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DeadLegato
03-13-2005, 11:04 PM
We're a first-year Masq staff, and a second-year convention. This was the first time any of us had run one. There were problems, but we need to know what they were and how we can specifically fix them.

The major problems that I see needing to be addressed that will be fixed next year are:
1) Assigned times for workmanship judging so that people don't have to wait around so long. Really, we had no idea it was going to take so long and we're sorry. This was something we hadn't anticipated. We also hadn't anticipated large armored costumes that would have this issue.
2) Edit: There WAS water, in bottles and cups. It was by the entrance. What we probably need is better communication in the green room itself because not all the entrants were notified that it existed. So I'm going to make this one a goal for a less chaotic greenroom.
3) Re-working the judging score system. The system we had works for the convention it came from, but not for Detour. We're going to try to keep a numerical system, but scrap the one we used and come up with a new system. If any of the more experienced cosplayers/Masq directors out there HAVE one that they think will work for us, let me know.
4) Making sure the person who was supposed to sit at the table and let people know Masq was full actually goes down to the table and does so.
Yes, it WILL be at 7 next year. Things happened that pushed it to eight this year, but that's a one-time thing. Hopefully.

The things I'm curious about are:

1) Capping the entrants at 50. I know this made some people mad, but this seems to have worked out to a number that was good for the audience. (I've heard from the audience that they through the number of entrants was perfect). It also becomes too much paperwork to handle once it gets over that. If someone wants to give us a laptop with an attached printer, then we can actually start talking about raising the entry limit.

2) Cosplay Orientation. I think the walk-ons I saw were deffinately better than the average level of walk-on, and I want to think that orientation helped with that. I'm mostly interested in hearing from the people who had never competed for about if it helped them or not.

3) Rehearsals. Leave them mandatory? Move them to optional and have them be the group's choice of whether they want to rehearse? Cut them out entirely? Did they help? If people don't want them, we'll drop them.

4) Do we just want to go back to last year's system, which essentially had no skits and only did walk-ons? I thought this year was an improvement if only because we actually did have rehearsed skits performing.
However, if people feel that it's too stressful to have the skits we'll just go back to being a walk-on only Masq. I want to know if that's what people actually want.

5) What ACTUALLY worked? The audience, from what I've heard, loved it. They were absolutely wowed by it. Something had to have been working for that to happen. We will fix the stuff that's going on backstage if you're willing to help.

If you're a local area costumer with a good amount of Masquerade experience who didn't like what they saw, and wants to help it get better, then hopefully once staff meetings resume you'll come in and join the cosplay staff. We're new; we can't do it by ourselves. We've already got some people from Marscon who talked to us afterwards about how they do things and what we should change.

Seriously, we do want to fix these problems so that next year is stress free and you'll want to come back and compete in the fourth year.

We really did try our best, we tried so hard to get things right. Again, we're inexperienced. We did our best. It really breaks my heart to pieces to know that people were unhappy. From what I heard from the audience, you all looked great and they loved you. I left the con thinking everything had just gone over fine and people were happy with the Masq.

You can PM constructive critisism and suggestions to me if you don't feel they're appropriate for the thread or you aren't comfortable posting them in public.

I'd also like to hear from people who actually enjoyed the Masquerade, so they could tell me what parts we're getting right and what we shouldn't change.

Hyperion
03-13-2005, 11:09 PM
Absolutely loved the contest from an unbiased view...from a biased view it would be the same...the help with the skits from the directors was great...the tips really helped my group...The entry number was good...maybe a few more could be added...but it was good...

overall it was a much better change from last year...keep it near the same next year pa wease!

DeadLegato
03-13-2005, 11:10 PM
Thanks, it's nice to hear some positive feedback.

Edit: If you do, however, feel that you do not want to compete next year but you're deffinately coming and you have Masq experience, we could deffinately use your help. Specifically, if you have an idea of a better judging system we could use. As I said, it worked for the con it came from. It didn't work for Detour.

I'm having a hard time putting what we need into words without sounding offensive. Specificially, what I've heard that we need most are people who are willing to judge performance and judge performance only, so the groups getting workmanship awards are getting them for workmanship and the groups getting awards for performance are, specifically, getting them for their performance. Other than best of show, I would actually like to aim for the performance awards being specficially performance-only based and the workmanship awards being specifically workmanship-only based and never between shall the two meet (except for best of overall show, of course.)

So yes, if you are willing to judge and help us come up with a new criteria for you to judge under, PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE let us know. Help us out.
We really, really, really need cosplayers to volunteer specifically to be performance judges next year, since my experience is mostly with workmanship judges and I don't know many people who can do performance. I'm not sure if any of our workmanship judges will want to return, though, so I probably need those as well.

Problem with that is that if they're kept entirely separate, how do we determine who gets to place best in show? That's the kind of thing I could use input on.

satsukirebel
03-14-2005, 01:50 AM
Well, I haven't really worked with cons before this one. I only volunteered a bit but I would love to help judge performances. Actually, I have a bit of a background for it, just not con-specific. If you need a resume let me know and I could send it your way.

-Satsuki

Amethyst Angel
03-14-2005, 02:21 AM
I want to apologize for the bitter tone of my earlier comments. I know this is a new convention with a staff that's still learning the ropes and I should have been more constructive (and less emotional) in my criticism. (I guess what I'm most upset at are convention heads who treat the masquerade as more of a nuisance than the showcase of fan-inspired talent and creativity it's meant to be. I don't think that was entirely the case as far as this convention was concerned. I think the con staff did the best they could with the experience and resources at their disposal. I trust that, with the feedback and knowledge they gain from this convention, their efforts will show great improvement in the future.)

Some things I thought were done well - The cosplay orientation. It's a good idea - one that seemed especially helpful for letting the newbies know what they're in for and how they can use their stage time efficiently.

