TimeLash 2015: Cosplay-Time

As I told you in my Review for the TimeLash do I want to expand on something I didn’t talk about, namely: The Cosplay competition.
What was supposed to be just us having fun turned into something I don’t even know how to call it, but read for yourself.

Preparations, preparations…

As I told you did Schmusi, Anna and I participate in the Cosplay competition – and I still don’t know what lead me to agree to that. Still, we had a lot of fun preparing our performance.

Quite soon we decided that the sketch we wanted to portray would feature the Tenth Doctor (Schmusi), Donna Noble (me) and Rose Tyler (Anna), wearing a Gallifreyan Wedding gown based on this FanArt.
Thinking back and forth Schmusi then wrote a little sketch for us and I added a couple of thoughts to it, but most of it was slightly changed again when we recorded the whole thing. As explanation of why Rose was wearing that dress, we simply decided that Jack Harkness gave it to her.
We laughed a lot while recording and practising the acting part of the sketch and the more often we heard it and the more running gags (including but not limited to: noise effects, quotes and variations therefore) we created for ourselves, the latter didn’t always work out and we ended up laughing our way through a test-run.

When we arrived in Kassel on Friday, I tried my wig for the first time and Schmusi couldn’t stop laughing as I looked like an old hag to her, so we decided to get some hair tint for me. Well, that didn’t turn out too well, as it barely made my original hair colour a bit lighter, but nowhere near the red of Donna. So we had to use the wig after all and Schmusi styled it a bit, so she wouldn’t have to laugh about it.

Until the very last minute before our departure to the Con on Sunday Schmusi and Anna worked on the last tweaks on the costumes. Schmusi’s suit for the Tenth Doctor was already finished, but Anna’s Rose-gown still needed some work and my cerecloth/table cloth-coat (they couldn’t get their hands on fake leather in time, so they had to improvise using this) got its final touches on Saturday. Schmusi even sacrificed her Sherlock-Cosplay coat pockets, so I could put my hands into my table cloth, yay.😀 When the coat was finished we practised our performance once again in Nazgul‘s living room and to get a feeling for it, I put the coat on. We didn’t even make it through the first part of the sketch, as the coat creaked when I crossed my arms and thanks to that and the smell of the table cloth we just burst out laughing, unable to continue any further. The next try Anna made a pouty face during one of her lines and from that time onwards Schmusi always saw a Jigglypuff whenever she said that line.

As last minute addition I prepared a little sign saying “From Jack with Love” – were I tried to imitate the characters hand writing as it was shown in the Torchwood book the others got at the Convention – that should indicate that Rose’s dress was a present by him – some people took it as Rose was the present, but we’re fine with that, too -, which Schmusi sew to the dress shortly before our performance.

You see, we had a lot of fun during this part.😀

The Play

As we haven’t released it on YouTube (yet?) – and it’s in German anyway -, you’ll only get a Transcript for now (and maybe later I’ll add a link to the Channel).

<Intro>
Doctor: “Once more for you Donna, I am the Doctor and I am right. What I say will be done”
Donna: “Oh?”
Doctor: “Ye-hes. You are my Companion and I am the Tour Guide. Whom of us is automatically right?” <points to self>
Donna: “Me” <points to self>
Doctor: “Why?” <in a whiny tone>
Donna: “Without ME, YOU’d still be running around with those three brats looking for the Philosopher’s Stone!”
Doctor: “That – that was Beginners Luck!” <protests>
Donna: <nods sarcastically> “I am right and you listen to me now. Good thing we  cleared that up”
Doctor: “Of course Donna. You’re right Donna-”
Donna: “So, where to now?” <interrupts>
Doctor: “But at least my Tardis still likes me and sees me as an honourable owner” <touches Tardis>
<Fault noise>
Doctor: “What?”
Donna: “See, the Tardis is on my side. Women do stick together after all” <touches Tardis>
<Fault noise>
Doctor: “She’s is on my side! I knew it!” <jeers and touches Tardis>
<Fault noise>
<Tardis Alarm noise>
Donna: “What’s happening?”
Doctor: “You tell me! You’re the one who’s right!” <starts shaking due to the turbulences>
Donna: <grabs suit lapels and shakes him> “Don’t get cocky with me! What’s happening?”
<They stumble about in the Tardis until the noise ceases and everything is silent>

