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16th October 2017
Community Spotlight: Kaylin's Stunning Alan Wake Cosplay

Community Spotlight is a regular feature which highlights amazing fan projects in the Remedy community. This week I'm excited to talk about Kaylin's nerdy and awesome Alan Wake cosplay which she combines with her passion for Minecraft. You may have already seen some of her work on deviantArt under her username, UDontNoJacque.

We don't have a huge cosplay section in the Alan Wake community but those we do have are passionate, nerdy and brave. I love cosplayers and cosplay; I come from a long line of Star Trek convention venturing tribbles! But personally I'm terrible at cosplaying... with maybe the exception of Cousin Itt. Cosplaying is easier said than done; trying to do build something new and personalised in the cosplaying scene in general can sometimes be daunting task; I know people who have hugged actual bears or abseiled from cliff edges (maybe not recommended) in the search for something new. And even after finding inspiration, putting your photos online and yourself out there can be a blend of excitement and nerves. I love that inner strength, that drive and that resourcefulness that cosplayers have and build on, which is why I wanted to focus on Kaylin's incredible take on her Alan Wake cosplay.

You can relax, there are no actual bears or cliff edges in her photos (thank God!) but there is a ton of passion, character and creativity that leaps out at you the moment you see her work. It's something that embraces that fun element which cosplay should be about but is sometimes missed amid competitions and contests.

Kaylin sometimes cosplays showing her face, as she did with her recent Fallout photoshoot, but she is perhaps more known for her Minecraft twists to characters, which she makes with her sister. Her Alan Wake blocky design, complete with matching nailgun and torch from his American Nightmare look, is not only incredibly creative and well executed but is packed with so much personality. The more you study the photos, the more more detail you notice; a clear demonstration of the amount of skill put into the piece. 

In addition to Alan Wake, she has also cosplayed as Newt Scamander (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Pipboy (Fallout), Nick (Left 4 Dead 2) and more. All of them can be seen on her deviantArt page

Kaylin in her Alan Wake cosplay. [Photo from Kaylin's dA page]

As I loved her work, I was overjoyed that she agreed to answer some questions about the cosplaying adventures: 

Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Kaylin Munzenmaier, aka UDontNoJak. Crafting is my main hobby, in-game and in real-life! My sister and I are always trying to create new ideas for the next costume head to craft. I open my "PixelPropz" Etsy store every so often to sell new costume heads.

When I’m relaxing at home after finishing work, I hang out with my two awesome German Shepherds Harrison and Mulder; Harrison is a black shepherd with a cute white patch on his chest, and Mulder is a classic yellow and black shepherd. I love arts and crafts, gardening, traveling, video games, going to conventions (Comic Con and Wondercon), watching movies and TV shows, watching LOTS of anime (I’m even planning to make a Deku costume from My Hero Academia for my sister!), and more.

I spend most of my break time planning new craft ideas, playing video games, having fun with Harrison and Mulder, and relaxing with my family. My two sisters also love to cosplay as their favorite characters at conventions! I’ve recently become interested in trying to learn how to use my grandma’s sewing machine; I decided to try to use it because I wanted to piece together my own Newt Scamander jacket from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The jacket turned out pretty well, and it looks great with the costume!:D I’m still learning though…;D

Where did you get your passion for cosplay?

My favorite holiday is definitely Halloween, because I always dress up every year for the event. Especially when I was little, I would always want to dress up in a costume. At first, I dressed up in simple costumes, from being a werewolf using a mask and plaid shirt, to an alien using a large cover with a black cloak. However, as I became more inspired to craft pieces of my own costume, I branched out toward cosplaying as more specific characters with a Minecraft mash-up, such as Nick from Left 4 Dead 2, John Constantine from the TV-show Constantine, the Tamed Wolf from Minecraft, Vault-boy from Fallout 4, Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and finally Alan Wake from Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.

A few years before I began using mainly Minecraft-inspired heads, I cosplayed as Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead a lot when the show was extremely popular. The free candy during Halloween is exciting and delicious, but the chance to cosplay as my favorite creature/thing is even more exciting!

Comic Con 2017 [Photo from Kaylin's dA page.]

