Monday, May 30, 2016

UPDATE: Our Junk Lady Won Best In Show!

I'm still recovering from the awesomeness of MegaCon last weekend, but as our dear Junk Lady is rapidly making the rounds online, I figured I'd throw together a quick update for those of you not on FB and/or Instagram - and also answer a few FAQs from around the interwebz.

First, we decided early on to go ahead and call our Junk Lady Agnes, so I could call instructions to John (who wore her most) without breaking character in the crowd.

Here she is with Roxy the Rancor:

It was an ordeal just getting Agnes onto the con floor, since she's too tall for average elevators and of course can't handle many stairs because of balance issues. We had to bring her in through the back loading docks of the center both days. I won't bore you with details, but suffice to say this was incredibly stressful. o.0

pic by @Dwayne1977

(The Blue Worm on the back was a hit; I like having a fun surprise for folks who take the time to look all the way around!)

Agnes definitely commanded more attention than any of our previous cosplays, to the point on Friday afternoon where I actually started to panic - and I wasn't even the one in the costume. We just couldn't GET anywhere, period. Literally every 5-10 feet we'd be stopped. Add to that the fact that I kept getting lost (I swear that enormous vendor room looks the same from every angle) when *I* was supposed to be leading, and it was, again, rather stressful.

By contrast, when I wore Agnes for the last few hours of Friday it was quite fun and even relaxing, since I had a built-in bubble to hide in, and could rely on John to lead me around. John wore Agnes for all the really strenuous stuff, though, so I didn't have to field many obstacles.

Being Agnes' handler is a full-time job: I was continually scanning the floor for bumps (even the tiniest crack would pitch the cart forward, since it was so top heavy), clearing the crowd, answering questions, directing John for photos, watching out for pranksters (one older guy - like, gray-headed older - actually banged on her drum. >.<) and generally taking the lead. I originally thought I could take photos of other cosplayers while doing this, too. I was wrong. Heh.

BUT.

You guys, it was so dang fun.

 

The interactions we had with everyone were priceless, and even as handler, I really enjoyed playing my part:


I'm fascinated by the different emotions you can evoke with cosplay. With Dreamfinder we get tears and squeals of joy, with Lady Vadore we get a little awe and admiration, and with Agnes we got... well, a huge mix, to be honest. The range literally went from folks wanting to kiss her (and a few did) to many backing away in fear. Most were somewhere in the middle. Kids found her fascinating, I think because Agnes is their height, and I loooove how many little ones broke into delighted smiles when she moved. (As I said on that video up there, we never chased kids; I don't want any childhood trauma on my conscience!) I like that everyone had a reaction, though. It's so fun to just interact.

Someone over on Reddit saw Agnes in person, and is now insisting that she was fully articulated with a moving mouth, eyes, etc. Of course, Agnes' face is a static sculpt, but the fact that our movements fooled someone so thoroughly is just plain awesome.

In fact, a few FAQs:

 - The entire costumes is 87 inches high, and at its narrowest point, 36 inches wide.

- I've been saying the costume is 37 pounds, but it turns out we weighed it without Agnes' body attached. So in reality Junk Lady is probably more like 43 pounds. Ish. 

- The costume is in 3 parts: the junk pile, the body, and a slim PVC wheeled cart. We keep it on the cart most of the time, but the top half CAN be worn with shoulder straps.

- The speakers and sound files worked great, but the speaker wasn't NEARLY loud enough. Next time we'll try to fix that.

- Yes, we can see pretty well in it. And the top is open with a fan, so it's not as hot as you think. (I was perfectly comfortable.) 

- John is 5'11 and sees out the back of the chair. I'm 5' even and look under the chair, which is clearer.

- Agnes' only articulation is in the neck (her head can swivel side-to-side) and then her whole torso can swing outward a bit. Combining the two creates some pretty realistic movement, though. We also walked with a heavy shuffle, to get the junk pile to make that great clanking noise.

I think those are all the FAQs, but please let me know if I missed anything.



We saw literally nothing of the con all day Friday because of Agnes, so for Saturday we only brought her out for a few hours, right before the costume contest. We didn't really plan to enter, but friends and con staff threatened to carry us there themselves, so we finally worked our slow, stressful way to the theater. We almost didn't make it, and ended up dead last in this line:


We made some friends while waiting, though. (Wait'll you see the Groot who was next to us. AMAZEBALLS.)

The contest stage had steps, so at the last moment we removed the cart and had John wear Agnes on the shoulder straps. He had to navigate those steps with limited vision, no hands, and no assistance, so needless to say I was terrified. The room was also beyond capacity - they turned away a ton of folks at the door - with who-knows how many thousands of fans watching. NERVES. We had 'em.

My new friend Serena caught this bit on video:

(You can just see me watching from the doorway on the right.)

