Hero Behind the Mask: Knightmage

I have followed Knightmage for sometime now and I am always blown a way by his skill level as a costumer, his attitude, his compassion, and his level of giving!  I will forever be amazed at how quickly he can produce some complicated costumes!  If you haven’t seen his Predator yet check out his Facebook page (one costume that is not shown in any pictures here)!  You won’t be disappointed!  There is so much that can be said about this man but I feel his own words do more justice for his character than I could even attempt!   –Mala

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Name: Michael “Knightmage” Wilson

Location: Youngstown, Ohio

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
It started in 2011 when I decided that I wanted to make my Halloween costume. I went with John Stewart Green Lantern. After Halloween a friend asked me if I could participate in a local Relay For Life event. The theme was “America” so I thought, ok, I’ll make Captain America. After that I started attending birthday parties as Spiderman and soon after I made my Batman costume. That’s when I really started getting more involved with charity events. As time went on and the popularity of my cosplaying grew I started thinking that I could use this as an avenue to help a lot of people and organizations. Once I started getting invited to conventions and people would ask if I sold prints of my cosplays, again I thought this would be a great chance. So I came up with the idea to give my prints and autographs out for free. All I ask is a donation of any amount to my charity of choice. Every convention I attend I do a different charity. I try to stay local to where the convention is. I’ve since started to add a “Props Raffle for Charity”. Everything I do involving cosplaying where I’m handed money, whether it be a con appearance, birthday party, selling of prints and props, it all goes to charity. That’s my way of giving back for all the amazing opportunities that I’ve been given through cosplaying.

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What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
A few things. Again, it’s really my way of giving back. Once cosplaying went from a hobby to a passion I really wanted to strive to be an idea. I didn’t just want to create something, wear it then be done. I wanted it to mean something. I wanted to do more and hopefully inspire others with it. There’s so many different layers of cosplaying to me now and there’s so many more yet undiscovered. Showing how you can turn a hobby/passion you love into a charitable act of love is just one layer. But it’s a huge layer for me and it continues to drive me to keep doing more. When I started cosplaying I never expected it to go in this direction. Now two years later I’m getting The Presidential Volunteer’s Service Award and paying off layaways as an anime character. It’s just crazy how life happens and the twists and turns it gives you.

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What was your first CAUSEplay event?
It was a Relay For Life. I made Captain America specifically for that event. I had an absolute blast and it was well received.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
I’ve tested out only a hand full of different costumes at events but Batman is probably my favorite. All kids and even adults love Batman. The reception I get from it is something really special.

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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Wow. There’s been so many. I think maybe the “Lighting the Bat Signal for Jayden” event. This was a local event for a young four-year old boy named Jayden. He has a rare disease known as MSD Leukemia. At the time he was only given months to live. He’s a huge Batman fan so the idea was to make an event so big that it would catch the attention of Christian Bale in hopes that he would come and meet the young man. Well as time drew closer the idea was thought to have a bunch of superheroes there as well. This is when I decided to make my Batman. I would be Batman for the event. A very small organization at the time from Cleveland “Superheroes to kids in Ohio” got involved and one of the members had just purchased a Batman suit. So the reigns of doing that honor was handed to him. I decided to wear my Green Lantern outfit. When the day came, with only weeks of planning, us heroes (around 12) had a police escort to the local stadium with over 10 thousand people waiting. It was unbelievable. Then comes little Jayden. We all greeted him. He over joyed. As it got dark Jayden lit the Bat signal in the sky. Literally a fully working large spotlight Bat signal. A very kind gentleman who owned one brought his from Cleveland and played the role of Alfred. With the signal in the sky and music playing through the stadium speakers, Batman rolls in with his Batmobile. I don’t remember the type of car but it was donated for use from a dealership. The car was a black sleek sports car and was worth around $500,000. Batman took Jayden for a quick ride and returned to the stadium where we all took photos and chatted. The outpouring of support shown from the community was just incredible. I think that will forever be my favorite moment. The story gets better as Christian Bale did indeed get word and flew Jayden and his family out to Los Angeles to spend the weekend with him. Also Jayden is still with us and is on the road to recovery.

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What is your favorite cause to support?
I have a lot but one charity I will always support and is my go to is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They do so much and to be able to help give someone their last wish, that’s just the ultimate gift to give.

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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
So far I haven’t had to do anything really crazy but I’m sure after this interview post that’ll change.

