FanGirlConfessions.com http://www.fangirlconfessions.com Because these are the things I love. Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/03/stormy-craig-adventure-hour/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/03/stormy-craig-adventure-hour/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00:19 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=11059 FanGirlConfessions.com
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Although we still have some time before new episodes of Who air, we've still got something to be happy about, especially for those fans of baby Stormageddon

Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour
Robin

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FanGirlConfessions.com
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Cheer up Doctor Who fans. Although we still have some time before new episodes of Who air, we’ve still got something to be happy about, especially for those fans of baby Stormageddon. The folks behind Gallifrey One’s sketch comedy show The Idiot’s Lantern presented us with this special sneak peek of an all-new series: The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour.

The Teletubbies are on the rampage again? Don’t worry! Stormy & Craig are on the case!

Don’t Miss The Stormy & Craig Adventure Hour
Robin

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Off to See the Wizard World of Portland http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/wizardworldportland2015/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/wizardworldportland2015/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:30:24 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=11028 FanGirlConfessions.com
FanGirlConfessions.com - Because these are the things I love.

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend my first Wizard World convention in Portland with my friend Christina of UrbanFlower Designs. Having previously heard some of Robin’s adventures at both Wizard World St. Louis and Wizard World Nashville, I was already pretty ecstatic even before Christina and I hit the road Friday morning to make the drive from Seattle ...

Off to See the Wizard World of Portland
Natasha

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Last month, I had the opportunity to attend my first Wizard World convention in Portland with my friend Christina of UrbanFlower Designs. Having previously heard some of Robin’s adventures at both Wizard World St. Louis and Wizard World Nashville, I was already pretty ecstatic even before Christina and I hit the road Friday morning to make the drive from Seattle to Portland. The three hour journey passed by in no time as we bonded over mutual fandoms and geeky music. We also discussed who we were most excited to see at con: for me it was Tyler Posey, Ksenia Solo, Karl Urban, and Ming-Na Wen.

Once we arrived at the convention, we opted to take it easy. Friday was a short day anyway and neither of us had gotten much sleep the night before. I had decided to forgo cosplay that weekend in favor of my favorite geeky dresses but Christina brought a different cosplay for all three days. For day one, she went with her “casual” Tenth Doctor cosplay, which was a big hit, especially since she had borrowed a rather realistic looking banana from her kids’ plastic play food set. We even ran into my friend Pixie in her Rose Tyler cosplay, who was simply delighted to no end. She finally broke her curse of not having a Ten to take photos with as Rose, which had lasted something like five conventions. It was pretty cute she actually noticed Christina in her Ten outfit before realizing I was even there.

After taking a few photos and walking the exhibitor’s hall together for a bit, we decided to go check out the Doctor Who Celebration panel. I’ve got to say it was one of the best Who panels I’ve been to. There was fun and engaging conversation on the direction the show is going in, with a focus on Peter Capaldi as our latest beloved Doctor. The panelists did an excellent job of engaging with the audience and standing strong on their opinions without stepping on toes with anyone that didn’t share their opinion. There were even trivia questions with some great Whovian prizes! Christina won a companion ring and Capaldi pin.

After the panel, we continued to walk around and mingle with friends. It’s always great to see friends at con, especially ones I don’t get a chance to visit very often. I was particularly excited to finally see Ryan Wells in his Mars Attacks cosplay and for the debut of Abi Sue Cosplay, Jerikanda Cosplay, Abie Ekenezar, and CIR Carving in their Emma Frost cosplays, whom I quickly dubbed the Flock of Emmas (complete with ridiculous Flock of Seagulls impression). They definitely had some of my favorite cosplays, along with a few other highlights of day one that included a really adorable and Bubbly Tinkerbell, an Animaniacs group, and Jessica Merizan in her Daria cosplay (oh, the nostalgia!)

Things wrapped up around 8pm and then I went to dinner with some local friends not attending the convention. I was pretty exhausted from lack of sleep the night prior, so I decided to turn in early and get a fresh start for the next day.

*****

Upon arrival on Saturday, I promptly ran into my buddy Aaron (Last Oryx), who had driven to Portland for the day just so he could see the Weta Workshop booth. By the time I ran into him, he was positively giddy: he’d gotten his Bilbo Baggins wig styled and Hobbit ears applied by one of the makeup artists there. He looked fantastic! I just wish I had been around to see the process. While we were chatting, the Game of Thrones meet up hosted by some members of Ice and Fire Cosplay was just ending and they made their way to us, including Christina in her beautiful Margaery Tyrell cosplay (wedding dress version).

Apparently, I had arrived just in time for the Weta panel, where makeup artist Warren Dion Smith would be answering questions while transforming a con attendee into a dwarf. Now, as I’m sure many of you probably know by now, I’m a bit of a Tolkien fan (okay maybe more than a bit). So, it almost goes without saying that by far one of the biggest highlights of the con for me was the Weta Workshop booth and panel. It was a wonderful experience to watch a talented artist as Warren change someone from an ordinary man into a fantastic dwarven warrior. He also had some really great stories to tell from being on various sets during his career. The whole thing was truly such a treat for us fans. After the panel was over, we all collectively decided to go visit the Weta booth again. I had seen it briefly the day before but hadn’t gotten to take it in as much as desired.

