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    Commentary From Storm Cage

    Commentary From StormCage: Defining Cosplay

    Commentary from Stormcage

    by Rachel Stewart

    For people who aren’t in fandom, cosplay can be a confusing concept. Since becoming immersed and open about cosplaying within the Doctor Who fandom, I’ve had many people ask, “So, what is it exactly you do?” My answer is typically  “Stand around with my cosplay friends and talk about expensive pieces of clothing.” With Heroes of Cosplay returning with another series of drama and misconceptions, I figured now is a great time for a cosplay primer.

    Cosplay is a hobby. Collecting stamps. Knitting. Scrapbooking. Playing a sport. Cosplay is just like any other hobby. People are passionate and well-versed in techniques they’ve researched or modified themselves. People spend hours searching for ready-made pieces, building armor, embroidering fabric, and so on. Some people have better strengths than others. My talents include finding alternate pieces for screen worn clothing as well as distressing and painting items. I love searching for both vintage clothing and finding knock offs of current street clothing that can be modified for costumes. For cosplayers portraying comic book superheroes, they may even have a training schedule to get in shape for con. Many cosplayers may be on a budget, so financial skills also play a factor. Cosplay is a multi-faceted hobby, which demands a lot of time and effort, which is why I love it! I’m always learning something and improving on what I’ve done in the past. And while there may be some last-minute crunch to complete a costume, I find that element is way overplayed in Heroes of Cosplay. Any cosplayer worth their salt is going to have their latest costume complete before checking into their hotel room.

    Cosplay is represeting the character as geninuely as you can. Some people stay in character the whole time they cosplay, while others just wear their costumes. Sometimes people do a mix of both. If I’m presenting a costume on stage, in front of a panel audience, or interacting with children, I typically stay in character, because my personality and posture adapt to who I’m portaying and it adds to the illusion. Do what you want. There is no right or wrong, although, I will say, seeing kids’ faces light up over your cosplay is a joyous feeling.

    Cosplay is fun. I think the thing that upsets me the most about Heroes of Cosplay is the heavy competition aspect. In my 3+ years of cosplaying, I’ve entered one contest. While I know many people who compete, I know others who cosplay for the joy of wearing a costume they put time, effort, and money into. I’ve spent many a con taking silly photos with friends or just playing Cards Against Humanity. You can be passionate about costuming without being too serious.

    Cosplay is not drama. Sure, there’s drama in cosplay, but that’s true of any hobby. There are always those people. It’s important you don’t turn into one of them. Be polite, compliment people on their hard work. Talk shop. Drink. Enjoy con. I’m lucky that I’m part of a collective of cosplayers who are helpful on many fronts, both cosplay and non-cosplay related. If you’re getting into cosplay, surround yourself with supportive, positive creative people.

    Cosplay is not consent. It doesn’t matter what someone’s wearing. Don’t touch. Don’t heckle. Don’t harrass. Be an adult. If you see another cosplayer or congoer being harrassed, step up. Get security or hotel staff involved.

    About Rachel Stewart

    Rachel Stewart has been obsessed about all things pop culture from an early age, but counts Doctor Who and Jem and the Holograms among her main obsessions. She blogs about her cosplay adventures at conventions, weekly geek-inspired outfits and whatever else takes her fancy at her blog notprolificnotprofound. Like her cosplay profile at AllBackToFront.

    The post Commentary From StormCage: Defining Cosplay appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Commentary From StormCage: Surviving #ConLife

    Commentary from Stormcage

    by Rachel Stewart / notprolificnotprofound

    The holidays are over. Winter will hopefully be over sooner than later, and that means only one thing: conventions are a’coming.

    Whether you’re a cosplayer, gamer, panelist, or simple spectator, going to multiple conventions a year can be fun but exhausting. Here’s how to survive your weekend of geeky fun without coming home with Con Crud.

