As cosplay becomes more mainstream the desire to feature cosplayers on media outlets increases. One of the more popular ways to do this is to feature cosplayer interviews. Most cosplayers are happy to be interviewed, but the trick is approach cosplayers the right way. Here are some tips to have a successful interview for both the cosplayer and organization doing the reporting.
First you need to get in touch with the cosplayer. These days, many cosplayers have their own websites or are active on social media. This makes contacting cosplayers very easy through the many messaging systems. To increase the chances of your message being read, find out which platform a cosplayer is most active on. Many popular cosplayers have social media messaging turned off due to high volume and instead prefer to conduct communication through a business email.
Once you have chosen your method of communication, it is time to send your messages. Here are some examples of the good and the bad.
This is an example of a bad message. Why? There is no actual content being sent. All that has been stated is a greeting. Cosplayers are busy human beings and are most likely not going to respond to a message that has no substance. Now onto the next example:
This is another example of a bad message. It shows the senders’ goal (to talk with the cosplayer) but nothing is said about the underlying purpose (the interview itself). This message is also on the creepy side. The sender does not identify themselves at all, simply that they find the cosplayer “sexy” and wants to “talk.” This raises all sorts of internet stranger-danger red flags. The word “sexy” does not belong in a professional email. There is also the chance that the cosplayer is not as old as they seem. This makes the message slide straight from being creepy to criminal. Now onto a good message:
This is a good message because it is professional and lets the cosplayer know who is sending the message, what that person wants, and how to proceed for further communication. While not all messages have to follow this exact format, these guidelines can help increase the chances of the cosplayer responding.
The message starts with addressing the cosplayer directly. This extra touch seems more personal and makes the cosplayer feel like they are being individually noticed instead of being part of a copy/paste email blast campaign.
The sender identifies themselves. This gives the cosplayer a name to attach to the sender and once again makes the message seem more personal. The sender doesn’t have to mention their name twice like in the sample message, once is all it takes to make a difference.
The sender identifies where the interview is going to be published. This allows to cosplayer to research the site before responding to make sure they agree to the interview in the first place. Some cosplayers are particular about where there work is posted for a variety of reasons. For example, they may not want to be associated with a site geared toward more adult tastes.
The sender informs the cosplayer what the next step is to continue with the conversation. This step is not necessary in the initial email, though it saves some time messaging back-and-forth later on.
The sender thanks the cosplayer for their time. Again, this is not a necessary step, but it does show polite respect for the cosplayer’s busy sechedule.
Once your message has been sent it is time for the waiting game. The cosplayer may or may not respond. If they do not respond to the initial message wait a reasonable amount and re-send. If the second message is not replied to, cut your losses and move on. Don’t spam the cosplayer. Dozens of identical messages are annoying and inefficient. If the cosplayer was going to respond, they would have done so to the first or second message. Lastly, don’t take it personally; there are many reasons why the cosplayer may not have responded.
Once the cosplayer has agreed to the interview it is time to come up with some questions. Here are some of the more common questions cosplayers get asked:
-When did you/what got you started cosplaying?
-What is your favorite/most challenging/least favorite costume?
-What is your dream costume?
-Are there any cosplayers you admire?
-Any advice for those interested in starting to cosplay?
These questions can start to get old for popular cosplayers that have been interviewed frequently, so feel free to toss a couple creative questions into the mix. Things like “If you were in the zombie apocalypse, what three characters would you team up with?” are different and fun without being too invasive. Many cosplayers like to keep their personal and cosplay lives separate, so try to avoid questions like relationship status or occupation unless the cosplayer volunteers that information.
Once the cosplayer has responded to the interview, it is time to package it up and post it on your site. Visual aids can greatly enhance a site page, so include some photos of the cosplayer to supplement your questions. Not all sites request photos from cosplayers, some simply gather them from the cosplayer’s social media. Other sites ask the cosplayer to provide images themselves. This takes some of the work off of the interviewer and allows the cosplayer to select their most flattering shots, so it is a win-win for both parties. Whenever possible, credit the photographer responsible for taking the photos. Crediting is the polite thing to do, since the photographer also poured their own time and effort into the final shots.
After the interview has been posted, message the cosplayer with the link to the site. You can ask the cosplayer to share the link on social media, most are happy to do so! There is a difference in asking a cosplayer to share a link and trying to coerce their followers into following you, however. One cosplay interview is not going to guarantee lots of likes and subscribers. Provide consistent quality content and the subscribers will come.
Cosplayers come from all walks of life and can bring a great story to your site. Just remember to be professional and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.