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Welcome to The Zelda Project

The Zelda Project is a Los Angeles, CA based group of fans who seek to bring to life the characters, settings, and overall feel of Ocarina of Time through photography and film.

A labor of love, this project combines all aspects of art from costuming & photography to CGI visual effects.  Our end goal is that we hope those of you who view our work are brought a little bit more into the world of Hyrule through our art.

Waiting…

waiting

As always the forest was quiet, save for the preternatural whispers of the ancient spirits that only she could hear. Saria waited patiently, as she always had, for any sign that the friend she bid farewell to seven years before might return.

As promised, today is Wednesday and we have a new photo for everyone to enjoy! The jumper is made with 100% cotton sweater knit with a slight lurex spun in to give it just enough “fairy sparkle.” The turtle neck is a 100% wool 5×3 rib knit. I hand dyed both the jumper fabric, and the turtle neck fabric to be the colors that I wanted.

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New Photos!

new-photos

Hey everyone! We’ve finally begun releasing cosplay photos for the project!

We will be attempting to update 1 photo a week mid-day every Wednesday until all of the photos from the shoot that made the cut have been added to the site. Check back for updates or track our Facebook and Twitter!

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The Lost Woods Wrap Up!

the-lost-woods-wrap-up

Hey Everyone! We’re back from shooting in the Northern Redwoods and we’re all exhausted. It was definitely an epic adventure to be sure!

A full shoot is soon to come after this blog entry! The photos are currently in post process!

Ooohhh where to start with the blog update! First of all, I want to thank all of the awesome fans out there who helped make this happen with their generous support and constant encouragement. This was a big undertaking for all of us, and something none of us have ever done, so to know that so many great people are out there and are excited really lit the fires of our passion that much more!

Driving up to Northern California started out after I escaped work at around 5:30PM on Friday, July 23rd (I think I may have snuck out 10 minutes early due to excitement!). I headed back home to Van Nuys where I had packed everything that needed to get loaded into the car the night before, and Joellen was waiting for me in my apartment with her makeup kit and everything else that needed to go. After getting home, we loaded the car up, who I have fondly named Epona (NERD!) and we were off. At this point we were on time to make it to Fresno to pick up Lune, and the goal was to get to bed by 10PM so that we could get up at 4 AM the next morning and be at least mildly rested for the 10 hour drive north. Needless to say, traffic stopped us.

Jo and I finally got to Fresno at 11PM, and ended up passing out 20 minutes later from exhaustion! Then, before we knew it 4AM was upon us and it was time to roll! Being the one in charge of the alarm, I got to be the bad guy and wake up Lune and Jo. Neither of them wanted to get up, but we didn’t have much choice since we needed to get to our hotel by 1, so we could spend the rest of the day scouting where exactly we were going to shoot! After a Starbucks run (where I forgot my credit card at the drive thru window and hand to go back for it) we were off!

The drive itself was absolutely breathtaking. I had been as far as San Francisco before, but Joellen and Lune had never seen the windmills that blanketed the hills along the 580. Mist hung closely to the tops of the hills and we reached the bay area at 7 AM just as the sun was finally starting to become brighter than merely a silver haze against a foggy sky. It was cold and the air was crisp, so very unlike the musky smog smelling heat of Los Angeles valley. I texted my sister Leah, who is attending Berkeley presently, that I was passing by her neck of the woods, and she sent me a groggy hello in return!

Beyond San Francisco we paid an unexpected $5 toll, and then entered the rolling green wine country. This was foreign territory to me now, and I was mesmorized by everything that I saw. It was absolutely beautiful, and filled me with happiness and inspiration for what was to come. We stopped for a bite to eat somewhere several hours north of San Francisco, and then kept going as the land became more mountainous and the trees more dense. Slowly, as the miles ticked by, the trees grew bigger, taller, and glimpses of the ocean could be seen, though it was foggy at times. The beaches that we were able to make out were dark brown sandy and very rocky, different from the pale sand and oil rigs we were used to off the shores of our local coasts. Once in a while we actually saw packs of elk wandering both free range as well as penned for tourists to stop and photograph. We didn’t stop though, much as we wanted to. WE HAD A MISSION!


