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T.W. Myers, Teaching Artist for DreamWrights’ Intro to Cosplay workshop, took a break from cosplaying and answered some of our questions about this wildly popular costumed role-playing pop culture phenomenon.

DreamWrighters (DW): What is cosplay?

T.W. Myers (TWM): Cosplay is a performance art in which participants (cosplayers) dress in costume and perform on stage in masquerades or away from the stage in live role-play as a specific character. These characters can come from many sources such as comic books, anime, manga, live-action movies, television shows and video games.

DW: What advice do you have for someone just getting started in cosplay?

TWM: When you’re just getting started in cosplay, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Every cosplay you make doesn’t have to be perfect. If you’d rather buy a costume and add some homemade props instead of making your entire cosplay from scratch, go for it. The key is to be recognizable. And most importantly, have fun! The best part of cosplay is getting to share the fandoms you love with other fans.

DW: How does someone choose his/her character?

TWM: There are a lot of different reasons someone might choose their character. I usually choose a character because I feel some sort of deep personal connection to them, or because I simply find the character’s design to be very visually appealing. On occasion I’ve even chosen to cosplay a character because the costume itself presented some kind of interesting construction challenge that set it apart from simpler costumes.

DW: I have a character in mind but what should I do next?

TWM: Research. Once you’ve decided on a character you like, take some time to study their costume, props, makeup, mannerisms, and personality. Use a small notebook or media file to store reference pictures, notes, and ideas about what you’ll be making. It’s the little details that turn a good cosplay into a great one. And don’t forget about a budget. Decide how much you want to spend on a cosplay before you start to buy supplies, and stick with your budget. Even a small budget can go a long way with some creativity and planning.

DW: How do I connect with other cosplay-ers?

TWM: The best way to connect with other cosplayers is to start going to small local conventions. It’ll give you a pretty good sense of what the community is like without being overwhelming, and you’ll get to interact with other fans in person. Online cosplay and costuming community websites can also be a good way to connect with other cosplayers, share tips and tricks, and get valuable advice.

DW: What would you say to people who are hesitant to cosplay?

TWM: If you’re interested in cosplay but have been hanging back, please don’t! Come and cosplay with those of us who believe in the heart of the craft. True cosplay is about community, craftsmanship, self-expression, and the joy of sharing your passion for the characters and stories you love. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what race you happen to be, how tall or short you are, or what you weigh. If you’re enjoying yourself, you’re doing it right. Cosplay is for everybody!

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T.W. Myers has been cosplaying and costuming for 14 years. She offers freelance commissions of costumes, cosplay, and props from her small business Dancing Corpse Designs. Her customers have worn these costumes for events all across the country, from L.A. to New York City. Myers has been head costumer on several stage productions and has worked at seasonal live horror venues, creating costumes and character makeups. She has been featured wearing her own personal cosplay costumes in several newspaper articles from different papers around the state. Myers’ signature (and favorite) cosplays are Harley Quinn from Batman, and Disney’s Maleficent.

DreamWrights’ Intro to Cosplay workshop will be held on October 10 from 10 – 11:30am. Translate the costume of an animated character into the real world. Learn the history while exploring how to choose and create a character that works well for you personally, practice speaking like your character, and investigate a variety of different character development techniques.  Ages 14+. Register online or by calling 848-8623. Come cosplay with us!