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Otafest loves cosplayers! We have a ton of different events and contests to help you show off your costumes, connect with other cosplayers, and maybe take home a prize or two! Here’s our Cosplay Director, Amanda, with a rundown of all our contest opportunities. Plus, we take a look inside the ultimate Cosplay Repair kit, with tips on how to keep your cosplay looking top-notch for those long convention days!

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Bidet, adventurers! This Otafest we’re excited to welcome the infamous Tiefling Warlock, Zahra Hydris herself! But this is no Trial of the Take – here’s all the information you need for your campaign to meet Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and other great events for fans of Critical Role or Dungeons and Dragons to enjoy in your downtime!

Events with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn

Friday

Women in Animation

Glen 201-202 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm | AP
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a voice actor – or to direct the action from outside the booth?  Join veteran voice actors, Wendee Lee and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as they talk about their epic journeys as women in animation for over 20+ years!

Saturday

All About Mary Elizabeth!

Glen 201-202 | 10:00am – 11:00am | AP
Want to know what inspired Zahra’s character creation, or what that Moonhammer she made for Grog really did? Or maybe you want to learn more about Mary’s work on Netflix’s new She-Ra? Here’s your chance to get to know Mary Elizabeth McGlynn!
Moderated Q&A Panel

20 Years of Cowboy Bebop

Main Events | 2:30pm – 3:30pm | AP
Cowboy Bebop turned 20 last year! We catch up with Steve Blum (Spike), Wendee Lee (Faye) and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Julia) to get their thoughts and memories on this epic classic anime!
Moderated panel and Q&A

Autograph Sessions:

  • Friday – 1pm – 2:30pm
  • Saturday – Noon – 1:30pm, 4:30 – 6pm
  • Sunday – 11:30 – 1pm

Bring your favorite Critical Role merchandise or art to be signed at no fee! All autograph sessions located in Autograph Corner, in the Exhibitor Hall.

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The adventure begins here:

*Flying to Otafest? Save money with promo code 2D8J5HW at westjet.com/conventions!

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Recommended panels, meetups, screenings and other events


Friday

How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord

Macleod E3 | 1:00pm – 2:30pm | 14P
Takuma Sakamoto, the most powerful player in the MMORPG Cross Reverie, is referred to as the ‘Demon Lord’ by all other players. Now he finds himself summoned into a new magical world with the same appearance of his player character and all his stats and skills – a new adventure begins.
Anime Screening

Critical Role! Mighty Nein Panel

Glen 208-209 | 11:30pm – 12:30am | AP
The Mighty Nein have come to set fire to your hearts! Catch this horrible band of characters as they fight their way to your local Otafest. Hide your family, and drink that liquor, the Mighty Nein are here!
Community Content Hosted by Jason (MacKenzie) B. This panel, unlike Nott, does not actually contain liquor.

Saturday

Critter Meetup – Critical Role Fan Meetup

Marriott Patio |  3-4pm
Connect with other fans of Critical Role – find new friends, share cosplay and art, and take some amazing photos together!
RSVP on Facebook

Critical Role! Vox Machina

Glen 208-209 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm | AP
Vox Machina is invading Otafest! The Original crew of Critical Role is coming! So bring your ale, advert your gaze ladies, and prepare, for this edition of, Critical Role.
Community Content Hosted by Jason (MacKenzie). Sorry, no ale served – Grog has already used the alchemy jug today!

The Adventure Zone: As Gay As it Could Get

Glen 201-202 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm | AP
Cosplayers from the series The Adventure Zone will put on one minute (family friendly) lip sync battles to compete against one another. The audience will vote after each round, eliminating one cosplayer each time, until a first, second, and third place are determined. After the winner is crowned, participate in interactive games such as The Dating Game, and truth or dare!
Community Content Hosted by Felicia O.

Zapp’s Spaceship of Love presents: Critical Fail!

Glen 208-209 | 7:00pm – 8:00pm | AP
Does nothing ever seems to go right, and everything seems to falls apart? This popular Otafest panel returns again! Come join the crew on a comedy/improv D&D adventure where nothing ever seems to go right, and everything seems to falls apart!
Highlighted Community Content Hosted by Donald E.

Sunday

Learn to play: Kemomimi Panic

Macleod A1 | 1:00pm – 2:00pm | AP
Join this game demo session and let our gaming masters show you how to become a master player! Kemomimi Panic is a conversation-based deduction game in which all players take the role of a beast-eared human, but the master thief Crescent Moon lurks among them, aiming to steal
every player’s treasure before the civilians can reveal her.
Official Otafest Content

The Adventure Zone

Glen 208-209 | 1:30pm – 2:30pm | AP
The Starblaster has come to invade your plane and your convention with a fan’s look at The McElroy’s epic D&D Podcast, “The Adventure Zone”! Come and see the notorious Tres H Boys and friends recall all their great stories you heard from the void fish!
Community Content Hosted by Jason (MacKenzie) B.