After about 10 hours we finally made it to our destination point. The Coastal Redwoods! We checked into our hotel, and I began to pour over the hiking trail maps that my roommate Ben had printed for me from his scouting excursion he went on several weeks prior with his family. We decided we would go check out the grove nearest to our hotel, so we were off!

The road leading to the hiking trail was apparently a long windy 2 mile stretch of dirt, so the lady at the information desk across from our hotel told us that it was easier to merely remain parked at the information center, and simply walk across the street through the camp grounds and cross the rover. The trail was allegedly beyond the river. Taking her advice, we headed across the street on foot and crossed through the campground with relative ease (barking dogs not withstanding!). The trees here were huge and tall, but nothing prepared us for what we saw as we emerged out of the foresty campground and took in the river. It was a wide and shallow rushing water river, clear as crystal with smooth round stones lining its bed and shores. Past the river the forest was twice the size of the one the camp ground was nestled in, and dark to boot. Excited, we ran quickly across the long narrow bridge and headed to the entrance of the forest.



No photograph could truly capture the beauty. All I can say is, the trees were ancient and jurassic, sword ferns covered the ground, and where there were not ferns there were endless beds of tidy kept clovers. Moss covered everything from fallen logs to tree branches, and I half expected to be hunted by a velociraptor or stumble upon a sleeping Ewok! Joellen and I didn’t know what to say. We were both speechless at first, and the only thing we couldsay was each others names as we held hands and squealed with delight. “We’ve found the Lost Woods!” I kept saying. Then we just started crying, because there wasn’t any emotion that we could express that could contain how we felt seeing such a place. I did not believe somewhere like this REALLY existed. Trees a thousand years old and older that could take 10 or more people holding hands all the way around was a hard thing to visually top!

We stayed there for a good hour soaking everything in. Joellen taught me about banana slugs and we soon discovered the bugs of the forest really wanted our blood. Without my set kit we were without bug spray, so we hurriedly ran back to our car so we could head back to the hotel and get to bed. The next morning was another 4 AM adventure.

Photoshoot Day 1 – Sunday, July 25th:

4AM is NOT my friend. I did not want to get up, and neither did Lune or Joellen. Indigo at some point was supposed to have gotten in at 10PM, but I went to bed before I was able to see him arrive. I dragged myself out of bed and forced Lune to get up as well. He was displeased and grumbled a lot, but went to put on a pot of hotel provided coffee. I snuck over to Joellen and Aimee’s room, only to hear from Joellen that Indigo, Aimee, Alondra, and Evan didn’t arrive until MIDNIGHT. I hurriedly told her to go back to bed, and that we would just have our early morning shoot be on Monday morning instead of this morning!

I crept back to my hotel room where Lune was finally awake, and told him he could go back to sleep since the others would not be getting up until around 10 AM. HE didn’t want to do that, and so our morning became an adventure exploring the same forest we had visited the afternoon before, but in the pitch dark of 5 AM. It was semi frightening, wandering through the forest in the dark with only the sounds of the owls and some strange birds overhead, but it also sounded EXACTLY like the Lost Woods do in Ocarina of Time. We wandered around for about an hour until the sun rose, then eventually made our way back to our car so we could go have breakfast.


There was nowhere open out in the middle of nowhere where our motel was located, so we opted to trek back 10 miles to Crescent City to have breakfast. On the way back we stopped off at Dutch Bros, apparently an up and coming coffee shop that we thought was only a small local chain in Fresno, and then headed over to the harbor to have breakfast.

My breakfast was epic!

around 9 we finally went back to the hotel, where everyone was getting up at last. Joellen was already working on getting Alondra into makeup, so I threw Lune into the room with them so he could get his ears put on too. Unfortunately though, the ears that Ben made did not work for Alondra due to certain mishaps in the casting process, so Joellen was forced to improvise with a lot of bondo prosthetic sculpting. After a good 2 hours of fighting with the ears, we managed to get both of them into their makeup and mostly into their costumes. The plan was to shoot in the same location both days, so we jumped into our cars and drove on over to the proper parking area for the forest, deciding not to walk through a popular camp ground with two people wearing crazy elf costumes!

