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A Comprehensive Guide to Online Theater and Performing Arts Resources

A Comprehensive Guide to Online Theater and Performing Arts Resources

The theater and the performing arts have a rich, noble history, and to this day there are millions who keep the traditions alive. Everyone has to start somewhere and if you're looking to get into the field, we've compiled this extensive list of Theater and Performing Arts resources to help you. You'll find plenty of information on several aspects of the craft.
  1. American Conservatory Theater — The official website for the American Conservatory Theater has not only information on the prestigious theater itself, but plenty more on theater in general.
  2. National Endowment for the Arts — While this site covers several forms of art, it's a valuable resource for the performing artists with searchable newsletters, podcasts, and more.
  3. Creative Drama and Theatre Education Resource Site — With a name like that, how can you go wrong? Here you'll find links to classroom ideas, theatre games, and much more helpful information.
  4. Hollywood Film Institute — Not only does the Hollywood Film Institute offer plenty of information on the craft of acting, there are several ways you can go about it with their various lessons.
  5. Carnegie Hall — How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! The website for the legendary venue has a few pretty cool features, including a timeline talking about the history of performances.
  6. Lazy Bee Scripts — Lazy Bee Scripts, despite its cutesy little name, is a pretty serious resource for the aspiring actor. You'll find a massive database of various kinds of scripts, perfect for the practicing thespian.
  7. Actors' Equity — Actors' Equity is a labor union that represents tens of thousands of actors and the website contains valuable information.
  8. Improve Encyclopedia — The Improv Encyclopedia offers a vast (and I mean vast!) array of resources for those interested in the art of improvisation.
  9. The Living Playbook — An online ebook of improvisation tools including various games and exercises to be carried out as practice.
  10. Learn Improv — A wonderful and all-encompassing site on improv acting. Breaks down the art into easily digestible chunks of information.
  11. Fuzzy's Games List — Another list of improv games, this one being a very simple, easy-to-read list with well over 100 games on it.
  12. Shakespeare's Monologues — If you're going to practice your monologuing, what better way to do it than to recite some works of the Bard himself?
  13. Colin's Movie Monologue Page — Shakespeare a little too much for you right now? Old English got your tongue? This page contains untold amounts of memorable movie monologues for you to practice.
  14. Acting Depot — A useful list of indexed resources for the aspiring actor, with everything from photo and resume help to instructions on finding an agent.
  15. Acting Workshop Online — Acting Workshop Online is exactly what its name suggests - an acting workshop that you can access online. Includes free lessons for those wishing to check it out.
  16. The Alexander Technique — The Alexander Technique is a way to feel better and more comfortable. It can benefit all sorts of people but is well known and popular amongst actors.
  17. Acting a Better Way with Actors Globally — Not the most organized website and the name is a bit of a mouthful, but ABWAG is still a valuable resource for performers, putting an emphasis on doing rather than watching.
  18. Applied and Interactive Theatre Guide — Another fairly complicated name, this site is great for those interested in "theater techniques," focusing on that and much more.
  19. Theater History Cybercourse — Anybody interested in theatre should have at least a rough knowledge of its history and this page should get you up to speed and then some.
  20. Actor Source — A wonderful resource for acting related information, crafted with ten years of experience in the field.
  21. Now Casting — A talent database for aspiring actors to post resumes, reels, and all the good stuff that comes in a portfolio.
  22. ASM Performing Arts — For our friends in the Great White North! ASM Performing Arts is Montreal's "most highly regarded actor training studio."
  23. The WWW Virtual Library Theatre and Drama — This page offers a pretty extensive selection of links covering a wide range of theatre topics. They all won't be great, but there are sure to be some gems.