The Voices of Anarchy All-Ages Otafest Send-off Improv Extravaganza!

Macleod B-D | 4:00pm – 5:30pm | AP
It may not be Dungeons and Dragons, but this Improv is just as exciting and hilarious!
Join the Voices of Anarchy for one last blow-out Otafest show with 90 MORE minutes of All-Ages improv comedy! Who else is gonna do that for you? Your doctor? I think not! Lead by voice actor and improv veteran Will Wood, this group of young, comedic men and women are reasonably excited to close out their show run at Otafest 2019!
Guest Content Hosted by The Voices of Anarchy

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By: Amy Sutherland [Instagram]

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3… 2… 1… Let’s jam!

No need to wait for Netflix – come enjoy the original Cowboy Bebop alongside the stars at Otafest in Calgary!

It’s been 20 years since Cowboy Bebop roped our hearts, so we’re celebrating with Steve Blum (Spike Spiegel), Wendee Lee (Faye Valentine) and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (ADR Director, Julia), together in Calgary for the first time.

We’ll be hosting a special anniversary spotlight and Q&A event, getting their exclusive insights and hilarious insights into this epic classic anime.

PLUS – bring your favorite Cowboy Bebop merchandise or your autograph books to get signed at no cost at their autograph sessions!

Buy tickets in advance or at the door to meet them in Calgary from May 17-19, 2019 at the Telus Convention Centre.

Events:

Cowboy Bebop 20th Anniversary Celebration with special guests
Saturday, May 18, 2:30 – 3:30 – all ages
Otafest Main Events

Cowboy Bebop – The Series (Film Screening)
Saturday, May 18, 7:45pm – 10:00pm –  all ages
Marriott Sunalta Lounge

Autograph Sessions
Friday, Saturday & Sunday – various times
Exhibitor Hall, Autograph Corner
Steve Blum, Wendee Lee & Mary Elizabeth McGlynn will have multiple signing sessions throughout the weekend. See Guidebook for details.

Steve Blum: Spike Spiegel

Haunted by visions of the woman he loved and lost, Julia, Spike’s criminal past slowly catches up to him — putting him and the Bebop crew in the crosshairs of the solar system’s most lethal criminal organization, the Syndicate.

The current Guiness Book of World Records holder for most prolific voice actor in Video Games, including titles such as Final Fantasy VII, Call of Duty and God of War, you can also hear Steve in a ton of amazing anime, including Naruto, and Gurren Lagann.

Steve Blum will have autograph sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Wendee Lee – Faye Valentine

A wanted outlaw, Faye Valentine is always on the search for the person with the key to her identity. In the meantime, she’ll fake it till she makes it.

With 300 anime roles under her belt including Bleach, Love Hina, Lucky Star, Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth and so many more, Wendee Lee is truly a Queen in the VA world!

Wendee Lee will have autograph sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn – Julia | ADR Director

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn brought to life the dub for Cowboy Bebop as ADR Director, and provided the voice for Spike Spiegel’s lost love, Julia.

Award-winning voice actress, voice director and D&D Player Mary Elizabeth McGlynn is hot off ADR directing Netflix’s new She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, but you might know her better as Major Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, or the woman behind the haunting vocals of the Silent Hill soundtracks.

Plus she’s part of a little project called Critical Role!

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn will have autograph sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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Otafest is honored to host the Canadian Qualifiers for the international Clara Cow’s Cosplay Cup contest at Animecon in Rotterdam for the second year in a row! Our best cosplay duos are already hard at work on their costumes and performances, and if last year’s contest was any indication, this is one show at Otafest you don’t want to miss! RSVP and mark it in your calendars.

The Canadian Qualifiers for Clara Cow’s Cosplay Cup is free with admission to Otafest! Get your tickets now.

Otafest is excited to share our esteemed panel of judges for our C4 qualifiers for 2019!

Richard of SilverLinings Cosplay

Part of Calgary’s own Silver Lining Cosplay with his wife Lyndsey, Richard and his wife are staples of the Alberta scene and have appeared as guests of honor at Calgary Expo, Ptarmicon and more! Representing Alberta talent at numerous conventions all over the globe, they’ve been recognized internationally for their cosplay craftsmanship and design.

They are passionate about the fun in cosplay, and also the joy of striving for excellence in craftsmanship. “Our goal is to make a progressive difference in the cosplay world by encouraging confidence and inclusiveness, and to build a sense of community and positive support. Cosplay is for everyone!”