Who inspires you?
I find inspiration from everywhere and everybody. Sounds cliché but it’s absolutely true. There are so many people, especially in the cosplay community who inspires me. I feed off of positive energy. If it’s around then that’s what inspires me.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: So many things to say here. First off you need to be confident in yourself, be true to the character and mindful of your audience.. 90% of charity cosplaying involves working with kids. If you’re Superman then you need to be the portrayal of Superman. I don’t mean looking like you just came out of a comic book. I mean your personality. You want that kid to believe that you are Superman regardless of what you personally look like because all that kid will see is that “S” on your chest. Getting into charity work can be difficult but don’t get discouraged. Create a resume/bio of yourself to give organizations. Get a background check done of yourself too. They need to know that they can trust you and you want to be able to show that they can. Anytime money is involved, especially if you’re raising it, then you need to keep all receipts. Start small. You probably won’t be able to just contact a Children’s Hospital and start visits. You need to build a rapport with your community first. I always say that Relay for Life’s are great for that. They’re everywhere and there’s so many connections in the community that you can make. I can go on and on but I’m always available to help and give some tips and guidance.

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What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Well, since I raise money at every convention I guest at I have a bunch of those coming up. Many I can’t say yet because they haven’t announced me. And of course there’s always a charity event in need of a super hero somewhere. I post my schedule as it comes regularly on my social media pages.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
It honestly doesn’t matter to me. Neither are derogatory terms and both generally means the same.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
John Stewart Green Lantern. Made that for Halloween in 2011.

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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I am a Deputy Sheriff. I’ve been in law enforcement for 15 years. People are always shocked to learn that.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I’ve always been fascinated with fight choreography and stunts so I would have to say a professional stuntman. I’ve went to stunt school and have done extra work and stunt work for a few Hollywood movies but I’ve never pursued it as a career.

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Tell us something random about yourself: I am deathly afraid of spiders!

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars! C’mon, The Force is where it’s at!

Marvel or DC: That’s tough. Character wise I love DC but when it comes to building a story I love Marvel. So overall I think Marvel has the edge with me.

Favorite Comic Series: Batman. The one character who is always a constant to me is Batman.

Favorite Comic Character: Spawn. Such an incredible story and look. Plus he’s incredibly fun to cosplay.

Favorite Book: I’m not religious but The Bible.

Favorite Video Game: Oregon Trail! No, seriously, probably the Call of Duty series. It’s so much fun. So many hours and days wasted just doing some killin.

Favorite Convention: C2E2. I have so much fun at this convention every year. I’ve met so many awesome friends there. So many amazing cosplays also. It’s a great show with a mix of pop culture and comics. It’s just awesome all around. A very close second is Dragon Con. That con is just crazy nuts but in a good party way.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio, The Heroes Alliance Ohio, Together Brothers Productions, Shot in the Dark Comics, and the East Coast Avengers.

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Knightmage1

Twitter: @Knightmage

Instagram: Knightmage1

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Hero Behind the Mask: Lonstermash

This weeks feature is about someone I have followed for a long time, Lonstermash!  He is mainly a cosplayer who occasionally uses his love of Wolverine and Rocky for CAUSEplay. I highly recommend his Facebook page!  He is always coming up with fun photo shots using his unique sense of humor.  As I always say, if you aren’t having fun in this hobby then why are you doing it?!  And this man knows how to have fun!  Not only that, he is very down to earth and a pleasure to speak with!  Always willing to take a timeout to get a picture with a fan!  I am pleased to present this weeks interview!  ENJOY! –Mala

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Name:  Lonstermash

Location:  L.A.

What got you into CAUSEplaying?  If we’re talking “cos” playing, the fun of getting to basically celebrate Halloween more than once a year   If we’re talking “cause” playing, my friend over at The Trinity All-Stars who first organized an outing for me and a few of our other cosplayer friends to visit a pediatric ward of a big hospital near L.A..

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?   The great reaction I get from fans at conventions and on my FB page and IG account, the fun I get to have with fellow cosplayer friends, the fun photo shoots I get to do, and the way it allows me to express my artistic and creative side.   If we’re talking “cause” playing, the good feeling I get by making someone’s day nice who, otherwise, isn’t in a good place in life right now, due to illness/poverty.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?   For Cosplay, it was Comikaze 2012; for “Cause” play, it was the above mentioned outing to Long Beach Memorial hospital’s pediatric ward.