  24. Musicals 101 — Are you interested in musicals? So is John Kenrick, and so he's created this invaluable resource for anyone interested in the genre.
  25. Playscripts Inc — As if you couldn't infer from the title, this site is wall-to-wall scripts, original ones too! While you do have to buy complete scripts, you can read up to 90% of any script for free.
  26. A Primer for Actors — A Primer for Actors is full of information for the budding actor. Subjects covered include resumes, headshots, auditions, and much more.
  27. The Internet Broadway Database — As a fan of film, the Internet Movie Database is one of my most frequented sites. For the Play fans out there, here's the Internet Broadway Database.
  28. Stagehand Primer — While this isn't exactly for actors (though they could learn something), it's very relevant to theatre. The Stagehand Primer is full of useful information for those wanting to go into that line of work.
  29. 10 Minute Plays — 10 Minute Plays is a database of, well, 10 minute plays! They're perfect for putting on a quick show or simply practicing.
  30. USA Plays for Kids — Here's something fairly unique - a site devoted to plays for children. This is perfect if you're in a school setting or elsewhere and are trying to organize a play with young ones.
  31. Absolute Shakespeare — If you're looking to become an actor, you really can't get enough Shakespeare. And this site's content claims to be "absolute," so you should find tons of great stuff.
  32. The Puppetry Home Page — There are a lot more to the performing arts than just acting, and while it may not be as popular, Puppetry is still an art form! A good page with general info.
  33. Musicals.Net — Another great resource for those who love musicals. You'll find information on all your favorite musical productions, including song lists and lyrics.
  34. Asian American Theatre Revue — A useful little site for Asian American theatre, you'll find plenty of info on plays that are happening, including a calendar. You can even submit your own production if it fits the criteria.
  35. Bob Hope and American Variety — And now for something a little different - Vaudeville! This site talks about more than just Bob Hope, using his life and performances to discuss Vaudeville in general.
  36. Kabuki for Everyone — I don't know how many people reading this list will be looking for Kabuki resources, but the form should definitely be represented. As the name suggests, this is a very accessible resource.
  37. Landing Place — For those already giving it a go in their respective field, this site dedicated to the performing arts and the artists behind them could give you the boost you need.
  38. Magic for Socialism — Now this is an interesting little site. Ian Saville uses his skill in magic and ventriloquism to speak out against capitalism. Even if you don't agree with his political message, his magic is pretty great.
  39. Theatre History — For those very serious about theatre, this wonderful page contains a plethora of information regarding the origins of theatre as well as the various types found around the world.
  40. Theatre on a Shoestring — Another fantastic crash course site, this one aims to help you produce "quality theatre on a tight budget." Lots of links with plenty of info.
  41. Theatre History in Europe — Another site for serious theatre buffs, Theatron not only tells all about the history of European theatre, but does so with some pretty advanced software.
  42. Vaudeville History Ohio — This list needs more Vaudeville! This page contains plenty of info on Vaudeville shows and performers. It's limited to the Ohio region, but it's great information all the same.
  43. Stage Agent — This one is a little different than the rest of the sites on the list. While there are articles to be found here, it's mostly a discussion forum to meet like-minded artists.
  44. American Association of Community Theatre — Another fantastic theatre site, this time for a well-respected organization. Not only is it chock full of theatre info, but also various tips on things like building an audience and what not.
  45. Border Crossings — For hardcore intellectuals only, you'll find some great essays focusing on intercultural theory and other things related to multi-media theatre.
  46. Interactive Dramas — Here's something new and wild. At this website you can participate in "interactive scenes," which must be a good way to test the waters, so to speak.
  47. Library of Congress — You don't have to dig through the depths of the internet to find helpful material. The official Library of Congress website has a performing arts encyclopedia that should prove helpful.
