I don't have my own flight suit or gear, can I still join?
Yes. We know how overwhelming it can feel when you are getting started and we do not want that to be a barrier to participating in our group. When getting started, we highly recommend you purchase your own flight suit and patches. This is a reasonably affordable baseline for being a recognizable member of our group while at events. All of the members of our team are able to offer guidance on where to acquire the costumes and props you want and many jump at the chance to answer questions about building gear. None of us came into the fandom with the gear we have now - all of us built it over time and slowly added to our collection. Several members of our team may be willing to loan you gear to wear at events while you are building your own. Check the uniform page for more Info.
How screen-accurate does my wardrobe and gear need to be - and which movie does it have to be from?
Our group never holds "gear inspections". There are no Ghostbusters cosplay police in our organization. We encourage our members to pursue their creative impulses and celebrate their fandom in a way that is meaningful to them. Some of our team enjoy creating screen-accurate items from the 1984 film, where others enjoy variations from the subsequent films, cartoons, and graphic novels. As long as you are recognizable as a Ghostbuster of some sort (or affiliated franchise character), it's fair game.
Do I have to pay membership dues?
The only thing anyone in our group is ever required to pay is the $20 background check fee when they apply to join. We do not have any kind of membership dues.
What's the average day like when working an event as an Austin Ghostbuster?
The majority of the job is posing for photos with excited members of the public. We are in the business of making people smile. Team members are expected to know about our charity partner and encourage members of the public who have enjoyed their time with us to support that charity. Depending on the event, team members may be asked to help setup or take down an information table and/or decorations. You'll also spend a lot of time helping your fellow team members hook their neutrona wands back onto their proton packs.
How active do I need to be to maintain my membership? I want to join but I'm pretty busy with [a new job/my kids/etc.].
We understand. Life and family come first. Being a part of the Austin Ghostbusters should be fun and we don't want anyone to feel so pressured to participate that an event feels like an obligation rather than something exciting. The number of events we do in a given year varies, so it is difficult to say how many events one has to attend in a given year to be considered an "active member". We encourage our members to make the effort to attend as many events as they are able and to reach out to the senior members of the group about other ways to contribute when life takes priority. As long as you are making an effort and keeping in touch, you will be considered an active member.
Why do I have to complete a criminal background check?
Because many of our charity partners work with children and/or at-risk populations, and because there are times when members of our team handle money and/or are given positions of trust within the community. Completion of a background check minimizes the risk for these partners and for the group. Background checks are viewed only by senior members of the organization and are done so with respect to the applicant's privacy. Any previous offenses revealed by a background check will be evaluated in terms of their severity, relevance to the group's activities, and the length of time that has passed since they occurred.
What is the group's administrative structure?
It is flexible and fairly informal. There are no "officers" in the traditional sense. Members of the team who have expressed a desire to take on additional duties - such as contacting event partners, answering emails, sorting merch, maintaining the website, social media, photography, etc. - have done so as the organization has grown. The team members with the highest levels of responsibility tend to be those who have been with the organization the longest and are therefore most familiar with it. These "senior members" review background checks, settle any internal conflicts, and make decisions for the group when time and/or privacy are the pivotal issues. However, the organization is considered to be member-led and, whenever possible, all active members have a say in the organization's governance. Everyone has a voice, whether they have been with the group since the beginning or just joined. Anyone who wishes to take on a more active role in the group is encouraged to do so.
Which Ghostbusters movie is the best/worst?
As an organization, we love anything and everything Ghostbusters! Our individual members have their personal favorites and, during our downtime, we welcome discussion that is positive, inclusive, and friendly. Since we are an officially recognized GhostCorps franchise, when speaking with a member of the public, we expect our team members to support the franchise as a whole and keep the interaction upbeat regardless of one's personal opinions.
Do you investigate actual hauntings?
We do not (but many of our members do enjoy a good ghost story and/or touring a haunted site).