What cosplay taught me about people's perceptions

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#1 XthDr on 2 years ago

#2 Dr Tweed on 2 years ago

Wow that stuff is pretty deep.

I've only been Cosplaying a couple years and I've not put the level of thought into it you have, but what I have found out is that sometimes people see the actual things they see, but often they see a symbol for what they expect to see.

My first two years of Cosplaying and attending Cons I only did one character, Indiana Jones' dad from Last Crusade (Dr Henry Walton Jones Senior, played by Sean Connery).

My costume slowly evolved from pure Closet Cosplay to the nearly 100% Screen Accurate costume I have now. Know what? Just as many people recognised me at the beginning as they do now!

Like the glasses. The movie glasses are rimless. But rimmed glasses are read by the viewer as "glasses" more than rimless glasses are, and are more effective for the costume.

And the jacket and waistcoat. The movie outfit is a tweed suit of rather subtle pattern. But for my first costume I just grabbed houndstooth tweed jacket and waistcoat out of the closet and everybody recognised my character, because what I was wearing, though not accurate, read as "tweed" more strongly than the screen-accurate suit I now wear is.

I think it's something like this: "tweed hat + glasses + grey beard + tweed jacket & waistcoat + bow tie = Dr Henry Jones Sr."

The effectiveness of the costume depends not on accuracy but on how easily the various things are read by the viewer.

Look at Junior, Indiana Jones. You can put on ANY brown hat and wear ANY khaki shirt and ANY brown leather jacket and have ANY bag over your shoulder and everybody instantly recognises you as Indiana Jones!

One person can be screen-accurate, the other person can have not a single thing be close to screen-accurate, but both costumes are recognised instantly by everybody.

#3 KuruttaKanashii on 2 years ago

There was a good post on tumblr about this, about how cosplayers in painstakingly made costumes get ignored while any sorta skinny white guy can throw on a raincoat and get squeed over as "LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE DAVID TENNANT SO ACCURATE"...

#4 ZanyGeek on 1 year ago

There are countless things that go into forming people's perceptions...some very abstract. You could remind them of their grammaw and that impacts how they see you. Or you could speak like their favorite teacher and they will think fondly of you because of it. It's impossible to predict because of the endless variety of life experiences that make up who people are. For some costumes, an S-curl is all you need to invoke Superman. For others, you'll have to do a lot more work.

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