(Photo courtesy of Peter Verrant, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.)
When I did the Gamera costume for CONvergence 2007, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d have to do Godzilla at some point. After all, I had learned enough about how to create monsters, including the latex mask making that worked out so well. I didn’t have to create a turtle shell for Godzilla, but early in the project I decided I wanted to build the dorsal fins that light up in a bluish-white pattern when Godzilla is getting ready to launch an attack. Besides, a costume with bluish-white lights on the back would be pretty cool.
There were several parts of the build, which I've listed on separate pages so they don't overwhelm this one:
The bluish-white dorsal fins that light up when Godzilla is about to attack. I built these out of PETG plastic, thermoformed to the shape of the fins, and then wired up 171 blue and white LEDs that would go on in a progressive fashion.
Godzilla's bodysuit, starting with padding underneath to make it monster-sized and monster-shaped, and then the fabric bodysuit itself
The masquerade itself was on Saturday night of CONvergence. My friend Kate performed as Barney, while I was Godzilla (of course). We had a rather simple presentation planned: Kate came out on stage and performed as Barney, doing the “I love you, you love me” motions to the syrupy sweet Barney theme. The theme was interrupted by a Godzilla roar, rather quietly at first. Barney resumed dancing, then Godzilla roared again, this time more loudly and causing Barney to look around in fear. The third section of the Barney theme continued, and then Godzilla roared really loudly. At this point, Godzilla came out on stage to the song “Godzilla” by Blue Öyster Cult, and Barney started cowering and acting frightened. Godzilla walked out toward Barney and lit up the blue lights, making Barney run off the stage in complete fear. Godzilla then stomped around on the stage and rocked out to the song “Godzilla”. Then, Godzilla charged up his lights again, and the stage lights went off, leaving just the blue dorsal fins lit up.
I had been debating whether Barney and Godzilla should spar at each other beforehand, or whether Godzilla needed to walk around Barney sizing him up for a fight. In the end, after consulting with our friend Melinda Melin, we decided that the Barney vs. Godzilla matchup was just so uneven that Barney would have to run off, like a coward, without even thinking about an attack.
I asked the emcee, Gordon Smuder, not to name the act beforehand, because I wanted the audience to be surprised at Barney coming out and to be wondering what the heck a children's character purple dinosaur was doing on stage. Then, I wanted the audience to be surprised furthermore at Godzilla coming out and frightening Barney off into submission. The audience loved it. When Barney came out, the audience groaned and booed loudly, although some people started laughing and wondering what was going on when the Godzilla roars started. Then, when Godzilla came out, the audience cheered loudly. I got to stomp around stage and I really felt the energy of the crowd. They even started clapping along with the “Godzilla” song. I could have stayed up there and milked the audience for applause, but that would have been pandering.
Oh, heck, just watch the video on YouTube here:
We took a couple pictures of the costume, fully assembled and ready to go, in the green room.
After the Masquerade was done, all of us contestants sat around backstage and watched the intermission show, which was the live-action version of “The Match Game”.
By the way, there were a lot of really good entries at the Masquerade – it was some stiff competition. There were four lightsabers in attendance. Jim Melin did a sketch of “Darth Laddie, Laird of the Sith” in which he interpolated the characters of Darth Vader and Highlander, complete with a plaid light saber. Damon and Yancey Thrift did a Jedi sketch, and another woman (whose name I just don't remember) did a semi-bald-headed samurai/lightsaber/Jedi sort of thing. I wish I had a list of all the acts so I could remember who was doing what. Melinda Melin did a Dr. Who regeneration sketch in which Death encounters Dr. Who, who dies and is regenerated into a woman with red hair and an Irish accent. Kate performed as the character of Death, so she was pulling double duty that night. (Thanks for going above and beyond the call of duty, Kate.) There was also an amusing Team Fortress 2 sketch. The “Interchangeable Parts” fashion show had a punk edge to it. Two anime characters (which I just found out were Arshtat and Ferid) had great costumes but completely escaped my notice. I thought that the “Young Frankenstein” sketch, which was really funny and had great makeup, was a serious contender.
Anyway, after the “Match Game” sketch, they announced the awards... and I won the “Best Workmanship” award! I was really happy to win this, since I had spent so much time working on the costume. But, besides the awards, it was just really gratifying to know that Kate and I had pleased the crowd with our performance. It was a lot of fun to do, and the audience really got into it. After the show, I walked out toward the exit of Mainstage and posed for lots of photos. (Kate wisely decided not to wear the Barney costume for pictures. I don't think Barney would have been such a popular character for photography.)
Here's one of the pictures where we had several characters in different genres all posing together:
That's Darth Laddie, Polaris (I guess) and Wolverine from the X-Men, Harvey Birdman in back between them, me as Godzilla, the Jedi brothers, Spider-Man, Catwoman, and... who the heck is that at far right, in the green shirt and white tights? Damn, I'm going to have to catch up on my sci-fi media.
Oh, and here are two last pictures from when I was visiting party rooms:
That was fun. Next year, I'm going to have to come up with a villain. I don't know if a monster will be involved, but I'm sure I'll come up with something interesting.
Questions about the costume, or just want to chat? Todd Murray – firstname.lastname@example.org