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  • Writer's pictureErin Fedeson

Waggish Writer Geeks Out: The Fandom Effect Episode 5 featuring Daren Music Photography!

Hello and thank you for visit Waggish Writer.

This post is fifth post in the new venture beneath the "Waggish Writer Geeks Out" series focusing on a podcast called "The Fandom Effect," hosted by The Bushido Geek, Mark Halberg.

The premise of the series is "to showcase how the fandoms we are part of can have a profound impact on our lives" (Halberg). Overall, the series promises to dive into the creations as well as the creators behind the shows and events that geeks worship in various degrees.

The blog post's structure will introduce the episode's topic and then proceed with my reactions to and questions about the podcast. Ideally, if I catch up to the episodes, which seems to get longer each time I settle down to try and catch up, I will dedicate a post focusing on "The Fandom Effect"'s creator, how he got started, and where he envisions taking his work in the future.


This episode focuses on Daren Music Photography, an individual who takes pictures on cosplayers. They open up their conversation with thoughts about kids and dogs before it progresses to the meat and the potatoes of the episode.


They open their conversation about how toys for children are complex projects for fathers. It helps set the scene that being a fan is one part of a person's identity. There are other aspects on a person's life that influences the other. Halberg shared that he purchased a trampoline for his son. He jumped on it before he turned it into a bed once the novelty worn off. One of their observation is how they think about kid's toys and how they, the adults and default assembler of the toys, will be playing with it.

It then transition off to the fact that everyone is still in the lockdown as the episode aired in May of 2020 (the YouTube version that I am listening to the story). They converse about how everything has been different with the lockdown going down.

Daren's profession is photography. He started in 2004 when he began shooting for a friend who needed photographs for a car magazine. He worked with cars for over a decade. Later on, Daren received an invitation to join a group Skeletons in Space, a web blog on Facebook that has a wide range of activities. Daren took a lot of cosplay pictures from 2014 o 2016. In the previous year, he decided to explore what other creative outlets he could take his photography.

He left his day job in 2017 to go into photography full time. Daren takes family photos, conventions, and weddings which lead him into branding. With all of the types of work he does, he describes the fandom work he does as "fun." He appreciates his other work because it provides for himself and his family. However, he has less stress working with cosplay. One of the cosplayers he has worked with is J. Vulpix Cosplay, a previous guest to the Fandom Effect in episode 2 (check it out if you missed it).

When he works with cosplayers, Daren figures out what character the person is doing. He gains this understanding by researching the character and seeing an episode or two to bring it into the photoshoot. One of Daren's notes is that cosplayers may have ideas, but those may disappear when they get in front of the camera, "zooming across that stage at a thousand miles per second" as Daren describes it. He has also seen it in photoshoots.

When shooting at conventions, Daren explains the success at shooting depends on the location. Colossalcon has multiple locations that provide optimal picture taking opportunities. Yomicon, an older con, is more limited. He has fond memories of Yomicon due to it being where he got his start. His all-time favorite is Colossalcon. Colossalcon offers a variety of areas for photoshoots to take place in. Daren tends to find cosplayers tailor their costumes for a particular area.

He tries to get everything done within 10 days. He may have to edit some pieces of the photos for the cosplayers. He has done several things that add to the effect of photographs. One of the ways to bring smoke bombs. He recounts an incident when the smoke bomb accidently went off earlier, leaving them having to contend with the smoke with difficulty finding the door out.

Most of the experiences Daren has had have been positive experiences. Negative experiences "have been few and far in between" in his words.

Halberg shifts the conversation over to how he started the Fandom Effect. It evolved from his different experiences in different fandoms. The podcast is his way to give back to those who support the fandom. The photographers who take the pictures of the cosplayers are one of the many supporters of fandoms.

Their conversation drifted to Halberg's experience cosplaying with his friend, Mark (who previously graced the Fandom Effect in episode 3 to talk about DND, check it if you missed it). Mark persuaded him to come to a con as Green Arrow while he went as Death Stroke. That experienced for Halberg opened up a lot more experiences he may not have had if he hadn't agreed to try it.

They refocused on Daren's brand, Detroic etc. He grew up in the city. He wanted to showcase what Detroit is since the city has transformed in the decade. Visitors to Detroit were shocked. They shared that they expected to be more ghetto, but the city was nicer than parts of Chicago. Daren wanted to connect people to Detroit. Individuals drew inspiration from the Motor City.

Their conversation floated between other topics, which I'll admit that I was fading away from the conversation.

What I can say is that the Bushido Geek and his guest, Daren Music Photography, invest deeply into their passions, offer advice about their chosen industry/fandoms, and create a friendly conversation to listen in.

Want to keep up with "The Fandom Effect" to see where the podcast goes next? You can follow the adventures of the Bushido Geek and the podcast's guests on the following channels:

  • YouTube: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" YouTube channel

  • Apple Podcast: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" Apple Podcasts

  • Spodify: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" Spodify channel

  • Google Play: requires an account to access "The Fandom Effect" on Google Play

  • iHeart Radio: click here to visit "The Fandom Effect" iHeart Radio channel

Curious about Daren Music Photography? You can check out his work at his website, Detroit etc., or follow his Instagram at @darenjamesphotography.

I will play catch up in listening to the episodes as when I was writing this, there are currently 23 episodes. What seemed so simply has now become a long marathon.

Then again, I get a chance to geek out about things I do not often have a chance to share in a safe place.

If you take the time to listen to the podcast, share what you think in the comments! Let's have a discussion about cosplaying pictures. Simply be mindful that everyone has opinions.


Stay tune for more from the "Waggish Writer Geeks Out" series!

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