Rose: “The Tardis! Finally a le-” <opens Tardis door, steps inside and sees Donna and Doctor, steps back>
Donna: “And who are YOU now?”
Doctor: “Gallifrey” <takes Donna’s hands away from him and walks over to inspect the gown>
Doctor: “That looks like…hmm…that looks…like…like the needlework of Lord Needles!” <he realizes while poking and pulling at the dress>
Rose: “Doctor! It’s me, Rose!”
Doctor: “No. No. You’re just a hallucination! You can’t be here!  You’re in Norway. I left you at the beach…” <recalls sadly>
Donna: “Ah, that’s how that happened. Was she right as well?”
Doctor: “Not now Donna”
Rose: “Yes, you left me behind, but I can’t be mad at you for that. But I made it. I’m here. I’m finally back!” <tells him and strokes his cheek>
Doctor: “Ro-Rose…” <steps back>
Donna: “You Dösbaddel*. The kids real!” <smacks him over the head>
Doctor: “Ouch! What’s that for now?!” <looks at Donna, who points at Rose>
Doctor: “You’re – still here…”
Rose: “I told you so!”**
Donna: “Don’t you want to tell her something? You know, from back then?” <nudges him and has to point him back towards Rose while he talks>
Rose: “Doctor?”
Doctor: “Y-yes. Yes. Y-yes, it’s time. Rose Tyler, I -”
<Outro>***

*Northern German phrase for dim-wit/dumbo
** This is the Jigglypuff line
*** I listened to this often enough that I quoted most of it by heart before I checked the recording and corrected the few mistakes I made and that even though we didn’t say any of those words live on stage… >_<

Well, that’s it. Our little sketch. It’s nothing special and as far away from canon as you can probably get, but with Rose turning up before Stolen Earth, it’s kind of hard to stay there…
We considered it to be fun and it wasn’t supposed to fit in with canon anyway, it is just something to accompany the costumes…

The Competition

On Saturday we met up with the von PuchsKes and Frank, the couple that presented the competition – and were positively surprised how supportive and lovely they were and it eased the nervousness a bit. We talked with them about issues and negativity Schmusi had experienced at and especially after other competitions, as some reviewers tore her performance apart due to her physical appearance. Kes told us she had experienced similar things in her times as a Cosplayer and that we shouldn’t let stuff like that get to us.
After the Panels were done for the day we used the chance to see how less-large-than-we-thought the stage actually was and try how far we could/had to go to have the space we’d need for the movement during the sketch.

When it was time for the competition, everyone squeezed into the small space beside the stage and one after the other got called to their performance. Some were showing their incredible sewing skills, others had collected their Cosplay over the years. Some said a few lines, others just used the stage as a catwalk. It was a variety of people and Cosplays, fitting for the occasion.

And then there was us:
An unusual group of three stoutly build women playing a pre-recorded sketch, with Cosplays that could not match any of the high quality Cosplays, but were fitted for the person and created using the material available (*cough*table cloth*cough*).
We didn’t plan on winning anything anyway.
We just wanted to present our little sketch and make the people in the audience laugh, when we weren’t allowed to do it ourselves.
And they did.
They laughed when the Tardis didn’t want to work with The Doctor.
They laughed when Donna smacked The Doctor over the head.
And that was enough for us. It felt great.
We didn’t look perfect, but at least recognizable.
Neither of us fell or started laughing throughout the performance and that’s what matters to us.
It was a lot of fun to play our little sketch, even though all of us were awfully nervous.

