved.

Most items will be allowed for use during these events but any weapon or prop that is banned for floor cosplay use will either be held in Ops for safekeeping or you will be asked to keep it locked in your accommodation until the event.

If you are found floor cosplaying with a Weapon or Prop that has not been Licensed for floor cosplay but has been approved for event cosplay that item will be confiscated and you will NOT be allowed to use it during the cosplay events.


Outside of Amecon

Lastly, Remember to keep everything, especialy replica weapons well-wrapped and out of site whenever you are not at Amecon. You are responsible for transporting props and weapons so be safe and have fun!"


In addition I'd like to say that the above responses are very sound, these people know what they are talking about, and it always is best to contact the cosplay team for the convention and ask that way.

If you are coming to Kitacon this year, my signiture has my e-mail address in it, I am one of the cosplay officers. So if you want to ask anything for Kitacon I advise you send me an e-mail and I'll pass it around our team and will get back to you with what we think


22 Jan 2011 - 16:0848830
Quote Junta:
My post may come across as being mean, or unfair or inflammatory but I do think it is better to be blunt rather than obscuring what needs to be said.

Everything bar Expo bans hard wood weapons - so no bokken. No metal blades at any current UK convention - ever (blunted or otherwise).

I've found most of the UK events share similar props rules so unless you're planning to visit events in other countries such as France or Germany, I can't see where the confusion arises.

At the end of the day the events have to have public liability insurance which only covers so much - if people breach the terms of it or are there aren't enforced rules to prevent breaches, the people who put their own unpaid time into running events are liable.


As for permission to perform anything at a convention along these lines, you'd need to contact the committee of the relevant event and explain in detail exactly what you wanted to do, with what, who etc. I'll be honest though, be prepared to be told no.


you make a good point,your not sounding mean at all,you sound like the voice of reason


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G.O.D
22 Jan 2011 - 16:2248832
thanks all
very informative
just letting you know,people who train in any martial art that uses a sword have to be members of the dojo of cluband hold a membership card,the organization also permits the licence for the sword to be used in dojo or in an organized expo,i am covered under the public liability insurance,

now that's done has enyone ever been to a con/expo and for some reason had there prop taken away,even though they followed the rules,


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G.O.D
22 Jan 2011 - 22:5448867
Quote peter:
thanks all
very informative
permits the licence for the sword to be used in dojo or in an organized expo,i am covered under the public liability insurance,


You've kind of answered your own question there, MCM Expo isn't a dojo or organised weapons demonstration event, that's not to say arrangements can't be made - the GCBall has had weapons and fire displays - but certainly outright rejects any chance of just turning up with one..

Quote peter:

now that's done has enyone ever been to a con/expo and for some reason had there prop taken away,even though they followed the rules,


As someone who ends up behind the desk reasonably often at most events, I honestly don't think this happens a lot, at the worst there'll be some overactive gopher but by the time it gets to Ops they'll just raise an eyebrow and hand it back unless there's a misuse story to go with it..

Most of the confiscated weapons I've seen in the box of shame have been made of like 2" thick wood, contained actual blades, or were far-too-realistic airsoft guns or the like; pretty obvious rule breakers basically..


22 Jan 2011 - 23:4548876
ive never thought of going to a con with a live blade before now,the only reason for it now is i thought it would be a rather original idea,also a great chance to demonstrate the use of a sword,
so the only way i undertand it is that i would need to
1.Gain permission from the event organizers
2.prove i am a registered martial artist
3.provide my licence as proof of legal use of a sword in a martial arts,
4.pre-plan the demo with the event organizers,cover safety of public and any(if others who are martial artist in skit)
5.keep swored locked in carrying case(wooden with lock)un-till time of demo

this is my understanding of it,i truly have no intention of taking a bladed weapon with me if i an violating the con rules and law or ofending people,if i am mistaken in my understanding please could someone correct me.


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G.O.D
23 Jan 2011 - 00:1948881
Hmmm through reading this, I'm a bit paranoid - for anyone experienced, do they know what the rule would be regarding unrealistic, solid wood handguns?

For one set of cosplay props I'm making 3D models, and having them cut out of what I presume to be wood, in a prototyping machine. They're not particuarly oversized, just big enough to hold one comfortably in each hand. The only way someone could be hurt by one is if I were to pin them down and club them repeatedly in the head with it, something that could be done to cause pain with almost any prop.

I know the whole unrealistic gun thing would be fine, it's just the 'solid wood' part that's throwing me off a bit :S


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23 Jan 2011 - 00:4448883
Quote diphenhydramine:
Hmmm through reading this, I'm a bit paranoid - for anyone experienced, do they know what the rule would be regarding unrealistic, solid wood handguns?

