Sometime during September last year we started seeing posts on social media talking about a new event on the South African Cosplay calendar; something called CosXP. Oh good, we thought. ANOTHER cosplay event…. But boy were we wrong. Turns out that this event is unlike anything we’ve seen on the SA scene. It’s going to be a day filled with cosplay workshops and advice sessions, presented by some of the SA’s top cosplayers, so naturally we had to find out a bit more about the event.
CosXP is the “brain burp” of Kat Li, a well-known and loved stalwart of the local cosplay community. Kat is an experienced seamstress and fashion designer and she completed her BTech Fashion degree at UJ. She told us that she started seeing a trend in the cosplay community where cosplayers were more willing to start sharing their skills and knowledge. “With the popularity of the AWX Cosplay workshops where there was a constant exchange of these skills and a willingness to help newer cosplayers” Kat noted and she say it was around July 2015 that the CosXP idea started swirling. First up was deciding which cosplay workshops to host and who to approach re presenting the workshops.
She says that it was easy to get the cosplayers on-board with her vision, but the challenges started when they had to start syncing their calendars. Deciding which workshops naturally came about due to the strengths of each of the workshop presenters, and it just developed from there. So of course we wanted to know more about the workshops itself….
The workshops are being planned to be as intimate and personal as possible. They’re hoping to achieve this by limiting the number of participants at each workshop to between 2 and 5 cosplayers. CosXP has also made the workshop pricing quite straight forward in that you can decide whether you would like to bring your own supplies or whether you want to include a cosplay starter pack in your workshop. Kat says she also wanted to make sure the presenters got paid, so the workshop fee would basically cover a percentage going towards the presenter, and a percentage going towards payment of the venue rental. Starter kits can also be added to the package at a value of R100 and R200 respectively. For example, a Tier 3 workshop costs you R260 – R30 goes to the presenter, R30 to venue rent and R200 towards the starter kit. The duration of each workshop is dependent on the content of the workshop and the workshop presenter’s discretion.
Aside from the paid workshops, CosXP will also offer personalized Cos Advice sessions. These sessions can be booked at a fee of R100, of which the monies are evenly split between the presenter (R50) and the venue rent (R50). These are more expensive since you’ll be getting more individualized advice and attention. Still in the planning phase are a couple of FAQ workshops which will be free for anyone to attend, these will be based on the main workshops and will contain general tips and tricks and be open for questions from expo goers. These workshop and Cos Advice fees does not include your entrance fee though, which is R30 per person.
“I think I chose the WORST time ever to plan a con!” Kat laughed when we asked her how the response has been so far. December was looming and everyone had holidays to go on and presents to pay for. January is such a financial-crippling month and no one usually has any money until the end of the month! She also noted that there’s some “wild drama llama’s” that have reared its ugly head in the cosplay community and the general feel right now might not be at the highest levels of positivity. “BUT!” she said “I’m hoping that newer cosplayers and people who have never heard about the community will attend and feel welcomed and be encouraged to give Cosplay a try. It’s so much fun and we need more positivity in our lives, don’t we?”
Applications are still open at this stage but they will be closing off Tier 2 and Tier 3 workshop applications at the end of this month. Makes sense though, as they’ll need time to source and buy the materials needed for the starter packs. Cosplayers who wanted to find out more information about the workshops can still visit the CosXP Facebook pages (Main Workshops and Cos Advice) Applications can be made via this online form : http://goo.gl/forms/ggZ1xHIb3t There are discounted packages available if cosplayers would like to book more than one workshop, and info can be found under the Main Workshops tab on their page. In other words, you’ll save money on the individual workshop fees if you attend more than workshop. Right? Right. There is also a preliminary time schedule available that you can find by going to this link.
We were also wondering whether there would be something for the con-goers to do at the event, even if they’re not attending any of the workshops (Read : Something to keep the Cosplay Boyfriends / Girlfriends busy whilst their other half is crafting to their hearts content). There will be a variety of stalls available (listed here), as well as cosplay suppliers and cosplay service providers (such as photographers). Another first at the cosplay events will be a CosTrade stall where expo goers will be able to buy second hand cosplays, wigs and props.
There will be a competition box where anyone can enter and potentially win a prize, and this sounds very rad, if we may add. Cosplayers and local businesses can put one of their cosplay/business cards into the box and draw one out. If you are a normal expo goer, you’ll have to fill out two cards with positive messages (e.g. “You’re Awesome! You Can Do The THING!”) You then put your card in the box and you can draw another card out. The cards you can draw will be one of the following: a Cosplay Card, a local business card, a positive message card or a random prize card! There will also be a coloring in competition for people of all ages, and at the end of what’s hopefully going to be an awesome event, a FREE movie screening, where they’ll be showing one family friendly movie. After the kiddies have fallen asleep or been taken home, it will be followed by pop culture/nostalgia clips for the older souls amongst the con-goers. Everyone is welcome to attend the screening in their PJ’s, favorite onesie or in cosplay.
So what is Kat hoping to achieve with hosting an event like CosXP?? “General happiness hahaha but realistically and practically, I would like to be able to at least pay for all the admin fees and venue rental.” Kat laughs. “What I do truly hope for though is a skill-up within the community, people learning real skills that can one day be translated into jobs or useful day-to-day skills.” she says, on a more serious note. “Cosplaying is fun, but there are times when people stop doing it, and that’s also ok. But when you do, if possible, I want people to be left with something tangible”. Cosplaying is one of the reasons she studied Fashion Design, which now provides her with job opportunities and a way forward in life. “I know it’s not possible for everyone … but most cosplayers come into the community at a young age, an age when you’re deciding who you are, what life you want to live and what kind of people you want to surround yourself with” Kat says. “And if I can help be a positive influence, then I’ll damn well try my best to be!”
Another of her aims for this event to assist small local entrepreneurs in getting their businesses out there and to help them grow their client base. It’s too early to talk about CosXP becoming an annual event but hopefully this first event will be wildly successful and it will become a fixed event on the Cosplay calendar.
We are looking forward to seeing our local cosplayers reaping the benefits from attending workshop events like these, and of course seeing them put into practice when entering cosplay competitions like, let’s say, the Geekfest 2016 Cosplay Contest, hosted by GES this year (shameless plugging of our cosplay event, I know…. #sorrynotsorry)