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the parking lot, it looked like the place was FAR more popular on a Sunday afternoon than on a Saturday! 3 buses full of obnoxious and loud teenagers were there, as well as every spot being occupied by some kind of large family. People were parking as far as half a mile down the road in order to get to the location, so we figured that it would not be a good idea to shoot there. We headed back down the road from where we first came, and ended up parking on the side of the road and wandering into the forest to shoot there instead. The photos came out nice, but it was rather unfortunate that we could not shoot in the spot we drove 12 hours to shoot in. Aaahhh the trials and tribulations of cosplay photography! @_@

In a last ditch effort, we wrapped our shoot in our makeshift location and tried to see if the true location had thinned out of people at all, but when we drove back there there were still way too many there so we ultimately gave up and headed back to the hotel. The ears were a constant problem on this day, due to the fact that they were made in dragonskin and not latex, so the pros-aid was just not working when it came to sticking them down. Normally pros-aid is for latex, but the dragonskin is a different kind of rubber so it just didn’t work. The ears practically fell off!

To celebrate the end of our first day of shooting, we all headed back to Crescent City to have dinner at the same harbor restaurant that Lune and I ate breakfast at that morning. We were excited to discover that the restaurant caught their own fresh fish! I had the most delightful shrimp sandwich! After dinner we hurried back to the hotel so that we could fall asleep as soon as possible.

I was in bed by 8:30!

Photoshoot Day 2 – Monday, July 26th:

4AM again! UGGHHHH!!! I didn’t want to get up, but this was d-day. We figured if we got out there by 6 AM we could get as much shot as possible before the tourists started arriving. Unlike Sunday morning, Lune got up as soon as I woke him, pounded an energy drink, and was over in Joellen’s hotel room to be earified in under 30 minutes! I hurriedly dressed and prepped his costume, before going over to discover that Joellen was superglueing the ears on. Well I had acetone to dissolve the superglue, so I figured that was a better idea than having the pros-aid let the ears fall off again!

Superglue action! We glued those ears on tight, and dressing Lune and Alondra in their costumes only took maybe an hour tops. We were on location by 6 AM, and shooting by 6:30.

The shoot went quite smoothly, though it was at least 10 degrees colder this morning than it was the morning previous. Lune was freezing in his leggings and rayon tunic, but I was surprised that Alondra seemed perfectly fine in her bare legged little sweater romper. We were all kinds of inspired though, despite the cold, and even shot a 15 second film clip that we plan on using for the opening of the behind-the-scenes video that will accompany the full photoshoot in a week or two!

All in all, the photoshoot was to die for, and we had a blast. Unfortunately though, around 11AM we had to call it quits, because the ears were so heavy that they were hurting both Lune and Alondra. Joellen and I proposed we break for lunch, then return later, but the process of removing the ears was such an ordeal that neither model wanted to put them back on again after that. It was alright though, because what shots we did get were absolutely stunning.

Indigo certainly is crazy though! We laughed a little after wards at the great superglue fiasco, and the lessons we learned in what needed to be changed about the costumes, and the fact that he is totally down to head back up there for a pickup shoot to cover all of the ground that we missed the first time around. I hope that we can go, and that Alondra’s mother will bring her back up there. I’m not expecting it, but I’d certainly love to get even more epic material than we already have. That probably sounds pretty dang greedy, but what can I say! I am greedy for Zelda ;)

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Zelda Universe Feature!

zelda-universe-feature

Let me speak for everyone when I say that we are incredibly flattered that Zelda Universe considered our project as news worthy and featured an article on it on their front page! I read the article and absolutely loved it. I have also read some of the comments, and I feel that everyone’s concerns are very valid! I wanted to offer the opportunity to answer a couple of questions I have received in email about the project, as well as clarify a few concerns.

