Guy Singzon on how to be a successful cosplayer
MANILA, Philippines – The way Guy Singzon says it, any aspiring cosplayer only needs two things to operate: creativity and resourcefulness. The veteran cosplayer certainly has both in good measure.
Over his decade-long cosplay career, Guy has turned to every available resource to create his costumes, from borrowing clothes from other cosplayers, to foraging for discarded karitons and styrofoam for costume material, and even making a Godzilla look out of a pack of trashbags (unused, naturally).
“When it comes to cosplay – although it can be costly, if you have money sure – but if you’re on a budget, there are ways too, you just need to be resourceful,” he said in Filipino.
“Look inside your house, look at the ukay-ukay (thrift shop). At the hardware, Divisoria. Just look around, and you’ll find a lot of stuff,” he added.
He also said that the local cosplay community is a rich resource in itself, with many established cosplayers sharing tips and tricks on their social media accounts.
But while he said being resourceful and getting creative are the only two things he needs, it’s also apparent that Guy gets by – and wins – with audacity as much as creativity.
After all, it takes a certain degree of dauntlessness to enter the cosplay community coming from a diffferent background entirely. In Guy’s case, he started cosplaying in 2008, while looking for a new job after resigning from an NGO.
“Before I retired I was already involved in cosplay. On cosplay.ph, their website, on their open forums, I would already communicate with cosplayers at that time,” he said.
Guy shared that his first-ever costume was the Colonial Marine from the series Aliens. The costume is simple enough – an army uniform with a mask made out of styrofoam.
“During that time, I had no job, I had no budget, to the point that I would look for materials in the garbage just to make a costume,” he said.
This was how it was for a while for Guy, who won his first competition wearing a Warhammer 40,000 costume made from foraged materials.
“That was my first win. I won a digicam. That was junk; all junk,” he said, adding that the high from his first win made him want to keep going.
“Actually, it’s not for the win,” he shared. “You know when it’s your first time and you have fun, so you just keep joining, even if you spend more than you win? It was really just for the fun.”
Guy then kept making costumes, and entering competitions, eventually finding clients who would ask him to customize costumes for him. He would also find his specialty: armor and masks made out of rubber (in fact, rubber and superglue are his workshop staples).
He would also eventually get to his biggest win to date: the $10,000 grand prize at the AsiaPop Comicon 2015, where he cosplayed as Samurai Spawn, an action figure by Todd McFarlane.
The winning piece is an elaborate creation made out of rubber, painted and detailed to look almost like a life-size version of the original.
The costume did not only win him the APCC grand prize, but also caught the interest of international clients – he even sold an earlier version of it to theme restaurant owners from Japan, driving home the point that when done right, cosplay can even be profitable.
Even when it comes to choosing his cosplay characters, Guy doesn’t shy away from the bolder choices. The more detailed and complex the costume, the better.
“Usually cosplayers choose their favorite character, especially if there’s new anime. With me, I choose differently. I choose the difficult costumes. It works better for competitions and for business. When your costume is complicated, you have a stronger fighting chance,” he said.
But for Guy, at the end of the day, it’s hardly about profit.
“The most important thing with cosplay, especially with competitions, is to enjoy. That’s the most important thing. You have to enjoy every minute, even if you’re working,” he said.
At 50 years old and a decade into cosplay, Guy shows no signs of stopping. “This is for the long run. I started when I was 40-something. Maybe until I retire, it’ll be like this. It’s really fun,” he said.
“You know, passion… I’ll be doing this until the grave, I’ll make a coffin out of rubber,” he joked.
Catch Guy and the rest of the Philippine cosplay community at Cosplay Mania 2017, running at the SMX Convention Center from September 30 to October 1. – Rappler.com