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LuckInSpades
04-29-2004, 04:47 PM
I really don't consider this a rant, but instead important discussion, so if this gets closed or deleted, I feel that is not right. Here goes...

I have noticed a whole lot more sites and booths for comissioning cosplay. While this is fine and dandy (and a very profitable venture, no doubt), what do you all think of people who get their costumes made by a comissioner, and then compete in a masquerade wearing those costumes? Is it really fair to have people compete with costumes that are technically above their artistic ability?

I see the comparison as having someone else painting a picture for you, and you submitting it to the county fair under your name. It can be considered cheating and fradulent. So, is there anything that conventions in your area do to differentiate cosplayers who made their own costumes versus those who are wearing comissioned pieces? I personally think it should not be allowed (unless the comissioner is in the very same group competing), but what does everyone else think?

Sweet~Pea
04-29-2004, 04:54 PM
In most, if not all, masquerades this is against the rules. And I agree that if the creator is not getting credit then it is really horrible to do.

Of course, younger cosplayers don't really need to follow this rule (because of the age) as strictly. When I say young I mean, "mommy sewed it because I can use a machine yet" young lol. :japan:

Cheers
-Christa

StarDustShadow
04-29-2004, 05:10 PM
I hate it when people get thier costumes commissioned, lie about it to masqueade judges, and then win tons of awards. :sulk:

It's too bad there's no way of costume commissioners tracking what thier customers are doing with thier costumes (i.e. entering hall cosplay contests--which are judged on craftsmanship, etc)

*~Yunie~*

Dany
04-29-2004, 05:49 PM
I think all I could say on the matter has been said so far. It's very much Not Of The Right for someone taking credit for another person's hard work and stating that it's yours...not only because it's not something you made, but because the person creating it had no say on the matter as to whether it even competed.

If you are going to enter competition, the costume you're wearing should be your work, or the person who went through the work creating it should be entering it with you as the model. I've seen the latter done, though sadly the girl wearing the costume found it difficult to answer questions about what she was wearing.

At the very least, if you did not do all the work yourself, credit should be given where credit is due. A friend of mine had an entry that she designed herself, but due to health concerns she had to have parts of it worked on by others. For her credits, she had something like "designed by Person X, made by Person 1, Person 2, Person 3, Person 4, and Person 5."

HyperrrMouse
04-29-2004, 06:47 PM
Yes, i think if credit is given to the creator, let them wear it. However, i do not feel awards on craftsmanship should be given to these people. However if they give credit, and they are being judged on a skit, than i think they should be able to win awards. In that case they are being judged by the portrayel of the character and not the accuracy/sewmanship of the costume.

Scortia
04-29-2004, 07:50 PM
Fair if it is for a skit, unfair if it is for craftsmanship... and sadly people have entered commissioned costumes for craftsmanship before. >_<

Kaijugal
04-29-2004, 08:20 PM
I have noticed a whole lot more sites and booths for comissioning cosplay. While this is fine and dandy (and a very profitable venture, no doubt), what do you all think of people who get their costumes made by a comissioner, and then compete in a masquerade wearing those costumes?

Here commissioned costumes can be shown onstage Out Of Competition. Competing them in any other Division is clearly against the rules. When people do try and lie, generally they are outted and I for one am glad for it. Cheaters ruin the hobby for everyone.

Out-Of-Competition Division

The Masquerade is an amateur competition. Purchased or rented costumes may not be entered in competition for awards, but may be shown on stage in the Out-Of-Competition Division.

Costumes made for business purposes, theatrical and professional events are not eligible for awards but also may be shown in this Division. In addition, anyone who wants to show their costume in this Division may do so.
Taken from Masquerade Rules www.animenorth.com

Lafiel
04-30-2004, 03:28 AM
I agree with letting people enter the craftsmenship is the seamsperson is credited..
While some people may enjoy making costumes, they may not enjoy wearing them in public.

Should those people not get awards for their work just because they are shy.. I think they deserves awards for their work..