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What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?  For “cos” playing, it’s Rocky Balboa, because he is my favorite fictional character of all-time and much of the reason I am who I am today, in terms of my work ethic.  And, he was the reason I got into fitness back in the mid 80’s (because I wanted to look like  his body).  For “cause” play, it’s only been Wolverine, so there is no choice there.  And it’s only been Wolverine, in part, because this is my most recognizable character to kids.

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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :  When a little girl yelled out “I DON’T EVER WANT TO LEAVE THIS PLACE,” at my recent Toys For Tots event, where I and about 30 total cosplayers entertained less fortunate kids and their families just before Christmas.

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Toys for Tots event

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What is your favorite cause to support?  Anything having to do with kids who are in bad health

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?  Nothing silly/strange

Who inspires you?  No one specifically.  But I really like it when I encounter a celebrity who acts very humble and down to earth when they meet you.  And  I’m very inspired by anyone who is enlisted in our armed forces defending our American freedom, or anyone who donates their time and or money to help those less fortunate.

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Advice for CAUSEplaying:   Leave your ego at the door and try to be as real and down to earth as possible.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?   None that I know about.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?  I’ve never been called a costumer, but either would be fine.

What was your first costume/cosplay?  Wolverine

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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?  Physical Therapist

If you could have any job what would it be and why?  Actor/Rock star, because it’s fun and pays well and has a lot of time off.

Star Wars or Star Trek:  I like both, but WAYYYY more into Star Wars

Marvel or DC:  Marvel, but I LOVE Batman, too.

Favorite Comic Series:  X-Men

Favorite Comic Character:  Tie between Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine

Favorite Book:  The Bible

Favorite Video Game:  Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on the old Nintendo system

Favorite Convention:  Comikaze

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/Lonstermash

Twitter:  @reallonstermash     (I had to use “real” because some jerk created an account with @lonstermash, using my pictures, and pretending to be me and he won’t surrender it now)

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The Hero Behind the Mask: Pastel-Colored Cosplay

I started this blog hoping to inspire people to give back to their communities. The point is to show that anyone can CAUSEplay! My hope has been to show you that you can start at any time, there are many different ways to give back, many causes that need your help, and the different reasons people get into CAUSEplay. This weeks feature is particular exciting to me because its this cosplayers first time using costuming as a way to give back to her community! Though she has helped with other charitable projects in the past this was a new undertaking for her incorporating her love of cosplay! And she plans on making more events in the future! I believe she will go far with her endeavors!  My friends who attended her event had nothing but glowing remarks.  I look forward to following Pastel-Colored Cosplay as her adventure continues! .  – Mala

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Photographer: Shannon Deonier

Name: Pastel-Colored Cosplay

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

What was your first costume/cosplay?
My first real cosplay costumes were Orihime Inoue from Bleach and Hinata Hyuuga from Naruto. I’d tried to imitate other characters before that, but never put in a real effort until I actually went to a convention for the first time.

How long have you been cosplaying?
Since October of 2006, so roughly eight years or so.

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
I’m fairly new to the CAUSEplay scene, having just hosted my very first event.  But back when I used to work in retail, our store hosted a variety of different charity options during the holidays. It was such a great feeling to see the Toys for Tots box get filled each day and to help customers find items for wish lists on the Angel Tree.  Growing up, Christmas was always such a magical time for me and my family. I wanted to share that feeling with others.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
That would be our recent holiday party event! It was held on December 13th at Kafeneio in Salt Lake City. The entry fee was to bring one new and unopened toy donation for Toys for Tots and we managed to collect 43 toys and fill an entire bin!

What is Cosplay for a Cause all about?
Cosplay for a Cause is really new. This was our first event, but we wanted to make it about helping others. There are a lot of cosplay events going on in our community, and cosplayers in general often get a bad reputation so we wanted to show others that cosplayers care and we really just wanted to help kids have a great Christmas.

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Photographer: Eurobeat Kasumi Photography

What inspired you to create this?
I grew up in a large Greek family and Christmas was always a really magical time for us. I wanted to spread that feeling as much as I could.

What is causes has Cosplay for a Cause supported? Or what do you see Cosplay for a Cause supporting in the future?
Our first event was to collect donations for Toys for Tots during the holidays.  As for the future, I would love to have events to help support the Humane Society of Utah and the Utah Food Bank.

