CMU School of Drama

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cosplayers influenced the costume design in Star Wars animated shows

The Verge: One of the big panels this afternoon at Star Wars Celebration was Dave Filoni: Animated Origins and Unexpected Fates. Filoni, the supervisor on Clone Wars and Rebels, and Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo spoke about the origins of Lucasfilm’s animated shows. During the presentation, Filoni revealed an interesting tidbit: cosplayers helped the creators improve the show.

12 comments:

Julian Goldman said...

I never considered how creators would feel about cosplay before, but the way Filoni describes it makes a lot of sense. Having had this idea, and then made it real on screen, and then seeing people who are invested enough in the character you created to try to recreate the costume themselves probably would be really cool. I also like the fact that the creators put forward an idea, the audience responds, and then the creators use that response to make their decisions. I could see people arguing that is just selling out or pandering, and I think in some cases it can be that, but if done well I think it is respecting the ideas of your audience and the time and thought they have invested in the world you have created, and considering those ideas as you move forward. Based on this article, Star Wars seems to be a pretty good example of this, but I’ve seen it happen with other franchises/ individual artists as well.

Claire Krueger said...

Seeing what you've designed come up to you in real life is really cool, Seeing someone who took the time energy and money into creating it, is amazing. It’s like one last pat on the back for all your hard work. However I felt a little weird about reading this article. It didn't feeling like ‘I try hard cause fans love it’, it felt like, ‘I try hard because if I don't my bad designs will be everywhere’. However after re-reading the article the line that led me to make this assumption is “Seeing the costumes in person forced them to focus on making sure that the costume designs were realistic, functional, and ultimately wearable” which is written by the author of the article not Filoni. Its frustration to see the author of an article trip up and create the exact opposite of the interviewee’s intentions. After excluding that part my overall feeling was that Filoni designs with the fans in his heart and not at his heels.

Taylor Steck said...

To be honest, I never really knew much about cosplay except for when people would ask me for sewing advice so I guess I didn't see as much more than a hobby. Because of this, the point of view in this article is really interesting because I never considered how something like a hobby could effect the actual creation and direction of the production that they're cosplaying from. I think it's nice that the designers are creating the characters and the designs of these characters with the accessibility of the fans in mind. However, on the other hand of this I can't help but be concerned that there might be a stifling of creativity for the designers if their being constrained to design something that the general public can recreate. Which would be a shame because I'm sure that on a film production like Star Wars where the budget is probably abundant and with the aid of special effects there would so much room for really cool designs with quality execution.

Tahirah K. Agbamuche said...

Reading this article warms my heart. I love the idea of cosplay, but I have never been able to participate much myself. The reason this made me so happy, was because it connected the fandom to the series and the designer. It was so lovely to see how the designer felt about the fans replicating the costumes and his personal effort to make cosplay doable and possible. Their reciprocal relationship is so beautiful. It would be nice to see how other designers view their fandoms and their cosplayers. I never really thought about how they see their designs parading about and must have opinions. I think this would be a really interesting interaction. It is like seeing your baby come to life I would imagine, but like an imagination baby. It is quite a shame the article is not a little longer and in a little more depth. Ah well. I hope I get to the point where I design something big enough that I need to worry about the ability for it to translate over into cosplay.

Alex Talbot said...

Huh, this is quite an interesting concept, and to me, not surprising. Designers forever have stemmed their design ideas from things they see around them--George Lucas himself, if the story stands true, was inspired by industrial cranes in the Bay area (though through research this seems to be incorrect.) But what better way, to me, to be inspired directly from fans--from the people who will be consuming the content you create. Years of star wars fans cosplaying the characters in the films is certainly a good way to inspire future changes, and gives the designers and directors a wealth of designers, rather than just those who have been hired, to inspire the work onscreen. Overall, I think this is a fantastic way to get inspired--by not only looking at what's around you, but also who is around you, and using them and their creativity as your inspiration.

Alexa James-Cardenas said...

For someone who hasn’t really cosplayed much before (having only done like two official cosplays), I LOVE COSPLAY! It has always been something that I have been wanting to pursue, and sort of a driving force of mine to participate in doing costumes design/construction for theatre. One of the reasons I was first attracted to cosplay was the fact that I could act like my favorite characters, and take on their persona and looks. What kept my love for it was the amount of time, effort, and extraordinary passion people have for characters and series that they would recreate to experience it in real life. And the creativity that comes from the different individual versions and cross-fantasies (reimaginings, cross-bendings, fiction-setting, head canons, etc.), and the amazing ways they go about to achieve it. It shouldn’t be something that designers are afraid about of fear of disappointing people, but rather an encouragement because you know that even if 1 person likes it (or doesn’t like it, people do that too) they will recreate it, for simple. And it should encourage the designers to do more intricate designs for their characters just to see what people come up to bring it to life. It is one of my hopes for my time as a collage to become more involved in the art of cosplay, and have cosplay and my theatre designs inspire each other.

