I’ve got news for you. Cosplay is MASSIVE!
Of course, that’s not something you didn’t already know. The relatively “recent” emergence of cosplay as a dominant force at comic-cons and fan conventions bears the question: What the heck is this all about? Who are the folks who spend weekend-up-weekend traveling the country (world!) competing in cosplay competitions? Why are they spending so much time and money on “dressing up”? What’s at the center of this passion? The documentary Cosplayer Nation tries to shine a light on these questions. Here, we talk to Joshua Adams and Uke Li about Cosplayer Nation the documentary, and Cosplayer Nation the movement.
Joshua Adams is the Cosplayer Nation founder & CEO. He came up with the idea for doing a cosplay documentary, and morphing it into an actual Cosplayer “Nation” to share cosplay travels on Facebook, Youtube, Google+, and other social media.
Uke Li: Sometimes we refer to Josh as the Emperor. I am the co-founder and President. I was in charge of putting together this documentary, while Joshua made final decisions or administered the groups. We both shared tasks equally, no matter how laborious.
What exactly is Cosplayer Nation?
Cosplayer Nation is a documentary on cosplayers across America. It screened at some film festivals, some conventions, and won 3 awards. Cosplayer Nation is also a cosplay community where we have thousands of “citizens” who want to improve their cosplay, find a friend, or see where Cosplayer Nation is traveling next. Sometimes we have inspired cosplayers to become greater, or travel farther in their cosplay ventures. Even though the documentary is done, we are still a broadcast channel on all things cosplay, and we want to travel to new places to show what cosplay is like in those areas.
When did Cosplayer Nation come about?
Joshua Adams: My business partner and I had the first official meeting in late November 2010, but started filming on December 10, 2010, at an event called the Boston Cosplay Ice Skating.
UL: As of December 2015, Cosplayer Nation celebrated its 5 year anniversary. It seems like yesterday, looking back on how far we’ve come.
How and why did Cosplayer Nation form?
JA: Well it started because my mother passing of cancer; she was an outgoing person and I thought this was a fascinating subject to educate non-cosplayers and cosplayers alike.
UL: I joined Joshua, because I’m risk-taker: I had no idea about planning the story, or the length, but knew I’d rather shoot a cosplay documentary now (than later). If I hadn’t met Joshua Adams back then at that after-party in 2010, we wouldn’t be speaking about this.
How can people follow the adventures of Cosplayer Nation and all its members?
JA: We have cosplay interviews and convention footage from most of the travels on our youtube page, and you never know where we might end up next. For the facebook lovers, we do have a group you can join called Cosplayer Nation, and interact with over 5000+. There is a facebook page too that posts photos of our next travels, cosplay news, and cosplays we see.
Please tell us about your Cosplayer Nation documentary? How can people see it?
JA: Yes you can see the trailer and a 15-minute introduction on our Youtube. Here are the links: [Editor’s note: The documentary traveled with GeekFestLA this past year, hitting many major comic-cons and fan events.]
How does someone join Cosplayer Nation?
JA: There are many ways to join and it depends on what interests you. You can subscribe to Cosplayer Nation on Youtube to watch our upcoming travels. Or like us on the Facebook page if you want to keep updated with our photos and cosplay news. If you are looking to find friends, or need advice on cosplay, you can join our facebook group. I usually send a message to each member to welcome them. For professionals you can connect to us on LinkedIn page.
What are some of the biggest events/comic-cons that you guys attend?
JA: In no particular order, I would say Pax East, New York Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, Anime Expo, Boston Comic Con, Anime North, Otakon, Dragon Con, Katsucon, SoDak Con, Puerto Rico Comic Con, Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, and Tokyo in Tulsa.
Also, what are the most important events of the year for cosplayers (in your opinion?)
JA: Well all events in a way are important to Cosplayer Nation, from the bigest events to the smallest event.
UL: Halloween is one of them for sure. Then you have events like the Comic Cons or PAX, E3, BlizzCon, depending on what you think is big in your area. Sports parades, national holidays, sometimes these can be big events to cosplayers. Like, in our documentary when you saw Mr. T at the Bruins parade event. Then there are movie outings, like when Star Wars: The Force Awakens happened. It will be interesting to see what happens after Deadpool is released. I predict a parade of Deadpools somewhere taking a group shot, wearing Tutus, or DeadMau5 masks, or some cosplay mashup with Star Wars.
In your opinion, what’s going on right now in the world of cosplay? Why is it growing so much?
JA: Well that’s a hard question but for me answer; mostly I can think people my age that grow up on watching cartoons and cosplaying and their kids are doing the same thing, with their parents’ suport behind them.
Some people criticize the fact that cosplay seems to be “taking over” some of the fan conventions? What is your response to this?
JA: I can’t really answer that question. But I know this change of rising cosplayers is good because it helps promote the convention or event. Usually when you have that type of attraction it makes the event more colorful and we at Cosplayer Nation want to promote that good-will. It is not about a competition or takeover as sometimes it might seem, but be good to others and work hard at what you do, and you will find success coming to you. I know this myself, when managing Cosplayer Nation.
What’s up next for Cosplayer Nation? What are your future plans?
JA: Well we are working on something big that I cannot say but I will let everyone know soon. It will be posted on facebook and twitter for sure.
UL: In addition, we are looking at another sequel or documentary to make. Whether that will be about cosplay or some other nerdist topic, has yet to be determined. But contact us if you have an idea, you could be on our team! As of now, Cosplayer Nation will be guests at CON-gregation Con on April 22-24, 2016 in Omaha.
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— The Con Guy (@TheConGuyDotCom) February 21, 2016