I ran a panel this past weekend with Esme Bianco (Ros, Game of Thrones) and Commander Holly (Heroes of Cosplay) called ‘Cosplay and Burlesque’. An audience member asked “What is your take on the Cosplay =/= Consent movement?” Esme looked confused, so we explained what cosplayers sometimes experience at conventions - inappropriate touching, groping, leering, and lewd, rude commentary - and there was a movement in progress that notified people that this behavior is Not Okay.
Esme looked horrified.
Esme has 10 years of burlesque experience. "In all my time of strip-teasing, of getting naked on stage, I never had those issues with the audience.”
This year, The CosView and Geek Eccentric attended Boston Comic Con 2014. Packed with cosplays and tv heroes, BCC was an energetic and fun filled con that was great for all ages. The CosView photographer, Lazzaro Studios, stated that BCC “was the best comic con” he had been to all year, and we had been to a handful of them.
Covering a con is always an enjoyment for The CosView. Not only do we get…
When you and Illiara went to Taiwan they were advertizing your bra sizes, are you ok with that?
I know. Funny thing is, I don’t even remember telling them my bra size. I think they got the info from my ancient Model Mayhem profile. Not sure why it was ‘necessary’. It was weird. But the whole trip was very weird, sometimes uncomfortable, and not what had been advertised to us. Good thing illiara and I got along so well!
:( man I was hoping to meet you at the puerto rico one. well i guess I can try to get a jump on next year's boston based cons.
Hey, don’t pouty face me! It’s not my fault - I’d still love to visit Puerto Rico! Go pouty face some convention organizers down there, maybe a reputable con like Puerto Rico Comic Con. The con that wanted to bring me in was still trying to get its feet under itself, and the organizers seemed to have bit off more than they could chew. (AKA the story of many baby cons in 2014)
Alright. Here’s the master list of conventions I will be attending this year (2014).
If a convention is not on here, I have zero plans of going. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t go if the convention invites me as a guest, but I cannot afford any other conventions on my own dime. If you would like me to be at your favorite con, please email the convention and convince them I would make a good addition to their show. If a convention is bolded, that means I will be a guest.
Anime Boston - March 21-23
PAX East - April 11-13
C2E2 - April 25-27
Pop Culture Expo Boston - May 24-25
Hartford Comic Con - May 31-June 1
Valhalla Renaissance Faire - June 6-8
Denver Comic Con - June 13-15
Animation Celebration Galveston - July 4-6 CANCELED
Boston Comic Con - August 8-10
DragonCon - August 29-Sept 1
HawaiiCon - September 12-14
Cincinnati Comic Expo - September 19-21
NYCC - October 10-12
Another Anime Con - October 18
Rocky Mountain Con - October 25-26
Rhode Island Comic Con - November 1-2
Super Megafest - November 22-23
There are also two as-of-yet unscheduled conventions in December - one in Colombia, one in Puerto Rico.
I will edit this and reblog it whenever there is a change in this schedule. Before a convention, I will say what I will be wearing when - please don’t ask me months in advance, cause I usually have no idea and I’ll ignore you.
I hope to see some of you around! If you see me at a show, there’s no need to be shy - come up and say Hi! :)
Updated! My convention season is only halfway through!
Haven’t heard anything back from either Colombia or Puerto Rico, so it seems like they might be no-go.
Welcome to BelleChere’s store, where you can purchase prints of her costuming, costumes, and other goodies!
I’ve got a Storenvy up and running right now! There’s a good array of prints available, but they are in limited numbers in this initial batch. Only prints are there, right now, but I do intend to be selling costume pieces, costume patterns, and maybe some pop-culture jewelry in the future.
Please check it out! Mama needs some funds if DragonCon is going to happen (which is currently, crushingly up in the air).
Do you experience a lot of harassment at cons that don't really have anti harassment policies?
It depends on what you define as ‘a lot’? To some, any harassment could be deemed ‘a lot’.
I do experience more harassment when a convention does not have a clear anti-harassment policy. I even still encounter harassment when conventions have an anti-harassment policy, but only keep it to their website and don’t have signs around the convention.
Boston Comic Con had Cosplay =/= Consent signs posted clearly, and two of them were nearby/on my table. I appreciated that. I was not groped, and I did not receive openly lewd commentary, which has happened frequently in the past. The only times I felt uncomfortable was when there were two awkward marriage proposals and three strangers asking for my phone number, but they thankfully left after my polite-but-weirded-out ‘No, thank you, I don’t know you’.
how much do you usually charge for making a costume?
It entirely depends on the complexity of the costume, how much detailing is involved, if a pattern will need to be drafted, the size of the customer, the material costs (I generally try to offer a cost-effective option and a richer materials option for the customer to decide), whether they want props, boots, or a wig included… I cannot give a ‘usually’ because there is no usual. Every potential commission is individually quoted.
The majority of the cosplayer photos I take are posed. If you’ve never taken cosplay photos at a con before, it’s easy-peasy. Here’s the procedure I follow:
Make sure your camera or phone is turned on, set the way you want it, and ready to shoot before you approach the cosplayer. Fiddle with settings during your time, not theirs.
