The Art of Creating a Cosplay Skit

Over the years, the cosplay contest at Anime Matsuri has gotten bigger and the quality has risen tremendously. As the Events Director, I have gotten to work with more cosplayers and tailored our production to compliment their hard work. The results are stunning. Read below and watch the video of the Winner of Best of Show for 2012 – Twinzik.

Hi, this is Hee-Hee from Twinzik! Anime Matsuri asked us to go into a little detail about the skit we performed at the 2012 Cosplay Contest, “What Have You Done,” based on the atmosphere of American Mcgee’s video game, Alice: Madness Returns.

Something that we’ve always enjoyed about the contest at Anime Matsuri is that the cosplay director, Chelsea Christenberry, allows entries of all genres. At most conventions you see the “Japanese-only Rule”, where your source material is required to have derived from an anime, live-action, video game, or manga from Japan. That instantly rules out con-friendly cosplay options like Avatar: The Last Airbender and all things Disney! Americana happens to take up a good eighty percent of the characters I personally cosplay, so this has always been a great opportunity to see a contest filled a broad variety of characters and to take part in it as one of them!

The Alice games were introduced to us by our friend Pancake Mix on a visit! Neither my twin, Hopie, or myself are really into horror games, but something about the ambiance of Alice: Madness Returns was just so appealing, and the designs were beautiful! We got through the game soon after and the seeds were already planted to cosplay two of the characters, we just had to decide who! Hopie spent some time looking through all of Alice’s outfits, in-game and DLC, and in the end just decided for the default outfit she wears when just entering Wonderland. She’d cosplayed Disney’s version of Alice before, so it was fun to see her create two similar dresses– though once the second was bloodied up, they didn’t seem similar at all! After I decided to cosplay the Queen of Hearts (cute face AND monster hands? Yes please!), we ended up brainstorming an idea for a skit! Naturally this was all Pancake-Mix’s fault, so she had no choice in the matter and had to join the Madness! She selected one of the monsters from the game to cosplay, and from there we asked a few more of our friends to help out until our cast looked as follows:

London Alice: PockyFairy

Wonderland Alice: Hopie

Insidious Ruin Monster: Pancake Mix

Carpenter: Bran

Queen of Hearts: Hee-Hee

Prop Ninjas: Rissk, Score, and Cylesse

Like with most of our skits, and skits in general, the stage hands were an integral part! They ended up technically playing several characters each, as we had two versions of the Cheshire Cat, Carpenter’s partner Walrus, the dancing Oyster Starlets, the disembodied Mad Hatter, and two of the Queen’s Card Guards in the story!

As we always do, while the script and audio were under production, we delegated a prop list out to everyone and got started! We kept a Message Thread on Facebook to send progress photos to each other and ask any questions we may have (though the thread was also used for lots of silly pictures and capslock jokes about “MADNESS!”). Everyone worked really hard on their costumes and props for a good while; my gown for the Queen of Hearts seemed to take forever!

We had some practices before and during the convention, and I suppose the rest is history! Perhaps the highlight of performing this skit was seeing a few of our prop ninjas and our Wonderland Alice crawling around on their hands and knees with iPhones set to the Flashlight Application underneath the contest stage to plug in extension cords for our blacklights before the contest. I admit, I was utterly useless in my monster claws and hoopskirts, so not only was it a funny sight, but I wanted to help out, too– everyone in the group was hustling like you wouldn’t believe!

There’s obviously no such thing as a perfect skit, and I’m sure if we allowed ourselves to watch it with a criticizing eye we could find a dozen things we would’ve liked to have done differently (Trust me, I’ve already done this!), but we’ve all been thrilled and excited that many people enjoyed it, and obviously that’s all that we ask for.

A big thanks goes to Chelsea C. and her team on the cosplay staff for helping us with our lighting cues (something else that no other conventions in Texas offer currently) and just for allowing a genre like American horror onto the Anime Matsuri stage!

- Hee-Hee/Twinzik

Special Thanks to Mineralblu Photography and Luxe Studio Productions for the photographs.