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August 11 - August 13, 2017
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington DC, USA
Home  //  Community  //  Community: Otakon Cosplay Coordination FAQ
Community: Otakon Cosplay Coordination FAQ

Submissions are currently being accepted for Otakon Cosplay Coordination requests.

Return to the Otakon Cosplay Coordination information page.

Why is Otakon organizing the photoshoots?

We have been asked before to help with organizing the photoshoots many times in the past and over the years there has not been a need. However, we have grown and are at capacity within the convention center. By helping organize in the three official areas we make sure everyone is not only safe, but that lines are wrangled and that traffic is moving.

Are you organizing outside the convention center?

No, we are only organizing in 3 locations inside the convention center. All other locations are unofficial and not maintained by Otakon.

Where are the official cosplay photoshoot locations?

  • Charles Street Lobby, at the Indoor Fountains
  • 400 Level, West Side
  • 3rd Floor Outside Terrace

Why only those locations?

These are the main large areas that can accommodate the shoots and the needs that are required. If you want to hold shoots in other sites than those listed above, you are welcome to do so as long as you follow all Otakon/BCC policies and staff member instructions.

Where do I go to for a photoshoot that is not listed under the official list?

For unofficial photoshoots like those scheduled outside of the BCC, visit for details.

Are you working with with the Cosplay Community?

Yes. We have a Cosplay Community Liaison, Emma. If you have questions or concerns and don't feel comfortable talking with Otakon Staff, you can contact her through our contacts page she will pass on your concerns to us. We are working with her directly both pre-con and at-con to help make this program successful.

I planned a photoshoot/gathering in one of the three official locations previously, and it isn't listed on the official schedule: Why not? I thought you were honoring all previously scheduled events.

Only those groups who are on the official schedule will have their shoots honored. Any unofficial shoots in that area will be asked to disperse or move to a new location, if an official shoot is scheduled at that time. If you want to have a shoot in one of the official locations, fill out the form.

Why are you asking for my phone number, email and real name on the form?

So that we can contact you to resolve conflicts, confirm photoshoot times, and in the case of an emergency at the con (aka the Fire Nation Attacks) we can contact the coordinator to see about rescheduling the shoot. The information will not be shared with anyone other than Otakon Cosplay Coordination staff.

How long will it take to receive a confirmation once I've submitted the form?

We're updating the schedule as quickly as possible but there is no set time table. If you haven't gotten a confirmation or an email that your requested time has a conflict in a week, check your spam folders first and if the reply isn't there contact us through our help desk.

I want to schedule a Dance Group in one of the official locations. Can I do so?

Because of traffic flow and noise concerns, we are not accepting applications for Dance or Music performance groups.

What happens when the official locations fill up?

We will create a waiting list. If a group cancels, the day/time and location will be offered to the first group on the waiting list; if they refuse, it will be offered to the second group and so on. If you are on the waiting list, you will probably not get to choose between day, time, and location, and we therefore advise that you take what is offered! We also reserve the right to contact some of the smaller groups and ask if they are willing to share a space (either the 3rd Floor Terrace or the Charles Street Lobby, which can accommodate multiple small groups at one time); however, if the original group does not wish to share their space, we will respect their decision and not double-book their time and space.

What happens when there is a schedule conflict between cosplay groups?

We will work with the groups in question to come to a satisfactory outcome: for instance, some of the official photoshoot areas can handle multiple smaller groups, and if the conflicting groups agree, they can share the space at the same time, shooting in different parts of the space.

What happens when there is a schedule conflict with a cosplay group and a scheduled event (panel, workshop, premiere, autograph session, industry event, etc)?

Before the con, we will be sending the preliminary photoshoot schedule to the heads of programming, guest relations, and industry relations to consider when building the schedule. There is no guarantee that a conflict will not arise. We will try to prevent conflicts but there are other considerations that have to be kept in mind including room size, technical needs, and guest schedules. If there is a conflict, the Otakon Cosplay Coordination Department Head (OOC) or Member Services Division Director, will contact the coordinator of the affected photoshoot to ask them what action they would like to take and possibly consider choosing a different date/time for the photoshoot if there is space/time available. We will be holding a few times for just this eventuality.

I want a time that's already booked by another group. What do I do?

You can still fill out the form requesting those dates/times/locations. When the OCC receives a conflict request we will email you letting you know that both your first and second choice requests are unavailable and we will offer you an alternative time. If that time is not acceptable to you, we will then contact the groups scheduled in your first and second choice times to see if they are willing to share a space. It is entirely up to the group scheduled in the space to decide if they want to share the space or not. The OCC is only acting as an intermediary.

I have a large group and need more than an hour! What do I do?

If you know your group is large and needs extra time, mention that in the comment field in the sign-up form. We are willing to accommodate larger groups as needed. This may involve double-booking some locations, if both parties are amenable--the Charles Street Lobby and the Third Floor Terrace can accommodate multiple groups.

My group is really small and I don't need all that space. Can we share space with another group?

