Your guide to cosplaying at MCM Comic Con with Dream Away Cosplay
Here we have Tessa Istel of Dream Away Cosplay giving her tips, she’s attended MCM Manchester Comic Con 5 times now and she’s going to share what she thinks will be helpful for you whether you are attending MCM Comic Con Manchester and elsewhere.
Hi, I’m Tessa. I’m what you’d call a ‘hardcore cosplayer’ as I pretty much cosplay when ever I can – theme parties, conventions, you name it! So, without further ado… here are the biggest tips I can give you to start (or continue) your cosplaying journey when going to MCM Comic Con in Manchester.
1. Decide what to wear
Are you going to go all out and make sure your outfit is movie or TV quality? Or do you just want a subtle nod? Depending on how into it you’re going to get determines just how much time, money and effort you need to create the final look. Personally I like to dress as movie or TV characters that have pieces that are fully made by hand making them as close to the character as possible. Here’s my attempt at Cinderella, which I put together as Jennifer Hale was going:
2. Buy pieces you know you can’t make
Before you go thinking you’re going to save money by making a piece…. at least KNOW your limits. Nothing’s worse than working on part of your costume only to mess it up and end up having to buy a piece.
3. Prepare WAY in advance
You HAVE to prepare – and it usually takes longer than you think! Don’t get stressed the day before the convention that your costume isn’t finished or you couldn’t fit it into your bag. If you have everything prepared, you can make last minute adjustments and know you’ll rock whatever character you’re portraying.
4. Have fun!
The biggest thing is to just have fun! Who cares how accurate your costume is if you worked hard on it and love it?! I certainly don’t. Yeah you might get judged but like I said, so long as YOU love it and have a hell of a time…. it doesn’t matter what others think. As long as you’re not entering a masquerade (because then, it kind of does matter what other people think).
So, what can you do at MCM Comic Con Manchester to have fun while cosplaying?
The first thing I would advice any cosplayer to do is to find out what meet ups are running for the character you have picked. Going to the meets will get you photos of your costume and you meet many friends that way. Which can and will last for life – they will help and support you though your cosplay journey.
You will find fellow cosplayers love to welcome old and new cosplayers to the meets, and will jump at the chance to have photos with you.
So what happens at a meet up? A few cosplayers are usually there to run the meet. They would have invited an photographer or two and maybe someone to film.
The meet will start and run though with diffent sets of photos from group to single , then move on to anything els that’s been planned e.g. filming and role play. You don’t have to stay for the whole meet if you don’t want to – but before you leave make sure you find out where the photos will be posted!
6. Coping With A Cosplay Crisis
If you have any problems with your cosplay, there is a cosplay desk with changing rooms. At the cosplay desk you can find many things, should you have any problems with your costume, lose a part or your dress should rip. You will find everything from glue to cotton, with very helpful staff and other cosplayers you help you.
Always make sure you drink plenty as the convention hall get very warm with so many people, especially if your costume is very warm too!!
Don’t be afraid to ask other cosplayers for help for anything, as they are a friendly bunch of people.
7. Cosplay Consent
I want to take this opportunity to cover something very important for every cosplayer.
To begin, let’s talk about consent. Definition: “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” This comes up a lot when talking about sex, and here’s a lesson about consent by the Thames Valley Police, using tea.
Consent also relates to cosplay.
Just because a person is dressed in a ‘sexy’ costume (a costume impersonating a character, I might add), does not make it OK for people to stare, make lewd comments, take inappropriate photos without permission (or, in fact, any candid photos without permission) and, even, grope cosplayers.
Look, if you do want a photo with a person in cosplay, just ask! I’ve had many people ask me to pose in specific (non-sexual) positions for the sake of the character. And so far, I have never turned down a photo request.
And please, never, ever, follow a cosplayer around taking photos. Taking up-skirt angle photos is NOT cool. It’s harassment. And, it’s ridiculously creepy. Making lewd comments just makes cosplayers feel terribly uncomfortable. I don’t think any single person wants to have a complete stranger talk about their body as if it’s an object. Be respectable. Be kind. Please have some class.
And, lastly, but most importantly, NEVER touch a person without asking them first. Putting your arm around a person’s shoulder for a photo is fine, in most situations (although it’s even better to ask). But, groping is terrifying. Just because a person is dressed in a costume you find to be sexy does not make them any less of a person. Even if a cosplayer is only wearing body paint, you do not have the right to touch them. Please, be kind, get consent, and watch out for people you see being creepy. Report them: The nice thing about MCM Manchester, they do have a list of behaviour that’s not acceptable and should you have any problems, you should report them to an member of staff straight away.
8. Cosplay Masquerade
So if you’re feeling brave – there are a lot of masquerades at MCM. I’ll break them down for you here!
This year at MCM Manchester there was an new masquerade called The Crown Championship of Cosplay:
In 2015 Reed POP(MCM) launched an unprecedented international cosplay competition that culminated in the Crown Championships of Cosplay in 2016.
The Global Championships of Cosplay engage the best and most influential cosplayers in the world as both competitors and judges. They work with first timers, rising stars and established professionals in order to drive awareness within the cosplay community for other events. The Global Championships of Cosplay is a first of its kind platform that serves to unite the cosplay community and elevate the best cosplayers from around the world.
The champions from each region win a trip to Chicago and the opportunity to compete against other top cosplayers.
Fans can tune into the C2E2 Livestream to see their regional champions compete live on stage at the C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay. They pick one winner from each MCM held in the UK, to go though to the final head at MCM Birmingham in November. The winner will have an all expenses paid trip to Chicago.
They also run masquerade where you are judged for costume-making skill or performance, I personally find performance is more fun. And so many people enter, so the competition is tough!
9. Other things can you do at MCM Manchester
So I found loads to do beyond having fun with cosplay pals.
Plenty of panels, a steampunk area which I really enjoyed and of course the many, many stalls selling merchandise and fandom creations. I saw a demonstration on foam builds in the Cosplay Area which was pretty good.
The highlight of my day was meeting Jennifer Hale, the voice actress of Cinderella and many other films. I will be writing a whole other piece about meeting Jennifer and a few of the other guest’s!
MCM Manchester was a very fun day, and if you love cosplay, films, TV shows or you’re just a geek like all of us here at Coaching for Geeks – I recommend going!
Tessa Isted – guiding you through the Disneyland of Cosplay