  48. Glossary of Theatre Terms — If you're looking to get into theatre, you really need to speak the lingo. This glossary holds over 1,600 terms and grows regularly.
  49. Method Acting and Stanislavsky — Method acting, the stuff of champions! All the acting greats seem to do it, so you might want to look into it. Great page with some helpful info.
  50. Christian Drama Scripts — A niche topic, though not too small of a niche. Pretty straightforward, the site contains plenty of royalty-free Christian drama sketches, sermon starters, and more.
  51. Acting on the Web — Another great acting resource with a mixture of free and pay content. Plenty of great information from some professional sources.
  52. The World of Mime Theatre — If you're a fan of dance and looking to make a career out of it, why not go straight to the top. The American Dance Institute is where you'll want to learn.
  53. High School Theatre — A massive resource on High School Theatre, each state is represented with several school listings for each.
  54. Instrument Encyclopedia — Encyclopedias are helpful things and the Instrument Encyclopedia is no different. If you're a musician or looking to become one, you'll find something useful here.
  55. Bandtek Drill Design — With a name that cool, how could you go wrong? Band Tek Drill Design can help whip a band into shape. They have pay services but also a wealth of free content.
  56. American Choral Director's Association — A fantastic site for singers and musicians, with plenty of material to read and ways to contact and keep in touch with artists like yourself.
  57. Children's Music Workshop — Here's another great page dedicated to children. Children's Music Workshop offers a wide variety of help, including helping you buy the correct instrument.
  58. Kididdles — The name might be a tad goofy, but this is a seriously cool resource. Find the lyrics to all those children's songs you used to listen to.
  59. American Sheet Music — Another very cool (if extremely niche) resource, this site features a collection of sheet music that was registered for copyright between 1870 and 1885. Get cracking on some real classics.
  60. Sound Bible — Sound Bible offers a whole assortment of free sound effects for use in various projects. It's much better than scouring Google for every little sound you need.
  61. Essentials of Music — For those interested in classical music, this site should be a great help for getting started. A ton of information with audio samples scattered around the site.
  62. Duke University Music Library — A wonderful collection of sheet music can be found thanks to the official website for Duke University, which offers plenty of links to other sites.
  63. Tips on Dancing with Beginners — While the title of the page suggests this information is good for experienced dancers, beginners can learn just as much.
  64. Swing Dance Styles — Swing Dancing is another classic form of dancing that has to be pulled off right to not look completely goofy. This site will tell you all about the various forms of swing.
  65. American Dance Institute — If you're a fan of dance and looking to make a career out of it, why not go straight to the top. The American Dance Institute is where you'll want to learn.
  66. An American Ballroom Companion — Ballroom dancing can be extremely graceful - when performed properly. An American Ballroom Companion will have you dancing like a pro in no time.
  67. Sapphire Swan Dance Directory — There are a lot of different dance styles out there and the Sapphire Swan Dance Directory features links on almost three dozen of them.
  68. The American Mime Theater — The American Mime Theatre has been has been teaching for just shy of sixty years under the direction of Paul Curtis, creator of the medium.
  69. The World of Mime Theatre — Mime is a fascinating performing art with a dedicated fan base. This website will help you connect with Mimes the world over.
  70. Audio Theater — Ever wonder what happened to good ole radio dramas? They're still alive in some form and this website is fighting the good fight to keep that tradition alive.
  71. the indirect Object — Puppeteers and theatre-makers Beth McMahon and Michael Bevitt design and construct puppets, work with theatre companies to integrate puppetry or object theatre into their projects, and also peform workshops in puppet-making and various puppet manipulation techniques.
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Shades of Grey: The Brilliance of Understated Costuming

