Most of the people you have met so far dress up as super heroes to CAUSEplay. This weeks Heroes Behind the Masks is just a little bit different! This group uses costumes from the Resident Evil video games and movies! If you like zombies the way I do than you know these movies! This group shows us that even the bad guys have a little heart. One of my favorite things about this group is their support of National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. I hope you like getting to know this unique group a little bit more! And remember, there are many cosplay options to CAUSEplay and this group helps proves it! –Mala
Name: Umbrella Corp Utah
Interviewee: Steve Strank
Location(s): Ogden, Utah
When was the group started? And by who?:
The group has been around roughly a year and a half. The original group was rounded up as a security detail for Strankenstein’s Zombie Prom for Juvenile Diabetes. I wanted all my security people dressed as a Zombie response team. Once we were all together it was discussed that we kind of resembled the Umbrella Corporation. After that we knew we had to continue the awesomeness!
If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Umbrella Corp Utah or CAUSEplay in general?
Me and my wife Trish have always had a passion for putting on charity events. Although we tend to do it in very abnormal ways like Zombie events. This just seemed like another fun way to do that.
Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good? And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3 status?
We do not have a 501(c)3, we work closely with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and one of our board members is on the board with the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial. A large portion of our group are law enforcement officers, so this charity means a lot to us.
How can someone join Umbrella Corp Utah?
Info for joining our group can be found at www.utahumbrella.org we do have strict code of conduct rules.
If someone is in another state how can they find their local chapter of Umbrella Corp? There are many many groups around the world. We all post on the Facebook page Umbrella corporation worldwide.
What type of costumes do you accept?
Our group has 3 basic characters. Scientists (lab attire), Agents (black tactical look) and Soldiers (black SWAT look)
Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it?
When potential applicats put a costume together they must submit a photo for our board members to vote on.
What do you look for in a costume?
When looking at a costume it must blend well with the rest of the group. Nothing too flashy or things that stand out. No skull masks or anything that shows expression.
Can I join as a zombie?!
While we’re not currently recruiting zombies, if people want to be our “on call Zombie” for events, we do occasionally need Zombies for video/photo shoots and occasional events.
Do you often appear at local Zombie walks?
We appear at almost every Utah Zombie walks/events.
Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Having so many law enforcement officers and avid airsoft players, we have no shortage of places to recommend for you to get your gear.
How many people are currently in your group or chapter?
Roughly 35. Some are on reserve status do to being deployed or police Academy etc.
Leadership structure: We have a president, vice president, board of directors, and support staff. And then we have 4 squads, each having a squad leader.
How is the leadership determined?
We started off with a core group placed in positions. When someone leaves the group for any reason, we vote a new person into that position
What have you done for charities?
We have done escort duty for a make a wish child around comic con, we did the ever popular ice bucket challenge as a group. We raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, we’ve helped with the toys for tots charity, we’ve done so many various ones I can’t remember them all.
Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We usually attend whatever events we can. We don’t always fit into the themes however. (people prefer superheroes!)
How did you build you “clientele”?
We strive to be dependable, helpful, and courteous. We want people to know that just because we play bad guys, we’re always there to be helpful. We have started to gain a reputation for it which I am proud of.
Do you have particular organization or cause you work with regularity?
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
How much money has the Umbrella Corp Utah raised for the organizations it works with? Particularly at FanX 2015 for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. What is the highest amount you have raised other than this event? I think our total at FanX was around $1200 which set our record for an event.
What is the most amazing thing Umbrella Corp Utah has accomplished so far?
I think showing that bad guys also have a good side 🙂 people see big scary looking guys armored up with big guns, escorting a small fragile child on an adventure. And then seeing us all break down in tears at the end of it all.
Where do you see Umbrella Corp Utah going in the future?
That’s a fantastic question. We’re currently deciding if we want to put a limit on members or not. We’re constantly trying to make things cooler for our booth. We want people to stop by and be blown away. In the umbrella corporation group community there’s always a competition on which group can pull off the coolest photos, booths, videos. So we’re always trying to get the upper hand.
Do you use any fun terminology specifically used by Umbrella Corp Utah?
We have a running joke about jackalopes.
Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
Start a group! At first it’s intimidating, but so worth it!
What future events do you have?
We’re currently trying to plan out our comic con booth.
Here is more information on Steve, the creator of this great group!
What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
A mix of seeing people response to our group, and also seeing our group come together as a family.
What was your first CAUSEplay event?
When we started Strankenstein’s Zombie Prom many years ago. Back then I dressed as a Zombie.
What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying?
I play the heavy machine gunner. I tote around the hand held minigun.
Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Escorting the make a wish child around comic con on his Dr. Who adventure.
Who inspires you?
The local cosplayers that continue to do their thing with gaining an ego. The ones who don’t need to be in the spotlight but do it just because they love it. The ones who stay up late trying to get that last piece of their costume just perfect. And the ones who always offer a helping hand and advice. There are a few local Jedi that will always have my support! You guys know who you are.
Tell us something random about yourself: There are only two phobias I have. Glitter (this is a well known fact) and Sharks!
Star Wars or Star Trek: Star wars!
Marvel or DC: Marvel! (they can do no wrong!)
Favorite Comic Series: The Walking dead
Favorite Comic Character: hhhmmm…. That’s tough. Always liked batman.
Favorite Book: American Sniper
Favorite Video Game: Battlefield 4
Favorite Convention: Comic Con