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yayahan
06-07-2002, 03:17 PM
I just got back from Project A-kon this past weekend and the Cosplay contest there stirred up quite a bit of controversy.
The event itself was rather well organized and executed but many attendees were unsatisfied with the outcome of the judging and the awards.
A-kon has no skill division, nor a Craftsmanship Category. Other conventions are based solely upon skill divisions and award Best of Show and Judges Awards besides those. Then there are cons that only award craftsmanship-based costumes. Sci-fi cons have entirely different judging systems.

I am interested in hearing your opinion on a fair and well-rounded judging system, something consistent that could be presented to the Cosplay Coordinators of future contests.
What have you experienced, and what is your view on this topic?

HuongStar
06-07-2002, 05:49 PM
Ever since I got into cosplay, I found it hard to believe that most conventions do not split craftsmanship from skits. I believe that there should be the judging should be separate from showmanship/skits because skits cannot be judged on the same level (unless it is a Judge's Award). First off, all craftsmanship competitors should be registered by skill to be determined as follows (swiped & modified from WorldCon):
As always the masquerade consists of two separate competitions, the stage/presentation competition and the workmanship competition. Each has its own judges and awards. Both competitions are run on the skill division system to ensure that a beginning costumer will be judged against other beginning costumers. Likewise for intermediate and advanced costumers.
CHILDREN'S DIVISION
Any contestant under the age of 12.

NOVICE
Any contestant who has never won a major award. (Major award is defined as any award other than "Honorable mention" or "Honored for excellence")

JOURNEYMAN
Any contestant who has won at least one but less than three major awards at any North American convention.

MASTER
Any adult contestant who has won three or more major awards or who has won a major award in the Master Division at the CostumeCon/Worldcon level.

The Master Division is open competition; anyone who chooses may compete in this division. A professional costumer who earns more than half their income from costume/clothing design must compete in the Master Division.

Here are some more rules that would work well in anime convention masquerades. Again, most are taken from WorldCon/CostumeCon but with modifications:

Re-creation/Workmanship Costumes
Costumes that are "re-creations" of those used in movies, theater, television or from paintings, comics, or bookcovers will be judged in a separate class from "Originals." Costumers who are doing Re-creation costumes must submit documentation. Photocopies are acceptable; books, paintings or other original source material is not. All costumes, whether original or re-creation, are eligible for "Best in Show." The judging of workmanship will take place backstage before the stage competition starts. This is for the exceptional accomplishment in the crafting of a costume and is the place for exquisite attention to detail to be recognized. Workmanship judging is not voluntary, mandatory and portions of the costume or a prop may be submitted for Workmanship judging.

I think skits awards should be as follows:
- 1st place
- 2nd place
- Honorable Mention

Of course, craftsmanship/workmanship judging should be separate and follow something similar to Otakon's awards. Judges' and industry awards are open to all masquerade participants.

With these rules, you really level the "playing field" and make it easier for people to participate & compete in cosplay competitions. Divisions make more sense, considering they do it almost all competitions (not just cosplay). Also, it would be much easier if all or most North American masquerades followed the same standard of rules but that might be asking a bit much.

In my opinion, a nice mix of professional costumers, industry people, and "high-ranking" fan cosplayers would be a prove to be a well-rounded judging panel.
:argue:

::collapses:: I think that is enough for now. My head hurts...

Legato/Machan
06-07-2002, 06:42 PM
errr... would anyone here mind to tell me what craftsmanship/workmanship and craftsmanship/workmanship mean? :thumbsup:

Ginny
06-07-2002, 11:09 PM
There should, of course, be craftsmanship awards, and presentation awards. While it takes skill to make a costume, it takes just as much skill to put on an entertaining skit using the costumes you've made. Thus, there should be awards for both. I think this past Katsucon's awards were done well.

Also, as far as novice/journeyman/masters... I believe the standard is much higher. I beleive it's 6-8 awards to be in masters. I think. Can't be sure.

And it SHOULD be separated that way. There should be awards for presentation and craftsmanship in all three (or 4 counting kids division).

And then whatever judges/ other awards there are.

