Friday, November 13, 2015

Photoshoot with Moonstruck Creatives for Fantasy Quest!

One of the many pleasures I enjoy in cosplay is working with people that I recognize and look up to. It has always given me an amazingly pleasant feeling to know that I am in the company of people who are not only amazing cosplayers, photographers and artists, but wholesome persons overall.

I've had the honor of working with Moonstruck Creatives and Fantasy Quest last May 27, 2015 to shoot promotional content for the upcoming Fantasy Quest 4: An August Wayfaring! 
I have always admired them and this lovely event that they started way back 2011(?), and I am very happy to attend and participate in Fantasy Quest since 2012. It was the first time I attended the event and I was so pleased in my experience with it. I made it a point to attend Fantasy Quest 3 the following year, as a VIP so I can enjoy the full experience.

This year was a little bit more special because they chose me to be one of their models and to promote the event. I was more than happy to oblige to their request, especially because Kuya Luke, a very dear friend of mine, asked me to.

Unfortunately things didn't work out as well as I hoped. My cousin died of cardiac arrest last May 19, and I really wasn't sure if I could make it to the shoot. Part of me wanted to stay at home and tend to the pouring guests that wanted to see my cousin in his final rest, but part of me wanted to fulfill the commitment I made with Moonstruck Creatives months before.

After many different talks with my family and friends, most of them told me to push through with the shoot because in their words, my cousin would have wanted me to go. Even if I wasn't sure if I could cosplay well like I used to, I decided to put on a brave face and attend the shoot with my mom and Dhexter, a family friend of ours.

The shoot was held in Fernwood Gardens, which was the event venue for Fantasy Quest. The venue was famed for being a hotspot when it comes to hosting themed parties and weddings. The place is popular for its gorgeous aesthetic design, which gives of an antique, regal feel with a touch of magic. These photos speak for themselves when it comes to the venue's beauty.

I was also happy to know that a friend of mine, Anna (Kanra), was going to be in the shoot as well! I really love her amazing cosplays and lovely personality, and she's one of the people I really look up to and admire. Seeing her cosplay as Anna from Frozen was really cool. (Pun not intended.)

After briefing and some welcome formalities with Romeo Encisa, creative director and project manager for Moonstruck Creatives, we all dispersed into the venue to start on the shoot. My first costume was Chizuru Yukimura, which was quite nostalgic because Fantasy Quest 3 was when I debuted this cosplay.

We were busy shooting for the morning, which turned out to be a "buwis buhay" (or in English, very very risky) shoot. I climbed up an old-looking barrel and tried to look as majestic as I can, and you can't probably tell but my balance wasn't the best at the time and I was struggling to keep myself upright without toppling over to the waterfall behind me.

Jolleen, designer and makeup artist, assisted me, Paulo and Christian for the shoot. All of them were really nice and friendly, also very easy to work with. 

We passed by one of Fernwood Gardens' ponds, which had an actual living swan floating about. I used to think that the swan was fake, but then it would flap its wings sometimes and I was pretty convinced that it was an actual swan.

Dhexter was brave enough to be near the swan.
We then moved to a different place to shoot, where there was even more water and more chances of me falling to my soaked doom. We started out pretty safe, taking photos by the bridges...

Until it became more extreme...

Yes, that is Paolo on Christian's shoulders.
Christian asked me if I was okay with doing some potentially dangerous near-water poses, and I was a little nervous to see if I could hold up, but he assured me that before directing me to do the pose, he would do it first to demonstrate. True to his word, he always demonstrated the positions he wanted me to do before helping me into place.

And that's where it got a little more extreme.

Not only were they friendly, but yhey were also very caring, fanning me when needed and asking me if I wanted to drink or rest for a little while. It was quite hot that day but the venue had electric fans strategically placed everywhere - a huge relief.

My mom and I, taking a break.
My second costume for the day was Benio of Zone-00. This time, Romeo, or Kuya Roms as I called him, was shooting me. I was a little bit more nervous because if you're familiar with the Philippine cosplay community, Kuya Roms is quite acclaimed for being a talented photographer. But like Kuya Luke had advised me prior to the shoot, just do my best and everything will follow.

I was also happy to meet Aire, content editor, who is also a very talented cosplayer. She messaged me the day before, telling me that she was looking forward to my Benio cosplay in person. She's also a Benio/Kisshou cosplayer, you should check out her version too!

Kuya Roms was also very nice and accommodating, and we would chat in between takes which really helped me ease the nerves a little bit more. We shot outside this time, mostly by the gardens and the fountain.

And the shoot suddenly turned 'buwis buhay' again.

Props to everyone for helping me up the fountain in my heels! I was nervous that I might fall to my water-soaked doom once more, only in a different outfit, but thankfully I managed to stay steady.

I had to leave early but nevertheless, shooting with everyone was a lot of fun. I feel really blessed to have worked with such people.

Of course, I can't end this post without showing you some of the output.

Photo by Paulo Aquino
Photos by Romeo Encisa

You can view more of the output here, too!

I have nothing but praise for the team behind these amazing photos and this awesome event. I am very much honored to work with everyone and I hope to work with them again sometime. Thank you!

- Aki 
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