What should I do to become a Professional Cosplayer?
Many people and some cosplay newbies mistake wealth, fame and glory as the point of cosplaying.
They see certain cosplayers who often win contests as the ideals of wealth, fame and glory in cosplaying and assume that the cosplayer is a “professional” because these winning cosplayers act out their characters convincingly and wear costumes that are very well-made and are awarded large sums of cash and material prizes for their efforts.
But this is a potentially disastrous assumption to make in the enjoyment of a hobby such as cosplay.
Cosplaying, as I’ve mentioned in many previous entries, is paying tribute to your favorite character/design concept/idea by dressing up and acting out this character as accurately as possible.
Some cosplayers are quite devoted to this idea that they take great lengths to produce the best cosplay of their chosen character. They may employ their own knowledge or hire professionals to help them make their cosplay come true.
These fan-made efforts are sometimes so well done that the untrained eye may mistake the effort as something done on the professional level akin to Hollywood or theatrical levels in dressing and acting.
But in the case of cosplayers, this really isn’t the point, because they were just doing their best to give tribute to their favorite character.
Parents often ask kids who want to cosplay: “Aren’t you just wasting you money by cosplaying?” and “Will you earn any money by cosplaying?”
The answer is YES!
But the it takes a huge effort to make any financial returns specially in cosplay. There is money to gain in cosplay, but none by being just a cosplayer.
If you want to be involved in cosplaying “professionally” you should become more than just a cosplayer who cosplays. Because there are no professional cosplayers, only professionals who are involved in cosplaying.
If you want to earn while doing something cosplay related there are ways:
You can be a professional costume maker
– aside from clients who are cosplayers, there are commercial production groups who are in need of clothes and costumes for their actors and models for theater, TV commercials, TV shows and etc. (Real world example: “The Anime Seamstress” from the early years of decade 2000, Mang Poli, Cargin’s Dancewear, and your local tailor who is skilled enough to make fantastical cosplay clothes)
You can be a professional props maker
– for exactly the same clients as above (Real world example: Guy Singson of pagawanaman.multiply.com, Lyron of burikiboy.multiply.com).
You may also become a professional wig/hair and make-up artist
– there are many characters who require extensive facial or prosthetic make-up and the make-up skills you honed in cosplay are going to be really useful in related occupations
You can also attain the transition from cosplayer into model
– but mostly if you’re physically attractive and appropriate enough for the particular role (Real world example: Alodia Gosiengfiao of blackmage9.deviantart.com, Shoko “Shokotan” Nakagawa).
You may also attain the transition from cosplayer to mascot
– there are many companies who need people who can wear full-body costumes while being able to dance and/or act and not every standard actor can accomplish such a feat (Real world examples: various cosplayers who are hired by companies for Halloween, XMas and other seasonal commercial events).
You can also be a professional photographer / videographer
– if you began as a hobbyist you may expand your skills in photography by taking shots of cosplayers! Take it a step further by practicing portraiture, fashion and event photography, videography or even journalism (Real world examples: Erving Go of huzafan.deviantart.com).
You may also organize cosplay-related events
– if you have a background in public relations, marketing and other related roles and if you have enough manpower and resources to assemble a quality event which people (cosplayers, enthusiasts, and the curious) will annually attend (real world example: Cosplay Mania by Cosplay.ph).
There are many talents and skills involved to make a successful cosplay. Some of the basics are honed through practice, some are learned in school or in apprenticeships and higher education.
If one were so inclined, and when you’ve learned and experienced enough to be confident in your skills you may be able pursue a career which is related to cosplaying
But remember there is no single educational course to take for it and it isn’t necessary that one stop being a cosplayer when one takes up a professional career.
But there is just no such thing as a Professional Cosplayer.
Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission from his Multiply Blog, where more profound thoughts can be found, whether professional or not.