Spotlight – Nerds of ‘Play

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Trevor: Hey guys, it’s Trevor with ComicCon Tips. We’re here with another mini-shoot and interview with an awesome group of cosplayers, doing a Dragonball Z shoot today. So I’m gonna let them introduce themselves.

Whitney: Hi, I’m Whitney Warnick, or Zabracus Cosplay.

Noah: Noah Biorge, or Booker Noir Cosplay.

Ashleigh: Ashleigh Kieran, or Xyterra Cosplay.

Ian: Ian Payne or, A. Leon Cosplay.

Whitney: And together, we are The Nerds of Play.

Trevor: Nerds of Play, okay. Dragonball Z, that’s the theme today. Why did we pick Dragonball Z?

Ian: It was more or less a group of people all kinda dressed the same at Comic Con at one point, and we all kinda met through that, and then decided to correlate and make costumes to basically compliment everybody else’s.

Trevor: So are you all individual cosplayers that got to know each other through cosplay?

Ian and Whitney: Yes.

Trevor: How did that go down?

Ian: I basically started a group with a few other people that aren’t here. Through them, I met one person who led me to Noah. Then, from Noah—Noah led me to Whitney. Then one of the other person who helped start the group led me to Ashleigh. Then we kind of trimmed because of offsetting personalities – that type of stuff – and we’re the ones that decided to stay together.

Trevor: That’s awesome. So, how’s it been? Is this your first group together, or your first cosplay that’s a group cosplay?

Ian and Whitney: Yes.

Trevor: So you’ve worn it to which conventions so far?

Ian: Just Anime Bonzai so far as these costumes are. We were together at Comic Con basically how we are but—

Ashleigh: Save for one.

Trevor: So what are you future plans with your cosplay group?

Whitney: Right now, we’re planning on continuing DBZ characters for the next year or so, going to con wise. But as far as creating our next cosplays, we’re planning on doing Final Fantasy. We’ll be doing characters from Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VII, and then iconic Final Fantasy characters.

Noah: Yeah, Iconic characters.

Ashleigh: Iconic Creatures?

Noah: Yeah, because I was thinking about chocobos and [inaudible]

Ashleigh: We’re also for Halloween, doing a costume contest. We’re going to be Batman villains. I’m going to be Catwoman. Whitney over here is going to be…

Whitney: Poison Ivy, but an Autumn version of Poison Ivy.

Noah: I’ll be Scarecrow.

Ian: And I’ll be The Riddler, Jim Carrey version.

Trevor: So where do you think that this group is going to go? Where would you like it to take you?

Noah: To the top.

Ian: Shooting to the stars [laughter]. We start small, but when you get the recognition that we’ve already started to get, you know with the right attitude and the right commitment, there’s plenty of opportunity in the future. Whether it’s just us being nerds – cosplaying for the rest of our lives until we’re as old as Roshi is, or we actually make something of it and do maybe makeup, or props, or something like that for a studio, it really doesn’t matter. It’s all about the group. We work well together. It’s fun.

Trevor: Cool. So let’s maybe go around and hear about each of your individual cosplay experiences and maybe some of your favorite costumes that you’ve done, and what challenges you faced maybe. Whitney, we’ll start with you.

Nerds of Play small (5)Whitney: So, I’ve done a few cosplays. Most of my cosplays have been DBZ. The one I’m wearing today has been Vegeta. I also have an Android 18, and a Chi-Chi. I’ve done a Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, and a more particular one is Sheryl Tunt, Martian Queen from Archer – where I wear a dryer hose and a bubble wrap dress. Creating that was interesting, but my hardest challenge as far as cosplay costume creation has been Vegeta. It was my first time ever working with thermomorphic plastics – Worbla and Wonderflex. I’d like ot think they turned out pretty well. Morphing them wasn’t necessarily the hard part, it was adhering all of the many pieces together because when you watch a cartoon, or anime, or whatever, the characters just are drawn into their costumes. Whereas, if you’re cosplaying it, you have to figure out how to take that costume on and off, and be able to move in it. So trying to figure out that has been awful. Actually, at our last con – Anime Bonzai in Layton, Utah – I spent the majority of the day on Saturday fixing my armor because it continuously kept breaking. And we had a cosplay contest that day, so it was very imperative that I fix it. But it all worked out. In general it’s just been a blast having to go through all these challenges – trying different methods of creating costumes, working with different materials – and working with this lovely group of people.

Trevor: So how did you get started in cosplay?