I also liked the idea of the cosplay rehearsal. It really helped our group to develop our blocking and sync our routine in time to the music. I'm sure it was of great help to others as well. I think it's an idea which should continue.

I think the concept of separate judges for workmanship and performance to be a sound one. (I have to say with this convention that at least SOME effort was put into finding workmanship judges who actually had costume experience. I once competed in a walk-on costume contest where the workmanship judges consisted of the convention's guest voice actors and Japanese manga artists, most of whom probably had very little experience with the art of (and of the technical skills involved with) costume construction and who pretty much voted for their favorite characters, regardless of the costume's technical merit. I'm happy to say that the vast majority of last night's winners were competently put together (so attention WAS at least paid to workmanship in this case, ---although there were a couple of non-winning groups that I would have liked to have seen get some recognition... that's a subjective opinion though (and of course, being a contestant, I cannot escape being biased about whom I thought should and shouldn't win. So I really don't feel I should be able to have any say about the matter.)

One last suggestion I'd make to the Masquerade judges: spread the wealth a little. It's a shame when a techincally excellent and highly detailed costume fails to receive an award because there are either too few of them to go around, or there's a decent number of them, but they are concentrated within a few select groups. (Not that the groups that win aren't deserving of them. --And it's certainly not a good idea to have the number of awards be increased to the point where their value gets cheapened. It's a pretty hard call to make, but a one award per group policy might be of help in this case. (There are those who might be opposed to such a policy, however. It's a subject which has been and will probably be debated amongst cosplayers till the end of time...)

Again, I'm sorry for my earlier comments. I know the con staff has done and will do their best in the future and I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future.

Mucai
03-14-2005, 06:41 AM
I think it might be best to scrap everything and start again from the beginning.
Make a list of what is involved in the contest itself at the most basic level, then add in detail as to what you need to make each of those things happen. Plan everything, including having backup plans for everything, before you start any physical work. You end up with a check list of what you need to get and do. Even if youíre getting something from another event (such as a stage) or there is something you donít even need to think about (such as having people turn up for the contest), write it down on the list.

One of the main complaints Iíve heard from cosplayers about Anime Detour and other conventions is the shear about of time they have to spend at the convention dealing only with cosplay. The only thing they should have to wait for is in the green room before going on stage.

Have no reg at the con itself. Only pre reg. Have a desk set up at the convention for people to hand in paperwork, but have noone sign up. If people know you wonít be taking walk ups, youíll get everyone signing up before the convention which gives you more time at the convention to make sure everything will run smoothly.

Donít know if Iím making any sense @_@;; If you pay for my airfare, Iíll come help you run the cosplay next year. Hehe :D


You also need to fix the audio -> cosplayer for next year. It seems that a number of audio files didn't play at the right times.

DeadLegato
03-14-2005, 11:02 AM
It's okay, Amythest. I just felt really bad that you didn't have a good time, and I wanted to fix what was wrong. BUT, I honestly think we can fix what's wrong since now we've run it once, we know what to expect. Since you've got a lot of experience, we'd love to have you backstage next year. Maybe even judging. *nudge nudge wink wink*

I'll probably post a thread in here asking for performance judges about two months before the con next year (maybe three) so I can round some up. Yes, we are going to entirely dump our judging criteria. It was out of 30 this year, which I think was too much to consider and too much to add together after the con. I am thinking of just limiting it down to 10 points which will only be used towards best of show, and letting the individual groups of judges pick not only their judges choice but their best of performance/workmanship themselves. That way we'll avoid the issue that happened this year esp with performance where the ones they chose as their favorites for judge's choice were also the ones they'd given the highest scores to.

We've GOT the face we give to the audience down. I haven't heard bad things from the people who were in the audience. We just have to fix the backstage.

Here is what I am thinking:
1. Pre-reg only would be nice, but we would have had six entries if we'd done that. At least this year.
2. "Stations" at the table, and I will NOT NOT NOT be working without a computernext year, even if that means hauling my desktop to the convention. If they want the contest expanded to include more entrants, I need computer. Too much paperwork otherwise. And paperwork getting spirited away when it's supposed to be in workmanship judging for reasons unknown.
Station one would be entering your information in the the computer.
Station two would be to sign hard-copy liability forms (and I want to put a check box on the entry form next to everyone's names for when they turn in their liabilities, I had an impossible time with people who would bring it back with three names signed on it, have three people in the skit, and it would turn out later one signature was a parent and one of the actual -chans in the skit had never signed and needed to do so at the last possible second.)
Station three would be your sound station, and ask people to bring mp3s instead of audio cds so the file can be put on the computer and named after the group that is using it. Having ripping software only for those who don't have it themselves.
Station four would be sign up for skit rehearsal time (we don't have the time to allow walk-on rehearsals YET. Perhaps if we ever make it to the Sheraton and can grab a dedicated greenroom.) OH, and sign up for workmanship judging time. Next year I will put in a block near the end so that skits like Utena and Al (I didn't even think about mecha and other giant costumes, and that was due to inexperience with running a Masq. I know better now!) don't have to be in costume so early. I think if I change the judging system as above the problem with it taking so long can be eliminated.

The main problem the skit rehearsals we are having is finding time for them, since mainstage is in such high demand for use and we're short on other spaces that can accomadate large guest panels. That, and that Masq has to seat an hour early and no one wants to practice while people are watching. (That last hour before Masq will probably be turned into difficult costume workmanship judging time.)
I can't do them off of mainstage because of issues such as Pocky Box hitting the overhead hanging lights, which we wouldn't have known if we'd practiced with him offstage.

