Author Archives: Liam

About Liam

I am all about making the most of every day and helping those I can. Becoming Star-Lord is my first major blogging project. I am a Master's student, war veteran, reader, runner and blogger. Thanks for stopping by my page!

Chris Pratt Tries on Star-Lord Mask for the First Time

In my search for Star-Lord related news I stumbled across this post from James Gunn. Two weeks ago, he posted some footage of Chris Pratt trying on the Star-Lord mask for the first time. It’s definitely worth watching.

 

The odd gesture Chris makes has me wondering what is running through his head.

I also wonder how well he can see through the lenses.

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Chris Pratt: Using Star Lord to Make a Difference

Chris Pratt Charity

Chris Pratt is offering the chance to hang with him on set. Check out his fundraising campaign for details. Seriously. I bet he’s awesome to hang with. 

Thanks to my Star-Lord project, I’ve developed quite an affinity for all things Star-Lord. I’ve grown to appreciate the complexity of his character, what he stands for, and Chris Pratt’s depiction of him in the movies and public appearances. I get particularly excited when someone, particularly the actor himself, uses the character for charitable purposes. Chris, more than many other actors, recognizes the power of his character to advance charitable causes, raise money, and lift the spirits of those around him.

Yesterday, I was excited to see that he’s at it again. In an effort to raise money for his hometown Boys and Girls club, Chris is offering some awesome goodies and a chance to visit him on the set of Guardians 2. How cool.

Boys and Girls

From Chris’ site, here’s a picture of kids from his hometown who utilize the club. In his words: “who you’ll help.”

For me, the value of this campaign isn’t the in the rewards. It’s seeing Chris Pratt trying to make a difference by utilizing a character that people love. It’s in him using his fame to improve the world in a small way.

I’m going to support that. Speaking as someone who ran a fundraising campaign for charity, the number of donations matters as much as the total money raised. I don’t have much money to spare, but I’m going to scrape together to do what little I can.

Let’s spread the word and help Chris out.  If you appreciate Chris and managed to scrape something together for a donation, leave a comment!

Turning a Passion into Fundraising (or What I Learned)

This was an amazing project. Expensive, stressful, and daunting at times, but amazing. When all was said and done, we raised over $1,500, far more than I imagined was possible when I began!

To recap, this project consisted of me painstakingly creating a superhero costume in preparation for a 5k hosted by a local non-profit that helps children in need. The goal was to raise as much money as possible by using social media and a blog to update donors on my costume progress. The project ended at the 5k where I was able to connect with the organization I was supporting and a group of civically engaged individuals who shared my passion for helping those in need. I received countless messages of support along the way, was featured in a local non-profit blog, and learned a ton about fundraising. Here are some of my takeaways:

1. Passion matters. In this project, I aimed to combine two things:

– Supporting a local non-profit that I care about. (i.e. CASA)

– A hobby or passion I enjoy. (i.e. creating my Star-Lord outfit)

Both of these were important. I don’t think I would have had as much fun if I couldn’t passionately communicate CASA’s mission or if I didn’t care about what they do. Similarly, if my project wasn’t something I generally looked forward to working on, I would have burned out. When picking an organization to support, choose you are become emotionally invested in.

2. Momentum happens. Once I started blogging, I began receiving feedback from friends, family, and strangers. People started to follow the project. As people realized what I was doing and recognized the time, effort, emotion, and money I was investing in the process, they began to donate. These donations spurred me to continue blogging and the cycle repeated itself. Blog, feedback, donations, blog. Once I realized that people are invested in what I was doing, emotionally or financially, there was no way to stop. At least, no way to stop without feeling incredibly guilty about letting everyone down. Once you commit, you have to see the project through.

3. Convey your passion. This is why people donate. Sure, your donors feel good about supporting a good cause, but that’s not why they do it. There are countless worthy causes, organizations, and campaigns out there that need money. They donate to support you. You have to convey your passion for the organization, the hard work you’re putting in, and then show them the results. That point deserves its own bullet…

4. Show your donors the results. I received a ton of feedback from individuals who had already donated. They enjoyed seeing my updates, my training, and pictures from the day of the run. A donor is someone with whom you have developed a relationship. They are invested in you and your project. You owe them feedback. They love seeing the results and you will love showing them.

5. You can apply anything to this method of fundraising. The link between my “hobby” and the organization I was supporting was fairly self-explanatory. CASA created the Super Hero run and I merely picked the costume I wanted to create. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t create your own campaign using whatever hobby you enjoy and any organization that needs help. There are numerous platforms online for you to create a fundraising page. Pick a project people can follow and an organization that you love…and get started!

Projects like these enrich your community, enrich you, and enrich those who follow your progress. Fundraising doesn’t have to be tedious. You can do good in the world and enjoy the process as much as the payoff.

The “Run”

After months of preparation, costume design, and annoying my friends on Facebook, the run is complete. Here’s how it went down.

My morning began at 3am. Because my wife was helping to run the event, we had to get there early. Super early. At 4am the park was dark and cool. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. After arriving, I helped place signs, set up tables, and move boxes of t-shirts.

It is amazing how much goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen. There were hundreds of volunteers to direct, water stations to set up, and tents to arrange. Despite everything we had to do, it went smoothly and everything was ready by the time the first runners rolled in.

And roll in they did – over 2500 runners in all. Supermen, Batmen, Ninja Turtles, Marvel, DC, Nintendo and Nickelodeon. Simple costumes and elaborate costumes. I saw it all. Although I spotted several Groots, there were no other Star Lords in attendance.  So, luckily, I had a unique costume. Unfortunately, Star Lord doesn’t really stand out.  Very few people realized who I was. I think most people assumed I was some random futuristic biker. But all of the Groots knew who I was…so there’s that.

