Commision work. What do you need?

calysta-102There are so many costumes to be built, armor to fabricate, weapons to make…where does one find the time? Or the resources and the skills to do them all! I have to admit, I have even played with the idea of having items built for myself just to save time and my sanity! And although us cosplayers like to think and say…”oh I could make that! I should make that!”, we all know that no one person can do it all. If it’s not know-how or a skill, it is probably time or the right resources. So how do you go about finding the right person to build something for you? Here are some simple steps that might help.

  1. First decide How important this piece is or the costume is to you. I know you just LOVE it and want it sooo bad…but when you have someone build something for you, whether it’s a full costume, a part of one or a prop to go along with it, it will cost you money to have it done. Oh sure you can twist your cosplay buddy’s arm but unless they are in debt to you for their very life, most of us don’t have enough time or energy in our world to build stuff for free.
  2. Once you have decided how important it is to you, you can set up a budget for what you want to spend. You might have $50, you might have $1,500 to spend. I also realize that we would all love to have a full ironman suite built for us for $50, but it just isn’t going to happen. For myself, I know that I can build very little for less than starting out at $300. Unless it’s a smaller piece. I fabricated an umbrella once for a group but all it was was a black umbrella that i painted the handle silver and put a logo on it…so I only charged them $100. BUT…costumes and props and all the accessories take both time and money to build.
  3. Do your research on builders and what they will charge you. This is balanced by how much you want to spend, how important it is to you and what it is actually going to cost to get it built. And the time. The old formula is still true today. You have cost, time, and quality You usually can only have two of the three. You can have it made for less at a good quality but it will take forever. Or you can pay more for the good quality with a shorter build time. or if you want it fast, and for a good price…it will probably be cheaply made. Two of the three. Don’t be afraid to ask for estimates, both in time and money. Ask for references and look at the items they have already built. How long have they been doing it (not always critical) and what they like to make stuff out of. (again not always critical but there is a difference between making armor out of cardboard or Sintra plastic).
  4. What can you do yourself and what do you need to hire out? Perhaps you can apply a finish to some armor but building it is out of your comfort zone. Or maybe you can sew but you dont know where to start with LED lighting. Everyone has the level of what they are comfort with and if you are on a budget (arent we all?) look at what you can do to lower the costs.
  5. Finally, do you do something that you can trade with? For instance, I am a commercial photographer. It’s not cheap to hire a really good photographer and so there have been times when i have traded my services for things or services that I want. Perhaps you might have a skill set or something that can you can barter with. If I make you armor, will you sew something for me? All sales are not just about money. Bartering is still an excellent method of trade! Don’t underestimate what you do!

We all have those crazy wonderful ideas and goals of what we want to cosplay someday but we don’t always have the time or energy to make them! Perhaps a commissioned work is in your future!


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