Q: Will you be using cosplayers as the actors in the film trailer or the feature film if it is made? I am only asking this because I am concerned with the quality of acting that a cosplayer will portray. I am a cosplayer also, but I am not an actor. I love the Legend of Zelda series and think that the costumes you are doing are really awesome, but I would be really sad if it was represented with poor acting.

I feel that this email was necessary to share because of the validity in the concern of the sender. We will not be using cosplayers as the actors for the film. That being said, no, I will not be in this film. There are two parts to the project in fact! The first part is the cosplay portion, where the costumes will be created to follow the designs of the characters in the video game as accurate and exact as our abilities allow us. The models used are cosplayers, including myself who will be portraying Malon. However, this is only for still photography, so acting is not necessary for still photography. The photos will also have certain special effects added into them by a very talented artist who is currently working on the Lost Woods photos as I type this :) !!

For the AoD film trailer, we will be using actual actors. Myself, Joellen, and other cosplayers who are involved in the still photography portion of the project will not be cast in the film trailer. I am not an actress, and neither is Joellen (There Will Be Brawl excluded! HAHA!) or any of the other cosplayers involved in the still photography process. We are currently working on the still photography segment at the moment, so it will be a while before we go to push forward with the film trailer. There is a lot of preparation to be done with something so large, and the budget for it is huge, so right now as a self funded project, we are doing the best we can to make the highest quality we can, with the means that we have. :) Hopefully everyone will enjoy the still photos that we are producing and will produce in the future. We will definitely be updating everyone on the casting progress as soon as we begin work on the film trailer.

Q: Are the costumes gonna be straight OoT rips for the film trailer? Or are they gonna be original?

The costumes for the film trailer will be completely original designs. We’ve started the brain storming process for how we want to present the world, but we are still in the beginning stages. We love any and all ideas and critique, so if you are a visionary or have any ideas you’d like us to hear, feel free to send them via the contact form and we’ll get back to you. This whole project is still in the very early baby stages, so we aren’t married to anything yet. The costumes for the ‘cosplay’ still photography segment however, will be as true to the OoT designs as we can get them. Not everyone will be pleased or satisfied with what we do, because everyone has a different idea in their head about how Zelda should be represented, but we are doing the best job that we can. :)

Q: Are you keeping the heights of the characters relative to their game counterparts?

Unfortunately, the way Ocarina of Time’s 64bit models appear, Link looks like he’s 4′11 and the rest of the characters are even shorter. As much as it would be funny to have a “munchkin land” Hyrule cast, we are using real people. The models for the cosplay segment, myself included, are all relatively average in height for caucasians. We are all in proportion to each other though, so fear not! :D

Q: is sheik gonna be a guy or girl

Isn’t this the question of the century?!!! That’s a surprise ;)

Q: For the story of Advent of Darkness, it said in the article and on your site that it is bridging the gap between TP and OoT. How is this going to be accomplished?

The story for the trailer may not necessarily be what we use in the final feature length film. If by some wild chance, Nintendo actually likes what we have done and they do want to go forward with it, the story will likely be changed. It is very important for the success of a film that all audiences can understand it. This is what differentiates really good fan fic from movie script. What I mean is, when writing a script for a film, the writer must take into account that not all of the viewers of the film will be fans, so it is a delicate process. The viewers who are not Zelda fans must be able to go into the film and be presented with a story that they can understand and follow, and the fans must also be pleased by this story. We cannot write a film story where only fans understand what is going on, because we will alienate over half of our audience, but we also cannot write a story that is so diluded and vague that it no longer deserves to be called Zelda. Therefore, writing for a feature length film will be a lot harder than writing for a film trailer. If anything, the trailer is a 2-3 minute presentation of our vision for what we could do if it were a feature. Basically: “here are our colors, our designs, how we want to present the world of Zelda, A glimpse of the ’style’ of story we’d like to go with, our ideas for cast, and our special FX, etc”.

Q: Is Link going to talk?

