So far, cosplayers are excited to talk about and watch Cosplay Melee, which is a contest where builders from differing backgrounds show their skill at creating elaborate costumes.
We were lucky enough to be able to get an interview with Emily Schmidt, who was recently featured on the show, and she told us about her experience.
Emily, also known as Go Big or Go Home Cosplay, is from Atlanta, Georgia. She likes to make costumes and props in her free time. She has been cosplaying for a little over two years and loves the cosplay community. She feels it is a great place to make friends and learn new crafting techniques. Emily enjoys making armor for strong independent female characters. When making her costumes she primarily uses thermoplastics and EVA foam. One of the things that she most enjoys includes teaching classes at her local makerspace, Geekspace Gwinnett. Emily has won awards for Craftsmanship Competitions in the Journeyman and Master levels at local conventions, including Dragon*Con. Over the holidays she had the opportunity to work on a commission for Hi-Rez Studios along side Blue Whale Studios Inc. Her most recent accomplishment includes competing on Cosplay Melee, SyFy’s new cosplay competition show. As an artist, she is exploring more opportunities to work on commission builds and pursue work with others in the community.
When did reality set in that you were actually going to be on the show and how did you react?
Being cast on Cosplay Melee was a pretty long process. I first found out about the show from one of my friends who said I should apply. I sent an email with a few pictures of my work. It was honestly a shot in the dark. I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? There were lots of interviews involved including trips out to LA to meet the casting producers in person. Over 1,600 applicants applied and I made it to the top 24! I think I literally jumped up and down when I found out. It was a lot of hurry up and wait, but totally worth it in the end. I knew that this was a once in a life time opportunity.
Did you feel like you have to “up your game” for this show?
Of course. I really wanted to be strategic going into a competition like this. It can take months to make a costume and I wanted to be realistic with the time constraints of the show. During con-crunch for Dragon*Con I decided to practice for the show by making an original designed armor, Entei Pokémon. I wanted to see how fast I could make a costume. Surprisingly enough I make a full armor build in 55 hours the week before the con. I realized that I could do this! It helped me learn what to focus on when making a quick build. It definitely prepared me for the show!
What did you feel like you could have done differently on the show?
I honestly feel I went on the show with my best foot forward. My one regret is probably curling my hair for the first episode. I thought, “I’M GOING TO BE ON TV!” What I didn’t realize is that I would have to curl my hair everyday to match for interviews. It wasn’t fun having to get up early after crafting all day to look “put together”. I would never craft normally in those clothes, but can you blame me? I wanted to look cute!
Besides the obvious time factor, what was it like having to build a complete cosplay in so little time?
It was so much fun! I would do it again in a heartbeat. Granted with such time constraints you lose some craftsmanship, however I feel like the pressure led to my best concept art to date. I think you have to really stick with what you know. Don’t experiment too much from techniques that you’ve never tried. I told myself to stick to my strengths and I think that paid off in the end. It’s also nice to have such encouraging crafters working beside you. We had a lot of fun filming on the show and it helped elucidate the stress.
Were you able to keep your creation and if so, will we be seeing you in it at a con anytime soon?
Unfortunately no, the network owns all the rights to the costumes that we made on the show. I am currently working on a Sisters of Battle Costume from Warhammer 40k. I’ll be attending local conventions in the South East including Momocon, Dragoncon, AWA, Anime Blast Chattanooga, and Hamacon. I’m sure I’ll be attending more cons, but those are the ones that I have currently.
There you have it! Emily was excited to be on the show and hopefully we will be seeing more of her at cons pretty soon!