BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

Cosplay Roleplaying: A Guide to Acting In-Character (While Keeping Things Fun)

5 Minute Read
Jan 12 2023

Planning to wander the halls of your local Convention and want some tips and tricks for interacting in cosplay? Look no further.

Building a costume is the first step into the exciting and creative world of cosplay. Those who crave social interaction and wish to embody their characters in public take the next bold steps into performance art. With convention circuits back in full swing for 2023, we’ve assembled some great guidelines for you to consider as you build your cosplays.

While some people are perfectly happy just wearing their cosplay, other folks like to dive deep into the lore and acting of the characters they build. If you’re wanting to level up your cosplay acting skills, this list is a great place to start. We’ve polled the studio audience (cosplayers from many different social media communities for cosplay) and compiled some of their best advice for blossoming cosplayers.

Cosplay Acting: The Devil is in the Details

Data cosplay with permission by Kayla Ferguson

Choosing a character you love and feel close to will help elevate your interactions. The more you know about the character and their unique traits, the better your cosplay acting will come across!

I find that the little details really sell it to people. The character I mainly play has a very distinctive little head tilt and when I do it at a con or faire, and I almost never fail to having people respond positively. It’s simple and easy, but it makes a big difference in selling the entire character.

Cosplayer Kayla Ferguson

Acting In-Character: Know Your Audience

White Scar cosplay with permission by Douglas Elmes of Drakmar’s Foundry

Not all cosplay interactions are similar. When working the halls of your local in cosplay, it’s important to understand who you are interacting with, and just how far to take your in-character acting. Save the “going big” moments for safe environments like cosplay competitions!

At open conventions the diversity of people, their age and their understanding of 40k universe varies. I will occasionally bellow out “For the Khan and the Emperor!!”. I will also smile and be approachable, modulating my voice depending on the audience. This is especially important for the young children who approach me.


If I enter a cosplay competition I will then layer on more of my persona of Joghaten, Khan of the Tulwar Brotherhood and use a more gravelly voice and proclaim “more purging needs to occur!”

Douglas Elmes of Drakmar’s Foundry, and the 40k Cosplay Group

Cosplay Acting: Obey the Golden Rule

Jedi cosplay with permission by Marc Heßdorfer

The way you treat others matters. You need to be mindful of those around you and avoid destructive behavior, even if it’s something your character would do. Remember to be kind and treat others the way you want to be treated.

Respect the rules – it is not ok to misuse or abuse cosplaying for bullying. Everyone there wants to have fun – not just you but, the others as well.(For example you cannot smash stuff with a baseball club just because you’re cosplaying Harley Quinn from suicide sqad)

Marc Heßdorfer of Kamui’s Cosplay Community

Acting In-Character: Choose Who to Interact With Carefully

Knowing when and where to engage others when in cosplay is incredibly important. Especially in the last couple of years, maintaining personal space and situational awareness is so much more important as a society. It’s always best to ask for permission when trying to interact with someone in character.

I only approach people who are in costume. Primarily Star Wars costumes since this is an Imperial HR Bit. If I see someone out of costume making prolonged eye contact, they want to goof off, they look like they want to get written up, I’ll do that all day long. The key is making sure the other person wants to play along.

Sunflowerstardust, of “Dolores from Imperial HR” Cosplay

Cosplay Acting: Follow Your Inspiration

Cosplay with permission from Lenore Irwin

Inspiration for acting in character can come from anywhere. From listening to the music from the show, or taking a class to help learn their movement. Chase your inspiration and have fun building the character into something you feel comfortable portraying!


I make a playlist to help me get into the mood/mindset of a character and listen to it while getting ready. I find it really helps me get into the groove of energy that particular character might carry.

Also, take some dance classes. Any dance class, or even some types of dance fitness. Getting to learn your body and how it moves, feeling comfortable moving it, and being able to convey intent in that movement does a TON for embodying a character without ever needing to say a word!

Lenore Irwin of Kamui’s Cosplay Community

Cosplay Acting: Have Fun!

The most important rule is to have fun. Cosplay is for everyone, regardless of body type, background, or skill level. As long as you love what you do, you’re welcome to show it off and have fun with it. Enjoy your interactions at events, and remember- you can go as hard (or as soft) as you want with your cosplay acting. Let us know what guidelines you use for in-character acting for cosplay!

~Join us next week for more Cosplay Coverage~

Have a Cosplay question you would like Mayhem’s Muse to answer?


Know a Cosplayer you’d like to see featured? Send an email here!

Author: Jennifer Larsen
  • Warhammer 40K: Boarding Patrol Point Breakdowns