For one set of cosplay props I'm making 3D models, and having them cut out of what I presume to be wood, in a prototyping machine. They're not particuarly oversized, just big enough to hold one comfortably in each hand. The only way someone could be hurt by one is if I were to pin them down and club them repeatedly in the head with it, something that could be done to cause pain with almost any prop.

I know the whole unrealistic gun thing would be fine, it's just the 'solid wood' part that's throwing me off a bit :S


I think as long as they aren't too big you should be okay...but don't hold me to that. I read someone saying somewhere that the prop is okay if it has more chance of breaking than hurting someone if it hits them. But guns are obviously a lot smaller than staffs and swords and won't usually be swung around in such a careless manner.
It might be worth double checking with the con you're going to beforehand (email) rather than wasting time and money on something you're not going to be able to use.

To be fair, with the realistic gun thing, I've seen people with weapons that looked quite realistic walking round, even past people working at the con and nobody said a thing.

Even so, I'm using a plastic gun for my next costume. I'll be painting it but I'll leave the orange tip and it probably will still end up looking unrealistic. For me, it's not so much the con I'm worried about, it's the journey there and back. We had a gunman running round last year so I don't want to take the chance of getting stopped, heh. They take stuff like that super seriously now, especially with the huge media blowout. There are always police in the train station nowadays (at least they are when I'm there -_- ) so it's just a risk I'm not willing to take.


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Last edited by Quinzel (23 Jan 2011 - 00:46)
23 Jan 2011 - 01:0448885
Quote peter:
ive never thought of going to a con with a live blade before now,the only reason for it now is i thought it would be a rather original idea,also a great chance to demonstrate the use of a sword,
so the only way i undertand it is that i would need to
1.Gain permission from the event organizers
2.prove i am a registered martial artist
3.provide my licence as proof of legal use of a sword in a martial arts,
4.pre-plan the demo with the event organizers,cover safety of public and any(if others who are martial artist in skit)
5.keep swored locked in carrying case(wooden with lock)un-till time of demo

this is my understanding of it,i truly have no intention of taking a bladed weapon with me if i an violating the con rules and law or ofending people,if i am mistaken in my understanding please could someone correct me.


That's pretty much it, yep. Mostly it's just #1, and #5 is a no-brainer anyway. They'll be wary, kind of like I've been with replies, because for every one competent person asking this sort of request seriously, there'll have been 50 wannabes before you XD but it can't hurt to ask.


23 Jan 2011 - 01:0748886
Quote Quinzel:
I think as long as they aren't too big you should be okay...but don't hold me to that. I read someone saying somewhere that the prop is okay if it has more chance of breaking than hurting someone if it hits them. But guns are obviously a lot smaller than staffs and swords and won't usually be swung around in such a careless manner.
It might be worth double checking with the con you're going to beforehand (email) rather than wasting time and money on something you're not going to be able to use.

To be fair, with the realistic gun thing, I've seen people with weapons that looked quite realistic walking round, even past people working at the con and nobody said a thing.

Even so, I'm using a plastic gun for my next costume. I'll be painting it but I'll leave the orange tip and it probably will still end up looking unrealistic. For me, it's not so much the con I'm worried about, it's the journey there and back. We had a gunman running round last year so I don't want to take the chance of getting stopped, heh. They take stuff like that super seriously now, especially with the huge media blowout. There are always police in the train station nowadays (at least they are when I'm there -_- ) so it's just a risk I'm not willing to take.


Yeah I mean, as far as the damage I could do with them goes, I'm not gonna be flailing them around, just posing with them etc. I guess my main worry is the whole reasonable vs protocol thing xD Like, if even your weapons are obviously not gonna be used to hurt someone with, some places might be all, "NO THEY'RE MADE OF WOOD, IT SAYS IN OUR GUIDELINES THAT YOU CAN'T HAVE THEM NO MATTER WHAT!"

Yeah, I'll drop an email by one of the cons, see what they say on the matter

And to be honest, I think that if anyone wants to travel to a con with a realistic gun or sword/other offensive weapon uncovered and out in the open, they deserve everything they get xD Whenever me and my friends travel to cons, everything goes in a bag, or wrapped in bubblewrap and bin liners if it's oversized.


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23 Jan 2011 - 01:1348887
I think you should be fine as long as you're not going around pistol whipping people and it's not a large oversized gun. If it's like a hand gun or something I don't think there'll be a problem but as Quinzel says check with the cosplay people at the event. Usually there's a cosplay contact on the website or a section in the forums for asking stuff like that.

