For many years, my partner Anna and I have made videos and done photoshoots to show off our Halloween costumes. It’s a fun way to stretch ourselves creatively and try out new techniques. Our 2023 costumes were based on the Scott Pilgrim franchise, which started as comics that were later adapted into a film, a video game, and an Anime series. We recreated elements from the original comics and several of the different adaptations, and worked those into the framing device of a book that comes to life when picked up. It was fun to play with so many cartoony elements and find a way to integrate it with live action footage of our costumes.
I first came across directing duo The Daniels when I saw their music video for the song “My Machines” by the band Battles at the SXSW Music Video showcase in 2012. I have been following them ever since, and Anna and I both fell in love with the crazy imagination, energy and humor of Everything Everywhere All At Once. The costume designs were incredible, and I was excited to try to recreate some of the special effects they came up with for the film. This project was pretty intense since we had multiple costumes and props to build and some tricky effects to pull off, all with our crew of two. It took a lot of meticulous planning and pre-visualization, but it was such a fun sandbox to play in.
We both love Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s film What We Do in the Shadows, so we were a bit apprehensive when we heard it was being adapted into a TV show with a new cast. It turns out we were wrong to worry. The new cast was brilliant, and it quickly turned into one of the most consistently funny shows on television. For our 2021 Halloween adaptation, we recreated the show’s opening credits sequence with a combination of After Effects compositing, and net new photography.
While the show itself could be hit and miss, the iconic, neon-drenched aesthetic of Riverdale was too fun and campy to resist. We didn’t opt for a full video, but a photo shoot in and around the iconic Mickey’s Diner in Saint Paul helped bring the 50’s flair that the Archie adaptation needed.
In the same year as Riverdale, we also created a bonus costume for Anna based on Phoebe Waller -Bridge’s fantastic Fleabag.
In one of our more obscure costumes, we recreated the promos for the little seen Netflix show Maniac. All in our own kitchen with a fog machine and a lot of hand made props.
We were on a cross country road trip over Halloween in 2016, and decided to take a detour to the banks of the Hudson River to get an iconic backdrop for our Cap and Bucky costumes.
That wasn’t our only foray into the world of Marvel. I made this Hawkeye video that adapts the first couple pages of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s perfect comics run. The shots of me falling through the air were captured on a green screen in the living room of our one bedroom apartment in Minneapolis, and I captured the background plates at the office I worked at.
And if you thought Maniac was obscure, my 2013 video adapted a futuristic web comic called The Private Eye by Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin. It was fun trying to translate Marco’s expressive art, and fascinating depiction of the future into live action. It also provided a good excuse to use Hall and Oates in the closing credits.
The earliest videos we made were in 2012. For Anna, we made a tribute to Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. I guess we were a little over ten years early on the Wes Anderson TikTok Trend. Rather than being logical and completing the couples costume, I went with The Driver from Nicolas Winding Refn’s breakout film Drive. Some fun facts: We shot the “dolly” moves with a camera operator sitting in a wheelchair. I had to buy a watch for this video because I did not own one, and the “getaway car” I’m driving is my 1994 Saturn SL1. It didn’t even have power windows. The engine sound was definitely added in post.