30-04-23 | Greetings, my friends! Last week I attended my very first cosplay event. And what an event it was! Elfia is the premiere fantasy convention in the Netherlands, held on the grounds of De Haar Castle. Meeting many talented cosplayers there was quite an experience, bolstered by the incredible surroundings. You cannot beat talking to a band of Goblin warriors on the steps of an actual gothic castle.
Though Elfia was my first cosplay event, it was not the first time I encountered cosplayers. As you might be aware my background is in filmmaking. Which sounds more exciting then it is and boils down to producing plenty of boring corporate videos. Nevertheless I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people along the way, some of whom have become dear friends.
One of my dearest filmmaking friends is Steve. Having met in film school, our friendship blossomed while attending late night double features in Amsterdam. We used to dress up for these occasions, seeking out three pieces suits and snazzy ties. While my style was deliberately conservative, Steve had a talent for odd combos. He used to wear a bright blue suit which was particularly striking. We looked like buffoons, of course, but we were having fun and didn’t care.
Steve is something of a World War II buff, and the film that earned him his diploma naturally dealt with the subject. Hangman was a tense short about a D-Day parachutist who’s unfortunate landing finds him dangling from a tree in enemy territory and unable to get down. Knowing Steve I suspected he would use its premiere as an opportunity to dress up and I was immediately resolved to steal his thunder. That’s what friends are for.
I had a hunch Steve would opt for a bomber jacket and possibly a leather aviator helmet too. I toyed with several ideas, most of them in poor taste, finally settling for a British commander. Provided I could find a suitable uniform, of course. Having called several costume houses I soon discovered it would be easier buying a cheap suit online. Given my budget I had to settle for a Dad’s Army costume, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the suit. How I giggled during that first private fitting! A World War II officer striding through an Amsterdam cinema in 2016! Ha!
Striding through a private screening room was one thing, wearing it in public was quite the other. And this is where the story really starts. I own a beautiful thick trench coat, which would allow me to hide the uniform while traveling by train to Amsterdam. It being the height of spring, I immediately regretted wearing so many layers on such a sunny day. And to make things worse the first half of my trip would have to be by bus, due to an incident somewhere on the line.
So here I am, cueing up to get on this damn bus, sweating like a pig … all for a cheap laugh! If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is. While waiting I noticed the girl in front of me was wearing a Slytherin scarf. A very cool accessory, though an odd choice considering the heat. But at least I wasn’t suffering alone. And looking around I noticed a fez. A student who had lost a bet, was my best guess.
And then it happened. Down the escalator he came. As happy as a clam and bright green. It was Link from the Legend of Zelda. I kid you not. Waiting for this bus are a female Draco Malfoy, Doctor Who … and Link?! Wheels start spinning in my head. What’s going on here?! I take a closer look at the people around me. I see Marvel bags and a Hobbit I hadn’t noticed before. And then it hit me! It’s Comic Con!
My problems were instantly solved. A British officer was hardly likely to stand out in a bus filled with Martians and evil sorcerers on their way to a comic book convention. So I confidently disposed of the obtrusive coat, sat down and read my book. We were all in this together and it felt good. No judgment here. Sitting there reading, I quietly wished for someone to come up to me and ask me ‘who are you dressed as’, only so I could give them a puzzled look and reply ‘what do you mean, dressed as …?’
The costume was a hit! Steve, as it turned out, did intend to dress up for the occasion. He came wearing a beautiful tuxedo worthy of James Bond, but lost his trusty bowtie along the way. Naturally, my uniform trumped his tux. Thunder was well and truly stolen. Well played, Tim. Well played.