Top Tips for Rookie Cosplayers

The May London MCM Expo is quickly approaching. If you’re planning on cosplaying and this is your first time, then here are some tips to make sure you have the best time you possibly can…

1.      The first day can be quite scary if you’ve never worn a cosplay before – particularly in public. Whether you’re coming out of your hotel or stepping on the Tube in cosplay, it’s expected that people are going to look, whether they’re cosplaying themselves or not. Not to worry, just make sure you keep an eye on your outfit, as you don’t want any ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ before you’ve even arrived at the event! If you’re wearing a cosplay that has a long cloak, be aware that people might walk on the end, so be careful – we don’t want the costume ripping!

2.      If you’ve got a prop with your costume, then make sure it follows the guidelines on the London MCM Expo website. If unsure, then drop an e-mail before hand (cosplay@mcmexpo.com) to see if it’s acceptable to take your prop. There will be children at the event, so be aware that if you have a very realistic looking gun, it could be taken off you and could scare the children there. Also, if you’ve got a huge sword or scythe etc, then you’ll have to hand it in at the cosplay desk if you enter the event halls. This isn’t because they want to have a nice collection of big props, but simply because it’s a precaution that must be taken to avoid injury. It can get very busy in the halls, especially on Saturday, and hitting someone accidently around the head probably won’t go down well. You can however walk around with your extra large prop outside and around the ExCel Centre, just not in the halls. Again, check the aforementioned guidelines on the website for further clarification.

3.      If you’re extremely camera-shy, then you might want to re-think cosplaying. You will be asked to have your picture taken quite a lot, which is quite a boost to ones ego. People who ask are usually very nice and may or may not be in cosplay themselves. If you see someone trying to take a picture or are bucking up the courage to ask, then there is no harm is asking if they want a photo. They might be quite relieved that you asked them!  Of course, you are welcome to decline photos, but the nice thing to do is to accept them. It’s quite fun after the event to see if any photos of your cosplay are online via Facebook, deviantART and other media. You’re a celebrity for a day – make the most of it. And don’t forget the perfect smile and pose for your shots.

4.      Whether you’re male or female, make-up is essential. As said previously, you’ll be in a fair few photos, and you don’t want to be seen with bags under your eyes or the occasional unforgiving spot on your chin. Not only that, but it’s worth making sure you are satisfied with you appearance and costume. For example, before the Expo, if you have to wear a wig, it’s worth spending that extra little bit of money to get a good quality one; because it will certainly impress and you’ll feel more in character.

5.      Have a hole in your cosplay? Not to worry because near the Totally Cosplay stage, there is a complete cosplay maintenance kit, complete with needle and thread and any other materials needed for patching up your costume. There will also be people on hand to help if you’re in a particularly tricky situation with your outfit, and they will help you make sure your costume looks fine before you start your shopping again. Of course, if you’ve made your own, then it’s worth considering carrying an emergency sewing kit.

6.      Be positive. Remember, unless entering the Masquerade, this isn’t a competition and most people attending in cosplay are there to have fun. Negative comments towards other peoples cosplay isn’t the right sort of attitude to have at an event like this. It can be a little intimidating to see someone dressed as the same character as you, but you’ve got to take it in your stride. The best thing to do is to have a conversation with them – you’ve already got something in common, right?

7.      A few days before the event, check out the MCM Fringe page. Here, you will see a list of all of the planned meet ups of fandoms from anime to movies. So if you want to meet other Cosplayers from the same fandom as you, then this is a great place to go. They take place throughout the day at different times and locations. If there’s a fandom you love but aren’t cosplaying, then there’s nothing stopping you from going to that meet! You will get the chance to see some fantastic cosplays and possibly even one of your favourite characters. Some of the meets include an abundance of photos being taken, so make sure you have your camera. A select few Cosplayers at these meets might re-create some scenes from the fandom, which are always great fun. Don’t be shy – these people are very nice and again, you will all have something in common.

8.      If you can, try and get into the main theatre to watch the Masquerade. If you’re reading this and want to enter, then it’s too late to do so, unfortunately. All details of the Masquerade are up on the London MCM Expo website, and there was a closing date for entrants, which has since passed. But if you’re considering entering in the future or want to see some fantastic cosplay, then the Masquerade is a brilliant experience. The UK representative for this year’s Euro Cosplay will be selected during May’s Masquerade. There is always a great atmosphere and the costumes will blow you away, considering they have all been handmade and most cosplayers as a result have spent a great deal of time on them. If you can’t make it then not to worry – MCM Buzz will be doing a full coverage of the Masquerade.

9.      Forget your name for the day and become the character. Simply put: when you’re cosplaying, you are the character you are dressed as. Others aren’t going to know your name, and if they want your attention, they’ll shout the character’s name. It’s great fun being called the character you are (especially if you love the character), and after the Expo you might actually start to miss being called them.

10.    On one final note, being in cosplay is all about having fun. You’re bound to make some good friends too. There is one warning though – if you’re dressed as a popular character, then expect to be hugged incredibly tight, and sometimes unexpectedly – otherwise known as ‘glomped’. You have been warned….

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