Q: Hello Gabe, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. Could you give our readers a quick introduction?
A: Hello my name is Gabriel Constant and I am from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. I have lived much of my life on OCN, plus pursue college education in other places. I come a from a family of 10 and am the second youngest. I have one daughter and three grandchildren and currently operate a small production company called Constant Efx Productions.
I have worked in the news media industry for over a decade from being the Editor at Natotawin, Investigative Intern at APTN, and a short stint with the Opasquia Times. Now my main focus is Editor for Rez Newz.
Q: Many locals know of the journalism that you've taken part in, in the past, as well as now. Can you describe a bit of that? I currently run a small independent newspaper called Rez Newz, and issue an edition when I am able to do it. I Became a self-taught editor and writer when I first started a decade ago, and it was the best challenge that I ever took. I learned many duties issuing 16-24 page periodicals with colourful and creative layouts by myself. I wanted to make the paper to have a big impact for the community and make it really interesting for the readership to enjoy.
I allowed my creative side to flourish despite the fact that my writing suffered a lot, but continued to make improvements along the way over time. Being a journalist was not part of my plan, but it gave me employment opportunities with bigger establishments and a platform that eventually would teach me a lot to communicate with the public more effectively. It's a learning process that I am now starting to get familiar with since I run my own paper now.
Q: Aside from your writing and organizing of news periodicals, you've gained a name for yourself for the amazing costumes you create. Can you tell us about some of them? I was inspired by my talented brothers and one of them use to dress up as KISS back in the 70's, and one day he dressed me up as the bassist Gene Simmons. Back then, I didn't know who these guys were, but they sure made a show at the Community Hall on Riverside when my brother and three of his friends dressed up in full costume including the boots. Their costumes were detailed just exactly like the real band.
Years later, after coming back from Calgary in 1998 (where I first started dressing up just for the fun of it) I would continue doing it and get better at it and winning most of the prizes where money was getting higher for first place at the local bars and socials. I missed out on the $5,000 1st place when they had one in Calgary, 1999.
I was a starving student attending Mount Royal College living on artwork to pay for my own schooling - living in that city was expensive. I got a group of people together who were interested in making videos and costumes. I went out and found place to make the costumes and videos, and we were called Cree EFX at the time. We wanted to see if it was possible to make a real serious movie on our own dime. The plan was to make costumes for several short movies that could be used to get businesses and other grant agencies to fund our projects and the big movie that we wanted to make.
After awhile and a change in the group initiative I closed down the shop because there was little support and it was time consuming since I was running the newspaper at the same time and learning about video and film production and taking care of my family.
Q: Tell us about your favourite costume that you've ever made, and the time and resources it took to make it.
It would have to be from the KISS dynasty era. I was dressed up Ace Frehly and I made all four costumes. It was a bit challenging, but wanted to make it a winning thing, because I spent so much on the materials to make them, few stores stocked what I needed. I limited what I would order on line or in the city, and try wherever possible make them with household items. I wanted to show that it was easy doing those kinds of things and that homemade was better than buying it form the bigger stores. When we competed in Saskatoon in 2009 we were blown away by other peoples work, some of which - we really thought we were going to get beat out from, but we took home the main prize by crowd favorite. That night was very memorable and a blast to be treated like celebrities wherever we went. It was that same year I was considering of doing it full time and explore other characters and start to catalogue my work in case I would need it for other opportunities and continue to make film making more serious.
Q: Just recently, you were contacted by Hollywood regarding one of your costumes. Can you describe that experience?
It was the best phone call and email that I ever got: Hollywood called! They don't call unless you have something that they want, and it can be a life changing experience. I was shocked and numb and glad they kept trying to reach me. I broke the news to my mom and niece and then everyone else. I even kept the emails and saved the phone display! I had a million things going on my mind as to how I am going to get there (even though they offered to pay for everything including renting out my costume to them.) Hearing them saying over and over again about how impressed they were of my work on the Xenomorph costume (which I won first place at the Wescana couple years ago) was the best compliment I ever got.
They wanted to fly me over with the costume and told me that they wanted to use it for a comedy sketch that they planned to do to promote the new upcoming world premier of Alien: Covenant the following week after. Getting Hollywood's attention and recognizing my work was what inspired me more with confidence and to start going into business by being a costume maker and sell them online and rent them out. I did some research and found that they really do sell for a lot these days anywhere from $1,500 - $3,500.00. People rent them out as well. My problem is I don't have most of the material to mass reproduce them, nor the place to make them. So it's going have to be in the bedroom for now until I re-open the monster shop back up again. I stayed in contact with them for couple days until their production crew had a change of plans and found a suit nearby, so I'm eager to watching the late night show and see who they went with. But still, being looked at and considered to have my work featured in Hollywood is a big compliment and a kick in the rear to get back in the game. They also said to keep going and that in the future I could be possibly be welcome back to their set.
Q: Thanks so much for chatting. Did you have any final words for our readers?
A: It's never too late to do something positive, and don't give up on it as someday the that next phone call could be a life changing experience.