Ask Adam Savage: How to Approach Building an Accurate Costume

Publicerades den 30 apr 2021
Is it best to follow a costume requirement list for building one's first costume? If Adam could have a custom sword made to his specifications, what kind of sword would he choose?" In this excerpt from his March 30, 2021 live stream, Adam answers questions from Tested members Tommy Stevens and Ben Campbell about cosplay. Join this channel to support Tested and get access to perks, like asking Adam a question:
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  • Adam, As someone who has done many different types of cosplay both fictional and historical, do you know of any gatherings or conventions geared towards historical cosplay? For instance, my 11 year old son likes making world war 1 and 2 costumes that are well researched and as accurate as we can achieve based on our budget and skills but are just for fun and not accurate enough for reenactments and would be out of place at sci fi/fantasy cons and ren fairs. Is there anything out there? Should there be?

  • Can't wait for some sketches. ✌

  • As a member of the 501st, I find the lists super helpful in keeping track of my costume. Different people will find different things help!

  • If I could have one sword designed, it would be Excalibur

  • Having watched enough of Adam's costume and prop creation videos, I'm willing to put any amount of money down to say his work is way beyond accuracy requirements of any costuming group.

    • Unfortunatly detailed is not accurate. Some costumes might look amazing and really detailed, but if something isn't the way it is supposed to be it has to be rejected. (And yes, they are that picky)

  • In the end it has to make you happy. He's good at making it his with alterations that suit him.

  • Your thoughts on point of view was incredibly profound. TED Talk kind of stuff.

  • Me in two years: "Where is the sword Adam?!?!"

  • So there are stormtrooper nazi's to make sure you conform to their standards. 🤡

  • When are we going to see more on the Velociraptor costume

    • We won't. It was taken down, probably due to some IP and other legal reasons. So that entire thing's gone.

  • I'm guessing Dorothy.

  • “I’m not gonna tell you what costume it is” hmmm... 2:30 what might it be...? Should I fetch your slippers for you?

  • I don’t replicate costumes. I build them according to the needs of my creative work. The process is similar. Research is the bull work. To the extent that I get fatigued by the research but... I know that the deeper you go into the subject the more ideas you can visualize. Yes, it’s overkill but in the end it separates my work from others.

  • *Fellow Maker* : What are you thinking about today, Adam? *Adam* : I'm making a Star Wars suit but I'm thinking about sword designs. *FM* : Yeah, I have that condition too 😂❤

  • “those star destroyers are DISABLED!” “IT’S A TRAP!”

  • So here's a fun idea thats rolling around my head for the last day or so. I have type 1 diabetes and I use an insulin pump, when I travel anywhere for a few days I need to take all the parts I use to fill it and attach it to myself. I've started think about how to make a case for all of it that looks and works like the med kits from the Predator movies. I would love to hear some ideas if anyone here has any.

  • The following isn't about costumes, but about 'making' more generically: more specifically it's about my process making electronics while I was at an independent shop. I came up with this list some time back as a comment on another of Adam's videos, but something about this one reminded me of it so I'll re-post it here again for those who may find meaning, or solace, or a laugh... or just disregard it as the blathering of the idiot I can be. My steps of "making"{mostly electronics}: 0 Have need or problem to solve. 1 Layout solution. Write, sketch, diagram, etc. 2 Evaluate what parts/inventory you have on hand that you can use for what you need. 3 Acquire what you need that you don't have. - 4 Start rough assembly. 5 Evaluate what parts/inventory you have on hand for what you forgot. 6 Acquire what you need that you don’t have. 7 Continue rough assembly. • Is it going well? - Continue. • Is it not going well? - Return to step 2. - 8 Test. (a four letter word) 9 Smile or curse. • Smile?{Rare} - Keep going! • Curse? - Troubleshoot; curse again. Realize the stupid mistake you made and correct. (may require replacing the critical part you needed that is now fried - perhaps the really expensive/hard to find part that the whole project hinges around) Maybe curse again. Find the other simple but really stupid mistake you made. Keep going. 10 Refine - 11 Final assembly! 12 Curse the world for the existence of any technology ever. Troubleshoot. Find the wire/connector that got pinched and dress. Test again, curse again. Probably find the connections you reversed back in step 9 still wrong and correct them AGAIN. Hope that major part survived this time and test. 13 Success? • Yes. Move to next step. • No. Contemplate Harri-Kiri. Realize you don’t have a knife that’d be proper for the job, and you aren’t Japanese so no one would get it anyway. Tear it all apart and find the other connector you managed to plug in one pin off to the left because the PIC labels them weird and that was the problem all along. Test. Repeat until working. Once working, move to next step. - 14 HAPPY DANCE! Proving it was all worth it, technology is grand and accept you are a FREAKING GENIUS!!!!!!!

