Bat-Character Costumes for a High School Stage Play

Discussion in 'Batman World' started by darklord1967, May 30, 2012.

  1. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    Responding to an inquiry:

    The next costume to be created for this stage play is going to be THE RIDDLER.

    All items required to assemble together this costume have been ordered and have either been delivered or en-route.

    This will be the green tights-wearing version of the Riddler, but wearing the bowler derby hat. Custom-made face mask, gauntlets and wide belt will be made in purple leather.

    First Riddler costume fitting with High school actor scheduled for a few weeks from now. Photos to come. Stay tuned!


    ***UPDATE 8/27/12***

    Months ago, when I first began to develop The Riddler’s costume, it was suggested to me that I could go with a simple, inexpensive Zentai unitard (from China) with basic silk-screened question marks for The Riddler's costume. But I quickly rejected that idea based on what I really imagined for this character's costume:

    1) Firstly, I did NOT want The Riddler's tights to be a single piece, scoop neck unitard (as in Jim carrey's costume in "Batman Forever"). I felt that this would be overly plain an un-interesting.

    [​IMG]


    In the tradition of Frank Gorshin's costume from the 1966 Batman TV series, I was of the opinion that the uniform would look better and richer as a two-piece ensemble with a turtle-neck. The mid-body break-up created by the seams around the leg openings and the big Purple waist belt give the costume visual interest. However, (unlike Gorshin's costume) I wanted question marks covering the entire costume... not just a single large mark on his chest and a line of marks down the sides of his legs.

    [​IMG]



    2) Secondly, the tendency with a Zentai single piece unitard Riddler costume from China is that the question marks are all silk-screened in a random pattern... even upside down (just like the "Forever" costume). The graphics do NOT conform to any particular logic. It is almost as if the raw fabric is silkscreened with the random question marks PRIOR to the fabric being cut and sewn into the unitard garment. This was NOT the approach I wanted.

    [​IMG]


    In the comics, The Riddler’s costume question marks are ALWAYS viewable as right-side-up... even if they are a bit skewed. This is the pattern I wanted to follow.

    3) Thirdly, it was important to me that there be a single DOMINANT, larger question mark on the upper chest and back (just like in the comics).

    [​IMG]

    4) Fourth, there was the consideration of the FONT of the question marks: I wanted the question marks (regardless of size) to all be ONE FONT, and I wanted a font that seemed classical and sophisticated... not just plain and basic. After some research, I selected a font known as “Tiffany” for this costume.


    All of these guidelines meant that I had to select a suitable Kelly Green 4-way stretch spandex, and then fashion the plain green leotard and leggings garments through my local body suit supplier:

    On Stage Dancewear
    197 Madison Ave (bet 34 & 35 St)
    New York, NY. 10016

    Afterward, I ordered some special nylon-based iron-on question marks (in various sizes and in the font of my choice), and attached them one at a time to the garment.

    It was long and tedious work. But in the end, the final effect on the finished costume was definitely worth the effort.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  2. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    Three of the student cast members of my upcoming School Stage Play Fathers of the Dark Knight met with me on a New York City rooftop this evening.

    Our goal was to shoot a series of “glamor” stills to help promote our play and assist in our upcoming fund-raising efforts.

    The kids had an AWESOME time, and we all walked away VERY proud of the images we captured . We feel they really represent the mood and tone of our intended noir stage play.

    I hope you enjoy these images.

     
    #27
  3. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    THE RIDDLER

    We have succeeded in casting a student performer to portray the nefarious Edward Nigma (AKA “The Riddler”) for our play.

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  4. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    This 16 year old is a VERY talented and experienced young actor, and tonight marks his first evening wearing his custom-made costume. I am thrilled and honored to have him bring this classic character to life for our production!

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  5. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    BATGIRL:

    This lovely 8th grader brings an intensity and dignity to Barbara Gordon / Batgirl, and I was thrilled to see her in character again this evening. I cannot wait to see her in action on stage!




    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  6. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    THE BATMAN:

    Beginning his first year of college in the fall, This young man was generous enough to once again spend his evening dressed in cape and cowl. He proved once again tonight that HE is the one and only Batman for our upcoming stage play!