Then they could also list on the site they made an award winning costumes if they wanted..

lainey
04-30-2004, 09:06 AM
teeehee

what i usually do, is request which convention they are wearing the costume to.

this way i can found out if they have entered the masq or not.

and plus tell some friends who can spot out my costume, to ensure they won't enter workmanship.

i entirely don't think it's right to enter the masq and/or claim it as yours.

and i was going to say that too...it's like entering a painting to an art contest, when you didn't paint it.

LuckInSpades
04-30-2004, 10:56 AM
All these answers have been very educating. I know for the few local cons I have been going to, the idea of cosplayers wearing comissioned work hasn't been written in the rules at all, believe it or not. Hence especially why I brought up the topic.

However, I have to sort of argue the facr about it being okay if someone who bought their costume still uses it to win only with their skit. I am rather sure that if I was a judge, I'd still especially be looking for costume quality as well as a good skit. I mean, I guess it could be worse (as in what I stated before about winning for their costume), which is why it was a rather half-assed argument.

If a person was to enter Masquerade in a costume they bought, and even if they DO give credit to the person who made it for them... what do you do about the prize if they win? If the costume was say, bought from a comissioner across country, I doubt that the person wearing the costume would want to both give up their prize AND have to mail it cross country. Just throwing out a few questions for discussion =) And one more:

If a person had a lot of help with their costume (parent, friend, teacher, etc.), do they, as the cosplayer who signed up and will be the one winning anything, still deserve to win if their costume is a bit better than someone who did all the work themself?

I know that I ask this because a few years back, I decided to not only try and omit as much help from my family as possible, but also tried to omit using patterns as much as possible. Thoughts?

Eriol
04-30-2004, 12:03 PM
If a person was to enter Masquerade in a costume they bought, and even if they DO give credit to the person who made it for them... what do you do about the prize if they win? If the costume was say, bought from a comissioner across country, I doubt that the person wearing the costume would want to both give up their prize AND have to mail it cross country. Just throwing out a few questions for discussion =) And one more:

I know that I ask this because a few years back, I decided to not only try and omit as much help from my family as possible, but also tried to omit using patterns as much as possible. Thoughts?

It is up to the judges to decide whether commissionable costumes are allowed in competition or not. It should not be the judges' responsiblities to try to dictate personal ethics by not awarding prizes simply because they may feel that if a person won with a commissioned costume in an eligible competition, then that winner won't give the prize to the "rightful" winner, namely the costume maker.

Set up the rules, but don't worry about what the contestants do with the winnings. That's not the judge's department.

Also, society was not built by "individuals." It is built on the contributions of past people. If I wanted to make your argument absurd, for example, I can say that the costume isn't yours because you didn't credit the inventor of the sewing machine!

Dany
04-30-2004, 12:32 PM
If a person had a lot of help with their costume (parent, friend, teacher, etc.), do they, as the cosplayer who signed up and will be the one winning anything, still deserve to win if their costume is a bit better than someone who did all the work themself?

I know that I ask this because a few years back, I decided to not only try and omit as much help from my family as possible, but also tried to omit using patterns as much as possible. Thoughts?

What kind of help would you consider to be too much? Personally, I talked to a lot of people to get "idea help" while I was working on my last costume, because it was helpful to get a second eye in things. However, the actual grunt work (pattern layout, cutting, putting together, sewing, trimming, sculpeying, etc.) was in my hands, with the exception of one piece, whose maker was noted in my documentation (I even went so far as to tell the workmanship judge "Don't look at the cane. Look at the pants. I sewed those pinstripes on.")

There's also the reverse idea, which is that one person came up with the concept, but has several people help with the execution. If the people involved are properly credited for their work, would an award to the costume be any less valid. Would the fact that a fair chunk of the work was done by the person with the idea in the first place make it any better?