The Feedback

Obviously we didn’t win any of the prices, as those were given to the people that actually deserved them, but we did get a few gimmicks and some positive response by a few people we met afterwards.
E.g. a young girl came up to us and delightedly told us that we portrayed her favourite characters and that she really liked how cheeky our (my😉 ) Donna was and that really lifted our spirits. Some of the winners and participants and a few other guests gave us their approval as well, which is really great, but can’t compete with the girl.😀

Still, there was also negative Feedback, though I am not entirely sure if I actually want to call it that, I guess negative Opinions would be the better term.
In the official Facebook group one commenter announced that she was afraid for the on-stage Tardis at some point of our terrible performance. Another guy wrote in his review for Sunday that when he tries remembering our performance his nose starts bleeding and his ears start to buzz. When I asked him – I admit, I didn’t tell him, who I was, but it would have been easy for him to make the connection – he revealed that he considered the performance to be quite bad and that someone even showed him a similar sketch from an English convention and said we just copied it (If someone knows that video, feel free to send me a link, because we had no idea a thing like that existed), but instead of simply asking US, he spread the misinformation.
Though this could be the reason that so far you could barely see us on any of the competition shots…no one wants to include people that just steal their ideas…or wear awful Cosplays…

While I wrote the review for the Convention another German review, this time from the WhoView, was published that called our performance embarrassing and bad Fanfiction that turned Rose into a Time Lady and just wanted to see some naughty action between the Tenth Doctor and Rose, disregarding all female empowerment in 5 minutes and I don’t even want to go into more detail about the paragraph that talked about us in a very bad light and a quite polemic way, as I simply cannot understand how one could get THAT idea from our story… or does anyone feel the same after having read my explanation and the Transcript above? I mean, it’s a flipping Wedding gown/dress, by a Time Lord randomly called Lord Needles that was given to her by Jack to make her look pretty when she finally meets the Doctor again. o.O

Still, it created quite a discussion in the Facebook Group, when we spoke up about the fact that we didn’t agree with the way he talked about us…though we are not entirely sure how many people noticed the connection. We didn’t mean to start such an uproar from it, but it just felt wrong to stay silent. I admit, some of the phrases used in our statements weren’t thought out properly, but I do believe that was the initial rage at the way it was written. Yet, the author and his friends continued talking down on Anna and everyone that tried to defend us, repeating over and over again that it’s nothing bad and just the way the author talks/writes and no one should get agitated by it and it just spiralled upwards from there and all the sides got more and more frustrated by the whole thing.
From what I now learned about the author, I believe it was deliberately written in that way to cause a discussion or at least tuck at the strings of those jumping at the chance to discuss something like that, but I still don’t agree with the way it was written, as it – as a part of the group – felt insulting and degrading, even though he didn’t use any direct insults and wrapped everything in more or less harmless phrases. It still hurt and there would have been several different ways to portray such a dislike for something without stepping on the people involved in the process. The author chose this way of writing and all we can do is accept his decision. I feel like no one deserves a treatment like that, that’s why I will not return fire with fire by insulting the author. We accept your opinion, we do not agree with it and are disappointed that you resorted to such tones to describe us and not even considered talking to us in person, but we accept it and hope that this settles the matter once and for all.

At some point the organizers got involved into this – we had thought about informing them, but in the end didn’t do it -, which caused the Link to the article to be deleted from the group. The author and the boss had a talk and the author apologized to him about the fact that his article resulted in such an uproar and as punishment the author has to participate in next years Cosplay competition. So far he has not said a word to us on this matter nor did any of the officials contact us about it.

