They come in peace – But other times they come to turn your land into pieces, or just evaporated all together. Aliens are a tricky subject to get right; Do you make them into an evil species whose sole purpose is to cause carnage and mayhem? Or perhaps you turn them into a long forgotten race who is looking for their way in the cruel, dark universe. Whatever you like to think of when you think of an alien, there’s no doubt there’s many of them in pop culture.
Welcome back to another exciting interview in the Cosplayer Highlight series. We’re back once again with an experienced cosplayer who was looking to share their take on the scene with all of us.
This week, we have Jake Broster, a rather inspiring individual who gained his love for the cosplay scene not immediately through the scene itself! He’s come to share some stories with us and all of his wonderful experiences with cosplay and the scene.
Interview with the cosplayer – Jake Broster
Q: Many thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. As we always do here on GeekOut, we like to get to know our interviewees. Please can you firstly introduce yourself?
A: Thanks for having me! Right introduction time, hello everyone my name is Jake from Jake’s Cosplay Contraptions. I have been making costumes for about 9 years now, always trying to bring fourth the characters that you don’t see. Over the 9 years of my adventures I have seen many different cons and have been meeting fascinating people. I am usually the guy who doesn’t do the contests or the big photo shoots, I am in the shadows to bring the smiles.
Q: Since this is a series all about cosplayers, let’s get stuck in and talk about cosplay. What drew you to cosplaying first?
A: Well I didn’t get into cosplay ’til I was 17, but I have always been costume making from a young age. From kids fancy dress parties to school productions, I caught the costume making bug from two people in my life; my father and my nan. Both have shaped me into the way I work and the tools I use to create.
My father was a member of my primary school’s PTA, so we were always included in the school’s activities. Be it discos or fun days, but the main attraction was the summer carnival. Every summer the school would be part of the carnival. They would suggest a theme, then fill a lorry with school kids all dressed up waving to the crowds. True these days health and safety would have a field day (Seriously I remember when we did the Circus we had one of those red & yellow kid cars that everyone had, strapped to the back of the lorry being towed that the kids would jump into one at a time to ride).
But anyway back to my Dad; He would always make us costumes. Over the years we had been clowns, devils, aliens, Egyptians, Hawaiian dudes and even Munchkins! (I wanted to be the Tinman, but all the kids had to Munchkins!) Now a lot of these costumes used old clothes re-purposed into new items, like the old tea towels and belts for Shepherds in everyone’s school nativity. But the jewel of the costume would be when my Dad would use papier-mâché, aww man I love papier-mâché! I am an old school guy when it comes to stuff like that, I was the guy who would want to try and make everything they did on Blue Peter. The stuff he would make was amazing and so the prop creation that I do stems from my Dad.
Now for the main inspirado; my Nan, she was an amazing woman. She was a dress maker, fully trained and knew so much. But as in life she never really took off with it, what with family stuff, but still was the go to if your school trousers or sleeping bag had ripped. When I started to work on cosplay she was one of my main encourages always giving me tips and showing me how to use things properly not make a meal out of stitching. Something that my Mum would also help me with stitching, let me tell you at school when we did fabrics I was the guy who would sew the material to themselves.
I still use my Nan’s sewing machine she bought in the eighties to make my Mum’s wedding dress. To the end of her life she lost the use of her legs and become immobile but she never lost her wits. When ever I was working on a costume I would always go and see her and show her it. Even dressing up in the costume and walking into her room as Zoidberg to get weird looks from the home nurses.
Q: Those are some really lovely memories you shared with us, Jake. If you had to say you had a moment in your cosplay life which stands out from all other moments, what is it? Why?
A: I would have say that would be from this year’s London Super Comic-Con. It was the first professional contest I had took part in. I went as Bat-mite and I had to perform a skit on stage in front of Yayahan, Riddle and Tabitha Jordan (Cosplay goddesses, all lovely and beautiful) and a room packed full of people. It was a rush but I performed it and you can see it on YouTube, too.
What I loved was after the contest I had so many people coming up to me saying how much they loved it. Over the nine years I have never had so much love over one of my little costumes. The costume itself was part costume, part puppet and I loved the legs on it, it was a real fun time.
Q: You’ve clearly done a fair bit of cosplaying, as evidenced by your posts on Anime League and by what you’ve said here today! What do you think it is about cosplay that intrigues so many people?
A: I think it is all the creative process and performance, everyone has a little bit of a joker inside them. The chance to perform and become one of your favourite characters is a drug itself, you become intoxicated with the concept of being something you gain so much joy from.