Follow SilverLinings on Social Media: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

Nomes


William Tan Photography

Nomes began cosplaying in 2010 with no prior skills in sewing or crafting. Almost ten years and 50+ costumes later she knows just enough to know how much there still is to learn. She has represented the United Kingdom (UK) in cosplay competitions on multiple occasions including the European Cosplay Gathering (ECG) finals in 2012 (solo category) and 2015 (group category). More recently Nomes represented the UK at the World Cosplay Summit 2018 in Nagoya, Japan with Chris Minney – Cosplay & Fitness.

Whilst Nomes likes to dabble in all areas of costume creation and performance, it’s safe to say she specialises in hairy armour a.k.a. wig styling; she finished fourth in the prestigious international Arda Iron wig contest in 2015. She has been running her own wig commission business aimed at cosplayers since the end of 2016 and she shares WIPs, tips and tutorials of her methods on her social media platforms.

Follow Nomes on Social Media: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Chris Minney

Chris Minney began cosplaying 10 years ago as part of the Naruto cosplay community. Since then he has transformed from Froku to Goku, participating in cosplay contests (1st place Bordercos 2016; 1st place WCS UK 2018), appearing in music videos (ShaoDow – Kaio-Ken (2018) and training to become ‘The World’s Strongest!’ (powerlifting total of 587.5kg/1295lb). Minn focuses on translating video game and anime characters from the screen into real life, aiming to bring realism into fantasy. It’s this ethic that has brought him opportunities to cosplay for video game companies such as Ubisoft for whom he represented Bayek from the latest Assassin’s Creed game.
He is recognised as a fitness specialist and takes pride and pleasure in sharing his training knowledge with the cosplay community. He aims to inspire people to live a healthy lifestyle and give fellow geeks the courage they need to step into the gym armed with a foundation of knowledge that can take them from strength to strength. “Pick a character and go all in”, he says. “Give it everything in your heart.”
Follow Chris Minney on Social Media: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Judge #4 – Calssara

Otafest Guest of Honor Calssara will also be joining us as our final judge! Learn more about Calssara on her guest page.
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By: Amanda L.

Hello Cosplayers!!

Happy 2019! The countdown to Otafest is on and I can’t wait to see what amazing cosplay outfits you all have been working on during the winter months! Here’s a refresher on what we have planned for Cosplay Programming for Otafest 2019!

Every year, we are really excited to host several different contests, geared towards different folks, to make sure everyone gets a chance to shine! We have contests that focus on your creativity, your craftsmanship, your sense of fun, or your love for acting! Don’t feel like you must sew or craft to join in on some of these events! We believe that cosplay is for everyone, regardless of your age, your gender identity or your craftsmanship. The most important part is that everyone feels good about themselves and has fun!

Here is a breakdown of all the events:

Friday afternoon is the Cosplay Showcase! Break out your crafting skills and show off your best handiwork to our guest judges in our craftsmanship contest! Remember, you need to have made at least 80% of your costume or prop yourself to enter this one!

Saturday is Main Stage Day!! We kick things off with C4 qualifiers! Teams of two will compete in Canada’s qualifiers for Clara Cow’s Cosplay Cup 2020 in the Netherlands! Registration is still open, and there are a couple spots left before we start the waitlist! If you love to act, perform and write skits, we are calling you!

Then, we go to the Fashion Show and Skit Contest! If you want to come up on stage to show off your costume, the Fashion Show is a super easy way to compete for prizes without having to perform! But, if you have the performance skills too, why not show them off as well in the Skit Contest? Open to any kind of performance, including dance, spoken word, musical performance and skits! New for this year however, any performance needs to be minimum 80% self choreographed or written to encourage creativity and to see what our amazing attendees can come up with!

Sunday is for mingling! Come check out How it’s Made: Cosplay Edition! See some amazing work from our local cosplayers and ask questions about their different presentations. If you’re wanting to get into cosplaying, this is the event for you!

And, introducing: Stars of Cosplay!! Our re-branded popularity contest (formerly known as Mr and Miss Otafest) is just a fun way to chat with other attendees and pull in your votes! If you are in cosplay on Sunday and want to compete for votes, stop by the registration table, have your picture taken, and then have your friends, fans, everyone come vote for you! We have a special surprise this year for our inaugural edition of Stars of Cosplay so make sure you come by and check it out!

More information on all of these events will be posted to the Otafest website on March 1, which is also when pre-registration for the Skit Contest and Cosplay Showcase will go live! There’s also one more super secret surprise that will be on the website on March 1, so make sure you check it out if you’re planning on entering any of our cosplay events!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at cosplay@otafest.com and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can!

I look forward to seeing everyone at Otafest! Happy Cosplaying!

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By: Kendra K.

Hello everyone, I am here to talk about a now-common material that many cosplayers use: EVA Foam!

