August 11, 2013
Cos & Effect 2013 + Thoughts On 'Mastery'

So, Cos & Effect is kind of a tiny con here in Vancouver (where we now have three summer cons because of... a lot of stupidity). It's technically a costuming/alternative fashion con rather than an anime con, and I feel like this year they really set out to prove that - three guests of honor who are well known cosplayers (one of whom does costuming as a business), and the costuming designer for the last three Stargate series; amazing prizes for the costume contest; and a ton of costuming panels of all levels. I went to ten different panels over the last three days and enjoyed all of them, where I'm usually lucky to find one or two that look even vaguely appealing at a con.

One of the themes that seemed to resonate through a lot of the panels (and that I've also seen in some of the costuming community here on tumblr) is the idea of cosplaying for you. That it should be about you feeling comfortable (okay, except maybe the deliberate sacrifices we sometimes make in suffering for our art *g*), and good about yourself, and happy in your costume - not about arbitrary standards of comparison, or tearing each other down.

And for myself, I ended up thinking a lot about the idea of mastery and growing in skill as a costumer. I've been doing this for... at least ten years now, which is a really goddamn long time, and I've definitely learned a lot over that time, but I'm not at the level I'd like to be at, or the level I think I could be at. It's a problem with seeing the details as I progress, or in patience, maybe, and it crops up other places too - my writing and coding in particular stand out as things that suffer from it. Writing doesn't get finished, or doesn't get explored as thoroughly as an idea deserves. Code either has bugs someone else has to catch, or I get frustrated and give up.

They had a Costuming Guest Q&A panel, so I took the opportunity to ask, basically, 'what general advice would you give for moving from intermediate level cosplay to mastery?' And I felt like the answers were good, and all very true:

-practice, practice, practice
-have patience
-give yourself enough time
-...but set some deadlines, because they force you to innovate
-accept that sometimes you're going to have to start over

Definitely things for me to think about as I start in planning for Teslacon and next year. My particular mix of brain chemistry is probably playing in to some of these problems, too, but that's a different dimension to work on