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By Tony Bondioli
Not sure if this is the most appropriate sub-forum for this post, but since I'm just at the jumping-in point with costuming and starting a local franchise, I figured I'd put it here and see what happens.

I was 8-years-old in 1984, when I first saw Ghostbusters in the theater. Since then, through decades of enjoying the cartoons, toys, sequel(s), comics, video games, and most recently the reboot, the Ghostbusters franchise--a gift of perfectly blended comedy and supernatural excitement--has always been a great source of joy in my life. After watching the documentary Ghostheads a couple of weeks ago, and always having an interest in costuming and prop-building, I decided it was time to take my fandom to the next level. It's something I've wanted to do for years. The fact that I am 40-years-old (as of today, actually), also serves as motivation to stop wasting time and start doing this thing, "just for the fun of it." Additionally, I am excited about starting a franchise in my area, sharing in the fun with my three younger children (ages 11, 8, and 4... the 15-year-old isn't really interested ;) ), participating in community and charity events, and possibly making a few new friends with a common interest.

As I get going, there are a few points about which I'd appreciate any feedback...

1.) "Screen accurate" versus "in the spirit of things."
I'll preface this by stating that--due to financial constraints and, quite frankly, a lack of concern about it--my uniform and equipment will not be 100% screen accurate. They will be very cool looking, they will have all of the traditional, basic elements (flight suit, no-ghost patch, boots, belt, gloves, etc.), and they will absolutely be instantly recognizable as Ghostbusters. Note: I say this with complete respect to those of you who go all-out in the name of screen accuracy... I am amazed at some of the things I've seen created. However, my concern is more about myself and others having fun than it is about precisely (re)creating movie replicas. I don't intend to purchase screen accurate parts, but am more inspired by what I see referred to here as "junk" or "dollar store" builds... they're more cost-effective, they look great, and it just seems like more fun to me. I'll be pulling in stuff from GB1, GB2, GB3/TVG, RGB, EGB, as well as stuff I come up with myself. I feel this is in the true spirit of the "franchise" concept to which Venkman himself referred, and which I intend to express by way of tasteful customizations to uniforms, inventive and unique "in-universe" equipment, etc. Now, all of that said, my question is this: Does this approach tend to create animosity amongst the "Ghosthead" community-at-large, or can I look forward to most of you being pretty accepting of uniforms and equipment that look good, are respectful of tradition, and are unquestionably Ghostbusters? In other words--not that it will change my approach to this--but should I anticipate catching a bunch of flak from authenticity mavens?

2.) Franchise logo and patches.
I have a strong background in visual art (sculpting, painting, illustration, licensed tattooist), but only using traditional media. In other words, I'm not a Photoshop guy. Can anyone recommend somebody who could help me with making a "clean" digital copy of the franchise logo I've designed for the Lake Superior Ghostbusters? Also, is there a good source for having custom patches made that you'd recommend over others?

3.) Franchise recruitment.
How "open to the public" is membership in most franchises? Are most franchises made up entirely of people who were friends to begin with, or do you advertise and actively recruit new, previously-unknown members? Any success and/or horror stories would be appreciated ;) .

I'm sure I'll have more questions as time goes on. Thanks in advance for any insights or suggestions, and please don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have of me.
User avatar
By NVGhostbusters
Welcome! As a newbie here I also share a lot of your feelings and questions concerning getting started. I figured when I made the decision to start my own franchise that there really isn't a "right" way of doing things. So I made a logo, started up the social media accounts, got a patch made, and reached out to other franchises for advise and so far it's been pretty cool. I've even met some fellow ghostheads in my area. Just do what works for you and keep in the spirit of what the franchises are supposed to be about and you will do fine.

In regards to the "screen accurate" debate... I really dig the level at which some people have gone to create something that looks as though it jumped off the screen. It's amazing. But... it's also not something I myself am that interested in doing. I prefer the builds that people have done that incorporate their own style and ideas. To me it's more interesting to see those packs come together than the ones that all look the same. Plus there are some elements to the screen used packs that I just don't care for.
If someone is going to look down on me because my gear is "inspired by" then all they are doing is easily identifying themselves as someone I don't need to waste my time on and someone who truly doesn't understand what being a Ghostbuster is all about.
Egon and Ray built these packs out of scraps most likely in a garage. So did I.

Good luck on the franchise, sir!
User avatar
By Tony Bondioli
Thanks for the excellent advice and encouragement... it's much appreciated! It sounds like you and I are on the same page regarding the joy of creativity in our approach to all of this. Your mention of scrap builds in the garage is spot-on... definitely in the spirit of Egon and Ray. Clearly, you know what it's really all about :) .

I've been having fun building a small proton pack for my son's upcoming 4th birthday. Not even close to screen accurate, but it has the basic recognizable elements, it's been a blast, the pack is really cool (with some features he'll find useful) he's going to love it, and it's a good way for me to work out some of the bugs of the basic building process. Some of the coolest builds I've seen are highly customized creations inspired by the originals. For example, there are some steampunk packs that I find to be simply jaw dropping. My daughter wants me to make hers "gothy." It's all good!

I plan to have a final, clean copy of a franchise logo finished this weekend, with patches and t-shirts to follow shortly thereafter. I've had the Facebook page started, but it's waiting in limbo until the logo's done. I live in a pretty small town, but there is an established franchise a little over an hour away that I've contacted, and they seem really cool and willing to help.

Thanks again... I look forward to posting some updates, and to reading yours, as well!
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