I am actually thinking of maybe one Friday night rehearsal block, one 8 am Saturday like we did this year for those who aren't gonna sleep all night anyway, letting walk-ons practice on the stage immediately after orientation, one from five until seating begins at six, and another hour scattered during some dead time during the day. I'm actually hoping to put someone specifically in charge of skit rehearsals only so I don't necessarily have to be there (I am going to ask Full Metal Mockery, since she was doing so well helping people out simply out of the good nature of her heart as opposed to actually being my staff. ^_^) so that rehearsals could run simultaneous to cosplay registration on Friday.

FORTUNATELY, from what I hear my roomate is actually going to be head of programinng next year. Time to take advantage of her good nature...
Oh, and next year the hours for cosplay will not be posted backwards. Running until 11 pm would have killed us. That was my bad though, sorry.

grandis
03-14-2005, 11:58 AM
DL:

Not a chance I'm joining your staff, because I'm cosplay coordinator for AnimeIowa. :square: That said, feel free to pick my brain about how we do it, and steal anything you think might be useful to/for you. I'd be happy to mail you anything you like. I think my friend Toasted Mochi has given one of your fellow staffers my email address, but if you need it, feel free to send me a pm.

I'd be really happy to help with judging, if you ever needed it too, btw. :) I'm pretty good with workmanship, presentations, the whole 9 yards, and I've won a few awards from time to time.

At AI, we don't use celebrity judges, because most of them don't know costumes. We use cosplayers with lots of experience. I'm trying to instigate a tradition where I use each year's best of show as well.

Here are some random thoughts on some random things you asked about.



2. "Stations" at the table, and I will NOT NOT NOT be working without a computernext year, even if that means hauling my desktop to the convention. If they want the contest expanded to include more entrants, I need computer. Too much paperwork otherwise. And paperwork getting spirited away when it's supposed to be in workmanship judging for reasons unknown.

Yeah, we're thinking of going computerized this year too, if I can get my helpful computer friends to work it out.

Station four would be sign up for skit rehearsal time (we don't have the time to allow walk-on rehearsals YET. Perhaps if we ever make it to the Sheraton and can grab a dedicated greenroom.) OH, and sign up for workmanship judging time. Next year I will put in a block near the end so that skits like Utena and Al (I didn't even think about mecha and other giant costumes, and that was due to inexperience with running a Masq. I know better now!) don't have to be in costume so early. I think if I change the judging system as above the problem with it taking so long can be eliminated.

God bless you!

I'm sure you guys will work it all out. You're a good group, with lots of enthusiasm. Let me know if I can help.

Grandis

Hikaru0
03-14-2005, 02:14 PM
It's always my belief that if a costume isn't something eye-popping (like...for example, a fully working transformer costume that even moves by itself) you should spread the awards around a little. You had enough awards for many other cosplays that were wonderful (I was personally dissapointed to see that Grandis or the stylized utena and anthy didn't get anything), don't award a cosplayer with three awards. Every con I've been to handles it this way. It keeps things fair, and keeps people from bitching.
Also, performance awards were handed out to walk-ons. Why? Was there that few skits? So, to perform, all I have to do is go on stage and strike a few poses? Gee. I wonder where I've been. There were also some of us that can project. I was in the back, and I could hear the Wakaba of the Utena walk on/skit squeal "Utena!" You didn't have a sound problem. I was not informed of the 'recorded audio' rule until it was time for us to rehearse our skit on stage, and quite frankly, that ruined the entire cosplay experience for me. I do not want 'ninja's reading my lines for me, I'm sorry. I'll admit, I didn't read the rules on the website, because again, this was a spur of the moment con for me. But I failed to notice any rules anywhere around the sign up table, or in the packet we were given to fill out.

OH yeah, on a side note, Make sure you don't award the same group for the same costumes and props best in show two years in a row. That's not kosher either. I can understand them being good, and getting AN award.

grandis
03-14-2005, 02:58 PM
It's always my belief that if a costume isn't something eye-popping (like...for example, a fully working transformer costume that even moves by itself) you should spread the awards around a little.

I should have mentioned my feelings on this earlier. I totally agree that this should have been the case. There were A LOT of good costumes in the back of the room that should have won something. I felt that the detail on the Last Exile suits was high. The JPop suits were also pretty good, as were the stylized Anthy and Utena. Please think about sharing the love. You might want judges that know costumes better.

You had enough awards for many other cosplays that were wonderful (I was personally dissapointed to see that Grandis or the stylized utena and anthy didn't get anything)

Thank you. I can't speak for AA, but the fan reaction to the suits is a pretty good reward, even when the judges let you down. That's pretty much gotta be the case

Grandis

DeadLegato
03-14-2005, 03:40 PM
But I failed to notice any rules anywhere around the sign up table, or in the packet we were given to fill out.
The rules were around, but probably buried under something or someone because we weren't given the best set-up for registration. That's another thing to ask for next year... an actual table instead of "just find a couch and sit on it." *sighs* The problem is, MOST people can't project, and there's no way I can tell who can and can't project and I didn't want to make exceptions to the rules for just a few people. (The group you spoke of did get an exception because it was one word, and we taught her to project on the spot by having her practice screaming it. It took a few tries to get right.) If you know of a way to make a rule that says "If you can project you don't have to pre-record, but if you can't, you have to bring it on CD," then I would be glad to help implement it. The problem is that so many young, novice groups have no idea how to project. Again, if we manage to get a computer, I'd want it to be one ideally with sound recording capabilities so that if we do get at-con skit sign ups with dialogue we can put their own voices onto the computer. So hope brightly for a computer.
No one spoke up at the orientation when I said "You've all read the rules, right?" Or I would have read them out loud right then and there. If you were at least year's Acen, they promised microphones to the skits and then at the last minute "Umm.. they don't work!" and all the skits had to pass around one microphone between them to read their lines out of, otherwise few few people beyond the first two rows heard nothing. That is the reason for using prerecorded skits. There will either be sound recording equipment at con next year or more stage ninjas reading the lines, unless a rule can be developed so that groups that can and can't project on their own can be separated.

