Monday, April 05, 2010

A Tale of Two..Three...Four...FIve Canaries at Wondercon!

(Ashley in our first 'final' costume test)
Wondercon was our first real 'outting' to test the waters of whether or not anyone would actually RECOGNIZE our version of Black Canary as Black Canary. You'd think it would be obvious, but, I try not to take anything for granted. I thought "Vangelis" would be as beloved to "Angel" as "Hardware Wars" was to "Star Wars", but, well... it WASN'T. (And I'll be the first to admit there were some big things that didn't work in that project, but still glad that it was completed.) But, one learns (hopefully!!!), tries harder and better, and hopefully one progresses one step closer to that ideal in one's head.

Anyhow, on the second day of Wondercon, we went out to try to 'test run' the costume. It was a first Wondercon experience for Ashley and Matt, and the first cosplay experience, but while I had noticed some of the things that other more 'professional' cosplayers who were used to taking pictures with Wondercon attendees, I hadn't actually dressed up in costume before, either... but the rules seemed pretty simple- and, by and large, 99% of comic book attendees seem to be pretty good folks, not out to make others have a bad time.

As one would expect from Wondercon, there were a number of amateur photographers and just happy fans with cameras to capture the whole Wondercon experience, with people in superhero costumes walking about, as one of them. In any case, it was fun for us each time someone would nicely ask (and it was all pleasant) for a picture, or sometimes it would be just as gratifying to hear a 'nice costume!' or whispers from shyer convention goers who liked seeing our version of Black Canary pass by. I can't speak for Ashley, but for myself, it was a really neat first experience... and a nice boost that people may really enjoy our Black Canary short films when it's time to come out.

One other unexpected (and slightly dicey) issue was: what happens when one Canary runs into another Canary? (It sounds like a beginning of a joke: "So, two Black Canaries walk into a bar, then...") When I did "Vangelis", "Cherub" also came out at the same time, as we were the first two "Angel" parodies- but the filmmakers at "Cherub" could not be nicer, as well as most of the other Whedon parody filmmakers I ended up in contact with. But.... you do have those on occassion that feel threatened and it just feels weird, imo--- as if you've intruded into someone else's property and trampled their begonias (finally found an opportunity to use that word!) without meaning to. So.

It's too bad. I guess either one could see ten thousand Black Canaries at a convention and one could either say: "How cool! We all recognize the coolness of the Black Canary character!"--- or one could say: "this was my special one and only love, and it's diminished by this other person who couldn't possibly have put the love, time and effort into it, that I have." We got a little of both reactions- Some cosplayers smiled at Ashley and talked to her, 'welcoming her to the cosplay community' so to speak (especially Supergirl and the Star Wars Rebel in the photo) in a way.

Others.... became "Black Canary with the stinkeye from Juno". At the time of the con, I thought it a little funny... but then again, I've become a little callous after dealing with some life/death issues last year--- but after thinking about it, I realize that having a cosplayer with a simliar costume walking around could have been just as painful as having an art portfolio you've worked on for months be rejected in seconds onsite by an editor who may care less. It may seem small to others, it may not be intentional, nor personal, but it can be hugely devastating and inwardly humiliating.

So, I get that now. If you're another Black Canary reading this, then I finally get it. I hope that you enjoy (I hope everyone enjoys, actually) the films we're setting out to do, and hope that you enjoy it as mutual fans of the character, rather than as competition.

Anyhow, that's my blog for now. Things have slowed down much more than I thought it would....but now that the costume is just about right, and with the positive response we've got from Wondercon, hopefully the train will be moving a lot faster from here on out! Thanks, CAM