The Do's and Don'ts of Group Cosplay
Do: Get Started ASAP
Whether you decide to make or buy your cosplays, it is going to take time. Sewing is a long, grueling process and will 100% take you longer than you think it will. As far as ordering your cosplay goes, often it will be coming in from overseas, which means long waits and large shipping expenses. (See our previous article:To Make or To Order for more details on this decision). Another thing to note is that assembling and maintaining a proper group is an undertaking in itself.
Do: Work With People Like You
Okay, I understand this sounds like a strange thing. After all, diversity is good, and every group should have people with different strengths. One of you good at sculpting but not sewing? Is one of you way better at makeup than the others? Is one of you virtually talent-less but is really good at keeping up morale? Good. These are all amazing traits.
When I say "People like you" I mean people who are in a similar place in their life--people who are going to prioritize this group cosplay around the same level as you do. Someone who is in a rigorous University program and working two jobs is NOT going to be able to put in as much time as someone who works part time and is living with their parents to save some cash. Someone who is working full time is going to have different availability and priorities from someone who's still in high school.
Do: Find People You Can Be Friends With
Group cosplay are often a conglomeration of people from the internet who made a post in a facebook group in hopes of finding a team. This is all fine and dandy, but it's important to get to know your team. Sometimes there are people whom you discover you absolutely cannot tolerate on your team. When you can befriend people in your group, your ability to communicate your feelings about issues that come up becomes a LOT easier. When you are not friends with the people in the group, there's a high likelihood that you or someone will fall through, communication will suffer, and the group cosplay will be incomplete.
Do: Appreciate The Parts That You HAVE completed
Don't: Boss Others Around
The Idea of a group cosplay is that you are working as a team. Sure, there's always going to be one or two people that keep everyone on task, but there should not be anyone making demands or orders. Everyone works at their own pace and understands their limitations. What's really important is that you foster an environment in which people who are worried they won't be able to do something can communicate that and ask for help comfortably.
Don't: Make Assumptions About Your Team Members
Everyone works differently. Some people pace themselves, others can hammer out a decent cosplay in the weeks just before the con. If someone says they will do something, always assume they will do it, whether you think they can or not. I know this sounds weird, as most of the time the goal should be to mitigate weaknesses, but it's important to understand that often people commit to a group because of their own intrinsic desire to be there. This is not a job for them. If they want to leave, they can leave. If you feel that your group member(s) may not finish on time, communicate that to them kindly, and as early as you get that feeling. Being part of a team is being ready to trust your team members.