The Cosplay Episode
5:16 Two Curious Minds
In our business curiosity is key. That’s why we made a list of things we wanted to learn more about. We invite you to join us on our journey of discovery as we go through the list, cross things off, and feed our curiosity. We call our show Two Curious minds. We hope that by the end of each episode you learn two or three new things that you can share at your next dinner party or around the water cooler.
Here We Go
In this episode, we explore the world of cosplay. For those of you who don’t know what cosplay is here’s a quick crash course. Cosplay is the combination of two words (Costume + Play = Cosplay). By definition, it’s the practice of dressing up as a character from a comic-book, movie, book, or video game and playing them in real life. If you’ve ever seen coverage on the news of events like San Diego Comic-Con, then you’ve probably seen hundreds of grown adults dressed up as Spider-man, Wonder Women, and The Joker (Batman’s worst enemy) just to name a few. All of those people are participating in cosplay.
To some, it might seem like a joke, but the cosplay industry is no laughing matter. That’s because cosplay will grow into a $23.6 billion industry by 2019. With numbers like that, we had some questions. How much does it cost to cosplay? How did it become a billion-dollar industry? And why would anyone want to dress up in the first place?
Ask yourself this question – “Would you feel comfortable dressing up as your favorite character and walking around all day?” Keep in mind, in this scenario, It's not Halloween. If you answered “No” then you’re probably not one of the thousands of people who cosplay every year. Being the two curious minds that we are, we decided to put cosplay on our list and took a trip to Anaheim Ca, to visit Wonder-Con. With over 60,000 attendees, comic-book conventions like Wonder-Con are the perfect stage for cosplayers to show off their skills.
Let me set the scene for you, Anaheim California. Once upon a time, this city was filled with orange groves. Today Anaheim is one of the largest tourist destinations in the world. It’s home to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland, and one of the largest annual cosplay gatherings, Wonder-Con, which for the record, is owned and operated by the same group that runs the mega pop culture phenomenon, San Diego Comic-Con.
For decades’ cosplayers have been thought of as “losers with no life.” I know those are harsh words, but they don’t belong to us, they came from the Flash cosplayer we interviewed in the video above. But that narrative is starting to change. Brands like Star Trek, Marvel, Star Wars, Dr. Who, DC Comics, and Game of Thrones are inspiring more and more fans to embrace nerd culture and participate in cosplay.
That’s where our story picks up. Armed with a camera and a microphone we hit the convention floor. It did take long for us to find some pretty extravagant costumes and we couldn’t help but wonder...
How much do cosplay costumes cost?
So we asked. On average the cosplayers, we talked to spent $500 per costume (it’s also worth noting that most cosplayers wear multiple costumes per event, but for this example let’s assume they only wear one). Depending on the comic convention, which are usually three days long, passes can run about $150. Now multiply that by six events, which is probably on the lower end of the spectrum. Add it all up, carry the one, and that brings us to $3,900 per year in costume and ticket cost alone. That doesn’t even take into account travel costs, hotel rooms, food, souvenirs and everything else.
By our simple calculations, cosplay is not cheap!
How has this costly hobby grown in popularity? Our research couldn’t pinpoint one big event or tipping point. Instead, it pointed us to a combination of many factors. Here are just a few:
All of these examples help explain cosplays transition from nerd culture to mainstream.
So what’s the return on investment for cosplayers?
Why do they participate in this billion-dollar industry? After talking to enough cosplayers, it became pretty clear. Cosplay is a community. It brings people together. It gives creative minds a platform to express themselves, and normally shy people the opportunity to break out of their shells. After spending three days with all these cosplayers, it was easy to see why this industry continues to grow. Long story short, it’s just downright fun.
One of our favorite stories came from a Green Arrow cosplayer. He used cosplay as motivation to lose over 200 pounds. Check out the video above to see the picture Green Arrow sent us of his amazing transformation. As Wonder-Con weekend wrapped up, it was time for us to head home.
As always with Two Curious Mind, we asked ourselves “can we cross cosplay off our list?” Our conclusion -- We think so! This was a fun one. We loved meeting all the cosplayers and who knows, maybe next year we'll do a wonder twins cosplay.
Thanks for watching/reading this edition of Two Curious Minds. Make sure you subscribe to our channel because every bit helps. While you’re here, tell us what you think about cosplay in the comments below.
Until next time, we’ve been the Fratzke Brothers, and you’ve been awesome.
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