I also think Best in Show should combine both costume creation and presentation. But that's just me ^.^

Also, I know a lot of people are mad over A-kon. I can't say anything, cause both me and my friend's group won something. But I believe that everyone who did win, did deserve it. But there weren't any craftsmanship awards, and that's why a lot of people who deserved something didn't get anything. There SHOULD have been awards for them, but I hate to hear people saying that the people that DID win, shouldn't have. >.<

Hell, I wish cosplays weren't judged! ^.^

Rosiel
06-08-2002, 12:21 AM
> Also, I know a lot of people are mad over A-kon.

True and I am one of them. ^___^ Not because of my skit (we sucked) but because of others (like that AMAZING Galaxia) who deserved awards a lot more than some of the people who won.

But then, the cosplay judging last year was also very controversial, so a lot of people came in with a low trust in A-kon cosplay.

> I can't say anything, cause both me and my friend's group won something.

And you derserved it! I think the grumbling was more directed towards some of the judges' awards, the originality award (Squall #2,000,000,000 and Rikku #1,500,000,000 how is that original?) and the stage presence (that "How to cosplay" skit should have won, the guy made the whole audience STAND UP when he asked, that takes presence).

> But there weren't any craftsmanship awards, and that's why a lot of people who deserved something didn't get anything.

I seem to remember one... but honestly, without pre-judging, it's meaningless. You can't assess craftmanship for a costume that's 10 feet away under the spotlights. It could be held up with hot glue and safety pins and you would not be able to tell.

Actually that is one thing that should have been done (imo), that is /pre-judging/ craftmanship. It would give a fighting chance to well-tailored but unflashy outfits, and to accurate but obscure characters.

> Hell, I wish cosplays weren't judged! ^.^

AMEN TO THAT!

Ginny
06-08-2002, 01:36 AM
""and the stage presence (that "How to cosplay" skit should have won, the guy made the whole audience STAND UP when he asked, that takes presence). ""


That would have been my pal Kevin Bolk *laugh* He was literally playing around with a pair of jeans in the room on Friday.

Rosiel
06-08-2002, 08:07 AM
> That would have been my pal Kevin Bolk *laugh* He was literally playing around with a pair of jeans in the room on Friday.

You've got the be kidding? Wow. It looked so well written and planned. ^___^ He rocked.

Michi
06-08-2002, 06:32 PM
I think skit and costume judging should be seperate. =/ With my group for A-kon, my Zidane costume wasn't finished (I pulled an all nighter before the con attempting to finish it, directly after a previous all nighter to finish Mai.. oh well) and I was just going to have fun with a skit. My partner as Kuja, however, had worked very hard on her costume. @_@

I agree with you, G-chan, that Best of Show should be completely overall -- best presentation and best craftmanship.. Some people can really deserve it.

HuongStar
06-09-2002, 02:20 PM
Mreh...Also, the panel of judges ought to reflect the outcome of the cosplay. I am still very new to con/cosplay scene and I am still in the dark about a lot of things.

I did come across this "editorial" on the infamous cosplayscandal.com site and although I don't necessarily agree with everything that is said, I felt like it should be shared because it does raise some good points:

Receiving guest status from a convention is an honor. It implies that one has successfully "made it". Usually, the honor is bestowed to a professional in the Industry and/or a respected fan. A guest is someone looked up to in the community. For example, a guest provides insight to up-and-coming artists, writers, Cosplayers, etc. In return for guest status, the guest offers their personal experiences in the field. The guest is also expected to socialize with fans, and appreciate their support (otherwise there is no point in having them as guests). In my honest opinion, I would like to see more cosplay panels hosted by REAL professional costumers and/or at least Master-level costumers. Not everyone can provide sound advice, so I would prefer to hear from someone who actually went through the process... rather than someone regurgitating text they lifted off of someone else's website. Instead of a popularity contest, let's offer a cosplay panel with some useful tips. It doesn't necessarily have to be step-by-step instructions on how to build a creature suit, there are many other and more practical costuming topics one can choose from. Most "advice" doesn't require dragging a sewing machine around.

Here are questions people should be asking themselves, when comparing Cosplayers, or considering a cosplayer as a convention guest...

Talent. I am referring to costume making ability. Does the Cosplayer exhibit a high level of quality and craftsmanship in their work? What is their level of experience (Novice, Journeyman, Master)? Does the Cosplayer have a specialty, like handstitching, leatherwork, armor, etc.? Did the cosplayer receive any special training, or was self-taught? Does the Cosplayer challenge themselves with costume projects, or simply rely on past accolades to promote their work? Does the Cosplayer actually want to improve in their design and fabrication, or remain comfortable in making the same type of costume(s)?