Whitney: I got started around the time of Salt Lake Comic Con 2013 – last year, their first one. I’ve always been interesting in Halloween and theater and whatnot, but I finally had an opportunity to dress up at a convention. I’ve always wanted to go to San Diego Comic-Con, but it’s far away, and hard to get into, and expensive, and all that stuff. So finally, there was a local con that I could go and immediately, as soon as they announced it, I decided that I was going to dress up for that. So, it just sort of happened that I came into cosplay. I love video games and movies and nerd stuff, and I finally had an opportunity to bring all of my favorite characters to life and be them, and it’s fun.

Trevor: Cool. All right you’re up.

Nerds of Play small (1)Noah: So just talk about my cosplays, right?

Trevor: Right. Cosplay, costume experience, how you got into it, challenges.

Noah: All right. How I got into it is I’ve always been a geek, so [chuckles]… I have a mustache stuck on my face right now, so I can’t really get it off.

Trevor: What you’re not saying is that he’s randomly holding the mustache out of his lips as he’s talking.

Noah: Well, my first costume ever was Mario from Super Mario Bros. It’s one of the ones everyone loves because I look just Mario in Mario costume, but I guess that’s the point. That was probably one of the easiest, but of course my all-time favorite. He’s one of my personal heroes. I don’t know the most difficult one. I know what the most difficult one is going to be, but we haven’t really done a difficult one. I haven’t yet.

Ian: To be continued.

Noah: Yeah, on that one. Probably Booker Noir – a cosplay I created, by original cosplay – is probably the most difficult because he has a giant mechanical arm and a mechanical leg. Just making those was just a pain in the butt to make.

Trevor: What materials did you use for that?

Noah: A lot of EVA foam, hot glue, duct tape, and rub and buff for the paint.

Ashleigh: And bottles.

Noah: And yeah, bottles, like glass bottles.

Ashleigh: LED lights.

Noah: LED lights, and then in the leg, it was a medical leg brace, a medical knee brace, and shin guards. I just had to modify all that stuff and put it together. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Pretty cool.

Trevor: Nice. Awesome. How about you?

Ashleigh: I was always doing costumes and stuff. My mom always made my costumes for Halloween. I was in theater. I was a figure skater. I was always into costumes. So for Halloween in when I kind of started getting into it. Then I heard about cons, and I kind of wanted to go to the 2013 Comic con, but I just never really did it until this year. Like he said, one of our friends had contacted me after a few years of not talking, just kind of found me on Facebook and was like, “Hey, I saw that you wanted to do Fantasy Con. Are you into that kind of stuff?” And I was like, “Yeah, like I really wanted to do this. I don’t really know where to begin, where to start, how to do any of this, fairly newb.” So he was just like, “Hey, well I have this group that we want you to be a part of.” It was like, immediately I was just able to see all the tools and materials that go into it, and it was easy kind of figure it out.

Ian: And we haven’t gotten rid of her since.

Ashleigh: And you’re not going to.

Trevor: So is this your first costume then?

Ashleigh: Yes.

Trevor: For conventions.

Ashleigh: Yes. This was my first one. I also have one similar to Vegeta’s. It’s the Saiyan armor as Zarbon, another villain. Then I also have a Great Saiyaman 2, which is Videl. She has this helmet and a cape and this weird tunic thing. It’s a fairly simple costume, but not my favorite.

Trevor: So what’s been your most challenging piece you’ve had to do so far?

Ashleigh: The Saiyan armor, the thermomorphic plastic.

Trevor: Was it a similar thing where it was attaching them together, or was it the molding or–?

Ashleigh: It was molding the chest got really difficult. It wasn’t easy.

Noah: Do you want me to say it, or do you want to just say what the problem was?

Ashleigh: No,I don’t think it’s necessary.

Noah: Boobs.

Trevor: Yeah, I’m sure everybody can guess already what the problem was [laughter].

Noah: Massive boobs.

Trevor: You said chest piece, and then we’re bending plastic, right?

Ashleigh: Yes. Very difficult. Also a huge difficulty we ran into is Cell. Cell, we used a lot of EVA foam, crafting foam, hot glue. It just didn’t want to stay in a certain form.

Noah: Let’s let Ian admit all his flaws on Cell.

Trevor: All right Ian, how about you?

