Cosplay is not just-play: One Ghostbuster's Story

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

We're back with our favorite Ghostbuster, Anthony Snyder (read our Artist feature on him!). From early interests in Tales from the Crypt, Sam Raimi movies, dark humor, and pop culture with a nerdy twist, he's expanded into a creative, interesting, detailed cosplayer. Whether he's a Ghostbuster (raising money for charity) or Ash from the Evil Dead, Anthony is having fun - with the creativity, people, and events. He notes, "Cosplay is the best job I've never gotten paid for."

Anthony Snyder. From Cosplay is not just-play: One Ghostbuster's Story

At Geek Fest

How did you get into cosplay?
That's a difficult answer to pin down, as growing up I was always into some form of cosplay, my style lending itself to a flair for the dramatic, dressing up as other people, favorite heroes and characters, even going so far as to have my senior photos be myself as a Ghostbuster. I've at many times in my life felt more comfortable with exploring myself pretending to be someone else. As far as my adult cosplaying I guess you could say that officially started about 4 years ago when I met some of the people who'd become the 'Kalamazoo Ghostbusters' at a Halloween party at Bell's Brewery.

Artist Anthony Snyder's Senior Photo. From Cosplay is not just-play: One Ghostbuster's Story

Senior photo!

Do you have any tips for channeling your passions in cosplay?
I think the biggest tip for budding cosplayers out there is to be comfortable in your cosplay when you walk out there in public. I know for me I was pretty reserved and introverted at first, while this was what I wanted to do it was challenging showing up as a Ghostbuster in public on a non-Halloween day the first time.

Yes it's scary sometimes to put yourself out there in costume, there's a vulnerability there when you let the world see a side of you that you're passionate about but that others may not understand or maybe even accept, but once you face that hurdle, it will open up so many opportunities for you in terms of friendships, self confidence, sociability, connections with yourself, others and the community as a whole.

I found a voice with this cosplay I otherwise was having trouble finding, and it built in me a positivity I didn't get from anything else. I would say if you're having difficulty taking that first step going out at the character you want, to try finding others within your community or nearby who share your passions, find comic conventions, online fan or cosplay groups, build those connections and maybe all plan an outing together. You'd be surprised just how much it'll bolster your confidence to do cosplay when you find some like minded friends to do it with.

Also remember to do all you can while out there to remain a conduit for positivity while doing this, people may not always get it, and some will want to break you down for wanting to express yourself, but do all you can to rise above any negative responses you may find yourself encountering. Many times those who send out that negativity are just on some level jealous they themselves haven't pursued their own passion to the degree that you have.

At Barnes & Noble Get Pop Cultured. From Cosplay is not just-play: One Ghostbuster's Story

You cosplay with the Kalamazoo Ghostbusters... what's it like to work within a cosplay team?
Working with the Kalamazoo Ghostbusters has been a great treat! It's hard at first to imagine that so many different people with different backgrounds, beliefs, ages, and places they're coming from it life can all band together as friends under a common interest in one movie and the desire to embody it, but I've developed strong bonds of friendship within the Kalamazoo Ghostbusters, bonds even stronger than many friendships I've had in other areas of my life. There's something about going out to an event together, all suited up for the same cause as a team, that really builds a sense of purpose and loyalty and commitment to what you're doing. You discover in it a kind of family that you trust inherently and whom you don't want to let down. I swear if I were an Anthropology major, I'd be interested in doing a thesis just about how so many people, all around the world even, can all band together and become so close just from joining a largely voluntary, completely made up "franchise" about catching ghosts that came from a comedy movie from over 30 years ago.

Anthony Snyder at Geek Fest. From Cosplay is not just-play: One Ghostbuster's Story

At Geek Fest

You've got a new costume you're working on - please tell us more!
My newest cosplay has me branching out into trying something a bit solo for the first time. I'm finishing up work on making myself look like Ash from the Evil Dead trilogy of horror movies. This will be a bit of a deviation from my Ghostbuster work as Ash is a lesser known character in most mainstream pop culture and is more of a Cult movie character - an unlikely hero forced to fight off a bunch of demon possessed zombies in a cabin in the woods using a chainsaw for a hand (long story). This cosplay will be something I use more for comic conventions and Halloween parties, as Ash is not probably the most kid-friendly of storylines, more in with older teens and young adults, but the excitement of building new props from one of my favorite movies and experiencing those moments when someone see me and "gets" my cosplay will be too good to pass up! Part of the joy of cosplaying is being able to show off this thing you've created, whether that means the props you built from various household items to look awesome, or the fun "method acting" you might find yourself embodying when you go out there dressed as someone entirely different from yourself, the important thing is you're having fun with it and creating fun and positivity for others around you.

Anthony Snyder as Ash from Evil Dead. Cosplay is not just-play: One Ghostbuster's Story

At Grand Rapids Comic Con as Ash - with his Ghostbuster car and plenty of proton packs behind him!

What are your best tips for getting started in cosplay?
Some of the best advice I can give for your start into cosplay is to figure out where your passions lie with the character you want to portray. Then when you learn what you want to convey to others through your cosplay, seek out as much information as you can about not only the character you're doing, but what others have done and built and tried using that character. Often you can learn valuable tips on building props and materials to use or avoid, based on what others have done before. Get yourself looking up forums and FB pages of other cosplayers for tips and advice, don't be afraid to ask others questions, like "how'd you build that? How much did it cost? Where can I get help doing this? What motivates you about this character? What are some tips you have for dealing with public events?" Seek all the information you can about what you want to do and learn from others mistakes or triumphs. There's nothing wrong with starting out using other's influences and ideas and building from there. 

What might people be surprised to learn, about cosplay?
Cosplay can truly change your life and other people's lives. That may sound exaggerated or hyperbolic, but it's true. How you see and experience the world and how you interact with it will change. I've done so many charity events and hospital visits and Birthday parties and weddings dressed as a Ghostbuster, and the memories I have from those events will be forever cherished. To make others smile and forget about their problems even for only a moment is an amazing feeling, and getting the praise and admiration and attention and celebrity of all of it will give you a boost to your self confidence that will make you start to think you really are that hero you're portraying, at least for that day in those kids' eyes.  

Cosplay is not just-play: One Ghostbuster's Story

At Barnes & Noble Get Pop Cultured 


Are you a cosplayer? What's your most memorable cosplay? Haven't gotten into cosplay yet? Get going! :)