10 Minutes in the Forest

While I spend most of my costuming effort on cosplay, I am always excited to create a piece or two for the theater, which is why I nominated (essentially told) Casey that I was going to make the costumes for her production of 10 Minutes in the Forest.

The show is a live action, immersive game/theater experience, it require many words to describe because it doesn’t fit well into any particular category.  The essential premise is that audience members/ players are told a brief poem before being let into a space (individually or in a pair).  In the space they are greeted by a Firebird who conveys the gist of what they are supposed to be doing through mime and lots of squawking.  The players have to make it through the forest, facing off with Baba Yaga to retrieve the Firebird’s eggs and bring them to safety.  As a performer and designer in this production the variety of strategies and actions of the players was fascinating.  Some bargained with Baba Yaga, some asked Firebird for help, others walked silently, and some were incredibly strategic. Which meant that each 10 minute event felt entirely different from all the others.

From a designer perspective there were some interesting challenges in this production:

  • Each character was played by 3 or 4 different performers with different heights and builds
  • The performances required quick changes for the characters, there was only a few minutes between each production
  • The costumes had to stand up to a significant amount of movement, and especially Baba Yaga’s a reasonable amount of abuse
  • The characters needed to be distinct but not cartoonish
  • The budgets for both needed to be under $200 (ideally less)

With these challenges in mind, I began designing the costumes.

The first step was considering the main thematic idea for each character,  I didn’t want a creepy witch and a person covered in feathers, so that meant simplifying them down into contrasting features.  The easiest became using the concept of elements, fire bird was obviously fire and Baba Yaga was earth or the forest.  This lead me to color pallets of reds/yellows/oranges for Firebird and browns/greens for Baba Yaga, as well as a contrast between lighter and floatier textures with more heavier denser ones.

The final designs and outcomes:

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You can see for Firebird I I did still want to evoke the idea of feathers and wings, by cutting the fabric into feather shapes and layering them, as well as the two panels of fabric hanging from the back.  The structure was essentially a shrug made of elastic which made it flexible for a number of different sized people to wear. The materiel was glissnet, it has a very similar hand to chiffon, and is also translucent but doesn’t fray which makes it the best stuff every for cutting out so many feathers.

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The main idea behind Baba Yaga was to have her blend into the forest.  A circle cloak again is flexible in size for a number of different performers.  I distressed/frayed the edges and added on patches of burlap, then painted the cloak with diluted black/brown acrylic to make it darker and dirtier.  The downside is this made the cloak much stiffer but that did add a nice contrast between the floatyness of the Firebird and the weight of Baba Yaga. The final touch was adding the fake plants (found at goodwill), I wanted them to seem almost like they were growing on her, so I had the line wrap around the cloak, and stitched them on by hand.

Overall the costumes only needed a few tweaks once we went into performance, I added a tie onto the cloak so it stayed shut better than with just the Velcro closure.  The sticks on the Firebird broke so I replaced them with finger loops, though they looked less wing-like it ended up being easier on the performers as their hands were free.

Crest of Love: Sora the Digidestend

Digimon is an amazing anime and anyone who says otherwise is objectively wrong.  That being said, if you were not a fan of the show as a kid don’t go watch it, adult appreciation requires some significant nostalgia (I’ll admit it doesn’t hold up super well…)

Anyway, this year for ECCC I made a Sora cosplay, and hope to soon be joined by other digidestened in costumes. It was a toss up betwen cosplaying Joe or Sora.  Joe being all about responsibility and frequently being a nervous wreck, Sora similarly all about compassion and caring and yelling sometimes.  I went with Sora if only because it meant I wouldn’t need a wig!

The costume itself is fairly simple in terms of components: shirt, jeans, hat, digivice, belt pouch, gloves, crest (which I realize seems like a long list but are all relativly simple parts).

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Shirt:

This is the main part of the costume, I made it from yellow and white jersey cotton though you could probably easily buy a yellow tank top and modify it.  Once you have the yellow tank base, you just add a bottom and neck trim of white (rectangles folded over and sewn to the hem and collar) the triangle was then hand sewn on.

