Another Member of the Femme 11 Doctor Who Cosplayers Has More Commentary
So apparently one of the “Heroes of Cosplay” on her tumblr (as posted below) is getting aggressive in her responses to the whole thing. I couldn’t stand to read much of it since it seemed like being she was being pissed off at the Femme 11 as if they knew what they were getting into and they have no right to criticize a reality show or that they should be ashamed that they only go to one convention a year.
What entitled douchebaggery.
As it happens, another member of this cosplay group is a friend of mine on Gail Simone’s forum. As such, I asked her if it was okay to repost her own account of events and she has agreed. And if you’re wondering why I’m giving so much attention to this whole thing… just remember: I have gone to a lot of conventions, cosplayed myself, and met a lot of awesome people along the way. This show pisses me off to no end about how THIS is the representation cosplaying gets in popular media.
Some things that I can add:
For those who don’t know which one was me — I was the 8th Doctor.
Last year I met the Kansas City Time Lord Society group and joined it. I got to know several of the members and one of them started talking about wanting to do all 11 Doctors only done as women. I’d been wanting to Cosplay for a long time and had been talking about different costume ideas with my friend, Codename: Greyhound Leader, so this seemed the perfect opportunity.
ALL our costumes with the exception of the 10th Doctor and the 9th Doctor were created by the girl cosplaying as the 3rd Doctor — Hilary. And she even did some tailoring for the 10th and 9th Doctors’ costumes as well. I agreed to do the 8th Doctor mostly because I could do Paul McGann’s auburn curls without having to wear a wig.
Hilary had most of the costume — I just had to provide pants and shoes out of my own closet.
I picked up the costume just a couple of days before the con because Hilary had to put some finishing touches on it.
And now for real cosplay drama — I tried the costume on and the jacket swallowed me whole. I’m pretty slender and Hilary had actually made the jacket for her sister to wear. PANIC! I contacted Hilary and we arranged to meet after work at a Barnes and Noble. So we’re standing in the Barnes and Noble café with me wearing the jacket and Hilary pinning the heck out of it so she could take it home and tuck and pin it. And amazingly she was able to tuck and sew the heavy, velvet fabric without cutting it so that the stiches could later be removed so that her sister could still wear the jacket. And she did it with just a day to spare before the con.
The thing of it is that the press release about the show which was published by Planet Comicon (which in their defense was what THEY got from the production company) led us to believe this was going to be a VERY different show than what it turned out to be.
NONE of us knew we were going to be part of a reality tv show AND we had heard that the Sci-Fi channel people were NOT going to be eligible for the contest… which of course, they were.
We found out only when we were IN the competition that we were punching WAAAAYYYY above our weight class.
And that’s also an unfair part of things…
Planet Comicon, while a GREAT con, is still a REGIONAL con. This year was it’s first year in Bartle Hall which is THE PREMIERE convention location in Kansas City. Before that it was held out in the suburbs.
Planet Comicon doesn’t attract PRO Cosplayers.
As for the rest — Bert, you’re actually on track with the Fairies — they perform at Kansas City’s Renaissance Festival every year. That’s the only reason why they HAD a skit. One of the fairy girls ran home and grabbed their music when they found out about the skit requirement and they just performed one of the dances they do every year at the Ren Fest.
Well, the con organizers weren’t actually running the costume contest — the production company stepped in and started running the costume contests… well, all except for the children’s costume contest because of course they didn’t care about that….
The costume contest was a bit of a mess with a lot of ‘the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing’ stuff going on. We were not informed of the skit requirement but that doesn’t mean it was exactly last minute — just that the local participants didn’t get the memo.
Obviously it COULDN’T have been last minute because the ‘Heroes of Cosplay’ were obviously prepared. I mean, they had a bloody SMOKE MACHINE! And Yaya’s group had actual SETS, BACKDROPS, and freakin’ STAGEHANDS!
As for the rest of my story…..
Our 11th Doctor actually had terrible stage fright so the announcement that we were going to have to do a skit sent her into a panic attack. She was a trooper as you saw though and she really threw herself into it. For a while though it was touch-and-go and to whether she would end up hyperventilating on stage and passing out.
Oh, and as for the female version of K-9 — again, that was all Hilary. It was actually brilliant because for most of the con K-9 was in ‘male mode’ and then when we prepared for the costume contest she pulled off the regular bumpers and put on a set of bumpers painted pink, took off K-9’s regular plaid collar and put on the pink one, and then added the pink bow on top of the head. She then called her K-9 Mark Femme.
And, again, the important thing to keep in mind is that Planet Comicon was making a BIG leap this past year. It had been growing nicely but moving up the Bartle Hall was a BIG move and a gamble at that. The con is organized and run not by a corporation or rich people with deep pockets — it’s run by a bunch of geeks who volunteer their time and services. The money made at the cons gets poured back into next year’s con. So it Bartle Hall had been a flop and LOST money it stood a very good chance of severely wounding if not KILLING the con. The organizers — who were ALSO not told the truth about the nature of the TV show — took the production company’s offer because they thought it would help draw people to the con and try to make sure they earned some more money to continue supporting the con.
