Creator Spotlight: Mark Wesley Pritchard
"Cosplay is about having the freedom to dress up as any character you please. Basically, cosplay is for everyone."—Mark Wesley Pritchard
Our creators are the ones who inspire us to provide a platform that rewards creativity and coming together over shared passions. Mark Wesley Pritchard has been part of our community for over a year and has since helped us foster this idea of coming together through his powerful stories. From interviews with some incredible cosplayers to raising awareness on human rights, he continues to inspire us here at Vocal. We got to sit down with Mark and learn a bit more about him in this Creator Spotlight.
On who he is and how he got started:
I’ve been a creator on Vocal for the last two years. I’m also a cosplayer based in Arkansas. Since 2014, this hobby has been my main hobby and I’ve met new friends along the way. I was born in Staten Island, NY and grew up in Arlington, TX. I’m the oldest of three children and have a younger brother and sister.
In the spring of 2018, I was homeless and jobless. So I wanted to find something to pass up the time. I ran into a site called Vocal and decided to check it out. Actually, writing happens to be one of my favorite hobbies outside of cosplay. I set time for myself to write about the things I’m passionate about.
On staying inspired:
I would say writing about stuff that people would be willing to read is something that constantly inspires me to create. As far as who inspires me the most, I would say my followers on social media. I would love to get to know more about them, such as what hobbies they enjoy or the fandoms they love.
On his love for Cosplay:
Cosplay is short for costume play. Many people assume that cosplay is for a certain age group, when it’s not really the case. It’s about having the freedom to dress up as any character you please. Basically, cosplay is for everyone. I have cosplay friends who range from their mid-20s to late 40s. If anyone is new to cosplay, start with joining a cosplay Facebook group. I have a cosplay Facebook page and also on Instagram, so if you have cosplays to share, don’t hesitate to create one. Also, if I were you, I would start attending a smaller convention that’s under 5,000 people. Remember this: you don’t have to look like a model in order to cosplay. Plus, you don’t need to be the exact ethnicity or gender to cosplay. As long as you are passionate about a character, that shouldn’t matter. No matter your age, sexual orientation, race, etc., go ahead and cosplay away.
Just be yourself and steer clear of negativity. Yes, people will always have opinions about you, but always surround yourself with supportive and positive people. If you ever need any help on a costume or some words of advice, never be ashamed to ask for help. As I’ve stated earlier, cosplay is for everyone. Never let anyone drag you down and try to change you.
I’ve been doing cosplay since 2014 and won two cosplay contest awards. There have been a lot of conventions I enjoy attending, but the one I enjoy the most is GlitchCon, which is held once a year in Springdale, Arkansas, where I currently reside. I love GlitchCon, because everyone, including the staff, has always welcomed me with open arms and been supportive since. They’ve treated me like family and grateful for them. I’ve attended this convention for six consecutive years and am looking forward to this year’s event.
On interviewing fellow cosplayers:
When it comes to reaching out to cosplayers—I would reach out on Facebook and Instagram, asking them if they would be interested in being featured in an article. Then, I would share them on my social media pages, Facebook groups, and in my stories. I’ve interviewed nearly three dozen cosplayers, based in the United States and in other countries. I feature these cosplayers, because I wanted to give them some exposure and how much I appreciate them. There have been so many great cosplayers I’ve interviewed, but the one that stood out the most to me was a man named Matches Malone. He cosplays as Batman and has a generous heart when it comes to entertaining ill children at hospitals. Matches has been doing cosplay for over 25 years and I tip my hat to him for being an inspiration to everyone. The response to my cosplayer interviews have been positive and they were grateful to be in an article.
On what he’s passionate about:
I’m passionate about causes including LGBTQ+ rights and body positivity because they are something that needs to be addressed. I want to help and reach out to as many people as I can. Sometimes, we shy away from the truth and don’t like hearing it. However, the truth has to be told in order to make ourselves better in life. Plus, I have to be honest whenever I address these issues. Constructive criticism can help us grow and when I speak my truth, it’s coming from a sincere, concerned, and genuine place.
On what stands out from his time on Vocal:
Receiving my first one-off tip back in December 2018 was so exciting. It wasn’t much, but I appreciated every one I’ve received so far. One-off tips are great, because even though they are anonymous, they show that someone loves your story. Also, four of my articles have reached well over 1,000 views. I’m currently at 14,000 views overall and my goal is to reach 50,000 by the end of 2020. My advice to those who are considering writing stories on Vocal: be creative of your stories and share them on your social media pages and even Facebook groups. If the Vocal Curation Team happens to like one of your stories, it may be chosen as one of their Staff Picks.
Don’t think about it—first thing that comes to mind:
What is one thing you couldn’t live without? My phone.
Cats or dogs? Definitely cats.
Favorite superhero? Captain America.
What’s your go-to late night snack? Any cereal that I could get my hands on.
If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go? California, because I love sunny weather. I’m a t-shirt and shorts kind of guy.
If you could speak a new language, what would it be and why? Spanish, because I want to be fluent in it someday.