by Camiele White on October 18, 2011
 
The hazy fog of autumn reminds me that there are some things that you must see beyond to truly understand their beauty. Much in the same way, sometimes there are aspects of a spectacular film that can be lost in the grandiosity of it all if we fail to take in the subtleties. Of these subtle nuances of cinematic style, none is often times more neglected than the art costuming. While the most heralded films tend towards the more extravagant, there’s a contingent of filmmakers intent on creating a masterpiece based solely on the atmosphere of the film. That is to say, while sets and technology have pushed films to heights never before imagined, there is a small pocket of Hollywood that reserves the extravagance for the story and the connection of the players with the audience.
That being said, sometimes the costuming that fades into the background can be the most jarring pieces of artwork on the set itself. The undertones of a film inform the necessity for imagery. After all, what is pressed into celluloid is literally poetry in motion. The visual impact of a film gives shape and form to the way in which members of the audience think about the world around them. Some of the most visceral forms of understatement come in films whose story is complex and multi-layered. In this way, the skin of the character is meant to support, not distract. For instance, the most violent films can be absolutely Pollock in execution, allowing the costume to perform as a blank canvas on which the artists (namely, the actors and their director) paint their story.
The film Equilibrium is in the same breath grandiose and riddled with understatement. The entire point of the film is combating one’s emotions –that is to say that the emotional landscape of the film is grey, completely devoid of the subtleties in emotion that define us as human. The costumes are all monotone, a chromic depiction of the futuristic sameness of humanity. No one stands out, nor is anyone meant to. It’s this stark contrast between the ballet of violence and the uniformity of the characters that give the film its depth. The costumes come to define and contradict the characters as they begin to develop. Christian Bale’s character begins soft, almost blending into the dreariness of his environment until a chance meeting with a woman who reminds him of the giggle in his late wife’s smile smashes his built-in understanding of emotion and the irreparable harm it can cause. As his world becomes streaked in blood reds and bruised blues, the tone of his uniform takes on a different hue. Though still grey, there’s something distinctly unique about it –the wearer’s transformation boring slight wrinkles, misplaced splotches of imperfection into the clothing itself. Of course, sometimes uniformity can cause a significant rip in the imagery, creating a visual palette that can be hard to swallow. In GATTACA, the uniformity is quite striking, considering the elegant colours that provide the overwhelming essence of the film. It’s a film focused on individual DNA.
While similar in its helix shape in every human being, the raw material doesn’t define the being in the human. In the same way that the material of each grey and black suit is similar in fibre and texture, the actual living, breathing creature inside has his own thoughts, his own emotions, his own understanding of who he is –despite the constant push for humanity to become one individual. Insomuch as one’s DNA doesn’t define him, it has the power to create him. For instance, Ethan Hawke’s character is enticed by the very idea of touching the moon; however, his DNA would suggest that he isn’t fit to do so in this new society in which only those with the genetic mapping of perfection are allowed to reach for it. He learns of a way in which he can mask his DNA for that of another, thus giving the physical visualisation of the film scope: our interior doesn’t necessarily definer our exterior. In this same way, the brilliant colours of the film and the dullness of the attire push and pull to create a tension in the audience, forcing our subconscious to reconcile with we see with what
