n00b News: Cosplay labor of love

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Welcome to the nerd family — be proud.

The nerd family is one of the most diverse and passionate groups of humans on earth. A special bond forms when we are able to share the same interests with other people. Sometimes we like to dress up, crowd into convention centers, and have a giant nerd-fest.

Salt Lake Comic Con happened this weekend. I missed it this year unfortunately, but it’s given me a chance to take a step back to appreciate events like this and how a convention brings a massive community of fans together. Actors from “The Avengers,” “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” “The Walking Dead,” and many others were in attendance this year. Vendor booths offering anything imaginable wind up and down the Salt Palace. It can sometimes get uncomfortably crowded, but it is definitely something you need to experience at least once in your lifetime.

Besides attending panels with industry leaders and celebrities, a memorable part of attending conventions like SLCC is seeing people who cosplay. Cosplay is a shortened word for costume play. It is a term that describes the activity of dressing up like a character from a movie, video game or TV show. Imagine Halloween on steroids all year round.

I first became aware of cosplay several years ago. I scrolled through a bunch of cosplayer pictures and wondered, “Who are these weirdos?”

As it turns out, I have become one of those weirdos.

After kicking the idea around for almost a year, I began a daunting mission to replicate an outfit Daenerys Targaryen wore during the second season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Any misconceptions I may have had about cosplay just being about looking cool quickly flew out the window. My home office has been cluttered with craft paint, thermoplastic, heat guns and scissors for a month. My hands have been burned, cut and stained. A few tears may have been shed over something not turning out the way I wanted. It’s been an unexpected journey, and the costume is only halfway finished.

I have a newfound appreciation for people who do this as a profession. It is more than wearing a badass costume to conventions and photoshoots. So much more goes on behind the scenes than the uninitiated realize. Cosplay is a craft that takes a lot of patience and dedication. I haven’t experienced it personally yet, but I’m sure wearing and showing off the results is incredibly satisfying.

I may have set myself up for a difficult task by choosing a challenging costume, but cosplaying doesn’t need to be hard. Your costume doesn’t need to be handcrafted. Most people will really just appreciate you took the time to dress up and contribute to the awesomeness. I will hopefully have a chance to wear my completed costume for Halloween.

Cosplay and conventions are just another reason why I love the nerd family. Be sure to dress warm though because winter is coming.