LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! In honor of the pre-order happening over at Worldbuilders, I present to you the Ringmaster for this calendar, Patrick Rothfuss!
There’s a lot of story to go with this photo. First off, Pat is one of the good people. Worldbuilders, the non-profit he started a few years ago, is amazing. When I asked Pat to be a part of this calendar, I told him I’d happily make sure some of the proceeds go to Worldbuilders. He came back with asking me if this could be the official Worldbuilders calendar for the year (they’d done one for the past few years). Of course I said yes, and it’s been the best decision I made since starting this project. The Worldbuilders team is incredible, and I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with to help promote my baby. They took a risk on me, and I’ll never forget that.
On to the photo! Once the idea of gothic circus ringmaster popped in my head, I knew it had to be for Pat. The initial plan was to get an elephant, make Pat up heavily gothic, and get on a tall ladder shooting down at them with Pat maniacally looking up at the camera. Awesome idea, right? Yeah. I thought so too. But I ran into an unexpected problem. Elephants are EXPENSIVE. Like, really expensive. First place I asked wanted eight thousand dollars to use one. Second place I asked wanted half that, cash price. But Â I just didn’t have four grand to spare. Yes, I raised around 20K from the Kickstarter. But divided between all the shoots, the travel, the costumes, and the props, I had around five hundred bucks for costumes and props per photo. As sad as I was, I had to give up my idea of the elephant and look at other options.
In comes Dave again from the Wildlife Learning CenterÂ (same proenhance guy who hooked me up with the owls for Lauren Kate’s shoot). He suggested his Siberian Lynx. Sold! Insane gothic elephant pic became refined subtle gothic portrait with a Lynx.
Regardless of the elephant, I still wanted some gothic-feeling things in Pat’s costume. His hat band is a mix of red frills, feathers, a fake starling, and some black sequin trim. There’s sequins and lace on his coat, and lace at his collar (though it’s hard to see under his beard). I went with a really bright fun colorful brocade for his vest, and we polished the costume off with a cane and knee-high boots.
Pat and I were both in San Diego for Comic Con in July, so we took a day trip up to the center for the shoot. They also have a set of gorgeous African Servals, so I thought we could try those first (I thought it could look cool with two cats lounging around Pat). They were a little too wound up to do what I needed them to do, so we moved on to the big guy, Boomer.Â Let me tell you about Boomer. He made this noise, this throaty growly thing, that literally sounded like a monster from hell was coming to eat my face. It was really intense. But Dave has an amazing relationship with him, and he’s actually a really well-behaved animal. He allows Dave to pick him up under the belly and plop him wherever he needs to be. We tried some photos on Pat’s leg, and while amusing, the photo I decided on in the end was one where both Boomer and Pat looked like distinguished gentlemen.
This photo was a blast to shoot. And though I’m still sad about not maxing Pat out to the most epic gothicness possible, I’m really pleased with this alternative.