Inspiration: Entrepreneurs

For the last couple of months I’ve been casting a show all about people following their dreams. It’s been really fun to get to talk to people who have such a passion for different things that I thought I could never imagine having. My boss and I were talking in a coffee shop in Atlanta about what would be our dream business that had nothing to do with working in TV. I knew mine right away. It was the idea of having classy women’s nerd clothing. I think there’s such a hole in the market right now. Don’t get me wrong, I own more graphic tees and nerdy skirts than one person really should. And I’ve seen plenty of Black Milk leggings, I own Her Universe clothes, but they’re still not sophisticated. I know that would be my concept, but I have no idea what that even means. A man can add a cool belt buckle or an awesome tie, but what do we woman have? I think an awesome nerdy pair of heels is a great start for that nerdy touch to an office. I do work in an office where I can (but technically am not allowed to) wear shorts to work when it’s hot, but I’m not really sure I could handle working anywhere that doesn’t let me let my geek flag fly. However, even in my non-traditional office there are so many things that are not ok.  My office is about 65% women, and it’s not a place where women wear teeshirts on a regular basis, but my boss doesn’t go more than 3 days without a Star Wars tee or sporting his favorite sports team.  I guess that says something more about attitudes than what specifically is going on in my office.  About 3 out of 5 day a week I wear my TeeShirt of the day hoodies to work, so I may just be saying crazy things.  Either way, I would like there to be more classic and classy nerd clothing that I could wear out.  Internet, please get on that.  Thanks.

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New Projects, New Skills

Every time I start a new project I have to learn something brand new to get it done, pretty much without fail.  Somethings have been pretty easy like learning how to work with 4 way stretch material, the real secret there for me was learning about the zigzag stitch and using correct tension, which took me a lot longer to figure out than it should have, or putting in a zipper the right way.  I think, for me, one of the reasons I have to learn something new every time I make something new, is I don’t every want to wear the same costume again.  I love my Powergirl costume, and it wasn’t even that hard to make, but the idea of wearing it again doesn’t bring me any joy.  I love making the look more than wearing it.  My brother has worn his Death Stroke costume now to 3 different cons, that’s just not for me.  I maybe should put some more time and effort into each look, but that’s less fun.  It has also helped me learn a lot more skills in a shorter amount of time than if I perfected one look for multiple cons. I think one of the most important things I’ve learned so far, is the importance of seam allowance.  I have wasted so much or had to add strips to things because I cut right along my patterns.  Bad decisions.  But I’ve learned.  And that’s really all that matters.  So, I’ll keep trying and getting bored with one costume and adding to my collection.

 

That new Batgirl is calling my name, and I’ve never made a pair of leggings before.

Heroes of Cosplay

I’ve been watching Heroes of Cosplay and I so desperately want to fall in love with it.  It seems like a great premiss.  But I just can’t get into it.  I think for me the reason for me is that some of the characters take cosplay a little too seriously for me.  My cosplay philosophy is to have a really great time, just getting to play dress up is enough for me.  I get that for some people it isn’t, but no one should be told that they can’t do anything.  I get that I don’t look like my characters, maybe it’s that I fall into the category of some days I may just be kidding myself l don’t have the body for some of the characters that I do.  But I’m ok with that.  For me it’s more important to be a character that I am really into and getting to pretend to be that person for the day. Now that being said, I can’t stop watching it.  I really enjoy watching the cast fabricate their costumes and I have been inspired with some of what they did.  Also by the last episode I do admit that there was a redeeming scene.  When the two teams were sitting around and they had “group talk” it made me even more sure that I want to be Holly’s friend.  The cast talked about how cosplay is about supporting each other and not judging.  (over the course of the show they did show Yaya and Victoria flip-flopping on the issue of is it more important to look like the character or is it important to be having fun.)

However the scene’s integrity is a bit undermined by Monika putting on sunglasses, but I don’t know if that was something she did on her own or a producer asked her to. I did connect with the 5 women from LA more than the 3 from Atlanta.  I am acutely aware of how much a producer and editing team can influence what we all see on television (I am a reality television producer by day) and I have no reason to believe that they are not the nicest women in the world on the show, but they were not shown to be that way because reality tv loves to have a villain, and Monika made a great villain. To be able to get the scene where she is yelling at her mom is wonderful.

