This week we chat with the Amazing Terrance! He is one of those great comic lovers who, out of necessity, decided to redo something and found a niche he was really great at. Never think that one particular skill that you are good at (in his case, being master of the mask) isn’t marketable…everyone appreciates great work! Terrance is also involved in an amazing project that you should check out and support! Love seeing folks pursuing their dreams. Maybe it will inspire you to get busy on your own.
1. What made you decide to make your first costume?
I actually started out making masks. Spider-man masks to be specific. I decided this would be something I needed to do to improve a Licensed Spider-Man costume I received during a brief stint making character appearances for a certain company. I enjoyed making them and sometimes I sold them, too.
2. How long have you been doing cosplay?
Cosplay? Is that what this is called? When I started I had not even heard the term before. It’s been a decade since it has become a hobby of mine. Before that I was paid for it.
2.5 Can you disclose whom you have worked for and how your experiences were there? A ton of people want to do all the things you have done!
I worked for the Marvel Appearance Company (now called the Marvel Characters Appearance Program Company) as none other than Spider-Man before I began “cosplay” for fun. The experience was great! I have a few stories. Other than that, costumed related work has been related to convention going.
3. What is the most expensive costume you have ever done?
The most expensive costume I’ve made was a “Spider-Man 2″ costume. The most expensive costume I’ve worn is my Mighty Morphin Power Rangers White Ranger costume that I received from a well known PR costume maker in a trade.
4. Are you able to make a living with cosplay? If not, what is your dream job?
I’ve never considered making a living with cosplay, I’m not a vastly skilled costume creator like some of my friends are. I do this for fun, really. Although it has connected me with “gigs” via networking. My dream job would be something related to comics, animation or film work. Maybe even all three.
4.5 Are you a writer/illustrator? Do you have a place you showcase your work that you would like to share?
I am an artist/graphic artist naturally. Drawing mostly, but I’m developing my digital skills. I haven’t got my personal website ready yet (procrastination), but I urge you to check out http://www.knightseeker.com/. It’s an ongoing project that I am attached to with a great writer friend of mine, Eric Cooper. Lots of awesome artists and other writers are involved as well. I’m working on a couple of other projects that I cannot reveal at this time.
5. Do you have a costume that keeps falling apart at the last minute or do they always execute perfectly? What would you say is the amount of time involved in the costume from inception to unveiling?
I don’t have any costume that keeps falling apart at the last minute. Not yet anyway. The costumes on my current roster are commissioned from very talented friends in the community. Anytime that I’ve gotten something that I thought may need re-enforcement, I took care of that prior to wearing it. There was this one time…at NYCC…that a Spidey costume I pulled out of retirement…didn’t execute perfectly for the entire day.
The last time I made a costume the amount of time involved from start to finish was about a month. This involved photoshop work, a print shop, sewing, painting and gluing pieces. The time varies though, depending on what goes into whats being made and how much free time I’d have to work on it.
6. How many Cons do you attend a year?
I don’t have a set number of Cons I attend yearly. It has been as many as 10 and sometimes as little as 2. The convention I plan to attend year to year without fail whenever possible is Dragon*Con!!
6.5 What Cons do you have planned for 2013? Any new characters you are working on that will make an appearance?
I am working on updating a couple of old costumes (Green Lantern/ Black Panther) this year for some exciting photoshoots planned at Dragon*Con 2013. Also to augment a Thunderbolt shoot with some friends and an eventual Firefly shoot, I’ll be working on some new cosplays.
7. Do you make the pieces from scratch or do you commission your costumes?
I’ve done both. Like I said earlier though, my current roster of costumes are commissioned from very talented friends. I do my best to wear them well to better represent the character of choice though.
8. What is your all-time favorite costume?
I no longer have my all-time favorite costume. It was the first Spider-man 2002 movie version costume I did completely by hand.
9. What changes have you seen in the cosplay community over the years you have been participating? Are they good changes or bad changes? How has technology affected the fabrics/ideas/designs?
I’ve seen a few changes in the cosplay community. Well, at least in the little area I pay attention to. I’ve noticed a vast increase in the female cosplayer in recent years. I’m not a sexist, but its something I’ve noticed. A lot more of my friends in the community are female it seems these days. Is it a good or bad thing? It’s good for getting the hobby noticed more by the public and shows that there actually are a lot of ladies that enjoy the same geeky goodness. Recently I’ve met people at conventions that are brand new to the scene that are surprised that men would wear costumes and that they thought only girls did. A long time ago it was more like, “I wish there were more girls that dressed up at Comic Conventions.” With all the publicity that conventions get nowadays, more people attend because its something “cool” to do. That can be good and bad, depends on how you look at it. A trend I’ve also noticed lately is how people in the community are a lot more open about their creative process and how people have become a lot kinder in the way they treat each other. Not saying that there aren’t many egos and folks that feed off of creating drama, but things seem to be heading in a better direction as far as that is concerned.
Technology has greatly affected the cosplay community. A bit of costume designs are done digitally via programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. Look at my Amazing Spider-man movie costume as a great example of that. Printing techniques, fabric development, designs are all improved upon thru technology advances. Ideas are shared and improved thru being able to share/observe online with social media sites, forums like the League of Heroes (LOH), the Superhero Costuming Forum (SCF), the Replica Prop Forum (RPF).
9.5 I have heard this from a lot of cosplayers at the sudden entry of high numbers of female cosplayers that may be there for the wrong reason (even from longtime female cosplayers). Do you think it is a fad or will it be a permanent change to the landscape?
I believe the invasion will be a permanent change. With the rapid growth and popularity of the comic convention in recent years, this was inevitable. Unfortunately my fellow geeks that happen to be female get scrutinized now because of it. As upsetting as it can be at times, I expected it.
My advice would be to do your research on the hobby, convention, character, costume that you have in mind before you begin. I’d like to say that it isn’t for everyone, understand that this is something that exposes you to criticism from your peers and the public. Be nice, make friends. Expect to be blown away by how awesome some folks are and by how mean some are. Most of all…HAVE FUN!
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