When you first enter the exhibitor’s hall from registration the giant orc of the Weta booth towers above you, it’s thoroughly impressive even if you’re not a Tolkien fan! As you walk further into the booth, you’re greeted with other props from the Tolkien films and other productions Weta has been a part of. I swear could have spent my whole weekend there but there was more con to see, so I managed to pry myself away after a good look around and several photos later.

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As one might anticipate, the Weta booth was a big attraction of the con and thus a great place to gather to find friends or to snap pictures of cosplayers on their way to/from the booth. It’s there that I ran into Ryan Wells again, this time in his Falkor cosplay from The NeverEnding Story. I had been watching his progress on this cosplay online and was thrilled to see it in person. Naturally, he and his Atreyu had quite a crowd around them so I couldn’t chat for long. After mingling a bit longer I headed outside with Aaron and Christina for some fresh air.

 

Before long, I was heading back inside for my photo op with Tyler Posey. Teen Wolf is one of my greatest guilty pleasures (can you even call it that when you have no shame about it?), so I was pretty excited. As I was stepping up for my photo, Tyler, in what I can only assume was a move to keep his energy up, threw his arms in the air and screamed “Yeah!” I was a little thrown off and by then the nervousness and excitement had all blended together and I couldn’t help but giggle. My expression is so fangirl-y and a bit dorky, but that’s okay because you can just tell how happy I am! Also, Tyler made an expression that is probably five times dorkier than mine and it’s positively adorable. That man is a treasure.

Earlier that day, my friend Brittany had offered me to join in her Karl Urban photo op to which I proclaimed a very enthusiastic “hell yes!” Between the two photo ops, I had just enough time to run over to Ksenia Solo’s table for an autograph. She’s even better in person than I anticipated. I absolutely adore her as Kenzi in Lost Girl, for me she practically carries the show. After that, it was back in line again with Brittany. We passed the time easily as we talked about our favorite roles Karl Urban has been in with a few others in line with us. Once it was our turn for a photo, Karl was very polite, greeting us with a big smile before saying hello and asking how we were doing. Not gonna lie, I definitely swooned a little as he told us to have a good day as we walked out. I think we all look really great in this photo op and it thrills me to no end. As a side note, it’s during photo ops like these that I really remember that I am so much freaking shorter than everyone else!

The photo op lines moved quickly, as these things always do, but unlike some cons it felt like a well-oiled machine not a frenzy. You go into these knowing your time with a guest will be brief but, depending on how a con runs their photo ops, sometimes you leave feeling cheated because you were rushed in the wrong ways (maybe the photographer didn’t give you a chance to smile or didn’t care if you blinked, or the line keepers were rude, etc). I didn’t get that feeling at all at Wizard World, which was pretty great. I was also impressed by how quickly the photos were available, by the time I left the booth my photo was waiting for me along a row a printers. Even better was their system for retrieving a digital copy of your photo, if you purchased one. Instead of giving someone your email, which can easily be keyed in wrong, you go to a website and enter the number on the bottom of your photo. Simple and very effective.

After a bit of walking around I headed towards where the costume contest and pre-contest concert by Critical Hit were held. The concert was very lovely. I always love when band/orchestra and geeky music combine! I was impressed with how well run the costume contest was run. Despite a late start, things went smoothly and it still ended on time, which is rare at any con. The judges for this year’s contest were the green Power Ranger, Jason David Frank, Jesse Lagers of Midnight Armor, Jessica Merizan of Crabcat Industries. Both Jesse and Jessica are also known for appearances on Syfy’s Heroes of Cosplay.

I’m glad I wasn’t one of the judges, there were so many great cosplays to choose from! Some of my favorite entries included Marvel’s Sif and Thor, Oz’s Wicked Witch, TMNT’s Shredder, and a Tank Girl with an actual tank (modified Power Wheels Jeep). Props to everyone for their hard work and congrats to the winners!

After the contest, I ended up at Red Robin with Jesse, Chin Chin, and Jessica and a few of their friends. A relaxing dinner after a hectic con day was just what everyone needed. Enjoying food and drinks with friends is always a great way to end your con day.

*****

Sunday was pretty low key. I had a bit of a late start to the day and by the time I arrived at the con, I was starving. I met up with Christina in her Minerva McGonagall cosplay. While I ate, she sent the word out to the rest of our friends in Harry Potter cosplay to meet up for a photo shoot. We all gathered outside for a quick, and slightly, chilly photo shoot. The brisk weather was worth it though; we got some absolutely fantastic photos.

I didn’t make it to any panels on Sunday, but I did get a chance to walk around snagging more pictures of cosplayers before saying goodbye to all my Oregon friends. A few of my favorites from the last day were Batwoman, Iron Man, and Steampunk Dory from Finding Nemo.

