When I tweeted about this panel I had a few of you ask for more info on what was said. Since it’s going to take a few days to get photos and everything else uploaded, I thought this was a good post to start out C2E2 coverage with.
The panel was moderated/hosted by Chris, Lindsey AKA Bettie Bloodshed, and Meryle who owns and operates Idzerda Designs. Everyone on the panel had years of experience and you might even recognize them! I’m going to do my best to break this post down into the various topics they talked about.
The #1 thing everyone on the panel agreed with was to make sure you do your research. If you’re going to hire someone to create your costume for you be sure to try and find some feedback. It doesn’t matter if it’s a company or someone who does costumes on the side or as a living. This goes for wigs as well, but we’ll get into that later. Most people who are serious about their craft will have a website, Facebook page or even an Etsy store. These are all places you can find feedback, or hit up the forums. Cosplay.com has some great forums where you can get feedback, both negative and positive, on different commissioners. Everyone wants to look their best when cosplaying and this means putting in the effort right from the start. If your costume features armor, be sure to find the right person. You want wings? Again, find the right person for you. Remember, not every costumer out there is great with all materials.
They mentioned a few places to find wigs that are both great looking and affordable. If you need something semi-standard check out Arda Wigs. They offer a large variety of styles and colors. Another company that Lindsey suggested is Fifi Mahony’s. They’re an actual wig shop in New Orleans that creates wigs for drag queens and really know their stuff. If you need something more custom, maybe something along the lines of a wig for Poison Ivy that’s filled with glitter, flowers, and twigs, this is the place to go. Lindsey was able to get her costume Poison Ivy wig for $90. While that might sound like a lot, it’s actually not when you when you think everything that goes into a wig. Each wig that they make is custom. Plus they can be styled with heating tools.
They touched on shipping wigs as well. Most on the panel suggested taking a train to conventions if you can. It’s much easier in their opinion to bring your props, wigs and other cosplay needs. If you can, build a custom box for your wig. You’ll want it to just big enough that there’s a little space but not too much to cut down on movement. You can even add packing peanuts to help fill any voids. If you’re really nervous about your wig being damaged, Lindsey suggested adding a rod and placing your wig head directly on it. That way your wig won’t move at all. This is a good way to store wigs as well which brings us to…
It really all depends on the type of space you have. Garage? Small Apartment? Spare Room? They did all agree on using Rubber Maid containers to store costumes. They’ll be safe, secure, and away from the elements. Another thing to keep in mind is the humidity, temperature, and other issues that are a little out of your control. You won’t want that awesome Rogue leather jacket to dry up and look like crap right? All of this is important when it comes to storing. Of course, if you can hang your costumes, this is the way to go. They even mentioned using your empty luggage. In most cases costumes can be folded but note that certain materials shouldn’t be touching when folded. I feel like a jackass but I can’t remember what those are.
Odds & Ends:
You get what you pay for but watch for red flags. Meryle mentioned that if someone asks for 100% upfront, it could be a scam. In most cases a commissioner will ask for 50% up front. They need those funds in order to get working on your costume. It’ll be used to buy materials that are needed. If you need a payment plan, be sure to ask before anything is agreed upon. If you haven’t heard from your commissioner don’t be afraid to send an e-mail but don’t send one every day. The time they spend responding to 100 e-mails is time taken away from their work. Be honest about deadlines as well. If you say “Halloween” that doesn’t mean the weekend before October 31st. If you aren’t direct in your deadline you might not get your costume on time. Be sure to keep in mind your travel schedule. If you’re leaving for San Diego on July 15th you might want to request your costume be finished by July 10th. It’ll give you time to check it out and we all know how reliable the mail is these days.
It was stressed that make up is just as important as the right wig and a great costume. Look, I know nothing about make up. I don’t wear it on a regular basis but oddly enough I do throw some on during conventions. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing check out Youtube. You’ll find a ton of tutorials. If you want to learn more in person, most make up counters will do a little makeover for you. If you have questions, ask. Be sure to take photos before hand with your make up! A flash and lighting can make a world of different from what you see in the mirror to what will be seen online. You don’t want to be washed out in your photos. If you have the money, there are make up artists you can hire to do your make up for you. But again, make sure to do your research.
Don’t go big or go home your first time. We all start somewhere. If you’ve never created anything in your life as far as costuming goes, don’t jump in and try to create Iron Man. Try to start off with something simple and something you’ll be comfortable in your first time out there. A perfect example is the current Hawkeye comic. The reality is all you need is the jeans and the right t-shirt and you have yourself a Hawkeye cosplay.
What everyone on the panel really stressed is it’s all about having fun and enjoying yourself. Don’t listen to what anyone else says. Everyone cosplays for different reasons. Maybe you just love the character. Maybe it boosts your self esteem. In the end, it’s really all about you! Now, this isn’t everything from the panel but it’s a good bit. I’m actually surprised at everything that I remembered!