So after much debating and soul searching you’ve decided to finally do it. You’ve decided it’s time to make that big step into the great world of cosplay (congrats btw). This of course opens up a whole new world of fun experiences at whatever con you are planning on attending, however, it can also be a little overwhelming. A couple of years ago I finally pulled the trigger on a cosplay idea I had been kicking around for years and I am so glad I did. It is a blast. If you’re curious about what I dress up as it is a Star Wars spoof. Everyone knows Boba Fett, the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, but do you know his redneck cousin, Bubba Fett (the most feared redneck in the galaxy)? Bubba repairs moisture vaporators on Tatooine and is a pretty easy going fellow as long as he gets to watch his podracing. Anyway, I learned a lot of lessons when making Bubba, and since cosplay can be a tricky thing, here are some of them.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time – Making a good costume takes time. Don’t wait until the week before to start making your outfit. The further out you prepare, the better off you will be. There will always be some little thing you think of or some item you need to order online. Waiting to late won’t give you the time you need to add all the little details that go into your epic cosplay. For instance, when creating Bubba, I had to order a Bubba hat, podracer iron patch, print stickers for the backpack and come up with a killer shotgun. Fortunately, I planned it all out way in advance and when the time came I wasn’t scrambling around for that perfect item to complete my costume. Plenty of time makes a big difference and lets you know you did your best.
Know Your Weapons Policy – Here is a situation to consider. You’ve spent hours upon hours creating your large, killer Master Chief or Anime weapon, only to arrive at the con and be told you aren’t allowed to bring it in! This used to not be an issue and cons were liberal with their weapon policies. However, in light of the way our society has gone some are really cracking down on weapons. This happened to me last year at San Diego Comic-Con. In the past at SDCC I had no problem bringing in Bubba’s double barreled shotgun (affectionately named Vera). Then last year I showed up ready to go only to learn that all weapons had to be tied down to your costume and no pointing them at people for “action” pictures. Since I had no real way of walking around with a shotgun strapped to my side I had to leave it in the hotel room. We saw numerous costumes without weapons at the con, Stormtroopers, Predators, Master Chiefs just to name a few. Is this policy a little extreme when the old system worked fine, yes, but it is the way it is and we have to play by the rules. So make sure your BFG passes the weapons test.
Stay Light On Your Feet – This is a tough one as some costumes, such as knights in full armor or the occasional Transformer, can be really heavy, but do your absolute best to go as light as possible. Yeah the armor is awesome but after about two hours you will be exhausted. Con supplies such as water, food, batteries, and even merchandise you buy can quickly weigh you down and by the midafternoon you are completely wiped out. If you don’t need it, don’t take it, and if you do need it, find the lightest solution possible. You and your feet will be glad you did. Speaking of feet comfortable shoes are a must. If your costume absolutely requires uncomfortable shoes then at least by some shoe inserts to wear. Your feet will love you for it. I used to carry a couple of water bottles with me as well, than abandoned it when I figured out all the extra weight it was adding. I decided buying an overpriced bottle of water was easier then lugging high quality H2O around all day. And speaking of water…
Hydration – This probably isn’t the wisest idea but unless I am going to be in the sun a lot, such as SDCC, then I don’t drink a lot of water. Instead, I try to hydrate the night before or early in the morning. The reason being is costumes, even Bubba, can be a pain if you keep having to constantly run to the restroom. Of course, if you are wearing something hot and heavy, like a Predator costume, you might need to hydrate more, but remember that extra heavy, full body costume is a very difficult to go to the bathroom in.
Business Cards – This is by no means mandatory but I always carry a business cards with me. The reason is if you have a great costume then people will want to take pictures of you. Some of those people may be professional photographers and this is your chance to get some great shots of yourself. Give them a card so they can send you the images, or at the very least, be sure to get their card. Also, if you have something to promote, such as a book or artwork, then cosplay is a great way to do so. Tons of people will be stopping to take your picture, so this is the perfect opportunity to hand out your card and get some exposure.
Cosplay is an absolute blast (and you meet tons of cool people in the process) but it can be a hassle, doing some of these simple things can make your experience so much enjoyable then it otherwise might be. Oh, and if you happen to see Bubba on the floor, feel free to give him a big “Hell yeah,” he is dying to meet you!
You can follow Jefferson @nerdsinrecovery.