Username Post: Starting up. Reqirements,        (Topic#2618)
Ellinaux 
Newbie

Loc: Central Florida
Reg: 04-05-12

04-16-12 08:27 PM - Post#10640    

Hello. I want to start up a convention, planned for sometime next year so it gives me plenty of time to plan. I've been researching the past month or so different things I would need and things I should and should not do thanks to this wonderful forum and guide I've learned a lot of things. ( So first and foremost I wanna thank everyone on this site who is was kind enough to answer the questions for small time on starters like me. :D)

I've have plenty of people on my side who are deep into the Cosplay and Convention world who are dedicated to helping. I also have the opportunity to have a connection with someone who is an Accountant and another who is a professional Marketing Agent who a going to help as well. One of My co founders as well is Very good friends with a lot of photographers in Central Florida and we plan on working very closely with them as well.

However of everything I have read I still have a few questions as to what I need and Don't need to run a convention.

1. I want to have it for 3 days. I have a connection to a High School(the one I graduated from.) with a big gym, big courtyard, and big auditorium. A teacher there runs an very popular Anime club and could possible get me a spot there to run it. However I have read some mixed reviews as to whether I should Run it at a school or if it would be more successful at a hotel. I have time to Save for a hotel if I need to but because it's the first con I don't know if I should go that big yet.

2. What kinds of License do I need? I've been researching into LLC, Non-profit, and a Business License. I want to know Which ones I need and If I need them. Also Since It is NOT a free convention I was curious how the taxes worked on that. (I want to make sure I do this con right the first time around and not go to jail for evading taxes >.<;.)

I really appreciate all the answers that you guys give. Any kind of help is highly appreciated. I'm really determined to get this Con running. I've been an artist for the past Year and a Half at Cons and I've realized how little they are advertised at some cons and how most attention goes to the dealers. Artist Get stuck in a small room or a Hallway ( I know it's not true for all conventions there have been some really nice Artist Alleys in some of the conventions I've gone too.)
So It's pretty much a Convention dedicated to the Artist. I want to limit the Vendors to Manga dealers, Comic dealers, ect. I want anywhere from 60-100 Artist Tables available at the first Convention. I do plan on having regular Con Activities, like panels, Various Contest, Workshops, and possible Guest. Which brings me to my next question

3. I kind of have the gist of how to invite Voice Actors and Such, but being the kind of con that I want I would like to know how to go about inviting Guest Artist that have worked on different Animes/Movies/Comics/Mang a. I do plan on having voice actors as well since I do consider is an Art as well.


That pretty much sums up the questions I can think up for now. Again I appreciate any help and advice you guys can give

Thanks.




 
Gale 
Sacrificial White Mage
Gale
Loc: New England
Reg: 03-08-09

04-16-12 09:33 PM - Post#10641    
    In response to Ellinaux

Patrick and others will have a lot more extensive information for you, but here's my two cents to start you off. For the record, I've been attending cons since 2003, have been on ConnectiCon's guest relations team since 2009 (chair of the department 2009 and 2010), volunteered extensively with Anime Boston's cosplay programming in 2010, and am now co-running the costume contest/masquerade for BAMcon. I don't really have much direct experience outside of working with guests or costumers, however.

Based more on my gut-reaction opinion over my experience, I would say if you run it out of the high school you're better off having it only a one or maybe two day event. That's not to say you can't expand and move in future years, but there's no shame in starting small.

Wherever you run it, though, fund raising has to be your biggest focus starting out. As I'm sure you're aware, conventions are EXPENSIVE to put on. From the GR side of things, you need to think about what compensation you're going to give guests: hotel room, travel, meals, appearance fee? Not all require all of these, but the higher profile guests get the more they will want in order to attend.

I don't have much experience working with artists, but I would say a good place to start would be find out if there are any popular DeviantArt members who happen to live near you. Also look into webcomics. ConnectiCon has a LOT of webcomic guests and one thing we learned from them is they don't get much appreciation at a lot of conventions they attend. Consequently, they've been very good to us for being good to them. They're a good bunch to have on your side. As with any industry, what potential guests will ask for as compensation can vary for all sorts of reasons. The best way to find out is figure out your base offer (usually badge, booth (if applicable), hotel, travel, some meal compensation for guests of honor; or just badge and booth for lower tier guests).