Nerds of Play small (3)Ian: This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve had a few costumes in mind for as long as I can remember. Piccolo was one, and then a Final Fantasy character, and Darth Maul. All are characters that I always wanted to do. Me and my cousin talked about doing this type of thing forever, and there was just never a con around. I think I actually lost a bet to him saying that I had to pay for his entrance into like seven different cons, but let’s hope he doesn’t remember that. But the second it came around here, it was all gung ho. I haven’t missed a con since Salt Lake Comic Con started, and I don’t plan to. The Piccolo costume was kind of a spur of the moment thing. I had a Half Life head crab planned for my first costume, and when that kind of fell through at the last minute, I had two weeks to put something together. I think my Piccolo actually turned out pretty decent for a two-week project. By far, the hardest costume I’ve ever had to make though – and probably ever will because if I ever do anything like it again, I’ll do it the smart way – is my Cell costume. There’s no way it would have gotten done without the help of the people here, especially Ashleigh. If it wasn’t for her, it wouldn’t even be half done. So just individual pieces, it was hard to put together, it was hard to put on, it was hard to move in. I looked like Frankenstein with a stick up his butt. But those are really the only two costumes I’ve done so far. Obviously, plenty in the future to come. But I’ve helped him a lot with his Roshi and stuff like that. It’s just an overall fun experience. Probably the best part is when you get the little kids who come up to you and know who you are and want to take a picture with you, because you can see in their eyes, they really care about your character. It’s like when they wake up Christmas morning and see the presents under the tree from Santa. It’s just a good experience to be able to do that for them

Trevor: So out of the four of you, who is the biggest Dragonball Z fan?

Ian: I’d probably say I am.

Trevor: So introduce our listeners to Dragonball Z if they haven’t heard of it before.

Ian: Dragonball Z’s an anime, a Japanese cartoon that follows mainly one person, Goku, which we don’t have here. As far as characters, I think Noah plans on making one at some point but… He’s an alien from another planet who has basically super strength, the ability to fly, the ability to blast energy, stuff like that, and he’s actually grown accustomed to the planet Earth. He was sent here originally to destroy it, but he’s ended up becoming its number one guardian and gathering a group called the Z Fighters that all work together to save the planet from constant alien threats because Earth is just a magnet for some reason.

Whitney: Because reasons.

Trevor: Okay, well let’s wrap it up with – because we’re all about the con tips – let’s have each of you tell us your best convention tip, and then maybe one at the end. So Whitney, you get to do two. Whoever’s ready can go first.

Ian: I would say hot glue is your best friend. You will hot glue everything, and you better bring it to con with you. If they don’t have a station to fix yourself, superglue, EVA foam, and Worbla will save you. That is cosplay.

Whitney: No matter what, just have fun. Whether you’re cosplaying, whether you’re just attending a convention, it doesn’t matter. Just have fun.

Ashleigh: My tip is to make your costume in such a way that you can get it off and on. It doesn’t have to be necessarily easy to take it off and on, but if you have to go to the bathroom—you better make sure that that costume, before you leave the house, is going to be able to at least come off of you and go back on somehow.

Noah: I would say, do it for the fans. Do what you do for the fans of the show and your fans.

Trevor: Cool, do it for the fans. One more.

Whitney: Never be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s getting on YouTube and watching tutorials or going on a forum and just asking your question. If you need to know something, there is always someone who knows how to do it and who would always be willing to help you.

Ian: If they’re a true cosplayer, they will be there for you because they want to see your costume succeed – sometimes even more than they care about their own.

Trevor: And just one last time to end, your group page is where.

Whitney: It is on Facebook. It is Nerds of Play. Like birds of prey, but nerds of play, coplay.

Trevor: All right guys, thanks. It’s been fun. Stay weird!

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Trevor Nielson
Writer & Photographer at ComicCon.tips
An avid photographer and con-goer, Trevor has spent the last few years developing great affection towards the cosplay community and comic conventions. Back in the day, Trevor spent all his spare time in the theater designing and building sets and lighting schemes. More recently Trevor has dabbled a little with cosplay by building an elaborate Burger King costume and lit Kevin Flynn. But in relation to cosplay, Trevor is probably most passionate about cosplay photography. Here on CosplayForAll, you'll find many of his spotlight articles and photos of local cosplayers showing off their amazing creations. Feel free to get in touch with him if you have any questions or requests.

Trevor Nielson

An avid photographer and con-goer, Trevor has spent the last few years developing great affection towards the cosplay community and comic conventions. Back in the day, Trevor spent all his spare time in the theater designing and building sets and lighting schemes. More recently Trevor has dabbled a little with cosplay by building an elaborate Burger King costume and lit Kevin Flynn. But in relation to cosplay, Trevor is probably most passionate about cosplay photography. Here on CosplayForAll, you'll find many of his spotlight articles and photos of local cosplayers showing off their amazing creations. Feel free to get in touch with him if you have any questions or requests.

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