Behind the Cosplay: Building Emmet


Welcome to the first edition of Behind the Cosplay. We all see how these amazing pieces of art look when they are being worn on the Comic Con floor, but we wanted to look at what it takes to get there. Today we are going to take a look at Charles Poynter’s build of Emmet from The Lego Movie.

Charles has been nice enough to provide his build pictures as well as answer some of our questions.



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Jeremy: First can you let us know a little about you and how you came to be interested in cosplay? 

Charles: I became interested about 3 years ago when I saw an Iron Man build and realized I HAD to do that. I have yet to complete that build, but it got me started. I studied and studied and tried and tried until I completed my first real build last year for Halloween.

J: Ok, so Emmet is your second “completed” labor-of-love. What is the first one you did then?

C: Steampunk Tin Man.

J: What made you decide to choose Emmet from The Lego Movie?

C: I wanted to do something unique. This was my first DCC, and I wanted a few people to remember me, kind of introduce myself to the scene. “Oh yeah, I saw that Emmet, that was pretty cool…” I had no idea the impact my costume would have.

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J: Well, I think you pulled it off with flying colors. I’m so upset I didn’t get a chance to see it! How long was this build in total?

C: The build took me just a touch over 2 months, with a full time day job and two children.

J:  Yea, just imagine how quick these builds would be if you could dedicate the full time hours to it. Were there any issues you ran into along the way?

C: Ugh, yes… I experiment with my builds typically (a bad idea to do on completed pieces), and the first set of legs and arms were ruined when I coated them with a wood glue that hardened to a shell and cracked when flexed. I also ran into an issue on the torso when I got another crack that turned into a hole. I got a crash course in patching foam costumes, but I’m ready for future builds.

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J: What was used to construct such a cool project?

C: I used floor mats made of EVA. The majority of it comes in a roll that can be purchased at a local sports store, but I used interlocking mats for the hair to make it thicker. Foam board was also used to keep the pieces “straight” so that it wouldn’t bend inwards; it was important to keep the look of a real LEGO. Then it was coated in PVA glue and layer after layer of high gloss spray paint for a plastic look. The mouth and eyes were see-through perforated vinyl, the kind typically used for advertising on store fronts and I had those printed at a print shop. Adhesives were hot glue and contact cement.

J: Wow, it amazes me how resourceful everyone is when they put together these builds. Ok, so how much would something like this cost?

C: I can’t give you an exact number, but I think it was approximately $250-$300 and that included experiments and mistakes.

J: Not bad though for something that looks so great!

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J: Now we chatted a little via e-mail about the Dallas Comic Con. How did you transport this to Dallas? Must have needed a big trunk, huh?

C: I drive a Toyota Yaris because I commute to Dallas daily from Fort Worth. It’s my little workhorse and it’s a hatchback with fold down back seats, so no problem transporting Emmet.

J: You also said it was impossible to go anywhere because you would get mobbed by people wanting pictures. Can you dive a little into that and when did you first notice this thing was a HIT?

C: I didn’t even get into the entrance before I had a crowd asking for pictures. I had to have my wife (who turned into my bouncer for the day) to tell people to at least let me into the con. Once I was inside, I stood outside the Exhibit Hall for a while and then decided to try and look at some of the vendors. That didn’t work because we ended up blocking the flow in the Exhibit Hall so we moved back outside the hall. It quickly became apparent that I would need to get out of the suit because it was too hot with that many people standing close and if we wanted to see any of the con, I couldn’t be in it. We ended up missing the panels and not seeing much of the vendors because we were having too much fun walking the con.

J: How long did you stay in the suit before you had to get some fresh air? 

C: The suit is pretty roomy, but having the head on turned everything from the neck up into a sauna. I have a fan in the head, but it started malfunctioning and that caused problems. I would put the head on for events and photo ops, but I could only wear it for 15 minutes, then 5 minutes of fresh air, etc. Most everyone there was very understanding and patient. We were there from opening to the end of the contest on Saturday (“Best Craftsmanship”!).

J: Thats right, you won an award for the cosplay! Congrats! How did it feel to win that? Must be rewarding to know that all that work payed off, right? 

C: I actually missed the sign-ups, but they managed to squeeze me in. There were so many amazing costumes that entered, I’m honored that the judges found mine worthy of recognition.

J: So overall, how was the experience of the build from beginning to the con, is there a ‘best of’ moment? 

C: Regardless of any frustration during, I always enjoy completing a build. I’m very critical of my work, though, and every flaw I see, I automatically think everyone else will see as well. The smiles and excitement of people seeing my work always invalidates my fears and is easily the “best of” moment.

J: What can we look forward to in the future?

C: Looks like we have a “Steampunk Wizard of Oz” group already set up for Fan Days and I’ll be able to debut my first build that hasn’t seen a con yet – steampunk Tin Man. As far as next year? I AM GROOT.

J: Oh I can’t wait to see those. This time I need GPS location so I don’t miss any of it. 

I would like to once again thank Charles for giving us the interview and letting us in on this build. Be sure to look for him at all the future Dallas Conventions.



Featured image provided by Kristin Bomba