Every cosplayer has experience with this. They sign up for an event such as Cosplay Chess or a cosplay contest being incredibly excited to represent their character on the stage—and maybe snag a reward while they’re at it. But, when they get up on that stage in front of a rather large audience with the hot spotlights shining on them, one of two things will happen.
1. Freeze on the spot and forget everything they wanted to do.
2. Try to act as the character they are cosplaying but are so nervous that they end up giving a rather… “cringe-worthy” performance.
All of us has experienced one of these moments at least once. And a lot of us don’t know how to deal or fix these problems. Luckily though, at my time at this year’s Anime Banzai, I had the pleasure to attend a panel called Cosplay Acting 101 hosted by Kim Butterfield.
In this panel, we con-goers got to learn many quint essential tips on how to overcome the two problems mentioned above. And, at the end all of us joined in on what was a very entertaining improv. game.
“I would see people around the convention that want to do the cosplay centered cosplay, but they don’t because they feel like they don’t know how to act. So, I wanted to create a panel to have a safe environment to learn how,” The panelist, Kim Butterfield said.
Luckily for all of you guys, in this article I’m going to share these techniques I picked up in the panel.
Know your character
This is a very helpful tip especially if you are going to go for a Cosplay Contest. The more you know how your character will act, speak, and move will benefit the performance in the long run. Some helpful tips to consider while trying to get to know your character better are:
• Know the well-known lines your character says. The more you know them, the more you can utilize that in your performance.
• Watch how your character moves and pick an animal that would fit the movement. That way, it’ll make it easier for you to move like the character.
• Watch the show or read the manga/comic more than once. This will help you remember how your character does things. So, you can really give a good performance.
• Have a “talk” with your character. If you’re unsure about certain aspects of your character, ask yourself what would he/she do in this type of situation?
Know your environment
If you know what your surroundings are and what you are dealing with when your up on that stage or even taking a picture, everything will become much easier. You won’t bump into things or accidently throw your prop off stage if you know what’s around you.
For example, say you are participating in your convention’s Cosplay Chess. Knowing what’s around you, and where your corners are, comes into major play here. It’s not just you on that stage anymore. You’re with a bunch of people in their cosplays moving about, changing places, and performing kill and death scenes. If you aren’t aware of who or what is around you, you might end up accidently whacking some poor Digimon cosplayer in the face.
Now, for the final tip….
Breath and warm ups
For the love of almighty Kami, please breathe and warm up. I know, I know, ya’ll are probably thinking “Shania. We breathe all the time. It’s something we do without thinking.” Yes. It is an essential thing to keep us alive. But, when we, as cosplayers—or actors in general, are up on that stage we forget to breathe. And before the performance, we forget to warm up.
These two things can help you so much. Why? With warming up, you’ll feel more confident in your lines and how you act. And with breathing—both before and during your event, you will be able to project your voice more, change the sound of your voice if you need too—just imagine your throat is in a different place and finally, you won’t pass out. Helpful huh? So, breathe and warm up please. You won’t regret it.
So, just to sum up, there are three major things that I’ve learned with this panel that are truly very helpful to us cosplayers.
1. Know your character.
2. Know your environment/surroundings.
3. Breathe and warm up
I hope these tips help all of you as much as they have helped me. If you’re ever in the Utah area around October, I highly suggest you check out Anime Banzai. They have so many great panels with a ton of helpful and fun topics. Like this one!
Well, that’s all for this article. Stay Nerdy!