Show more actual crafting and sewing
In Part 1 of the series finale, something seemed a little different about the footage of Chloe Dykstra and her father legendary special effects artist John Dykstra while working on her Borderlands 2 costume accessories. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but the more I watched, the more I am convinced that perhaps Dykstra had filmed the footage herself rather than employing the 51 Minds staff cameramen/women.
Because of this, Dykstra’s segment became more interesting to me, and I definitely wanted to watch more of the fabrication process. And judging from comments I’ve seen all over the place, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
One of the first questions a cosplayer hears is “Did you make that yourself?” And if the answer is yes, more questions come out regarding the fabrication of the pieces. While “Heroes of Cosplay” did highlight some of the elements that go into the actual sewing and crafting of a costume, for a show that’s all about costuming, there’s very little of the art shown about the craft.
It’s not like you can’t make riveting TV out of watching something get built. Half of the fun of the Mythbusters show is watching them make the machines and robots or take apart machines so that they can test myths. There’s also an educational aspect to it as well; for example, if it weren’t for Mythbusters, I wouldn’t have remembered from my AP chemistry classes that pure sodium is flammable.
And what about Project: Runway? Sure, a lot of the fun of that show revolves around the drama of competition and the regular reality TV character tropes, but I doubt that the series would have survived 12 regular seasons, three “all-star” seasons, and a move to a different network on just the “dramatic” competition aspect alone. Watching Austin Scarlett make a beautiful dress out of nothing but corn husks was one of the reasons why the very first episode of the show was received so well.
If you can marry a crafting project to a geeky or pop culture subject, watching someone make something out of nothing can be fascinating to an audience, even if you don’t have any experience with the craft itself. Recently, I posted a link to a series on YouTube called “Man at Arms” which focuses on watching master blacksmith and film prop maker Tony Swatton and his workers build actual working replicas of swords and other metal-based weapons found in TV shows, movies, and video games. I have no idea of what tools he’s using and why, but watching him make a Kingdom Hearts keyblade or a Klingon bat’leth is so fascinating that I just want to keep watching to see what else he could make.
Luckily, part of that thirst is being quenched thanks to the gang at the Tested website and YouTube channel, who have teamed up with special effects artist (and former contestant on SyFy’s “Face Off”) Frank Ippolito and spending the next six months creating and building a photorealistic costume of Zoidberg from “Futurama”. But I think that an episode or two focusing on just one costume and exactly how long it takes to put it all together would be great.
So with proof of concept out there, I’m confident that my third edict about a new “Heroes of Cosplay” show should be met: Show more of the actual crafting and fabrication that is going into these costumes.