Approach the cosplayer if he or she doesn’t seem otherwise busy.
Make eye contact and ask “May I take your picture?” in a friendly way. Bonus points for addressing them by their character name (signifying that you recognize the costume) and for offering a sincere compliment on something you particularly like about the costume.
Allow the cosplayer to take a moment to make any adjustments he or she deems necessary. They’ll probably want to put down the Diet Coke, move their con badge out of sight, and pick up the prop they worked so hard on. More importantly, they’ll probably want to make sure that parts of their costume haven’t come apart, or shifted in a way that will cause embarrassment. And they’ll want to settle into a pose that they like.
When the cosplayer is ready, give them a 3-2-1 countdown, so that they know exactly how long they’re going to need to hold that pose or expression. Click.
Say “Got it,” so that they know the shooting is over and that they can now relax. Or just, you know, blink.
Resume eye contact, smile, and thank the cosplayer for their time.
It’s perfectly fine to ask the cosplayer to move to another location (close by), if it won’t cause an inconvenience. A bare, light-colored wall nearby served as a much better background for Joker and Harley than the dark crowd-filled distracting mess of the convention aisle where I first spotted them. But: consider the possible inconvenience to the cosplayer.
In fact, asking a cosplayer to move a nearby spot away from the main flow of con traffic is often just good courtesy. It avoids creating a bottleneck in the aisle. Your photo only took five seconds, but then a crowd gathered and the resulting traffic jam caused Gil Gerard to be late for his Buck Rogers spotlight panel.
It’s also usually fine to ask (nicely) for a specific pose, so long as you’ve already visualized it and you can give them clear and quick direction. Try to make your intentions crystal-clear (“There’s this big overhead light behind you…I’d like to line it up behind your left hand so that it looks like you’re projecting energy”) so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not they’d like to pose that way. Plus, if they know what you have in mind, they can actively help you get the shot you want.
It’s also OK to take more than one shot. If I’m unsure about the lighting, I’ll try to get one with fill-flash and one without. But I put up a mental five-second shot clock: that’s the maximum amount of the cosplayer’s time I’d like to consume. This underscores the need to have my camera and my creative eye set before I approach. If I screw something up and I don’t get the shot, hey, too bad for me.
As always, consider the convenience and patience of the cosplayer. They like to show off their costume and they’re generally happy to pose. To make a costume and then keep it in a closet is like writing a play and never allowing it to be staged. But never forget that they’re posing for you as an act of kindness. Don’t take up too much of their time, or otherwise treat them like they’re working for you. That’s flat-out terrible. They shouldn’t even have to stand and wait for you to unlock your phone and launch the Camera app and wait for it to boot up and then for you to turn off the Panorama settings and then…etc. Even if I know I’ve blown the shot and I need ten more seconds to fix my camera, I’ll usually just thank the cosplayer and send him or her on their way to enjoy the rest of the con. Again: the cosplayer is being kind. They don’t work for me.
This is a short version of the procedures and guidelines I’ve developed over several years of shooting comic-cons.
But none of these items are nearly as important as the one simple rule that I never, ever knowingly break:
You must never do anything that makes the cosplayer wish you hadn’t taken that photo.
This is a fantastic article written by photo-journalist Andy Ihnatko. I’ve taken the liberty of quoting his general rules of conduct, which I believe a lot of people could learn from, but the entire article is well-worth the read.
In the article Andy explores the evolution of how conventions are handling cosplayer and photographer relationships and safety guidelines. He makes some incredibly valid points, all well-worded, and raises some interesting questions.
Boston Comic Con had an anti-harassment policy in place that I’m sure played a part in my having a harassment-free weekend. For that, I am grateful. Does their policy hinder photographers like Andy from moment-capturing, paparazzi-like photo-journalism? It does. Part of me believes that to be a shame. However, part of me is glad for it, because I think all cosplayers can agree that very, very few un-posed photos are flattering (especially when we’re eating/drinking!), and no one really appreciates unflattering photos being posted online.
"Four Days at Dragon*Con" A glimpse at the legendary convention and it’s highlights. Emmy winning documentary by PBS. Watch here (for free!)
"Cosplay! Crafting a Secret Identity" Follows cosplayers and crafters in the Atlanta area, such as God Save the Queen Fashions. By the same director as “Four Days at Dragon Con” and also aired by PBS. Watch here (for free!)
"Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope" Follows the different adventures of select geeks from across America coming together to follow their dreams at SDCC. Buy here
"Men in Suits" The stories and experiences of creature actors from your favorite movies such as Godzilla, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator and Hellboy. Buy here
(More to come. I’m always looking for more nerdy docs!)
Just curious but does cosplay pay well or at all? I just wanted to know since I've seen cosplayers advertising their appearances con after con. Not criticizing or any thing but how's that possible?
I can only speak from my POV, since I’m not really great friends with any ‘big name’ cosplayers, not well enough to go asking what their haul is.