I’ve grown to love cosplaying a lot as I attend more conventions every year. Rather than having to wait for Halloween to roll around, I get the chance to show off my costumes at Wondercon and Comic Con! I especially love getting shoutouts based on the character I cosplay as at conventions. I also get to see other people’s awesome cosplays that they worked extremely hard to make. Each year, I get super excited for the next convention, and I usually plan to make my Minecraft-inspired costumes well in advance of the upcoming convention! (I usually need LOTS of time to sketch a design for the head, craft it, make the fun props, and then piece together the clothing items. It can take several weeks to make the whole cosplay depending on how custom the character’s attire is and how many different props I want to craft...) My love for dressing up originally came from Halloween, however, seeing other cosplayers and their amazing costumes at the conventions ultimately fueled my passion for cosplay.

How and when did you become an Alan Wake fan?

I’ve used my Xbox 360 for many years, including when I used to live in rural several years ago. I met one of my closest online friends on the console while playing Left 4 Dead 2, when we lived in the mountains around 2012. While we were playing a session on the game, we shared the titles of our favorite games; I mainly played just Left 4 Dead 2 at the time, so my other suggestions to him were Zoo Tycoon 2 and Pok√©mon. He listed many games, but he thought I would be most interested in the Borderlands series, Minecraft, and Alan Wake.

First, I played Minecraft with my sisters and loved it immediately. Then, we decided to give the Alan Wake game a try. I was amazed by the fantastic storytelling, the fast-paced character development, and the cinematic feel of the game. During combat scenes, the “slow-motion” effect is a great element of the game. Fighting the Darkness throughout the story creates action-packed, challenging battles for the player, and the objective of collecting manuscript pages reveals hidden pieces of the story that are interesting to uncover. The “Oh Deer Diner” thermoses are also super fun to find hidden around the game. Even though the main character has a few flaws, you still feel compelled to root for him to defeat the darkness and save his wife.

The Alan Wake’s American Nightmare game was even more impressive, wherein, it felt new and the graphics had improved greatly, but the game stuck true to the original storytelling from the first Alan Wake game. Mr. Scratch was a fun and extremely dark character to meet during the game; I loved the idea of using live-action video of Ilkka Villi as Mr. Scratch throughout the second game. The way his character follows Alan around, and threatens him during the different scenes is a great addition to the game. He is a dark, but charming character that I immediately liked; he plays the role of an evil villain very well...So, I officially became an Alan Wake fan in 2012, and I still love the series today!

I refueled my love for the games after playing the first Alan Wake game, the downloadable content, and Alan Wake’s American Nightmare again after several years. It was awesome to re-experience the game all over again; in a couple of years, I’ll probably replay both games again just for fun! (I became a little obsessed with flashlights, thermoses, flash grenades, and flare guns after I first played the game in 2012).

For your cosplays, you combine the Minecraft look with the character you’re portraying. That’s a really interesting twist! What led you to make your cosplays like that?

I crafted my first Minecraft-inspired head in 2014, when we moved to a more urban neighborhood that celebrated Halloween with more spirit. In comparison to my previous rural life of living in the mountains far away from any nearby towns or cities, we decided to move to an urban area that was closer to grocery stores, hospitals, movie theatres, and shopping malls. It was a nice change, since we didn’t need to drive several hours to buy groceries for the month. Due to the change of environment, I grew more interested in popular culture, and I watched more TV-shows and movies, and spent my time playing WAY more video games.

A torch and a manuscript page, completed in the Minecraft style. [Photo from Kaylin's dA page.]

I started playing Minecraft the year we moved to the house because one of my close Xbox friends recommended the game to me. As soon as I started playing Minecraft, I was hooked; my sisters loved the game too, and we still play together on Minecraft for several hours every time we play the game.

My first Minecraft-inspired head was the Nick head for my Left 4 Dead 2 cosplay. It was in the style of the traditional Minecraft look, where the face and sides have 16 pixels to fill in. I’ve seen cool cosplays where cosplayers make the whole entire Minecraft body, including the head, arms, torso, and legs. However, I decided to only wear a Minecraft head and wear regular clothes for my cosplays, mainly in fear of damaging the parts while walking and for comfort (I hate rashes!). I made a few more traditional Minecraft-styled heads after my first one, such as the Tamed Wolf, Fox, Suited Creeper, Panda, and Ellis from Left 4 Dead 2.

I also use black foam board for most of my 8-bit props, such as the nail gun for my Alan Wake costume (The flashlight is made out of black posterboard and yellow tissue paper). My main inspiration for the new design of my Minecraft mash-up cosplays was stirred by the idea of creating a more expression-filled design. I wanted to capture the main aspects of the character in the design of the Minecraft face. With the traditional Minecraft 16 pixel-face, you can only capture so much personality of a character. I believe my new Minecraft-inspired design allows more expression and emotion to be conveyed; each character can be portrayed with the flexibility of modifying different facial expressions, facial features, and hair styles!