  • Adam, If you were to make a costume of a character who originated in a comic book, and later branched out into comic strips,serials, television, movies, ect, how would you decide which elements would you consider too iconic to change and which elements would you feel moved to change? super man has undergone many tweaks to his costume, but he seems to return to a "standard" look. What would you change / keep?

  • If someone had to explain to me why everything I’ve ever believed-about life, the universe, and everything-has been completely wrong, I would want that person to be Adam Savage.

  • Came for the kinky thumbnail

  • Dark Saber!

  • That new costume you don’t want to share just yet… it’s not Admiral Ackbar by any chance? ;)

    • Nah, the Admiral Ackbar costume is an old one. It's featured in an earlier video.

  • Thank you Adam thank you ....👍

  • You should collaborate with Alec Steele for your sword

  • Yea. I just won’t build a costume then lol

  • "I'm not gonna tell you what it is" So what's that awfully "it's a trap" mask in the background you got there then aye?

    • Haha, the Mon Calamari/Ackbar costume is very old and established, one of the first videos on the channel is about it

  • Man... I am all into those reference photos!

  • Yo Adam download an app called PureRef for your reference photos. No downloading needed, just drag the image and drop onto the canvas!

  • this advice is such a reinforcement of how i am approaching a cosplay right now. i appreciate youre perspective as a ~veteran in the field so much. love your content, and this video. you are my inspiration for my future

  • Hey Adam! Huge and long time fan of yours, grandpa and myself would watch Mythbusters and Battle bots together age's ago. Just a random question though you may not see this or answer but it's worth a shot. Grandpa passed this year and never got to work on what was going to be out latest project, an old jeep. Do you have any experience or tips to reupholster seats/small panels? I could research forums or pay someone to do it but, using a tip from you and doing it myself in my mind does our last project a little more justice. Thanks for your time and love your vids!

    • I am NOT Adam .... but ... I have seen a number of videos on upholstery that seem to be very well done. You might want to scour SElists for some of those.

  • WOOHOO! Shout out to The Mercs! :) Join us!!

  • That thumbnail photo had me on the floor 😂

  • Hi everybody, hi Adam id like to have that StarLord helmet from Guardians gotta do some research

  • I think I love this lecture, thank you for this wisdom Mr. Savage. All of y'all are brilliant!

    • Man, what an experience that would be...

    • If Adam was a teacher (classroom) I bet this discussion would be in the first week of the class. The first day discussion would be about safety, and what he expect his shop safety level would be.

  • Thanks Adam!! I am part of the 501st Legion and a avid cosplayer. I have 3 approved 501st costumes Darth Vader, ROTJ Biker Scout, an Imperial Officer, and a retired Darth Revan. I also have Ant-Man, Star Lord, a original Mandolrian, a Jedi, and and Griffindor "Harry Potter" Robes. I am also making a cosplsy from absolutely scratch for going to Galaxy's Edge and my very first trip to a Disney Park. I have to say the one I am making for Batuu is so much fun because I am getting parts hear and their and putting it together to make one complete costume and it is just so exciting!!

    • @slescoe Ah thanks for clarifying!

    • @Dumpinator to answer your question yes you are allowed to cosplay at Disney World or Disney Land. It is called Disney Bounding their are things with the Star Wars land you are not allowed to do if you are over 14. You can not have a Jedi Robe but you are allowed to have a Jedi Tunic, you are not allowed to have anything that covers your face. You are not allowed to have Weapons (Lightsabers are the expectations) With 501st costumes in the Disney Parks is not allowed unless their is a 501st approved event. Because the Disney Parks do want to mistake us for cast members.

    • Are you allowed to cosplay in disney park? I know in general it is forbidden (so they don't have to get in trouble if a cosplayer does something wrong) but I suppose the 501st might be the exception to the rule since I heard they have close connections to lucasfilm?

