We all remember Ghostbusters growing up. Either the cartoon, toys, or movies! But did you know there are amazing people who dress up as Ghostbusters to support local charities? Today I want to introduce you to the ERT (experimental research team) Ghostbusters. I have the pleasure of meeting and doing several charity events with them throughout the years. This group has some amazing philosophies discussed in todays interview with creator Robert “Buma” Aswin! Plus they just know how to have fun. So, who are you going to call? GHOSTBUSTERS!
Group Name: ERT Ghostbusters
When I started this fan club/group in 2009, I was exploring a niche in modernizing Ghostbuster equipment for the time ahead and the future. In my travels meeting with other clubs, new people, and those that joined my club, I discovered fandom reaches all ages and levels of the human experience. This in turn made me realize that fandom is family. No matter how much we like, hate, or fight with others in our fandom, we all join together when outsiders rail against us and that is what family is all about. Only family should be allowed to fight with each other.
But my greatest joy is when I see people connect in this fandom and broaden their experiences with each other. That would include: friendship, romance, and other relationships.
I hope by seeing it will inspire others to continue to pursuing their fandoms no matter what genre it is. Those that are in this fandom, become better allies instead of the dark forces that work against you.
Robert “Buma” Aswin
Corporate Director of Operations
Founder of ERT-Ghostbusters
ERT Ghostbusters (Corp) located at Salt Lake City, UT
ERT Ghostbusters – OOPS Branch located at Ogden, UT
ERT Ghostbusters – SETI Branch located at Denver, CO
ERT Ghostbusters – CTA Branch located at Colorado Springs, CO
When was the group started?
Est. in 2009 the Experimental Research Team (ERT) for Ghostbusters was born, bringing new projects & Proton Packs to life and helping out at Community events too.
And by who? Robert “Buma” Aswin
What inspired you to create Ghostbusters or CAUSEplay in general?
First of all, Ghostbusters is very iconic, after 30 years the No Ghost logo is third in the world to being in recognition to Pepsi and Coke. I also had a love of Ghostbusters since I was I n my teens, I remember building my first cosplay as a Ghostbuster with a Nike track suit, a backpack with a tube and a flashlight connected to it, plus a ghost trap made out of a show box. I also loved the car, everyone loves the car.
I had tried to start a Ghostbusters group in West Texas around 2006, but due to the lack of responses and being forced to move back to Utah because of hardships, I decided to start another group and the idea for the Experimental Research Team Ghostbusters was born. After so many years, I wanted to envision what “modern” Ghostbuster gear would look like.
With that philosophy, the gear we have has the essence of the original gear from the movies, but with our twist on it.
If you are a member of the Ghostbusters what made you want to join this particular group or CAUSEplay?
Brief history/overview: Since 2009, we have promoted the Utah CoOp, Utah Fallen Officers fund, Make a Wish foundation, Hope Kids and other charity groups. For every event, we pick a different charity to promote and generate funds for.
We have been at all three Salt Lake Comic Con events, Fantasy-Con and several local events.
I believe that the local charities need a voice when compared to National charities.
Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? No.
And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3 status? Not at this time.
If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good?
The funds we collect does go directly to the charity and we get a receipt.
How can someone join ERT Ghostbusters?
Anyone wishing to join can send an email to ERTGBSLC@gmail.com Once we receive the email, we will send out a membership application (It’s digital) and the group handbook. The person just needs to fill it out and email back to the group. If they are in an area that does not have an ERT Branch, we have guidelines on how to start their own branch in that area.
What type of costumes do you accept?
The handbook outlines the various outfits that we accept, from the standard flightsuit and gear to business suit or a lab rat outfit.
Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it?
The initial process is to provide an outfit that looks like it belongs in the Ghostbusters universe.
What do you look for in a costume?
The essence of the look that the outfit could exist in the Ghostbusters Universe and documentation on how it can function in that universe.
Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process? (I.E. where to fund jumpsuits, patches, where can you buy a proton pack or find steps to make one, etc. )
As I have said to my group, do not try to re-invent the wheel, someone has already done it somewhere. I keep a personal list of links of where to find things for the group, plus a list of items needed to build their proton pack for the group. The group just needs to ask.
Do you guys create personas? Or just be yourselves? Background character stories or things like that?
We are just ourselves, but I do know that we are the only Ghostbusters group that goes by Callsigns. Like, I’m Buma, my wife is Kendle and so forth. That is what we put on our flightsuit.
Leadership structure: I do have a council of Directors that I answer to, that way the decisions for the group is not made by one person.
The positions that I have are as listed –
Corporate Director of Human Relations – Dan “Oni” Kauffman (Team Leader of CTA Branch)
Corporate Director of Research and Development – Joshua “Omi” Dees (Team Leader of SETI Branch)
Corporate Director of Franchise Operations – Stephanae “Maiden” Turner
Corporate Director of Finances – Andrew “Tully” Marsh
How is the leadership determined?
Most positions are appointed with an approval of the Council. The local branches have a Team Leader and a local Events coordinator. The Team Leader position fills out an application and submits it to the Council for approval. The events coordinator is appointed by the Local Team Leader. The Team Leader reports to the Corporate Director of Franchise Operations.
What have you done for charities (types of events)?
Since 2009, we have promoted the Utah CoOp, Utah Fallen Officers fund, Make a Wish foundation, Hope Kids, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and other charity groups. For every event, we pick a different charity to promote and generate funds for.
We have been at all three Salt Lake Comic Con events, Fantasy-Con, Ogden Zombie Crawl for the past 5 years and several local events.
I believe that the local charities need a voice when compared to National charities.
Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
Both, we have group events like a holiday party for members and also being contacted to represent our groups at conventions.
How did you build you “clientele”?
Word of mouth, in the beginning we contacted groups and asked if they wanted a group to promote their events, some said yes and some said no. Eventually we made ourselves known and go to events when we can. Our busiest time frame is from April-November.
My group has made a decision to not hold events at retirement homes, we felt saying “We’ll see you soon.” Would just be bad sounding.
Do you have particular organization or cause you work with regularity?
As I stated before, we choose different charities for every events, but we do enjoy helping with the Utah Fallen Officer’s fund, since our sister group the Umbrella Corp – Utah Hive supports that as their primary charity.
How much money has the ERT Ghostbusters raised for the organization it works with?
The amount varies with each charity.
What is the most amazing thing ERT Ghostbusters has accomplished so far?
Meeting Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore from Ghostbusters) and making him and Honorary ERT member.
Where do you see ERT Ghostbusters going in the future? Expansion and further promoting our personal motto that Fandom is Family.
Do you use any fun terminology specifically ERT Ghostbusters?
No, not really, but when we do create background documentation for anything, we try to create plausible explanations for things, which does include pseudo-science terminology.
Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
First of all, have a love for what you are doing. No matter how bad things get within a club, always remember that it all started out with love for what you wanted to do and everyone in the group has that same love.
One memorable thing about the Ghostbuster movies is the car. Do you guys have one?
I have had three cars built since I started my group, but in the Ectomobile community, they have the nickname of Wrectomobiles. Everyone person that has ever built one has had some kind of damage done to them, the cars don’t last long.
Here are the three cars I have built –
Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay:
The best thing about being a Ghostbuster, you don’t need to be a specific body type to be a Ghostbuster.
What future events do you have?
After October, everything comes to a slow crawl. We just have events for members and go to rebuilding things for the club and getting ready for the next season of events.
If someone wanted to reach you for more information who should they talk to and how can they reach you?
Facebook: Main Fan Page Salt Lake City, UT
OOPS Branch Ogden, UT
CTA Branch Colorado Springs, CO
SETI Branch Denver, CO
Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories! If sending info on an individual person please let them know you have done so, to reduce the creep factor of a stranger contacting them for a potential interview.