Who you gonna’ call?… An Interview with The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters

A few years back I came across a group of the most awesome cosplayers in the world. That group was The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters! Never before had I seen such accurate work outside the film! The attention to detail was amazing, and I just couldn’t get enough. The next year I saw them, they had an expanded their containment grid to this massive display. Adding on an even more elaborate show to go along with it. Easily, any Ghostbuster fans delight. Knowing what a treat it was for me to experience them, I couldn’t go on without sharing them with My Freaky Darlings! So if you are in the Tampa Bay area, and there is something strange in your neighborhood….

Who you gonna’ call?… An Interview with The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters

Malice Psychotik: So guys (and girl), how did you get into this?

Patrick Creel: I Had done some costuming before and there were others around me wanting to try prop making and one of my all time favorite films was Ghostbusters and there is no more iconic of a prop than that of a proton pack, and then it was all down hill from there because you meet people in through conventions/Fan Boards that have the same passion as you do.  Thus The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters were born.

Jason Rawley: I had been building and selling customs and props through Fire Blade Comics for over a year when I started creating props for The Tampa Bay Ghostbusters at the group’s inception.  It was only a small matter of time before I knew I had to don the flight suit myself…

Lisa Abney: Being a fan of the film, got me into being a Ghostbuster, but more directly it was Patrick that got me into it. I was officially given my flight suit this year and it was like being a kid again!

Malice: The amazing accuracy of your costumes and props is what I think makes you stand apart from other groups. What kind of research went into it all?

Creel: A lot I do have to credit as much as it pains me so, goes to the internet and fan sites dedicate to Ghostbuster related material.

Rawley: Research is done the old-fashioned way: pausing the movie and going frame-to-frame.  In addition, there are many good resources online from other prop builders and Ghostbuster fans who are generous enough to share their findings and inspired props with the rest of us.

Abney: If you really want to stand apart and have your talents as a prop builder seen, you have to research and pour your heart into what you do. Both Patrick and Jason have an incredible talent for making sure EVERY detail is authentic. They are both very inventive, it’s very cool to watch them turn a pile of parts into a movie accurate prop.

Malice: Do you all design your own equipment, or is there one of you that acts as the “Egon” of the group?

Rawley: The Ghostbuster universe is a great place for someone looking to start replicating props and then expand into making their own custom designed gear.  The way I see it, there is a lot of room for creative interpretation when it comes to the Ecto Goggles, PKE Meters, etc, because of the ways they’ve been translated from the movies to the cartoon to the comics and then to the video game.  Patrick and I both built our own proton packs making them as close to accurate as reasonable.  However, I tend to take a lot of liberties when it comes to the goggles and scanning devices.  We’re both prop builders who share a healthy respect for accuracy when it comes to the original designs but like to put something of ourselves into everything we create as well.

Creel: As Jason stated there is a lot your own identity that can go into a prop I focus on the whole idea shiny and new or used and battle damage?  it kinda says a lot about you as a person… therefore I’m very used and broken most of the time.

Malice: You all put on quite the demonstration. I’m sure there has been a wide range of reactions. Do you have any stories?

Creel: We get it all from all walks of life… You would be AMAZED at the amount of people who think its real… I mean it’s almost scary, when a guy driving past in his new Porsche 911 see the car see us and stops on the side of the road gets out and comes up to us and says “are you for real? cause I need help”… that’s a true a story.  My fav is when a kids don’t know who we are and it’s almost an act of self discovery because at first looks to a kid we can look very intimidating but under the right parenting, the parents will normally be very excited to see us and explain who we are and then the kids become very comfortable if not down right glad to see us.

Rawley: Lots of stories, no time to tell them all.  We get the full range of reactions from “are you guys pest control?” to “are you guys REALLY Ghostbusters, like, for real?” to “are you guys Nazis?”  I usually get kids who are only superficially aware of “Ghostbusters” so they are intrigued, but most of my jokes go over their heads.  Their parents however, are usually rolling on the floor.  I sometimes tell the little ones “I’m the guy who hunts the monsters who live under your bed” and most people are horrified when they think about the kid’s reaction, but the kid is usually like “oh cool!”  And I’ve even had parents say “Yeah, little Timmy, they hunt the Boogey Man in your closet.”  Only as a Ghostbuster can we get away with saying the things we do.

Abney: Just hearing people seriously ask us if “it’s real”, is always the best reaction, because you can have a bit of fun and lead them on. Even when you reveal that you are doing a charity or other event they are so glad just to see the suits that there isn’t a negative reaction even when they were just the butt of the joke.

Malice: As a group you do a lot of charity work. What got you into that?

