A long time ago (the 1990s), when I was a student, I used to perform improv at university. Occasionally, whoever was acting as emcee for the night brought some sort of theme to it – Tarantino, The Smurfs, James Bond, X-Files, televangelists, that sort of thing.
It gave the emcee an excuse to dress up, and the techies an excuse to blast out our favourite theme tunes.
One of the themes I used was Star Wars. Because I’m a nerd, and I had a captive audience, and we were all ‘Generation X-Wing’. And also because dressing up as a Jedi might give me confidence…
I chose the name ‘Buck Thruster’ for a few reasons:
- ‘Buck’ sounds like a generic science fiction hero’s name
- you find thrusters on spacecraft
- put together, the name sounds a bit rude…
I decided Buck’s backstory would be that he was a crap Jedi, operating sometime before the original trilogy (at this point, we’d only seen the 1997 re-releases, and The Phantom Menace was still a year away.)
It was my first time as emcee for the show. I very nearly threw up on stage from the nerves, and also breathing in lots of smoke from a smoke machine. I decided to enter through the trapdoor in a cloud of smoke lit from below, thinking it would look epic. Instead, I sprawled out of a wooden hole in the floor, gasping for air and sweating from the heat of the stage light. If that’s how you define ‘epic’, then that’s what I achieved.
The rest of the show went OK. I’ve no idea what the audience made of it, but we had fun on stage (which is pretty much standard for improv, I guess). To end it, I got my flatmate to dress up as Darth Vader and clobber me off-stage with a toy lightsaber (amid yet more smoke and loud, epic music).
Fast forward a few years. I felt my Photoshop and design skills just weren’t being stretched. Buck Thruster could help me out again. I took a whole bunch of selfies, posing and gurning like a loon in my living room, and photoshopped myself into a bunch of Star Wars scenes, telling his story. Yes, it’s a massive Mary Sue.
These were just for personal use (and the possible, if dubious, entertainment value it might give my friends), so I just used whatever images I could grab from the internet. And with shows like Clone Wars and Rebels, there was far more material to draw upon.
For images that don’t use other people’s work, or copyrighted material, I could make a short series of ‘how-to’ guides for people to make their own epic selfies. That’ll be one of my projects for 2015!
The rest of this series can be seen in part two.