Here is a selection of the best of the weekends panels from Star Wars Celebration Europe at the ExCel Exhibition Centre, London, July 15th-17th.
As part of the film “Beneath The Masks”, (formerly Cos’ We Can), we need cold, hard facts! And where better a place to get such things than from the Northern Ireland cosplay family!
So, we have put together a survey to capture some information about your cosplay and convention experience. Even if you attend conventions, or plan to in the future, and don’t cosplay please do take the time to complete this.
The survey will run until end of October when filming comes to an end. But the information we capture will play a piviotal part in telling the Northern Ireland cosplay story.
You can complete the survey by clicking here. It will take anywhere from 5-15 mins to complete depending on your answers.
Feel free to share and invite others to take part as well, thank you!
At the start of this year I finally decided to do something I have talked about for more years than I can even remember, start my own business! And after careful consideration of what I wanted to do (and could do) I felt there was a gap in the market for affordable high quality video production aimed at SME’s to form part of their online marketing strategy. And as a secondary revenue stream I would also offer practical advice on growing their business through social media.
I have always wanted to create films and movies. Back in 2010 I even shot a film in Madrid, Spain. I have had small roles behind the camera for other productions. And I have a stack of scripts for short movies and viral adverts dying to be made. Simply put I just have a very (un)healthy obsession with films in general!
I have also been fortunate enough to be a huge collaborator on business processes and services for some of the worlds leading business process outsourcers, big pharma, telecoms providers, and software developers. I have led a number of digital strategies, projects delivering lean process across countries and continents, and very successfully managed social media accounts for a number of other companies. And I have also provided support and advice to a few start-ups over the years which continue to flourish today.
With all that considered, I felt the time was right to stop doing for others as an employee and start doing for me as the boss! And the time was most certainly right to start breathing life in to all those scripts and creating a bit of on screen magic!
And so it began, the formation of Roll VT Productions Ltd. I had it all figured out; business plan, strategies, projections, growth, portfolio building, clients on the books, all was ready to go. And then something a little unexpected happened …
Last year I was introduced to the world of cosplay. For those of you that don’t know what cosplay is, in crude summary it is the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game and typically attending comic and film conventions, or “Comic-Cons”, in said costumes. Last year was the first time I had ever attended a convention and I dressed up as the character “Bane” from The Dark Knight Rises.
Still with me? Good!
When you go to one of these conventions dressed as a popular character from the world of fiction you feel like an absolute rock star! The clamour of people trying to get their picture with you and chat with you and meet you is a pure, unadulterated, adrenaline rush! But what also blew my mind was the standard of costumes others were dressed in, most of which created by hand from scratch. I am not talking about the type of thing you would see hanging in a plastic bag in a fancy dress shop. I mean full-on, authentic dress, complete with all the accessories etc synonymous with what ever the character was. Totally mind blowing!
So when I started to put together Roll VT Productions it was always in my mind to do a documentary about cosplaying in Northern Ireland and its growth and popularity within the province. With three major conventions happening in Belfast this year 2015 was as good a time as any to do such a film. And it was only ever intended to be a side project, something separate and apart from the core business, a hobby if you like, a labour of love.
When the word went out to the cosplay community that I was looking for people to take part in this documentary the response was truly overwhelming! I don’t mean the volume of response, I mean the quality of the replies I was getting! So many people, so passionate and enthusiastic about what they do! And that passion and enthusiasm was infectious. And very soon the project was becoming something much grander and bigger than a little hobbiest venture.
And it was then, when I seen what this was becoming and what it needed as far as time and effort to do the cosplay world in Northern Ireland justice, I decided to suspend the commercial side of Roll VT indefinitely.
So why would I bother sharing this with the world? Good question …
Have you ever seen a film director or producer receiving an award for their work, an Oscar for example? And they start gushing about how passionate the project was and how marvellous everyone involved was to work with? I would always roll my eyes and cynically quip, “nothing to do with the money then?”
Now I get it, I totally get it! It is incredible how much a movie project can take a hold of your heart and mind and consume you. Yes, I am extremely passionate about this project and I have probably the best group of people I could have ever hoped to work with. It is because of them that the flame of passion for this film continues to intensify.
And now we are a little over a day away from our first shoot …
The point of this diatribe is this; follow your heart and follow your passion.
Yes, my dream was always to start my own business and be my own boss. But my passion has always been film and film making. The business thing has been moved to the side for now, or maybe permanently. Who knows what the future might bring. If you had told me even a month ago that I would be consumed by this film project and would be fortunate enough to work with such an amazing group of people I would have at least raised an eyebrow. But it has consumed me and I am going to work with astonishing people.
Tomorrow is never, ever, the same as yesterday. All the old clichés like, “never know what’s round the corner”, suddenly make a lot of sense.
This project could be the greatest triumph of my life or my worst ever mistake. Either way I can at least say, “I did” instead of thinking of “what if”, which would be the greatest failure of all.
Beneath The Masks, (formerly Cos’ We Can), is a documentary film exploring the growth of the cosplay scene in Northern Ireland. It is an independent production, being made on a “zero” budget, un-scripted, and a not-for-profit venture.
Some weeks ago I sent something of a casting call out looking for Northern Ireland cosplayers attending the three main Northern Ireland events this year; MCM, Q-Con, and Showmasters. The response was overwhelming! I never expected quite the reaction I got when I made that first post.
After careful consideration of all the mails and messages I received asking to appear, reflecting on what I wanted the movie to illustrate and portray, and trying to balance each aspect of the film, I finally managed to come up with the “key” cast members.
So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you all to the heart and soul of the documentary film “Beneath The Masks” (in the typical film fashion of alphabetical order):
Joanne Alexander – HedgeScout
Dermot Devlin – My Way Access
Courtney McQuillan – Brokenhyperlink
It has been my distinct honour and pleasure to get to know these guys over the past weeks. And I have no doubt that with the camera following them through this years big three conventions they will do the world of Northern Ireland cosplay very proud!
Feel free to support them and visit their Facebook pages to give them a wee like!
And that is not to take away from anyone that took the time to contact me over these weeks enquiring about the film. It is the passion and commitment to cosplay that everyone has demonstrated in their communication with me that reinforces the fact that this film deserves to be made!
I look forward to meeting all of you personally and getting some camera time with you as well. Each and every one of you that cosplay are incredible and I am in awe of what you do!