The concept of the “Cosplay Money Fallacy” is the idea that cosplayers are making a living by cosplay. By “make a living” I mean, to earn enough money to support themselves ( IE paying all the bills).
I’ve been wanting to address this topic for a long time and after Stella Chuu’s recent cosplay cost breakdown and Victoria Cosplay’s Blog, I was motivated.
Assuming that because someone has a FREE social media website and is posting about what they do/costumes they make does NOT mean they are making money off of it. Those that CAN make a living (as I cited in the video) are a SMALL number. Think about it this way, how many people move to Hollywood every year to become a famous actor? How many actually do? Not many. Most of these people have to have a regular job to pay rent as acting (just like cosplay) is not a steady paycheck.
When you take a look at the math, the ability for some cosplayers to turn their personality into a brand and actually sell that is pretty small. If anything, they rely on being promotional models or sell a product for another company (or perhaps they become a company taking commissions or selling custom items). Then there are business taxes, business expenses and etc. That is not cheap. Selling prints isn’t a steady income at all either. How many prints would you have to sell at $10-15 a pop (deduct shipping, printing and packaging) to cover your basic bills?
Let me explain that VERY FEW COSPLAYERS ever get paid to attend conventions. What most conventions do with cosplay talent is give them a booth to sell items at and MAYBE cover some expenses. Consider the cost of costumes, of food (especially at cons), hotel, travel to the con and etc. Now consider that there is no guarantee to sell prints and you aren’t being paid for your time AT ALL. So if a convention is 10am-7pm, that is how many hours of no-guarantees to sell anything?
Ultimately it is a choice for each individual about why they get into the hobby (or maybe they enter because they want to make it a job) but the assumption that “cosplayers get paid” or “they make a living” is pretty false. That is like me assuming that everyone working at a search engine company is rich just because Google is.
So there you have it. The Cosplay Money Fallacy.
Thanks to James of HalfAcrePond for his video expertise!