Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cosplay nightmares - Pet peeves got nothing

I've had some real cosplay nightmares. They are quite the same as dreams, where you have went to school, work or any public place and you realize that you are naked or you have forgot some crucial part of your clothing. I don't get nightmares too often and I think ones including cosplay or costumes are more frustrating and embarrassing than scary.

One time I had a dream, in which I was in a convention and had a great time until somebody came up to me and asked who I was cosplaying as. I was like... And... Umm... I had no idea! There I was standing in a costume (pretty awesome, I remember) clueless who I was portraying. In another dream I was in a convention again and in cosplay, but I randomly changed parts of it to make it more interesting. I think at the beginning I knew who I was cosplaying as, but the idea was lost quite rapidly. It was truly bizarre. I even got a full body paint to "make the cosplay better".

Now let's move on to reality. If I can form any thought about people's biggest fears with cosplay after reading many pages of forum posts and individual blog entries, I think the nightmares connect with things one can't affect and things where there is money involved. Matters of worry are for example finding trustworthy commissioners, commissioning costumes or parts of it, ordering wigs, having them styled on someone else, having things shipped to you overseas and on time arrivals. I think I personally would crawl in my skin, if I was faced with these kind of issues. More if there is little time to the deadline.

I must admit that I have been avoiding previous issues on purpose. I hate the feeling of not being in charge. And when it's passionate hobby combined with relative amounts of money, I want to know every moment how things are and where they are. I'm also touchy-feely type of a person. I need to see and be able to examine fabrics, materials and products before purchasing. I need to assure myself that I have done all the decisions, even if they later prove not to be the best on my costume. Luckily, we have been able to find the things we need locally.

All the previous has been sweet talk, now let's move on to what the topic is all about.

Some of the true nightmares are the ugly side products emerging from cosplay. I was mad and out of my mind in my little corner of the cosplay community, when I came across thread, which were written by a cosplayer who was outrageously ripped off by a "cosplay commissioner". After searching a little it came obvious that there were more than one case. I don't want to mess with my blood pressure too much, so I'm not going to all the dirty details. They can pretty much be read on the thread and on few similar ones at

Like when making the costumes yourself, I think throughout base work is also necessary when looking for commissioners and cosplay gadgets. It is a shame that opportunists have found such a narrow audience to cheat. And apparently cosplayers are rather easy to cheat. Even I didn't think year ago, when I first heard about commissioning hoaxes that they could even exist. And to the hoaxes even work in both ways! Commissioners have ended up finishing a costume, sending them to the client and then having e-mails where the client claims that the goods have not arrived and they are not going to pay for them. This is just one example from many. Ones that actually got me stunned for quite some time were the cases, where "clients" tried to use their commissioners for money scams with invalid checks.

Because of cosplay scams people have stopped cosplaying or/and stopped making costumes which is sad and a pity, but then again, understandable. Money has been lost, hours of work has been all in vain and long, painstaking battles have been fought because these nightmares. I cheer every time I read that some of the scammers have been caught one way or the other and guys on the good side wins.

Buying costumes is a hush-hush issue here in Finland. People don't speak about them much, so it's pretty unclear from where people buy their costumes. But because costumes are bought and they will be bought still, I think conversation and interaction about commissioners and online shops would be helpful for everyone. Maybe more disappointments could be avoided.

There are trustworthy commissioners, some enthusiastic hobbyists themselves who work genuinely and accurately. There are also cosplayers who will pay from job well done. Do your homework.

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