And that last bit was him going BACK on stage, because:


WE WON BEST IN SHOW.

We honestly thought we weren't going to win anything, you guys - and we'd had such an amazing time, I can even say we were both OK with that. They'd already announced the Technical winner and the Best Movie winner and there were some INCREDIBLE costumes there with us, so I figured, hey, at least I don't have to get John back down that dark, cramped aisle to the stage again!

Then I heard the crowd do a drum roll, and the emcee called out, "JOHN YATES, WITH..." but the rest was a white noise blur, because I suddenly discovered I'm a happy crier, you guys. I did not know this. I can still hear the cheers -  and I still tear up every dang time I remember. John laughs at me for it, but here's a secret: he totally cried, too.


My friend Chris insisted on a photo of us both with Agnes. We're sweaty, stressed-out messes, and you guys know how much I dislike having my photo taken, but that's just how proud I am of our grumpy goblin gal. :) (Btw, added bonus of this costume: it looks great even when no one's wearing it!)


Best In Show is announced last, so we stayed near the stage while the room emptied. And that's where this happened:


A video posted by Jen Yates (@epbot) on
 
I could - and have! - watch this over, and over, and over...

Since the costume contest reached capacity so quickly, none of our friends were there to watch us win. And yet, we were surrounded by friends. So many people, so happy to see us win. Words fail, and I'm tearing up again, dangit. ARG.

Thank you to everyone who stopped to take a picture and/or chat with us at MegaCon - you gave me and John a weekend we'll never forget. Thanks also to our friends Tim, Dan, Chris, and Scott for helping us cart Agnes around - literally. And thanks to everyone online, both here and over on the RPF forum, for all the encouragement and praise and general this-is-our-tribe-ness. You guys rock. 

Now I'm going to go sleep for another 10 hours, because 4-day cons are basically the triathlons of the geek world. Stay tuned for my actual MegaCon coverage, since I still managed to take ALL the good cosplay photos, promise, and can't wait to show you guys!

83 comments:

  1. So happy for you two! I watched the first video and had to watch again because I could have sworn the eyes shifted.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations, you guys totally earned it!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yay! It's a weekend full of joy! I can't imagine someone better this could happen to!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations! That's so awesome! :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. She is so amazing, you guys definitely deserved to win best in show! I wish I could see her in person, alas, I live in an entirely different country. Can't wait for the rest of the coverage so I can continue to live vicariously through you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congrats you both. And thank you for sharing.
    Inge

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a costume! Congratulations!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congrats on your win! You two are simply amazing and wonderful. I know you don't like having your picture taken, Jen, and I can totally relate; however, you are super adorable and should have your picture taken and showcased more often.

    I can't wait to see photos of the rest of the con!

    ReplyDelete
  9. So thrilled for the three of you. Xo❤️

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations! That's some amazing artistry.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ok, now I'm tearing up too! :) So happy and hell-yeah proud of you both for this accomplishment! You are incredibly creative and have worked hard to get to this moment. What a team!! And boy am I glad I stumbled across Cake Wrecks a few years ago and had the chance to get to virtually cheer on Team Yates, through all the ups and downs you have been most generous in sharing with us on your media sites.

    Virtual hugs and high-fives from up here in Charleston!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I legit had a tab devoted to your Twitter feed all weekend to follow progress, and I'm totally SUPER DUPER excited for you two and Agnes! Congratulations again! :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. You guys deserved that win! What an amazing costume!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. YESSSSS!!! and AWWWWWWWW!!! and SQUEEEEEEE!!!

    Congratulations, guys! What a well-deserved honor!

    I want to see ALL the video and photos of Agnes from everyone's cameras! Did you guys do any interviews?

    You know what would be an excellent addition to Agnes for DragonCon? Install a hidden camera inside the costume so that you can film people's reactions when they see her. I would totally watch a five-hour video of nothing but reactions. I mean, not that you would make it available publicly, but if you did...;-) Anyway, it would be a great memento to have just for the two of you so that you could relive that 30 years down the road.

    You guys are the best! I'm super proud of both of you for your general brilliance and awesomeness!

    KW

    ReplyDelete
  15. That is so very, very awesome, I'm so happy for you two!♥

    ReplyDelete
  16. Absolutely fantastic and well-deserved best in show! You two are incredible!
    -Zippy

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am not the least bit suprised you won best in show. That was an AMAZING build. I'm jealous of everyone who got to see it in person! Congrats!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hurrah!! I literally COL'd (clapped out loud) when I read that you'd won. So well deserved, you are stars!! Looking forward to more info on other Agnes bit builds whenever you get around to it! :)

    Kimstu

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations to you both! I teared up when I saw that you won. I hope you decide to keep Agnes together on her stand as art for your awesome home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bwahaha! Well, she would serve as an EXCELLENT theft deterrent...