Zak Biggins said...

Wow its so interesting that a costume designer is actually taking inspiration from the people who are going to view the piece. Now I don't have any experience in cosplay but I hear it is wonderful! I agree with some of my classmates, the costume designer basing their design off the cosplayers creates a level of connection. It establishes a communication between the production and the audience members! Who wouldn't love this idea? If it'll make audience members happy, it'll make box offices happy, which will make producers very very happy. I am interested to see how other designers on the production will mirror this. Cosplay is becoming an integral part of societal norms as it relates to major motion pictures. Infact, we're seeing many conventions and replications across the board: BroadwayCon (people dress and act as their favorite characters... there were a lot of Schuyler Sisters) and this is even becoming prominent in the drag community.

Claire Farrokh said...

It's a pretty cool concept to think that the fans of something could have such a large impact on something as huge as the costume design of a major motion picture series. The article discussed how the designer become more aware of functionality and comfort, but I'm not entirely sure if that's something he should be worried about from fan recreations of his work. Presumably, the fans will have a much much smaller budget as compared to the budgets of an enormous film franchise. Fans are using cheaper fabrics and cheaper methods to attain a result that looks vaguely similar to what they have only seen on screens and never in person. Despite all this, I do truly think it's great that designers are this aware of the fan culture surrounding their work. It must be pretty cool to see your work be so revered by so many people, and to see those people try their best to adapt your work to something they themselves can wear.

Emma Reichard said...

It’s actually incredibly smart of show creators to pay attention to what the cosplayers are up to. Cosplayers are almost undoubtedly the biggest fans of their show, and also a very far reaching but close knit group. I’ve dabbled in cosplay myself, and let me tell you, the forums and blogs and Pinterests are only just the surface. By making sure your cosplayers are happy, you are guaranteeing a group of insanely dedicated fans. And in terms of the costume design for a lot of these shows, they could actually learn a thing or two from cosplay. Cosplayers not only have to think about the aesthetic of their costumes, but functionality as well. Does it have pockets? Where can you keep your wallet? Can you comfortably walk for a long period? Will it get too heavy over time? Can you run? Can you see? Can you move freely? These are things the show creators should be considering for their characters as well. We’ve also seen shows where a character starts running in clothing they clearly can’t run in. It breaks the spell of the show sometimes.

Antonio Ferron said...

What an interesting perspective. Cosplayers tend to be perceived as the awkward cousin in the costume design world. I've never thought about the way costume designers for movies think about cosplayers. Knowing the fact that people will be attempting to recreate the costumes you design is such a strange thing to me. It's even stranger that this Star Wars costume designer actually makes this a consideration as they design. I wonder how much cosplayers are actually thought about in the process though, or if saying this was just some way to make fans feel important. I as though if too much emphasis is put on the wearability for cosplayers that the designs would suffer, which I'm sure is not something the Star Wars franchise would actually let happen. Nonetheless I do think it's awesome that the fans are thought about this way in the Star Wars team's creative process (if this is true).

David Kelley said...

Cosplay while not one of my hobbies has always seemed pretty damn cool to me. The idea of recreating a character or image made by another and bringing it to life is just so cool. And the fact that cosplay played a role in helping change character costumes in Star Wars is honestly not that surprising but is most definitely cool. I say it not that surprising due to the fact that fans of larger franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel for example have been growing in both power and influence over the source of their fandom. They are dedicated to their series and really are invested in them to the poin that it only makes sense for companies to at least listen to their input. I see as the biggest example of this in the movie Deadpool where Fox screwed up the character in a earlier movie and than weren't sure if they tried and make a more accurate depiction of Deadpool with the violence and crass humor if it would go over well, many questioned whether a comic book movie could do well being rated R. But they listen the fan input that the movie most definitely needed to be R rated And well not only did the movie do well for a comic book movie it was the number one grossing R movie of all time. This just shows that fans are loyal and really love it when you appreciate their love for their series.

Helena Hewitt said...

There have always been fans. People have always fallen in love with stories that resonate with them. However, the modern age, and particularly the advent of social media, has allowed people to give much more immediate feedback on what they like or don't like. It has also allowed them to connect much more immediately with other people who like the same things and to bolster each other in their dedication and engagement with the thing they like. Cosplay and conventions is a pretty extreme example of how the fan culture has blossomed to a point where there are large gathering that allows them to have face to face interactions with the producers as they embody the characters these people have created. That fact that a designer would design costumes with the fans in mind shows just how intimate the relationship between fan and product (and therefore producers) has become. In the commercial world, one can no longer afford to make decisions that don't consider the audience.

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