EVA foam is a light-weight, durable, and cheap foam material, which can serve as a great alternative to other materials, such as Worbla (a thermoplastic used often for props and armor). Foam can be used for armor pieces, props, and more: the possibilities are as endless as your creativity! If you make sure to work carefully during the building process and cast a careful eye to painting, you can achieve really clean finishes, mimicking the look of metal or other interesting textures. EVA foam comes in a variety of sizes and styles, so make sure you do a bit of research before you dive in!

There are three main different types of EVA Foam:

  • High Density
  • Floor Mats (diamond or cross pattern)
  • Craft foam

A variety of thicknesses in high-density foam.

For the following build, I am using a high-density foam which comes in a variety of thicknesses. Floor mat style foam and craft foam, generally are available in limited sizes, but can serve their own purposes. Just keep in mind that floor mat foam is thicker and sturdy, while craft foam is thin and great for detailing.

I find the best way to tackle a new project is by drafting up patterns. Paper patterns can help you come up with a shape, and when you cut it and lay it flat, you will find that foam is flexible to creative a huge variety of different shapes to suit your needs.

An example of my paper patterns.

I just mocked up two patterns where you can see the use of darts and odd shapes. Another advantage of  using patterns is that it allows you to map out where you want to cut in order to save material for future use.

Tracing the pattern in an optimized fashion.

The easiest way to go about cutting the foam is using a sharp X-Acto blade. The foam is relatively easy to cut through by hand, but the blade can dull quickly. Regularly switching to a new blade may be needed to make your life easily and ensure your foam has a clean cut.

Use an X-Acto knife! Make sure it’s a new blade!

Alternatively, if you have access to power tools,  you will find foam is very quick and easy to slice through. I personally use a band-saw when I need multiple pieces to be identical, as I pin several layers together. Just remember to get supervision if you are new to power tools!

Pinning together layers of foam for cutting identical shapes.

See below for the different results of different tools and blades:

The edge on the left is an example of using a dull blade, creating a “sawing” motion.

The results of the bandsaw.

For further shaping, you can cut the edges on an angle in order for pieces to lay fatter against each surface. This can also help you achieve a desired shape and appearance.

Shaping the edges of the foam.

For the next step: glue. While many cosplayers would consider the hot-glue gun to be the best friend of the craft (and it is), you’ll get the best results with EVA foam by using contact cement. Contact cement helps create a permanent bond that is still flexible and is relatively fast drying. You can pick this glue up at most hardware stores.

Something like this would work great. Notice the applicator!

When working with contact cement, you will need to make sure you are protecting yourself properly. Make sure you are using a quality respirator and working in a space with good air flow, as the fumes from contact cement are toxic.

I’d recommend a respirator like this!

To apply the glue, you will want to brush on a thin & even layer that covers the surfaces you wish to attach and wait 5-10 minutes for it to dry (read the instructions on your bottle of contact cement!). When the surface is no longer tacky, that is the ideal time to press the glued edges together. If you don’t wait long enough, the glue will still tacky and that can prevent the edges from sticking.

Make sure you use a thin even layer on ALL edges, as contact cement needs to adhere to contact cement.

Keep in mind that contact cement is not forgiving, so there is little room for error once both surfaces have dried sufficiently and are touching. You will need to be extra careful at this step.

I’ve attached all 3 pieces together carefully.

To finish off, the last important tip I can give, is to remind you to carve the foam to smooth out your desired shape. This can take some practice to get the hang of it, so feel free to practice on scrap pieces. The simplest way to carve your piece is going back to your trusty X-Acto blade and cut the foam in small pieces, building towards the end result.

You can really clean up your shape!

The foam can be sanded as well, which will reduce any bumps or rough areas that need to be fixed. You can sand by hand or by using a dremel (I highly recommend a dremel, as it saves a lot of time, protects you from pesky hand cramps and gives a great result).

Sanded and smooth!

Once you have your desired look, you will finish off this part of the project by heat sealing the foam. To do so, you will need a heat gun or another high temperature source. This closes the cells in the foam that you may have created through the cutting and sanding process. Heat-sealing foam is important as it adds the final step of smoothing the surface, which is key if you continue to seal and paint the foam.

Notice how it becomes shinier?

Many cosplayers prefer this material over other types, as it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive, but each technique has their own advantages. I hope you feel you better understand EVA foam and feel equip with a few techniques to help you get started, armed with this bit of insight on EVA foam.

Good Luck and Happy Cosplaying!

An example of a prop dagger I made from EVA foam.

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An experience lasts a lifetime. Give Otafest tickets to a friend and experience a magical weekend of fandom together! It’s easy! Buy your tickets, and once you’ve surprised them, transfer the tickets to their email address using the information below. You can even to give to to your friend!

Step 1: Buy your tickets online

Step 2: Once you’ve purchased, you’ll see the below confirmation page. Click on “Download Gift Pass” and you’ll receive a printable pass to wrap up for your loved one!

I can’t wait to see you at Otafest!!

Questions? Email us at info@otafest.com