Chances are that you’ve heard the word cosplay in at least some capacity these days. However, it didn’t use to be this way. Cosplay back in it heydays was just a way for people to show their love for their favorite characters and pieces of media. Today, it’s not only more popular, but it’s also a livelihood for a lot of people. That’s right, people have taken to dressing up as part of their living. It’s easy to be befuddled by this fact if you’re potential cosplayer looking to get started, a concerned parent, or even just a curious outsider.

The Origins of Cosplay

The Origins of Cosplay

It wasn’t too long ago that the concept of cosplay became a viable thing. The exact origin is still up for debate. However, most believe that it may have started somewhere in Japan. Somewhere in the 80s, there were a ton of conventions across the country. And dedicated fans would dress up as their favorite characters to show their passion and amaze others at the same time.

It didn’t take much time for this practice to end up in the western world. People at conventions and meetups would dress up as beloved characters from film, tv, books, comics, anime, video games, and more.

It influenced a generation of diehard fans to show their dedication as well as their creativity. Now you can find entire conventions and meetups that give cosplayers a chance to interact with each other and share ideas.

Birth of a Career

Birth of a Career

It’s hard to imagine that something like dressing up like fictional people could ever be a legitimate job. Yet it is a completely viable career for so many people out there. And all of it is thanks to the support and enjoyment by the community.

When you factor things in like our modern audience, the idea of dressing up for money doesn’t seem so far fetched. Think about it, if theatre actors can land jobs dressing up and playing a role, why shouldn’t cosplayers? It’s a performative art, and one that fits in with current interests.

Cosplayers turn heads and captivate imaginations. They get tons of eyes on them. And that can be a really important first step of a career. It’s all about making an audience. And if you can get one by being a fleshed out character, then kudos to you.

Earning as a Cosplayer

Earning as a Cosplayer

Making comparisons with cosplayers to other professional forms of arts is one thing. But actually landing a dime in your bank account is another. If you’re hearing all of this for the first time, you may be wondering where the money actually comes from.

It just so happens that there’s no one sure fire way for cosplayers to make money. In fact, there are many. Since this only branched off as a career not too long ago, there’s little in the way for a defined path for cosplayers.

Here are some of the paths that most cosplayers go to make their money:

Influencer/Personality: Making it on your own has never been easier thanks to social media, that’s why most cosplayers take to being an influencer on social media platforms. They make ad revenue from their posts and also partner with brands for sponsorships.

Coplay on Demand: Some people like to see their favorite characters in human form. This is where cosplayers take the opportunity to go to sites where they can sell sets of pictures or videos of a particular cosplay directly to fans.

Cosplayer for Hire: Some conventions, private events, parties, and other gatherings hire cosplayers to guest. Cosplayers interact with others at the event, take pictures with them, and act out their character for entertainment.

Cosplay Seller: Making costumes on your own can be a tough job. That’s why some cosplayers like to sell their costumes to other people who appreciate their skill and expertise with making cosplays.

Cosplay Mentoring: There are limited resources out there for people that want to get into cosplaying. A lot of cosplayers hold workshops that they can charge for to teach beginners. They also hold classes online through video chat or on YouTube.

Corporate Guest: Companies and major brands also like to hire cosplayers for their events. It can be a good source of income for budding cosplayers.

Startup Investments

Startup Investments

If all of the above sounds enticing to you, you might be thinking of getting started right away. However, it’s not all good. To get into this as a viable career, sometimes you have to spend time understanding it and putting in the right amount of effort.

The biggest challenge that starting cosplayers see is their startup costs. When you’re a cosplayer, you’re almost always making your own costumes. This means sourcing the right materials and paying for equipment to put it together. You also have to buy professional cameras and recording equipment.

Aside from the money, there’s also the investment of time and effort. You have to spend time putting a cosplay together. This means days and weeks or even months sometimes. You also have to be willing to pose for and interact with fans at events for entire days.

Treating it Like a Hobby and a Career

Treating it Like a Hobby and a Career

If all you do is focus on the numbers and the career side of things, then you’re bound to get yourself diluted. But if you only treat cosplaying as a hobby, you lose the potential to make money. The trick is to balance it.

Take the time to do the work in figuring out the optimal balance for you. Spending a couple of extra hundred bucks on being detailed may result in a better cosplay. But it will also affect your bottom line. Achieve the proper harmony between creativity and self made career. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

References:

https://cosplay.kotaku.com/what-its-like-to-cosplay-for-money-1769567196

https://www.quora.com/Is-cosplaying-a-job

https://cosplay.com/archive/thread/j0r1pg/can-you-become-a-professional-cosplayer?page=1

https://www.easyuni.com/advice/professional-cosplayer-yes-its-career-1304/