What the judges chose to give awards to was what they chose to give awards to. There's no director's choice award... but maybe I should get one next year. ^_^ I'm looking for costumers to give the performance awards as well as the workmanship awards next year to avoid any further confusion, and make it more clear that the performance awards are only for performance. I think there was confusion on this. As I mentioned before, a lot of the problems came from the judge's choices for performance also being their highest scored groups when it came to the bests of. Do you think the system I mentioned before will work? That way, if we do have groups winning two awards, it will only be because they are recieving both performance and workmanship awards at the judge's choice level (I'd make sure that the best of awards aren't the same.)

Advice from the senior cosplayers is always welcome, even if you don't want to join staff. ^_^ There are just things you can only learn by experience.

Amethyst Angel
03-14-2005, 06:36 PM
It's okay, Amythest. I just felt really bad that you didn't have a good time, and I wanted to fix what was wrong. BUT, I honestly think we can fix what's wrong since now we've run it once, we know what to expect.



I didn't have a completely horrible time at the masquerade, and I enjoyed the chance to show off my work. I DO wish it had ended a little sooner, though. I By the time the audience started filing out, my limbs were in agony and I had to take my suit off. I know there were a lot of people who would have liked to have Grandis and I stay and pose for pictures for them. (I'm sure once the convention issues have been smoothed out, the run time will be much sooner.)



Since you've got a lot of experience, we'd love to have you backstage next year. Maybe even judging. *nudge nudge wink wink*


Well, it's a hectic year for me so I don't want to schedule too far in advance (although I am planning on working as a judge for AnimeIowa this year, no matter what my future life circumstances might be.) I did make an attempt to attend an AnimeDetour planning meeting a couple of years ago, but while I was driving through downtown Minneapolis, I accidentally turned the wrong way on a one-way street and was blind-sided by an SUV. I resolved never again to steer my car anywhere NEAR that area until the day I die or am rich enough to afford a chauffer. (I would be willing to attend planning meetings if they took place somewhere out in the suburbs, away from the evils of one-way streets and loopy highways which look as though they were designed by crack-addled space aliens.)





I'll probably post a thread in here asking for performance judges about two months before the con next year (maybe three) so I can round some up. Yes, we are going to entirely dump our judging criteria. It was out of 30 this year, which I think was too much to consider and too much to add together after the con...



Grandis has a pretty good system for judging that you could lift with her permission. (I think hers has only ten points. Much easier to keep track of...)







Here is what I am thinking:
1. Pre-reg only would be nice, but we would have had six entries if we'd done that. At least this year.

A lot of people do decide to compete on the spur of the moment, so I would agree that a pre-registration only policy would probably be a bad idea.



2. "Stations" at the table, and I will NOT NOT NOT be working without a computernext year, even if that means hauling my desktop to the convention.



I have a nice Mac desktop that you could borrow (which sits unused in my basement until such time as I have the space to set it up.) I'm sure with the geek quotient being pretty high in this area of fandom, that you'd be able to find people willing to donate laptops and other equipment for the cause...




OH, and sign up for workmanship judging time. Next year I will put in a block near the end so that skits like Utena and Al (I didn't even think about mecha and other giant costumes, and that was due to inexperience with running a Masq. I know better now!) don't have to be in costume so early. I think if I change the judging system as above the problem with it taking so long can be eliminated.


That would be a great help. Mecha and other large hard-material costumes seem to be becoming more popular, so that sounds like a good idea. (You might want to include people with animal mascot-type costumes in that block as well...)



I am actually thinking of maybe one Friday night rehearsal block, one 8 am Saturday like we did this year for those who aren't gonna sleep all night anyway, letting walk-ons practice on the stage immediately after orientation, one from five until seating begins at six, and another hour scattered during some dead time during the day.

That sounds good. I do think the rehearsal was a very good idea. I would have had major issues with my props had I not been able to work them out on the stage beforehand...

Anyway, best of luck to you and the rest of the staff, and if you want any more input from me, feel free to let me know... (I promise I'll keep it constructive this time. ^_^)...

CapsuleCorp
03-14-2005, 08:09 PM
Actually, DL, the system is not a bad one, and considering that in just two years AD is barely 400 shy of CONvergence's attendance totals (which it took them ten years to get to), AD is for all intents and purposes in the same size class as Cv, so there's no reason the masquerade should not be treated the same way. After all, our 50 entries (plus some!) puts their last year's total of 38 to shame.

Your real issue was with the performance judges, and all you can do to fix that is change your judges. Don't use the celebs. As for the workmanship judges, there's a much simpler fix than signing up for judging times, which requires less paperwork and less headache: time them. Get a 3 minute egg timer. Each entry has 3 minutes to be poked and prodded, and that's it. The reason things went so headachingly-long was because the judges didn't take into account trying to get through 50 entries by showtime in a reasonable manner. I formed my impressions fairly quickly, by listening to what the entrants told us about their costumes and doing a quick poke-and-prod. The other two, unfortunately, were taking a LOT longer. I honestly tried to speed them along several times, and had my sheets prepared ahead of time to try to help it go faster, but it fell on deaf ears.