  • Now I'm fascinated by the SAVAGE BLADE

  • Adam you are the man!

  • Sounds like you should collaborate Alex Steele, whose as you know is a blade smith/blacksmith, who is tending towards being a full on maker eventually. what a fun series that would be!

    • @Michael Hearn also a person who worked at a special effect shop for several decades. A job that requires you to be decent at 10 to 100 of different skills vs being a master at one. Which tbh sounds more fun then only being good at hitting metal with a hammer

    • @Michael Hearn what's the point of this comment right here, man? What are you trying to accomplish? Shitting on Adam in the comments of his video to...dissuade him from working with a maker that you like? How does that reflect well on you OR on Alec? SElists is not a competition, and Alec is not winning at it. Subscriber counts are not a measure of a person's value, and for what it's worth I think Alec would probably be thrilled to collaborate on a project with Adam if the opportunity presented itself.

    • Alex is a artisan craftsman and is mastering his trade with 2.2 million subscribers ...Adam is a glorified cos player...with lots of misguided talent...🤣😂🤣🤷🏼‍♂️

  • Why is Chewie strangling the Angry Video Game Nerd in the thumbnail?

  • Adam talking about the sword question reminded me about the suit of armor idea that was drawn by that master armor maker in that series. he should totally make that suit of armor. that armor was incredible in the drawing

  • I was today years old when I learned what a bastard sword is. Thanks, Adam!

    • Ye, you'd generally use them with both hands, but you can still operate it with one. Though two is ideal. While a long sword pretty much must be used with two hands.

    • "hand-and-a-half" is a lot more intuitive name for them.

    • AKA The Hand and a Half. Bigger than "regular", but not big enough to be a long sword. A Bastard of the 2. :)

  • I define makers as people who create physical things. If the created items are conceptual, like images, words, or similar, we're probably talking about artists. If the created items are scientific facts, we have a scientist. If the created product is experiential, we're talking about a service or "guide" type situation. There is, of course, a lot of overlap. Art could be described as physical, although it's art because the physical item is not, itself, the point. Food is physical, but the point is the experience. And on, like that.

    • That excludes programmers, which I think is somewhat inaccurate. Programmers are not artists, they're closer to engineers.

  • Any fan group that has taken the time to assemble information into a guide will be inherently focused on the accuracy of the result. Some groups have levels of accuracy but what's considered an acceptable minimum is entirely subjective. It all comes down to your personal preferences and the amount of resources you want to throw at a project. Fan "requirement" lists can give you a general idea of what a basic level of "accurate" will be for a given project and what it'll cost you to achieve that. From there you can decide how much you want to tone down or how far into the weeds you want to get. Most of the costuming groups main purpose in creating guides is to enforce a level of uniformity of quality so when the group is together in public they appear somewhat cohesive. You could put a lot of effort into making cardboard stormtrooper armor but it just won't hold up to someone with a vaccformed plastic set. Clonetroopers had various canon paint schemes but if you want to do something custom you won't fit in with the group. What it is you're looking to get out of owning and wearing a costume is the most important factor on whether a requirement list will help you.

  • Hello crack, when will you place the subtitles in Spanish? in the rest of the world also want to know about you and your great art.

  • Trompe-loeil?

  • Nice (;

  • Who else just started watching Adam's channel and can't stop watching him now.

    • I didn't just start but yes, I cannot stop now. I think he put a hex on the channel.

    • Been here for years. Welcome.

    • I feel like I have watched 10 hours of tested for every one hour of mythbusters i ever saw.

    • I started about a month ago and I don't know why I've never watched it sooner.

    • @Maryln Mcvey No you haven't, Flixzone is a scam, you're a bot, goodbye.

  • Can’t wait for the Mando costume!


  • Such a great question. Always a struggle to determine how accurate to build.

  • Adam #1


  • Love you been watching used for years give made me want a building gout doors in that my garage and do more stuff so thank you for being a big encouragement

  • Hi

    • @first nsme my lastname It's just some arsehole that replies to a bunch of comments on various channels in all caps.

    • Lol

    • @WILLIAME TUTTLE I believe yu just sent that guy over the edge over the word, "Hi". 😆

    • How you have said more than me so you are technically better than me


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