Accidents happen -- some people fall and break a bone, get a bump or, on rare funky occasions, even go into a fugue. But have you ever known anyone to take a hit to the head and wake up believing that they are a superhero?
You do now.
At least that's the premise of "Sweethearts of the Galaxy," a miniseries currently in the works by California High School graduates Jacqueline Crinnion and Samantha Scharlach. Well known cosplayers, the two make costumes and wear them at comic book conventions to show their love for their favorite characters, shows and artists.
For those not in the know, costumes are not just for Halloween or cons. Hardcore cosplayers (and those that adore them) consider their often elaborate, handmade costumes a form of performance art fit for film openings and fan art. In 2011, Crinnion beat out 10 girls, many of who are friends from the scene, in an online voting poll to become Comic Impact's Cosplay Girl of the Year.
"A bunch of us went to USC, so we're all film people, writers, actors. This is just combining our interests and our loves," said Crinnion, who goes by Kit Quinn in the Cosplay scene. "We all want to work in the television/film industry and we all happen to love cosplay and comics and nerdy things."
Crinnion and Scharlach developed "Sweethearts" alongside director/editor Dexter Adriano and writer Michael Premsrirat as a nine-episode series of self-contained shorts. Crinnion plays Katelyn, a cosplayer who dresses up as galactic ranger Trinity Infinity. While attempting a flying shot for a television news crew at a convention, she falls and hits her head. When she comes to, Katelyn believes she truly is Trinity Infinity.
With her unshakeable belief in her galactic superpowers, Katelyn's best friend Silvia -- played by Scharlach a.k.a. Tallest Silver must recreate comic book scenarios to get Katelyn through her daily life.
Silvia convinces Katelyn to go "undercover" so she can keep her day job, says using an ATM is hacking a weapons console and routine tasks like driving friends to job interviews are really covert operations to capture super villains.
The crew has filmed a teaser trailer and series of 30-second "moments" highlighting Silvia's efforts to corral Katelyn's superhero tendencies, but is still looking to fund their project. They have gathered $13,546 of their $35,000 through donations to their Kickstarter campaign, from family and friends, but are revving into high gear in the last two weeks of the campaign process.
"The response so far has been really kind, people seem to be excited by the idea of it," Premsrirat said. "But $35 thousand is kind of ambitious. I think we had good indications from the beginning… (but if we don't make our goal) it'll come out of my retirement fund or my credit cards. We're in love with it, we really want to do it."
Although several geek-oriented websites such as i09, Funny Or Die, IGN and The Nerdist have been helpful in promoting their series, Crinnion said "Sweethearts" would not be possible without the Kit Quinn and Tallest Silver fanbase, which numbers in the thousands. With good reputations in the cosplay community, and mainstream attention as founding members of the Gender-Bent Justice League, the 2006 Cal grads and longtime friends said they are eternally grateful for their friends and fellow cosplay enthusiasts.
"The first con I went to with Kit Quinn and Tallest Silver, I was kind of blown away because they couldn't walk five feet without folks stopping to ask for pictures," Premsrirat said. "I liked seeing the look on little kids' faces...the look in the kids' eyes is that they're real."
If they don't make their Kickstarter goal, "Sweetheart's" crew will look to alternative funding sources such as Google grants and starting an online store of cosplay prints, photos and trinkets to benefit the project. Premsrirat added that funding through Kickstarter tends to come in at the last minute and he remains hopeful.
"L.A. is a tough town, I'm just glad to have people that I like working with. We could be doing anything," he said.
Ultimately, Crinnion and her friends said they'd like to have their own Youtube channel with "Sweethearts of the Galaxy" as the flagship program and other associated comic-related programming. She is inspired by The Guild, a comedy web series about a group of online gamers, and the brand they have been able to build using Google grants.
"They were the first Youtube series that really put production value into it. This genre is popping up and we hope to be a part of it," she said. "We're trying to do something a little more…and show that you can produce a quality piece of entertainment and put it on Youtube and have the best of both worlds."
The Kickstarter fundraising period for "Sweethearts of the Galaxy" ends Sunday, March 31. For more information, visit Kickstarter.com or Facebook.