There's a couple of little gray spots, to say the least... ;)

Eriol
04-30-2004, 05:11 PM
What kind of help would you consider to be too much? Personally, I talked to a lot of people to get "idea help" while I was working on my last costume, because it was helpful to get a second eye in things. However, the actual grunt work (pattern layout, cutting, putting together, sewing, trimming, sculpeying, etc.) was in my hands, with the exception of one piece, whose maker was noted in my documentation (I even went so far as to tell the workmanship judge "Don't look at the cane. Look at the pants. I sewed those pinstripes on.")

There's also the reverse idea, which is that one person came up with the concept, but has several people help with the execution. If the people involved are properly credited for their work, would an award to the costume be any less valid. Would the fact that a fair chunk of the work was done by the person with the idea in the first place make it any better?


I'd say there is a problem with the award system. Award systems are setup to reward individuals. For skits, there is usually one physical trophy or award for the whole group.

If many people contribute to the creation of an outfit, then there either needs to be awards for each member of the *team* or the *team* must agree to accept a single award.

Or just remove awards all together and have a "fashion show."

Akiko Ki
04-30-2004, 08:39 PM
I might sound totaly kiddish comepared to the rest of you but If some one enters a commisioned costume and dose credit the individual then should they be aloud to win an award or even compet.

Dany
05-01-2004, 02:20 AM
I might sound totaly kiddish comepared to the rest of you but If some one enters a commisioned costume and dose credit the individual then should they be aloud to win an award or even compet.

Compete in what though? Also, does the person who made the costume have any say on whether it is entered into competition or not?

For me, I know I would NOT want anything I made entered into a competition unless I was asked first, mostly because if possible, I would want to be there during the judging process. I know the ins and outs of what I make and I know what to present to the judges to put my work in its best light for the short amount of time given. I would not be pleased in the slightest if I found out someone was entering my work without at least saying "Hey, I want to enter this, would it be OK?"

Akiko Ki
05-01-2004, 03:54 PM
Compete in what though? Also, does the person who made the costume have any say on whether it is entered into competition or not?

For me, I know I would NOT want anything I made entered into a competition unless I was asked first, mostly because if possible, I would want to be there during the judging process. I know the ins and outs of what I make and I know what to present to the judges to put my work in its best light for the short amount of time given. I would not be pleased in the slightest if I found out someone was entering my work without at least saying "Hey, I want to enter this, would it be OK?"

Compete in a Mascrade and yes the person would have a say in it. Like if they didn't want me wearing it in the competion I wouldn'tbut they gave me the ok after I asked and I cedit them for there work. That kinda thing is what I meant.

kiwi
05-01-2004, 06:17 PM
While this is fine and dandy (and a very profitable venture, no doubt)

*cough* Big misconception. I can only think of about three people off the top of my head who are actually making good money at this (and producing high-quality work), and two are technical professionals with diplomas in fashion design. (It's not a misconception that gets me upset, but it is kind of annoying when people assume you're trying to take advantage and wring every last cent out of them when they're making more per hour working at the grocery store than we are making their costumes.) "very profitable" for a well-constructed costume would be those priced at $300 - $700 (depending on design), or $30+ for a basic hat / headpiece.

At any rate, masquerades are a sticky subject, awards-wise, to begin with. Personally, I think the masquerade should be judged on skit-only, since that's the majority of what the awards are based on to begin with. Any costume should be allowed to participate in a skit masquerade; supposedly the costumes are judged as well, but how much can you tell from a stage? The overall silhouette, yes, but it could be put together with safety pins and hot glue and it could be hard to tell from stage. Currently, hall costume awards are also not designated by commission or homemade. The best system would be to give out hall costume awards for presentation only (how well the person is pulling off the character and how they look overall), masquerades for skit only, and a "fashion show" for actual costume and costume construction awards, wherein the judges have all the info on the costume (how much help the person received, who made the props, etc) and can look at it up close before the person goes on stage.

hoshikage
05-01-2004, 06:53 PM
The best system would be to give out hall costume awards for presentation only (how well the person is pulling off the character and how they look overall), masquerades for skit only, and a "fashion show" for actual costume and costume construction awards, wherein the judges have all the info on the costume (how much help the person received, who made the props, etc) and can look at it up close before the person goes on stage.