    Here, The Batman responds to the call of the Bat-Signal being shined against the side of a building.

    We had GREAT fun projecting the Bat-Signal on the face of the building behind the Batman. We used an old slide projector and a specially-prepared slide. The effect was brilliant and we attracted the attention of quite a few neighbors!

    I also made a few upgrades to the Bat-suit since our original costume fittings back in February. I have changed the caninister vials on the utility belt into thicker and larger ones. I felt the first ones were far too thin.

    Also, I have decided that I do NOT want to see the actor's eyes through the eye openings in the cowl, so I have added mirrored safety goggles underneath. The effect is STUNNING when light catches it just the right way.




    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  7. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    GOTHAM NIGHT PATROL

    In this moment, The Dark Knight, and his young protégé Batgirl have been startled from their nightly patrol by the scream of a crime victim far below. As a full moon glares down upon the scene, our grim heroes prepare to leap into action and dispense their brand of justice...

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  8. TheWatcher

    TheWatcher Dapper

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    This is pretty darn cool! Good luck with this! I wish I could see it lol.
     
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  9. jonnywhc

    jonnywhc TeamDatAss.

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    Good lord...this looks awesome! Whatever you do..defiantly make a Youtube vid for this. So far..costumes look better than the Batman Live ones lol.

    When do you expect the show to be ready?
     
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  10. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the props about the costumes. yes, I think they are quite strong too. And the students absolutely LOVE them! I'm biased, of course, but i think they are stronger than the Batman Live Arena Show costumes as well. As always, they felt the need to re-invent the looks of these classic characters. Where as I worked to do faithful interpretations of what worked in the comic books for over seven decades. I figure if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    With the proper shadowy lighting, atmosphere, and mood, I remain convinced that spandex heroes, heroines, (and villains) still work beautifully. And they will lend themselves splendidly to the heightened reality of stage.

    Depending on how our fund-raising goes (for building sets and securing rehearsal space etc.) I hope to be ready before the winter with my students.
     
    #35
  11. jonnywhc

    jonnywhc TeamDatAss.

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    Ow a Christmas release!

    I'm no expert but shouldn't you be able to get some sort of grant for this?

    You could also make a pretty badass teaser trailer to drum up interest with just what you've got at the moment, imo.
     
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  12. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    The Performing Arts school that I work for has not offered to subsidize any of the cost of this play up until now. Since the subject matter is not Shakespearean or "classic" (read: old and boring), and since the subject matter makes partial reference to "juvenile" contemporary comic book characters, no "educational value" is seen by the Board of Education.

    Furthermore, there is sometimes a bit of a hesitation to produce something like this within the school system because of the fear of lawsuit from parents. You see, these are comic book characters who wear form-fitting spandex costumes. And the climate in the D.O.E. is to be very wary of anything that could conceivably show kids in a sexual light.

    Meanwhile the dance Department at our school still puts on recitals with other students who are wearing virtually the SAME TYPE OF (dance) GARMENTS that I am using to costume Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Riddler, Harley Quinn, etc. I know this because some of the costume body suits I commissioned for this play were purchased from a dance apparel manufacturer.

    It is really dumb. THAT is how the Department of Education works. The main focus is NOT educating and inspiring these kids. It is avoiding lawsuit. The rooftop photo shoot I conducted this weekend with my students would be SO FROWNED UPON by administrators if the students I was working with were actually from my school... which they are NOT (one has graduated, one has transferred to another school, and the third is from a different school).

    The reality is any financial contribution from the D.O.E toward this play gives them partial creative control over the final product, and I am NOT very comfortable with that. Before I knew it, I'd find myself "editing" my ideas and dialogue just to conform to the D.O.E.'s paranoia as I wrote the script. I'd suddenly find myself re-designing Robin's classic costume since his legs appear to be bare, and that might make someone uncomfortable or nervous... It just gets endlessly frustrating.

    Meanwhile, the students who are working with me on this play are INFINITELY more engaged, motivated, excited, and hard-working than any of the other students working on any of the more "recognized" works of the school system.