How hard was it to arrange this?
Had I been doing it on my own, it would have been VERY difficult. It’s thanks to my friends in the cosplay community that it turned out pretty simple.

From pitching in for the venue rental to bringing refreshments, games, decor and entertainment, my friends were happy to help and I’m so grateful to them for that.

If someone wanted to create something like this in their area what would you recommend?
Voice your ideas! Share them with friends and plan together, contact the charities you wish to support. One person’s inspiration can go a long way, but nothing will happen if you remain silent.

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Photographer: Shannon Deonier

Who inspires you?
My cousin, Brittni Vega.

If you’ve been on Instagram or just love dogs in general, you’ve probably seen Harlow, Sage and Indiana. My cousin is their owner, photographer and now the author of their new book!

She has been a big supporter of the Humane Society of Utah, featuring adoptions and even participating in their holiday telethon on Fox 13.

Seeing the things she has done has really been a driving force for me.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: With a hobby like cosplay, it’s very easy to feel excluded, left out or unimportant. But anybody can be charitable and pay it forward to those in need.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Plans are underway for our Humane Society event, which we are hoping to hold in the spring time. Nothing is official yet, but we do have an event page that you can follow for the time being!
https://www.facebook.com/events/349392671907262/

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Probably a cosplayer? Most of my costumes are from franchises I enjoy as a hobby. I guess I would consider a costumer to be someone who either makes creations of their own design or someone who does it professionally.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I currently work on event staff for a local reception center. I’ve also been taking commissions on the side for small projects.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I would love to have any kind of job where I can work creatively. I have a wide variety of things I enjoy, from videography to costuming to writing, so pinpointing just one in specific isn’t easy. I am aiming to go to school for fashion design this year, so we’ll see where that road takes me!

Tell us something random about yourself: I’m the writer of a webcomic, alongside my friend Stacie Pitt (who is currently an intern under Todd Lockwood) as the artist.

Our comic is called Trinity Crest and you can read it by clicking the link below:
http://trinitycrest.thewebcomic.com/

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars!

Favorite Anime: It’s hard to pick just one! Probably Card Captor Sakura, if I had to choose.

Marvel or DC: I like both, but a lot of my favorite characters come from DC.

Favorite Comic Series: I don’t know if webcomics count, but some of my favorites are Myth by Zelda C. Wang and Monster Pop! by Maya Kern.

Favorite Comic Character: Poison Ivy.

Favorite Book: Anything by Neil Gaiman.

Favorite Video Game: Okami.

Favorite Convention: Anime Los Angeles. If you want to see a convention that goes through great lengths to be well-run, well-staffed and cares deeply about attendee feedback, definitely check it out!

Affiliations (clubs or groups): I’m a part of Right in the Doki’s, which is both a cosplay team and YouTube channel focused on many different aspects in cosplay.

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Photographer: Emily Evans

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pastelcoloredcosplay

Tumbler: http://pastel-colored-cosplay.tumblr.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl2PiPOo93USfaJ5eVy47hw

Additional Info:  Check out this other interview done with Pastel Colored Cosplay last year!

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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!

Hero Behind the Mask: Missa Zane

I have known Missa Zane for less than a year and in that short time she has shown the passion and love needed for CAUSEplay!   A great example of why many people fall in love with CAUSEplay.  This fall I had the amazing opportunity to be on a panel with her at Seattle’s GeekGirlCon 2014 discussing CAUSEplay.  Her insight and passion added to the panel and discussion.  She has some great costumes in progress so check out her Facebook!  I adore this lady and look forward to her adventures! – Mala

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Name: Missa Zane

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
I met Batman (James C. Carlson) at a DC Comics themed photoshoot at Anime Banzai a couple of years back. He told me about H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc. and their mission to use cosplay to support charitable events and causes. He eventually offered to nominate me. I was honored but also thrilled to be able to use my cosplays for a good cause.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The kids I meet at events are my biggest motivation to continue CAUSEplaying. Seeing their faces light up just makes my day ^_^. I see the direct impact my actions/presence has on the kids. An added bonus is that I know my presence at charitable events or my help with spreading the word about charities has an indirect benefit for the recipients of the charities. Sometimes the novelty of having cosplayers at an event will draw bigger crowds and news coverage that can help to raise funds (or other donations) for the cause we are championing.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
My first CAUSEplay event was at Free Comic Book Day. Though, at first glance, this may not seem like a CAUSEplay event, it allows everyone an opportunity to get access to comics for free. Some of the kids that come have never read a comic and this could be their first introduction to reading for FUN. Comic books can be a great tool for helping slow or reluctant readers find a passion for reading.