I personally am very picky about the whole ‘Link talking’ issue. In the trailer he will not speak, but there is no need for it anyway. If this were to be a feature length film though, he would obviously have to speak. However, I feel that certain elements of his story can be used to explain away his lack of desire to talk. I would go further into detail about my personal interpretation of Link if need be, but I don’t think that’s really anything anyone cares about at the moment.

That being said, if you take a look at the Ocarina of Time official artwork, he is glaring and “badass” looking in every picture except the one with Epona, and the one where he is sitting with Zelda. That being said, in the game he rarely changes his expression away from the “steel” gaze that he wears. I realize that it is only a 64bit game, and Nintendo did not have the capability of giving him much expression back then, but it still is what it is. My interpretation of his permanent glare, is that he is someone who is more of a quiet, reticent personality. He speaks, but he is calm and quiet and very to the point. Each Link, I feel, has a different intended personality, and OoT Link we have interpreted as being this way. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, because his personality will be portrayed very differently than it was in the Akira Himekawa manga. i.e. He will not be a clumsy loud mouthed spaz.

If there are any more questions, please feel free to continue sending emails or utilize the formspring.me account for the Zelda Project! We’d love to answer any other concerns you may have, so that we may either explain our reasoning behind certain decisions, or to put your worries at ease!

~Sarah

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The Lost Woods is Upon Us~!!

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In the crunch to actually get the costumes finished by the proposed photoshoot dates, we have sort of slowed down on updating and putting together our videos, and sped up on the actual production of the costumes. We’ve documented quite a good deal of it however, so expect progress photos and tutorials once the shoot has come and gone. 9 days till we head up north!

Thought I’d post some progress photos of how the Link costume is coming. :)

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Casting Ears

casting-ears

This video was taken in mid June, but everyone has been pretty busy with work and actually crafting the costumes for Link and Saria! Check it out. Ear casting was something we had no idea how to do, so there are many ideas thrown about in this video, as well as confusion, and amusement. Hopefully our learning process will also help you in your own mold making adventures. :)

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Hunt for the Lost Woods

hunt-for-the-lost-woods

So, Lune and I went to Sequoia this past Memorial Day Weekend (a holiday in the USA), and we were hoping to find the Lost Woods. We’re going to post a small rough little video later on so you can see everything in action, but I’m kind of a terrible camera op so it might be complete fail!

Anyway! Upwards and Onwards! We got up at around 6:00 AM and were extremely groggy. I quickly threw together a healthy breakfast and put on some coffee, since Lune can’t function without it (so amusing… Joellen can’t function without it either… Poor Link and Zelda can’t handle their day without their caffeine fix!!!), and then packed a big lunch. By 7 AM we were off, and it took us till 8:30 to get to the park. At that time of morning on a Sunday, the park was pretty dead. Most of the people who were camping there were still sleeping, and the commuting tourists don’t generally arrive until after noon at least.

After paying our $20 to get in, we proceeded to wind deep into the park in search of the first trail to discover. I carefully plotted us along the park map, and chose General Sherman’s tree as our first adventure. I actually just wanted to see General Sherman, and I knew that it would be less Lost Woodsy and more touristy, but I was kinda being a tourist too!

On our way there, we encountered a friendly bear who was more interested in chewing on the wood log in front of him than the two of us taking his picture.

Beyond the bear, we arrived at General Sherman’s tree. I was surprised to see that there was snow everywhere. Today, as I post this, it is June 1st. It was only May 30th when we went, and I wasn’t expecting there to be so much snow in nearly June! After experiencing the heat in Fresno last year in summer time, I was certain it would have all melted only 50 miles away. Shows what I know.

The park decided that nobody was allowed to go see General Sherman, but that didn’t stop us! We climbed right over the barricade, and hiked down to where the massive tree was. Funny enough, tons of people were down by General Sherman with the same idea as us, and there was even a Park Ranger there as if it were a normal non-barricaded day. I guess the park knew that people like us would not stop because of some ole plastic barricade, so they had to have someone there to watch the General and protect him!

