Can you tell me about Black Excellence @ Katsucon 2019 video ? How did it come together, how was it working with other black cosplayers, what was the online response?
At the time, I had just gotten back into videography and wanted to do a project that meant a lot to me, which is how the Black Excellence video came to be. I wasn’t as confident in my abilities back then as I am now, but I wanted to make sure that it was the first thing I put out.
Working with black cosplayers was amazing, but I didn’t treat it differently than working with any other cosplayers, I treat everyone with the same level of professionalism and respect because at the end of the day, we all want the craftsmanship in our cosplays to shine through. That being said, I strive to create a diverse and colorful portfolio, so would I work with them again? Absolutely!
The online response was minimal on the grander scheme, since I had JUST started back again, but I didn’t really care. I wanted the video to be special to the people in it. That’s why I made it in the first place. A year later, it does catch a lot of attention when people look at my past work, but I want to aim to do better this year. My gear, my camera work, my editing skill have improved greatly over the past few months, so I am using 2020 as a sort of redemption for mistakes I made in 2019. I can’t wait!
How did you get into doing cosplay videography?
Videography has actually been a passion of mine for a very long time, evolving into a full time career. Though, I didn’t become extremely passionate until 2013. At the time, there were a lot of issues revolving around the lack of diversity in the cosplay community. Upsetting stories of how people would get rejected because they didn’t “fit into the portfolio”. It made me mad, especially being another cosplayers who was rejected as well. Despite all the calls for change, it wasn’t happening fast enough for me. I can’t force anyone to go outside their own standards and I certainly cannot force them to take on cosplayers they don’t want to work with. I knew that if I wanted anything to change, I would have to do it myself. So, I did. I decided that I would focus all my anger and disappointment into something positive. Something that I know could change how people from the outside world view diversity within the community. I wanted people to see THEMSELVES.
How would you describe your video style?
Musically Inclined! People who know me or have been following my style since the beginning know that my process is influenced directly by music. I love editing to the natural beats of a song, although, as you can imagine, it does become repetitive after a while. A good piece of advice I got from my favorite videographer, Peter McKinnon, was that when you film, film to edit. You have to think about transitions and timing while filming the cosplayer because it becomes very important when you sit down to put everything together. I also love playing around with ambient VFX to add a bit of something extra to my videos, but you have to listen closely.
What do you enjoy most about cosplay videography that keeps you making videos?
The smiles. The joy on people’s faces when see themselves. “I never knew I could look like that!” The talent that cosplayers possess working from the BARE MINIMUM is not appreciated as much as it should be. Every person I have ever filmed I have truly admired for their ability to embody a character and be PROUD of what they created, regardless if they look like the character or not. Seeing their confidence in their craftsmanship and joy being someone they love is what keeps me going.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
Oh my goodness! I could write and ESSAY. Breaking it down to it’s core, I want a lot of things to change. I want to see cosplayers valued by their craftsmanship and not by the bodies they have or the color of their skin. I want disabled cosplayers to start being recognized more in the community. I want conventions to work on becoming a safer and judgement-free space for people to truly be themselves. But most of all, I want people to remember why they started doing this in the first place. I want them to remember why they love what they do. To not get distracted by likes, views, hearts, etc. I want them to love being the character they are cosplaying. What is the point of spending so much time with this hobby if you aren’t happy?