Cosplay Changes Lives | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Cosplay Changes Lives | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios


[MUSIC PLAYING] Cosplay’s short
for a costume play. And the idea is that
people dress in costume and literally act out the
part of the character. NARRATOR: I’d like
to think that there isn’t much of a difference
between cosplay and Halloween. The basic gist is the same. You pick something
or someone you like and you embody that for
a couple hours or a day. FRENCHY LUNNING: This is an
absolute element of fandom. There are lots of fans. I think it’s based
because of the internet. They come together on
websites and conventions. There are people from
all over the world. [MUSIC PLAYING] Cultures have rules. Good evening, Mrs. Norton. FRENCHY LUNNING: Those rules
have bounded categories. So these things are allowed. These things are not. The difference
under costume play is a difference that’s
allowed by our culture. It’s the sort of relief valve. You can be a guy
and play a girl. You can be a girl
and play a guy. The funny thing about cosplay
and Halloween, if you will, are that you’re allowed
to be the other gender. Think of all of those
sort of World War III USO shows where all the men
dressed up as girls. Well, this was a
release valve, again, for a patriarchal society. It shows up, as we call,
a Gothic upwelling. Those things that are
repressed in a culture usually pop up in another way. And since it is in
contemporary culture, there are outlets for that
are allowed, that are legal. And cosplay is one of them. That’s where it shows up. This is a theory
by Felix Guattari called the transversal. And he came about
this theory working in a psychiatric hospital. And he watched how the
staff and the patients, when they got together on a meeting,
everybody became equal. And it developed a space
in which equality happened, community happened. That’s exactly what
happens with cosplay. That community develops
this transversals space for behaviors that are
not generally allowed. I’d say that
cosplay is definitely a creative thing for me. I really loved to
embody these characters that I not only love,
but that most of them I’ve loved since I was a child. Being able to dress up like
Wonder Woman or Super Girl brings so much power to you
just by putting on the outfit. I think the creation
of the costume itself is one of the most
important things of cosplaying. It’s the time and energy
that you put into it. And then when you get to finally
show it off, it’s all worth it. [CHEERING] There are tons of conventions
across the United States alone and all over the world. If you’re at a convention
that’s not in your state, you know, you have
to pack everything, bring it to your hotel,
get up most likely very early in the morning
to start putting on wig caps and the wigs and
the special makeup and the special shoes. And that usually
takes a lot of time. But once you step out
of your hotel room, it’s like, this is it. And you get on to
the show floor. Letting other people see your
cosplay when it’s finished is one of the most important
things to a cosplayer. That’s where you’re going
to get to meet other fans and to see their
faces light up when they see the work that you’ve
put into it is fantastic. I think I even signed
an autograph once. And I asked the person,
do you know who I am? Do you want my
autograph or do you want me to sign as the character? And they said the character. So nothing beats that. Cosplay fulfills a lot of
different expressive elements and social elements. In my mind, cosplay isn’t
different from going to a ballgame. You know, with any kind of
sporting event and wearing your team’s jacket and hat. Your attire identifies
you as with your people. And so I think cosplay
works the same way. Doctor Andrea Letamendi and I
have done two research studies on cosplay. We found that some people,
when they wear a mask, feel more like themselves. And an equal number said they
felt less like themselves. And so we think that it probably
depends on the character that they’re playing. You do get to try on a persona. Some of the people
I’ve interviewed who’ve dressed as Batman
talk about having experienced personal trauma. [GUNSHOT] His character really is
an inspiration for them. And other people
that I’ve talked to who dress as Wonder
Woman talk about her comfort with her body that kind
of helps them bring out a part of themselves that
otherwise isn’t there that they can use whenever
they want, not even in costume. I think it’s really
wonderful how, in some cases, the character’s– I wouldn’t
go far to say therapeutic purpose– but I think it can
be really helpful for people. I’d say much like the
overall geek community, cosplay is getting
more and more accepted. More people are
getting used the idea and seeing other people
do it and think, oh. OK. Maybe I’ll try that too. It allows you to try on
roles that aren’t you. And then when you
do it long enough, it can become a part of you. FRENCHY LUNNING: Fan
studies, you know, is now this emerging category. It’s huge right now. Fandom has become a kind
of a socialization process. There are people from all
over the world participating. It’s pretty, actually. [MUSIC PLAYING]


56 thoughts on “Cosplay Changes Lives | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

  1. This is definitely a different way to look at things. I personally wouldn't make my own cosplay for a lot of different reasons, but if I got the opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and have a feeling of… Acceptance? I think that's the word. Or belonging. That I would enjoy it, and it would be, as the video stated, therapeutic.