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What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
My favorite cosplay to wear is my Catwoman. This is my absolute favorite because I was an avid reader of Catwoman back when Jim Balent was the artist. I was always drawn to them and loved the art and story. Catwoman is strong, smart, and independent, despite (or perhaps as a result of) her childhood. Though she may seem like a villain at first glance, upon closer inspection one can see that she lives by her own code of justice. Her definition of good/evil acknowledges the reality that we live in a world filled with gray.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Fantasy Con invited us to go to the Shriners hospital to visit the kids. We were invited to come up to visit a kid (a HUGE batman fan) that could not come down to see us. He was recovering from surgery and still slightly sedated, but we could see how happy he was that we were there.

What is your favorite cause to support?
My favorite cause to support is Toys for Tots. I was a recipient before, so this has a special place in my heart.

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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge while in cosplay. 

Who inspires you?
So many! Everyone in H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc. has been a great inspiration to me, but if I had to call out one person I’d have to say Eric Allen Hall. He’s so supportive, friendly, flexible, and easy-going.  He’s always willing to go the extra miles for a charity or friend and he always seems to have at least two costumes in his trunk “just in case”.

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
First, remember why you are CAUSEplaying. This is NOT a competition sport. One could easily get caught up in the process (having the best cosplay, networking, etc.) and lose sight of the goal. My goal is to make the kids happy and to help the organizations raise donations to support the various causes.
My second bit of advice is not to get involved in drama (it happens anytime you get more than 1 person together for an extended period of time). The best way to deal with this is to, again, focus on the goal not the process. Does it matter if I don’t get along with or disagree with another CAUSEplayer? No, because I’m there for the CAUSE, any friends I make along the way are just an added bonus ^_^ I’ve found that most CAUSEplayers can get past their differences if they keep the goal in mind.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
The Utah Kids Club WinterPalooza on January 24th and the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Walk on March 24th.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
I prefer cosplayer. To me, that means I don’t just wear the costume, but I try my best to know the character so I could “play” them.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
My first costume was Wonderwoman when I was 5, one of those dresses with the plastic masks
My first cosplay was Yin from the anime Darker than Black.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I am a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I want to be a housecat. Seriously, I’ve put a lot of thought into this and would like to be reincarnated as such. I want to sleep, play, and snuggle all day (on my own terms, of course).

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Tell us something random about yourself: My idea of a good day is one in which I don’t need to set an alarm (see above).

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars. My dad was a big scifi fan, so I was exposed to both but I always liked Star Wars better.

Marvel or DC: DC

Favorite Comic Series: Catwoman

Favorite Comic Character: Catwoman (broken record?..)

Favorite Book: I…I… there are so many T_T…. I guess I would have to say The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Favorite Video Game: It was Final Fantasy 7 (US), but this was recently replaced by The Last of Us.

Favorite Convention: A-Kon in Dallas, Texas

Affiliations (clubs or groups): H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc

Facebook: Facebook.com/missazane

Twitter: @MissaZane42

Instagram: MissaZane42

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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!

Hero Behind The Mask: Adam AKA Splat

This week I want to introduce to member of the 501st Legion who is in this hobby for the right reasons!  As he states, he joined for the costumes but stayed for the charity.  A situation that happens to many who begin their CAUSEplay adventure.  It has been a pleasure to CAUSEplay alongside him!  I know he will always represent this portion of the costume community well!  –Mala

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Name: My name is Adam Cannon, but most, if not all of my costuming friends call me Splat (long story).

Location: Bountiful, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
That’s kind of a long story but I’ll see if I can’t shorten it a bit. My wife took the family on a family outing to the Clearfield Boo-nanza back in 2007. While there I saw the 501st Legion (Star Wars costuming group). I got really interested because I’d wanted a Stormtrooper costume for as long as I could remember but had never heard there was a possible way to actually own one. When I dug a little deeper I found that the biggest aspect of the use of their costumes was charity work. In short, I came for the costumes but I stayed for the charity.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
It’s a great way to do good while having fun at the same time. The rewards for this hobby come in the form of hugs and high fives from the young and young-at-heart. If the compensation were monetary I don’t think it would be nearly as special or mean nearly as much. This is volunteerism in the truest sense of the word.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
My first involvement with costumes was just as helping out on the photography end for a fundraiser being done at a toy store but I was still involved and we raised a great deal of money and toys for Toys 4 Tots. My first event in a costume came from someone I’d never met before. They had an extra Stormtrooper costume and they let me wear it for a Provo First Night New Year’s Eve event. That portion of the event began and ended early as it was geared towards children.

