Wow, it’s been awhile. Also hey new blog, sup, you lookin’ good.
Getting a Raider Group Together
In August, Allyn and I partook in a post-apocalyptic photoshoot, organized by a Vault 70 cosplayer named Denver. We’d never met, but he asked for some good location ideas and I helped in finding the perfect spot. You can see some of the photos here, but the point is that during that photoshoot we met other post-apocalyptic cosplayers. Not long after that, he reached out and asked if Allyn and I, along with another cosplayer we’d met named Christian, wanted to enter the FanX Group cosplay contest.
I said yes because duh, who doesn’t want to enter fun contests? I didn’t anticipate the amount of work Allyn would need to do on his costume and weapon, or the sheer logistics of getting there on a workday/rearranging my schedule, not to mention the sensory overload that comes with huge crowds, and FanX has always had some of the biggest. I’m thrilled that we participated, but whew, that was way more intense than my usual low-key socializing.
All participating cosplay groups had to come up with a 1 minute skit for the onstage portion of the contest. We came up with the idea of us, the four raiders, finding a loot box and going through it when we’re alerted to another person in the area. True to Fallout fashion, we’d be killed via VATS, complete with sound effects and us freezing and then dying when the gunshot sounded. Not to brag, but not only were we going to LOOK amazing, our skit was such a cool as hell idea and I’m proud of us for brainstorming and working through it as a group. We picked the music, Allyn edited it to fit the time and put in the sound effects, and then it was just weeks of preparation. The Facebook messenger group was always full of pictures and questions and more brainstorming and creativity.
The Judging – In Person
So, part of the contest called for “in person” judging before the onstage event, in theory to let the judges get the details and crafting process from the contestants, as well as see everything up close. In reality we had 1.5 minutes to scream back and forth, talking over everyone and trying to answer the rapid-fire questions from the judges with enough words to matter, but not too much words, because of the time limit. Keep in mind, I showed up to this at 10am after working since midnight, so the original plan was to get judged and then, for me, to go home and sleep until the main event that night.
But we stayed, due to the traffic and high amount of people–the crowd was insane and I realized that coming back in the evening and finding parking was going to be nightmarish–but mostly, I saw how much fun Allyn was having, and the smile on his face and his wide eyes turned me to mush, of course. I paid severely for it with a panic attack and needing to decompress later on, but I am so glad we stayed. Everybody complimented us, there was so much cool shit to look at (as usual) and we were constantly stopped for photos. The amazing art and dedication to costuming really revitalized me; most people I’m close with aren’t into that hobby and so it’s pretty isolating most of the time. I would say that getting out more is good for me if it didn’t cause massive anxiety and always happen while I’m sleep deprived.
Anyway, we stayed, and had fun, and even participated in an unofficial Fallout group photoshoot.
FanX is huge, like I mentioned. I won’t lie, I got pretty adrenaline-fueled as we lined up to go take our seats, get our numbers, and get organized. Most of the contests I enter are on a much smaller scale and smaller stage, and this wasn’t just me, it was my whole group and I get that motherly/responsible loss of control feeling (ie., ‘if we fail it’ll be my fault). I tried my best to enjoy the beginner and intermediate shows before us, but mostly I was just nerves.
At some point we lined up in a huge backstage line and from there I could only hear the stage and music and cheering. I’m actually pretty sad about this; I wanted to see everyone’s work. In what seemed like minutes I was staring at the stairs up to the stage. Everything went smoothly, and the video I later saw of our skit made me so happy. You can watch it on Youtube, or on my art instagram. That was the longest minute of my life, haha! I can recount every second exactly every time I hear the music. Once our skit was over we sat back down and enjoyed the finish of the show.I legit teared up during a few of the other presentations because I was so in awe and excited about other’s creations. There is no better company than that of talented artists.
I was sitting there listening to the post-contest announcements when suddenly somebody grabbed me and told me to go backstage. I was totally delirious by this point (approaching 20 hours with no sleep…) and assumed everyone was going backstage for some reason. Everyone on the way kept saying congratulations and I was completely confused why they would say that before the winners were announced. Haha, I’m so blond sometimes.
So, we took second place! The adrenaline, lack of sleep, last minute frantic distressing, trading all kinds of shifts/hours with my coworkers…it was all so so worth it and now I see why people tough out these conventions. I don’t ever mind losing, but I have to say, damn it feels good to win, what an honor. We deserved it. We looked fantastic, the stage portion was well done, I feel we were very creative and fit the “look” of raiders, and I can say without a doubt that a lot of hard work went into this. The euphoria of winning wasn’t properly captured in the below picture, but I look at it and still feel the same way as that night, completely on top of the world. Those few exhausted hazy minutes were the best part of the day for me.
When we signed up, Denver used his own wasteland name, ‘Road Rage’, but they called us up as a group named Road Rage instead. No worries! It fit. However, we saw a Facebook post mentioning us as “Road Kill” and decided that would be our name instead, it still makes me die laughing. Anyway, the Road Kill group got our scoring points back and I actually cried when I saw it. Winning was surreal and full of emotion, but seeing the concrete evidence of what, in the judges opinions, we were rated at was even more validating.