My amazing friend Matt is a part of the 501st Legion and wants to share his take on who they are and what they are about.
Being in the 501st Legion is an amazing experience! I began my time as a member about a year ago when I made my Kylo Ren costume for The Force Awakens. It was a long and expensive process and the reason I say this is because most costumes in the Legion that are done right will cost around one thousand dollars or more, and my Kylo was about two thousand five hundred.
I wore that costume for about a year until Rogue One came out and that is when I decided to build my Tank Trooper from the movie. I moved on from Kylo Ren for two reasons; my organization was being flooded with people wanting to do that costume, and It was way too hot. Being a member of the 501st is great, but it is not always exciting. You may be scratching your head at this, and let me explain why. I love doing events but there are times when we don’t have any coming in, and there are times when we are really busy. So you will not always be doing events, it’s not a full-time gig but it does require a lot of work when it comes to building your costume or kit as we like to call it.
The best thing about being a member besides the charity work is the people you meet in your local chapter (garrison). When I am not doing events, I am normally hanging out with my garrison friends, and believe me we do a lot of fun things such as bowling, going out to eat, and also just hanging out at each other’s houses.
Now that I have explained a little bit more about the overall benefits of being a member. I would like to move on to what it is like to do an event! I think a good example of an event to give would be an event I did about a year ago where I went to a Utah Jazz basketball game for their star wars night. This event was really fun because in our organization we have events such as this that are high profile in a sense that we are dealing with a national sports team and having a lot of exposure. This type of an event also brings lots of challenges in the fact that we need to really watch how we act, and this brings me to my next point.
Event Etiquette is super huge! How you act as a member in costume and out of costume is a huge deal because of the Intelectual property we represent. Since Star Wars was purchased by Disney not long ago, we have really had to crack down on how we act at events. This in no way means we don’t have fun, but we obviously need to not do anything obviously bad when it comes to how to act in public, and for an event like a Utah Jazz basketball game, the spotlight is right on us.
When you arrive at an event, depending on what information is given beforehand, you will need to make sure you have all your parts to your costume. You would not believe how many people arrive at an event and realize they left something at home. Next, you want to make sure you understand if you need to change in your car or not. In the event info, it will normally specify if you need to or not.
And lastly, you need to make sure you hydrate! This is a huge one, so many members have not properly hydrated during an event and our costumes are hot, so this has led to many health concerns during an event. Now that you are in costume, its time to have fun! Walk around and take pictures, make memories for yourself and the people you meet, that is why we do what we do. To share our love of star wars with others and make memories for those who love it as well.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please visit www.mattjanovskymusic.wixsite.com/utah501st for more info!