As minute a detail as costuming is, it can go on to define and expand the science of a film, give the film texture where there was none originally. With the world constantly at odds with itself –wanting all the extravagance of fantasy but yearning for some sort of silent stability– film allows us to take this contradiction and see for ourselves that one aspect is as important as the other. The costumes in film provide the crag in logic that our eye is forced to process. In this way, we are forced to identify our own internal struggle and regard, if reluctantly, that the quiet is as important as the loud. If you enjoyed this article, please consider bookmarking it on Delicious or sharing it on StumbleUpon. It helps me to reach more readers. Thanks!   Leave a Comment
 
 
 

 

 
 
   
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Cosplayer Interview with Stephanie Gutowski

Stephanie Gutowski is a beautiful geek extraordinaire, making her way around the convention circuit dressed as characters from Star Wars, Resident Evil, and more. She was gracious enough to step away from her sewing machine for a few and answer some questions.
When did you get into cosplay and why? What was your first costume?I first jumped into cosplay in 2000, as I had a dream to become Sailor Jupiter. Shortly after Halloween, I got distracted by other things and didn’t cosplay again until 2007, when I met my boyfriend Sean. He told me that he dressed up as a stormtrooper. I had to become his Twi’lek counterpart, naturally. After several months of trial and error, I put together my first real costume. It was a mess and I vowed to do better. Thus, I began my slow, arduous journey into cosplay.
What do you enjoy most about making costumes? I love holding the finished product in my hands, being pleased with it and knowing that I made it. That scraps of fabric and glue and thread all came together and formed a character known across the world by fans of all ages.
What do you enjoy the least? I absolutely hate being stuck and feeling like I’ve run into a wall. When I first started working with spandex, I ran into a lot of issues sewing it and eventually became so distraught that I gave up. But I’ll eventually come back to it. I just don’t like when I run into road blocks that keep me from finishing what I’ve started.
Do you have any costumes in the works? Any costumes you’ve been wanting to make? I have one costume brewing that I’m keeping under wraps until it’s finished. I do, however, have a few dream costumes. Someday, I will be Commander Shepard, Hawke, Sailor Pluto, and Rogue. Someday!
Of all the characters and species in Star Wars, why a Twi’lek? Twi’leks have always been the eye candy of the Star Wars universe. Well, at least until BioWare got in there and turned them into badasses. Well… yeah, there were a few other EU twi’leks that kicked butt, so I guess it was their versatility and abuse of the rainbow that got my attention. Plus the head tails. Latex prosthetic plus body paint? What could be more fun? I knew that if I chose to portray a custom twi’lek, I could have a ton of fun with it. Everything from the clothes, personality, to skin color… I could just go to town. I was also really into purple at the time and it was a great excuse for me to really embrace that. They’re one of the most recognizable species and they’ve got tons of fans. The possibilities seemed endless.
Expanding on the last question, how do you go about deciding what you want to make or who you want to cosplay as? What factors go into that decision? I only cosplay characters from games and movies that I like. I also pick characters that I identify with. For instance, I’m kind of a goof. Selphie from Final Fantasy VIII embodied the carefree, yet deceptively powerful being I’d always pictured myself as. Though I think I really only ever accomplished the dorky part.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring cosplayers? Never give up! Never surrender! Seriously, that’s like the golden rule. Use it and it will solve all of your problems. Be sure to check out more of Stephanie’s work at her Cosplay.com profile. If you enjoyed this article, please consider bookmarking it on Delicious or sharing it on StumbleUpon. It helps me to reach more readers. Thanks!
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The Top 27 Comic Blogs You Should Be Reading