How did you create your American Nightmare outfit?

For my Minecraft mash-up cosplays, we first plan out the design of the face of the costume head. We normally use digital programs to sketch the design, such as Sketchbook Pro, because drawing the design several times over on paper isn’t as efficient. With digital, we can easily test out several different ideas at once. Designing the Alan Wake head was super fun! We tried to capture his calm/confident expression that he normally has in different situations.

The Alan Wake head is made out of cardboard, cardstock, and stick glue. For the inside of the head, I made a cardboard/foam-type insert that is adjustable. For the clothing, we searched at thrift stores around our area, such as Goodwill. The plaid shirt was easy to find, however, it took us awhile to find the bull belt buckle. I used some old boots and jeans I already had to complete the rest of the costume. I made the 8-bit nailgun out of cardstock and foam board; I used an X-Acto knife to cut out around the prop. For the flashlight, I traced around a template made out of graph paper, and cut out the design on thick black poster board. I used double-sided tape to stick the actual light inside of the head of the flashlight, and the lens of the 8-bit flashlight is made out of thin yellow tissue paper. I also made an extra square button piece out of poster board for the flashlight. Crafting the head, assembling the props, and piecing together the rest of the costume is always fun with every cosplay!

Manuscript illuminated in the light. [Photo by Kaylin's dA page].

Why did you want to recreate Alan’s look from American Nightmare rather than the first game?

It was tough to decide between the costume from the first Alan Wake and Alan’s attire from the American Nightmare game; the apparel from the original game is immediately recognizable, with Alan’s signature gray tweed jacket with elbow patches and a black hoodie underneath. There are several fun options for props, including 8-bit items such as Oh Deer Diner thermoses, a revolver, a flare gun, and Alan Wake’s “The Sudden Stop” book. On the other hand, the look from American Nightmare is also recognizable and fun, with the black and white plaid shirt, jeans with pockets on the knees, and bull belt buckle, which is very comfortable to wear. The 8-bit flashlight, nailgun, and manuscript page are also fun additions to the costume.

Ultimately, I decided to stick with Alan’s look from the American Nightmare game due to the fact that the temperature outside is extremely hot at all the conventions I attend every year (getting overly sweaty and overheating is NOT fun). The lighter clothing from American Nightmare is better for enduring the heat at conventions, and is generally more comfortable to wear. However, if I find all the clothing pieces later on, I might consider also cosplaying as Alan Wake from the first game! :D

What would you like to see in a possible future Alan Wake 2?

I loved playing the first Alan Wake game, and I loved experiencing Alan Wake’s American Nightmare even more. Both games are cinematic, entertaining, action-packed, and have captivating storylines with characters you grow to love. The last game had a huge cliffhanger! (Is Alan Wake finally going to leave the Dark Place?)

For their next game, I would love to see Sam Lake and Remedy Entertainment add some elements from the Alan Wake 2 gameplay footage I saw from 2015. In the video, the dark enemies attack Alan with different weapons, including the objects around them. For their next game, they should enable enemies to interact with their environment more, including having the enemies use objects from the area as weapons. I especially love the use of the idea that whatever happens on a TV comes true; it was surprising and hilarious when the alien attack on TV became real in the gameplay footage. This leaves more room for creativity and expansion of the adventures of Alan Wake.

The combination of live footage of real people with digital gameplay is a great aspect of the American Nightmare game; I would love for the Alan Wake series to continue incorporating this feature into their games. The real footage of Mr. Scratch constantly tormenting Alan with his surprise TV appearances was a great aspect of the game! Maybe in the next game, on top of collecting Wake’s manuscript pages, his books should also be hidden throughout the game to collect...I would also love to have Barry Wheeler, the Old Gods of Asgard, and Mr. Scratch make an appearance in the future Alan Wake 2. I hope they also keep the gameplay feature of the slow-motion effect when dodging enemy attacks! :D

A huge thank you to Kaylin for her wonderful answers! 

Make sure to check our her page on deviantArt, her cosplay photos are amazing! 


The Control Series

The Crossfire Series

The Quantum Break Series

The Alan Wake Series

The Max Payne Series




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