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Dear The Magic Rain,
Recently I’ve been receiving many cosplay job offers. How much is considered “too little payment” for a job? Sorry for the random question but I am a little confused as I have only recently started to find ways to earn back from my hobby. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks.
Thank you for writing in! 🙂 Many companies has been using cosers as a way to draw people to their event. However, cosers should be aware of the normal rates one should receive and not settle for a low pay or be taken advantage by companies (e.g. “we can’t pay you but we’ll give you exposure” excuse.) Moreover, one should also know that normal promoter jobs (e.g. stand and promote, plus handing out flyers pay approximately RM20 per hour.)
I’d say the minimum for you to be paid should be around RM 50 an hour. That is, if your costume is simple and the job scope only includes the basics – stand around and attract people. Of course, if the job scope exceeds more than the above, your pay should be more. The more complicated your costume is, your pay should be higher (especially famous characters or rare ones, e.g. Marvel or characters with big ball gowns etc). If you have a super rare costume you should try asking for a higher pay as well. Furthermore, if you can sew and the companies would like you to create a new costume for their event or make one of their mascot, you should charge more (e.g. times 3 or 4 the amount you would normally ask for).
Don’t get me wrong. It’s still okay if you’re accepting low pay to help family or friends, just do not do so for big companies. Why so? Because it’s already difficult for us cosplayers, especially in Malaysia, to be respected. Many individuals who cosplay are not free from the stigma present in our society. We are commonly seen as “weirdos” or people who are incapable of achieving anything. In worst cases, we are even assumed to be of low intelligence. Thus, when we cosers accept a low paying job, we are not only lowering our own value but also spoiling the market for all cosplayers to be hired and given a deserving pay.
Hence, negotiating with companies or events that wish to hire you, take note that your skills and time spent as a cosplayer is valuable. Some of us practice and cosplay so much to the point we can even be considered professional makeup artists, tailors, prop makers, special effects creators, models, craft makers, hairstylists etc. You are not just a random person prancing around in a costume and a wig. Anyone can do that. That’s why, know your value.
All in all, do not forget about the location that you would need to travel to for work as well. Consider that when making a decision about your pay. If you require more info on the average rate, try asking around. There are many cosplayers out there who has done similar work previously. Be aware of how these companies work and tell your friends. All the best. Good luck!
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