That said, for me, it does not pay well. When I am a guest (which is NOT every convention - I am an attendee often) I do not receive an appearance fee, like a celebrity does (though I hear some cosplayers *do* get an appearance fee). However, I do receive a badge into the convention, and travel and hotel are covered if it’s away from home. In exchange, I boost social media awareness of the convention, make myself available for interaction at the convention, as well as run/assist with a few panels, and judge a costume contest. Sometimes it’s also a requirement for me to attend an after-party of sorts, which is like, fine, twist my arm, sounds like fun. It’s only recently that conventions have been offering me a table, allowing me the opportunity to sell my business (commissioning costumes), assuring that fans will find me, and potentially make money in selling prints.
Is it a valid career choice? Not really.
Is it a great opportunity to travel, meet new people, make some extra cash, and (for me) present the opportunity to be a positive face for cosplay? Certainly.
I let a lot of people know that I make costumes for other people, last weekend. That’s my actual job. Getting paid to cosplay is not.
Name two things you like about yourself, then pass this on to the first ten people you see on your dash. #TeamSelfEsteem
What a great idea, thanks Anon! I’ve actually needed this today - I’ve been down on myself a lot today, harshly criticizing, and still quite upset over Robin Williams passing.
1. I like how determined I stay with costuming, and that I’m not letting others dictate whether or not I should stop. It’s not always easy, and I do feel like I falter sometimes (bogged down by negativity from others, or being criticizing of myself), but my determination has stayed strong. Also, I’m incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support I received at Boston Comic Con, from those who came up, introduced themselves, said they enjoy following me, and either gave me encouragement or said I was an inspiration. Thank you, thank you. Some of you made me blush or brought a tear to my eye; I appreciate you (and anyone who’s had a polite/kind word for me), so much.
2. I like my smile, and the way my eyes twinkle when I do. I didn’t always like my smile (5 years of braces, what up), so I’m glad I finally do.
I was very sorry I (mostly) missed you at BCC this weekend. I looked up and Captain Marvel had already passed our table, off to do good elsewhere. I'm a big fan and I hope I get to say hi and shake your hand in the future!
Drat! I’m sorry, too! I didn’t get to see *any* of the convention; when I wasn’t at my table, I was running a panel. This was my first convention running a table, and I clearly need to figure out some sort of schedule to adhere to, so I can not only see the con, but eat. Kinda forgot to do that all weekend, shame on me. I hope you had a good and profitable con and you’ll return to Boston next year!
How did you make that sweet firey thing your holding?! I've been trying to figure out how to do that myself.
You’re that great Chandra cosplayer! :D Certainly!
This medium is lighting gel, a very thin, transparent polycarbonate that comes in a HUGE array of colors, and is used in theatre to change the color of stage lights. It comes in sheets of 20”x24”, around $6 a sheet. I used 6 sheets for this project in 6 subtly different colors.
The base of the head is Wonderflex, molded to the shape of my own head (the wig head is smaller than my head). I got it to fit snugly enough with all my hair underneath it that I don’t need to even pin it in place! I cut the gel into graduating triangles, with the deepest orange at 12”x5” and the palest yellow at 4”x4”, and LIGHTLY treated it with my heat gun on LOW heat. The gel will melt if too much heat is applied, but if lightly heat-treated it will hold its shape. It’s rigid but not breakable - this actually got tossed around in the back of my car, and though it made a lot of crunching noises, the shape never changed. I then took the cones and hot glued them onto the goldenrod-painted Wonderflex dome, then finished it with the heat gun, tweaking the shape of the flames.
The plasma blasts were created much the same way. However, I wanted my fists to be seen inside them, so instead of the opaque Wonderflex I used clear packaging tape. I took a small balloon inflated slightly larger than my fist and wrapped it sticky-side-out with packaging tape, then wrapped it again sticky-side-in. I popped the balloon, and though the shell was a little flimsy to begin with, once I hot glued all the cones on there it turned surprising durable.
The scraps of gel I applied to the tops of my gloves and the tops of my boots, and saved the rest for future repairs.
Where did you get the tighhigh boots for the catwoman cosplay? They are perfect! The only ones I seem to find have needle-thin anklebreakers for heels or even worse stuff (transparent platform heels, ugh!)
I made them. They’re actually bootcovers made of stretch PVC (the same material as the gloves) that I slip a high heel pump into.
HERE, HAVE A HELPFUL TUTORIAL:
To avoid a front seam, what I do is put the front of the foot/leg into the fold of the fabric.
Then you can be cheap cost efficient like me and only need one pair of great pumps for every high-heeled character.
I would also recommend making a muslin copy of the outcome of the cutout, so you can have a pattern for the future and won’t need to go through the pinning all over again.
“I don’t have very much time these days so I’ll make it quick. Like my life. You know, as we come to the end of this phase of our life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times, and we find ourselves thinking about the future. We start to worry , thinking, “What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna be in ten years?” But I say to you, “Hey, look at me!” Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day… make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.”—Robin Williams, from the film Jack (1996)