The numerical system, actually, is NOT a problem at all. I would rather have the 30 point system than 10 points and then ask the judges to "just pick who they want" because that is SOOOO much worse! OMG! That's playing favorites, that's right back to where you didn't want to be! No, what you need is the person whose role I played last CONvergence - a numbers monkey. My job last year was to hang over the judges' shoulders while they were judging and write down their numbers, and begin to add them up, so that when they were excused to deliberate, they already had totals in front of them. Some lackey with a clipboard and a calculator can take care of that little detail for you, and allow you still the same very fair judging standards. I really liked our judging standards, I liked being able to mark down for poor workmanship but then mark up for excellent artistic or accuracy merit. Credit where credit is due. Yes, some people still got shafted in their minds, but you know what? That's the nature of competition. Not everyone can win. Sorry. And there was such a HUGE glut of Novices this year, there were hardly any Masters and almost as few Journeyman. We spread out the workmanship awards as best we could given the pool of talent, and we couldn't help that the performance judges had already wanted to give awards to some of the same people we did. You should all be glad we didn't just say "oh, well if they want to do that, and so do we, we'll just combine them and have one less award handed out." We almost did that. We didn't, though. We gave out every award.

If anyone wants to know SPECIFICS...I'm not going to tell you. It's not good form for a judge. But if you would like honest to goodness tips on how to improve your skills for a better chance next time...PM me. I'll discuss.

Overall you just need a few more helpers in the green room (a numbers monkey, den mothers, a few ninjas maybe) and better communication (know what? the entry numbers were not written on the sheets we had for the entrants), and non-guest performance judges. And tell concom to stop coming into deliberations every three minutes asking "how much longer are you going to be?" *growl* But apart from that, the actual judging critera and system are not bad. You just need better people implementing the roles.

You guys thought you had it bad? I thought I was going to be able to spend a couple hours judging in my costume and then go sit for the second half of the show, but nooooo... (partly my fault for wearing that costume, but...) I had to go to the bathroom the whole damn time and I couldn't stop judging for two minutes to go! Thank god we ran out of time and the last five entrants had to go on stage and come back to be judged later or my bladder would have exploded.

Just so you don't think we were having a good time controlling your fates. :) We certainly weren't.

DeadLegato
03-14-2005, 10:40 PM
Yes, thank you so much for helping CapsuleCorp. I bow down and worship you. *bow bow bow*.

We are going to have a fantastic masq next year. Why? Because I am actually taking the time to listen TO THE COSPLAYERS THEMSELVES about what they want fixed. If only every con would do that... *Sighs and things about cons she won't name names for*

I'm also going to make sure people know I have a second masq head, because I kept getting distracted by people running up and going "HEY! Masq director! Irrelevant stupid question that has nothing to do with cosplay while you're busy talking to someone else."

But... yeah. For personal reasons which I won't go into, no more celebrity judges. Or maybe one out of the three will be celebrity.

Gothic_Catboy
03-14-2005, 11:42 PM
OH yeah, on a side note, Make sure you don't award the same group for the same costumes and props best in show two years in a row. That's not kosher either. I can understand them being good, and getting AN award.

Did you see their costumes? Those weren't the same as last years. They happened to be made by the same person, but the costumes were definitely different.

And if you want to win two years in a row, make a damn good costume... two years in a row.

ChiByakko
03-15-2005, 12:17 AM
I've been cosplaying for a fair numbver of years now, and have wome first-runner-up at AI 3 times. I've also been an audience member at a fair number of cons as well. I chose not to participate in this years cosplay at Detour, and watched instead. So I'll offer my thoughts on it from the perspective of someone who loves costuming and theatre, and watched this performance. This is not to say my oppinion is the only one, or that I know that much at all, since I've never organized a cosplay.

I thought the cosplay ran very smoothly in general. The idea of a rehearsal sounded very intelligent, especially after being to so many conventions where things went horridly wrong on stage because of a lack of that preperation. It looks, from audience perspective, like that worked very well.
The long wait in advance was not fun, but then, I've seen worse. It was a minor setback, not enough to make anyone steam. And I have to applaud the half-time show as so many others have. Last year it was infuriating and disgusting to me, while this year, I actually enjoyed waiting for the results. Good job folks!

The one thing I least enjoyed was something I feared in advance, but I heard many others who noticed it after-the-fact as well. There were a huge number of walk-ons, and very few skits. The skits there were were great, but they were so few that there wasn't as much to watch during the cosplay. Walk-ons are fine, but an audience member half-way back in the room can't see a costume for it's full glory anyway. Workmanship is to be admired, but in a cosplay performance, my oppinion is that performance is the key, and should be highly encouraged.
If there were sperarate categories for plays and walk-ons, and more people were encouraged to try actually performing something in costume, the audience could enjoy more of the cosplay itself. I actually think workmaship awards should be more geared towards hallway costumes too. There's no reason judges can't see costumes during the con as well. They can even see the costumes up close during that time.
As for the cosplay, allowing people to talk on stage would have been nice. I understand the lack of microphones. I have been frustrated by not hearing cosplays from an audience too. But the rehearsals you have can help fix that. Or, allowing for a costume narrator from the group to speak from a stationary mic. Having limited speech on stage is better than only lip-sync. It allows more people to try their hand at creating a skit and fully participating. Let costumers know if these options are available, so they can fully utilize all their resources.

All in all, it's just my oppinion that costume awards and cosplay awards are different things. The best cosplays I have been to had a walk on to performance ratio of about 1:3 (opposite of what this con had.) It would be wonderful to strive for that level of involvement and creativity.

Oh, I also noticed the strange judging results. But it sounds like you all are looking to fix that anyway. Besides, If you have a really good costume or performance, you know it. The reward is audience applause or laughter. An award is just a bonus and extra recognition.


Again, all things said here are just the oppinions of one cosplayer. I know some would highly disagree with me, but I thought I'd put my 2 cents in.

