A Cosplayer’s Art – Give Credit, Where Credit Is Due… by Ashley M. Kalfas

The life of a cosplayer can be the most amazing experience ever! But it’s not as easy as it looks. As an avid cosplayer, I know how much time – sometimes several months; energy and most of all money it takes to create these costumes. Whether they’re closet cosplays – ones you create from cloths you already have; made by hand fully, or even a mix of the two. Either way, how they’re made still takes a lot of time, effort, creativity, patience, perseverance, long nights, and spare change.

Combination of Star Wars Characters Cosplayed. Handmade Costumes.

Combination of Star Wars Characters Cosplayed. Handmade Costumes.

Now as cosplayers we all think our cosplays are pretty good and want everyone to see it took time to create them. Whether the character is your favorite anime hero or your favorite Sci-Fi villain, each costume holds a special place within you. So when you see your photo plastered all over Facebook or your win in a costume contest it’s a really great feeling! You know that all the hard work paid off and is appreciated by fans.

Some of us create Facebook pages or profiles for our cosplays or just the characters, or post the photos on Photobucket, DeviantArt, or various other photo sharing and social media sites. Sadly, that’s where there are problems…

Ashley M. Kalfas as "Rogue" with Lance Henriksen

Ashley M. Kalfas as “Rogue” with Lance Henriksen

Now I’m sure everyone at one point has seen a photo, and thought “wow that is amazing and works so well for such and such” or even to share with their own friends. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with that, that’s actually part of why we as cosplayers and artists post our work so that people can be inspired. However we also deserve to have credit.

Most of us don’t mind you sharing our photos, but taking credit for them as your own is wrong.  Or not even crediting the cosplayer or artist is wrong. Yes, sometimes we find photos where information is lacking or who originally posted our material. But once your find out, it’s polite to give us credit.

Another major problem besides not asking for permission is cosplayers are often building and maintaining their professional reputations. These are based on their artistry and images. When people steal our photos and post them on fake impostor accounts, it is our reputations that are at stake. Our name, our photos, our reputations, and our BRANDS get destroyed because someone is too lazy to do a search. Since social media spreads fast, then our reputations can be ruined faster.

However cosplay not just about the possible ruined reputations and feeling cheated out of getting recognition. It’s the principal of it! Cosplayers and artists are like your  favorite band or movie, except we do not get a huge salary. Each expression of our creativity took a lot of time, care, preparation, lack of sleep, and a millions of other things.  Unlike big record labels and production companies that want you to pay to use their material (and sometimes people do pay), all we request is some respect – give credit where credit is due. Don’t forget to ask for our permission to use our material.

As a Twi'lek bounty hunter

As a Twi’lek bounty hunter

So before setting up a page on social media, don’t take a cosplayer’s photos and name.  Stop and think of the repercussions. How would it make you feel if someone you didn’t know did that to you?

I could continue, but I hope what I have said has helped bring to light what seems to be a growing issue in the cosplay and social media community.

Ashley M. Kalfas is an avid cosplayer for several major comic conventions and a member of The Dark Empire costuming organization. She is an actress who just completed a role in the upcoming major motion picture, The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.
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About Yemmy

SWAG 77 Social Media Entertainment and Performance.
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