Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cosplay - The Making of Slayers Epic! - Amelia and Zelgadis

My biggest apologizes for a lack of updating! It's been massively crazy with school and designing and all things in between. I currently am finishing up all of my final projects for the semester, and then I have some reprieve with Fanime! It's got so much work left though!

Pants Your Goonies Cosplay has been accepted to participate in the Masquerade!! Shii and I will be representing, and it'll be a duo skit this time! So far, there's been so much work, sweat, blood, and tears placed into this. It'll be such an amazing experience to see the final product. Everyone has been absolutely supportive and wonderful to us.

So in the spirit of convention season and masquerades, I wanted to post about the journey towards making our Slayers skit come together for Anime LA 2013. It was a fun experience, and we got to learn a lot from it!

Ever since I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Slayers. My parennts bought me the Sound Bibles as a kid, and I was a huge fan of Lina and Sylphiel. It was part of my favorite shows of the time, and I even collected some of the comics, novels, and of course, the anime and films! So when I met Shii and the others in high school, we ususally bonded by sharing what other anime we liked. According to Shii, she said that I suggested for her to watch Slayers, and when she moved away, she started watching the show and got really into it.

 When she returned, our group has basically begun to form with my friend Charizard and our mutual friend and Amanda's best friend Frye. We started getting out own ideas together and the very first idea we all thought of for a group cosplay was Slayers. We did other cosplays to get our feet wet because despite having cosplayed for quite some time already, I still have never been quite accustomed to the whole group environment. It's proven to be quite fun!!

So after a year of cosplaying together and had hit past the AX 2012 point, we made the consensus that Slayers had to be done. We all just fit the right personalities, and it's such a flawless fit for all us. The only unfortunate thing was Charizard has moved away up north (we're spending Fanime with him!) and so we were short one person. Shii is a natural Lina, and Frye is Gourry since their interactions together are so classic. Personality wise, I am like the Amelia of our group, so it seemed like I wouldn't be that far away from my own personality. We planned for a skit that actually all four of the original group members of Pants Your Goonies approved of.

Our friend Justin ended up joining the group after we searched for a Zelgadis. Shii and I split up the responsibilities of making all of the costumes, and the boys were in charge of props and the armor. 

This is my favorite picture of the two capes together. I had way too much fun choosing the colors, and it's a special thanks to my good friend Kureno for also helping out to source materials. We didn't do anything too fancy, since Slayers seems to focus itself more on the lovely colors and designs of the costumes than the material. I ended up using Kona Cotton for both outfits, and both were a combination of modified base patterns and some of my own previously drafted items like Amelia's sleeves and Zelgadis' capelet-cape-extravaganza. I have to admit, I'm still a constant learner when it comes to lining. I ended up choosing a cotton however for the inside because of the color and to keep the similar textures.

Amelia was the easier of the two, and more reliant on just making sure the base patterns were all fitting. She was crafted from a tunic pattern I originally had used and modified for Daphne and my Bespin Leia costumes, and then I drafted the sleeves on my own. It's french seamed on the inside as well, and the trimming is made out of a light cotton. In hindsight, I love the color but it is still a bit too light as it can be confused for a really off-white color. Nonetheless, the costume is sumer comfortable and cooler than other cosplays. The cape was also self-drafted, and lined in the back with lavender lightweight cotton. The sash is from a previous belt I had and I attached the jewels and the little pin puff ball, which was cut and shaped from a feather boa. The jewels are also present there and were attached to her cuffs and a matching pink choker.

Also, I rarely ever make pants for cosplays since I almost exclusive wear skirts or dresses in cosplay, so this was a grea experience! They fit pretty nicely and are french seamed on the inside so it is nice and clean. 

 There are a lot of things to be honest that still need to be edited, though at the time, they worked just right. The armor is the biggest part that needs improvement, because we ran out of time in making the armor. Essentially, it is craft form with fabric that was wrapped taut arund it. The jewels as well weren't casted in time, s I wound up having to use premade jewels that I painted with blue nail polish. I plan to recast the jewels and remake the armor entirely.

 Zelgadis was a whole new experience too. The original tunic was crafted from a pre-bought pattern, though it didn't work out quite well the first time. So then I took another pattern and modified the bought one to make the top tunic, which came out much better cut and finished than the others. Like Amelia, he is entirely french seamed. The pants were the first thing I constructed for him, which I was really proud of, and   then finally, the cape is a mixture of pre-made capelet patterns that were modified and a hand-drafted hood and full cale. The entire cosplay is actually heavier than expected not ecause of the fabric, but because of how many layers this is.

The hardest parts for me was making sure the top collar wasn't too wide or obnoxious, as it isn't featured here and hiding under the cape. The cape itself to me is what maes the entire cosplay and I am absolutely in love with it. The only major fix I would like it that the sleeves are about a inch or so too short. I didn't have the time to fix them properly ue to the crunch time, but it's definitely in my plans.