I don’t care if someone insults me, I’ve been a target to a lot of negativity before, but Schmusi and Anna are two of the most amazing people I had the fortune of meeting during the last couple of years. They give so much for their friends and work hard on different Cosplays using whatever material they can get their hands on, all the while juggling the organisation of a regular Fandom meeting and everyday madness. They don’t get much in return and then something like this happens to them – again – and this time in a community that for a brief moment felt different, felt more open minded, felt like family.
It is a really disappointing and sad turn of events that what we anticipated and feared to happen prior to entering the competition did indeed happen and that in a Fandom that is supposedly so inclusive and supportive, where individuals suddenly turn on you behind your back because you don’t fit in with the norm – at least that’s what we get out of this. With the encouragement from the Puchs and the overall atmosphere of the Convention we had really hoped that we’d get the respect every participant of a competition deserves and not become the butt end of a polemic joke.
Yes, our Doctor is not as thin as he is supposed to be and neither are Rose and Donna.
Yes, our Donna had a table cloth for a coat and the rest didn’t look nearly as good as some of the more expensive costumes, but we were still recognizable.
Yes, we aren’t the best Cosplayers, let alone actors in the world. (Heck, it was MY first time Cosplaying at all…)
But we had fun and the audience laughed and – I dare to say and some of the positive responses in the group agree with me here – had a good time and that was all we wanted. Obviously except those that fled the room or whose insides crumbled while witnessing our disaster of a performance, but that’s to be expected.
And if anyone has anything to say about us and/or our performance that person should at least have the decency to tell it to our faces – or through a message – and not start talking behind our backs, but that doesn’t mean we’re not open for constructive criticism, so we know how we can improve.

Regardless of that would we like to thank all those lovely people that stood up for us and/or send us encouraging words! After all the negativity this whole ordeal created your words helped us to find the strength again to look at this matter from a different angle. Thank you!

What I got from this experience is

  • As long as you have fun, you shouldn’t let others negative opinions bother you – which they still do and it will hurt, but you have to try to not let them get to you too much and overcome them.
  • As soon as you start playing, you don’t notice the audience any more.
  • Getting applause and laughter while on stage feels great.
  • Table cloth can be quite warm.
  • Anna is a yellow broccoli.
  • Schmusi wears children’s caskets instead of sand shoes.
  • With my wig not prepared properly I’m an old hag with a standing table cloth coat.😀

Anyway, I know I’m repeating myself, but we still had a lot of fun with this and as we enjoyed the recording part of the preparations and really like the result, we decided to do more with that. So stay tuned.😉

I/we don’t know if we will be at the next TimeLash as well, we would like to go, but aside from the planning, the whole negative behind our backs discussion regarding our performance really makes us want to stay away, but at the same time there is this urge to not back down, to show everyone that we ain’t bovvered by those remarks and we obviously will continue to create and learn and have fun doing what ever it is we want to do.

PoiSonPaiNter

2 comments

  1. Hey there!

    I just wanted to say I’m very much hoping to see you again next year.🙂 It’s great you had some fun preparing your Cosplay and honestly – that’s all Cosplay’s about really. Having fun. I can tell you – you’re not the only one who’s been at the receiving end of Cosplay hate and it’s always a crappy experience. Maybe by this time next year the persons involved in this issue will have had enough time to grow up. And even if they don’t: you had fun while they were busy indulging in their poisonous mood. Seems like you “won” after all.😉

    It’s good to know that the von Puchs and your fellow competitors were more inclusive and less hateful and I hope that will be enough to encourage you to participate again. Maybe not next year, but whenever you feel like it.🙂 It’s not a bad fandom as such, but of course there are some black sheep.

    I’m really sorry that you had to experience such negativity concerning your first Cosplay, which should be fun and a great experience to remember. You know what would be really cool? Give those costumes another tweak over the next months, make something you feel comfortable in and that allows you to move like you want (I believe moving about in a tablecloth must be quite exhausting) and then enter the costume again – with the same scene or maybe an edited/extended version. That should shut up the haters and hopefully you would get the satisfaction of being recognised as talented comedy actors – which I think you are, actually.

    But whatever you do: don’t take all this hate too personally. They don’t even know you, so what entitles them to judge you?😉

    Liked by 1 person

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