    Furthermore, since this is a play about the BRONX cartoonist and writer team of Bob Kane and Bill Finger, there is a significant connection to my students, most of whom are from The Bronx as well.

    I am certainly going to do my best to push our Principal to write a grant proposal to secure some funds for this production, but if it doesn't happen I am certainly happy to do some grass-roots fund-raising instead. Our Principal is aware of this production and he is supportive, but he is also an Administrator who has other people higher up in the Board of Education to answer to.

    This new series of "glamor" action photos that I shot this weekend are part of a portfolio of Production Stills that I plan to use for fund-raising and promotion. There will be more photos of this type in the coming weeks.

    The idea of a promotional teaser trailer has been kicked around, and we are looking into that now. But admittedly that is going to be difficult. Even something as small as a teaser will cost me money that I simply do not have at the moment.

    So far, I have funded EVERYTHING directly out of my own pocket for my students. These costumes have now cost me upwards of $8000 to design and create... and that's with ME doing most of the work personally. And we still have The Joker and The Penguin to cast and costume. And then we have to build our sets...

    But I'm tenacious! And I'm plugging away. One way or other, this stage play will happen!
     
    #37
  13. jonnywhc

    jonnywhc TeamDatAss.

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    Jesus, that's a nightmare of stupidity.

    Seeing as you can now do comicbook studies in some universities..and as you say..they came from the Bronx..this is quite obv educational. Local famous public figures who made a massive impact on world culture, etc.

    And the gymnast/ballet/dance school clothing is far more revealing! This is just silly lol.

    Only other thing I can think of is going to local comicbook stores for abit of backup. They give abit of funding and you plug them on the night. I'm sure alot of fans would want in on this..free help!

    You seem to have put a great deal of thought, effort, time and money into this..so I do hope it works out okay! I think it could be a hit on the night then on the net afterwards for sure. Cos its unique!

    Oh so it was a real rooftop..that duo shot looks amazing.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  14. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    Great suggestions pal! i will certainly keep those in mind.

    And yes, we went up on a real rooftop (the one of my own home) here in Brooklyn, NY.

    The shoot required about a month's worth of coordination to establish safety parameters and procedures. Originally, Robin The Boy Wonder was supposed to have been part of this shoot as well, but at the last minute, he and his mother were ill and could not attend.

    A funny story:

    My wife and I own a 3-stroy brownstone in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Access to my roof is only possible through a steel ACCESS LADDER from the 3rd floor hallway of the building up to the roof hatch. It's not a bad climb, but if you're not used to climbing ladders, it can be a bit... intimidating.

    The night before the shoot, I gathered my three former students (now in college) who would be serving as my production assistants, and I took them up to the roof to brief them as to the next evening's details. We discussed all of the equipment that would need to be brought up for the shoot (Re: the two cameras, tripod, lighting equipment, fog machine, slide projector for the Bat-signal, etc.)

    At the end of the evening, My Production Assistants and I speculated that NONE of the attending parents would likely want to make the climb on that ladder.

    As a result, my wife and I planned the evening so that she would entertain and serve refreshments to the waiting parents in our air conditioned first floor living space while the students and I would be doing the grunt work of the shooting up on the creepy, grimy night time roof.

    For the three students who portrayed these characters for the shoot, five (5) PARENTS and two younger siblings attended.

    At 5PM, my Production Assistants began carrying the shooting and SPFX equipment up to the roof . At 6:30 the students all began changing into their costume tights, sweat pants and sneakers for their climb up the ladder to the rooftop. The rest of their costume items (masks, capes, belts, gloves, boots) would be waiting for them up on the roof.

    For safety reasons, I was NOT allowing any fully costumed students to climb the ladder.

    Knowing that the ONLY chance to see their kids live in FULL costume would be up on the roof, EVERY SINGLE parent and sibling braved the ladder climb, and stayed up on the rooftop for the ENTIRE shoot just so they could check out their kid and the full costumes! :woot:

    I was so amused. Naturally, they all "oohed" and "ahhed" when each character was fully dressed in costume.