    1. Plan Your Con Experience.  Making time to see ALL THE THINGS and ALL THE PEOPLE can make even the most seasoned con goer anxious. Look at the schedules as soon as they go up and set a flexible itinerary, because sometimes panels don’t go as planned and having a back up can keep your con experience from derailing into “THIS SUCKS” territory. Also, if you need downtime, take it. Don’t be afraid to tell people you’ll catch up later or the next day if you’re not feeling it. For cosplayers, your days may be planned out in costumes you’re wearing for photo shoots or panels. Pack accessories ahead of time and invest in luggage so you can carry what you need with ease. I’ve got two lightweight trunks that stay packed with shoes, books, and other odds and ends so I’m ready to head out at any time. If you’re working on a new cosplay, bump your deadline up so you don’t end up flipping out the night before a con like all the cosplayers on Heroes of Cosplay. Just. Don’t.

    2. Sleep. Sure, you want to stay up with your friends playing Cards Against Humanity drinking whiskey until 5 a.m., or head to that all-night rave, or do the Time Warp at the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, or jump into the hotel hot tub while you’re dressed like JEM. That’s fine. IT’S A CON. DO WHAT YOU WANT. At some point your body will give up and want you to sleep. So take naps, or set aside certain hours for sleeping.

    3. Eat.  YOU CANNOT LIVE ON FAST FOOD ALONE. Sure, Taco Bell is cheap and close to your hotel. That doesn’t mean you should actually consume it. [Unless you are hungover. Then Go Pass Go, Collect $5 and your Mexican pizza and frozen Baja Blast.] Stock up on healthy snacks you can keep in your hotel room throughout the weekend. Trail mix, granola bars, bananas, and oranges will save your life when you’re hungry and nothing’s open.  Contrary to popular belief, that mini-fridge isn’t built just for vodka, Red Bull, and 5-Hour Energy.  Stash it full of good things like Greek yogurt, string cheese, juice, bottled water, sports drinks, or your leftovers from dinner.Take advantage of your hotel’s Continental breakfast. Have a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit with a side of bacon and a cup of coffee. If you forgo this advice,  bring a good multi-vitamin to take while you wash down that cold Chinese takeout with a Mimosa in a red Solo cup.

    4. Shower. CON FUNK IS REAL AND GROSS AND NOBODY HAS TIME FOR IT. In the past few years, I’ve sadly found this doesn’t apply to gamers. [Apologies to all the freshly showered gamers out there. I know you exist, too.] The powers in the universe created hotel showers and mini soap and shampoo for a very special reason: THEY WANTED YOU TO USE IT. The same goes for deodorant. If you’re a cosplayer, launder or dry clean your cosplays before con. If you’re wearing a fairly complicated costume all day, a spritz of Febreze can help you stay fresh. Also, follow your momma’s orders: wash your hands and don’t drink after anyone. That’s a one-way track to Con Crud if you don’t follow those two rules.

    5. Be polite. Most people have taken time off from work to come to a con. There’s no reason to be an asshole. Lines are long. Yes, they suck. Make friends in line. Play Doctor Who Legacy on your tablet or iPhone. Play your 3DS. Be patient. If you’re meeting someone that’s had an impact on your life or you generally enjoy, think of what you want to say before you head up to their table or get that photo op. I’ve made it a habit of thanking guests for attending cons on the principle that they are spending time away from potential work, family, and loved ones to hang out with hundreds or thousands of people.

    At the end of the day, most congoers are the same: geeky people who are passionate about their interests and who enjoy having fun. So DO ALL THE THINGS, just take care of yourself.

    About notprolificnotprofound

    Rachel Stewart has been obsessed about all things pop culture from an early age, but counts Doctor Who and Jem and the Holograms among her main obsessions. She blogs about her cosplay adventures at conventions, weekly geek-inspired outfits and whatever else takes her fancy at her blog notprolificnotprofound. Like her cosplay profile at AllBackToFront.

    The post Commentary From StormCage: Surviving #ConLife appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.