This month we meet a cosplay family that hails from Kempton Park in Gauteng. Cosplay Weirdos has been making quite the name for themselves on our local cosplay scene and they walked away with a number of awards from the Cosplay Competition held at rAge Expo earlier this year.
Lets meet Steven and his two sons, Connor and Tristan and see if we can find about more about their passion for cosplay….
Hello there Cosplay Weirdos!! Tell us a bit more about the person or people behind the cosplay persona?
Being fairly new to cosplay a lot of people don’t know who we are and how our little family works. I am 41 years young, my son Connor 11 and stepson Tristan 15. I am Divorced and got married again last December and have a very understanding and supportive wife. Celine is our behind the scenes assistant, pack donkey, communications officer, medic and ATM. Close friends and family know me as Steven – a lot of people call me Shane as per Facebook profile, but when they get to know me they know that I prefer Steven. (I also go by the names of Babe, Liefie, and Skapie and sometimes ‘Don’t do that!’ – depending who I piss off)
My son and I are Afrikaans and my wife and step son English – this works!
I have a small telecoms company and we do contract work for Vodacom and Cell C – NO, I can’t get you a phone or airtime I love what I’m doing and I get to see some really awesome and amazing places in my travels.
We love to entertain – be it a nice braai, going out to dinner or when we cosplay, it’s about making other people feel good, that makes us feel good. I am a strong believer in what you give you get.
How and when did you get started in Cosplay and why do you enjoy it?
That was Geekfest 2013! It was more about my son at that time. He wanted to cosplay Frank West from Dead Rising 2: Off the Record after playing the game. Google, a lot of hours of crafting, blood, sweat, tears and a bit of swearing later we managed to pull a proper cosplay together that got him 3rd place. I can tell you that it takes a lot of guts to get on a stage and for a then shy 9 year old it must have been terrifying! So since then it we were hooked. My first cosplay was at the same event with a shop bought Boba Fett costume and self-made gun. Tristan cosplayed as a soldier.
We love everything, from the inception of the idea of what to cosplay to the prop and costume making and then finally the cosplay itself. I think the most enjoyment comes from someone appreciating your work, liking a photo, asking for a pic to be taken, a high five or just a smile – Mission accomplished! Another thing is that we get to craft and create things together.
Congratulations on your recent awards at rAge 2015!! Can you tell us a bit more about the prep work that went into preparing these costumes and the skits?
Thank you – we are so fortunate to be able to do the things that we like.
With the Toy Soldier it was more trial and error than anything else. Once I managed to source the material and props and made the modifications I started with painting – 8 layers of paint in total! The Bazooka and binoculars were made from water pipes and adaptors. Then it was a mission to get the face paint to match!?! Closest that we could get was food colouring and Vaseline. I knew that it would be tough to wear the costume in the heat as the material did not breathe and got very hot so I had an iced camel pack on my back with 2 litres of ice and gel ice pack in my pockets and one in my helmet. The people and vibe at rAge were awesome.
As for the boys – Connor did Deadpool! We made the swords and knife and used a dog harness to fit the pouches etc. Suit was commissioned and holsters were bought. I let him work with some of the power tools and it helped him to build confidence in making his own props and ideas. Most of the skit was his idea. Deadpool with a banana phone – only he can come up with things like that! I just tweaked it a bit and Tristan did the voice over for the recording. It took us about 10 takes to get it right. He was super nervous to go on stage, we loved his skit and when they announced that his was the best skit we were so surprised and proud of his efforts…
Tristan wanted to do Ichigo for a while….we had his coat commissioned by Kanji Cosplay (https://www.facebook.com/kanjicosplay) The sword and wig was bought and modified by him. Although this was his first cosplay competition entry he did a pretty decent Dead Rising 3 cosplay at Geekfest this year.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of cosplaying?
So many different things, mostly games, movies Lego and then cars. Most of our free time will be spend going to cons or else just chilling at home, swimming, playing games or just stuffing around on the net. I am a bit of a gadget freak and have lots of ‘toys’
Wig or no wig – which do you prefer and why?
Hey – we getting old, so we do hide the grey with some highlights now and then! But seriously, whatever the cosplay needs. Mmmm…..wonder how I would look with dreadlocks….
What is the one thing that you try and avoid when making a new costume?