KochouPuu
03-15-2005, 01:13 AM
My only issue with the Masq. would be directed towards the judges. How exactly does a walk-on win a performance award? I'd rant more but I'm not really one for ranting o.x;;

Other than that, I think things moved very smoothly, and in a nice timely fashion. n.n

A random idea for next year: Consider doing what Anime North does for their Masq. Create award categories for each entry that the judges feel deserve one rather than, or along with the Best in class/ect categories. Such as 'Best Sailor Cabaret', 'Best Humor Skit', 'Best Vash Standing on his head', "Best Midget Ed FMA action', ectect (>>);

But yes, props to Erin and the others for running things nicely (^^)\/

archangeli
03-15-2005, 01:52 AM
My only issue with the Masq. would be directed towards the judges. How exactly does a walk-on win a performance award? I'd rant more but I'm not really one for ranting o.x;;

A random idea for next year: Consider doing what Anime North does for their Masq. Create award categories for each entry that the judges feel deserve one rather than, or along with the Best in class/ect categories. Such as 'Best Sailor Cabaret', 'Best Humor Skit', 'Best Vash Standing on his head', "Best Midget Ed FMA action', ectect (>>);


I've won an award for "Best Walk-On" before. It's a combination of factors - your costume, how you carry yourself and how you present the costume to the audience. This was a couple years ago at Anime Evolution and it was a set award.

Most masquerades have the set "standard" awards like Best in Show, Best in Division, etc. Something for the judges to keep in mind is to give merit where it deserved, which is where the "impromtu" awards for presentations are a nice thing.

I think that caps on entries are a good thing. For a newer convention like yours it may not be absolutely necessary (since I haven't attended, I don't know), but from my experience 50 is about right. Any more and the audience gets restless, inattentive and a bit bored. The idea of having an intermission is a nice thought, but it also leaves a gap for people to *cough* go home... ;) Timewise, I'd say that 2 hours for a masquerade is about perfect.

Also, if you will be offering things like special lighting effects, fog machines, hand-held mics, etc - be sure to advertise these options. Many people would love to have these elements to enhance their presentations, but never hear about them.

Another small thing - for the "set" awards like Best in Show, etc. it would be nice if you could have small trophies or something. Most conventions give paper certificates or generic ribbons (with the convention name, but not the award name) which is nice, but I like holding something more substantial in my hand.. hehe... "I'd like thank the Academy... :thumbsup: "

grandis
03-15-2005, 09:31 AM
But... yeah. For personal reasons which I won't go into, no more celebrity judges. Or maybe one out of the three will be celebrity.

Sing it, soul sister! Sing it!

Grandis :dance:

DeadLegato
03-15-2005, 02:32 PM
Oh, Poop. No one got a picture of the awards, and we have these amazing awards... best workmanship and best performance were tiers of little metal stars piled one on another, and best of show was this beautiful black stand-up plaque. The rest of the awards were these little gold drama masks...

We're probably buying them from the same service next year because everyone on staff adored the way they looked. That service says it can do custom inlays, so maybe next year we'll get our cosplay mage on the awards instead of generic drama masks. That would be really cool.

CapsuleCorp
03-15-2005, 09:29 PM
Okay, on the performance/walk-on thing...

Do you folks who've only ever been to anime cons realize that most masquerades in the geek world don't have a walk-on/skit distinction? A walk-on IS a performance, even if you're speaking no lines. You are coming out on stage as your character, not as a person in a costume. Act like your character - walk like your character, pose like your character, do like Ling from Tekken and do your character's fighting moves! That's still performance, and that's how a person who doesn't do a skit wins a performance award. DeadLegato and I both know the system quite well from CONvergence masquerades, both competing and participating as volunteers. If you have music specific to your character or series playing, and you walk out a certain way, pose a certain way, and exit, that's performance! Who cares if you're just 'walking on?' A performance doesn't have to be a skit. I've won class honors for a performance that wasn't a skit at all. Not that skits are bad. But if anime cons are going to encourage good costumes and cool presentations, we have to stick to our guns and our ICG judging standards and not change things just because anime congoers of the younger generation expect things to be a certain way. Time to change expecations, folks, and broaden your minds as to what you might be able to see on that stage.

My two judging cents. :)

MagiusT
03-15-2005, 10:59 PM
It seems to me that it would stiffle creativity if people can just come out and copy their character's poses and actions to said character's music, and still be on an even playing field with those who devote time and effort into making a creative skit. Personally, I would not want to see that over and over again, as it would get very old, very fast, as opposed to seeing a well thought out skit.

SongofAmazon
03-15-2005, 11:08 PM
While I was irritated back stage, afterwards, I still think it was a fun masq. Using AMV's for a half-time show was definately a good idea. I wasn't bored and didn't feel the need to escape back to my room. I really loved having the walk-on rehearsal so that I could get some tips for staging. Definately keep that. I did actually see the water over by the door, but had a bottle along with me so I didn't need it. I know that both of us were wait-listed skits, but maybe try to keep entries from the same series away from each other, just something to watch, so you don't have two Utena's in a row again. ^_^'' That might bore the audience a bit.

I'm a fan of scedualed workmaship times rather than egg-timer. When there's fifty entries and 3 minutes per entry, entry number fifty still has to wait a very long time while the other are judged. Maybe tell people to come 10 minutes before their sceduled time and then leave when done. That would avoid irritated cosplayers in the greenroom.

DeadLegato
03-15-2005, 11:38 PM
Could I actually make one request for making the Masq better for me? Please wait your turn next year to talk to me. The number one thing that bothered me personally about the Masq was that I would be talking to person A and person B would interupt, and while talking to person B person C would interupt, and I'd never get back to talking to person A about their concern. If I'm in the middle of a conversation, wait until I'm done before screaming "Lori, Lori, Lori!"

I lost my graphing calculator, and that's directly related to the fact that I wasn't allowed ten seconds to clear my head anytime during the entire preshow or after show because there were people just needing to talk to me even when I was obviously busy. Give me a little bit of space to breathe, please. I don't want to have to run into the bathroom again next year because I'm starting to hyperventillate.