He is Groot.

He is Groot.

Before the run, I spent most of my time watching the costume contest. It was great seeing people show off costumes they put so much time into.  I have to say, my favorite was the “Mario Kart” family. Hilarious, and ingenious. Eventually, it was time to head to the starting line. I made my way there and ended up near the end of the pack.  That was fine with me.  I wasn’t looking to win any speed medals. In fact, I was so paranoid of dropping the Walkman that I ended up walking the majority of the route.  My brother, dressed as Duffman, walked with me.

I’m not going to lie, it was warm. Hot even.  The jacket and the pants are not ideal for running/walking. However, I’m proud to say that I survived.

Guardians of the Galaxy...and Robin with ice cream.

Guardians of the Galaxy…and Robin with ice cream.

Found some other Guardians at the run.

Found some other Guardians at the run.

Here is the full getup!

Here is the full getup!

Side Project: Honey Lemon Helmet

So, I took a small break this week from working on the Star Lord costume to help another racer with their super hero outfit.

The costume was Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6.

Here is the costume.

Here is the costume.

My first task was making the helmet. To do this, I decided to use EVA foam. There are tons of tutorials and videos showing how to craft EVA foam costumes so, after studying up, I got to work.

We began by wrapping someone’s head with foil followed by masking tape. The tape helps reinforce the structure of the mock up.  After drawing the helmet shape we wanted on the masking tape, we cut it off. It looked like this:

Helmet mock up.

Helmet mock up.

At this point, I referenced a particularly helpful Youtube video to transfer the pattern to the foam. I watched it about 30 times.  The guy’s accent is awesome.

After transferring the pattern to card stock and then foam, I cut out the foam and assembled the helmet.  The foam helmet then looked like this:

Here is the base helmet before accent pieces and paint.

Here is the base helmet before accent pieces and paint.

I used a few more foam pieces to make the wings. I used a dremel to shape the pieces. I then applied a couple layers of Mod Podge followed by multiple layers of Plastidip to reinforce the helmet and seal the foam.

Plastip seals the foam and provides a good base for the paint.

Plastip seals the foam and provides a good base for the paint.

I painted it afterwards with multiple layers of watered down acrylic paint. We went with a shade that was a little more “pink” than the original.

The color is more pink than the original.

The color is more pink than the original.

Then, I used thinner craft foam from Hobby Lobby to make some of the accent pieces. I painted the craft foam orange before attaching them to the helmet.

The nearly finished helmet.

The nearly finished helmet.

Unfortunately, I’m still a novice at this and so wasn’t able to get the helmet as smooth as I would have liked. I still need to apply a clear coat, but here is the almost finished product:

Nearly done!

Nearly done!

The race is less than two weeks away! Thanks to those who have already donated!

Unexpected Problems…and Solutions. Mostly.

Last week, I wore the partially completed costume to a roller derby match in order to promote the CASA Superhero run. It was a great test run for the outfit. Putting the whole thing together brought to my attention some details I hadn’t considered.

Problem: Belt loops. Turns out, the motorcycle pants I ordered didn’t have them. This was an issue for me since Star Lord wears a belt.

My wife is awesome.

My wife is awesome.

Solution: Luckily, my wife is amazing with her sewing machine and helped me out.

Problem: Wearing the Walkman.  The Walkman comes with a pouch and a strap to attach to my belt. However, the pouch covers the front of the Walkman so that you can’t tell what it is. This wouldn’t work for me.

Solution: I purchased an OtterBox belt clip from a thrift store and modified it for the Walkman. Using some ribbon and snaps, we created some straps that held the Walkman in the clip. It worked for the entire evening.  I may need to add some additional straps for the run, however.

I removed a section of the top. We then used superglue to attach snaps to the back of the clip and to the ribbon.

I removed a section of the top. We then used superglue to attach snaps to the back of the clip and to the ribbon.

Problem: Attaching the blasters to my belt.

Solution: I utilized elastic ribbon and velcro patches to create a loop which I used to attach the blaster to my belt. Halfway through the evening, the “fabric glue” on the back of one of the patches slid off and the blaster crashed to the floor. So, I placed the blaster on the display table. Of course, some kids ran over, picked it up, and began shooting the darts all over the place. My meticulously painted blaster. Sigh.

I ordered custom holsters.

Star Lord Boot Covers

I’m not going to lie, the boot covers were intimidating. I found some tutorials online, but didn’t think I had the leather-working skills to pull them off effectively. So, I outsourced the labor.

I found a gentleman named James Neathery who is pretty good with leather.  Having already made numerous copies of these boot covers, I sent him a message asking him to make a pair for me. If anyone is interested in custom projects, I’ll post his business card in the bottom of this blog post.

So, here is what they look like (with rocket booster mounted) side by side with the screen used boot covers:

While not exact, these things are pretty darn good.

While not exact, these things are pretty darn good. Of course, Chris Pratt’s are more weathered…

You can see the quality of the leatherwork, here. They are well made. Each cover comes in two parts, the front and back.  The straps stretch around the leg and fasten to rivets on the back of the boot covers.  There is an elastic strap on the bottom that loop over the shoe, holding the cover in place. Having seen a picture of the clip on the back of my rocket boosters, James placed a strap on the side that allows me to attach them snugly.

Here’s a picture of the back:

Here is the back. The straps actually attach to a second leather piece.

Here is the back. The straps actually attach to a second leather piece.

I must say, they fit really well. James asked for some measurements so they fit me perfectly and over the pants I purchased for this outfit.

Overall, I’m really pleased.  For an added bonus, I have a video showing the boot covers and what they look like when worn.

Finally, here is James’ business card.

Starboard Sky Leather Business Card