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Toys for Tots 2013

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
I only have one costume at the moment so by default it’s my favorite 😉 . It gets lots of attention though, I think because it’s bright red and stands out a lot. It gives me the chance to interact with lots of people.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :
I’d have to say my most memorable moment came fairy recently. I went to Idaho to visit some friends and help out at the Tree City Comic Con in Boise, Idaho. It was a very special interaction with an autistic boy and his mother. She was beside herself because I don’t think she expected to find a character who knew anything about autism. My son is high-functioning autistic so I had a few ideas about how to interact with her son. Luckily they worked.

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Idaho Statesman article featuring Adam

What is your favorite cause to support?
For me that’s a difficult question. The experiences you have at each event vary, and they’re special for various reasons. I think any costumer will go to any worthy charity that requests them.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
I don’t think I’ve ever been requested to do anything strange for a specific cause. I did the ALS ice-bucket challenge in full costume (minus the helmet) because there was a group getting together to do it. If you’re with good people you’ll pretty much do anything to make it more fun. I will say though, that there was an MDA walk where a girl in a wheelchair wanted to watch me dance. She was so sweet and endearing I was only too happy to oblige. I’ll dance anyway if the music moves me. Just because I play a bad guy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep it light 😉 .

Who inspires you?
This might sound cliche’ but I’m gonna say my dad. He volunteered for everything he could if it was to help someone else. This is a great way to emulate him while having fun at the same time.

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
Learn to have fun! If you’re in it simply for the glory of showing off your costume then I think you’re in it for the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong, many costumes are hand-made and deserve to be appreciated but if you’re worried that someone might breathe on your costume then you need to re-think your hobby because most of these events involve children. If it’s not CAUSE”playing” it’s probably more like CAUSE”working”.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
The next local event will involve multiple costume groups coming together at Hastur’s Comics on November 22 to support Toys-4-Tots. I’ve been to that event several times and it seems to get bigger every year. I look forward to meeting new people and re-acquainting myself with others.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
I’d have to say costumer. I think the term “cosplay” has developed a stigma that we’re just nerds who dress up for no apparent reason other than to win contests and attend conventions. There was a show on tv called “Heroes of Cosplay” that didn’t really do anything to correct any of those misconceptions. I only made it through one episode, and I have no idea if it’s still on but I couldn’t watch it.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
The first time I did an event in my own costume was on May 15, 2010 for a family who was trying to raise money to adopt a little girl from the Ukraine. They held a block party and all the activities were put on by the neighborhood. People paid to participate in the activities and they raised a significant amount. I don’t know what the total ended up being or if the adoption ever took place but it felt good to know I contributed to the attempt.

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Toys for Tots 2012

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I help in the shipping / receiving department of a warehouse that sells scrapbooking stuff. Eventually I plan on going back to school so I’ll add “non-traditional student” to my resume’.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I wish I had the talent to be a comic book artist. Maybe I could create a costume that would make it into this hobby. 😀

Tell us something random about yourself:
I think I’m in the top 5 oldest people to be involved in costuming here in Utah.

Star Wars or Star Trek:
I gotta go with Star Wars. I have nothing against Star Trek, I just think it might come down to something as simple as which one you were exposed to first. I’m also not sure that one would have necessarily existed without the other but I have latent memories of watching the Death Star trench run in the theater with my dad when it first came out (Yes, I am that old 😉 )

Marvel or DC:
I grew up on Spider-Man comic books, so if you’re holding a gun to my head I’d say Marvel, but both universes offer up some awesome characters.

Favorite Comic Character:
Spider-Man. He’s a person with real-world problems. I know every superhero has issues, but this is a High School / College kid who’s trying to juggle school, work, personal life, home life, etc. with the demands of helping others as Spider-Man, with the additions of the villains trying to take him down too. If there were a superhero that was a family man with a wife and a few kids I’d probably make them a favorite as well.

Favorite Book:
Can’t do it. That’s like picking a favorite child (although one of my children is definitely running 2nd right now 😉 ). I will say my least favorite was Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. I never finished it because by about half way through it was too much of a chore to read. I still have no idea how it ends.