As we were about to head out, I wanted to make sure I had a chance to visit my favorite Marty McFly, HyperShadow Cosplay. She had spent the weekend at the Seattle Time Machine booth. We even got permission for a quick photo shoot with the DeLorean, which was an absolute joy for both of us.

*****

I thoroughly enjoyed Wizard World Portland. You sometimes hear about people complaining about how corporate or commercialized Wizard World cons are, but I don’t think that is a big deal. I didn’t feel slapped in the face with gimmick-y advertisements or that anyone was pushing too hard to sell me something. Wizard World is a seasoned traveling convention that has been able to hone their skills, like streamlining the photo ops for less wait time and many things behind the scenes I would imagine. In my opinion, It was a smooth and well run convention. Yes, the prices are a bit steeper than other cons, but because of it, they are able to afford more big name guests. I came to this con knowing it wasn’t going to have the same atheistic as smaller cons and I had a blast. I definitely look forward to covering more Wizard World conventions.

All included photography by Fearless Photoworks, with the exception of the celebrity photo-ops.

Off to See the Wizard World of Portland
Natasha

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Guest Post: Top Five TV Shows Based On Sci-Fi Films http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/guest-post-top-five-tv-shows-based-on-sci-fi-films/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/guest-post-top-five-tv-shows-based-on-sci-fi-films/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:00:51 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=11021 FanGirlConfessions.com
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by Maria Ramos You’ve seen the headlines, no doubt — “TV is the New Cinema” or “Why Modern TV is Better Than the Movies.” While one could easily make the case that TV allows writers and directors to tell more complex stories than conventional cinema does, perhaps the more accurate statement would be that feature films and television series are ...

Guest Post: Top Five TV Shows Based On Sci-Fi Films
Guest

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FanGirlConfessions.com
FanGirlConfessions.com - Because these are the things I love.

by Maria Ramos

You’ve seen the headlines, no doubt — “TV is the New Cinema” or “Why Modern TV is Better Than the Movies.” While one could easily make the case that TV allows writers and directors to tell more complex stories than conventional cinema does, perhaps the more accurate statement would be that feature films and television series are now directly informing each other in a fairly interesting way.

Consider the example of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, which had a huge impact on the sci-fi genre in the mid-1990s. The film (inspired by Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée) tells the story of a time traveler named James Cole, who has been sent back in time investigate the origin of a pandemic that all but wiped out life on Earth. While several films of that time tried (and failed) to capture the film’s combination of post-apocalyptic scenery with gripping suspense, the eponymous 2015 spin-off television series seems to actually hold promise. The new TV show offers viewers a familiarly discomfiting, high-stakes scavenger hunt at the center of its plot.

And while the series has essentially expanded on the premise of the movie, it’s also providing a little more of the back story in terms of characters and settings, both future and past. This TV adaptation, though, is only the latest of many efforts to bring big-screen magic to a longer format on the small screen. Here is a look at other notable series that were inspired by science-fiction films.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

The second Terminator movie left most viewers with a taste for more, which explains the sequels and the subsequent series, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The TV show follows Connor as she cleans up the next time-distorted mess in order to save the world. Running for two seasons between 2008 and 2009, Chronicles introduces a new female robot protector, played by Summer Glau, along with other characters trying to figure out who is telling the truth about the interplay between the present and the future. Reception was generally positive, especially for Lena Headey’s portrayal of Connor.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Clone Wars

In this animated Star Wars spin-off, viewers get a lot more explanation of the events that led up to the stories they know so well from the movies. In finding his first padawan, Anakin continues his ill-fated journey as a Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jabba the Hut and other classic Star Wars characters feature in this series in previously untold tales about this epic conflict. Not to be confused with the 2003 series, Clone Wars,The Clone Wars began in 2008 and fizzled out in early 2014.

Stargate: SG-1

Stargate

Running for more than 15 seasons, the Stargate series became increasingly distant from the movie that inspired it. Producers must have thought, “If the stargate can take you to ancient Egypt, where else could it take you?” and gone with that. From that premise, the assorted personalities on the show explored worlds and dimensions as diverse as imaginable. Imagine Star Trek  (and Levar Burton’s fabulous voice) with a time travel twist done up for the turn of the millennium. Fan following ebbed and waned as the series continued through its reboots, but still maintains a strong fan base.

Timecop

Timecop

Van Damme played the main character in the original 1994 flick that put a special type of police officers in the way of those who would manipulate time travel for their own purposes. Of course, a politician will always have some wily ideas about how to advance himself by tweaking the past. The 1997 TV series goes one step further by imagining other individuals who might benefit from a shifting of the facts. One thing the time cops in the TV series couldn’t change, though, was the show’s placement on the broadcast. ABC cancelled it after a single season.

The Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes

A post-apocalyptic classic, Planet of the Apes, has inspired more than its fair share of imitators. However, just a few years into the movie franchise, television took a shot at the story. The 1974 series starred Roddy McDowall as one of two stranded astronauts on a planet populated by intelligent apes. By this point in the story, humans are outright slaves of the apes, an idea the movies took some time to develop. The idea wore thin after a single season, although it did achieve greater success in the United Kingdom.

One in a pantheon of television sci-fi adaptations, 12 Monkeys may have what it takes to succeed on the small screen and has proven itself thus far. With the time travel aspect embedded in the story, it has more plot possibilities than many sci-fi concepts do and is the writers’ concept to make or break. The show airs on the SyFy Network (which you should have if you’re a Direct TV or Comcast subscriber) and select episodes are available online.

Guest Post: Top Five TV Shows Based On Sci-Fi Films
Guest

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Gallifrey One 2015: A Randomly Wonderful Weekend http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/gallifrey-one-2015-wrap-up/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/gallifrey-one-2015-wrap-up/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:57:16 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=11004 FanGirlConfessions.com
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Another Gallifrey One has come and gone, but I'll always have the memories it left behind, as well as an awesome photo with John Barrowman.

Gallifrey One 2015: A Randomly Wonderful Weekend
Robin

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So you’ve read about my adventures in Disneyland and are wondering what happened at Gallifrey One after that, right? If so, read on!

We took the shuttle from Anaheim to the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel, where Lobby Con (the con before, during and after the con) was already in full swing. This is basically when people just hang out in the lobby and around the bar and meet up with those friends we only get to see once a year. Some people were already in costume, ribbons were already being handed out and some folks were even giving out candy, including these adorable chocolate Daleks.

Chocolate Dalek

My friend and I wore our mouse ears from Disneyland because we learned at Disneyland that there are a lot of cross-over Doctor Who/Disney fans. Interestingly enough, people took our photos because they thought we were cosplaying! We attended the ice cream social, and then decided to call it an early night, because we were still tired from Disneyland and needed sleep to prepare for Gally, which officially started the next day.

So we slept, and on Friday, I dressed up as The Moment from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special.

The Moment

It’s a really comfortable costume, save for the boots, which are probably about a half-size too small, but I haven’t been able to find a larger pair that works, so I suffered (although I discovered they were more comfortable without insoles). Friday was mostly the day we wandered around, thrilled just to be at Gallifrey One and see and do all the Gallifrey One things.

We attended a panel with Eve Myles of Torchwood,  and I discovered that she is freaking hilarious. I also now have this song stuck in my head that she later sang with Burn Gornman about sexy naked ladies on her t-shirt that has everything to do with her audition for the series. I also got her autograph and she drew a halo over herself.

A photo posted by Robin Burks (@robinburks) on

I told her that I enjoyed her voice acting work in Dragon Age 2, and she acted a little surprised that I would mention that, grinned and said, “Oh, that was so much fun to do.” It’s the only reference to the video game I heard all weekend, so go me!

Friday was also the day of The Idiot’s Lantern Doctor Who skit show, which was hilarious and probably even better than next year. I’m totally biased because I knew a lot of people involved with it, but, in particular, the Dead Rory skit had me rolling (think Monty Python meets Doctor Who).

Before we knew it, it was late Friday, so after some more mingling at Lobby Con, we made it to nearly 11 p.m. (that’s 1 a.m. my time, so this means we were slowly adjusting to West Coast time). Saturday rolled around, and with it, came John Barrowman, one of this year’s guests.

Saturday is also the biggest cosplay day of the con, so I rolled out my BioShock Infinite TARDIS dress, which made its con debut. The dress was a hit: a lot of people got the BioShock reference, but even those who didn’t complemented me on the dress, which really helped my confidence as both a costumer and cosplayer. This is the first thing I’ve sewn by hand, so YAY.

Of course, more exciting was meeting John Barrowman. I’d practiced what I wanted to say with him, especially since I’d been told he was up for anything in photo shoots. And strangely enough, I didn’t blank when I looked at the gorgeousness that is Captain Jack Harkness. The conversation went something like this: “What do you want to do?” asked John. “I’m the TARDIS,” I said. “Cling to me.” John said, “Turn around.” I complied and the result was this most awesome photo in the history of photos. Which is funny, because I THOUGHT I was going to get a photo with him in my Rose Tyler costume, but the con schedule and my cosplay schedule didn’t quite work out. However, I LOVE this photo more than anything ever. Me and John Barrowman And so began a very random weekend. When John signed the photo, he looked at me and said, “Hey, I’ve been in you.” Although I thought that made me a very special snowflake, I later learned that he said that to all the TARDIS costumes. But it was still wonderfully awesome.

That was followed by a few panels and then the Masquerade. Here’s the funny thing: I hadn’t planned on even seeing the Masquerade (the costume contest) this year, but 15 minutes before the show, someone came up to Rachel and me and asked us if we wanted to do something with it. We’d been drinking, so we agreed, but had no idea what was going on except that we had to meet this person backstage before the contest began. So we did and were informed that we were back-up singers and dancers for Tony Lee, who was doing this opening singing number for the show. So that happened: I was a back-up dancer for Tony Lee. Unfortunately, no one has yet found footage of that to prove that it happened, much to my chagrin. Like I said, random.