(Posted the above before I saw the replies)

I think its a case by case situation as my friend had an Oni Link sword that was pretty heavy because he had used wood for the hilt but because that bit would always be in near his hands they let it slide but the whole thing was massive but the rest of it was made out of foam and paper mache. So it's not like a "if there's even the smallest piece of wood in it it'll get banned outright". I think it's more judged on how dangerous it is or how much stuff can be broken because of it (including people)



Last edited by Kata-san (23 Jan 2011 - 01:18)
23 Jan 2011 - 01:2448888
Quote diphenhydramine:
Hmmm through reading this, I'm a bit paranoid - for anyone experienced, do they know what the rule would be regarding unrealistic, solid wood handguns?

For one set of cosplay props I'm making 3D models, and having them cut out of what I presume to be wood, in a prototyping machine. They're not particuarly oversized, just big enough to hold one comfortably in each hand. The only way someone could be hurt by one is if I were to pin them down and club them repeatedly in the head with it, something that could be done to cause pain with almost any prop.

I know the whole unrealistic gun thing would be fine, it's just the 'solid wood' part that's throwing me off a bit :S


This is why it's done on individual basis, there's no way to really say yay or nay without having the item physically there XD A handgun would probably be fine though, as long as it's not likely to be used in pistol-whipping people at random, particularly if it's not that realistic-looking.

Some conventions will also simply give a proviso: you can carry it for now but at the first sight of trouble, misuse or flailing around with it like an idiot, into the bin of shame it goes.


Depending what kind of 3D prototyping, it might spit out a form of plastic rather than carve it out of wood, which wouldn't be a problem.


Largely think staves, swords, polearms, etc for what people mean by solid wood props, but you can't narrow it to just them in case someone shows up with solid oak shoulderpads with pointy spikes on XD Balsa wood is by and large A-OK, but it really depends how you've used it.



At the end of the day put yourself in the shoes of the person behind the desk - someone you don't know has come up and asked if they can carry around ::your prop:: at a crowded public convention full of children and excitable teens who may or may not respect personal space or ownership of said prop. If you wouldn't be comfortable saying yes and taking that responsibility, neither would they.


23 Jan 2011 - 01:3548890
Quote diphenhydramine:
And to be honest, I think that if anyone wants to travel to a con with a realistic gun or sword/other offensive weapon uncovered and out in the open, they deserve everything they get xD Whenever me and my friends travel to cons, everything goes in a bag, or wrapped in bubblewrap and bin liners if it's oversized.


Haha, yeah I agree with that . Mine will be in a bag, possibly wrapped in a pair of jeans (mini-skirt on a Saturday night train? No thank you). But they do random bag searches at the station and there will be a little bit of tactical gear in my bag as well. If they stopped me (knowing my luck -_-) it may very well amount to nothing, but it could still mean that I'll miss my train (£72 for another ticket!) and half of the day at Expo thanks to their questions.


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Last edited by Quinzel (23 Jan 2011 - 01:37)
23 Jan 2011 - 01:4148891
As far as realistic goes, it really does depend - but largely it's not so much the con rules that want you not to look all that realistic, it's more for your own safety in not having a random member of the public call the SWAT team down on you.

That would be bad.

If it's kept inside the con and not walked into McDonalds you've obviously got less chance of this happening, but best to be on the safe side, eh?

Of course the con would also kind of like to not be shut down because of terror alerts XD

Back to wood talk, cored weapons (eg. made around a broom handle or such) are typically okay as long as the hitty part of it isn't wood, including the pointy stabby end! Cover the crap out of it with foam, foamboard, cardboard, anything, until it's padded enough to not injure anyone in any way.

If in doubt, just make sure it follows the golden rule:

"If we hit you with it repeatedly, will it break before you do?"

This is why even LARP-approved weapons often still fall foul, they're usually latex+foam covered over wooden or carbon fibre cores, but they're still designed to be swung around and used in contact and they hurt like crap.


aand again remember that these rules are relaxed for Masquerade-only props, if you're only on the stage with it and not in the general crowds there's far less risk.


23 Jan 2011 - 01:5048893
Nert from you general experience what would you say about a Buster sword


with a blade made out of 2" thick balsa? It's balsa so even a drop may totally mess it up what do you think? I'll ask the con as well just wanted a "from previous experience" type thing.


23 Jan 2011 - 10:1948899
@Kata

Most conventions tend to also have a size rule for larger things; typically its "no longer than 4 to 5 foot". Chances are you'd more likely get a "masquerade only" or "eeesh JUST safe enough for floor rules".