  2. Cosplay is awesome,wish i could dress up at cons but my nerd levels are too low to spend the hundreds of dollars on a fancy costume and i dont have Rarity's mad sewing skillz to make my own =(

    best i can do is hats and shirts.

  3. I am a cosplayer and this year I am going to be the red hood. I was one of the few who voted for Jason Todd to live during the death in the family and when I learned he was killed off I actually cried. Since then I have always felt so close to the batman family characters.

  4. I think Frenchy Lunning may be on to something for SOME cosplayers, but she really shouldn't be generalizing like that. 0:40. I don't cosplay so I can behave in ways I "shouldn't" in normal society.

  5. I actually stand up straight when I cosplay, if you look to the left, you'll see the cosplay I'm making this year 🙂

  6. It really puts out emotions when cosplaying. It shows devotion and shows that you can do amazing things. People can't tell you know

  7. It was a great video.. But I would've asked dejavudea's permission to use her videos.. :/ that was kinda a low blow not giving her any recognition.. Even the other cosplayers no recognition.. or permission to use some of the footage

  8. Ah such a great positive video!!! See many of my cosplay friends in various clips. Many from the Sneaky Zebra videos shot at UK conventions!

  9. This video is very well done. However, I wasn't thrilled that I was not asked or informed of my footage being used. I can only assume the same goes for the other content featured in this video. I do appreciate crediting in the linked doc, but I do still feel uneasy that the creators were not informed of the use of their content. Please try to change the way you put together your videos in the future.

  10. I would love to see a more in-depth miniseries on this subject, especially since this video only just scratches a lot of surfaces.

    At the very least, it would probably be fun to watch. 😉

  11. Nice video, good to explore some of the idea's behind cosplay. Glad you like our footage & thanks for letting us be part of this.

  12. I made a lot of friends who are cosplayers at conventions.  The work they put into their costumes is amazing.  I wish I had an inkling of their talents.  I tend to do what I call street clothes cosplays.

  13. My question is: How do people feel about wearing costumes that are designed with a sexual suggestive undertone? 

  14. This brought a tear to my eye, not gonna lie, I don't cosplay (no one ever wanted to do it with me 🙁 ) but I've always been intrigued with the idea and I do know the hard work that's put into the costumes. You gotta respect that passion 🙂

  15. This documentary is beautiful! I love that they capture the warm sense of community that Cosplay embodies. Heroes of Cosplay is really missing that, imo.

  16. As vain as it sounds, I like to cosplay because I like to be noticed.

    I have aspergers syndrome and I'm not an outgoing person. I'm socially reclusive, I struggle when it comes to talking to people because I have a fear of social interaction when I have to take part actively. If I am going to talk to someone, they have to speak to me first and show me that they mean me no harm. Struggling with paranoia doesn't help with this either ^^; Most of my communication with others is over the internet.

    But sometimes, like everyone, I want to be noticed and I want to know that I have done something that others like and enjoy. Cosplaying gives me the chance to stand out a little bit, not too much because my outfits are crap compared to most (not to mention I'm not exactly "sexy" or "hot" like most of the cosplayers in videos are XD) but enough to give me a reason to smile that day.

    I only go to two conventions, Minamicon and London MCM Expo. Mostly because thats all I can afford but also because anymore and it'll be too much. If only one person comes up to me and says "Hey, nice cosplay" or asks for a photo, thats enough, I can take my outfit off right there and my day has been made 🙂

    Whelp, lil bit over, back to lurking.

  17. I teared up a bit. cosplay has been such a life changing experience. being another piece of a convention experience for my community is the most wonderful of feelings

  18. If you are going to use someone else's footage you should at least give them credit in the video or in the description but you didn't.

  19. That's the Gaylord palms hotel in Orlando, FL !!!! Hehehehe I remember staying there one weekend! Badass hotel! It's like a mini city!!!

  20. Great video. Despite all of this however, I seriously think cosplayers are overgrown children.

    Just my opinion that no one should take seriously.

  21. Ex-nerd and millennial here, just want to say…  https://www.jacobinmag.com/2013/08/on-geek-culture/

    So many wasted years.

  22. Would have liked to see the roots of cosplay  Where did it come from?  How did it start?  When did it become such a big part of geek culture?  

    A big part missing from this documentary is that in Japan cosplayers do this everyday out in public.  They hang out in a specific areas showing off their hand-made couture.  I would like to have seen the differences in culture and the viewpoints in how the Japanese view cosplay vs how westerners view cosplay.  

    I don't think it's accepted in western society yet to be in cosplay out in public other than Halloween (the other difference between cosplay and Halloween) whereas it might be more accepted in Japan (their culture is a lot more playful – i.e. business men have cute cellphone accessories on their phones).

  23. can someone PLEASE tell me what these kinna vids (many speakers cuts, talking bout the topic) are called???????????? please?

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