Favorite Video Game:
It was Call of Duty for a while before my account was hacked and I couldn’t level up so I stopped playing video games altogether for a while. When I came back briefly I played Skyrim. If I could get a good group of friends to play a closed group online it wouldn’t matter what the game was.

Favorite Convention:
If I’d had to answer this a month ago I’d have said Salt Lake Comic Con or FanX, but I went to Boise for Tree City Comic Con and had a great time there. It was much, much, much, much lower key, and for me that was part of the appeal, and the Idaho 501st people treated my friend and me extremely well. To be fair, I’ve never been to anything else. I don’t get out as much so I really only have a small sampling of conventions to compare.

Affiliations (clubs or groups):
Alpine Garrison (The Utah Chapter of the 501st Legion – Star Wars Costuming Group), but I have friends in all the groups. 😀

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Splattum

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Idaho’s Comic Con 2014

Added 3/25/15.  Adam recently made a nice YouTube video of cosplayers making children happy.  You can check out this great video here.

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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!

The Hero Behind the Mask: Neff AKA Ori Cabur

This week’s Hero Behind the Mask features someone I have known for a long time and I owe much to, Ori Cabur.  Because of this individual the Utah CAUSEplay community has blossomed with many different types of clubs all aiming to make a difference, some of which I have participated with and found my passion through.  He has made the Mandalorian Mercs of Utah grow and succeed to raise money for various charities and put smiles on faces.

Thank you for getting people together to make something great!  Thank you for inspiring so many people to give back to the community and make a differences in others lives.  You have and will continue to bring out the best in people.   Ori, I can’t wait to see what you accomplish and inspire others to do next.  Thank you for everything.  –Mala

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Name: Neff AKA Ori

Location:  SL, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
Truthfully, I really wanted to have a Boba Fett helmet on the wall. And I thought that I could make one myself. I signed up with a costume club online and as I spent time on the site, discussing costuming with the other members of the forum, I began to really get interested in the prospect of costuming for a cause. So down the rabbit hole I went 😉 I began to hand design and craft a Star Wars Bounty Hunter costume. Once that was completed (it’s been a work in progress ever since) I started looking into my local community for events that either financially helped or directly helped charitable organizations or people in need. I’ve been hooked ever since.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The different people from the various walks of life, that get into this little hobby of ours, are what keeps me coming back. I have the good fortune to be a part of a community that just keeps giving 😉

And I’ve had the pleasure to be able to help, and keep helping, those around me that could use a little support.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
It was a Walk for MS. I had never really been in costume at an event of any kind prior to this.
I was beside myself with a smile from ear to ear. I really enjoyed interacting with the kids and families that attended the event.

A mother of a child with MS approached me during the event and thanked me for coming to the event and helping to make the event fun for the younger generation.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Well, I really only have one costume. But that doesn’t stop it from being my favorite.
I am a proud member of Krayt Clan, which is the Utah Chapter of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club.
I costume as Ori Cabur, a custom Star Wars character based on the famous Bounty Hunter, Boba Fett

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :
I will remember it as long as I live. I was at a fundraiser for Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. And there was a little child that was deaf, she attempted to communicate with me through sign language, and I don’t know the language. And it is rather hard for a deaf person to lip read when you are in a helmet that they can’t see through. But she approached me and pointed to the floor, so I knelt down so that we were almost eye to eye. She then started to feel my helmet with her hands, and as she did, she began to grin, and then to smile. She was so excited by the bounty hunter helmet. She then pointed at my blaster, and motioned for her to hold it. I then offered it to her, and she got so excited that she was bouncing with a really big smile. She then took the blaster and turned her back to me, and was standing between me and Darth Vader (who had walked up behind her) and pointed the blaster right at Vader.

Then much to her surprise, the fearsome Dark Lord of the Sith put his hands up and then started to slowly back away.
The little girl then turned back to me with a smirk on her face that said “ I just scared Darth Vader away”.

I later was able to communicate with the little girl’s mother, who informed me that she came running to her and told her about how she protected a brave bounty hunter from the evil Darth Vader.

It is moments like this, that make me very glad that I wear a helmet that hides my face, I’d hate for people to confuse my allergies with tears 😉

What is your favorite cause to support?
My absolute favorite Cause is the Make~A~Wish foundation. Too many amazing moments to count.

