The 3D of COSPLAY
Director-Producers Gulliver Parascandolo and Christine Kasal
Interview conducted, article written and posted by Katherine Sweetman
[3D COSPLAY (Costume play)]
I work in the 3D film production industry, and I’ve met a lot of people in this field, but I have never met anyone as passionate about 3D as Gulliver Parascandolo and Christine Kasal. This enthusiastic power couple is serious about their 3D.
I met them for the first time at a San Diego Filmmakers networking event. Gulliver had a glasses-free 3D device in his hand, and he and Christine showed clips of their 3D documentary to everyone they met. I don’t think I had given much thought to Cosplay before that evening, but after watching the teaser I was hooked. Since then I’ve been a huge fan of the project, I’ve helped them film Comic Con in 3D, and I’ve ask them repeatedly for an interview. They finally agreed.
What follows is an interview with film creators, Director Gulliver Parascandolo (G.P) and Producer Christine Kasal (C.K.), conducted by interviewer Katherine Sweetman (K.S)
K.S. This is such a wonderful concept for a 3D documentary. How did the idea come about?
G.P Living in San Diego, we’ve become big fans of the San Diego Comic-Con, and for four years we had been shooting it in 3D. This was all before the idea of this documentary was conceived. The thing that became obvious from our early experience is that COSPLAYS ARE AWESOME IN 3D! On the surface, it turns people into living works of art. As fans of films and pop-culture, it was really great seeing our favorite fictional characters brought to life and walking around in front of us. More than that, it’s the technical wizardry that goes into these costumes. These artisans and super-fans create an atmosphere at these conventions that turns heads and makes grownups feel like they’re at Adult Disneyland! As filmmakers, we were compelled to explore the reasons these Cosplayers dedicated so much of their time, money and effort into this hobby. What we discovered was a community of passionate people from different backgrounds and careers that all had one this one thing in common.
C.K. From our early days of shooting 3D, the difference between seeing a 2D picture of a sculpture couldn’t compare to seeing the same thing in 3D. You see so much more detail and get a sense of scale weight and texture. Cosplay is a three-dimensional art, and we felt shooting this movie in 3D was best way to bring this story and the artistry to an audience. But again, it’s really been the people behind this amazing craft that has inspired us for the last 9 months of production.
K.S. Tell me about some of the people you are following in this film.
G.P. From the beginning we wanted to find people who experienced Cosplay at different levels. I had known a Cosplayer named Ginger for a few years now. She’s hosted dozens of Cosplay events and panels, works in the fashion industry, and is someone who spends all her time and money honing her craft. She’s very connected in the Cosplay community, and she’s constantly being commissioned to create customized costumes for others. Ginger and her boyfriend are African American, and both are involved in groups promoting diversity in Cosplay.
C.K. Another amazing person we met was a high-school senior named Liam. He is a junior Olympic water polo player who lives a conservative, goal-driven, life. With the help of his mom, he began crafting costumes for school projects, and that’s when his love of costuming began. He’s relatively new to Cosplay, and his family and friends (his athletic friends especially) don’t quite understand, but he’s determined to show them the beauty in his art, and his dedication to Cosplay.
G.P. We were lucky enough to spend a lot of time with world-renowned Cosplayer, Yaya Han. She’s a professional Cosplayer, meaning that her full time job is getting hired to appear at events, conventions, and photo sessions for film and video game studios. She also promotes her own brand, and is a real resource for the Cosplay community. And Yaya is never shy when talking to any one of her 148,000+ fans about their Cosplay questions. She’s actually starring on SyFy’s new TV show Heroes of Cosplay. Her perspective as a professional Cosplayer adds an inspiring dimension to this film.
C.K. Another incredible story we’re capturing is from a Cosplayer named Brandon. He is a different type of professional cosplayer. Not only is he a dedicated Cosplayer, he was the official Jack Sparrow for Disneyland. Also, being a single Dad to his 6-year old daughter, he realized he couldn’t be a full time Cosplayer without being able to make money from it. So he turned his hobby into a full-time business that rents out top-quality costumed “Characters” for parties and events. We’ve filmed backyard blacksmiths on a Steampunk convention at the Queen Mary. We’ve camped out with medieval Cosplayers who craft their own armor, and battle with steel swords. We’ve been to a bunch of conventions and met so many other Cosplayers who’ve shared their stories for this film, and we hope that the audience gets a well-rounded look at this unique world.