We are scheduling groups on a first-come first-served basis. If your group is really small and the previously scheduled group is willing to share the space, we are open to accommodating that just note it when you fill out the form. However, it depends on the location and size of the groups involved. If you've already filled out the form and are willing to share space please contact the OOC.

What about unofficial groups sharing the space?

Only those groups who are on the official schedule will have their shoots honored. Any unofficial shoots in that area will be asked to disperse or move to a new location, if an official shoot is scheduled at that time. If you want to have a shoot in one of the official locations, fill out the form.

How many times are you holding for conflicts?

Three per day. If they are not needed, we will open them up on a first-come first-served basis.

How will time be counted during the photoshoots?

We will have an Otakon staff member present at all photoshoots with a clipboard, on which they will count down the last 15, 10, and 5 minutes of the photoshoot. They will be the official timekeepers, and photoshoot coordinators and participants will need to listen to their directions.

What happens if another group shows up during my photoshoot and tries to take over the space?

An Otakon staff member will be on-site for all photoshoots, and has the authority to ask the non-official group to relocate. If you are unable to find a staff member, please send one of your group members to an Information Desk, and have them contact the Otakon Cosplay Coordination Department Head, or the Member Services Division Director.

What happens if time for a photoshoot runs over?

The Otakon staff member on site will be counting down to the end of the photoshoot and will end the photoshoot 5 minutes before the end of the shoot in order to give the group time to finish up and clear out. The shoots are longer compared to last year in the case of it running too long.

What happens if nothing is scheduled after our photoshoot? Can we run late?

If there is no other group scheduled after yours, feel free to run late, as long as you are finished before the next scheduled group. However, since there is no scheduled group, the Otakon staff member on site is not obligated to ask other groups who wish to use that space for their own shoots to vacate the area, and you may find yourself sharing with other cosplay groups. The only exception is that if the convention center is closing, you must leave the BCC! You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!

I am not cosplaying, but want to take pictures: Where do I go and what do I do?

All photographers must follow all Otakon, BCC, and Baltimore rules and policies, as well as all staff member instructions. There are no restrictions on taking group photos of cosplayers, as long as you are not blocking the flow of traffic or creating a hazard with your camera or equipment, so feel free to attend any official or unofficial photoshoots and take pictures of the participants. If you would like to take a picture of an individual cosplayer, ask for their permission first, and do not take inappropriate photos. Harassment of any kind is not allowed, as per Otakon policy.

I saw a group of people with cool costumes and I just want to take some pictures of them together: Can I hold a quick impromptu photoshoot?

Sure! Provided you ask the cosplayers first, are standing in an area out of the flow of traffic (definitely not in one of the Sky Bridges!), and follow all Otakon, BCC, and City of Baltimore rules and policies, and staff member instructions.

How are you dealing with crowd control at the official photoshoot locations?

There will be an Otakon staff member on site at all official photoshoots. The staff member will be working with Access Control to keep traffic flowing and minimize bottlenecks. Remember, as an Otakon attendee, you are obligated to follow the directions of Otakon staff members, including requests to move out of the flow of traffic!

Our group wants to re-enact a scene from the show: Is this allowed?

As long as you are following all rules and policies and staff member instructions, go ahead. All we ask is that you do not swing around prop weapons or play-fight. Please use caution: no one wants a Keyblade to the face!

Can we use props during photoshoots?

Yes! However, you must follow all rules regarding our weapons policy. In addition, if your prop is a sign please refer to our sign policy.

What happens if I need to cancel or reschedule a photoshoot?

Contact the Otakon Cosplay Coordinator.

What happens if the group I scheduled is larger than I expected, and won't fit the venue I signed up for?

Contact the Otakon Cosplay Coordinator and we will attempt to accommodate your group elsewhere.

Will there be a wait list once the official locations are filled?

Yes, there will be a small waiting list in the event that a previously scheduled group cancels.

My group has large or heavy costumes: where is the best official venue for us?

One of the inside venues, such as the Charles Street Lobby, or the 4th floor (400 level) West Side, depending on the size of your group.

What happens if there is a fire alarm or other disaster (tornado, earthquake, tsunami, jaegers, Titans, Godzilla)?

Depending on the emergency all members may need to vacate the area, we do apologize but your safety is important to us. We will do our best to accommodate rescheduling; however, please know that it may not be possible.

What happens if the outside location gets rained out?

Unfortunately, that's one of the drawbacks of having the shoots outside. If it's a sudden downpour, we'll work with the groups coming after the rained out group and the ones coming after to see if they are willing to share a space. We will do our best to accommodate rescheduling; however, please know that it may not be possible.

You've had Otakon photo backdrops in the past: Will these be out again this year, and where will they be?

The Otakon backdrops will be out again, in general locations--the official photoshoot locations will not have Otakon photo backdrops. If you wish to take pictures in front of the Otakon backdrops, feel free! Just be mindful of traffic conditions and follow the Otakon rules and policies.

Will you have someone from the PhotoSuite/Otakon Photographer there?

No. This is still a pilot program. We do not have the staff to do this at this time. Therefore, you will be responsible for finding a photographer to take pictures.

If you still have questions or would like to give feedback please fill out a help desk ticket.
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