The Top 27 Comic Blogs You Should Be Reading

by KELLY ROCKEY on MARCH 2, 2010

 
Superman2 Photo by Luodanli
Most everyone at some point has enjoyed reading a comic book or comic strip. Even if you haven’t, we bet you’ve watched a movie or TV show adapted from a comic. The appeal of good comics is universal, and there are so many amazing comic blogs that are not only fun to read but can also be extremely informative. To see what we mean, check out these 27 fantastic blogs: They’re sure to keep you up to date on what’s going on in the world of comics, and they really capture the spirit, voice, and enthusiasm of the comic community. 1. ComicsAlliance – All things related to comic culture live here! This entertaining and informative blog, written by a team of comic experts, covers topics such as comics and graphic novels, superheroes and Indies, manga, toys, animation, games, and movies. Make sure to stop by and check out the photo gallery of the week . 2. Bat-Blog – Holy great Batman blog! This blog is dedicated to everything Batman. It covers vintage toys, new merchandise, the movies, the cartoons, TV shows, comic books, etc. If you are a Batman fan, this is the blog for you! 3. The Comics Reporter – This blog, written by Tom Spurgeon, features comic news, reviews, interviews, and commentary. Tom has written about comic strips, comic books, and editorial cartoons since 1982. We love the section where Tom publishes letters he receives from his readers. 4. Comics Worth Reading – Need help sorting through the wide variety of comics that are out there? Then this is the blog for you! The name says it all, this blog reviews tons of comics and helps you save time by helping you decide if a particular comic is really worth buying and reading. 5. Awesomed by Comics – This fun blog features weekly podcasts and comic cover and panel picks of the week. Awesomed by Comics is written by a husband and wife team of journalists who both have a major comic book habit. We are awesomed by this blog! 6. X-Ray Vision – This popular blog, written by a college student, covers topics such as collecting comics, heroes, villains, video games, movies, and more. Check out this fantastic blog to get a look into the world of comics. 7. Comics Should Be Good – Hard to argue with the premise of this site’s title, and it consistently offers some of the best comic book blogging around. Check out their Top 100 Comic Book Storylines Master List for a treat. 8. Doomkopf – Doomkopf.com has comic book, graphic novel and movie news and reviews. Read this blog to stay up to date on all things related to comics. We love the section where they review Hollywood’s attempts at capturing comics on film. 9. Silver Age Comics – Are classic comics your thing? Then this is the blog for you! Silver Age Comics is (mostly) dedicated to comics published from 1955-1970. Check out this blog for a trip back in time. 10. Multiversity Comics – Multiversity comics is a blog written by people who love comics for people who love comics. The writers of this blog keep you current in comic news. We love the “Wednesday is New Comic Day” section where the authors keep you up to date what is coming out every week in comics. 11. Comics in Crisis – Read this weekly blog for a look into comics of the past and present and what went wrong (and right!) with each one. While your there, make sure to cast your vote in their comic polls 12. DC Comics – 40 Years Ago – This unique blog covers DC Comics from the late silver age of comics (1967-1971). If you want to explore the dynamic content of these comics then you should make sure not to miss a single post from this blog. 13. Comic News – Keep on top of the comic industry with the latest news, reviews, and interviews. This blog covers every aspect of the comic book world. We love the interviews section where they interview a wide variety of people who work in the industry. 14. The Daily Comics Review – This daily blog reviews and comments on the best and the worst of the web and print comic strip universe. It features full color scans of the comics they are commenting on for you to review yourself. Make sure to check this one out everyday! 15. When Fangirls Attack – This popular blog written by three women is a compilation of articles on gender in comics and comic fandom. If you are a girl who loves comics and comic culture then this is the blog for you! 16. Blah Blah Blog – Written by Tom Brevoort, the executive editor of Marvel Comics, Blah Blah Blog is an insiders look into the comic industry. Tom oversees such titles as “New Avengers”, “The Fantastic Four”, and “Civil War”. Check out this blog for Tom’s musings and ramblings about his favorite topic, comics! 17. Super Robot Mayhem – A blog covering comics, toys, comic book cartoons, and comic book movies featuring news and reviews. This is the blog for those who look forward to Hollywood remaking a cult classic and then complain about it when they do it wrong. 18. Squiggly Lines – This fantastic blog posts essays, news, and reviews from comics old and new, indie and mainstream, good and bad. No matter what type of comic you are into, this blog covers them all. 19. Comic Book Listings – This blog is the place to go if you are looking to buy, sell, auction, or trade any type of comic books. Comic Book Listings is a complete list to help you buy and sell comics. Also features industry news, press releases, reviews, and more! 20. Comic Book Summaries – A great place to read summaries on recently released DC and Marvel comic books. Comic Book Summaries also showcases information on toys movies, and comic news. 21. Superman Blog – This super blog covers Superman comics, books, movies, toys, and history. We love the “Guide to Superman” post where the author goes over his top ten Superman graphic novels complete with full color pictures. 22. JLA Comics – Keep up on what’s new in the world of JLA comics by reading this well written blog. Features news and reviews about your favorite JLA graphic novels and heroes. 23. DC Comics – This informative blog covers characters, heroes, villains, books, movies, previews, reviews, and anything else going on in the DC Comics universe. We love the post on “The Top Ten Lamest DC Comics Villains” 24. Comic Riffs – A blog devoted to the comic fan written by Michael Cavna. This daily blog covers everything from the world of comics, from strips to superheroes, political cartoons to Pixar and much, much more! 25. Again with the Comics – A discussion on the wide world of comics written by a life long comic lover with 10,000+ comics in his collection. Read his musings on these comics but beware that they may contain spoilers! 26. The Beat – This is the newsblog of comic culture that is dedicated to bringing you the most up to date information on comics, the people who make them, and the people who read them. For breaking comic news check here! 27. The Comic Treadmill – This debate blog is a running discussion on anything and everything comic related. It is written by two friends who strongly encourage audience participation. If you are looking for somewhere to go to discuss your favorite (and not so favorite!) comics, then this it. If you enjoyed this article, please consider bookmarking it on Delicious or sharing it on StumbleUpon. It helps me to reach more readers. Thanks!
Share on Facebook. Bookmark on Delicious. Twitter this! Stumble It!.
{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }
Cliff Calderwood March 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm
Comics are serious business now with even Disney getting into the act. Great list and certainly more attention being played to the arena for movie ideas.

