VIDEO: Great Scott! A DeLorean transformer takes the Ryersonian back to the future

Story by: Robby Frankel

Producer: Joshua McLean

Where Venessa Koch is going, she won’t need roads.

Because when the pavement runs out, the Ryerson theatre grad’s DeLorean costume (the iconic ’80s ride from the Back to the Future movies) impressively transforms into, well, a transformer.
Confusing?Maybe. Amazing? Definitely.

The costume, made of corrugated plastic, is a near-perfect replica of Doc Brown’s time-travelling car – but only when Koch is crouching. When she stands up, however, the show begins, as the human-sized DeLorean seamlessly turns into an Optimus Prime lookalike.

Koch, who comes from a family of car junkies (she recalls her grandparents restoring an Austin-Healey) initially designed and built the costume for her final thesis project, scoring herself an A+. Since then, she has become something of a celebrity, showing off the costume at festivals and conventions around the city.

When the Canadian Fan Expo hit the Metro Toronto Convention Centre last summer, Koch loaded up her costume for the opportunity of a lifetime. Doc Brown actor Christopher Lloyd was in attendance and taking pictures with fans.

“The funny thing is, I don’t even remember what or if he said anything to me,” Koch recalls, still blushing. “I’ve wanted to meet him for 16 years.”

The idea for the costume doesn’t date back quite that far, however. Koch says her initial inspiration may have come from when she saw Warhorse at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre last year.

The horse costume, built by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, left Koch in awe. The play was so good that Koch had to go see it twice.

“After I saw that, I think I had an idea I wanted to build something like that for my project,” she says.

This isn’t the first costume she’s built. Koch wore another Transformers costume to San Diego’s Comic Con in 2009. But this was different.

“When I wore that costume, everyone would just ask me if I could transform,” she says. “So for this one I said, ‘Screw it,’ I’m making one that transforms.”

Her ambition has paid off.

Koch recently brought the costume to British Car Day, a festival that celebrates all sorts of real and fictional British vehicles, including DeLoreans. A production designer was so enamoured of Koch and her costume, that he got her a production assistant job.

“It was amazing how building the costume really paid off like that,” she said.

While she is still searching for a full-time job in production and design, Koch is still hitting the streets with her costume, but with a couple of changes.

“I want to fix it up a little bit. I don’t like the way one of the legs fits into the lower panels when I’m crouched.”

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October 9, 2013 Issue