Dragon Con has now come and gone, and as is custom, most of the hotels are already full again. There was a myriad of issues that sprung up over the course of the con, between construction, hotels overbooking and some con-goers behaving incredibly badly, but I still vastly enjoyed it. I’ll probably create a more complete rundown this weekend, but for now I wanted to talk about the work I do for the Superhero Costuming Forum.
Years ago, I was invited to the SCF by its founder, Allen Hansard while dressed in my X-Factor Siryn costume. It was a blissfully low-drama community genuinely focused on improving the craft and encouraging new members. I love the SCF. I have made more lasting friends from the community than any other that I have been a part of, whether for costuming, creation or academic.
Of the many things the SCF does, one of the most well known is the organization of the giant Marvel and DC costuming photoshoots. They are the largest of their kind anywhere, and we draw literally hundreds of costumers to each shoot. They’re massive, fun and the most visible of all of the photoshoots at Dragon Con. We also draw the attention of convention guests…like this guy whose movies you maaaay know:
Thanks to the work by our friends at Beat Down Boogie, Contagious Media, Acksonl and our myriad of incredibly talented photographers, folks around the world have seen the incredible work and love of the craft from superhero costumers (amongst many others). It’s a labor of love, costuming, and I love that we can gather so many people full of talent and passion together to get these great photos and videos.
The behind the scenes of organizing these shoots is a lot more massive than most people imagine. Finding locations, working with other groups to make sure scheduling works, finding reliable photographers and videographers, getting the word out to various costuming groups, arranging special guest visits, establishing rules and safety procedures, and working directly with the con takes quite a bit of time, and for really big shoots, the work starts as much as a year out from the event. For the last several years, the giant Marvel and DC shoots were arranged by this guy:
Allen Hansard, the a**hole who has been at the forefront of making these shoots happen (and what a perfect costume, right?). I’ve seen first hand how much work goes into these things, as I’ve been assisting with subgroups and eventually becoming co-director over the last several years. Its stressful, deceptively difficult and affects how much con he actually gets to experience. Between setup, the shoot itself and breakdown, Saturday and Sunday from about 2:30 until 6:00pm are spent outside in Atlanta heat making sure the shoot runs. It’s pretty rough, and often he doesn’t even wear a costume for it nowadays. He’s taken time out of his own costuming to make sure others can have these giant photo opportunities and network with other costumers and just have a fun time.
Well, as of this year, Allen has retired from the big shoots. He’ll still be directing smaller shoots, but this will give him more freedom to costume and focus on other things, like running our forum. He’s passed the megaphone and reins to me, and beginning next year, I’ll be in charge of the giant shoots. What will this mean for my propmaking? Probably not much, I’ll just have less work in the studio as Dragon Con looms, but I wanted to share this other aspect of costuming that I do. I have some big shoes to fill, and I’m not sure I can top what we achieved this year, but I know I’ll do my damnedest.
So, thank you, Allen and The SCF for trusting me with this beast, and I look forward to seeing everyone again next Dragon Con.