Surviving your first cosplay


Welcome to the awesome world of Cosplay! If it seems a little intimidating, don’t worry — with a few simple tips, you’ll be having too much fun to worry about surviving your first con. You’ll even know exactly how to act for the camekos. (Never heard of them? Keep reading, and you’ll learn all you need to know!)

First, a few simple Dos and Don’ts.

When you’re starting out, you SHOULD:

Cosplay characters you enjoy and relate to somehow.
– Compile reference images showing your character from every angle. In cases where this isn’t possible, use your judgement, but keep any additions as close to the character as you possibly can.
– Come up with at least 3 poses for your character, study them, and try and find poses that express your character best (or, at least your character as you see them).
– Study the character. This isn’t just helpful for coming up with poses. You want to get a sense of their mannerisms and how the character carries themselves.
– Accept constructive criticism gracefully, since there’s ALWAYS room for improvement! Even for veterans who’ve been cosplaying for years.
– Try and bring your character to life!
– Have fun!

On the other hand, here’s what you should AVOID:

– Overusing the glue gun. As tempting as it can be, using too much glue gun looks tacky and unprofessional.
– Carrying around a sign all the time. These just get in the way and usually look tacky. Save them for skits!
– Cosplaying for the sake of winning contests. It’s supposed to be a fun hobby, not a competition!
– Thinking you’re the only one, or the “best” at playing a character. Other people cosplay the same character, and nobody’s better than someone else!
– Treating other people as inferior because you think their costumes aren’t such great quality.
– Criticising people because you think their costumes are inferior. They may have put a lot of time into their costumes and might be very proud of their work.

Okay. With that out of the way, here are some tips for your first convention:

– Bring your own repair kit

You’ll want to have things like needles and thread, a glue gun, some safety pins, extra costume buttons, and the like. If something goes wrong, you’ll be prepared.

– Don’t fear the Camekos!

Camekos are cosplay photographers. Most of them are hobbyists just like you, not pros. Some might ask you for a few poses, so you’ll want to have some that fit your character ready to go. On the other hand, some will ask you to pose in certain ways. (Of course, if they ask for or do something you feel is inappropriate or that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to tell them “no.”)

Try posing with friends, too — that can be a lot of fun! Plus make sure you get at least one photo that has you smiling. It makes your face brighter and makes a more pleasant photo. (If you can’t smile in-character, use your eyes to smile).

In any case you should definitely put some expression into your photos.

– Go with a friend, or a few

Cons are huge, with tons of things to do. It’s better to go with someone who knows them, or a few people who are new like you. While you’re there, remember it’s OK to ask questions, or to get lost (temporarily).

– Bring some food money and snacks, and drink plenty of water

Food at cons and hotels is incredibly expensive, so you’ll want to bring some snacks to keep you going. You should NOT skip meals! If you do, you’ll start feeling weak and have trouble enjoying the day.

The same goes for water. Some costumes can be hot (here’s looking at you, DIY metal armour fans) to begin with, but when you start blending with a few thousand other cosplayers, every costume feels like a sauna. Don’t worry about it, though, as long as you drink plenty of water and eat regularly you’ll be fine.

– One word… HYGIENE

No, seriously. Use deodorant and shower at least daily. You do not want to be exhibit A in the case for “fan funk,” that awful smell of too-lazy-to-shower congoers which you’ll find in the dealer room, game room, and viewing rooms. In fact, some cons will remove you if you’re too smelly, and you’ll have to shower before they’ll let you in.

– When it comes to drama, just say no!

The cosplay world is full of drama, but if anyone tries to start any with you, just walk away. If someone brings their drama to you, explain you don’t want to be involved and talk about something else. Drama is a great way to ruin con weekends, so don’t be a drama victim.

Alex Pejak is an economist currently working on a few projects in Australia. She is passionate about market research and project management. She is also interested in topics related to business IT and career development.

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