On the art of cosplay, part two

This time, meeting up with Alan McDougall to chat about how his Alternate Universe Attack on Titan photo shoot went was a bit more challenging than expected. He apologized for being incredibly busy since his return to Edmonton.

When we sat down to talk, it was pretty clear he had had a busy month. For Alan, it was a two-coffee interview.

The theme and focus of the Alternate Universe Attack on Titan shoot were three characters from the manga and anime series “Attack On Titan.” However, this specific version was an Alternate Universe version conceived by Ven Tsun. In the mainstream Attack on Titan reality, three characters, Erwin Smith (Alan), Levi (Ven Tsun), and Hanji (Ringo), are members of the military Survey Corps. In this brand new version, they are themed as an elite police unit instead.

“Ven did the costumes,” Alan explained. “He bought the jackets online, but everything was designed by him: he did the alterations, added the Survey Corps logos everywhere, and had it all ready to go before the shoot.”

“The theme and focus of the Alternate Universe Attack on Titan shoot were three characters from the manga and anime series “Attack On Titan.””

The shoot was in Vancouver during the last week in March and first week of April. Overall, there were two days of shooting, and the majority of the pictures published so far have been from the first day.

“The rest aren’t ready yet. There’s a lot of editing left to do.”

Alan’s estimate was around three thousand photos taken over the two days, but maybe fifty would make the final cut.

The first day of shooting was a rainy Sunday in Vancouver. Their photographer, Milon Hall, selected a shooting location near the courthouse in New Westminster which allowed for a dimmer, more old-fashioned feel for the shoot. Alan went on to explain that there weren’t a lot of people around on Sunday, so they were able to do the shoot without worrying about any bystanders or photo-bombers.

Photo Credit: Milon Hall Photography

The second day, however, was a bit of a different story. The shoot on Monday was done at the New Westminster quay, with plenty of onlookers everywhere. According to Alan, it was lots of fun, if somewhat awkward with everyday people all around watching and staring, instead of the usual cosplay and anime fans from a convention setting. A photo shoot of this scale was a new thing for Alan and, as with any new thing, it’s often uncomfortable. However, internet reaction seemed to balance out the discomfort.

“When Ven put up the first photos, after the first day there were about six thousand reblogs on tumblr. Now it’s up to over fourteen thousand. It’s surprising and flattering,” Alan remarked.

“It’s nice to see something so simple for fun could blow people out of the water like this.” – Alan McDougall

From his estimation, everyone involved in the shoot has attracted more followers on their respective blog sites and Facebook.

“There have been a lot of positive comments,” he continued. “Most of them complimented [us on] how well we physically matched the characters, but we’ve also gotten a lot of requests for another shoot and this has made my other interests [sushi and Naginata] more popular.”

Part of the continued surprise and flattery over the fan reaction came in the form of fresh fan art. Cosplay fans began re-sketching some of the photos and are now creating new fan art based on this shoot.

I asked if they were planning to do another shoot with the fan requests coming in. He mentioned another possible shoot for Animethon or possibly the Edmonton Expo.

“It’s nice to see something so simple for fun could blow people out of the water like this. It’s still fun, and at the end of the day, it’s totally worth it.”

CC Photo Credit:  Milon Hall Photography 
Model Credits: Alan McDougall, Ringo, Ven Tsun (hidden in background)

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