Behind the Cosplay: Hidden Effort

I don’t really think about it, but I put a lot of work into my content. To make just one post of a cosplay or a dance, I have to put in so much time and energy. But on the other side, for people who may see it, my post is only one of hundreds or thousands. It may grab their attention for all of one second, and maybe they’ll like it, and then move on. They don’t see all the frustration, ugly crying, lucky breaks, and mini-triumphs. They just see the final product, the tip of the iceberg. So today, I want to briefly expose the rest of the iceberg.

I have two main types of content: Short dance videos and photos from cosplay shoots. I’ll start with the dance videos, because they’re slightly easier to do. For a dance video, the main thing is learning the choreography. I usually spend a week memorizing the moves. The next week, I practice dancing the chorus at 50%, 75%, and eventually full speed. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like Twice’s choreography in particular is like cramming 30 minutes of cardio into a 3 minute dance routine. If I just danced at 50% and sped it up, no one would ever have to know…but my pride won’t let me. If I’m still not satisfied, then I’ll use a third week to clean up. During this 2-3 week period, I sometimes have to find and order an outfit. While it’s not necessarily difficult, it still takes time to go through my closet or go to my favorite online stores and find something that matches the theme. I actually had an outfit that went really well with “Kura Kura“, but the clothes were too restrictive and I couldn’t dance well in them so I had to find something else. And for “Like Ooh-Ahh“, I had to alter the skirt.

Once I have the outfit and choreography nailed down, I have to film it. It’s hard enough to take the perfect picture, but there’s so much more that can go wrong while taking a video. Too far out of frame? Again. Forgot to keep smiling? Again. Missed a move? Again. Messy hair? Again. (I did a perfect take, but my wig was messed up and I was so frustrated!) For a picture, I only have to be good for 1 second, but for a video I have to be good for at least 30. Another thing I didn’t notice until I reviewed the videos on my computer was that sometimes the camera would lose focus or change lighting. That also ruined a lot of good takes… After selecting the best take, I have to edit the video for the platforms I use and sync it with the audio, which is trickier than you’d think. So while my dance videos may look frivolous and fun, please know that I didn’t just wake up, shoot it in one take, slap it together and then throw it online. I wish.

My cosplay shoots are a bit more complex. First of all, in many cases I have made part or all of the cosplay. That will be a separate post entirely, but I’ll give you a quick run down. I have to find reference pictures, find a pattern, choose fabric, cut the pieces, sew them together, and add details. Sometimes I need to style the wig as well. After all of that, we get to the shoot. Luckily, if I mess up a pose, it’s easier to take another picture than to dance a chorus all over again. The challenge with cosplay shoots is that they’re not choreographed. While I do have a general direction based on the character’s personality and some of their key poses, the rest is improvised. I try as many things as possible because I want to have a good range of photos to post. As a result, my shoots tend to be almost an hour long, often longer. The shortest shoot I did was my closet cosplay of Mikasa. I knew exactly the vibe I wanted, I had a bunch of ideas to show off the shirt, and for some reason I was getting each pose right on the first or second shot. It was maybe twenty minutes long, and I got a lot of shots that I liked. Has never happened again since, lol. Anyway, once all the photos are taken, I sort through them. Let’s say I have 50 shots. There might be 15 that I deem “good enough” and those are the ones that get edited. In the end, I’ll share maybe 6 or 8.

So why am I telling you this? Well, like I said, I don’t really think about all of this. I do these things simply because I enjoy doing them. But when someone else likes or compliments my content, it dawns on me how much I put into it. It’s like they’re recognizing and appreciating all that hard work. More importantly, it makes me feel like there are other people out there who understand me. And that feeling is so nice and overwhelming, that I can’t help but feel grateful. (Cue Twice’s “Feel Special” playing in the background) So I guess I said all that to say, thank you. I truly appreciate it.

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