*Awards. I am referring to awards and achievements. How many accolades has the Cosplayer received in their "career"? What percentage of the accolades are Industry, Judges and/or Convention awards? How many accolades were received for Craftsmanship/Workmanship rather than Presentation? Are there any accolades from Sci-Fi or Fantasy conventions? Has the Cosplayer received an award from an ICG-sponsored convention? If all the accolades are from Anime conventions, how do the conventions rank among themselves? If the Craftsmanship/Workmanship accolade was received at an Anime convention, who presented it ...a professional costumer, personal friend, or company employee?

* Number of awards received is a gray area, because many talented Cosplayers don't compete. It is not essential for Cosplayers to compete for awards, and that should not be the sole purpose of Cosplaying.

Contribution. I am referring to the advancement of Cosplay. Does the Cosplayer make an honest attempt to help others in the Cosplay Community, or they just satisfied with helping themselves? Is the Cosplayer friendly and polite towards others, or just nice to their friends? Does the Cosplayer display good sportsmanship during and after competition, rather than complain when they loose? Is the cosplayer open to new ideas, such as Cosplay Reform? If they do believe in Cosplay Reform, are they just saying it to be popular, or are they willing to make personal sacrifices for the cause? Does the Cosplayer volunteer their time to a host panel, or assist in the running of a costume-related event? Is the Cosplayer multitalented? Meaning, are they also involved in other areas of interest: art, writing, photography, prop building, etc.? Is the Cosplayer a professional in the Anime Industry? Do they really have the hands-on experience to be offering help to others?

MyuMyu
06-09-2002, 03:17 PM
AX masq this year isnt going to have categories either from what i understand... >_< WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING?! WOULD SOMEONE TELL ME THAT?????

*sigh*

skit and costume should be seperate categories - theyre completely different things! Overall, best of show should be a combination of all of the elements. *agrees*

yayahan
06-10-2002, 10:55 AM
Nice input from everyone, and most definitely agreeable. For me, the most fair judging system was executed at Katsucon this year, they did not hesitate to give out a lot of awards and covered every aspect of the Cosplay. As far as I know they were inspired by Costumecon and Worldcon for the awarding system, the Craftsmanship Judge was a well-known Costumecon goer and acted very professionally. I wonder if this system could be made into a generic one to be used for all anime cons.

Lillyxandra
06-10-2002, 11:13 AM
>There should, of course, be craftsmanship awards, and presentation awards. While it takes skill to make a costume, it takes just as much skill to put on an entertaining skit using the costumes you've made. Thus, there should be awards for both.

I agree, I saw really suprised that my sister and I won anything for our costumes when there were so many others that greatly surpassed ours. When we were sitting with the other cosplayers we were amazied by the amount of detail and time the others put into there costumes. I was sure that Kuja, Galaxia, Silky and many others would win an award for there awesome costumes. Dont get me wrong, I very happy that we won an award but I kind of feel like we dident deserve it when compaired to the others.

Lilly

Adella
06-10-2002, 03:16 PM
I wish I could have gone to Akon and seen it all. But I couldn't cuz my friends from back home in texas from highschool hate Aeris and would have followed me around calling me names and being mean ;_; Where exactly is the masquerade held?

yayahan
06-11-2002, 03:02 PM
Lilly, there was a reason why you girls won. Please don't belittle your skills, believe me, you deserved it. ^_^ I don't think anyone should ever feel like they didn't deserve an award. I mean we all put effort into our costumes and presentation and while we may not always enter contests for the sake of awards, we shouldn't question our worth no matter the outcome.

Azumi - oh pshaa, you would have been welcomed with open arms, and we FF costumers definitely missed you. The contest was Sat. night as usual but they also had a nice Hall Costume Contest.

Ranma Saotome
06-11-2002, 03:17 PM
Well the same thign kinda happened at Animazement. Seems that the judges base thier deicisions on costumes mostly. Basically doing a skit don't mean crap. And what got me is that I saw people doing choreagraphy skits onstage too. I seriously think that skits like that should be in a different category. And what also gets me, is when you see that most obscure skit that not even the audience understands, and it wins! O.o

Well that's my two cents...

