Saturday, April 20, 2013

Showing Off for the Bay Area Young Makers

Not too long ago I was asked to be a featured maker at the April monthly meeting of Young Makers. This is a program that matches young people aged 12-17 with adult mentors who coach and inspire them to become innovators and craft a variety of projects to exhibit at the Bay Area Maker Faire (which is coming up fast).

The group meets once a month to discuss their progress and exchange ideas.  At the tail end of their monthly meetings, they invite folks like myself who make a variety of art and tech projects come and give a brief presentation to spark potential ideas for projects the kids can take on.

The task: give a 20-minute talk about my various projects and hobbies.

The challenge: talk about myself and all of my toys and limit it to only 20 minutes.

It was tricky, but I managed to pull it off.

Keeping people's attention is never really all that hard for me.  In this case, I started with a simple Powerpoint presentation showing pictures of various projects I've finished over the years:
Young Makers Presentation (28)

I talked a lot:
But no matter how fascinating I can make a slideshow, it pales by comparison to having costumed characters actually walk in and interact with the audience:
Predatore Enters Young Makers Presentation

That was the Predator costume I made for Halloween back in 2005.  Here's a close-up shot:
Predator Talking

It's looking a bit worse for wear, so this might be the last time that guy goes out in public.  Here's a detail pic from behind while he was waiting to enter the auditorium:
Predator Back

I also brought along one of my HALO Spartans:
Blue Spartan at Young Makers Presentation

And the Dead Space 2 Isaac Clarke costume I made a couple of years ago:
Isaac Clarke at Young Makers Presentation

Which looks good from any angle:
Isaac Clarke at Young Makers Presentation 2

Still, the real showstopper was my latest Warhammer 40K Space Marine build:
Space Marine Sergeant at Young Makers Presentation
The suit looks a little stocky when I wear it, but with my 6' 4" friend Eric wearing it, it's almost lanky:
Shawn Thorsson and Space Marine Sergeant

Because I was in a mad rush all day, I neglected to have all four characters pose for a photo.  The best I got was three of them:
Group shot 2

They also spent some quality time taking photos of themselves:
iPhone Self-Portrait

The Dead Space costume was worn by Dani Yuan who, despite wearing the bulk of the suit, managed to shoot a short video showing Eric being built into the Space Marine suit:

Everybody had a pretty good time, but the fun part was answering questions and interacting with the youth:
Shawn and one of the Young Makers

I was hoping to get a shot of some of the characters with the kids, but they were swarmed enough that I couldn't fit down the hall with a camera:
a group shot

Good times.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to do stuff like this with kids. People like you are really inspiring and it really makes a difference in their lives. I was lucky enough to have some great Scout leaders who taught me how do do things for myself. Lessons like that never leave you. I am sure that everyone at the meeting had a great time.

  2. Dammit. You, without fail, always make me regret leaving the Bay Area.