Best bet is always check the events props rules in advance (Amecon's ones posted further back up by Lulu Rose are always a good start, although some events may differ ever so slightly).

And again as Nerts said at the end of day, props have to be judged on a case by case basis - its somewhat a requirement to go straight to Ops and get it checked and signed off else it will likely get confiscated by a gopher before a days done (they can and will checking if its been signed off).

and finally if its Expo, rather than a convention, they don't really care props wise as long as its not live steel or realistic firearms =P



Last edited by Junta (23 Jan 2011 - 10:22)
23 Jan 2011 - 10:3448900
Here are Expo's rules:

http://londonexpo.com/images/stories/expo/totallycoslay/mcmweaponsrules.pdf


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23 Jan 2011 - 11:0748903
I don't want to seem like a parrot here, constantly re itterating what others have said. But.....honestly, people are asking questions that are going to get the same answers.

WE CANNOT and WILL NOT give any weapon a 100% OK until you are at the convention and bring it to us to look at, hold, inspect, ask questions about, dance around whatever.

Only then can any cosplay officer at any UK anime convention give the OK on a weapon, prop or whatever and will likley give you a liscence card to wear with your con badge on your lanyard for that SPECIFIC item.

If you have 3 props, weapons or whatever, you'll need to show them ALL to us. You cant get away with 1 liscence for 3 different things.

I'm sorry, but the most we can really say is "read the rules" and "bring it to us at the convention" short of you traveling to our houses or something, I dont see any other way of getting an OK before the convention.

There are alot of con safe materials to construct things out of, search the forums here, look at threads about props and weapons, I'm certain theres lots of info.


23 Jan 2011 - 11:2048904
Quote Lulu Rose:
I'm sorry, but the most we can really say is "read the rules" and "bring it to us at the convention" short of you traveling to our houses or something, I dont see any other way of getting an OK before the convention.


Where do you live I'll bring it along only joking I totally understand what you're saying.

I like Amecons rules they're clear and concise and I know it's a weapon by weapon decision (I even said it myself) I just wanted a general feeling because I asked on the Aya forums when the cosplay guidelines will be up (they're not up yet) and it was basically a they'll be up when they're up type answer and also for Ame balsa was a recommended material but Ame might have been an exception rather than the rule. It's just a lot of work to put in to have them say "nope you're not even allowed it in the masquerade"


23 Jan 2011 - 12:2448908
Quote Kata-san:
Nert from you general experience what would you say about a Buster sword

with a blade made out of 2" thick balsa? It's balsa so even a drop may totally mess it up what do you think? I'll ask the con as well just wanted a "from previous experience" type thing.



There've been plenty of Buster Swords around at most events, but if it's 2" of solid balsa that's a pretty obvious no XD

If it's, say, a core, 1.8" of soft foam or something, then the outer layer is thin balsa it'd have a better chance. Obviously if the weapon itself gets obviously ruined by so much as a slight ding that does help convince you're going to be extra careful no one swings it around.. but if it still only takes one swing to do the damage to someone else, it may not be enough to pass.

Goes back to the golden rule, if it breaks before you do, great.. if it's a double KO, not great!


Good example though of why the rules are as unspecific as they are, even if it so much as said "cardboard = autoOK" and then someone turns up with something made of cardboard coated with epoxy resin until it's hard enough to take out teeth.. Ouch.


It'll be fine in a masquerade any which way - unless it's a small con of some sort with low-hanging lights or something but generally anime cons will expect a Cloud or two to show up.

Size-wise, it's hard to say.. Most rules do have a slightly overrestictive limit of 4-5ft for floor props but in practice the "be an idiot with it and we take it away" proviso usually gets used for those. No guaruntees, obviously.


23 Jan 2011 - 14:4048912
Cheers Nert, that was exactly all I was after. It is solid balsa at the moment but now that you've said what you've said I can modify it to make it at least more acceptable.

Thanks very much.


25 Jan 2011 - 02:0549070
I add some info from the point of view as someone who has actually tried to set a fight demo as part of costume piece.

I approached the cosplay organisers for Expo a couple of years back with plans to do a fight scene for the costume comp. I was going to preform a kata/solo piece. I'm a fully qualified Stunt fight arranger for stage and film. and I have about up to 14 different weapons skills under my belt. Even with all that I had to provide a detailed plan of what I was planning to do. I was turned down as the stage wouldn't be suitable for what I had in mind.

What I had in mind sounds very similar to what you have in mind so there is a high chance that you would be turned down.

As Nert says the Expo or any other con location isn't a dojo. So it wouldn't be catered to the martial artist's needs.

I think you best bet would be to set up a video and have it as a costumed video performance.


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