Eight Lessons I Learned in the Cosplay Industry 2015
Have a Standard, Rule, Code Set some guidelines for yourself and others, and live by them. It could be as simple as Not Working with a Group, or Never Shoot the Same Cosplay Twice, or Do Not Work For Free. Whatever it is, it should be something that you uphold. The reason behind this is so you don’t feel like you are hurting someone or allowing others to take advantage of you. It also lets you focus on what you like to do.
Hungry Hungry Hypocrite There are so many hypocrite out there, whether they realize it or not. However, there is no point on calling them out on it. Sometimes people change and then they realize their perspectives are different now. It is important to keep in mind who they are though, so you know what you are getting yourself into if you engage them. One of the most common cases I see recently is about people expecting others to pay them for their arts & services, but do not expect to pay other artists for their arts & services. I personally believe there should be an exchange of money or a fair trade, I accept either way, but you can’t have both. Either expect to get paid and pay others, or nobody should get paid. Same thing with honesty, if you expect others to be honest with you, then you must be acceptable for others to be honest with you, especially when others are being critical about you.
Learn How to Say No Everyone has the power to say no, but many do not choose to use it. If you choose to say yes, you are agreeing to a fair trade and should never feel like someone owe you. If you don’t think something is fair, do not agree to it, and say no. Would it affect how others ask you in the future, DEFINITELY, but that is the point. You shouldn’t say yes to something you wouldn’t want to do, so they wouldn’t expect you to do something you don’t want to do in the future. And of course, you should also learn how to take no for an answer, and do not take it personally.
L̶o̶v̶e Educate the Haters Hating something is a lot of work, and there are definitely people spend time and energy to let you know how much they hate your works. But why? Why do they dislike something so much that they would have to constantly remind others? It is very possible that they feel unfair and unjust to something they are deprived from. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but everyone else is also entitled to disagree with them, which is why they are opinion and not facts. I don’t think people should ignore how others think, in fact I believe the opposite. Since we are all in this industry, we should understand why others don’t feel like they should support the same ideas and explore what we can do to make others feel more inclusive. One of the most c̶o̶n̶t̶r̶o̶v̶e̶r̶s̶i̶a̶l talked about subject was Gamer Girl, there are so many supports and oppositions on this topic. Personally, I feel like being a gamer is a choice, it is not something you are inheritably born with, it is a hobby and a preference. Just like my favorite color is blue, I wouldn’t hate other people who also like the color blue. BUT if someone claims that all blue color lovers are ________, then I would defend MYSELF to define what blue color supporter is like. I wouldn’t be defending myself to that particular someone, I am defining myself to others. So others would learn what a blue color supporter is, because there is no point to just fight a particular person for defining a blue color supporter. And after all, I choose to like the color blue, but I can’t represent every other blue color loving person. Educating the mass would let them know there is more than just one color blue, it’s actually a whole spectrum of colors.
Evolving Industry No matter if you are a fan, a supporter, a cosplayer, a photographer, or anyone that is remotely involved, you are part of the industry. And I use the word "industry" because cosplay is something that people have developed from a hobby to a profession. Just like many art forms: Painting, sculpting, graphic designing, or even dancing, There are people who are enjoying cosplay as a hobby, but there are also many others that are doing it professionally. While there are a few success stories and many are still trying to make it a profession, the ratio is very similar to other major art forms. If you have seen the American television show, American Idol, you would also notice how many people get in line to try to be a singer, but only a small portion were accepted, and even fewer made it to the very end. The most important thing is passion, it doesn’t promise you success, but if you have a passion for your craft, you will keep on trying and cast away any doubt of giving up. Everything you do have an impact in the industry and can redefine how people perceive cosplaying within and outside of the cosplaying world. So we all play a big part in changing the whole industry. Make a statement, and if majority of the people agree with you, the world will change to your standard.
You Will Like And Hate Your Work Like many types of struggling artists, you will feel accomplished each time you make something new. However, it is completely acceptable to hate what you created. Either way, they shouldn’t be a stop sign to what you are doing. Keep striving to make more and learn to enjoy the process of creating rather than the end goal, because there is no such thing as perfect.
Be More Like You And Less Like Them
There isn’t a formula for arts. You will need to experiment with what you like and even if it means to copy others. Copying is a great way to learn how other people create, but it shouldn’t be the sole way for you to create. You might get discourage if your style doesn’t look exactly like theirs or you feel like not getting the same attention with the same style. It is important for you to discover your own style, and rule it! Make something that you can call your own, be proud of what you can create, and take pride in your creations.
Make the Right Investment in People Just like you would invest your time and effort into a quality education, you should also make the right investment with the people around you. Similar to most things in life, there is a finite quantity of everything, including your time and energy. Your opportunity cost for investing in the wrong people is spending quality time with the right people. For sure there will be times you are investing in the wrong person, but the best thing to do is move on and start investing in others. Do not waste time and complain, because complaining doesn’t really accomplish much and it definitely does not bring back wasted effort. More importantly, respect others for investing in you too. Rather it is money, time, or effort. You would need to show your appreciation to others and respect them for believing in you. I am still slowly learning how to show my appreciation, but I will for sure to be dedicated to those who are dedicated.