Um... just to point out, I've been in (and in fact I've judged myself in one of these) Masquerades that *do* have up-close costume inspections before the show. There's no reason why you can't have craftsmanship awards in a Masquerade that really do credit the costume construction, as long time is provided for the judges to look at the costume beforehand...

As for competing in a comssioned costume, I don't think it's right, for reasons which have mostly already been said, so I won't go into them here. All I will say is that costume quality really does affect one's presentation, so it's kind of difficult to separate out skit-only awards. Besides, to a certain extent Masquerades really are about costumes. I mean, yes, skits are cool, but it's if you have a great skit *and* great costumes that people really sit up and take notice...

Kaijugal
05-02-2004, 12:21 AM
I agree with letting people enter the craftsmenship is the seamsperson is credited..
While some people may enjoy making costumes, they may not enjoy wearing them in public.

Should those people not get awards for their work just because they are shy.. I think they deserves awards for their work..

Then they could also list on the site they made an award winning costumes if they wanted..

If a costume creator wants to enter a costume on a model that's different. In that case the creator gets the credit. I have done this before when I have had more than one costume on stage in the same year/show.

kiwi
05-02-2004, 01:21 AM
Um... just to point out, I've been in (and in fact I've judged myself in one of these) Masquerades that *do* have up-close costume inspections before the show....

From what I understand, though, this is not always the norm (correct me if I'm wrong here). It seems like most have the judges sitting in the front row of the actual skit performance with no pre-show inspection. I've heard that AX does a pre-show craftsmanship look-over, but none of the cons I or a couple of my friends have been to do. (But, of course, that's a relatively small sampling of the total US cons so I could be mistaken.)

Besides, to a certain extent Masquerades really are about costumes. I mean, yes, skits are cool, but it's if you have a great skit *and* great costumes that people really sit up and take notice...

I agree to some extent, but I've also suffered through skits that had amazing costumes but were DEAD BORING. At that point I don't care how amazing the costume is -- your skit isn't funny and I can take a picture of you in the hall (--> hall costumes awards are much more about costume than masquerade awards). These amazingly-costumed but poorly written skits have never won awards, either, although ones with a range of costuming, from excellent to somewhat plain/beginner, have. I guess what it boils down to, for me, is the separate costume judging. If there are actual craftsmanship judges (or costume-specific awards for walk-ons), then no costumes you didn't make. If there aren't, then wear whatever but give credit as applicable (costume or prop construction credit in your masq. intro).

...And where do grandma-made costumes fit into this? A lot of cosplayers get heavy help from relatives or have a costume entirely made by a mother/grandmother/boyfriend, etc. These technically shouldn't be allowed to participate, but they generally do. And what about percentage-wise? If you don't make your own props, is that okay? Or if you just make your props and someone else does the sewing? Or if you mostly make it yourself but someone is guiding you every step of the way, fixes your mistakes, or does the difficult parts for you? I think the majority of cosplayers don't fall in to the "I made 100% of it myself" or the "It's 100% commissioned from a stranger" categories, so there's only so much nitpicking or black-and-white-line drawing that can be done.

(In a nutshell, my official standing on costumes of my own production is that the cosplayer may wear them for any event or competition in which they can be upfront about where it came from and not get disqualified.)

Miaka No Baka
05-02-2004, 02:14 AM
I dunno I feel if you didn't make it, don't even enter it. If you're a kid, ignore this ^_^; but let me give you two senarios. For the two senarios both groups did the same characters/costumes and think of the costume designs as being ones that are amazing and stick out from the rest of the crowd:

a) everyone in group a has really good, superior costumes, skit was extremely kick ass and was enjoyed by everyone. the only catch? they all bought their costumes from a seamstress/commissioner.

b) everyone in group be has extremely poorly made costumes. They don't even look good on stage as you can tell things aren't made well, falling off, not straight, lacking details etc etc. Skit was extremely kick ass and was enjoyed by everyone. The whole group made their costumes.

which group would the judges pick? group a of course and do you know why? Because their costumes look good. Regardless if you enter for craftsmanship or for presentation only your costume DOES have an affect on what score the judges give you.

