While researching for the eating disorder blog I stumbled upon something that made me think about what Cosplayers should know both seasoned and new. With the Amazing Arizona Comic Convention being the very first convention of 2012 this weekend I thought this might be a good post for the beginning of the season. That and I am sitting here waiting on iTunes to download the first season of MLP FIM. I got a gift card, don’t be hating and yes it is STILL downloading oh four hours later. Ugg.
Without further ado here are some of my tips for cosplayers. Please comment and add if you have anything I didn’t think of.
In relation to cosplay construction, creation, and contemplation…
DO try to make your costume if you can. There is nothing wrong with buying a costume, but putting the love into making your own costume makes cosplay more fulfilling. If you have something you're not sure how to make find a tutorial or ask someone that may know. One thing I enjoy about my cosplaying friends is when we ask random questions about construction and fixes. Forums can be a great place to ask questions as well.
DO make sure you have the right fabrics. Check for drape, weight, and breathable fabrics. Conventions get very hot so a breathable fabric is a must for your own personal comfort.
DO give yourself time to make (put together) your costume.
DO ask anyone you are buying products from what their turnaround time is. I have heard loads of complaints from costumers and prop makers about buyers being rude to them because they expect a product to me made overnight. Guess what? A lot of these items cannot be made overnight and if it can its of poor quality. So make sure you give them enough time. Or if you are on a tight schedule ask them if they can have it to you by a certain date. This is much better for business for both sides.
DO remember that it’s the details that make a cosplay come to life so try to make sure you have all the little extras in place. Jewelry, ribbons, shoes, hair, eye color, buckles, straps, etc
DO use your best judgment on characters that may not have a defined costume piece. Hello anime?
DO try to make sure your costume allows you to take bathroom breaks. I have noticed cosplayers missing the boat on this one. Invisible zippers exist for a reason and no one likes to be dehydrated or lacking energy. Conventions can be very draining even if your just walking around taking photos. You’re going to need to eat and stay hydrated. Don’t worry about accuracy because there is nothing wrong with making a costume more functional and realistic.
DO cosplay a character that is not seen as often. I cosplayed Elektra at NYCC this year knowing she is well known and that I rarely see her at shows. I got wonderful reactions from con goers.
DO cosplay a character you love even if it’s obscure, but if it is an obscure character don’t expect people to know who you are. Carry a picture for reference. Sometimes and obscure character can be an excellent idea for a con shopping day. This way you can cosplay and not have quite as much attention as you would if you were a more well known character.
DON’T throw on a mask and a t-shirt and call it a cosplay and if you do don’t expect other cosplayers to want to take photos with you. This is something I hear complained about often. There is a lot of work that goes into putting together a well developed costume and not putting that effort in is a good way to get us annoyed. There is a big difference between a comic fan and a lackluster cosplayer and we can tell the difference.
DON’T wear a cosplay that doesn’t fit properly. I know the idea is to be accurate to the character you’re portraying but if adding some extra fabric here and there assures a proper fit without bulging or shaky parts then add the fabric. You will thank yourself later.
DO carry an emergency sewing kit. Do I really need to explain this? They sell them everywhere. Hotels often offer them for free. If you wind up not needing it I am sure someone else will.
DO wear undergarments. Yes this does need to be said. That said men…
DO invest in a dancers belt. The ladies will thank you. There is nothing worse then seeing a man in spandex without one.
DON’T ever think you are too heavy to cosplay! On that note don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise! Cosplayers come in all sizes. Just make sure the costume fits properly and pick something you can wear with pride and confidence.
DON’T ever think because you have a different skin color you can’t cosplay a character. Just because Calie happens to be white doesn’t mean she has to be. I am sure you will have to get used to being asked about it but you will look awesome and unique in the process. Let’s be honest and admit that there really are very few characters that are not Caucasian, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from portraying those characters regardless of skin tone. It’s about the love of the genre.
In relation to all things outside of costume creation…
DON’T be self conscious outside the convention hall if you can help it. Being outside of the convention in costume can be the hardest part of the show, but remember you’re not alone. Every cosplayer at the show went through the awkward walk to get there as well. Granted you may feel out of place but for the most part people are just wondering what you’re dressed up for and what fictional character you are portraying. Regardless of how weird I have felt walking outside the convention halls it can be a lot of fun because people on the streets will get into it and ask where you are going. Some will even decide to go to the show and check it out. You didn’t dress up to be ignored did you?
DO get floor buddies. Whether it’s someone willing to hold your personal effects or a cosplaying friend having someone with you makes for a better experience overall. This goes double for women. I shouldn’t need to explain that either.
DON’T be afraid to turn someone down. Many times convention attendees can become demanding of your time whether they intend to or not. Don’t ignore your own needs to appease them. I know that sounds a little nasty but its just for your own good. During NYCC I was on my phone trying to give my friends an address and directions to the Javits and while I was doing this I had a con goer up in my face begging me to get off the phone and take a photo to the point my friend and I couldn‘t hear each other. I will give people the benefit of the doubt that they are caught up in the excitement of the show and do not realize just how rude they are being, but it’s still important to recognize that something’s are more important then one persons photo. So don’t feel bad saying “no” once in a while.
DON’T talk someone into cosplaying so you can outshine them. Not cool.
DO some pose practicing. This way you won’t be in the same pose in every photo. I need to work on this one.
DO make bathroom stops to check your costume or touch up make up. This goes double for body paint.
DO bring food and drink with you if the convention hall allows it. Drink lots of water. I suggest bringing snacks such as Cliff Bars. Items that are tasty, small, and packed with energy boosting nutrients.
DO role play if you feel inclined to.
DO expect people to take photos with you.
DON’T forget to take breaks. Shows are exhausting for everyone involved from guests, attendees, staff, cosplayers, etc… I know walking around taking pictures doesn’t sound exhausting but trust me it is physically and mentally. So do take a little bit of time to refresh those batteries.
And most importantly…
DO NOT hate on other cosplayers! This is so important. There is quite a bit of the typical negativity and of course feuds but really everyone is trying to do their best so pay that person a compliment before thinking about insulting them.