Ranma Saotome
06-11-2002, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by G-chan
Also, as far as novice/journeyman/masters... I believe the standard is much higher. I beleive it's 6-8 awards to be in masters. I think. Can't be sure.

That's the way it should be for most cons...

Novice = Three or less wins

Journeyman = Four to six wins

Masters = Seven to nine wins

If you have like 10 awards, maybe by that time should go into non competition cosplays... *shrugs*

But what the hell do I know?

Rosiel
06-11-2002, 04:52 PM
> Seems that the judges base thier deicisions on costumes mostly.

I tend to see the opposite happen a lot, because walk-ons rarely get good awards, no matter how lovely their outfits look.

> Basically doing a skit don't mean crap.

I don't agree. I wish judging was based more on costumes myself. This is COSplay after all. As an audience member, I want to see costumes. Skits also, but skits that have good costumes.

Which begs the question, why is there a "Best Comedy" and not a "Best Serious"? I like serious skits, and I think they are highly discouraged by the award structure. I want to see more (non-dancing) serious skits where cosplayers attempt to actually act.

> And what got me is that I saw people doing choreagraphy skits onstage too.
> I seriously think that skits like that should be in a different category.

I feel the same about Karaoke skits.

> And what also gets me, is when you see that most obscure skit that not even the audience understands, and it wins! O.o

I don't know. From my observation, doing unknown anime/characters is generally a /huge/ handicap, so if someone wins with an obscure skit idea, it must mean their costumes were amazing.

And if the skit had to be from something known the audience will always understand, we are dooming ourselves to eternal Final Fantasy, Sailor Moon and Dragonball cosplays.

Ranma Saotome
06-11-2002, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by Rosiel
[B> Basically doing a skit don't mean crap.

I don't agree. I wish judging was based more on costumes myself. This is COSplay after all. As an audience member, I want to see costumes. Skits also, but skits that have good costumes.

Which begs the question, why is there a "Best Comedy" and not a "Best Serious"? I like serious skits, and I think they are highly discouraged by the award structure. I want to see more (non-dancing) serious skits where cosplayers attempt to actually act.[/B]

What I mean if the judges look at costumes only for an award, what's the point of doing a skit?

Ayaka
06-11-2002, 09:57 PM
I'm starting to think my experiences at Anime Central have been pretty atypical of masquerades. ACen has no divisions, everyone's in the same category. Generally, the judge's awards are what keep things fair; the guy who - for the third year - did a Godzilla-theme costume was given a judge's award, instead of having everyone else judged against him. If they had been, it would have been a disaster, because there were people with amazing costumes, BUT you really can't top a two-headed metal dragon with light-up eyes and his own disco light choreography. The judges pull out the people who are, for whatever reason, in a category of their own, which means most of the people who deserve awards get them.

I also think that choreography/karaoke skits and serious skits should be separate, mainly because nearly everyone does comedy skits. The one girl who did a fully serious skit was nearly booed off, before the MC brought people back in line. It might be a good idea to structure masquerades the way that music video contests are, where the category entries are grouped together; it's very difficult to do a serious skit following, say, people fighting each other with sticks of Pocky. The audience might be more patient if they did serious and choreography skits first, then comedy, with the walk-ons spaced in between.

Do any other cons do a gong show format? Personally, I HAVE seen skits that were gong-worthy; it was just painful, and the audience will get rowdy really fast. Maybe it's better to get the group offstage quick when you sense that happening, but I also don't want to think what it would be like to get gonged. Especially since, if someone gets gonged and you want to clap to support their effort, there are also people applauding the fact they got gonged . . . just seems kinda harsh since the groups I've seen gonged were pretty young.

I've been wondering if it would be practical to pre-judge masquerades, so that the people who get onstage are the ones who really deserve it for one reason or another, and those who don't, won't have to go through the experience of being booed. Just a thought.

Ginny
06-12-2002, 01:33 AM
"I also think that choreography/karaoke skits and serious skits should be separate, mainly because nearly everyone does comedy skits."


-------------------------------

Well, the skit my boyfriend and I preformed at A-kon and won Best Presentation was choreagraphed. But it was a comedy skit. So where would we be? I don't think they need to be separated. A good skit is a good skit.

