When I made the decision to attend MCM in Birmingham, I was suddenly faced with a conundrum that I had never encountered before.
“What am I going to go to the Con as?”
Now, when attending fancy dress, I am almost always looking for ways to spruce up an old idea. One Halloween, I wanted to go as a fairy, but I was told I couldn’t because it was “too cutesy”. So, I did what anyone who has ever been set on an idea has done, and did it anyway! I went as a Death Fairy – basically basing my entire outfit around bones, black cloth and a pair of massive black and purple wings. I even carried a switchscythe instead of a wand for good measure! I still have that costume somewhere… Maybe one day it will make an appearance…
But this, oh no, this was a Con! I couldn’t just grab any old tat from a fancy dress store and be done with it! I wanted to make a REAL effort – to truly get into the spirit of the convention and make myself something really awesome!
And that’s when the conundrum hit me.
Who am I going to Cosplay?!
Now, I’ve no doubt that this question has crossed the mind of many a first-time and seasoned Cosplayer, so I took to the internet for some advice on how to choose. I came back with two things:
- You should always Cosplay someone or something you feel something for or relate to.
- You should Cosplay from a game/show/film that you really like.
And that was where my troubles really started.
I am not much of a gamer. The reason being that I have never had to money to invest in consoles or up-to-date gaming towers, so I have never had the hardware on which to play games. The closest I have had was when I lived with my best friend and regularly hijacked his PS3 to play Borderlands, Soul Caliber and Bayonetta. But even then, I never really had the time to invest in really getting to know the characters I was playing. I was always working or studying or otherwise engaged. It is only recently that I have started to invest more time in games, but even now, I would not call myself a gamer.
I am also a bit rubbish when it comes to films. I like to watch films on DVD, not at the cinema, so I often know what’s going on WELL after anyone else. This is to do with money again, in that I have none – so I can’t go to the cinema. What I do do, is acquire obscure films that nobody has ever heard of from bargain buckets and watch those instead. Films like Convoy, which is my favourite, and Dragonfly. Random, and unheard of.
On top of this, when I DO find a “mainstream” film that I like, I find that I do not relate very well to the female characters. I relate better to men. Always have done, and doubt it will change any time soon. The thing is, I am tired of crossplaying. During my short time as a drama student (and also my first stint at modelling), I was always cast in male or genderless roles where the sex was always left ambiguous. And even when I WAS cast in a genderless role, I was encouraged to come across as more masculine. I was never cast as a female. I am so sick and tired of crossplay, that I swore that my first Cosplay would be a female character. But seeing as I relate better to the male characters in films, that became a problem. The same goes for TV shows. I relate better to the male characters. I often find female characters lacking in something, though I can’t always put my finger on it.
And so, where am I to get my inspiration? It took me weeks to think of anything to do. I eventually settled on LeFay for MCM because I was already crafting her outfit for something else! But that still left me with the problem of choosing my next Cosplay. How on earth could I follow the two guidelines that I had found if neither of them really fit my lifestyle?!
It was then that my friend said to me, “Maybe you should just Cosplay something that looks cool for now, until you find your feet”.
Why had it not occurred to me to do that before?! Sure, I probably wouldn’t be able to hold a long conversation with someone about the character, but perhaps they would be able to teach me something new! And so what if I don’t relate to their personality? Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is supposed to help you to understand them better, right? Cosplaying someone completely alien to me would be something exciting, as I really wouldn’t know what to expect! I automatically found two Cosplay ideas, one simple, and one more complex.
As luck would have it, I have actually managed to discover a few potential Cosplays hidden in my past since then. Things that should have been so obvious! But planning for characters that I didn’t know really helped me to discover characters that I DID. In the end, perhaps worrying so much about what to Cosplay is what caused me to have that mental block in the first place. I have no idea how these characters are going to pan out, but I have no doubt that I am going to have a lot of fun working on them, and that’s what’s important!