Interview: Chase Lawrence – Cosplay 24: Beyond The Mask!

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I chatted with Chase Lawrence who is in the process of putting together a project/book/film highlighting the cosplay culture. Lawrence’s goal is to photograph twenty-four (24) different cosplayers from around the United States in locations that perfectly enhance the characters they portray. Along the way Zach Gables of Crimson Arrow Cinema will be filming every step of this journey. Collectively the Cosplay 24 team will work to produce the content for a polished documentary highlighting the successes and setbacks in completing the project. Read on for some of the details in Lawrence’s own words.

Chase, in a nutshell, tell me what drew you to focus on cosplay/cosplayers for your project?
What drew me to cosplayers is their work and craftsmanship. Every year I travel to conventions and see so much amazing work and detail put into something that is representing their love for their fandom. Cosplay is hard work as well as an art form. I have cosplayed in the past and I can tell you some of these thing that they make I could never do. I have also seen a lot of good come out of cosplay since a lot of the characters are heroes. Some of the cosplayers even dress for charities and visit hospitals for children that are sick. I see cosplay as not only as a hobby but as something that can truly help the community while showing love for your fandom.

Have you, yourself cosplayed?
I have cosplayed Alucard from Hellsing, Tatsumi Saiga from Speed Grapher, Bolin from Legend of Korra, and Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist. I also have a few other costumes in the works as well that I will be trying my best to complete this year.

Will there be spotlight some of the charity work certain cosplayers do, for instance, visiting children’s hospitals?
Some of the cosplayers actually help with charities. Michael Knight Mage and Yoko have done things in the past as well as the present. Michael cosplayed piccolo from DBZ this past Christmas and helped pay off some Christmas gifts at Toys-R-Us for children. Yoko sells prints and donates the money from her sales to charity. This is something I really admire in a lot of cosplayers and what makes me believe they are the perfect role models for the community.

Beyond The Masks suggests a glimpse into the private ‘non-cosplay’ lives of these people. I’ve known a few cosplayers that are intensely private individuals. How you’ve encountered any models that shut you out and shunned the project to protect their own privacy?
Beyond the Mask is the portion of the book that tells people who the cosplayers really are. The cosplayers in it have a choice to not give detailed information about themselves which is their right not to. The questions that involve this portion give you incite into their day-to-day lives and telling what effects change how they live. Personal privacy to the cosplayers is a big factor and I respect that. Full names and details do not have to be given.
I really haven’t had anyone shun the project so to speak. I have had those that are so busy that they would not have the time for the project itself which I understand and fully respect.

What can we expect overall with the finished product?
What you can expect out of the finished product of “Cosplay 24” is a book that hopes to inspire others to cosplays and do things they have always dreamed of doing. “Cosplay 24” brings together both sides of cosplay, being the professional and fun side, while highlighting the realty behind both.
When the project is completed the money that is left over from the project after taxes will be donated to the All American Cancer Society along with 10% of the book proceeds once the book is on sale. The rest of the money from the books will be donated to other charity’s as well.

Friends, the Cosplay 24 team is only $12,000.00 short of making this awesome project a reality. Feel free to donate your support here.

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