Overall one of the nice parts of the show was that the cast was genuine.  They all loved the things they dressed as and loved dressing up.  I found it to be educational, I figured out how to do some of the things I was having trouble with on my costumes.  Just for that fact alone I would watch the next season.  I would like a couple more guys added to the main cast, specifically ones that did armor pieces more often.  I really loved Jesse’s Assassin’s Creed outfit, but it would have been super awesome to see armor being made by people who know way more than me about what they are doing when it comes to fabrication.

 

 

 

First Times

I can still remember my first convention when I was 4 years old.  It was a Star Trek Convention in Harrisburg, PA.  But it was about 20 years old when I really started getting into the convention scene.  My first cosplay that I made from scratch was a DALEK dress.  It’s silver with black for all of the details.

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Kind of like that guy.  I made it for less than 15 bucks, which I thought was quite the bargain.  Even now I still do, I would just like to fix the mistakes that were made out of ignorance.

 

However, when I was in 6th grade all of my friends wanted to be cheerleaders for Halloween.  I was pretty bored with that, except Buffy Summers was a cheerleader and that’s what I was going to do.  I went for Buffy from the movie, rarely done but it was pretty awesome.  My dad put stakes inside of the pompoms that came with the costume and that’s really all I needed.  It really should have been a sign of things to come.

For the first few cons I went to I did just go for the nerdy T-shirt because that’s really just my wardrobe.  I also have dolls that I made of different scifi characters that I would carry around.  It was pretty cool so I decided I just had to get in on cosplaying.  Then once I was in it I just had to keep going.  I find making the costumes up until the minute before I leave, or even on the car ride there to be so exciting.  Will I get it done in time?  Will it be recognizable?  It’s all so much pressure, but in the best way.

 

Days 3 and 4

So here are the last couple of days of Comic Con.  I have to say for me the best part of all cons are the panels.  I can sit and listen to these talks for hours.  Even though they’re pretty much the same questions and answers over and over again.  I love hearing about the process that actors have taken to discover their characters.  Or listening to other cosplayers talk about how they make their costumes.  One great tip I heard was when you’re looking to making something with fun foam or any sort of thin foam one way to get a raised texture is to use puffy paint.

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This is fun foam.  It comes in a sheet about the size of  a piece of paper.  Great for making gauntlets and other semi-sterdy light weight costume details.

This is fun foam. It comes in a sheet about the size of a piece of paper. Great for making gauntlets and other semi-sterdy light weight costume details.

Once it’s hard and you paint over it it’ll look all the same.  The New York Cosplay Network had a great panel where they shared a lot of tips and tricks they use to make their amazing costumes.

The New York Cosplay Network outside their booth

The New York Cosplay Network outside their booth.

I have not started to really go to enough panels at cons where I’ve started to take a preference in moderators.  They can really make or break a panel.  I find this is especially true when you don’t have a panelist that really knows how to handle the crowd, whether they are new to panels or there is a really really large crowd and it’s just hard to be a big enough personality to stop the truly annoying and rambling fans that are inevitably  going to ask a question.  There is one particularly awesome modirator that has been in Philly the last couple of years, Jarrett Crippen.

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He won the second season of Who Wants to be a Super Hero?  He will cut a fan off (which I think is just wonderful), tell a funny story while you’re all sitting around waiting for the panelist to arrive, lets the panel go straight to the fans and their questions, and makes sure things end on time, which is good because other people need the room in about 10 minutes and I don’t want my next panel to start late so it’s good that we are all considerate of each other and their interests.

This year the convention’s focus was a little different than last years.  Last year is was celebrity packed.  They had all five Star Trek captains, and what a disaster that panel was.  People were so star struck they asked the worst questions that had nothing to do with Star Trek.  It has been a year and I’m still mad.  What an excellent opportunity that was squandered.  Thor was there and most of the questions were teenage and 20-something women asking him for a hug, which is pretty creepy when you think about it.  This year there were panels by scholars of the kind of pop culture I love.  Not all of them are great, some are ok, and some when I see them coming I want to pull my hair out and run.  But it is nice to have a different view point each year.  It keeps things fresh.