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Iron Man March 4, 2010 at 3:57 pm
Awesome list of sites there, it just goes to show how much the industry is owned by the fans and not the other way around.

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Jim Doom @ Doomkopf March 7, 2010 at 10:25 pm
Thanks for the kind words!

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Comicbook husband March 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm
This site is an interesting slant at comic books by a 47 year old woman who just got hooked on comicbooks. Definitely a good read… http://www.mycomicbookcrisis.com

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Cosplayer Interview with Taylor Bennett

Cosplayer Interview with Taylor Bennett

by DYLAN DUARTE on OCTOBER 24, 2011

Star Costumes was lucky enough to catch up with cosplayer Taylor Bennett (aka hmwsgx – just try to pronounce that), and the lovely Taylor was nice enough to answer a few of our questions.
Mass Effect 2's Miranda Lawson
Could you give us a little background on who you are and what you do? I am a graduate art student that majored in 2D Studio art, and switched to costume-based art during my Masters in Art. Currently, I am a part-time art instructor at a community college. I am a huge sci-fi nerd, and extremely obsessed with Bioware games (if my costume roster did not make it obvious). What initially interested you in cosplay and when was this? What was your first costume? I saw photos of cosplay when I was in high school around 2002 or so. I thought it was really strange and I didn’t completely understand the concept, but I was fascinated by the idea of dressing up as my favorite characters. I finally decided to take the plunge into cosplay in 2007 when I saw Jia Jem’s Rydia costume. Her insane amount of dedication to detail and bringing a 2D character to life inspired me to give costuming a shot.
Dragon Age's Flemeth
I barely knew how to use a sewing machine, but I wanted to learn, there was this hunger to get my hands on a new material and try a new creative outlet so I knew I would have to dedicate my time and energy if I was serious about making my own costume. I took a theatre costuming class to learn about pattern making and how to sew with different fabrics, and I read a lot of tutorials online. My first cosplay was Tali’Zorah from Mass Effect 1. It was a poor choice on my end since I was a sewing novice and knew little about armor making, but it was well received. The feedback and lessons I learned helped me progress and get better at cosplaying.
Aria T'Loak
What’s your favorite aspect of making costumes and cosplaying in general? My favorite part when I am making costumes is finding the materials–shopping! I know that is such a girly reply but I feel so satisfied when I find the perfect fabric, even better when I find something on sale or have coupons to save money! It is hard to choose the best part of cosplaying at a con, but I would have to say it is seeing the reaction on other people’s faces. It feels fantastic when someone shouts my character’s name across a room or runs up to me asking for a photo and that they have been trying to find me all day. Meeting people who appreciate the series I am cosplaying from is the best feeling in the world, because we are both sharing this total geek-out moment and discussing our favorite parts about the characters and story.
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya
I think my favorite specific moment was cosplaying as Female Shepard at San Diego Comic Con. I was bummed out that I didn’t have my Morinth costume ready and I used my FemShep dress as a backup for the Bioware Costume Contest. I felt completely insecure because my costume was so plain compared to other cosplayers’ elaborate Mass Effect costumes, but then I decided I was going to make the most of it and have fun with my cosplay by assuming the role of “Party Shepard.” With a bottle of wine I borrowed from an open bar and a sway in my walk, I shambled on stage and turned on an obnoxious and loud personality with plenty of “drunk” dancing. People loved it and I had a blast! I still get messages and emails from people explaining how they saw me on BiowareTV and that I was their favorite cosplayer at the contest by that performance alone. Is there anything you don’t like about making costumes or cosplaying? Making costume patterns from scratch. That is the most difficult part and it is endlessly frustrating when I cannot figure out how to get the sizing just right.
Elf costume
What do you currently have in the works? Anything you’ve been dying to make? Currently I am working on a Wrex from Mass Effect for my friend, which just so happens to be a costume I have been dying to make! I am also working on Scout’s mom from Team Fortress 2 and I am considering a costume from Borderlands–not sure which character to make yet. Expanding on the last question, what factors go into deciding who you want to cosplay as? There are a few factors, the most important is cosplaying from a series I absolutely adore. I think it shows how passionate I am about Mass Effect and Dragon Age since those two are the only series I have cosplayed from (so far!), and I think fans of the series are happy to know I am genuinely interested in the games and not just choosing the costume because it looks cool. I am also a glutton for punishment and go for costumes that are complex and rarely seen in the cosplay community.
Flemeth Cosplay
Another important factor in choosing a costume is how much fun it will be to cosplay that character. I enjoy characters that are morally ambiguous, like Aria T’Loak and Flemeth. They make me feel conflicted and unsure of their motives–although their actions do seem to be driven by their own selfish desires, but who can blame them? That is a realistic personality. On the other hand, I have cosplayed as characters I don’t care for such as Miranda and Morinth (sorry fanboys!). I thought it would be fun to cosplay them since people at cons say things about my Miranda cosplay like “I chose Jack over you! Sorry, I have a soft spot for bad girls” and I just HAVE to interact with some in-character quip, and when I cosplay as Morinth I act like a minx–it is insanely fun to do and fans get a kick out of it.
Taylor Bennett
Any helpful advice for fellow cosplayers? Never get discouraged, whether it is negative comments on your costume, your skill level, etc. The worst thing you can do to yourself is start comparing your work to cosplayers who have either been making costumes for years, have fancier tools and equipment, or a bigger budget. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have the right budget, tools, body type, gender, or personality for a character. If you want to dedicate your time, money, and passion into a certain costume that is your business and no one else’s. And always remember: HAVE FUN WITH IT! A big thank you to Taylor for granting us an interview! Be sure to check out more of her work at her Deviant Art page: http://hmwsgx.deviantart.com/.
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