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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
Well, for the most part, Dancing in armor tends to get the crowd excited.

Who inspires you?
This question brings a lot of people to mind…. But I will simply say that each and every time that I get out to these great events, I am constantly impressed and inspired by all the amazing people that I get to CAUSEplay with. I work with several different Costume Clubs, and several different individuals in the Cosplay Community, and they are truly some of the most amazing people I have ever met, and I am proud to call these people my friends.

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
The bottom line, is that it has to have meaning.

The character that you decide to portray, and the causes that you decide to support, they both have to mean something to YOU. It can really cheapen the experience if you are just simply wearing a costume, or just going out to all the events. But if you really invest yourself in the character, really bring that character to life…. And if you really do support the cause… then it can be some of the most amazing experiences of your life. And if you really put yourself out there, then the people that the event is for, will see, that you are there for them, that you really do care for the cause that they are fighting for.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up? .
The Annual Toys for Tots drive with Hastur Games and Comics
November 22nd 2014 from 11am – 6pm

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Either works for me. No preference

What was your first costume/cosplay?
Technically it was a Pirate. Just a run of the mill pirate.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I am a Grease Monkey 😉 I am a service Tech for Commercial and Industrial Equipment.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I would love to be able to pay my bills by doing Cosplay and CAUSEplay…. But I’m pretty sure that is a pipe dream. But what I would really love to do is to do special effects and set design.

What is Cosplay Night at the Penalty box all about?
So, Cosplay Night at the Penalty Box started due to a friend of mine (Bill Rowe) that had just purchased and renovated a Bar in Murray Utah. He approached me and mentioned that he had been following my Cosplay adventures with my friends, and he really wanted to get involved. He asked me what it would take to get Cosplayers to come down and hang out at his great new bar. I told him that I would see what I could come up with.

I then started asking around to see if the local costuming community would be interested in having a designated night down at the bar to have fun and showcase their latest and greatest costumes. The response that I received from everyone was very positive. So we had a great first gathering of costumes.

But during that first event, it donned on us that we could really take it a step further. Since we all really enjoy CAUSEplay events, we decided to turn Cosplay Night into a charity driven event.

So each event we raise funds for a different charity. We have helped the Angel’s Hands foundation, the B.A.C.A. organization, and the Make~A~Wish foundation.

Cosplay Night is held on the second Friday of every month, and there is a $5 cover charge that goes 100% to the charity, and then the Bar donates 10% of their income that night to the charity as well.

The other added bonus is that Cosplay Night is designed and meant for EVERY COSTUMER of all experience levels. It is a “Sanctuary” from Costume Clubs. We ask that all attendees leave there Costume Club at the door, along with any hard feelings about costume clubs.

And so far, it has really been a fun success.

The Penalty Box is a wonderful place, located at 3 West 4800 South, Murray Utah

What is the ultimate goal for Coplsay Night?
Fun, Cool Costumes, and Fundraising for a great cause.

When is Cosplay Night?
Second Friday night of EVERY month

What inspired you to create this?
SOOOOOO many awesome people in the costuming community, We really needed a friendly event where everyone can let their hair down. And as we joke “ Accidentally” raise money for a great cause.

How hard was it to arrange this?
It has been a work in progress, we really have been relying on word of mouth to let all the people in the costuming community know that it is a fun way to hang out and showcase your favorite costumes.

If someone wanted to create something like this in their area what would you recommend?
First off, I would recommend that you find an establishment that would be willing to host it. But that establishment would also have to go into it, knowing that it isn’t about having a million people show up and make them rich. So, a smaller “dive” kind of place would be best.

But then you need to have the support of fun non-judgmental people to really get it off the ground.
It really depends on costumers setting aside differences, and egos to make it successful.
It’s about fun, and charity.

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Tell us something random about yourself:
I can’t stand Sponge Bob 😉

Star Wars or Star Trek:
….. STAR WARS!!!!!!
Actually I really rather love them both

Marvel or DC:
Marvel for life

Favorite Comic Series:
Too many, but I really loved the Old Man Logan Story

Favorite Comic Character:
Kurt Wagner

Favorite Book:
… as in the ones without pictures…. ?

Favorite Video Game:
Force Unleased and Bubble Bobble

Favorite Convention:
Phoenix Comic Con, but Salt Lake Comic Con is definitely a close second

Affiliations (clubs or groups):
Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, ORB

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kraytclan
Twitter: @OneNeff

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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.