Point of my post, NEVER should any commissioned costume be entered into any contest regardless if you are going for craftsmanship or not. If you commission props, that's different or if you get help on one part of the costume. As long as you do a huge majority of the work then it's only fair for you to enter it. I would say something along the lines of, "I did most of the work, but I did get help on the staff" or whatever you got help with.

Using patterns for making your costumes isn't considered "cheating" it's when you use something like those fairyfingers patterns which were drafted to specifically make an EXACT costume where you get into issues there, she even states don't even think to enter costumes made using her patterns in a contest.

I had a scare at acen where one of my friends thought someone had used a costume I had made and sold on ebay in acen's masquerade last year. I was majorly paniced cause the goup that person was in won. I did sell that perticular item to someone in the chicago area so the chances were high, but upon further picture inspection it wasn't my work and that enabled me to let out a huge sigh of relief! It's never a good thing to enter work and lie saying you made it all yourself.

Miaka no Baka

kiwi
05-02-2004, 02:56 AM
...but let me give you two senarios. For the two senarios both groups did the same characters/costumes and think of the costume designs as being ones that are amazing and stick out from the rest of the crowd:...

Does this even ever happen? You're basically saying in this rhetorical situation wherein two groups happened to do basically exactly the same skit with the exact same quality of performance... that the commissioned-costume group would win and that's not fair. I have never seen or heard of this happening -- the best skit is generally the best skit, regardless of costuming. Besides, even a professional will tell you that your hall costume must be very well made and detailed, but if you have a masquerade costume that is exclusively for masquerade, it can generally be rather undetailed and doesn't have to be well made or fitted because none of that shows from stage. Think about how well you can actually judge a costume under stage lighting in the third or fourth row (or further) -- ...not so well. If something is literally falling off, that shows, (and that's what safety pins are for! ^^; ) but even a blah costume tends to look just fine onstage.

...And what about scenario C: group of five friends writes skit, but one or two members can't sew and others don't have time to sew for them? Group simply cannot participate in masquerade because their group would consist of a couple commissioned costumes? (Even though they would be awarded a single prize for their overall performance?)

...Besides, my two favorite skits I can think of at this moment were performed in mostly piece-meal costumes (purchased kimono, modified goodwill clothing, etc) and both won very well-deserved awards based on performance. The reason I go to masquerade is to see skits like this, not oggle the pretty clothing featured in bad skits; the great thing about US cosplay is that US cosplayers are so much more willing than their Japanese counterparts to have fun with the hobby. You certainly don't see cosplay humor skits in Japan, where the whole business is very organized and professional.

Why suck the fun out of masquerade itself by focusing on the cosplay? I don't see anything wrong with having a forums for people who are into skits (masquerade) and having a forum for people who are into costuming (hall awards or fashion show awards). Neither group is the exclusive heart of US cosplay. The problem could be solved by simply not giving costume-based awards for Masquerade (which, for reasons I've already mentioned, I find silly anyway) and allowing anyone to participate.

...So anyway, lying about who made your costume sucks, but there's a place for performers-but-not-sewers and sewers-but-not-performers (<-- me) in cosplay. This is just a hobby, after all, and instead of running it into the ground (which I am fully guilty of in this post, I admit) we should enjoy it for what it is. ...Don't lie... have fun... it's just cosplay. (...and I'm getting off my soapbox now, I swear. I think it's pretty obvious what my opinion is now so I ought to just hush up ^^; )

Ginny
05-02-2004, 09:02 AM
In most (respectable) masqs, costume judges get to judge the costumes before they go on stage. That's why there are craftsmanship awards in masqs. Best in Show is a combination of craftsmanship and performance. This is how it is. If someone who is in the group helped make all the costumes, that's fine. If you commissioned your costume, you can not win a craftsmanship award (including Best in Show). If you had some really awesome costumes but only did a walk on or a not-so-great skit, you would get a craftsmanship award. If your costumes weren't great or were commissioned, but you did a very entertaining skit, you would get a performance award.

