September 23, 2014

Planning a Group Cosplay

In recent years of attending conventions, I've noticed a trend: group cosplays. Themed costumes with anywhere from 3 - 15 (sometimes more) participating members seem to be present at every convention. Groups I've seen in person or on the internet include: Disney Princesses as Jedi, Star Trek Playboy bunnies, Steampunk DC Comics characters, Bombshell Avengers, and Sailor Scouts. The groups are often mash-ups or a non-canon take on characters, but they can be straightforward interpretations of characters too - like the Sailor Scouts or the Mane Six from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Bombshell Avengers at WonderCon '14
If you want to plan a group cosplay, remember that it can be a big undertaking and will probably feel like herding cats. Here are a few tips for keeping it together:

- Come up with a theme and recruit friends as far in advance as possible. Sure, people might wait until the last minute to make costumes, but you want to give them as much of a heads-up as you can. You can ask specific friends or put out an open call on the social media channel of your choice. Up to you. Mention what convention you'd like to wear the costumes at.

- Once you have a reasonable number of interested parties, ask a few more people. It's likely that some folks will drop out along the way.

- When you've got everyone, create a private Facebook group or start an email chain for planning. Outline what everyone's responsible for. Sometimes the person who comes up with the group makes parts of the costumes but that's by no means a requirement. Ask if anyone wants to tackle making all the accessories for a certain part of the costumes. For example, if it's a My Little Pony group, maybe one person will be up for making all the ears.

- Let people claim characters and share reference pictures and resources. Check in with people to ask how things are going and see if you can help. I don't think it's a good or helpful idea to set progress deadlines.

Roller Girl Avengers and Nick Fury at Dragon Con '14
- Confirm the convention you want to debut the costumes at. When you're three weeks out, try to confirm the exact day you'll be wearing the costumes and when. This is a great time to reach out to any photographers you know who will be at the convention and try to schedule a photo shoot.

- When you're two weeks out from the convention, you should have a date, time, and place for everyone to meet in costume. Find out who's staying near the convention center and who has space in his or  her room to let people get dressed and do hair and makeup. If you have someone to do everyone's hair and makeup, awesome. Encourage everyone to share lists of what they still need to do with their costume and coordinate help if necessary.

- A few days before the convention, confirm all the details with the group. If you can, recruit friends or significant others to walk around with your group and carry bags, makeup for retouches, and a basic repair kit.

- Final step: meet up at the convention and look fabulous together. Easy, right?

What if you want to join an existing group? Try and look in the forums, check out Cosplay Meet Up to see if there are cosplayers in your area, or ask around on Facebook and Twitter. If you're at all involved in the cosplay community, chances are you'll have friends and followers who are also cosplayers and can point you in the right direction.


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