K.S. Why Did you decide to shoot his film in 3D?
G.P. The ability shoot a stereoscopic 3D footage of any kind came after five years of building our own 3D Camera systems and editing workflows. Right when Cameron’s Avatar was just hitting the theaters, we premiered our first professional stereo-3D production for CONNECT’s Most Innovative New Product Awards. This was all way before you could buy a “3D camera” outside of the huge Hollywood rigs. Now we’ve got about 4 different 3D camera rigs, from the all-in-one 3D camera, all the way to GoPro 3D camera rigs. We have found that you have to overcome a lot of challenges when shooting 3D that you wouldn’t even consider in 2D. You have to consider how your eyes work when you move through a space, and the composition of the scenes to make sure it’s comfortable for the audience to view.
C.K. 3D isn’t a “gimmick” we’re trying to exploit. We want people to be immersed in this world. We’re really trying to present a visual spectacle that should amaze, whether people view the film in 3D or 2D.
K.S. In your Teaser, you have some very cool 3D effects. Is that going to be featured more in the film?
C.K. This is actually something we’re very excited about! In addition to the documentary coverage we are filming with these Cosplayers, the film focuses on the reality and fantasy of Cosplay. We have found that once these Cosplayers transform into their character, they enter a new world full of characters from hundreds of different fandoms, allowing for the ultimate pop-culture fantasy mash-ups to occur. We’re adding in 3D visual effects to bring these Cosplays to life, and to visualize the superpowers and excitement that these costumes inspire.
G.P. One of the last things we have planned to shoot are these massive group scenes with as many cosplayers as we can get to participate in what we are calling the “Dream Scenes”. These scenes represent my inner-geek’s desire to see Wonder Woman in a fight with a Transformer, a romantic moment between Indiana Jones and a Cylon, or a Mortal Kombat vs. Pokemon Volleyball game…LOL… We’re still working on the details, but we’re going to be pulling out all the stops and adding some stunning visual effects into these scenes. Hopefully giving the audience a glimpse into how these Cosplayers see their world.
K.S. What has surprised you the most working on this film?
C.K. What surprised us the most is how large this Cosplay community actually is. There is a genre of Cosplay for every generation. We found that Steampunk appeals to a more mature crowd, while the anime Cosplay is more popular with kids and teens. And there’s something for everyone in between. We were also surprised to find that in their daily lives, these Cosplayers dress in their business suits and play the roles of accountants, computer programmers, even doctors! The common thread is that the characters they choose to portray are a reflection of the characteristics that appeal to them, but they are not able to showcase those qualities in their daily lives.
K.S. What is your overall goal for the film, and where can people find out more?
C.K. Our goal has stayed the same for this film. We want to share our glimpse into this fascinating world of Cosplay, while highlighting stories that were inspiring and unique. And of course we want the film to be appropriate for a family-friendly audience. We hope to launch this film on several of the 90+ 3DTV Networks around the globe, as well as having the 2D and 3D versions available for digital download. We’ll be looking towards the future as Netflix begins streaming 3D movies, and we may have opportunities for theatrical release as well!
Overall, this is an Indy film in every sense of the word. So our options are wide open for what we can do with this film. We are looking at options to launch a Kickstarter soon as we move into the final phases of Post Production. Our goal is to finish the film in early 2014.
G.P. Right now, the best place to go if you want to follow our journey is our Facebook page: facebook.com/cosplaydreams3D. We’re constantly posting 3D screen shots and clips from our latest shoots. If you have a pair of red/blue glasses you can view some of the incredible 3D right there on our facebook page. We’ve been so blessed by the response from the Cosplay community, and even people outside the community who are just learning about Cosplay for the first time. There are SO many people who are curious about pop-culture phenomenon, and this film will bring the world of Cosplay off the screen and into your living room!