I personally frown upon the idea of entering with commissioned costumes, but as long a you do not enter your costume for craftsmanship judging at the masq, there isn't much harm. If the rules of the contest allow it, then there's nothing you can do about it.

The judges listen to what you have to say about making your costume. If two people with equally nice costume enter, and one person had someone make half of it for them, and the other person made it all themselves, guess who's probably going to have a leg-up in the craftsmanship competition? I've judges a few of these things so I'm not just talking out of my butt.

Anyway, how about you all just concentrate on having fun and let the coordinators of the conventions worry about the rules. And if you don't like the rules, then don't enter! ^___^

NiGHTmaren
05-02-2004, 11:36 AM
To enter a competition based on craftmanship with a costume you commissioned is well...horrendous. I myself both make and commission costumes, but the only costumes I'd ever enter into a competition that judges based on the costume itself are the ones I worked on myself. Only makes sense. Then again, I feel credit should always go to the person who was responsible for making something happen, when I commission a costume I am merely a model and have no rights to that particular costume. And I always make it known that it was commissioned and then name the person who I commissioned from. I am but a beginning cosplayer who is just starting to learn to sew, I work mostly on my natural artistic abilities when making costumes and am learning to sew from my mother.

Anyhoo, commissioners DO keep an eye out on things and watch to see if their costumes somehow end up in a competition based on the craftmanship of said costume. I know a lot of commissioners check out Fansview and such, and if you are found to have won an award that award may in fact be taken away from you and further restrictions may apply. So all said, I think honesty is the best policy. That's what it boils down to.

*~Hime no Toki~*

Miaka No Baka
05-02-2004, 03:02 PM
Does this even ever happen? You're basically saying in this rhetorical situation wherein two groups happened to do basically exactly the same skit with the exact same quality of performance... that the commissioned-costume group would win and that's not fair. I have never seen or heard of this happening -- the best skit is generally the best skit, regardless of costuming. Besides, even a professional will tell you that your hall costume must be very well made and detailed, but if you have a masquerade costume that is exclusively for masquerade, it can generally be rather undetailed and doesn't have to be well made or fitted because none of that shows from stage. Think about how well you can actually judge a costume under stage lighting in the third or fourth row (or further) -- ...not so well. If something is literally falling off, that shows, (and that's what safety pins are for! ^^; ) but even a blah costume tends to look just fine onstage.

...And what about scenario C: group of five friends writes skit, but one or two members can't sew and others don't have time to sew for them? Group simply cannot participate in masquerade because their group would consist of a couple commissioned costumes? (Even though they would be awarded a single prize for their overall performance?)

...Besides, my two favorite skits I can think of at this moment were performed in mostly piece-meal costumes (purchased kimono, modified goodwill clothing, etc) and both won very well-deserved awards based on performance. The reason I go to masquerade is to see skits like this, not oggle the pretty clothing featured in bad skits; the great thing about US cosplay is that US cosplayers are so much more willing than their Japanese counterparts to have fun with the hobby. You certainly don't see cosplay humor skits in Japan, where the whole business is very organized and professional.

Why suck the fun out of masquerade itself by focusing on the cosplay? I don't see anything wrong with having a forums for people who are into skits (masquerade) and having a forum for people who are into costuming (hall awards or fashion show awards). Neither group is the exclusive heart of US cosplay. The problem could be solved by simply not giving costume-based awards for Masquerade (which, for reasons I've already mentioned, I find silly anyway) and allowing anyone to participate.

...So anyway, lying about who made your costume sucks, but there's a place for performers-but-not-sewers and sewers-but-not-performers (<-- me) in cosplay. This is just a hobby, after all, and instead of running it into the ground (which I am fully guilty of in this post, I admit) we should enjoy it for what it is. ...Don't lie... have fun... it's just cosplay. (...and I'm getting off my soapbox now, I swear. I think it's pretty obvious what my opinion is now so I ought to just hush up ^^; )


I used that scenario to illustrate when being judged for performance your costumes DO play a part, regardless what you may think. That's why I'm saying I feel commissioned work should NEVER be entered in competition.