After the Masquerade, we danced until the wee hours of the morning. I saw Paul Cornell getting down to the Spice Girls, which seemed odd, but also perfectly normal. More randomness. I made it almost until 2 a.m. and passed out shortly after that.

Sunday brought the final day of the con, which always comes with a little sadness. I dressed as Rose Tyler from “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” episode.

  A photo posted by Robin Burks (@robinburks) on

I spent most of Sunday in panels, including the John Barrowman panel, where I laughed like I was attending a stand-up comedy event. The man is… just… yeah. I have no words. NO WORDS.

I went to more panels, including The Inspector Chronicles, which as you may know, I cover a lot of. I’m working on a feature piece for Tech Times T-Lounge, so keep an eye out for that.

After that, it was time for closing ceremonies, where I always cry a little bit, and then dinner. But dinner was random, too, as Chase Masterson came up and thanked us for attending The Inspector Chronicles panel. I explained that I was writing up something for the site I work for, and she asked for my card so that she could contact me about a potential interview. WHICH IS AWESOME. And she is a really cool person, by the way.

And so Gallifrey One ended on a high note, although when I returned home, I didn’t really return home. Thanks to some rather nasty winter weather, I got stuck in Memphis, TN (about a 1-1/2 hour drive from home) overnight. Boo, winter.

So is it 2016 yet? I’m ready for the next one already. However, next up is Con GT next month, and for the first time ever, I’ll be a guest there.

For those of you interested, too, I posted a gallery of cosplay photos from the con over at my day job: Tech Times T-Lounge.

Gallifrey One 2015: A Randomly Wonderful Weekend
Robin

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Adventures In Disneyland http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/adventures-in-disneyland/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/adventures-in-disneyland/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 20:05:06 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=10999 FanGirlConfessions.com
FanGirlConfessions.com - Because these are the things I love.

Before this year's Gallifrey One, a friend and I went to Disneyland and had adventures. See our geeky and fun Disneyland photos here.

Adventures In Disneyland
Robin

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FanGirlConfessions.com
FanGirlConfessions.com - Because these are the things I love.

As a fangirl, I have a wide variety of interests. And one of those includes all things Disney. I grew up with Disney, so it sort of makes sense. In fact, growing up, one of my Christmas presents every year was a VHS of a Disney movie. This pretty much happened until well after college (although those VHS tapes eventually became DVDs).

So I also love Walt Disney World (I’ve been several times). And last year, I visited Disneyland for the first time. However, that visit was short, so I decided to spend more time at the parks this year. In fact, I did four days before my annual sojourn to Gallifrey One. And I did it with my friend Rachel (you might know her as @catisidor, the official Gallifrey One countdown person on Twitter). She’s not a Disney fanatic, but I daresay, I believe Disneyland won her over.

Anyway, we did four days at Disneyland and California Adventure. Some highlights include the very cheesy Jungle Cruise (we’re still laughing over the word “paradox”), two high-spirited jaunts with Indiana Jones, two adventures on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and a few plays of Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (OMG, a ride AND a video game?). I also terrified Rachel with Tower of Terror (she’ll never go on it again) and we got sucked into pin collecting.

We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, which was a lot of fun because we spent our time in our hotel room searching for Mickey (he was EVERYWHERE).  And then there was the wonderful Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar that served the best drinks in the history of drinks.

From that wonderful trip came a lot of memories, so without further ado, I give you my photo gallery of our Disneyland antics.

Adventures In Disneyland
Robin

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Guest Post: How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation markets forever http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/sailor-moon-pokemon/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/02/sailor-moon-pokemon/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 19:40:25 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=10977 FanGirlConfessions.com
FanGirlConfessions.com - Because these are the things I love.

Boy Properties or Girl Properties? How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation properties forever.

Guest Post: How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation markets forever
Robin

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FanGirlConfessions.com
FanGirlConfessions.com - Because these are the things I love.

Boy Properties or Girl Properties? How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation properties forever.sailor-moon-639x348

Boy Properties or Girl Properties?

By Theodore Jefferson

One of the points I focus on when discussing Sailor Moon is the indispensibility of female protagonists in anime. As far back as Speed Racer, Japanese storytellers have steadfastly insisted that girls and women be front and center in the adventures they animate. Hayao Miyazaki fashioned an entire career with female heroes. For this reason, Sailor Moon was inevitable.

In America, by contrast, the animation, game and toy markets have traditionally been the province of boys. My “children’s television trifecta” of cartoons, breakfast cereal and toy commercials was designed by marketing executives to sell products based on cheaply-produced animated episodes broadcast either on weekday afternoons or Saturday mornings. Those products were usually action figures, race cars or some kind of plastic or metal playset or construction toy. Girls made do with Barbie and the occasional “other doll.” The Disney Princess Concept was still decades away.