Rawley: My wife Dawn was diagnosed with APL (rare type of Leukemia) 5 years ago.  We started supporting cancer research groups and attending local fundraisers and events because research was what made the difference in being able to treat her type of cancer.

Abney: More than anything I think it is utilized as a charity promoter. I mean how do you say no to a Ghostbuster? The least we can do is give back to the community, and if that means walking around with a proton pack on your back while you help a good cause all the better.

Malice: What charities have you done work for?

Rawley: During the first part of the year we raise money for the American Cancer Society and participate in their big event called the Relay For Life which is usually in April.  During the summer months we help raise money at Regal Cinemas for their Stars of Hope program.  And then for the Autumn months we raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and attend their big event called the Light The Night walk.  Then we start all over again next year 😀 and if anyone would like to donate to our team here is our team page.

Malice:What kind of turn out do you usually see at the events you have done?

Creel: Like Jason Said we get all kinds of turns out, we don’t typically do Birthday parties however when we see that a kid is actually a fan and not the parent we will show up.  Because god knows we don’t a GB2 situation.  A lot of the time events or charities contact us for help, so it’s almost a built-in audience.  Sometimes people who see the car have to stop and find out just what the heck is going on.

Rawley: Well we’ve done everything from huge fundraisers and conventions with thousands of people to birthday parties for a small group of bewildered 6-year-olds.

Malice: What kind of attention has your “Ghost Busting” Gotten you?

Creel: The biggest attention it has gotten me, well I managed to become the cover model for Egon for the Ghostbusters comic book published by IDW and am now setting up photo shots with the cover artist Nick Runge.  Which is very humbling to me.  I also got to have dinner with Michael Gross the associate producer of Ghostbusters, got to go VIP to the Machete just because I was dressed as a Ghostbuster and Michelle Rodriguez is a Huge Ghostbuster Fan.  Have gotten to meet Dan Aykroyd 3 times in a row.  Please see photos attached to this email, also when I do events or even when I first started do this I always had more of an infinity with Egons character so I wanted to emulate that the best I could with my own personality which is right on Que with my own.  He’s silent, strange, smart, but he has what I’d like to call Egon Rage where he just looses it and could go nuts and start beating up bureaucrat like Peck.

Rawley: The ladies love a man in uniform, too bad I’m married.  Oh wait, what kind of attention did you mean? 😀  My Ecto gets a lot of attention from the police but so far they’ve all been like “That’s so awesome! Run the lights for us please!”

Abney: I’d say it’s been very positive, when co-workers or family find out the general result is “Oh, I love that movie!”. Then they see what you have on and they are blown away.

Malice: So I know “Busting” isn’t an all day job, what does the team do for a Day Job?

Creel: I work for a large home improvement store company… yes its great for getting materials and have learned a lot about products that work and don’t work on prop applications but I really wish I could be a Ghostbuster.

Rawley: My wife works for the State of Florida as a Tax Auditor and I work two nights a week at a hospital as a Security Officer.  The rest of my time I spend making and selling custom figures and props online through Ebay and my Website

Abney: Jill of all trades

Malice: Have any of you ever had someone recognize you out of costume?

Creel: Yes, which is a lot of fun because people have to point blank ask you… “Are you a Ghostbuster?”  which I do have to say is pretty damn cool.

Rawley: Actually yes! Several times.  It helps that there are a lot of photos of us in action on our website and we leave people with a strong impression with our personalities and ability to entertain.

Malice: So I know this may or may not be a dumb question, but here goes! Whats your favorite movie?

Creel: I have a top 3 and the order always gets rearranged depending whats going on in my life but here it is..
Rebecca 1941 Alfred Hitchcock’s only movie to win best picture. Ghostbusters for obvious reasons Star Wars trilogy and yes I consider all 6 of them one movie and yes… I will even include the prequels in them as well if i have to…

Rawley: Seriously?  Star Wars, duh.

Abney: Sure everyone wants you to answer Ghostbusters

Malice: In the tradition of Encyclopedia Psychotika, how about some “Out-of-Hat” questions?

Rawley: Just as long as it doesn’t become “out-of-pants” questions, sure.

Abney: Let’s do it!

Malice: Walter Peck? Hero for the Environment? Or man with no dick?

Creel: Great question…I look at him in a couple of ways and also Venkmans relationship with him, would have peck been nicer if Venkman would have just showed him the storage facility, because Venkman kinda was an ass to him. but it is also very naive to just go some where you don’t know and tell them to shut everything down without fully understanding what is going on.  so on one hand yes he is a dick, but on the other could have Venkman been a little more understanding and seen his point of view of just wanting to know what they do there…

Rawley: Walter Peck is a misunderstood man.  I think a lot of it stems from the way society projects the stereotype of the angry redhead onto redheads that propelled him into his left-wing liberal environmentalist agenda.  A lot like Yosemite Sam.