Sewing! That is probably the main reason why we do the cosplays that we do! We do like to bring in more electronics and gadgets into our props…so for now we stick to what we know
We all know that cosplay has been become a very expensive hobby these days, do you have hints or tips for other cosplayers as far as cutting down expenses etc. are concerned?
Recycle! I would also suggest swopping expertise between each other – I might have certain skills and materials that I swop for something that someone else have. An example is that Johann (https://www.facebook.com/zkcosplay) have experience and material to help me with my one prop and in exchange I have some LED’s and battery packs spare that he might need. If you’re done with a wig or prop or whatever then someone else might have the need for it. Sell or swop?
Every Cosplayer has a favorite part of creating a costume or something they are really good at, what is yours?
We like bringing different and unique things to cosplay. Something that everyone can relate to and that appeals to most people. The ‘play’ part of cosplay is what we love the most and I think that is what makes us, us. Interacting with other people and bringing smiles to their faces.
Tell us about your most epic fail ever, whilst crafting a cosplay costume
BB-8!?!?!?!? It’s NOT easy to get or make a 1.2m diameter ball. I have had sleepless nights and spend a lot of time to get it right. From using plastic strips to bendable water pipe to chicken wire mesh to large beach balls and then finally (hopefully) a very large half round polystyrene ball that we will fibreglass. When you craft and fail you will never get that time back, but the experience that you gain in failing and trying again is worth a lot more! Wish us luck for this as we need it.
Another funny story was when we cosplayed Minecraft Steve – we got suited up at the car. I asked one of my sons friends to walk ahead and warn me about any obstacles. He somehow missed the biggest boulder and I tripped over it falling flat face down on the ground. My suit was a mess, but we managed to patch. Always have an emergency repair kit nearby!
Which character do you consider to be your Holy Grail of cosplays?
We have not done that many yet, but Connors first cosplay as Frank West from Dead Rising will always be special as it was our first competition. For me it is Load Shedder! An iconic supervillain unique to South Africa. When we are done with BB-8 I think it will be taking the top spot….until next year
South Africa’s convention scene has been growing leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. Do you have any tips for the other cosplayers as to how to stay comfortable throughout the day?
Talking from experience – Minecraft Steve and Villager, Load Shedder, Hatty Hattington and then the worst of all the Toy Soldier. These were all very uncomfortable and extremely hot cosplays. Hydrate, take time for yourself, wear comfortable shoes…are all things we should have done! I guess if you have a support team it helps, when you get into character you tend to neglect yourself and your partner (sorry Babe) and with a friend or partner that keeps you in check it should be a bit easier.
Which international con would you really love to go to and why?
New York Comic Con – we would make a whole trip out of it. See New York, got to Disney World drive along Route 66, visit some family and show them how to braai!
Current home town
Steven Shannon (age 41)
Connor Shannon (age 11)
Tristan Rowat (age 15)
Kempton Park, Gauteng
I am most like…..
- Sheldon Cooper
- Leonard Hofstadter
- Howard Wolowitz
- Raj Koothrappali
Answer : Howard Wolowitz
Haha… I asked my wife this and she said Howard with a bit of Sheldon. I can be a bit of a show off like Howard with his wit and ‘charm’ (if you can call it that) with a lot of Sheldon’s sense of humour and OCD. I don’t think that I’m right….I know I am!
Which gaming platform do you prefer?
Answer: Has to be Xbox for us
Which game is your favourite to play, and why?
Console games like Destiny because its open world and you can team up or go solo. Most co-op games are also very nice because we get to play together. COD, Lego and Minecraft is some of our other favourites.
Complete the sentence: I was walking towards the spaceship when……
…out of the blue there were sirens and lights all around me! Time stood still, I was amazed at the amount of soldiers and weapons but laughed it off. Everyone had their weapons drawn! I could see a well-dressed gentleman and an attractive lady walking slowly towards the spaceship…closer and closer…everything went quiet. I could see the names on the badges clearly – Mulder and Scully. Mulder pointed at me and whispered to Scully ‘This is the droid we’re looking for’
Pictures were supplied to GES-SA by the featured Cosplayer. We do not own these pictures so if you do, and you would like to us to add the credit please drop us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cosplay Weirdos have some awesome videos showcasing their various cosplays and skits, have a look at the links below…..