By the time the generation raised on Saturday morning cartoons had taken charge of the entertainment industry, everything was different. They were the ones who pointed and shouted “there’s a GIRL in that race car!” when they were watching Speed Racer. They were inspired enough by the idea that by the 21st century, girls were being included in everything from tyrannical deathmatches to imaginary robot wars.

But there is more to it than just an inclusive shift from “no girls allowed” to the opposite. Anime in general, and shows like Sailor Moon and Pokemon in particular, were all able to create a world where a show for boys and a show for girls became the same show. In June of 2000, the ratings among boys ages 9-14 for the third season of Sailor Moon on Cartoon Network were higher than those for girls. Now while some might quasi-cynically assert this is because the Sailor Senshi wore attractive outfits, the historical ratings data tells a different story. Boys didn’t watch Sailor Moon for the short skirts. They watched it because it wasn’t just for girls.

When Satoshi Tajiri created Pokemon, he had an idea that was as brilliant as it was simple. His vision was based on his love of insect collecting, which is likely for a variety of reasons to be more appealing to boys than girls. But when Pokemon became a pet collecting game with adorable little teddy-bear-like creatures as the companions, a merchandising juggernaut was created that is still racking up cosmically high revenues almost 20 years later.

What do these two merchandising icons have in common? Simple. They are not targeted at either boys or girls. In fact, they are equally appealing to both. Sailor Moon is equal parts romance and heroism. Pokemon is equal parts combat and collecting cute teddy bears. The results speak for themselves. Between 1992 and 2003, Sailor Moon and Pokemon combined for over $30 billion in worldwide revenues.

These two shows turned marketing from a world of cartoons, breakfast cereal and toy commercials to a world of the Internet, video games and anime. In the process, they proved it is no longer necessary to decide if a toy or game is just for boys or girls. It can be both and still work.

Here’s how they did it.

What the producers of Sailor Moon and Pokemon recognized very early in their development is that appeal is not an either/or proposition when it comes to audiences for fantasy and action television. As far back as the 1970s, boys and girls were equally likely to watch The Bionic Woman as they were to watch The Six Million Dollar Man. The reason is that in the context of fantasy and action, it doesn’t make any difference who is on an adventure.

When it came time to write a story like Sailor Moon, which is equal parts romance and heroism, the producers asked a very simple question. Will romance appeal to boys and will heroism appeal to girls? Of course they will! The idea that boys don’t appreciate romance makes for very rudimentary storytelling. The idea that girls don’t recognize the appeal of heroism denies human nature. Boys or girls may not experience the two story types in the same way, but the idea that they will reject them outright is not supported by the facts or history. Sailor Moon is proof.

If it is possible for romance and heroism to appeal equally to both boys and girls, then entirely new kinds of storytelling become possible. One of the great strengths of Sailor Moon is its ability to present heroic imagery in female terms. Much of western civilization is built in female heroic imagery, but to hear television executives you would think that girls would run from the room if someone raised their voice in a television show.

The same goes for Pokemon. The idea of taking a fat little dinosaur that can be collected and turning it into a battling beast through power-ups is golden. The idea creates an instant appeal for boys and girls coming from the same product. That’s why Pokemon is worth 11 figures. Girls want to collect every last one of those cute little pets and their brothers want to match them against each other after the key to powering them up is found.

This combination of markets is what has driven everything in animation, toys and games for the last twenty years. Japanese television producers found a way to combine animated television and collectible universally appealing merchandise with video games. While these things were possible in the 1970s and 1980s, the nuanced understanding of the marketing wasn’t there yet.

In Part Two of this series, we’ll take a look at the history behind heroic imagery in Sailor Moon and Pokemon and how it affected the design of both the show and its products.

Theodore Jefferson is the author of The Incredible Untold Story of Sailor Moon, the definitive history of the world-famous animated television series in the United States and other English-speaking territories. Mr. Jefferson is a founding member of the Lexicon Hollow Authors Guild and also writes for Moon Game.

© 2015 Theodore Jefferson

Guest Post: How Sailor Moon and Pokemon changed the toy, game and animation markets forever
Robin

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Becoming a BioShock Infinite TARDIS http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/01/bioshock-infinite-tardis/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/01/bioshock-infinite-tardis/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 15:21:13 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=10966 FanGirlConfessions.com
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When I first saw Elizabeth's costume in Bioshock Infinite, I wanted to cosplay it, but not as it is in the video game, but as a BioShock Infinite TARDIS.

Becoming a BioShock Infinite TARDIS
Robin

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Even before video game BioShock Infinite was released, I wanted to cosplay Elizabeth, but the minute I saw a photo of her dress, the first thing I thought was: TARDIS. I mean, it’s the perfect color and everything. So the idea of doing a TARDIS dressed based on Elizabeth’s dress has been dancing around inside my head for quite awhile.