People say that anime, comics, sci-fi, and gamers are antisocial people. It clearly is a stereotype that was true, back in the day people kept themselves to themselves, but the complete joy that you have from meeting someone who likes Dr Who as much as you or listens to Nightvale is an experience. Everyone is the same craving attention and to be with people who they can connect with.
Q: Do you usually make your costumes yourself or do you get them made for you? Any idea how much your costumes cost you?
A: I am a complete DIY guy with my costumes, I can see the allure of getting commissions done. But to be honest that would lose part of the convention and costume experience for me. Now I am in no way condemning anyone who buys their costumes or get other people to make stuff for them. I am just saying that I love the whole process. Now yes I do pay for all my materials but I always buy in bulk to make sure I have enough for future costumes or other creations.
Q: Okay, okay – The inevitable question now: Can you list all of the costumes you’ve made and perhaps even tell us which is your proudest and your least proudest costumes? Any reasons for those decisions?
A: OK! let’s count down with the list:
Akabane from Getbackers
Jubei Kakei from Getbackers
Majin Buu (Kid Buu) from Dragonball Z
Sanji from One Piece
Umbrella Zombie from Resident Evil
Shredder from TMNT
Buggy (Impel Down) from One Piece
Jeice from Dragonball Z
The Riddler from Batman
Mumm-ra from Thundercats
Dr Zoidberg from Futurama
Candle Jack from Freakazoid
Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit
Knockout from Transformers Prime
Guy Manuel from Daft Punk
Dr Horrible from Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog
Batmite from Batman Brave and the Bold
The least proud costume? Well the most awkward would of had to been my first one Akabane from Getbackers. I actually made the costume over the course of two nights before my first London MCM EXPO (don’t care if they have changed their name it will always be the expo to me) back in 2005. I made the hat out of cardboard and it kept falling off my head, luckily photos of said costume have been lost to the winds.
My proudest achievement has to be Zoidberg, here was a costume that I always wanted to make. When I took it to the expo back in October 2011 I did not believe the reaction I got. So many happy people and so many photos taken. The day after I really felt my legs give in, I couldn’t get a moment to myself as everyone was wanting photos and whoop, whoop, whoops!
Q: Conventions are of course vital for cosplayers to showcase their craft, so what are the next events in your convention calendar?
A: My next one will be the London MCM Expo on May 23rd till the 25th I am going to be Zoidberg on the Friday and then Daft Punk for Saturday and Sunday. Then we have LFCC where I will have Daft Punk and Mumm-ra and then Auto Assembly in August where I will be Chromedome from Transformers.
Q: Have you ever been in a costume outside of a convention? What was the event you were at?
A: Yes I have taken my costumes to other events like the London Sci-fi Movie marathon at the Stratford Picture house was really fun to be Zoidberg at the event. Even Trace Beaulieu of Mystery Science Theatre fame came over and asked me about my costume.
Q: Quick question outside of cosplay now; other than cosplaying, what are your geekdoms? What topics do you talk about with passion and enthusiasm? Do you think it’s a common interest within the cosplay scene?
A: Well I am a connoisseur of various randoms, comics, film & TV, anime, gaming, podcasts (ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD). Weirdest trait is that I can remember themes to TV shows really easily especially stuff that isn’t around any more. I am always passionate about my fandoms but don’t get me in a conversation about Batman I have been known to talk to the ends of the earth about The Dark Knight.
I have learnt to calm down my knowledge as it does scare people sometimes.
Q: Finally, please imagine you were the “super sensei guru” for new cosplayers to turn to in their time of need; usually when they first start out. What advice would you give a brand new cosplayer?
A: Don’t worry! Time, materials, process of creation it is all within you. If you made something and it then broke you can make it again and improve it. Play with your character, you are the one doing this performance not that nay sayer. So do the best you can do and it will always, always be enough.
We’d like to extend our thanks to Jake for taking his time to speak to us today.
Someone who’s been cosplaying for some time has clearly seen it all and offers some really sound advice at the end. He speaks with such conviction and passion for the hobby that is infectious and I’m glad to see fellow cosplayers are so eager about their craft.
It’s brilliant as whenever you wander the halls of a convention, you can see people who are legitimately excited about being there. Excited about showing off what they’ve done, not held back by anyone or anything.
Anime fans, gaming fans, LARPers, sci-fi and fantasy fans, film buffs – In fact, it basically doesn’t matter what your passion is. When I went to Kitacon, I saw a Hulk Hogan cosplayer wandering the halls along with a CM Punk cosplayer. If you want to make a costume, consider going to a convention. The community is why the scene thrives and is why it’s so exciting!
Have you ever experienced a fandom where everyone is as engaged as the spirit of the convention scene and the cosplay community? Have you ever showcased something you’ve made in a public area and been praised for it? Come share your stories with us in the comments section below.