Tracon X marks the spot!

Oh boy where to start. So much has been going on with me not really having time to update. I'm still lagging behind with posting some making of stuff from.. sheesh ever since Azula. I will get to those after this, things won't be chronological but I want to update while this is still fresh!
And I'm of course talking about the Tracon X's WCS preliminaries for 2016! And we won! What!
We're going on an adventure next year with YumiKoyuki! I can't!

Photo by Kizzy

 So where do I begin? A year ago we decided that we would compete in the WCS preliminaries as a pair. We had both entertained the idea of competing but neither of us felt like we had a friend who'd be interested. We were pretty much acquaintances back then, not really friends, and the decision formed sort of by a chance. After Tracon 9 we started to gather ideas for the costumes and the skits, and the final decision was pretty much based on what skit idea we felt was the best for us. Of course I was beyond thrilled to finally be able to make Amir. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Otoyomegatari and Kaoru Mori, and that I've wanted to make Amir since the manga started. That's why I was 100% in when yumi suggested the manga as our source.
(Also I love love love yumi's Pariya. Pariya is one of my favourite characters in the manga, and I try not to swoon over her at every turn.)

 While both of us made our own costumes, we co-operated a lot which was a new experience for both and I feel that both of our costumes are a bit better thanks to that. We've actually become friends during this project. We are both very well aware that we are still skit-novices, if you may, yumi having done one and I 1,5 skits before, from which neither of us had very good experiences.
The goal was to make something that would work for us, we'd be comfortable with and we wouldn't be trying something our skills aren't up to yet.
 This was the first time I was actually able to be aware that I'm on an actual stage and concentrate a bit on what I'm doing and not just hoping to get out as fast as possible. In other words, I didn't hate it. After watching the video of our skit I can totally tell how unaccustomed I am to the stage and the performing. What felt like large movements on the stage, didn't look like it at the film at all. BUT that's something I can definitely work on now that I've shook off some of the previous traumas. I'm happy yumi is as expressive as she is.
At least for me, it was much easier and nicer to work on a skit with someone else, rather than completely by myself. I feel like I've learned a lot and, well, I do have some solo competitions I am basically interested in that require a skit and the idea of having to make one is not nearly as daunting as it used to be. I am actually eager about getting to bring something to the WCS stage with yumi.
So still a novice yes, but I'm super touched at least some people think our skit was cute and it gives me fuel to try skits again!

Photo by Mikael Peltomaa

About the costume itself, I started the first parts around February after we made the final decision about our costumes of choice. I did some work before the portfolio needed to be sent, and then had a small break and worked on Gwendolyn instead. After Desucon though, I worked on Amir pretty much every day. I will make another entry that goes to more detail about how I made the costume, but there was a lot of needlework. The last two months were especially hard. I had a tiny nervous breakdown on June for not having finished the costume already (yes :D not having it already done) and general all around melting during July and August. I didn't resort to any all-nighters, but some very late(or early?) hours were spent several times.. Rather a month before than the last week I though. It did pay off how ever, since I finished my costume on Wednesday and the props on Thursday night the week of the con. On Friday before leaving, I worked on finishing our smaller stage props.
It was good luck that I'd finished 'well' on time, since yumi still had a bit of work to do so I was able to help her with some finishing touches.
My SO was also adorable and baked us some teabread for yumi to have in her basket while we worked :D

The morning went by quite fast, I didn't really have time to ponder around and feel nervous since we pretty much went from the changing room straight to judging straight to practice straight to photographs and then did a little stroll at Tampere-talo before the actual competition started. I was super nervous of course but this time it was more... excited nervousness than the 'I don't want to be here I don't want to do this' that I'm used to.

Shout out to the directing at the practice thing that's been deployed at the conventions recently, it was superb ob The atmosphere at the backstage was so great, honestly everyone was so nice and we had this general good feeling among all the pairs, or at least that's how I felt. Our turn was pretty near the end, so we missed most of the other performances but luckily they can all be found from Youtube already.

Waiting for our turn
Photo by Matias Tukiainen
After our skit I honestly felt so content I didn't feel I would mind at all even if we didn't place at all. Of course when it was time to announce the results it was nervous too, and well, you can imagine how it would feel to be announced first place. If you are really interested the results can be seen online too, tough it's only in finnish.
So many kind words, so many people crying totally surprised me. I think I was too surprised to cry myself, even though something like this would usually totally get me to tears :D I really have no words left for this part, and I don't think I've yet fully grasped the whole thing. I'll let you know when I do. I'll just say; we're going on an adventure, and it's exciting and I'm humbled we were granted this opportunity.

I'm not exactly sure what we did after that, took some photos I think, filled some forms and then... I think it was late enough to take the costumes off. yumi went to dine with some friends and I went to change and headed to the after party to see Yohio and Machinae Supremacy. So Saturday was pretty much spent with the competition.

Another super exciting thing was that I got accepted to the GoH piknik with Eatyourkimchi (yayyyyyy) so I baked before going to bed and in the morning headed to the green room to whip up the whipped cream for my cake. I don't usually care for the GoH's (remember Kaoru Mori last year? yeaaaaah) but I've been following Simon and Martina for a few years and really, really wanted to meet them. They were awesome. The piknik was awesome. Did I mention they were awesome? Most of the people had handmade the things they brought to the piknik which I liked very much, I feel it gave a nice impression about people wanting to really bring treats for the guests. 'Gourmet piknik' like they said, apparently they had been expecting people to bring stuff from the supermarket.

Photo by Helene Lindfors
After that I pretty much just had to clean up, go to change to Amir again and wait around for the ending seremony a bit. In the end I missed both the GoH interview and the posing for photographs -lecture I really wanted to see but hopefully Youtube is my friend and I can still check them later.
We decided not to drive back to Helsinki until on Monday morning, a good decision because we were all pretty beat and it was nicer to sit in the car after a good night's sleep.

After Tracon I've had so much freedom oh boy! The feeling that you don't have to get up in the morning and start working right away feels so alien. I have this slightly guilty feeling all the time that I should be working on the costume and have to keep reminding myself that it's finished. But I did get a slight flu, like I predicted. I've been stressing about the costume for the last two months pretty much 24/7, from when I get up in the morning, while I'm at work and until I have to go to bed because I'm too tired to work. So I'm not the surprised in the slightest.

That's it for now I suppose, I will try to write about the actual costume pretty soonish, but I just wanted to get the con report out while it's still fairly fresh in my mind :)

Don't forget to follow our journey on Team Finland's Facebook page !

Here's the video of our skit for those curious: (courtesy of Bardiel's Videography)
I highly recommend choosing the playlist and watching all the performances, especially Veeraton and Taija who placed second and had an awesome skit(loved their costumes too) and Aselea & Elzy cosplay who placed third and had super neat costumes(loved their skit too). And a round of applause for all the teams that didn't place this year, I'm honored to having had competed with you and I really hope we'll see you next year ;)