Then I played the game, and Elizabeth turns out to be a character that can rip holes in the fabric of space and time. How can you not think TARDIS after that?

But it still took me several years and lots of confidence in my cosplay skills, especially as a beginner, to tackle the project. But, finally, after purchasing my first sewing machine, I did it. And surprisingly enough, I think it looks great.

BioShock Infinite TARDIS

I started with the corset, mostly because that’s the part I didn’t have to sew. Unfortunately, though, because I’m pear-shaped, finding an off-the-rack corset that fits well is something that just doesn’t happen. I’m small on top and bigger on bottom and no one seems to make corsets for that. So in the end, I went with a small corset, which was too small on the bottom, but at least it holds my girls up. Someday, I’ll learn to make corsets, I think. I certainly can’t afford a custom one. I’m a budget cosplayer after all.

I chose this corset in white from Frederick’s of Hollywood. However, I only paid about $18 for it, because I found it on eBay. Then I ordered an embroidered police box badge from Etsy here. I started with a hot glue gun and blue ribbon and laid out the stripes as they are on the actual TARDIS. I glued the police public call box sign to a wider black ribbon and used velcro to attach it to the corset, so that I can put it on after I hook the corset. I think it came out great:

BioShock Infinite TARDIS corset

Once the corset was complete, though, it was time for sewing. This is the first costume I’ve ever sewn, so obviously, I was nervous. The first thing I decided upon was fabric. I wanted something simple, cotton (washable) and photogenic. However, with the skirt being so long, and my butt being so wide, I needed to buy fabric from a wider bolt. And regular old cotton only comes in 45″ wide (I needed at least 10″ more than that in width). Fortunately, some googling led me to Fabric.com, so I ordered samples of materials, including this gorgeous blue cotton sateen. A sample of it convinced me that this was my fabric.

I did know ahead of time that cotton sateen wrinkles like crazy, but after seeing how beautifully the material draped and photographed, I decided that was okay. So I ordered the blue and some in white for the sleeves of the jacket.

Then I started sewing. The dress pattern was a basic simple one (although it had a zipper and I suck at zippers): McCall’s Kwik Sew 3381. And, besides the zipper (which is screwy, but the corset hides most of it), it was extremely easy. Most importantly, the cotton sateen drapes beautifully with this style and is nice and lightweight because cons get hot.

I tried a petticoat underneath the skirt to match Elizabeth’s BioShock Infinite costume, but it made me look wide as a barn!!! So instead, I kept things simple and ordered this eyelet trim and sewed it to the bottom of the skirt.

I also found the “Pull to Open” badge on Etsy and hand-sewed that to the skirt.

Of course, having the skirt, I needed Victorian boots. Fortunately, Amazon is my go-to for costume shoes and I found a pair of boots nearly identical to Elizabeth’s that are actually comfortable. Although the toe has an extreme point, the shoe is made so that the point extends beyond where the foot falls inside the boot. I threw a pair of insoles into those boots and they felt pretty darn good.

Okay, so the skirt’s done, the corset’s done, so what’s next? I decided to focus on accessories. Etsy, once more, proved to be a great resource, and I found Elizabeth’s choker necklace easily enough. However, I had to decide how I wanted the brooch that sits on that choker to look. I wanted something more Doctor Who than Elizabeth, so I contacted that same seller, who made me a custom brooch that matches Elizabeth’s, except it has the seal of Rassilon on it. How cool is that?

Then I needed a wig. Of course, that’s an easy one, too: eBay. I found exactly what I needed here. For $10. And it looks really good on, too. Having spent a fortune on fabric, only paying $10 for a wig was a much needed relief to my cosplay budget.

Of course, that meant that all the details were in order and I finally needed to start the jacket, which I knew would be the hardest part of the costume, especially with me being such a noob. First, I started with the closest pattern I could find: Simplicity 1819. The problem was that I needed a mash-up of the two jackets in that pattern and I had no idea how to do that.

I’m still not sure how I figured it out. But yes, the jacket was hard. I spent a lot of time pulling out stitches and was in tears after accidentally ripping a hole with a seam ripper in one of the panels (which I had to re-do). The sleeves in the pattern were all wrong, so I basically just made them to fit my arms, and somehow they came out okay, although sewing the sleeves in was one of the trickiest things I’ve learned. I’m actually surprised this thing looks okay. The collar in the pattern is also all wrong, and I shortened it and stood it up (so it looked more like Elizabeth’s), but it’s still not exact.

But for my purposes and this being my first hand-sewn costume? It’s perfect enough. In fact, when I finished the jacket, I was surprised. Of course, I still had to add the white French cuffs, and fortunately a Google search led me to this, which had a great tutorial on how to do it. It took me a few tries, but the cuffs looked great. Then I had to figure out how to sew them onto the sleeves (it turned out to be easy) and how to give them the shape of Elizabeth’s. I was so happy with how the final cuffs came out that I even added some little buttons on them, mostly to hold them together and look more like Elizabeth’s.