Again, I believe that Katsucon's judging was right on, and I hope to see that become the standard in the future.

Lillyxandra
06-12-2002, 06:21 PM
#^_^# Thanks Yaya ^^

Hikaruchan
06-18-2002, 01:27 AM
I think it also depends on what contestants you have as to whether to have skill division judging. I run the cosplay at MTAC, and I asked on the forms people's skill levels to see if we had a wide enough range to do a skill split. Almost every entry was novice - so we stayed with category judging. So for smaller cons category judging still is viable, but after you get a couple thousand attendees you probably would have a wide enough range of experience to need to start splitting contestants into peer groups.

Makoto
06-18-2002, 03:25 AM
First, Lily-chan, your costumes were so ridiculously adorable, I hope you heard us cheering for you in the back of the hall. ;)

I think a lot of great comments have been made on this thread already, and I only have one thing to add: Time limits. A-kon set down very strict time restrictions for skits (and walk-ons, but I doubt it was as noticable); from the website:

After 2 minutes a sign will be held up by one of the crew, and at 2 minutes 30 seconds, the house lights will dim and you have a 30 seconds to wrap up and head off stage. The Three limit time is NOT negotiable, any entrants insisting on extra time, or who do not leave the stage after the three minute limit will be disqualified

I know how hard it is to cut someone off in the middle of a performance after years of Forensics judging. But time limits are set for good reason; the skits drag on forever, the audience gets lost. I know I love staring at costumes, but very little is entertaining to a room full of anime fans with short attention spans for longer than three minutes. ^_^ I would encourage A-kon to actually implement these techniques to let the cosplayer know when things are going long. The sense of time when someone is on stage can be awfully warped.

And while I personally have no problem with karaoke in skits, the fact is that very few songs are under 3 minutes in their original versions. A trimmed "TV-size" version might be recommended, so you don't lose the attention of the audience during that long musical interlude. Something to keep in mind, maybe. :)

Foxfur
06-19-2002, 01:22 AM
Great points everyone. :)

I'm sorry to hear things went so wrong at A-kon. So far I agree with everything said. :)

Twinkle (HuongStar): You made some solid points, the smoothest run cosplays I've seen have been divided into these devisions.

I especially agree with you (& Cosplay Closet) the guests/judging thing. I'm so glad they asked Yaya to participate in it since her experience is so widspread but I am very disappointed that they didn't utilize her to her full potential. With her background I would have been 100% confident that any pre-judging craftsmanship would have been well thought out and awarded. :)

I remember when I was in one of 25 skits...and then i remember the A-kon where the cosplay lasted over 4 hours. *dies* Cosplay has come a long way!

Yaya with your connection to the con I hope you can help inspire these changes to be made. :D

Wow, I said next to nothing in this.....um, Hi Lilly! :D I loved you & your sis's costumes! :)

~Meg

Scoti
06-19-2002, 08:19 PM
I know people might argue with me on this but I don't understand the junior division at all. The kids that go on stage are like 6 and 7 meanwhile they have perfectly stitched costumes that had to have been either professionally made or made by their parents. If I were a judge and I had to choose between the "made" one over some kid who tried on his/her own to make the costume (even if it's falling apart alittle cuz we all know the sewing skills of a six-year-old) I'd still give them some award for pure effort and being a true cosplayer.

...Ok I'm done *expects a rebuttal at any moment * :hafha:

Integral
06-19-2002, 11:50 PM
I do agree that some changes can be made, and it does make me feel better about my costume to hear some of the other BBS members- (Lily :) Say such flattering things about my costume. Yay! Thank you! All of us worked very hard on the costume, and while it would have been really nice to win an award for it, I was really just happy to have the chance to show the costume off to everyone.. b/c going up there on stage is the best way to get a lot of coverage/high-visibility for the costume. I also learned a lot about failed makeup experiments.. haha.