      Delete
  20. I was following along on the Interwebs and I cried too! You guys worked your badonkadonks off on Agnes. And while I wasn't there and I didn't see all of the cos players, I think you deserved the win.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I squealed when I saw the pics on instagram. and now I'm sitting here grinning like a baboon, so thrilled for you both.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations! Apparently I'm a vicarious happy crier, because you had me tearing up reading this. I'm not surprised at all that you won though! Agnes is amazing and I love that you and John brought to life something that was a part of so many of our childhoods.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Congratulations! You two are amazing talented, and such a cute couple! I wish I could meet you all someday and get tips on sculpting but alas, it takes a miracle to get me to leave my house. I can't handle the outside world! I live vicariously through you all!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Fantastic work! One thing you can look into for the future is changing out the wheels for Medical Casters -- they're better able to handle uneven floors and cracks and crevices. Kinda pricy, but sometimes you can find them on craigslist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're definitely planning to change those wheels, since even carpet was a challenge with them. Thx for the tip, I'll look up medical casters!

      Delete
  25. I am not much of a crier. I'll cry over fictional characters before an actual human being I don't know, but even I teared up reading about your win. I know I said on fb you guys deserved it, and I meant it. So I just thought I'd point out that you've made it to "Persons I Know" status thanks to this blog. (:

    ReplyDelete
  26. Absolutely amazeballs! I am totally tearing up on your behalf too. I laughed out loud watching your videos and you guys did an amazing job. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go beat up the ninjas that are hanging out over my shoulder cutting onions. Dang onion ninjas.

    ReplyDelete
  27. That's AWESOME!!! I'm so happy that y'all got the recognition that you deserve for all of the hard work you put in to Agnes. Wish I lived closer so that I could see her in person. :\

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm so not surprised you won! Agness is amazing! I totally get the trying not to scare kids- I'm pretty sure I made a small girl cry the first time I wore my Doctor Who snowman simply by walking past her. :/

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congratulations! Your junk lady is awesome! I love Labyrinth, and it would be really fun to cosplay one of those little goblins with the bitey sticks, the ones that capture Ludo, but making the costume feels way beyond my skill level. Seeing this, maybe it's not totally impossible.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Congrats, you guys! Agnes is quite the dancer. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Woot! Woot! Congrats to you and John!! Looks like so much fun. I'm glad they forced you into the costume contest!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I applaud your win, and I loooooooove the this-is-our-tribe-ness comment. It's so true, and reading all the above comments just exemplifies it. :) I found you awhile back with the Harry Potter tree you did, and I've loved reading your thoughts and craftwork ideas ever since. Rooting for you and John on every level, my fellow geek. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Congratulations! You guys totally deserved the win -- Agnes is incredibly lifelike :) And a great dancer ;)

    ReplyDelete
  34. so awesome! I've been enjoying watching this build, so happy to see your win. Hope to see it live at Dragon Con in September!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. This news made me ridiculously happy. Heartfelt congrats to you and John!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm just so thrilled for you guys! She really was (is!!) just amazing. And, Jen, you really are super cute in that photo with John and Agnes. Just sayin'.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am so happy for you both! What will happen to Agnes now that the con is over? Will she have a permanent place in you living room? Haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After spending a month being startled by her glaring face in the dining room? ... no. Ha! Unfortunately she'll have to wait for Dragon Con in the garage. After that is still to be determined!

      Delete
    2. Maybe you could auction her off for charity....

      Delete
  38. Congratulations! You both deserve it with how much love you put in to this costume :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Congratulations!!! That's fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jen, my son is currently having a major surgery and every time I think about what's happening I have a panic attack. I'm super glad you published this today. I'm having little giggle attacks watching Agnes dance. It's a great distraction. This waiting room is rather somber and seeing the looks on the faces of the other families as I laugh a little hysterically is doing wonders for my anxiety. Lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, sending all the virtual hugs to you and your son! I'm glad I could give you a giggle, today of all days. Also: you got this.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! Much better today and still giggling about Agnes. :)

      Delete
  41. I teared up in happy tears reading this! Congratulations to both of you. You really deserved it, too!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Congratulations, John and Jen! I watched Labyrinth last weekend in your honor :) Agnes looks great, you totally deserve your Best in Show win!

    ReplyDelete
  43. The costume was absolutely amazing, and you both deserved Best in Show completely! Wonderful, inspiring work.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Congratulations! I think every post you have done with Agnes has made me Kermit flail! She's absolutely wonderful! (She evidently also makes me end every sentence with a "!"!!)