French cuffs on BioShock Infinite TARDIS costume

Perfect, right?

So that was it, the costume was complete. All I had to do was throw on some make-up (see first photo above) and try it on. And the funny thing is that I thought it looked great!

BioShock Infinite TARDIS

Becoming a BioShock Infinite TARDIS
Robin

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Here’s Why I’m Excited that John Barrowman is Coming to Gallifrey One http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/01/john-barrowman-gallifrey-one/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2015/01/john-barrowman-gallifrey-one/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 14:21:56 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=10959 FanGirlConfessions.com
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Well, it's about that time of the year again: when many Doctor Who fans gear up and prepare for THE Doctor Who con/event of the year: Gallifrey One.

Here’s Why I’m Excited that John Barrowman is Coming to Gallifrey One
Robin

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FanGirlConfessions.com
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 John BarrowmanWell, it’s about that time of the year again: when many Doctor Who fans gear up and prepare for THE Doctor Who con/event of the year: Gallifrey One. We’ll don our Rose Tyler costumes, practice our Dalek impressions and start writing parody lyrics for karaoke.

Me? I’m pretty much ready to go and even finished my BioShock Infinite TARDIS cosplay early. Yes, I know, I owe you a full run-down of that costume and now that the holidays are over, you just may get that soon,  complete with photos. Until then, though, I’m just going to post here about how excited I was when Gallifrey One announced John Barrowman as a guest a few days ago.

I secretly hoped he’d be the big headliner this year and all signs pointed to it, but I’ve been known to be wrong before (I inaccurately predicted we’d have David Tennant last year at the con). But this year brings a lot of Torchwood actors, including Eve Myles and Burn Gornman (Kai Owen recently canceled). So this year’s con was looking very Torchwood-like. How could we do Torchwood stuff without Captain Jack Harkness?

For me, though, I’ve been chasing Barrowman down since my last trip to Paris. You see, I was in Paris when he was in Paris with his family several years ago. And although I followed his tweets and tried to track his location, we never managed to bump into each other. Quelle horror! But while he was there, he managed to help out a few local homeless families, which made him even more awesome in my book.

But, I’ll be honest here, the most important reason why I’m excited about meeting John Barrowman is this:

Rose Tyler Cosplay

Yes, that’s right. I cosplay Rose Tyler. And this particular costume, one of my favorite cosplays, is from The Doctor Who episodes “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances.” Do you know why those episodes are so relevant here? They’re the episodes that introduced John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness to the world. And I need a photo opp of me in this costume with John Barrowman.

Btw, I’m holding a Farscape DVD cover in that image, because I was standing in line for Ben Browder’s autograph a few Gallifrey One con’s ago. Also, that photo was taken by Alex Halcyon.

So yes, I need to meet Captain Jack, for a good cosplay photo. This is what geeks do, people! And, hopefully, I’ll get him to sign said photo once it’s done.

I’m also excited about Eve Myles at the con because I got a photo of her with Kai Owen during my very first Gallifrey One many moons ago. Kai signed it, but Eve wasn’t there. So it still needs her signature. So this year’s Gallifrey One is about making a few long-time dreams come true.

Here’s Why I’m Excited that John Barrowman is Coming to Gallifrey One
Robin

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Get Free E-Books And Enter To Win Neil Gaiman Swag! http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2014/12/free-e-books-biting-dog-publications/ http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/2014/12/free-e-books-biting-dog-publications/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 19:39:36 +0000 http://www.fangirlconfessions.com/?p=10892 FanGirlConfessions.com
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Biting Dog Publications announces new holiday giveaway with over 20 free e-books and contest to win signed Neil Gaiman merchandise.

Get Free E-Books And Enter To Win Neil Gaiman Swag!
Robin

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FanGirlConfessions.com
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Get Free E-Books And Enter To Win Neil Gaiman Swag!Biting Dog Publications announces new holiday giveaway and contest.

Happy holidays, everyone! This year, in the spirit of the holidays, my publisher, Biting Dog Publications, is giving away over 20 e-books! Yes, YOU GET FREE BOOKS!

So how do you get these free books? All you have to do is visit the Biting Dog Publications Free Books Giveaway page for details on how to get the books for free from Smashwords. Two of those books are mine: Zeus, Inc. and Madame Vampire.

So what are you waiting for? It’s free books!

However, that’s not all. Biting Dog is also having a contest for those who sign up for the publisher’s newsletter. And the prizes are awesome: The Rhyme Maidens broadside, signed by Neil Gaiman and George Walker,8 Rules for Writing (Neil Gaiman signed posters – I have one and it’s VERY cool), A grab bag of handmade woodcut prints by George Walker featuring artwork from our books (with Neil Gaiman), a $25 Amazon gift card and two signed trade paperback copies of Strange Roads by Stephen Lloyd.

Have a great holiday season, everyone!

 

Get Free E-Books And Enter To Win Neil Gaiman Swag!
Robin

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