Actually, that brings up an argument for going with a hotel if you do multiple days: it's a lot easier for people (most notably staff and guests) to get to the event if it is part of or very near to a hotel.

Hope that helps!
AnimeCons.com contributor

ConnectiCon Director of Guest Relations


 
Ellinaux 
Newbie

Loc: Central Florida
Reg: 04-05-12

04-17-12 12:06 AM - Post#10642    
    In response to Gale

Thanks for the Advice.
And I know all to well Conventions are Expensive. I've been a Co-Founder of another convention for the past year and half( We've had 2 cons so far), But I wanted to start up my own.

I didn't even think about people popular in Deviantart who live in the Area. I'm on there on the time, and I use that more than I use my email or facebook.

I plan on having a Featured Artist Section for invited Artist that are very popular and well known. Also another Section for Artist With Web Comics. Of course all of the artist badges will get them into the rest of the convention as well as a set of staff that who's job is to make sure they are happy so getting them water or like little snacks.

And I've read up on the How to treat a Guest thing on here as well, It was very usefull and insightful.

As for location. I might hold it at the High school or a University near me. I really do want it to be 3 days cause I don't want all of these artist to come out for one day. I want them to have the full three days so they can make as much as they can. I am willing to save up for a hotel but that takes me back to the question about license.
What kind of license do I need for a hotel?
I know I need Event Insurance for a hotel


Again. Thanks so much for the quick reply and it was very helpful



 
Proz 
Con Addict
Proz
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-08-07

04-17-12 02:26 AM - Post#10643    
    In response to Ellinaux

1. Never start off with a 3-Day con if you've never chaired a convention. Get your feet wet, go with a 1-day con then if its a success then consider moving to a 3-day con. This is especially true if plan to hold it in a high school.

2. If you intend to be for-profit then go with a LLC. Check with your state but it'll cost several hundred to setup and several hundred more if you use a registered agent.

3. It will cost THOUSANDS just to put on a con. You will have to pay for a lot of the initial costs upfront. A common misconception is that the following will pay for the convention: Sponsors, Advertising, Artists, Dealers, Pre-Reg. Expect to lose money or barely break-even.

Do it for the love, not for money.

If you need tips, here's a link that I share with people: http://www.san-japan.org/other/start-own-conve ntion

The most common tips is to staff at a lot of cons to understand the different departments and Research, Research, Research.
San Japan - San Antonio, Texas - Convention Chairman


 
Ellinaux 
Newbie

Loc: Central Florida
Reg: 04-05-12

04-17-12 03:10 AM - Post#10644    
    In response to Proz

I've run a convention twice so I pretty much now how it works.
We also originally planned for it to be non-profit and I've been looking up how to become one since that way we can also apply for tax exemption. I'm working on out Articles or Incorporation and ByLaws for our board now. We have 4 board of directors(possibly one more) and we are in the process of selecting our heads of Committee departments.

I'm doing the convention mainly to promote the Artist and the Arts since it is very important to me.

However you're probably right about still holding it as maybe a 1-2 day con if we decide to go with a School since we may not have the funds built up yet for a Hotel.

If we decide on School, We plan to have a least 5,000 seed money back up for expenses.(That's not including anything that may be made from the con.)

Thanks for the link It's one I havent read through yet. I'm trying to read as many as possible and researching from many different sources to find the best route to go. (I think my eyes are bleeding from so much research, Which means I'm probably not even more than 1/3 of the way done researching. xD)

I looked up other conventions and what they were. Like I know Metrocon in an LLC but I think Metro is corporation, I assume non-profit since it say Corporation.

So I was curious what was better. Non-profit or LLC. But like I said. I'm pretty sure we;re sticking to Non-profit.

 
Proz 
Con Addict
Proz
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-08-07

04-17-12 12:49 PM - Post#10645    
    In response to Ellinaux

LLC and Corporations (INC) are always for-profit. If a group is non-profit, it'll be a 501(c).