I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the General, but I knew I couldn’t stay there, we had work to do! So, we hiked back to the car, and proceeded to locate an area of the woods we could explore that was off the beaten path. Luckily, about a mile or so down the road, we encountered a huge fallen tree. We pulled the car over, and climbed down the steep embankment into the large grove of trees.


Needless to say, they were huge and very impressive! There was moss covering many of the surrounding trees, and in this area there was less snow than in other places. It was gorgeous, with a rushing stream and massive fallen trees that we could climb over. We half joked/half hoped that we would find a hollowed out log that we could walk through, that alone being something that would sell the location to me! But alas we never did end up finding anything like that, except in one place! Unfortunately, the one place where there was a hollowed out log, a hermit had once built a house there!

Known as Tharp’s Log, he is credited as the original finder of the giant forest (not John Muir according to the plaque in front of the house) and would come to live there in that house/log hybrid in summer time.

As the day went on, we pretty much discovered only similar trees to these. I suppose in a way, I had expected what I saw. I had researched ahead of time what the vegitation was like in Sequoia, so I wasn’t surprised to see the ground as brown and covered in pine needles. The beauty in the forest was breath taking, and it was overwhelming to be in the presence of something so massive and ancient. The forest was truly a remarkable anomaly of nature, but it was not the Lost Woods that I was searching for. What I truly wanted, was somewhere foggy and misty with lush vegetation and huge trees. I wished with all my heart that it could have been Sequoia, but alas this area of California is too dry for something of that nature.

We ended up hiking a total of 12 hours that day, and covered over 10 miles. Unlike Lune, who is a seasoned hiker and wore cleated boots, I was not really outfitted in my non-grip tennis shoes to be climbing around in the snow. I fell a dozen times in numerous places, and by 7 PM I was covered in mud. It was more hilarious than anything else, because I kept sliding around and losing my footing. After a while, Lune gave up trying to protect me from my own bumbling lack of balance, and just started laughing at my misfortunes. It was hard not to laugh though, considering I decided it would be a fantastic idea to wear a white hoodie out hiking!

Still, it was an absolute blast exploring this forest, despite the multiple bear encounters which left me having bear-related nightmares later that night, and I would recommend this place to anyone who needs to go somewhere to rekindle their inspiration for life. If anything, you can go so that you can hug something 3000 years old!

In the meantime, our next scouting mission is in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. This was the place where they filmed Return of the Jedi, as well as parts of The Lost World. It just so happens that this was the place I truly wanted to shoot at, and Ben happens to be taking a family hiking trip up there in 2 weeks. So stay tuned so you guys can read a review on what that location is like. Perhaps there we will find The Lost Woods? Hopefully it doesn’t stay lost forever ;) !!!

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Lost Woods Shooting Permit & New Head Shots

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The Lost Woods photoshoot is slated for the end of July. We’re working on permits right now, but the permit application fee is $400USD. Thats a lot of money just for submitting the application, and thats just for the processing of the application. We’re not sure how much the ACTUAL permit will cost, but we’re starting to take donations now so that all the other Zelda fans out there can help us accomplish this goal.

Please jump over to our DONATIONS page and help us out. We could certainly use it! Time is a tickin’!

On a fun note, I did some new head shots of Lune this past weekend, and they came out really nice. I thought I’d share them, as well as a comparison! I think this costume will come out pretty nicely considering all the work I’m putting into it. The ears video blog is coming soon so hopefully everyone will enjoy that as much as the garment district video!

Also, we may be moving away from wordpress soon, because of the amount of spam that is attributed to it. So keep checking back for more!

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The Zelda Project is for entertainment purposes only and is in no way affiliated with Nintendo Co., Ltd., Legend of Zelda, or any of its respected licensees. The content is for the exclusive use of the end user, and may not be sold, rented, or used for any commercial enterprise. We make no claim to any characters, storylines, prop designs, names, logos, or situations that are trademarked, copyrighted, or otherwise protected by federal, state, international, or other intellectual property law. This work is produced solely for the personal, uncompensated enjoyment of ourselves and other Zelda fans.


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