Here are some of the pictures I took from the second two days of comic con.

John Barrowman I love his super hero pajama pants.

John Barrowman I love his super hero pajama pants.

They had my favorite pose of the convention.

They had my favorite pose of the convention.

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Raven

Raven

Emma Frost and Kitty Pride- the early years

Emma Frost and Kitty Pride- the early years

Charisma Carpenter

Charisma Carpenter

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

Gina Torres

Gina Torres

Adam Baldwin

Adam Baldwin

Summer Glau

Summer Glau

 

Day 2

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This is MY Cally Costume.  I should have more pictures of it on Sunday where you can see the top.

This is MY Cally Costume. I should have more pictures of it on Sunday where you can see the top.

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My dad, the one in the kilt- with an ood.

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Here are some of the pictures from Day 2.  I was in a really interesting panel that brought up Cosplay does not equal consent and it’s interesting that it has become such a talking point at cons.  Not that the idea is wrong but because it is so right that it shouldn’t have to be stated and because it has to be talked about is sad.    ETouching someone without their permission is illegal in any instance.  There are so many strong female characters to dress up as but so many of them also dress in overly provocitive manors.  I don’t think there’s a problem with dressing like them,but I do think there’s a problem with the way they are created.  It also saddens me that when a company tries to move away from an over sexed character look there is an outcry from the fans to change the character back to looking that way.  Most recently, Power Girl and her lack an then reinsertion of the “boob window.”

Before

Before

After

After

Battlestar Galactica Cosplay

This weekend is Philadelphia Comic Con.  I’ve been prepping for this for weeks, kind of, but really for days. I’m finishing up my family’s Star Trek Costumes.  But for me, I’m going as Cally From BSG.  I still haven’t decided if I want to carry a baby doll or not.  I feel like I need Nicky or else it’s just random deck hand, since I don’t have a Chief.  I should have pictures of it when it’s all done.   But for now I thought I’d show off what I use as insperation and references as I work.

 

 

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Cosplay- make or buy?

Both are good options.  If you make your costume you know it’ll fit you just right, if you buy your costume and done and you don’t have to spend hours putting it together.  I usually go somewhere in the middle.  I buy pieces for the costume and then modify them to my needs.  Now. your time constraints, time and money options make a huge difference for what you do.  For something like my dad’s green arrow costume I got him a pair of cheep black leggings from the junior’s department of a department store and then the right color green tee-shirt from a craft store.  I then modified the shirt to look more like Green Arrow’s, took the old sleeve’s from the shirt to make the gauntlets.  I made the hood out of old green fabric I had lying around.  It’s about being smart with your time, I find.  Sure, I can make a tee-shirt but when I can buy one already made for less than the materials cost me, I’m going to buy that shirt.  For Kid Flash the leggings were bought as it. The shirt was just a bright yellow running shirt so we added the symbol.  Then I found this great tutorial on Youtube that helped me figure out how to make the mask.  Most of my costumes come from scratch because I can’t find a non-cheesy option for the characters.  Sure I could buy the Dalek dress from Hot Topic or any number of places but they all looked cheap and I have this desire to look like I do know what I’m doing when all of my creations.

It all comes down to money vs. time.  I just started my Star Trek costume.  I made my coset out of Duct tape and a tee-shirt.  The whole project cost me 15 bucks.  I can’t afford a real corset, I wish I could but I can’t and I have the time to make one.  However my shoulder piece was a sweatshirt I found on the clearance rack and got for less than 3 bucks then cut it up.  There are so many great options and so many places in between making and buying, so why not use the best of both?

Slave Leia

Slave Leia.

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It is probably the most over done costume in all of existence.  Jennifer Aniston did it on Friends, Alessandra Torresani (of Caprica fame) did it for the music video Tonight I’m Frakking You,  Kaley Cuoco even did a parody PSA  telling women that there are other hot girl outfits and they don’t have to dress as slave Leia.  Although a joke, it is getting a little sad how over used Slave Leia is whenever a nerd is supposed to be fantasizing about a hot girl.  Nerds have more than one interest.  And have more than one outfit they look great in.  Next time a show is having a nerd fantasize maybe they could use Powergirl.  Bust out of the rut we’re in.

 

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