    At nearly 8PM on the button, when the sky was fully dark, I began to light my first shot. The entire operation ran like a well-oiled machine, and we wrapped at about 10PM.

    It was a really awesome night for me, but MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY for those kids.

    We had an audience of spectators from a bunch of the surrounding rooftops, and those kids felt like celebrities!! I was so happy for them!!



    THE DUO SHOT:

    This was the last shot of the night. Very difficult, but a LOT of fun to capture. I wanted to create the look of a "floating" camera, looking up at our heroes who are (supposedly) perched on the edge of a rooftop. In actuality, they were standing on one of the 18 inch tall dividers that separate my rooftop from the adjoining rooftop of my next door neighbor! The kids were actually perfectly safe, leaning out over the adjacent rooftop that was only 18 inches or so below them. I laid on my side, shooting up at the stone divider and the two kids perched on it, with my hand-held camera. I was able to create the illusion that this was the top-edge face of a tall building, when in fact it was not!

    I knew I wanted to have the "moon" in the shot. I figured the moon is basically a glowing orb in the night sky, so I positioned the rim-light lighting fixture directly in the frame on the right side to double as the full moon. Later, using Photoshop, I super-imposed an image of the actual moon over the lighting fixture in the shot.

    Like the other shots we took that night, the wind was NOT cooperating the way we wanted it to regarding our atmospheric steam / fog effects. In each instance, I had to wait veeeeeeeery patiently for the steam to rise to the position I wanted behind my actors... and then very quickly snap the photo. I am VERY proud of the fact that there is not a single bit of Photoshop trickery in ANY of these shots to create the steam. What you see here is actual, photographed steam / fog... positioned naturally by random wind, and lit by my colored lights!
     
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    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  15. choskins

    choskins Well-Known Member

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    As I said on MegoMuseum, these are absolutely amazing! I cannot wait to see more updates. I would think fundraising for a production with this level of professionalism would go well! Keep up the unbelievable work!
     
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  16. Motown Marvel

    Motown Marvel Crimson and Clover

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  17. jonnywhc

    jonnywhc TeamDatAss.

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    :awesome:

    The night shots are perfect, Batman under moonlight is always fantastic. Like I said..this will be a hit! If I lived close..or even in America lol..id help out.

    Looking back on page one you say you've cast Nightwing too, any pics? Any of Harley?
     
    #42
  18. LostNSmallville

    LostNSmallville New Member

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    If Nightwing is in this, I'd love to see your costume design for him. I'm a huge Dick Grayson/Nightwing fan.
     
    #43
  19. TheCreepingBam

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    This is fantastic! I'd love to see a vid of the finished product. Those are some lucky high schoolers to have a director as involved as you! Major props!
     
    #44
  20. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    ^^Thanks a million, pal! That is so AWESOME of you to say!
     
    #45
  21. Spidermatrix53

    Spidermatrix53 Custom User Title Garbage

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    This is all absolutely fantastic! Great job!
     
    #46
  22. Fudgie

    Fudgie Well-Known Member

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    These are some costumes for a High School play.
     
    #47
  23. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    ^^ Yeah, well... What can I tell ya? I kinda have a reputation for going "all out" when I do stuff... even at the school level.

    My students all think I'm a little crazy. They're probably right.
     
    #48
  24. darklord1967

    darklord1967 Well-Known Member

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    From another message board...


    “The Five Foot Rule”?? I can’t say I was familiar with that particular rule, so I looked it up. From Wordpress.com:

    “The 5 foot rule basically states that mistakes or rough un-finished details which can’t be seen from 5 feet away are irrelevant because no audience member will be any closer to the costume – great for theater…”

    So to answer your question: I guess I really DON’T believe in the 5-foot rule. :)
     
    #49
  25. jonnywhc

    jonnywhc TeamDatAss.

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    If you film it, the detail will be worth it. And if you had Batman, etc, leave a scene by running up the side or front of the audience, it'd be worth it aswell, and be a fun scene transition, too.

    That guy worded it like a *****e.

    Still waiting on Nightwing and Harley news :p
     
    #50

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