Are you a costume play enthusiast? Did you ever dream about becoming a professional cosplayer? Cosplay is now bigger than ever. What started as a trend in both US and Japan in the 70s is now a well-recognized niche of entertainment, arts, and culture in many countries.
The interesting plot lines, unique characters, and the outrageous performances inspire fans to innovative and do their own take on designing costumes and makeup so they can recreate iconic moments of their favorite characters.
What was once a relaxing past-time for cosplayers turned into a full-blown culture with annual conventions and anticipated events for anime enthusiasts and cosplayers alike. Cosplay costume competitions are now one of the highlights in comic conventions across the globe.
The practice of wearing costumes to showcase the anime aesthetic became an important part of Cosplay Culture. Film productions and television studios now team up with professional cosplay artists to promote and sell merchandise of their shows and increase engagement among fans.
Cosplayers have become an important element of promoting comics, movies, and television shows, which in turn brought about the demand for professional cosplayers.
Do Professional Cosplayers Earn Money?
A cosplayer may seem like a person with a lot of free time on his hands. But when you scratch beneath the surface, you will realize that there are a lot of elements involved in cosplaying.
Did you know that a lot of the costume play enthusiasts are fashion design degree holders or has completed intensive social media marketing to establish connections with companies and production studies that market their products on social media platforms, including YouTube and Instagram?
Through their educational background and industry experience, successful costume players have turned their hobby into a money-making enterprise. In essence, when a cosplayer inspires more engagement and sales for a specific game, comic, anime series, or movie, the better their chances of gaining sponsorships for official events, conventions, or movie premiers to boost the interest of the public in general.
There are also some cosplayers who assume famous characters or create their own aesthetic are often graphics design or photography course holders. Many of these personalities however strive to be discrete about their profession by saying costume play is a mere hobby to reassure fans that they are not being paid for their public performances and fan interactions.
|Types of Cosplay Models||1. Professional Cosplayers: Create and wear their costumes, attend conventions, and may earn income through sponsorships, commissions, or merchandise. 2. Print Models: Primarily model for photo shoots, posters, and other printed materials. 3. Runway Models: Participate in fashion shows, showcasing costumes designed by others or themselves.|
|Conventions||Some notable conventions include: 1. Comic-Con International (San Diego) 2. New York Comic Con 3. Anime Expo (Los Angeles) 4. Dragon Con (Atlanta) 5. MCM London Comic Con 6. C2E2 (Chicago) 7. PAX (Various locations) 8. Anime North (Toronto)|
|Levels||1. Amateur: New to cosplay modeling, may have limited experience and exposure. 2. Semi-Professional: Gained some recognition and experience, may have a growing fan base. 3. Professional: Well-established in the industry, may have sponsorships, a significant fan base, and a consistent income from cosplay modeling.|
|Remuneration||1. Costume Commissions: Creating and selling custom costumes to clients. 2. Print Sales: Selling posters, prints, or photo books featuring their cosplay. 3. Patreon/Subscriptions: Earning income through monthly support from fans on platforms like Patreon, OnlyFans, or Ko-fi. 4. Sponsorships: Collaborating with brands for promotion in exchange for payment or products.|
Can I Be a Professional Cosplayer, too?
An aspiring cosplayer may start his or her career with minimum capital or resources. Your initial investment will mainly go to the purchase of makeup, wigs, props, outfit rentals, and accessories. It is also important to make yourself visible to the public.
You can do this by creating your own website or fan pages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few. On this platforms, you can generate money by selling your own fan art or renting out your costume play collection to other aspiring cosplayers.
Remember to invest time and energy at improving visibility on social media. The followers and fans you have on this platform will be one of your most important support groups that will be vital in launching your career if you desire to become a famous cosplayer in the future.
What Things Should I Know About Cosplay as a Career?
Once you become a successful cosplayer, you will appreciate the value of privacy. Most famous cosplayers only display one to three sentences of details about themselves on social media accounts. Costume play is a career, but it should not interfere with your private life. Those who engage with fans more frequently than recommended fall prey to obsessive fans who fall in love with them and eventually become victims of stalking.
Lack of privacy may also result in harassment among male and female cosplayers. There are also cosplayers who experience bullying and harsh criticisms due to their unique twist on the characters they portray.
Remember that not everyone will like what you showcase, promote, or sell. Be prepared to face nasty comments and reviews online. Instead, seasoned cosplayers recommend focusing on your craft and mastering costume and character. Good things will naturally fall into place if you love what you’re doing.
Be As Realistic as You Possibly Can
The art of costume plays lies on how realistic you interpret and portray a character. The feedback and following you will receive over time all boil down to the details. From the type of fabric you for the costumes down to the color of contact lenses you wear.
Remember that every detail will be scrutinized under the lens of fans and critics alike. With this in mind, you will need to be careful in selecting the character before investing time, energy, and money.
For instance, it’s going to be hard to play the role of Spider-Man if your frame is the opposite of that described in the comics, movies, and TV shows. You need to have good work ethic and be meticulous in choosing the character you wish to play.
Making costumes for anime or comic book characters with elaborate costume and make-up will be harder to replicate and are more costly in general. Famous cosplayers received positive reviews and eventual success because of their consistency and excellence on replicating all aspects of their chosen character – from costume, make-up, performance, and even manner of speaking.
Once you’ve gained traction, it will be easier to get booked for comic conventions, shows, booth babe, and promoting merchandise and get paid for every gig.
Convention Appearances and Cosplay Contests
There are still event organizers who are reluctant to pay professional cosplayers fee for their appearances in comic conventions. Typically, organizers will offer travel and hotel accommodations as means of payment. This is a sad reality for many cosplayers who work hard in achieving the look and vibe of characters.
Hopefully, cosplayers will be given the same recognition as celebrities who charge thousands of dollars for their appearances at conventions. Costume play professionals put in just the same amount of work and effort into their artistry and should receive adequate pay for a job well done.
In fact, cosplayers do more at conventions that top-paid celebrities. Professional cosplaying entails that are attending conventions run panels and entertaining guests at after-parties. Sadly, they are only compensated a percentage of merch they sell on such events.
Most cosplayers are already thankful when they recoup their investment for conventions. Individuals who costume play for a living are encouraged to be more assertive in getting paid for events, premiers, and conventions, or else this unfair system will never change for the better. You don’t need to be an extra famous cosplay to get fairly compensated for appearing at such conventions.
Making Money by Selling Own Costumes
Etsy is one of the most effective platforms where a cosplayer can sell old costumes, props, wigs, and accessories. Majority of cosplayers post their ads on Facebook, but this platform is not as secure and effective as Etsy. However, if you prefer selling your old goods on Facebook, make sure to operate on a cash basis only. At the least, ask for 50% of the payment upfront to prevent fraudulent transactions altogether.
There are influencer platforms that are dedicated for professional costume players, including Activate and Famebit. These online platforms enable cosplay influencers with a solid reputation to advertise their brands more effectively.