Monday, October 6, 2014

Taking Move Fandom to the Next Level, Create Your Own Costumes

A Look at How Movie Fans Shows their Love for their Favorite Films.

Home made Darth Vader Costume | A Constantly Racing Mind
Did you know that the word fan comes from the word fanatic and is defined as, "a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.” Movie fans are a different breed of people all together, like me, for example. In my years of being a fan of a certain films, I have found myself inspired to manifest my passion for the film outwardly. Some people, however, in my opinion adopt film fandom as part of their lifestyle. The lifestyle movie fans never leave their favorite movie characters personas, going to work as that character every day, their bosses accept their quirkiness, and they do respectable work. I will leave those types of fans for another article. This article is about a fan's passion for how Star Wars, drove this author to want to instill that love of film and creativity in the next generation. Here, is how to do it.

A fan of the Star Wars franchise for many years, I would stand in line, waiting hours for tickets, just to get into the theater for the midnight showing of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi. In trying to inspire my children to enjoy films, as much as I do, I decided to dress up for the first time several years ago to show my kids, who were young at the time, that with a little imagination, they too can create any movie costume for themselves. The month before Halloween, I set my garage into my private fortress of solitude, where every night I would cover my work with a sheet, keeping my family in the dark what I was building. I actually had two projects going on at the same time.

The Light Saber

Home-made Light Sabers | A Constantly Racing Mind"Not clumsy like a blaster, an elegant weapon for a more civilized time, before the emperor, before the dark times," says Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars IV, A New Hope. Building your own blaster takes some effort and a tiny bit of skill and a lot of patience. Light Saber parts are all available at your local hardware store, and auto parts shop. The main body for my light saber is a sink tailpiece, purchased at my local Home Depot. Next short length PVC, and a pack of “ELCO” 1" D-rings (picture hanging equipment), a metal hole plug for the back end of the light saber, thumbscrew also in the small parts section at the hardware store. Also, needed are a plastic Fujifilm 35mm film canister, some small rubber slip joint washer,    Rubber beveled faucet washer, and a brass-knurled nut. I cut the wiper refills into four equal sections and after drilling eight sets of small holes around the metal tube, and drilled two equal distant holes in the wiper pieces themselves, using a rivet gun, I bolted them onto the handle. Next, I cut off the opposite end about 3.5 inches. The PVC pipe servers as an emitter and I cut that into a 5 ¼-inch piece, and then cut off a forty-degree angle off the other end. After I had bolted the pieces together, I ended up with an elegant looking Light Saber, for just under $25.00.

The mostly homemade Darth Vader suit. 

Me in my home-made Light Sabers | A Constantly Racing MindYou can buy a cheap Vader costume on line for around $30.00 dollars, or you can buy an expensive one for $600 dollars: or more, however, you can also use your imagination and make your own. Movie props and costumes are usually not terribly impressive under scrutiny: however, most folks are too impressed with the fact that suit is homemade to nit-pick. Most movie fans generally show a certain amount of latitude for the do-it-yourselfers to quibble about the exactness of a costume. However, if purchased, then the critics do come out and it is a free for all. For the Darth Vader's costume, I started with the shoulder armor, by creating it out of strips of vinyl place mats, cut into strips and hot-glued together, placing black stripes over the grey. At one point, I thought about using some hockey or football shoulder pads, but they didn't look right. I created the chest piece out of a sturdy gift box, antenna parts, star-shaped cookie cutters, some I/O ports from an old computer, and two Scrabble pieces, one painted red, and the other blue. My next-door neighbor hemmed and sewed Darth Vader's cape, and a piece off black faux-leather material for the 'inner shirt.’ Over that I used an old black graduation gown with sleeves cut off to simulate the robe that Vader wears under his armor. Black pants, tall black boots, and a nylon belt from the craft store finish the main outfit. To accessorize, I purchased off eBay, the belt buckle, and the Darth Vader helmet. Taking too project boxes form Radio Shack, I inserted a few red and green LEDs into them, found a circuit board pattern and a switch. A few touches of the soldering iron and I had a two boxes I could mount on the belt that would light up. The price of this costume was more expensive due to the price of the helmet and the belt buckle. The fun of finding the parts around the store and the satisfaction outweighed the cost for parts, and the time to assemble them. However, the look on my kid's face when Darth Vader strode in from the garage was... Priceless.

Trick-or-treating with R2-D2 

My son in a home-made R2-D2 cosutme | A Constantly Racing Mind
My son who was six at the time, wanted to be R2-D2 for Halloween, and as far as I could see at the time, none were available. Going out to Wal-Mart and grabbing a dome covered white plastic trashcan, I created a costume for my son. By drilling out the bottom, and using a hole-drilling die, I cut arms into the sides of the can. I used balsa wood for the eyepiece and a piece of plastic piping for the actual camera "eye."

Film Premakes

Other forms of extreme fandom manifests in other ways too. For example, Ivan Guerrero, of the whoiseyevan website on YouTube creates entertaining movie trailers from favorite movies. A sort of,’ what if,’ take on some popular films. Ivan has a unique take on films like Raider's of the Lost Ark, doing a 1950's look by taking old film footage and adapting it to the theme of the movie. Called Premakes, Ivan sometimes takes various genres and mashes them together, creating a "mash-ups.” Check out the whoiseyevan website to see Ivan's premake of Star Wars 1947 and other amazing premakes.

Whether you create a costume as intricate as Darth Vader’s, or something more simple, let these examples of film fandom inspire your creativity and this summer, take a risk show your love for your favorite movie.

Orginally published on Associated Content by Robert Barbere on 5/26/2010

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