As I entered the world of IKKiCON, I have to admit I had no idea who all these characters were, as I am not an anime fan myself. But you don’t have to be to enjoy and admire all the work that goes into all these fan’s costumes. I was glad we got there early. It allowed me to meet monsters and eclectic anime and Disney characters. The hotel was filled with picture taking and admiration of all the homemade costumes.
I met one young fellow who was a blue banana. I asked him, “Are you the Blue Man Group banana?” Being that I saw the Blue Man Group back when they first became popular over 15 years ago in Chicago, I thought maybe he got the idea from seeing the Blue Man Group himself or that he saw people from the Blue Man Group wearing this costume in their show. But no, he said he had both things in his closet and thought they might go well together, and that’s how it happened. That’s how costumes form – by digging into your closet! You never know what you might find. After taking some pictures and getting much needed coffee fuel, we got our badges and headed downstairs.
|From left to right: Jessica as Ichigo Kurosaki, me as Dr. Time,|
Banana Man, and Jordana as Maleficent
We thought we had better get to our room early to scope it out, see how big it was and how the chairs were set up. We found out that the people in the room before us were celebrities Chris Ayres, Greg Ayres, and Carli Mosier, all voiceover actors that were giving autographs. There was a long line to get in, and the room was packed. They had to constantly turn people away. The celebrities’ assistants informed us that they might be a bit late getting out.
This was quite ironic, as my character was Dr. Time and extending from my very face were the minute and hour hands of a clock. So I reminded them, in character of course, that our workshop was scheduled to begin at 3:00pm, and therefore, they needed to wrap up a little before then so that we could start on time. It was only polite to do so for the next presenter, but unfortunately this did not happen. By the time we got in, it was 3:15pm, and we were supposed to have the room from 3:00-4:00pm. I guess that’s what you have to expect with celebrities.
Our workshop was called, “Talk to the Eyes ‘Cause the Ears Aren’t Listening,” and it was a workshop on embodying your character through body language, gestures, and facial expressions. The rules: no talking for the entire hour, and of course, no phones or texting either. Somehow this drew a big crowd for us, and we capped the room at 45 people! Who knew! Here are two of the activities we did with our workshop group:
Activity #1: Random Acts in Silence
With an extremely diverse playlist of songs playing in the background, we had our workshop attendees walk around the room while we gave them different tasks to do in character, like pretend you’re at a junior high school dance, pick a flower and do something with it, strike a fighting pose, step on gum, and so on. For our playlist, we used a variety of songs, like the Star Wars theme song, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and many others. Do you all remember the Brady Bunch? Do you remember the episode where they sang “Sunshine Day?” Well, that was on the playlist, too. For those of you who want a fun uplifter, you can find the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4FprR_LNSU
Activity #2: Endorse a Product
We had a box of random fun items to pick from, everything from duck tape to giant sunglasses to a stuffed bunny. The attendees were super creative and did a great job pretending they were on QVC or Vanna White, selling their product. Using only your body language really forces you to think outside the box.
Even though we started late, it was a success! And even though this workshop was something we had never done before, it was important to do. It’s important to try new things, new workshops, and new classes. It’s going to be a great 2016!