Now before you guys start flaming my PERSONAL blog with your comments, please remember that this is again, MY personal blog and rant.
This is a general response to Maya Dinerstein’s article titled “Crowdfunding Cosplay” – which can be found via the link.
Costuming and cosplay is an expensive hobby. A VERY expensive hobby. I don’t know any costumer who will disagree with that statement. The cost of materials, labor, travel, hotel, food, etc… It really adds up!
However, we must remember that it is a HOBBY. It is not a necessity, it is not worth blowing your rent money on.
Maya has proposed a solution: Crowdfunding. [Seriously?]
Crowdfunding, in essence, is asking kind strangers on the internet to give you money to achieve a goal. Crowdfunding has been used for all sorts of things, like the Veronica Mars movie and the reboot of Reading Rainbow, to name a couple.
Why yes, those are projects that have been funded by Kickstarters and what not. However those are also entertainment projects and also educational tools that will help children get access to books. What Maya is suggesting is that someone donate money to her so she can travel to cons and have funsies. I’m sorry dear, no. You should NOT ask people to fund your hobby. You also should not use the excuse of being a poor college student. Get a part-time job. Many of us older cosplayers worked while we were in college.
We all work in order to pay for our hobby. Some of us save up all year just to go to a couple of bigger conventions, and we even sell things to help raise money. If we can’t afford it do we go? Absolutely not. Like Rachael (of Moonflower Cosplay) said, “It’s a hobby, not a necessity…I get that cosplay is fun and cosplay and cons make you happy, but if you can’t afford to live your real life then maybe you need to cut back on your costumes…you have to pay your rent or buy food before you can do the fun stuff.”
I could not agree more. I would also like to add that I (and several other veteran cosplayers) feel like you are cheapening yourself by asking for money for costumes. Not only that, but I also feel like you have absolutely no integrity. Maybe it’s the younger generation, I don’t know. I was raised on the belief that if you want something, you have to work for it. Nothing was really handed to me. My parents provided me with a lot, but funsies were paid for by yours truly.
I lose respect for people who just want a handout in life – especially when it’s for something as trivial as a hobby. Go make things! Sell your wares! Sell your old costumes! Get a job? There are several options and crowdfunding should NOT be one of them.
EDIT: Here is a link to one of the most helpful pieces of costuming advice I have ever given… Cosplaying on a Budget. There are ways to afford a cosplay, and here are some helpful tips.
Please note: I do support crowdfunding for Legitimate goals! Helping out a podcast, a family in dire need, new apps, games, etc. Not for stupid things such as potato salad, helping you buy photo-ops with celebs, etc.
The fact that there’s a donate button and she asks for funds for celebrity pho ops and funds for her costumes is what the issue is. If I can’t afford to make a costume or do a photo op I just don’t. Why should she be one of the few where it’s acceptable to ask others to pay for her stuff? Is it for a charity? No. Is she trying to help with Make-A-Wish or Cosplay for a Cause? No. This is just for her own personal gain.
If I was doing all this stuff to try and save money for a convention (working, sell prints and merch), the last thing I would do is try and ask for more money. I work full-time and sell items I no longer have a use for to save up for conventions, but asking strangers for money to fund my hobby? That’s ridiculous. And she’s not the only one. The problem is that she’s very prominent in the cosplay spotlight, especially within the costuming crowds some of us follow and participate in. It’s a very looked down upon source for money.
“If I was doing all this stuff to try and save money for a convention (working, sell prints and merch), the last thing I would do is try and ask for more money.”
Exactly. It’s greedy, it’s cheapening, and you lose a LOT of respect from the community.
First and foremost, I think you missed the point of the article. The point of the article was to discuss the possibilities of crowdfunding cosplay and respectfully discuss its pros and cons. While I’m glad you’ve taken the time to contribute to the discussion, the talking down is absolutely unnecessary and completely rude.
Before I begin talking about the actual parts of your argument that don’t apply to people of our age (I’ll get into minimum wage, monetary issues, what-not), I’d like to address that you haven’t done much research into the actual cosplayer. The assumption that she’s just asking for money while sitting pretty in her dorm room is wrong. Maya does sell things. She sells old costumes, she sells prints (http://askkayleefrye.storenvy.com/), she sells her own creations (https://www.etsy.com/shop/AskKayleeFrye?ref=l2-shop-header-avatar), she even has a job along with being a college student.
Your jab at “kids these days don’t work for what they want” is, plainly put, ignorant. Minimum wage, while working full-time, in most states does not cover the cost of living. How do we know this? When you get a job at McDonald’s, they suggest getting another job so you can afford to live. The escalating cost of higher education, the stagnation of minimum wage over the course of the decades, and the fact that college students are asked for free labor (unpaid internships that often require full-time hours) in order to “get ahead” in their careers of choice are all contributors as to why someone probably can’t afford to just “have a hobby”. Should this generation just not have any fun ever? Even a job almost a dollar above minimum wage doesn’t cover the cost of living in college.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some math. According to CollegeData.com, “The College Board reports that the average cost of room and board in 2013–2014 ranged from $9,500 at four-year public schools to $10,830 at private schools.”
Okay, so minimum wage in the state I’m currently in is 8.25, and if I work part-time (less than 30 hours a week) along with my classes during three months (12 weeks), have I made back what I have to spend just living on campus? Let’s say, on average, I work 25 hours a week. 8.25(12×25) is 2,475. That doesn’t even cover half of the average room and board of a public four-year school. Plus taxes have yet to be taken out! So, effectively, I’ve done nothing but take a hair off of the beast that is tuition; tuition, which, not including housing, “was [on average] $30,094 at private colleges” during the last school year. (Data reference: http://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10064).
Are you implying that every cosplayer who attends school, has a job, and still tries to have a hobby should just give up all hobbies that cost more than they can afford? Someone who is crowdfunding is providing “rewards” for each donation. Rewards include items made for contributors, livestreaming the process… So it’s not just “asking for money” for nothing in return.
It’s humbling to have to ask people for money. Extremely humbling. Mom and Dad don’t pay for everything for this generation, as your piece seems to imply. As a part of this generation, I will assure you that our parents don’t just hand us one grand a week to burn. We work, we go to school, and we keep working.
While I’m sure your criticism is appreciated by others who have had the luxury of attending med school and getting a well-paying job after graduating without crumbling under the stress of debt, this generation doesn’t quite have as many options. I’d like you to step off of your high horse for five seconds and do some research about the people (person) you’re criticising and take into consideration that we’re not all as fortunate as you have been, and our predecessors have been with the job market and higher education.
I believe you missed the entire point of my response. It was not directed at her personally, but at people in general who can’t afford aspects of a HOBBY and feel the need to ask people for money. So you may step off of your soapbox now.
You can’t afford a hobby? Put it off and save up until you can. It’s as simple as that. Yes, get a job – get two. Go to school part time. There are several solutions. And if you feel you want to go ahead and make a costume, here is a piece I wrote with some helpful tips.
Costuming When You’re on a Budget (I also put it in the original post).
I never suggested that people’s parents pay for everything. Those who work to pay for school are to be applauded, but do not think that you will have enough to go across the country on little outings to meet celebrities. Economics doesn’t allow for it. I would know, I worked through college and didn’t get to start attending conventions until I graduated and had a full-time job in my career field. Oh, and do you know what? It only started out at $10.00 an hour.
By the way, most students I know who graduated medical school do so with well over $150,000 in school loans. Do your own research.