I guess I was just really irritated by this because most of the time, the issues being brought up were not things I actually needed to be concerned with at that particular moment when I was running around like a maniac. IE, find someone ELSE to ask if your wig is on straight than the Masq director.

Thanks. I'm just really pissed about that calculator, and I know what happened to it was that I was too hectic and distracted to remember to pick it up. It was in the bag with the extra forms, so I thought I brought it home, but I've unpacked everything and it's gone so I must have left the extra forms in greenroom. (If anyone knows I did otherwise, please tell me. Or if you have it, please return it.)

grandis
03-16-2005, 09:40 AM
And now...some discussion on skits versus walk ons from another fan who's been to several cons and seen a lot of variations.

The skit is part of the anime con, and takes place in very few other venues. It seems that some fans really got into the play part of the word cosplay, and decided that a short version of Hamlet would be appropriate to background their costume. :sulk: Some cosplayers actually specialize in skit over costume, thinking that they should win because of their cool performance, regardless of the quality of their costumes.

I feel firstly and foremostly that masquerade is about costume and recreation. I prefer cons that have more of a walkon approach or a brief skit. I don't prefer the skit, because generally they aren't too entertaining and they make a show drag. I've seen notable exceptions, but for the most part, get on there in character, show off your costume, and get off. Leave more to their imagination than not. If you are going to do skits, at least AD provided practice, and hopefully tips and encouragement for improvement.

I've got to say that I'm not a big fan of the ICG rules for smaller anime con masquerades, mostly because the International Costuming Guild is a lot about very competitive people building a craft, with a larger crowd usually competing. There is a hierarchy there that sort of sucks a lot of the fun element out of it for me.

Personally, by their rules, I consider myself a journeyman, although many of my guild friends consider me a master. Here's the salient point: this system is based on wins at MAJOR masquerades, and many anime and media fans (myself included) don't compete at World Con, SDCC, or the biggies. Anime conventions aren't generally covered in their major win sections (perhaps Anime Expo and Otakon should be?).

The other problem I perceive with these rules is that they only take wins into account, not practice. I've been doing this for 20 years, and at AD, I entered master. AA makes costumes for others, and while by ICG rules, I'm not a master, you know, by anime con standards, it's not fair to throw me in with the other journeyman. I'm a great believer in fair.

For smaller masquerades, I wonder if just an experienced and inexperienced category is a good idea. At AI (sorry, it's the only extended example I've got) we use kohai for the newbies and sempai for the experienced folks. If we have an extremely gifted newbie they may be in sempai. If we have someone who's learning the ropes still even after 5 years, they may be in kohai, but in general we try to consider years of experience, talent, and wins, not just wins.

So, no, I don't have a perfect solution yet, but I'm not sure that ICG is one for tiny masquerades with mostly novice costumers. Even so, with that many categories and awards, we didn't spread the love much among the costumers, and so clearly, ICG can be used and abused.

Sorry to chat so much, but I've given this issue a lot of thought in my quest to be fair to the folks that compete in my masquerade.

Grandis

ChiByakko
03-16-2005, 07:35 PM
I have to reply to Grandis, hopefully without accidentally attacking or inciting serious argument.

I feel that costumes and performances are equally important parts of the word "cosplay." To say you've seen lots of slow boring performances looses sight of the fact that you've probably seen lots of inexperienced stage actors there. I've seen equal or greater numbers of inexperienced tailors and seamstresses throwing together half-made costumes that make a person blink more than want to take photos. Neither of these things are so bad. They're just a beginner starting out. Those people should be encouraged, not shunned or made fun of. But don't hold it against other performers that some are not done as well as others. (Though I am in favor of time-limits to stop inexperienced performers from getting stuck on stage with no escape. That's just required.)

Why can't "Costume Play" take BOTH elements into account?
I personally feel that the cosplay performance can showcase the stage performance, while hallways and photo-ops can showcase costume tallent in a better, more in-deapth way. No one can see my costume as well as I want them to when I'm on stage. When someone's close up, you can bet I'll point out: "This hat? I did it all by hand, and had to add this beadwork to the back that took me 25 hours!!" You can't do that on stage. But where other than the stage can you show a witty stage show, song and dance, or whatever other tallent you have to bring to this anime/game hobby that we all share?

I do think both have to be mixed, though, because without a decent amount of sewing/crafting skill, a costume won't look fit for the stage. But without some capability of performing arts, a person's appearance on the stage will leave little lasting impression. (since a costume is more memorable close-up) The combination is what makes something truly special on stage.

The best cosplays bring multiple people's tallents together to make the audience gasp in surprise at seeing something above and beyond what they expect. That can lean toward the effect of the costume, or the performance. I've seen exaples of both. But the ones I personally go home and tell everyone about, are the ones with a fun performance behind them, because that's what I like to see most. That's just my personal preference, but there should be some place in a con that allows those who share that preference with me to see what they love most: A performance that makes the audience laugh, cry, sigh, gasp, or sing.

grandis
03-16-2005, 09:11 PM
ChiByakko:

It's all good. It won't be the first time someone feels differently than me about skits, and it won't be the last.

For the record, I'm very pro good skit. I also know people have to learn how to costume and do skits somewhere, and so beginning efforts aren't going to be as good as later ones. That said, I'd encourage drama classes, and hooking up with skit experienced costumers to help yourself gain ground. And that said, it's all about having a good time, so if you're not killing someone else's good time, well, there you go. :razz:

I'm also all about time limits, so we agree there. One of the biggest problems with many skits is that they go on interminably. I think that more should be left to the imagination than not, and a shorter time does that.

So, nope, not arguing. Agreeing to disagree, and not even disagreeing that much. Still think the costume is more important than the skit though. Still have seen more bad skits than good, although have seen some VERY good skits too. The place to exercise your dramatic wings probably isn't an anime con, although groups like Sailor Jamboree and others probably would disagree with me too. And it's all good, this plurality of opinion.

