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Creating. Content. Isn’t. Cheap.
As a cosplayer, I can’t begin to tally up how much I’ve spent on supplies, photographers, conventions and MY TIME on creating a new cosplay. I try to cut corners like creating outfits that use the same colors so I don’t have to buy yarn for every outfit. I’ve re-purposed the same wigs. I’ve gone to thrift stores and wholesale stores to cut back on costs but at the end of the day cosplaying isn’t cheap.
For a lot of us, cosplaying is a side hobby. Also for a lot of us, cosplaying is a secondary form of income. AND ALSO for a lot of us, cosplaying is our main source of income (that’s where I am). So how can you support your fellow cosplayers without breaking YOUR bank?
Ways to Support Your Fellow Cosplayers
Patreon is an easy way to support cosplayers. The platform works so that cosplayers can create tiers with special rewards. Supporters (patrons) can subscribe and pay a small fee once a month to get access to exclusive content. Tiers can range from $1 a month to any amount based on the content given. For example, for $2 a month you can get access to my professional photo albums that I don’t share publicly. Every month I publish a new album. For $7 a month, you can get access to my tutorial videos that I create and also don’t share publicly.
A LOT of cosplayers use Patreon as a way to help pay for photographers, cosplays and equipment. Patreon also allows cosplayers to gain a following and create a semi-steady form of income. The best part about Patron is patrons can update their rewards or cancel at any time. Plus, if you want to support a cosplayer but need a financial break, you can always cancel your subscription and return later.
Ko-Fi allows you to donate or “buy a coffee” for your cosplayer. Ko-Fi is less of a monthly subscription service and more of a donation service where you can buy a coffee (valued at $3 per coffee) when you see something you like or if you want to help that cosplayer reach a goal. You can buy as many coffees as you like and payments go directly to that cosplayer. A lot of cosplayers who use Ko-Fi are extremely grateful towards anyone who donates (it’s not mandatory to donate, so it’s extremely humbling when someone does) and sometimes offer a thank you gift. It varies from cosplayer to cosplayer.
Twitch is a streaming app for gamers and lately it’s becoming another way for cosplayers to share their work. Twitch allows cosplayers to create a steady form of income based on followers, views and time (lots of time).
Twitch rewards their streamers through engagement and the more engagement a streamer has the more Twitch rewards them. The base goal for any streamer is to become a Twitch Affiliate which means they must have at least 50 followers, 3 live views per stream and at least 8 hrs of stream time on different days (at least 7 days). After a cosplayer has become a Twitch Affiliate, they can now accept subscriptions and create exclusive content for their subscribers. A subscription is $5 a month and gives you access to exclusive content like cheers, emotes and whatever else that cosplayer has made for their subscribers.
Following is always free and if you know a cosplayer who streams on Twitch the BEST thing you can do for them is follow/subscribe, watch and share their stream.
4. Share, share, SHARE
As always, share your cosplayers’ work. If you can’t financially support them then best alternative is to give them exposure. Some conventions use a cosplayer’s follower count to determine whether or not they should be a guest at their show and there is a HEAVY disadvantage for POC (person of color) cosplayers.
If you’re a cosplayer with a bigger following, share the cosplayers who have a smaller following. Shameless plugging when your cosplay friends are too shy to do it themselves is always helpful. Creators almost never “toot their own horns” even when they're really good at something. Word of mouth is always the best form of advertising.
Below are my own links and feel free to share, subscribe and/or follow me outside of Vocal. Feel free to drop your own links in the comments, too! Remember, cosplayers don’t “expect” to get paid for what they do, but every bit helps them continue to do what they love.
Follow me @ygcosplay on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!