Abney: Walter Peck? Ideal image of the far left political agenda with a dash of self-righteous indignation thrown in for good measure. Just kidding, seriously though…. man with no dick.

Malice: What would be your dream cast of actors for a new Ghostbuster team? Like using today’s younger comedians?

Creel: I love dream-casting on this level. They have to be unknowns for the most part and mid 20’s to early 30’s, 3 boys and 1 girl. Here are some of my loves of guys Jason Bateman (see Arrested Development.) Simon Peg (See Shaun of the Dead.) Jay Chandrasekhar or Steve Lemme from the Broken Lizard comedy Team (See Super Troopers or Slammin Salmon) as Far as girls go you need almost tough and serious but can also be a goof in a drop of a hat. Michelle Rodriguize come to mind for obvious reasons…

Rawley: I have a hard time imaging any of today’s “young comedians” fitting the Ghostbuster mold.  I would prefer they find someone relatively unknown but better for the role, rather than trying to force someone like Ben Stiller into the flight suit.  Actually I wouldn’t even mind Stiller in it.  I do know who I don’t want involved and that would be Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Seth Rogen, etc.

Abney: The most loaded question of them all! If you could cast it…That is really hard, because of how much “scandal” has already been thrown all over a GB3. If I had to add someone to the GB ranks, I think Zach Galifianakis would be my first choice. He is really funny and can be so Venkman dead pan when he wants to be. As far as this “female Ghostbuster” rumor that has been circulating, It should be a relatively unknown female in my opinion. To switch things up that much you need someone with a clean slate that can steal the show.

Malice: Have any of you been on a straight forward paranormal investigation?

Creel: Yes I have, I do believe there is something else out there.  I don’t know what the hell it is, but it’s out there.  I’ve done investigations with Haunted South Paranormal Research. Very amazing stuff, and am very great full for the experiences I have had in dealing with the unknown.

Rawley: No, as a christian I do not believe in ghosts, as in the disembodied spirits of dead people returning from grave.  However I do believe there is genuine “paranormal” activity out there but it either has a purely scientific cause or is in fact evil spirits (demons).  I would warn people that Ghostbusters is simply fiction and entertainment, but trying to consult the dead is just going to get you in contact with things you do not want to be in contact with.  A good link on this is here.

Abney: The movie Ghostbusters for me as a kid fueled my interest in the paranormal. I was 6 when the movie came out and I loved anything about Ghost’s to begin with, but after I saw it there was nothing stopping me from finding out more about the paranormal. Eventually in 2007 I started (after I learned as much as I could about paranormal research) Haunted South Paranormal Research. No proton packs just yet, but one day maybe.

Malice: One of Universals Ecto-1’s (from the attraction) was auctioned off a couple years back. Be honest, how close did you come to bankrupting yourself? And if you weren’t then, would you now?

Creel: It’s still a part of history, so if I had the money then or now the answer is HELL YES!  its amazing 59 caddy.  Its a symbol, no disrespect to Jasons Ecto mobile HHR, but there is just something to the 59 Ambulance Caddy.  It just looks so damn cool!  I was lucky enough to see the restored screen used Ecto-1 recently when I was in San Diego and the kid inside of me nearly went into overload!

Rawley: To be honest, no.  I can imagine myself driving a ’59 Cadillac if I had millions of dollars and had already cured cancer, hunger, etc.  Instead I opted to go a more reasonable route and bought a car that fits our needs, the Chevy HHR, and also makes a nice modern Ectomobile with decals and equipment applied.  The ECTO-1X can be found on our website http://www.tampabayghostbusters.com or on http://www.Firebladecomics.com

Malice: Well, I would like to thank you for sitting down with me. This has been fun! Is there anything you would like to add before you go?

Creel: There are a lot of people who do a lot for this group with their talents in prop making that have given us guidance with their years of professional work in effects/prop building in motion pictures.  I have to plug them so I hope you do as well for without these people we would in my opinion not be as successful as group as we are.
Randy Cooper
Greg Baker

Rawley: Sometimes things happen, someone has to deal with it, and who ya gonna call?  Well, hopefully us…

You can find more about The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters on their Website, Myspace, or Facebook. This group really just does fantastic work. If you ever have a chance, look them up! I promise you they will not disappoint. I may end u having to employ their services if I catch anymore E.V.P’s!

Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,

Malice Psychotik


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