    ReplyDelete
  45. Congratulations! You both did a fantastic job with Agnes, and she really did deserve the best in show win!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'm so excited for you guys! Agnes looks amazing! You're both so talented! I am also a happy crier. When I was in eighth grade, my team (me and two friends) won first place at our state-level National History Day competition. I had a moment exactly like you describe, where we hadn't won 3rd or 2nd so we were thinking, okay, we didn't win anything, but that's okay, and then suddenly the announcer said, "First place... 'Irish Immigrants Pursue..." and then everyone from our school went crazy and I burst into tears. LOL (The full title of our play was "Irish Immigrants Pursue the American Dream.") It was a moment I'll never forget.

    ReplyDelete
  47. When you posted last week I said to myself "thats going to win best costume" and that was without knowing there *was* a contest! Way to go, both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I cried tears of happiness for both of you when you posted it on Facebook and Instagram, and I'm crying again reading it. Congratulations! You earned it, and deserve it. Sending love from California!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Yay! I am very happy for you! This isn't an undeserved win.

    I've never had a bad experience yet with any cosplay. It makes everything more fun, even if the costume is weak on flair and simply thrown together.

    Also, that picture, you look so relaxed and confident.

    (Is that water bottle on a string? I'm going to have to remember that trick)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, I'm glad that fatigue reads as "relaxed" for me. :D

      I'm wearing my trusty Disney bottle clip for the water bottle. It's a LIFE SAVER. Basically looks like this, but with rubber Mickey ears on it.

      Delete
  50. Such a very well-deserved win! I adore that picture of the three of you, and I could watch that video all day.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Congrats!!! You guys totally earned Best In Show!! When I first saw the pictures a few weeks ago, I KNEW this was a contender, and you deserved to be rewarded for your hard work!! I ran into Dreamfinder Saturday afternoon and he mentioned you might bring Agnes back out. We were literally about 30 people from getting in the door to watch the costume contest, but the room reached capacity. So I didn't get to see it in person, but know that you had fans cheering for you and hoping for the best!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. This makes me so happy! Yey!!!
    --Piper P from Washington State

    ReplyDelete
  53. Good work guys. John, you have a great wife!

    ReplyDelete
  54. This has to be such a massive boost for you and John. All you hard work was worth it. Agnes is phenomenal and so life-like you just know she will begin to sing to go along with her dancing. Something along the lines of "I'm too sexy for my cart, too sexy for my wheels, too sexy... Thanks for sharing her with us!

    ReplyDelete
  55. In love with shinyMay 31, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    That is freaking AWESOME!! Congrats to you both!

    Also, I know you say she's a static mold, but I also know I'm not the only one convinced her eyes move!

    ReplyDelete
  56. so not surprised you guys won - this is an absolutely amazing project! Kudos to you and John on a job extremely well done!! <3

    ReplyDelete
  57. Congratulations! Agnes is a great name for her, too.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I was so happy for you guys when I saw you post your victory online! You put so much work into her and she looks amazing; you guys certainly deserved that win! I teared up for you when I read your post! lol But I already knew I'm a happy crier.

    Congrats again!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Congratulations on the win! Looks like an amazing time! I don't blame everyone wanting to stop and admire - it's such an amazing creation!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Congrats!! Pure EPIC OMERGAWD Awesomesauce! I so enjoy reading what you two do together, a pair of nerdy geeks that found and compliment one another!!!! It truly gives hope to us others!! <3

    ReplyDelete
  61. No words, just :D :D :D :D :D

    ReplyDelete
  62. Amazing. And well deserved! Congratulations!!!

    ReplyDelete
  63. so so SO happy for you two! Couldn't be more well deserved!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Absolutely well deserved that is the most amazing cosplay from one of my favourite movies! I was actually getting really sick of cosplay and after someone from our Adventure Time/Sailor Scouts mash up wanted to postpone until the next con I was pretty over it. But now I feel like I could do it again! It's so much fun to make something interesting, entertaining, beautiful and intricate.

    ReplyDelete
  65. a well deserved prize, congratulations!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. So impressive! I would never have thought of her as a cosplay character!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I followed your building of Agnes and was SO impressed with your skill and dedication (you meaning Jen and John both), but have to admit I never gave a thought to the costume contest. I cried a little when I saw that you had won "Best in Show." Next it should be "Best in Universe"! I'll bet there was not another costume that attracted so many admirers, from little ones to us old folks. I am unbelievably happy for you two for getting the recognition that you deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  68. i happy cried for you and i wasn't even a part of this! seriously tremendous work. and from my favorite movie! great job.
    and congratulations!!

    ReplyDelete
  69. This is just so cool! Seriously you guys are Wonder Woman, Batman, and Spiderman all mixed together!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  70. That's absolutely amazing! And I don't mind admitting that I cried just reading about it. Many much deserved congratulations to you both!

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>