For those of you who want to be a cosplayer, here are some tips!:
1. Try it out first. Do you enjoy cosplaying? Get out there and strut your stuff at a Comic Convention or participate in local charity events if that’s more your style. Many people learn that they are uncomfortable with people asking to take pics or touching them. Children will get excited and often hug a cosplayer and many fans will want a personal interaction. Before you invest the time, energy, and expense to cosplay professionally, be sure that you really do enjoy connecting with people online and IRL.
2. Branding. Who are you? Do you want to stay in cosplay exclusively or do you want to branch out? Some cosplayers are exclusive to cosplay while others branch out into modeling, acting, commisions, and more. This should be the name on your website and social media platforms. It’s important that you be easy to locate and identify online.
3. Email. A public figure needs an appropriate and separate place to do business. Keep it simple and impersonal. Remember that this represents your brand. This isn’t the place to advertise your beliefs or give out personal info. Examples of what not to do:
If you can get your own @, that’s even better. For example, I am firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Social media. Keep it separate from your personal life. Yes you will make friends and they will learn all about you as a person, but we don’t want people banging on your door or calling you in the middle of the night. Simply posting on your profile that you aren’t accepting people isn’t enough. Keep anything personal out of the public. And remember that anything you say, do, or post can and likely will be used against you at some point.
5. Portfolio. Yes you need one. This is a body of work that will be used to represent you and your craft. When you are starting out this can simply be pics of your costumes as well as some great shots of you in them. Many photographers that are starting out will do what is called trade for print shoot, or tfp for short. This means that both photographer and model get to use the photos in their portfolios. You can also meet some great photogs at conventions. Look at their work and check references.
6. Business Cards. Yes you can find some freebies online but they are clearly amateurish.This represents your work and what you can offer potential fans and clients. Be sure to utilize as much space as you can. Cards can be purchased for pennies and this is an investment in your business. Use a few good quality pics and list your contact information as well as social media. DO NOT list your phone number or address.
7. Build a fan base. This can be done online through social media as well as public appearances, events, cosplay activities and more. Anything you do and everywhere you go there is an opportunity to share your brand and promote your business. You would be surprised at how many people are looking for a costume commission, a model, or even a superhero for a child’s birthday party.
8. Pace yourself. You just started a business. It takes time and tons of work. It’s easy to burn out and go broke trying to attend every convention and event while attempting to make every costume you can. Cosplay is incredibly fun and there are so many opportunities to take advantage of. Choose wisely and be thrifty. You have a long road ahead. This is a marathon not a sprint.
9. Know your audience. If you are attending a gaming con you can of course show up as Princesses Elsa, no one is stopping you, but it would be wiser to wear a cosplay that reflects the event you are attending. You wouldn’t want to show up to a Justice League movie premiere dressed as Black Widow or wear a super sexy Starfire to the Childrens hospital.
10. Comfortable shoes. This is more important than you know. You will be on your feet, standing and walking, for many hours. When wearing heels, go for something a with a wider heel and a platform over a stiletto. Some cosplayers have even used a tennis shoe base to make their boots. Good insoles are a must and keep those toe nails trimmed. It’s worth ruining that pedicure to keep from losing your nail from the pressure against the end of a shoe or boot.
Happy Cosplaying and best of luck on your new career. Stay tuned for more tips and send me your questions.
– Cara Nicole aka AZ Powergirl
Cara is an international professional cosplayer. She edits comics, colors art, acts in movies, models for Magic the Gathering cards, and ran for political office in the state of Arizona.
Cara is also running an Indiegogo campaign for the re-release of her Photobook 1 with an Ultimate Edition. Check it out at: http://tinyurl.com/azpg183