Cosplay is frequently viewed as a purely recreational hobby. True, ultimately we’re just a bunch of derp-faces in capes and tights, but cosplaying can provide you with skills you may, in fact, use in everyday life. Capes optional.
Growing up we often hear the expression, “patience is a virtue.” When creating costumes, this is a definite must. It’s so easy to get frustrated by messy seams and chipped paint, but eventually, you’ll find a method that works. Take breaks often and don’t let yourself get worked up, after all, creating costumes is supposed to be fun.
2. Creating a Budget.
Anyone who is involved in the world of costuming can tell you, cosplay is not a cheap hobby. Personally, I have learned that it’s best to buy cosplay items a little bit at a time. That way, you’re not totally broke. Additionally, when buying items online, make sure to search around the internet first. Don’t immediately buy an item, because, more often than not, you can find it on another site for a much lower price. You may also come up with an idea to easily make a prop, which can save you money in the long run. When I’m buying things for my costumes, I often set up a Word Document or write down a list of all the articles I need, and how much each of these cost. To sum it up, cosplaying teaches you the value of a dollar, for sure.
3. Time Management.
Time management skills are definitely ones you can take straight to the bank. When applying for jobs, one thing recruiters frequently ask about (at least from my experiences…) are your time management skills. “How would you deal with a large list of tasks you need to complete in a given time?” or “Are you able to multi-task?” are probably two of the questions applicable here. When creating a costume, you’re met with a task that needs to be completed, more often than not, by a certain date (for a convention, event, something of the sort). Unless you want to be up all night the day before a convention (let’s be honest, you might be up all night anyway), or holed up in your room DURING a convention, a la Heroes of Cosplay, time management skills are a must. Multi-tasking definitely comes in handy here as well; while one piece of armor is drying, you can work on something else, style a wig, whatever.
4. Self Confidence.
While many times you hear the negative connotations associated with costuming, I can honestly say that my self confidence has improved greatly since getting involved with this hobby. There is no prouder moment than stepping into a convention or event in a costume you worked your BUTT off to put together, or showing off a friend’s hard work, whatever your situation may be. It also helps if you’re portraying a character you absolutely love, and people recognize you. Let’s be honest, we’re all vain sometimes, and who doesn’t love attention?
While attending conventions can be super fun, they’re also a wonderful place to make connections. This is especially helpful if you’re savvy in things like social media, or want a comic book related job. Industry professionals are often all over that place, so bring business cards touting your information and hand those babies off like hot cakes. You never know who may be a fan of your spunk and may be a useful contact to have for future endeavors.
6. Being Courteous and Modest.
”Can I take your picture?” might get old after a few hours, but even if you’re exhausted and cranky, you should always put your best foot forward. You’re bound to have days at work where you feel like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but it’s important to still present the best version of yourself. Modesty is also important, because nobody likes an elitist prick. That’s not the way to be, and people will get real tired of you, real quick. These rules especially apply to those in competitive cosplaying. Just because you won a few hundred dollars does not mean you invented the cure to cancer, it just means you made a costume. You’re not any better off than anyone else.
—(Related Article: The Wrath of Con: This Convention Season… Be a Hero, Not a Villain.)—
7. Crisis Management and Preparedness.
Sometimes at conventions, things go wrong. People can be morons, costumes may rip, armor may fall apart. Keeping a cool head in these types of situations is vital. It’s easy to scream at someone for saying something stupid, to get frustrated when something breaks, etc., but if you remain calm and come prepared, it’ll definitely improve your experience. Bring a quick ‘repair kit’ for some last minute adjustments/to salvage your hard work. These skills are good ones to remember for life, too, because no one in the work world likes a whiny diaper baby.
8. Attention to Detail.
Not much can get past a seasoned cosplayer. When creating costumes, you train your eye to pick up every little flaw (if you’re a perfectionist like myself) and learn what works and what doesn’t. If you’ve seen Heroes of Cosplay, or have competed in any form of costume contest, you know that judges have a keen eye for these things as well. Attention to detail is a skill you’ll use in your daily life, in order to ensure any task or job is done with expert quality.
I remember as a kid, whenever I wanted to bring a toy with me somewhere, my mother would say, “if you bring it, you have to carry it the whole time.” Same applies to large props. When creating a prop, it may seem like an awesome idea at the time, but is it really practical? Do you really want to carry around a 20 foot sword? And more importantly, is it really practical to have said sword in a very crowded convention area? Think about it.
—(Related Article: How to Avoid that Pre-Convention Stress)—
10. And Finally… Friendship.
The friendships I’ve made through cosplay and within the convention and cosplay community are some of the most valuable friendships I have. Cosplay can be such a great way to make new friends and to create memories to last a lifetime. This is part of the reason why I encourage more people to get involved in the hobby!
And there you have it! Cosplay life hacks! Are there any skills you learned through cosplay that I didn’t include? Let me know!
Cosplay sometimes gets a bad rap. If you agree that cosplay teaches us good life skills, please share this post to spread the word on the good of cosplay!
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