An Interview With Liz Gmaz Of Studio Cosplay

Top Left: Sabrina (Katilist) Maizland Top Right: Liz Gmaz Bottom Left: Stefanie Hackenberg Bottom Right: Daria Medved

Top Left: Sabrina (Katilist) Maizland
Top Right: Liz Gmaz
Bottom Left: Stefanie Hackenberg
Bottom Right: Daria Medved

We’re familiar with hackerspaces and makerspaces here at Musehack – but a Cosplayspace?  Yep, meet Studio Cosplay, which is opening a community workshop in 2015, located in Washington DC.  An entire space for a community to cosplay, share ideas, and work together.  A fusion of geek skills and geek community?  I’m there with an interview.
Let’s meet Liz Gmaz, the president of Studio Cosplay, and one of the people making this dream a reality.

1) First of all Liz, how did you and the team get an idea of founding a “Cosplayspace” for people?

Well, first of all, thank you for having me.  This idea came from a personal need among our board members and fellow cosplayers in the community.  Katilist, one of our co-founders, burned a hole in her carpet getting ready for PAX East, my apartment is less than 600 square feet and is inundated with artists’ projects where it’s hard to move, others wished they had specialized equipment available for future projects, and we are always talking about the lack of classes out there for cosplay materials such as Worbla and FOSSHAPE®.  We talked about how nice it would be to have a real workspace and centralized resources. We realized that we could create a place where cosplayers can go to work on their projects and learn together.

2) How did you raise the initial fees, and what are you plans for your Kickstarter in 2015?

Right now, we are relying on funds provided by our board members and the generosity of friends and family. Now that we have 501(c)(3) status, we are also reaching out to businesses. Frogdice, an indie game developer, helped us out with our logo. We are diligently working towards an early 2015 Kickstarter campaign launch to pay for operating costs for our first year.

3) How do you administer something like Studio Cosplay – because there’s finance, facilities, and more? I’m a Program Manager, so I’m curious obviously.

Luckily, two of our board members have a background in Program and Project Management. I don’t think we could have come this far without them. As far as software, we are currently using a lot of the free online resources provided by Google for Non-Profits to stay organized and manage documents.

4) If people wanted to join up and help, how can they do this?

We need all the help we can get. People can get more information or sign up to help on www.studiocosplay.org or email us.

5) I see this as an idea that can spread – much as there’s allied hackerspaces, do you see an alliance of “Cosplayspaces” as possible?

Once our location in DC succeeds we envision opening Studio Cosplay workshops in other areas.  And when cosplay groups and makerspaces ally with each other we become greater than the sum of our parts.

6) Do you ally with any conventions or other businesses like comic shops, supply stores, etc?

That is something we are working on. Washington DC hosts some really exciting conventions where we’re pursuing all avenues to get a visible presence; for example we presented a few cosplay education panels at Anime USA, we will attend Katsucon and Awesome Con, and we frequently attend major East Coast conventions such as DragonCon.  Conventions are very important to us for outreach because that is where we can be face-to-face with our clientele.  Additionally a couple of our board members have introduced themselves to local comic shops and photographers to start the ball rolling for building relationships with local businesses — supply stores are in our strategy as well.

7) What other “spaces” would you like to see people make – and what do we need?

The spaces that Studio Cosplay will provide are going to be different from what you would find in an engineering makerspace. We’ll include a sewing station, a ventilated paint station, wig styling station, and green screen where cosplayers and photographers can collaborate. Costuming and prop-making artisans* want those things along with a few of the more traditional makerspace hallmarks; like 3D printers and power tools. Cosplay is an art that requires a variety of tools and disciplines. You can find yourself making jewelry, fabricating armor, styling wigs, wiring LEDs, designing patterns and sewing allfor one costume. Studio Cosplay offers all this along with instruction and community.  This is going to be a very special space!

 

Thanks again Liz!

You heard her folks, let’s chip in and make this real!

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, publishes books on career and culture at http://www.informotron.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.