"Please tell me at least some people told them to go to hell or other words to that effect"
Some people in the audience did. Our group realized that we were being set up to be the ‘bitches’ of the show so we quickly shut the hell up and refused to give them any fodder but apparently (I couldn’t actually STAND to watch the episode itself) the production company did selective editing to make it look like OUR group booed and jeered and said nasty things.
But, like Bert said, a LOT of people who were left in the audience, were upset with the result. A LOT of people were pulling for the ‘Iron Avengers’ group… and honestly, we had thought they would be our biggest competitors.
Oh, and even WELL BEFORE the contest we didn’t KNOW there would be prize money but we discussed the possibility while Hilary was off in the bathroom and WE ALL AGREED TO A WOMAN that if there were any prize money to be won we would give it ALL to Hilary.
So, yeah, WE were the bitches, right?
Oh, and the whole thing took FOR DAMN EVER! I imagine you don’t see it in the episode but by the time Yaya’s group performed there was almost NO audience left.
Because they kept having to shoot and re-shoot stuff it ran late into Sunday night. And as Amy’s facebook story attests most of us were tired and hungry. In addition to that I had left my dog alone in the apartment all day and hadn’t been able to run home and let her out and it was after 8:30 already when they had us in the ‘wrap-up interview’ process. It was after 9:00 before I could get home. I was terrified I was going to find a mess on my carpets from my poor dog. As it was the little trooper had done well and held it…. poor thing.
And then there was the ‘interview wrap-up’ we had to go through. We got interviewed and filmed by what was obviously a ‘B-Team’ and the interviewer kept trying to get Hilary, as our spokesperson, to say something nasty and incriminating, but Hilary knew what she was doing and refused to say anything bad. Instead, we were all sweetness and light. I don’t imagine they used much of THAT footage in the show.
But basically, the production company did EVERYTHING they possibly COULD do to make the show look staged and rigged to those of us participating. A member of the production company kept going to the judge’s table and talking to the judges — making it look like they were telling the judges how to vote (we found out later, FROM one of the judges that they were not but rather the production person was trying to get the judges to make embarrassing comments and ask embarrassing questions of the ‘Heroes’ groups).
The ‘Heroes’ groups were the ONLY ones who had the real names of their participants announced to the audience and the ‘Heroes’ groups were the ONLY ones who actually got lighting changes to fit the moods of their skits — which also gave them a leg up which we didn’t have.
In the end, I suppose you might say that the contest wasn’t *technically* rigged but in practice the deck was so stacked against local contestants it might as well have been rigged.
And yes, we WERE angry because we were in the middle of this before we realized what was going on and saw the unfairness of it. And really, the production company seemed to underestimate the audience’s ability to see the same thing.
It FELT a lot like a adult having a footrace against a three year-old with the adult holding nothing back.
I probably should also say that I place a LOT of the blame on the production company.
They obviously didn’t know what they were doing, I don’t think they’d done any research into Planet Comicon, and they’ve obviously edited the footage to create OMG DRAMA! over the weeks.
I also didn’t know Yaya Han from a hole in the ground either before the show or even really now. And I could care less.
Even she’s apparently been burned by the editing, though, having gotten accusations of ‘slut shaming’ and ‘weight shaming’ on other cosplayers (and for the record, our group? We had age ranges from teenagers to over 40 and we had body types from 100 lbs to… shall we say Rubenesque).
I know some of my fellow ‘Femme 11’ Doctors have gotten kind of burned on this experience and want to take a ‘break’ from Cosplaying for at least a year.
For me, it actually hasn’t turned me off cosplaying but it has turned me off competing even just for fun as MOST competitions are. Since I didn’t own the costume I wore this year I’ll have to come up with something else for myself so I’m thinking about next year doing a Kolchak the Night Stalker gender swap and just walking around the con in costume….
In all fairness, there’s been a LOT of back-and-forth on Facebook today and the group we got into it with has apologized AND admitted that the editing on the episode made us look like bitches — which we weren’t. We WERE upset though and stuff got said which shouldn’t have gotten said but at the end of the day I place the blame squarely on the production company — 51 Minds Entertainment. There were NOT clear on what type of show they were filming and they were NOT clear with the details of the competition. If we’d known what they were we probably would have waited a year. We wouldn’t have won any money (Planet Comicon doesn’t usually offer cash prizes) but we didn’t care, we didn’t do it for the money, we did it to have fun. And if we’d waited we would have been going up against other cosplayers who were our speed. And we probably would have lost to the Iron Avengers and we would have been happy about that because the Iron Avengers were AWESOME!
We’ve also heard from the person in the audience who *actually* shouted “Everyone who isn’t a SyFy plant, I love you!” When the episode aired this line was re-dubbed to say “Out of Towners Go home!” or something to the like. NO ONE at ANY TIME the night we were there said ANYTHING about ‘out-of-towners’.
Because, hell, Planet Comicon gathers folks from multiple Midwestern states. We get people from Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and various and sundry other parts of the country.
And here’s a photo of the group in question.
Heroes of Cosplay: you and your production company can go straight to hell.
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