By: Krista Mitchell
Cosplayers are sometimes well known, but that popularity can take a rather long time to grow.
With such a niche field, you would have to be crazy to build your job on it, but then I came across a group of three guys, Tim Winn, Boston McConnaughey and Zeb Jackson, and one girl, Renny Grames, that did just that about four years ago in 2012
The company in question is named Freakin’ Rad.
The name is quite valid, as these four put together YouTube videos and commercials where they create everything from the props and armor to the editing and special effects themselves.
This group did not start out simply doing this however, as they all had their own jobs beforehand. Tim was a call center employee, which was a large shift. Renny and Boston had a somewhat easier shift being freelancers, but Zeb had the biggest being a restaurant manager. This shift in jobs did not happen all at once though.
They started their company about four years ago, but decided to truly delve in and make Freakin Rad their only job for most about a year ago when Zeb started on.
Working in this field, they go through periods of “Feast or famine,” as Tim put it, as their project costs range from a few thousand dollars to 100k.
These projects do take a lot of time and effort as Tim states “making videos that are high quality can take a ton of planning sometimes favors and money and a lot of hard work as of right now we general spend about month on each video but can take longer depending on the visual effects and costumes needed.”
These months may seem long and arduous sometimes, as working on one costume can drain, and looking at the progression of simply one cosplay, made for a competition, Tim started work on a Reinhardt, from the game Overwatch, armor back in July, looking from the first Instagram post he made, to October, when they took it to the Twitch Cosplay Contest out in San Diego.
Tim is their major cosplay and armor creator as stated, “he’s been making costumes for years and he brings a realness to the videos that really improves the look and feel and quality of our videos.”
All of their hard work has definitely paid off. The quality of their videos is fantastic, and their YouTube channel reflects their nice start with over 66,000 subscribers on their main channel and over 2,000 followers on their Facebook page.
Their most popular video, Halo vs Predator, made about four years ago back in 2012 reflects this again, with over seven million views, and while it definitely has had its fair share of time to accumulate views, their most popular new video Uncharted 4 Game play in REAL LIFE, is not looking too shabby either, with over 385,000 views to its name.
All these views help them create more content in the way of getting more people to their channel, but they do look to the viewers to help support them as they state on the Patreon page, which can be found in the description of many of their YouTube videos or by simply looking up Freakin Rad on Patreon, “Our imaginations have no bounds as we put together these shorts and we need help with costumes, film shoots, hardware, software, and many other expenses that come up.”
The expenses that come up can be quite large, as stated previously the expenses can range from a few thousand dollars, which can seem manageable to 100K, which can seem absurd.
The absurdity is realistic though, as by looking through even simply Etsy, a site that heralds homemade goods, you can find props ranging in price from $9.99 to $220 and you can tell the difference as you get a higher quality with the more expensive mask.
This difference in quality is something that they focus on as Freakin Rad prides themselves on making the highest quality of videos available, which can make or break you within this industry, as with the accessibility of the equipment needed for higher quality videos becoming easier and easier, it can be difficult to keep ahead within this market.
It is hard to deny though, that Freakin Rad has some amazing videos, as with the good comments, even on their YouTube videos, which we all know can be incredibly mean, Freakin Rad is worth checking out if you are even just a little bit nerdy