This week's MAN OF THE CENTURY is Pitt's John Landreneau. John conceived and designed a Transformers costume that actually transforms. If you haven't seen the video of it in action yet, make sure you have the next 20 seconds free and check it out.
I sat down with John for an exclusive IM interview about his costume, Halloween, and life itself.
[picture:1719034|size=small]From, "I'm going to build a working Transformer costume" to, "I'm done." How long did the project take?I worked on it Monday through Thursday, from about 5 in the evening till 3 or 4 in the morning so about 35-40 hours?
Really? 35-40 hours?Yeah, luckily I only had one homework assignment this week. I totally lucked out on everything with this costume.
Where did the idea come from?My roommate and I were trying to think of a great costume. Our original plan was to do exact replicas of Optimus and Megatron steel bodies, lights, sounds, the works. Looking at the material order though, it was going to cost over $300 for each costume so that was out. A few weeks later (last Monday), I found a dumpster full of cardboard behind the engineering building. I decided that if i could finish a cardboard helmet, I would commit to making a cardboard transformer. I got the helmet done that night in a couple hours.
What kind of engineering do you study?Mechanical, at Pitt.
So did you plan this out on paper, or just start building?I made a few sketches. For the most part, I just built boxes around myself and then cleaned them up.
I started with the body. Easy enough just a box around my chest. The arms were easy too I cut out some boxes in the shapes that I wanted, and positioned them where I thought would be appropriate for the car. The legs were the only major problem I ran into.
The legs were the exact middle of the car, so when I couldn't figure them out I decided to finish the "car" part. I kept the same pieces of the legs, but added the wheels and the wheel wells to complete the car look. So now the legs looked fine, they just didn't allow me to move.
Now I had a thing that looked like a car, but after getting into the costume I couldn't get down to the ground. Hell, I couldn't even move. The final solution was to add "mud flaps" to the back of the thighs.
Every so often during construction, I would get bored. That's when I started to cover parts in duct tape. Putting the trucker girl on (yes, she is duct tape too) started making things look interesting, and not just ugly cardboard all the time.
When and how do you plan on losing your virginity?Haha, I lost that a few years ago.
Where else did you go in this masterpiece?Pitt's Friday Nite Improvs. They have a costume contest every year.
Please tell me you won the contest.I did. I won a Nintendo DS Lite. I got a few standing ovations as well, I'm told.
Did you make the noises whenever you transformed?The standard machine noises sure, but they were always drowned out by applause and cheer.
-John Landreneau, you are truly the greatest advertisement Pitt's Mechanical Engineering department could hope for. You sir are the Man of the Century