Grandis

DeadLegato
03-16-2005, 09:23 PM
ATTENTION: If you were sitting in back by the workmanship judging table, and you saw a brown paper bag next to it left all by it's lonesome after Masq, did you have the heart to turn it into hotel lost and found????

Things I badly need were in that bag. PLEASE?! ANYONE?! *cries*

RinnyTinTinny
03-16-2005, 09:24 PM
hmmm going along with a suggestion for Detour next year why dont you guys set up a back ground... OH! Have previous participants sign a panel of the back ground so you have a lil history in every masq. for backgrounds you could do something very general that way A vash doesnt get stuck infront of pretty cherry blossoms and sailmoon doesn't get stuck in a desert town. lol Maybe like a club scene er ...something I dunno *shrugs*

Pommie
03-16-2005, 10:44 PM
Evening everyone!

Thank you SO much for your feedback thus far. Every little suggestion we get will be considered for planning next years Masq. I am sincerely happy that everyone enjoyed themselves and that it wasn't a total catastrophy!

I was rather pleased with how smooth the event went as a whole. I really hope you guys will want LD and I back as the heads so we can plan a bigger (in a sense) and better than ever Masq for AD 2006!

DeadLegato
03-17-2005, 09:00 AM
Hey... I haven't talked to Pommie yet, but I'm seeing the real issue in the judging (other than the time) as being the problem with people doubling up and getting judge's choice and larger (ie, best of such and such) awards.

Now, the larger awards such as Best of Show are determined by a numerical system. The numbers are the numbers, and that way, they have to have the highest score in both performance and workmanship to take Best of Show. Same with Best of each Category.

So the problem I see is with the giving of the Judge's Choice awards to groups getting other awards. The problem with them being, it's a Judge's CHOICE. I can't take it away once the judge has chosen it, even if the group did get another award.

That's why I propose scrapping the word "choice" and replacing it with the word "merit" and "nomintation". That is, have the judges nominate groups they feel have particular merit, stating the reason they feel the group has merit. Have them nominate two or three choices each. Make it clear that if the group is taking a larger award, such as best of show, their second or third choice will get the merit award. Also, with the merits listed, if something is slated for both a workmanship and a performance award, it can get one award with two merits?

I know it SOUNDS more complex, but all it would mean to the judges really is nominating their three favorite groups in order, and realizing that their first choice may not necessarily be getting a judges' merit award if it's getting a larger award?

Too complicated? It's the only way I see of getting rid of the multiple awards issue, but if someone else has a rework for the judge's choice awards, please speak up!

PorcelainSakura
03-17-2005, 03:56 PM
Hey DL, just let me know and we can sit down and work out a different system if you really feel its needed. I just think the biggest problem with it was the counting everything! Next year we should consider "bean counters."
And feel free to put me where ever needed. I can do den-mommy or judge, just remember that I am Kat's girl so if you don't like her judging we may have a problem there......
Oh and a note to those mentioning workmanship judging. It also depends on how YOU present yourself! Docuement you costume, bring reference pics, and TALK IT TO DEATH! Someone may have had a kickass costume with tons of work poured into it but if they didn't tell the judges how much blood-sweat-tears went into it the judges won't know the whole story.
And Capsule, totally glad someone understands the walkon thing. Just because somone has a skit doesn't mean they did it well, and just because you're doing a "walk-on" doesn't mean you aren't preforming. You have to preform and do it well.

CapsuleCorp
03-17-2005, 09:23 PM
I know. It's just a weird double-standard that has a lot to do with a young generation of anime con-goers who've never been to the sci-fi/fantasy cons that have been around so much longer, in most cases longer than some of these kids have been alive.

God I feel old now.

DL - there's one simpler solution to preventing lots of multiple awards without changing the system. COUNT THE NUMBERS FIRST. Know who is getting the best in class and best workmanship/performance awards first. THEN allow the judges to bestow their choice awards. Yes, this means both performance AND workmanship judges have to be back deliberating, but that's how convergence does it. I was there. :D So, once you know who has the major awards, you can feel more comfortable about who you want to bestow judge's choice awards on, because you know "well, I really really liked this one, and that one, but they didn't get a major award, so I want to give them a judge's medal for this reason or that." Plain and simple.

DeadLegato
03-23-2005, 05:19 PM
DL - there's one simpler solution to preventing lots of multiple awards without changing the system. COUNT THE NUMBERS FIRST.

It's a good idea, so hopefully if we can get the workmanship judges and the performance judges working together or such next year we can do this.

PorcelainSakura
03-23-2005, 06:08 PM
How the masq is judged.

There are two sets of judges, workmanship and preformance. They judge these two parts of the contestant's entry.

The judging is on a points system.
Each side (performance and workmanship) are alloted 30 points.

10 max for technical
examples (these are not the exact guidlines used, the judges are allowed to intrepret technical in their own manner)
workmanship
-how did they make it
-does it fit
-does it look like the character

preformance
-if they danced, did they actually dance
-did their lip syncing match the track
-did they mess up

10 max for artistry
examples (these are not the exact guidlines used, the judges are allowed to intrepret artistry in their own manner)
workmanship
-did they add things like beading, trim, etc
-does it look like a garment
-was a lot of thought and planning put into it

preformance
-was it thought out
-was it presented in an artistic manner (walking across stage slumped over vs showing off the piece and doing something)

10 max for personal opinion
this is just that, the personal opinion


All the points from both preformance and workmanship judges are totaled up giving each entrant a grand total.

The entrant with the highest total is best of show.

After this each class is looked at.
The novice with the highest grand total is best novice.
The journeyman with the highest grand total is best journeyman.
etc etc etc

Judges choices are whole different area that i will write up later ^_^