Hat:

I used two shades of blue fleece from Jo Ann’s for the hat (Wedgewood and Capri Breeze, I think...), and based the design off this pattern.  I ended up making it double layered to try and approximate the volume the hat in the show also has without actually making a helmet. The light blue was added as a trim after the fact, folded over the edge and top stitched. The blue hanging parts were two tubes of the light blue fleece that were hand stitched on last.

Gloves:

Nothing too complicated, I traced around my hand a sewed them together!  I used maroon jersey fabric from Jo Ann’s that I had left over from my Asami cosplay.

Belt pack:

This was in two parts, the belt which is just a strip of pink bottomweight/canvas fabric folded over and top stitched with a parachute buckle closure.  The pouch was then made as a basic box pouch with the same fabric and a Velcro closure, I made it big enough to comfortably fit my phone and wallet.

Digivice:

I modeled the digivice using model magic clay, and let it air dry and added the raided details using EVA craft foam.  I then painted it using acrylic paints mixed to the right shade of light blue.  The center portion was done with a square of colored paper and then finished with nail polish to give it that plastic look.  Then I spray sealed it to make the whole thing more shinny and durable.  Lastly I dug out a hole in the back and inserted a very strong magnet, another one was placed in the underside of the belt so the Digivice just sits in place without a need for a clip.

Tag and crest:

I made the tag out of gold sculpey, and then added a hand drawn crest which I covered in nail polish.

I didn’t end up getting the correct shoes and just wore my sneakers, but I am on the look out for a pair of black high tops.  Also I still need a stuffed Biyomon…

Twitch Cosplay Contest!

I’m on summer break and I just started streaming cosplay which lead to the inevitable conclusion that I should enter the Twitch cosplay contest.  I am currently working on my upcoming cosplay for PAX West (formerly Prime), which handily will double as my entry for the contest.

I’m making Evie Frye from Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, a wonderfully sassy and British female assassin who takes very little from anyone and tends to stab those in her way.  I enjoyed AC Syndicate and Evie, and well you’ve likely noticed I have a thing for Assassin’s Creed cosplays.  Possibly the best part is that I will be wandering around with two other friends cosplaying as other murderous females, so we will be MURDER GIRLS!

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So stay tuned to my twitch channel twitch.tv/randomtues and my other socials the entries are due by August 22nd!

Running the Shadows: GMing on Twitch

After a brief adventure in San Francisco I returned to Seattle at a rather auspicious moment.  Just a few weeks after my return I was contacted by one of my improv friends who asked if I wanted to be a part of a video project that she couldn’t tell me anything else about.  So naturally I said yes.  A few days later I met with another friend from that improv group who started asking me about my Tabletop RPG experience, because it was *totally unrelated* to the strange mystery film/performance project.

I met with Zac Eubank aka overlord on a dark and rainy night (actually that’s pretty normal for the pacific northwest), and rather than being murdered found out the details of the mystery project. Turns out this project was to be part of a Shadowrun tabletop game for a new Twitch channel called Hyper RPG that was starting in Seattle. As the only person in the group that had ever played Shadowrun, and had in fact run a Shadowrun game 5 years ago – I was somehow the most qualified to GM these shenanigans.

That is the story of how I started GMing a Shadowrun game on twitch.

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If you want to watch me play the role of many a nefarious villain, and several sassy and bored NPCs, come on by!

Wednesdays 6pm PST, twitch.tv/HyperRPG

You can also check out past episodes on YouTube!

RandomTuesday is now on Twitch!!!

twitchI’ve caught the live streaming bug, for real guys – it’s a problem.  It’s such a wonderful way to share the creative process with others, and just generally spend some time with cool people on the internet.  Plus apparently I became the leader of a Legion of airship pirates, which you too can be part of…  this is my life now.

Currently the rough schedule:

Tuesdays – 3pm to 6pm, something random

Sundays – 2pm to 6pm, cosplay making

Plus bonus streams (normally Friday at 11am) while I am still on summer break!

twitch.tv/randomtues