I just realized that they both look like Amelia and Zelgadis got raptured in this picture. ^_^;

  Although I can't speak for Frye and Justin's portion of the armor and props, I did get some great pictures of their progress work with the frames for them. Here's a picture of Shii modeling her pauldrons for Lina.

So for the skit, the idea was to blend Conan the Barbarian's amazing soundtrack with Slayers, and the skit primarily chronicles the storyline for NEXT more than anything else. We wanted to have the story surrounded by the Claire Bible.

 I ended up mixing all of the dialog myself, which I spent hours scouring for and remixing them. After AX 2012's crazy audio issues, we ended up trying to see if we could work better with the spells and the scene clips from the series. This worked ut better for this skit in particular, which focuses more on the series' plot than anything else. I am still bummed that I couldn't rip a decent quality NEXT version of Dragon Slave, so we ended up choosing one of the Revolution versions. The audio for the sit is called, The Anvil of Crom, and is featured as the main theme to the film, Conan the Barbaria, and written by Basil Pouledoris. I highly reccommend his music! I managed to find this version that had stronger brass and an extended reprise to the theme, and it was all perfectly timed to be under 2 minutes. I cut the length myself, and finally layered the rest of the audio with sound clips for each of the character's magical spells.

After finishing the audio, we then began practicing and figuring our the steps and choreography. At the end, we had wanted for everyone to be with Lina when she performs Dragon Slave, and it was Frye who came up with the amazing idea to use these tiny little LED light rings. We began practicing with them to make them look like they were spells, and there's several light tests we did to make sure that we looked like we were holding these crazy balls of light!

 So this to me is the funniest part of the skit: The Claire Bible. As we were on a crunch time and we're usually trying to reuse resources, we figured that the Claire Bible could be a edited version of a book that we have lying around or something. As all of us are big readers, we kind of felt bad to be defacing a book with paint and whatnot, so we initially opted to go to a secondhand bookshop to see if we could find a quick book. Instead however, Frye remembered that he had a extra copy of Breaking Dawn that no one used in his house, and considering that none of us are big Twilight fans, we ended up painting over the book.

The book was painted over with metallic coper paint, and using a guide from the series, Charizard actually finished the yellow details in the hotel room. He did the front and back, and the craftsmanship judges were laughing when we told them the story about the book. I actually still have the book in my bookcase, and people who visit always give me a confused look. xD

So this is just a quick picture of the car ride to Anime LA. On the left is Shii and on the right is Frye being the awesome co-pilot. Sitting next to me in the back seats are Charizard and Kureno. It's my tradition to get a picture of the road on the way to a convention.

  For limited time and resources, Shii styled Zelgadis' wig in the hotel room at a lightning fast pace. It's actually a pretty interesting hair style! She also worked on the prosthetics for his face, which was a new challenge as well.

 I took this picture of Justin after we finished our skit. I was so happy with his cosplay considering all of the crazy layers and work we had done with, and the fact that he just looked absolutely complete. Kureno is in the back, having volunteered to be our awesome ninja.

And here's the skit! So many new experiences. It wasn't the first time doing a skit before; I did some vew few skits about five or so years ago for a friend and planned another that never got finished. As I have said before, I've never cosplayed with a group until now, so it's fueld my interest in being able to compete and enjoy that aspect for conventions. Our team entered under the novice division, since all of us are greenhorns in the aspects of competing.Credits to AC Paradise for filming all the amazing skits.

The judges praised my craftsmanship for being very cleanly sewn, which made me feel so honored and flattered. I worked absolutely hard on these cosplays because of how exciting it was to be able to channel one of my favorite shows. 

Everyone in the group was absolutely wonderful too, and although admittedly it was a stressful experience due to time limitations and life being as crazy as it is, it was totally worth it.  We finished the skit and were so nervous during the waiting times. This was also coupled with a severe lack of sleep that Shii was practically dazed by the end of the entire event. We even barely wore these costumes towards the last few hours of the night since we were holed up in the room for most of the con working on these!

 So we all woke up from our lethargy once the people backstage started asking if we were all there in the room, to which gave us the hope that we had won something. It was crazy to receive not only the Judge's Award, but also the Best Group Synergy award in the Novice Presentation category!

 We're all tired and I look like a mess by now (and my wig flopped after the skit, which was pretty hilarious!) we were so tired but happy about this skit! I've been attending every Anime LA since its inception and it's such an honor to get our first award from that convention! The other winners were also amazing!!

In the room, our group assembled and you can see the awesome lights that Frye provided us. Frye is Gourry, Shii is Lina, I'm Amelia, and Justin is Zelgadis.After heading out back into the con, a lot of peple congratulated us and several Slayers fans got our picture. One of them was so happy and told us that we made her con since it was her favorite show. We definitely understood her love for it!

And then we finished the convention with some awesome Denny's and a huge mess to clean up. The aftermath has never seemed to beautiful.

So the next post will be some new progress and event shots from other awesome stuff that has been going on cosplay-wise during these months!

Currently I am bracing myself for the xxxholic goodness that Fanime is promising us!   

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