Planning on wandering the halls of your local chat and want some tips and tricks for interacting in cosplay? Look no further.
Building a costume is the first step into the exciting and creative world of costume. Those who crave social interaction and wish to embody themselves in public are taking the next bold steps in performance art. With convention circuits back in full swing for 2023, we’ve put together some great guidelines for you to keep in mind as you build your own cosplay show.
While some people are completely happy just getting into their cosplay, others like to dive deep into the lore of the characters they’re building and acting out. If you want to level up your cosplay skills, this list is a great place to start. We polled studio audiences (cosplayers from many different social media communities for cosplay) and compiled some of their best tips for burgeoning cosplayers.
Cosplay: The devil is in the details
Choosing a character you like and feel close to will help you increase your interactions. The more you know about the character and their unique traits, the better your cosplay will be!
I find that the little details really sell to people. The character I play basically has a very distinct little tilt of the head and when I do it’s a trick or a miss, and I never fail to get people to respond positively. It’s simple and easy, but it makes a huge difference in selling the whole character.
–muezzin Kayla Ferguson
Acting impartially: know your audience
Not all cosplay interactions are the same. When working the local cosplay halls, it’s important to understand who you’re interacting with, and how far you can take your representation of the character. Save the “big” moments for safe environments like cosplay contests!
In the open conference, the diversity of people, their ages, and their understanding of the 40K universe are different. Sometimes I will shout “To the Khan and the Emperor!!”. I will also smile and be friendly, adjusting my voice depending on the audience. This is especially important for young children who come close to me.
If I enter a costume contest, I’ll then put more of my character in Joghaten, Khan of the Toloire Brotherhood, use a sexier voice and declare “More purges must happen!”
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Cosplay: The golden rule must be adhered to
The way you treat others matters. You must pay attention to those around you and avoid destructive behavior, even if it is something your character would do. Remember to be kind and treat others the way you want to be treated.
Respect the rules – It is not okay to misuse or misuse bullying. Everyone out there wants to have fun – not just you but others as well. (eg you can’t smash things with a baseball club just because you’re dressed as Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad)
Personality: Choose who you interact with carefully
Knowing when and where to share with others when they are in costume is very important. In the last couple of years especially, maintaining personal space and being aware of circumstances is even more important as a community. It’s always a good idea to ask permission when trying to interact with someone.
I only approach people in costume. Star Wars fashion primarily because this is the Imperial HR bit. If I see someone out of costume making eye contact for a long time, wanting to explode, looking like they want to write, I’ll do that all day. The key is to make sure the other person wants to play along.
–Sunflower dustfrom “Dolores from Imperial HR” Cosplay
Cosplay: Follow your inspiration
Inspiration to work on character can come from anywhere. From listening to music from a show, or taking a class to help learn their movement. Chase your inspiration and have fun building the character into something you feel comfortable portraying!
I make a playlist to help me get into the mood/mental state of a character and listen to them while I get ready. I find it really helps me get into a groove of energy that a certain character might have.
Also, take some dance lessons. Any dance lessons, or even some kind of fitness dance. Being familiar with your body and how it moves, feeling comfortable moving it, and being able to convey intent in that movement lead TON to embody a character without having to say a word!
Cosplay: Have fun!
The most important rule is to have fun. Cosplay for everyone, regardless of body type, background, or skill level. As long as you love what you do, you are welcome to show it and enjoy it. Enjoy your interactions in the events, and remember – you can go as hard (or soft) as you want with your cosplay. Let us know what guidelines you use to pose the character for cosplay!
~ Join us next week for more Cosplay coverage ~
Do you have a costume question you’d like Mayhem’s Muse to answer?
Do you know a Cosplay character you’d like to see featured? Send an email here!
Jennifer aka “Mayhem’s Muse” is the Cosplay Editor at BoLS and manages advertising sales and communications. Her cosplay awards include the RTX Judge’s Choice Award and Dragon’s Lair Austin’s Cosplay Symposium. Jennifer has been a guest Cosplay judge at RTX, Tacticon, and Genghis Con in Colorado. She regularly attends conventions to cover my BoLS cosplay. Her cosplay has been featured in publications such as Girls Who Love Monsters, Geek Fuel, and Renaissance Magazine. Jennifer has modeled at Her Universe Fashion Show, Precision Camera University’s annual Precision Camera program, and has taught numerous workshops for photographers on partnering with costume designers and creative models/models. Jennifer is a fan of retro video games and loves Dungeons & Dragons, urban fantasy, board games, virtual reality technology, and historical shooters. She set national records with the traditional Asian bow division in USA Archery and placed 4th at the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan at the 2018 Korean Women’s Archery. Jennifer is currently studying for a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.