If you want to be non-profit then start now as its about a year of headaches and paperwork along with trying to convince the IRS that you're legitimate. You'll also need a lawyer and accountant.
San Japan - San Antonio, Texas - Convention Chairman


 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

04-17-12 04:41 PM - Post#10646    
    In response to Ellinaux

  • Ellinaux Said:
1. I want to have it for 3 days. I have a connection to a High School(the one I graduated from.) with a big gym, big courtyard, and big auditorium.


Running a convention at a school has several advantages and disadvantages. While it's going to be cheaper than a hotel and often has very good facilities available (gym, theater, dining hall, classrooms, large hallways), you are still in a school and it ultimately doesn't look as professional as a hotel convention and often attracts a younger crowd (particularly those AT the school). You may also find scheduling problems such as not being able to have the convention on Friday (due to classes), working around scheduled sports events, or having to close down early each day. Con attendees may also be more likely to cause mischief in a school with classroom decorations than they would at a hotel. Finally, you won't have anyone staying overnight, so this will limit your attendance. (You could suggest nearby hotels, but don't be surprised when people are less likely to attend because they can't stay on site.)

...but it's still a good (and inexpensive) way to start with relatively low risk.

  • Ellinaux Said:
2. What kinds of License do I need? I've been researching into LLC, Non-profit, and a Business License. I want to know Which ones I need and If I need them.


Get a lawyer...preferably one who is familiar with non-profit or LLC so that you can ask questions and get answers. (Don't ask lots of little questions because they'll charge by the hour and it's better to ask a bunch at once for one charge than get a lot of separate 1/2 hour charges.)

As for for-profit or non-profit, that's up to you. Neither are simple, but non-profit would ultimately be better in the long run due to tax-exempt benefits...although it does make taxes and financial reporting a lot more complicated. Also, the 501(c)3 approval process is not a fast one. Again, this is why you need a lawyer.

  • Ellinaux Said:
I'm really determined to get this Con running. I've been an artist for the past Year and a Half at Cons and I've realized how little they are advertised at some cons and how most attention goes to the dealers. Artist Get stuck in a small room or a Hallway ( I know it's not true for all conventions there have been some really nice Artist Alleys in some of the conventions I've gone too.)


Make sure you're starting a convention for the right reasons. If you're trying to start one because you don't like the way another convention does something, you're better off approaching that convention and volunteering to work with them to help them improve rather than starting from scratch.

  • Ellinaux Said:
3. I kind of have the gist of how to invite Voice Actors and Such, but being the kind of con that I want I would like to know how to go about inviting Guest Artist that have worked on different Animes/Movies/Comics/Mang a. I do plan on having voice actors as well since I do consider is an Art as well.


At this point, I would not recommend bringing over any artists from Japan. I'd recommend starting small and keeping the budget low. You can use this site to find people who have been guests at other conventions who may not live too far from you. This page lets you view guests by location:
http://animecons.com/guests/location.shtml
There's at least 1 guest in almost every state. (Sorry Wyoming and North Dakota!)

In general, the best advice I can give is to staff more conventions. Being on staff twice isn't much. Staff other conventions to see differences in how they operate and staff different departments to learn how they operate. Break out of your microcosm!
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
Ellinaux 
Newbie

Loc: Central Florida
Reg: 04-05-12

04-17-12 06:59 PM - Post#10647    
    In response to PatrickD

Thanks you so much. You've answered a lot of my questions and I sent this thread to the other members of our board so they can look over it too and see what everyone else has to say. I will definitely take up your advice and Volunteer at more conventions. I read before that the more friends you have in volunteering the more help you may get as well for you con. Friends in many places is always a good thing.

I think even if it means waiting another half a year to save up the money for a hotel I'm pretty sure that we've decided on a hotel. Like you said it does look more professional. it will attract the crowd we want.
Aslo thanks for the list of Guest. It will come in handy if we go with some Guest for the first year.



 
jeff-likes-it 
Attendee

Reg: 04-20-12

04-22-12 04:16 PM - Post#10659    
    In response to Ellinaux

We have been around a few years and have gone the route of 501c7 social club. We are still wrestling with some details, but there was at least one other on here that said something about being a 501c7 social club. I'd be happy to talk with you about it because I am curious what you decided to do.


Con Treasurer

 
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