Mister Freeze CosplaySome people are born cool. Some people have coolness thrust upon them. And then there are those people who learn how to cosplay. My mate Aaron is all three of these things rolled into one. Want to know why? Then please, check this out...

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1) What are your own origins, Aaron?   I have seen cosplayers all over the internet for years, and it looks really cool. But for the life of me, I never thought I could do it. I have always done creative stuff, but usually behind the scenes. I have made stages, sets, theatrical lighting, graphic design, video editing, audio editing... lots of stuff. But as I said, all behind the scenes.

That is until one day while I was talking with someone who had cosplayed, and that person looked me right in the eye and said, ‘You can cosplay’. I had never thought of that before. Cosplay is for cool people. I am not cool. But I figured I would give it a try, and see what happened.

Professor Stein CosplaySo for Animazment 2014 I made my Professor Stein from Soul Eater cosplay. It took me 2 months to make it and I learned a lot. I was so TERRIFIED the first time I put the entire outfit on. I was in the parking lot of a hotel and I started walking to the opening ceremonies. I kept going forward. There were lots of open seats. I was too afraid to sit in the front row, or even in the middle, so I sat on the right-hand side, about halfway back. The opening ceremonies were nice. As soon as it was over everyone stood up. A nice lady in front, she had curly brown hair, looked at me and shrieked. I panicked, quietly. She asked if she could take a picture. I had no idea what to say. I had no idea what to do. I said, ‘sure’. I had no idea how to pose. But I really like Professor Stein, so, I grabbed my screw with my left hand, and she had a nice little silver point and click camera, and, took my picture, said thanks, and then went on her way.

I wore that outfit the entire event. 

2) What are the most persistent comments you’ve received from your followers?   I don’t know if I have followers? I do have friends though, and they say detail, detail, detail. I have had so many people comment on how accurate my costumes look. From the dome on Mr. Freeze, to the spinning gear on Professor Stein, to the gears in Ozpin’s Cane, Yokai’s mask, and Farnsworth’s glasses. People say my outfits are very detailed. 

3) What is your ‘regular’ job, and does it in any way shape or form aide you as a Cosplayer?   I work at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and handle cargo. Basically if you want to ship a dog, or a dead body, or a dangerous disease, I am one of the people who does that sort of thing. It has a lot of down time, lots of time for my mind to wonder. I get to think things through, figure out how to do things, how to make something, put it together, and take it apart in my head. I mock up my props on my computer, and my job gives me a lot of time to do math and figure out proportions, plus to figure out what to make what out of. 

Anime Cosplay
4) How did your friends, family, and work-colleagues first react to the news that you like to cosplay?   Most people think I am crazy, so this was nothing different. My parents were the first to see my Mr. Freeze beta. I used them as a test to see if things would fall apart. Things fell apart. I had so much of the outfit fall apart at their house that I redid most of the armor in 2 weeks.

Every time I do a new cosplay, when my coworkers see the pics they comment, ‘Wow, that looks nothing like you’. I've also met a lot of my friends through cosplay. 

5) How do you decide what Cosplay costume to wear for a convention? And who makes them?   Most conventions have a basic theme. Some conventions are anime conventions, so I do anime characters. Some conventions are about comic books, so I try to do comic book characters. If there is a dance, or rave, I wear a music based character. Beyond that I just go with what I want.

Plus for your knowledge, I make all my own costumes myself. I find the most exciting and challenging part is to figure out how to make the costumes. Working with new materials, new techniques, new tools... just experimenting. If you purchase your costumes, that is 100% fine. But I enjoy the challenge to figure out how to do things, without the use of any tutorials.

6) What have you learnt about yourself whilst Cosplaying? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with?   I am made of 2 things: height and anxiety. I am usually terrified of something at any given moment. And through all the crazy, and the hot glue, and stabbing myself multiple times (10 stitches in 1 month), with a lot of help from a lot of awesome people I have learned a little bit about confidence. About believing in myself. That has been really awesome.

Straight Outta Cosplay
That said, as some of you may know, cosplaying and going to conventions can be very expensive. So I have learned a lot from watching how other people handle a con. From seeing people in the parking lots eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Seeing coolers full of gatorade in peoples cars. To seeing that amazing awesome hand made thing in the dealer room. And instead of buying that incredible print, you get the artist's card. And you purchase it from their etsy store later on. And talking to people to figure out cheaper ways to make props and outfits.

7) What was the best / worst convention you ever attended?   Best: I went to Wizard World in Raleigh as Mr. Freeze, and I was in the ticketing area waiting for someone. Just hanging out. And then a mom walks up and asks if her child can have his picture taken with me... I said, 'sure'. Very quickly there was a line of about 10 or 15 kids who wanted their picture with me. That was super cool. I had a few kids hug me. That was really super-super cool. To be able to put a smile on someone’s face, if even for a moment, that is a win-win situation.

Worst: Every con is different. I went to an anime convention, on an aircraft carrier, on the water, in Charleston SC. It was pouring before the event started. I had a paper headpiece that I was afraid would melt. It was super hot, and the humidity was off the charts. I attended a few panels only because the room they were held in was air conditioned. But I had so much fun, I met lots of amazing people, I learned so much, and I would do it all again.

I don’t think it is the con’s job to make you happy. You make yourself happy. Every con I have been to, I have always had fun. 

Anime Cosplay
8) What would be your dream Cosplay gig and outfit?   Gig: I enjoy talking to people and learning how to do new stuff. If I could run and maintain a cosplay repair station, that would be great. So when people are at the con, and something bad happens, I could have the tools and space available to let them repair it. On top of that, I could see how it is made and learn from other people. Maybe, if they need help, I could help too.

Outfit: I have been planning and processing and doing experiments for Mr. Freeze from Batman Arkham City since December 2014. I want the lights to light up in sequence. I want the visor to go up and down. I want the gun to shoot light, and fog, and have sound effects. I want the suit to also do sound effects. I want the entire thing to be bluetooth controlled from the left gauntlet talking to a bluetooth enabled arduino in the main suit. Every cosplay I have done so far has been to learn skills or learn materials to get me to this goal. This will be an awesome cosplay, and I will be starting on the gauntlet soon.

9) Has there ever been an outfit you just did not like wearing? And if so, why?   Some of my outfits aren't the most comfortable. Boots with no foot support, or headpieces that make headaches, or hairbands, or glasses, so yeah. 2 Ibuprofen and I am fine. Always bring some Ibuprofen. Always.

10) Do you have a credo you live by?   We can all help each other, or we can all hurt each other. There is no middle ground.

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Wow! And on that very no-nonsense note, I'd like to thank Aaron for telling us about his life as a cosplayer, before directing you towards his facebook page and blogspot

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