In any case... my 2 cents-
I do agree that there should be some sort of skill-level divisions.. the Judge's awards are funny as heck, and I love them, but aside from best of show, there arn't really any other awards given. IMO, the only reason there was a technical award at all this year was b/c there was a cosplayer on the judge's panel. Then again.. if you want to get technical, there's always Hall cosplay. If I could have, I would have entered Silky into both.. mostly b/c I didn't have any expectations for the main masquarade.. but I'd always heard that the hall judges had a more critical eye for detail& craftsmanship. I'd entered hall cosplay in the past.. but because of the way it was set up last year, I didn't meet a single judge. (Put a sticker on your badge and wander around... hope a judge finds you)
But, I heard that the hall cosplay judges had a panel room this time around, which I thought was a really good idea :}

Lillyxandra
06-20-2002, 09:41 AM
Integral you deserve all the compliments you can get! Your Silky costume was fantastic!! I was happy to meet all you girls from paper-wings.org you guys are awesome^^and thank you for cheering me on.
Hello Foxfur!

Lilly

Ranma Saotome
07-01-2002, 05:27 PM
Hmm, I just came across this... REad this page and tell me what you think.

http://www.cosplayscandal.com/ChodaBoy/Update/Reform.html

Miaka No Baka
07-02-2002, 04:50 AM
Here's an idea which i dont know if has been thought of. Why not set anime con masq rules like how there's the worldcon rules and SCA rules and so on... But have them tailored to fit to an anime con.

This year fanime con tried to do master/novice as far as judging goes and it was horible. They did it based on how many masquerades u had entered... This enabled the group High-Imact (who are in no way novices....) to be judged as such and it pretty much elimated all novices from winning anything cause they had to compete with that group. It also threw groups who should be judged in the novice group in the master group as well...

Another question is, what do u guys think of someone doing the SAME skit and using the SAME costume they did at another con? I personally think the person who does this shouldnt be allowed to win any awards and should do this solely as exhibition (especially if they entered at Con A and won then went to Con B and entered and were given awards again) Belive it or not it has happened...


I almost think if a cosplayer is going to be on a judging pannel for costume construction it should almost be like someone from hollywood industry or something. Who only knows sewing skills not anime or cosplaying. They'd be able to judge on what truely looks like a masterpiece and what does not and plus there wouldnt be any bias into it for a specific series or character... (although it'd be hard to achieve at most cons but it's still a nice idea...)


Miaka no Baka

Makoto
07-02-2002, 12:08 PM
I'm afraid I don't quite understand the allure of bringing in a complete anime-neophyte for Craftsmanship judging. While there is no argument that a talented costume-maker will be able to recognize a high-quality costume, there can be no consideration for accuracy in a costume reproduction if the judge has no concept of what he or she is looking at.

One of the most difficult aspects of cosplay, which separates it from many other costuming venues, is taking an entirely two-dimensional creation and transferring it to real life. I enjoy seeing the creative ways people adapt and work with materials to produce the right effect, and part of that is being aware of the artist's original intent. A beautiful costume is a beautiful costume, no question; but I would be saddened to lose any judging of accuracy.

Miaka No Baka
07-02-2002, 08:56 PM
well of course when u go to any con and are going for craftsmanship judging you should always bring your refernce pictures/figures/posters what not. Not every judge has seen every series. With someone not aware of anime it kinda prevents them from having any sort of bias in the judging and it lets people get judged for the actual work that goes into the costume. Believe it or not a judge probably not doing it on purpose but might add thier own bias into the scores. It's a normal thing to do i think. Like if u like Final Fantasy you would be more inclined to vote higher for the FF cosplayers. Having a non-anime exposed person eliminates the whole series favoritism and it will let good work get well noticed. Now tell me if u had two equally well made costumes both were as accurate as one could get and u couldnt decide which should win, arent u going to give it to the one who is a favorite character of yours?

Miaka no Baka

Ranma Saotome
07-03-2002, 03:49 PM
Like someone said before... There be a stnadardized tiered system that all cons use.

PeanutGallery
07-03-2002, 05:51 PM
Hey! I realize you've gotten a bunch of replies to this but I just have to say that having a craftmenship award might be ok but all of cosplay shouldn't be based on it. A lot of people just buy their costumes and it's not right to put a bought costume against a hand made one! And plus it is infact called cosPLAY, which implies there being a play involved. I thought the judging was great and it was a lot of fun too! And isn't the fun really what counts?

Scoti
07-03-2002, 08:04 PM
You bring up a good point PeanutGallery but the entries are based on honor system. Unless you have solid proof that a winning costume was bought, people will continue to get away with it.
I agree that it's the fun that really counts so I won't be the one pointing fingers anytime soon