To start this week we have a very unique interview. This cosplayer doesn’t wear the cosplays. He constructs the costume. He has one, and it is stunning.
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEVERAGE?
TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
I am a 53-year-old engineer. One day four years ago I visited my niece. She was watching the DreamWorks animated movie, ‘Rise of the Guardians’. I’d never heard of it, but was impressed by it’s beauty. My niece complained that the Tooth Fairy had recently taken a tooth and forgotten to leave a coin. So this dumb idea hit me that I would make Tooth from the movie in real life, to come to her birthday party carrying the cake and the missing coin. I’ve never made a costume before and knew nothing of cosplay. Creating Tooth was the most challenging thing I have ever done, especially since the movie is animated and none of the characters were ever intended to exist. This means that Tooth is out of proportion, with an oversize head and eyes. Anyway nine months later Tooth did indeed come to my niece’s birthday, performed by a petite female family friend. She was a total hit. I was thrilled- all the hard work had paid off.
WHEN DID YOU START COSPLAYING?
After my niece’s birthday I wondered what to do with the costume. We took it to London Film and Comic Con, the last one at Earls Court. Never been to a con before. I loved it- so much to see. We entered the cosplay masquerade and won first prize!
I’ve actually never worn the costume myself- it’s all too small for me, so I am totally reliant on having a performer, which makes it challenging.
WHY DO YOU COSPLAY?
In the field of creativity there is nothing more rewarding than bringing pleasure to others, and Tooth is so popular it blows me away. She draws awe and attention from everyone across all ages. She is so pretty and believable as a being in her own right that people just can’t believe what they are looking at. Seeing people’s amazement and joy, seeing Tooth being hugged and photographed, hearing the massive cheers when she appears on stage, receiving invitations to events all over the country. It really is the most incredible feeling. Our event diary for 2019 is almost full with many of them being invitations from event organisers.
We got to take her to San Diego Comic Con in 2017- that was epic! Tooth and Jack Frost were on TV and radio, live interviews and everything. While we were there we got invited to DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale where we spent the day with the man who animated Tooth in ‘Rise of the Guardians’. It was amazing and a dream come true.
WHO ARE YOUR COSPLAY IDOLS?
We’ve made so many new friends since starting out with Tooth and they are all special to me.
WHAT TYPES OF COSPLAY DO YOU DO?
Only ever made one costume!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COSPLAYS?
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO COSPLAY BUT PROBABLY NEVER WILL?
I don’t want to make anything else but I would love for there to be a sequel to ‘Rise of the Guardians’ and I regularly exchange views with William Joyce, the creator of the Guardians of Childhood and the inspiration for the movie. He is currently in discussion with DreamWorks about a possible sequel.
DO YOU MAKE, BUY, OR SPECIAL ORDER YOUR COSPLAYS?
Tooth is entirely custom made. At one point over a dozen people were working on her, from sculptors, artists, seamstresses, engineering companies, software and electronics engineers as well as myself. Her animatronics is all specially designed for her and features technology that even Disney don’t have that bring her so realistically to life. There is no off-the-shelf electronics, no Arduinos or Raspberry Pi’s. It is all bespoke designed. The body artwork features thousands of individual hand-painted feathers that have been digitally laid up. Her ten wings were all hand made and are exact reproductions of the movie ones.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT COSPLAY?
Its an opportunity for anyone to dress how they like and be whoever they like. There is no requirement or expectation to conform to social norms. Everyone gets on with everyone, it’s so much fun and the community is wonderful.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING FOR YOU ABOUT COSPLAY?
Having to rely on a performer is very stressful. Finding a reliable performer is very hard work. I guess that’s unique to me! I had a wonderful performer for over two years and she suddenly passed away last November. That was heartbreaking.
Who is your favorite character to cosplay?
I just go as me! Although I am with Tooth I try to blend in with the crowd so no-one knows. I don’t have a costume of my own but I think it would be fun if I did.
IF YOU COULD LIVE IN OR VISIT ANY FANTASY WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
I’ve no idea!
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COSPLAYS?
I just saw the movie and figured Tooth was too beautiful not to exist, so I decided to do something about it.
WHAT ARE YOUR “FANDOMS”?
Rise of the Guardians!
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH BEGINNING COSPLAYERS KNEW?
I think everyone should be free to follow their own dreams and ideas, to experiment and learn along the way. I didn’t know anything and it turned out all right. So I don’t have anything that I think beginners should know.
WHAT TIPS OR TRICKS DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER COSPLAYERS?
Don’t be afraid to go your own way. Just be kind and respectful of others no matter what you think of their efforts and appreciate everyone for what they bring to the hobby.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH NON-COSPLAYERS KNEW?
Don’t barge into the costumes! Watch out for wings and sticky-out bits!
WHAT COSPLAYS ARE YOU WORKING ON?
Keeping Tooth on the road. Starting to make a second Tooth costume as after nearly five years and thousands of appearances it’s starting to show signs of wear.
WHAT COSPLAYS DO YOU WANT TO DO IF MONEY AND TIME WERE NO OBJECT?
Sandy from ‘Rise of the Guardians’, North’s sleigh, complete with real reindeer. That would be epic!
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOUR COSPLAYS?
facebook.com/tooth.cosplay is the main site. Also at @toothguardian on Instagram and some posts by Leedwood on Youtube, Tumblr, Deviantart and Pinterest. The construction is at makingtoothcostume.tumblr.com. We will be launching our own website toothguardian.co.uk during December.
What are your biggest dreams?
1) To meet Isla Fisher (the voice of Tooth ithe movie); 2) For there to be a sequel and DreamWorks ask us to take Tooth to the studio officially and for us to help promote it.
Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.