Jump to content

How To: Use Body Language

Recommended Posts

You guys really love my tutorials. This topic should be called "how to move your sexy plastic bod so you don't traumatize little kids and freak old people the F out". But I digress.


It's come to my attention that troops are just standing around, literally. One does not simply wait in front of the backdrop for people to come up and take pictures, the only exception being if there's a large "circle" of people, meaning the crowd is moving like in an airport or a mall and they just want to snap a selfie and move along.



But in most cases your garrison/squad will have the booth set up in what I call an "open" photo op. This is where people are free to move about and there isn't a set route such as conventions. At my squad's cons, we're placed near the convention center entrance so we make a good opening impression, but away from the main vendors as not to "take away" from artists and shopkeepers. Sure people want the perfect picture of them with a few troopers or vader at the death star but it's important to keep in mind you aren't just a trooper. You are a mascot, a representative of the LEGION, not the empire. Remember the whole "bad guys doing good" motto? Troops are a group effort people, don't just stand around, interact!



With the baby-to-toddlers group, they don't know what you are or what you might do. I give a friendly "palm straight, fingers moving" wave, or a quick "hand twisting side to side" wave and tilt my head to appear nonthreatening in a cartoony way. Older kids between 6-10 who generally may know of star wars, might look at you unsure of if theyre supposed to go up to you or not. Often the parents will coax them into getting close for a picture. This part is imperative. Before they shy away (or run up in glee), bend over slightly and nod your head yes, or wave them "come on over" to let them know "I acknowledge you". I then will look down and put my palm out to say "I want you to stand here" and get into either standing or battle position towards the camera. It helps to be able to read the kids by their facial expressions. Theres the general omg a star wars guy grin, and theres the parent-forced smile. For single kids, if I deem them worthy, I might have them hold my blaster for the shot, with one hand on my belt and the other on the kids shoulder. This really impresses people and shudders away all thoughts of you being "a bad guy". I warn, don't do this for everyone, but when done 99% of them give you your blaster back immediately. The other 1% either don't know what to do next or just want to see the picture first.



For multiple-child shots, I always aim my blaster at the camera, this is because having it down you might not be able to see your actually aiming right at the dome of a little girl. You don't want to single anyone out. And again NEVER AIM YOUR BLASTER AT A CHILD.



For troops that have a no-blasters policy, just hold onto your belt with both hands like vader for multi-kid shots, or one hand on the child's shoulder with your other hand on your belt for single child shots.



For everyone else (ages 12 to 112) it's strictly professional, NOW you can just stand there and wait for the hotties to make their latest facebook picture. Occasionally from adults you may get odd requests. I was asked if a guy could hug me.. Anyway, perfect example: You might get "pretend you just captured me guy" which is a simple everyone aim blasters with his hands up, or if solo, I make him kneel, arms above his head, one hand on his shoulder, and blaster pointed to his head. There's a certain point where it's obvious if you're just blatantly aiming at everyone, but don't do that. The spectators or "next in line" people don't want to see repetition.





Here's some other helpful tips:


Never do anything you aren't comfortable with. Almost all people ASK you to get a picture out of human nature. They'll ask those odd things I mentioned too. That may include "can I kiss you" which has happened to a trooper who was single, and he specified "helmet on, or off?" But be careful with stuff like that.


Never let adults hold your blaster. Not because they could run off or drop it, but it just makes for a bad picture.


If you let a child hold your blaster, make sure they hold it properly before letting go. One or two have tried to hold it like a pistol then realize how heavy it is, before I let go I make sure there's two hands.


If said child drops your blaster, motion to them that's it's okay. Their first reaction will be "OH F**K" and seeing as how you're pretty much an angry god in their eyes, you don't want them to freak out. Hopefully them being so close to the ground your blaster wont be damaged but if that's the case, ask a handler to get the parts.


Dont take off your helmet unless you're in a private area, bathroom, or in back of the backdrop. Being helmetless is as bad as being naked. It takes the "real live stormtrooper" fantasy away.


After someone gets their picture with you, offer up a high five. It's the universal bro-fist.

  • Like 2
Link to comment

This is great and I feel that I have pretty much followed these guidelines before they were posted. :) I was at a con a little while back in my friends TK and a kid kept telling me to shoot him with my blaster. I am not great at telling kids ages anymore but I think he was around six. His parents were there and they kept saying no. I also shook my head and I told him that that would not be good because I thought he would make a great stormtrooper some day. He stopped saying it and looked at me with a huge grin. I think I made his day and he wanted at least 12 photos with me throughout the day. That and I was able to moonwalk and have fun with a lot of other people. After that, I noticed people were looking for me at the convention. :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...

And whilst Body Language is a great Non Verbal Tool....



Remember, communication with your squad mates will be limited whilst you've got your bucket on.


Hand signals are great for this...



  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • 10 months later...
  • 8 months later...

I'm impressed with the tutorial and laughing at the signals pic. As for the various troop events, I'm inclined to agree with interaction. That is probably the best way to break the ice with anyone, regardless of age. One thing I've thought about doing (Once I'm approved) is to have a few of us stage a mini skit and make it look like we're going after rebels.

Link to comment
  • 1 year later...

...good thread and good advices.


Do you guys in the US don't any problems with the execution-pictures?!

Since the current difficut situation in europe (especially the stuff in france and germany with the several amok situations and many shot people) we are told by our CO not to do any of these poses since it could be missunderstood or it could affend people. For some events we are even not allowed to take our blasters with us.

If people ask for these poses, we are explaining to them why we don't to that anymore.

How about your experiences with these kind of poses?

Link to comment

Yeah Jim's right on with that statement and some we can have blasters but we leave them holstered. We have a clear discussion with event organizers on weapons as we realize it can be a sensitive issue. Each of our event listings in our forum have a section defining weapons status. Hospitals and movie theaters are examples of where we don't carry. I have found that most folks don't really care as they're just happy to interact with their favorite characters.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

At the moment we are told explicitly not to do any execution pics. Never the less, some guys do it anyways. I know from our XO those people where and will be penalized since it was told so many times and randomly before not to do it.


I know the weapon-law in general and also the attitude of the people in the US is very different then in europe I realy accept that.

My personal opinion is not to do any execution pics. I'm not against weapons or anything like this, but I find these kind of poses are so not-star-wars like. Especially with kids and teens I find it kind of strange since on the other hand we go to hospitals and try to cheer those little kids up and telling the people "bad guys doing good"


Anyways very interresting topic. Thanks for your feedback guys :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I think, often what can be interpreted as an execution photo can also be interpreted as an 'arresting' photo. My garrison has a strict rule, when weapons are allowed, that we don't point them at people unless they request it so it is totally within their control if we do it.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.