This is edited very slightly (temporal descriptors and whatnot) from a rant I posted at my livejournal and on facebook about a year ago. As much fun as I have both talking about cosplay and actually doing it, and as much as dressing up as your favorite characters has become slightly more mainstream as a result of huge events like Comic Con, it’s still something that “normal” people (and even a lot of nerds) just don’t do or understand, and is therefore apparently as problematic when job-seeking as having pictures of yourself with your dildo collection on facebook. This list was the result of my personal backlash to this idea.
I have felt pressure as I become more ‘grown up’ to stop cosplaying. It’s a childish thing, apparently. It is definitely not a ‘normal’ thing to do, and what if potential employers happen on a profile picture of me dressed up as some guy from some anime about giant robots and think I’m too ‘out there’ to hire? My employers at my internship last summer were shocked when they found out I cosplayed, because I apparently seem awfully normal.
Because as a college student I obviously have lots of time on my hands, I’ve compiled this list of reasons why being a cosplayer makes me an even more valuable potential employee.
• Ingenuity and creative thinking: I am a college student. I have limited means. If I need a reaper’s scythe or a giant suit of armor for a costume, I can’t just go online and purchase these things (even though yes, they are available – it is the internet after all). I have to think out of the box in order to make impressive-looking costumes and props with the least amount of money possible. I’ve used things as varied as Pringles cans, swimming goggles, paper towels, and the plastic sheeting that goes in overhead office lights to create things that were as good if not better and always cheaper than what’s commercially available.
• Problem solving: People in anime wear some weird and complicated stuff. Some people might look at a picture of a particularly complex outfit and feel overwhelmed; however, when I look at these pictures I break the costume down into smaller, easily-tackled parts that come together to make the whole.
• Time management: Last summer I worked a job full-time and an internship part-time, I was often busy seven days a week. Nonetheless I made 11 different costumes plus props and accessories for five more, and was finished well before the actual convention where my friends and I planned to wear them. When I need to finish something I use all of my time to the best of my ability.
• Delegation: As the group of friends I cosplay with has grown larger and gotten more ambitious with costume ideas, I have developed a system of delegation with those friends in order to make those costumes a reality. I’m the only one who actually sews, so when we have several costumes to make, I relegate the tasks that a non-sewer can do to them to maximize the amount of time I can spend actually sewing the costume bits together.
• Organization: As the amount of costumes we accumulate grows larger, I have developed ways of categorizing costumes in progress, finished costumes, already-used costumes, and costs. I have spreadsheets and documents that detail where each piece of every costume is, how much it cost, and what still needs to be done. We have over
seventy over a hundred and thirty (with more on the way) costumes between the five seven of us, so this is more intimidating a task than it may seem.
• Frugality: I mentioned this before, but as a college student I have limited means. I have to manage my funds wisely and make judgment calls on what can be done by hand or passed over entirely and what I should buy, even if it means a few extra dollars, because the quality or saved time is worth it.
• The tiny details and the big picture: Details can make or break a costume. That little extra touch can mean the difference between being a cosplaying celebrity and remaining an unknown. I like to make sure that the little details of all my costumes are there and correct. However, I won’t sacrifice the big picture to the details. If I believe that something is not worth the stress and effort, I’ll leave it out in favor of making sure the big picture is something worthwhile.
• Commitment to quality: the purpose of cosplaying is certainly to emulate your favorite characters, but it is also to be seen and admired by others at conventions. I am always dedicated to making costumes that I am proud of and that I believe will be admired by my cosplaying, convention-going peers.
I think it takes a pretty put-together and mature person to pull this sort of thing off. Just sayin’. What do you think?
I know not all cosplayers are this dedicated or anal about their costumes, but I think I there are some universal points here. What are your thoughts, dear readers?