As far as one group member sewing everyone's work that's perfectly acceptable because said group member is present and the award would go to them. I'm doing this for our group for fanime just so all the costumes will look the same in quality.

I always thought of the masquerade as showing off your work for the chance at getting rewarded. Most conventions don't have hall costume contests. I think it's more of an east coast thing versus west coast as I've never been able to enter any of my work in a hall costume competiton. The thing is, if you do want to go to show off your work all you need to do is do a simple walk on. Walk ons can and have won in the past and I don't think EVERY single person goes just to be entertained, they also want to see the costumes that people come up with because many cosplayers will only wear a certain costume just for the masquerade and not at any other time.

I've never really seen any best of show winners with really horribly made costumes. It's usually the costume quality matches with the skit quality. I just don't understand how people can't see that their costume's quality does play a part in the whole presentation judging. Ask any judge if they do category judging one of those categories will be costumes.

Miaka no Baka

Akiko Ki
05-02-2004, 04:00 PM
Why suck the fun out of masquerade itself by focusing on the cosplay? I don't see anything wrong with having a forums for people who are into skits (masquerade) and having a forum for people who are into costuming (hall awards or fashion show awards). Neither group is the exclusive heart of US cosplay. The problem could be solved by simply not giving costume-based awards for Masquerade (which, for reasons I've already mentioned, I find silly anyway) and allowing anyone to participate.

...So anyway, lying about who made your costume sucks, but there's a place for performers-but-not-sewers and sewers-but-not-performers (<-- me) in cosplay. This is just a hobby, after all, and instead of running it into the ground (which I am fully guilty of in this post, I admit) we should enjoy it for what it is. ...Don't lie... have fun... it's just cosplay. (...and I'm getting off my soapbox now, I swear. I think it's pretty obvious what my opinion is now so I ought to just hush up ^^; )

Thank you for saying that ^_^ I my self love to act but hell I suck at sewing nd I addmet it. Some people just can't sew but why is it they have to be punished cause of that when if you think about it they work just as hard as others do sure they don't sew the costume but they go and work for the money for some one else to do it for them. So why wouldn't they have the same right to show it off. Ya I wouldn't like seeing one in craftmenship but seriously Cosplay is for fun and for me I only do about half of my costumes but still have fun in Mascrades cause I love to act and show off what I can creat with acting and what others can create with costume to make it pull the hole thing together.

From what alot have said would mean cause I only do about half I should not compete but I works as hard as you in order to make my skit and costume work with each other to make something every one will like to see.

Ali
05-03-2004, 03:21 AM
There are very few rules that say everyone in the group must have made the costume themselves with no outside help... in fact, most of them allow family, friends, and group members to have had a role in making the costumes. The thing is, with commission work, the costume was paid for. That's where the big ethical dilemma lies. I suppose the argument might be that if a friend or family member created the costume, the person wearing it has more knowledge and appreciation of the work that went into the costume.
As for separating skits and craftsmanship... that's not totally logical. I love skits and performing, but I also love putting a lot of detail and work into my costumes. I see little reason to separate the two. ^_^

Ginny
05-03-2004, 09:20 AM
Have most of you not participated in masqs? Cause that's what it sounds like. There are craftsmanship and performance awards. You can be judged on both. >___> You don't have to pick one. You can just have your costume judged and do a walk-on. You can just do a skit and not get your costumes judged. Or you can get your costumes judged AND do a skit.

The rules are clearly stated on any conventions website. And if they aren't then email them.

Miaka No Baka
05-03-2004, 09:35 AM
I have been participating in masquerades since way back in 98. I know how they are run at least on the west coast, and things ARE way differently done. Not every west coast con actually does craftsmanship judging separately from when they judge the skits.

I think you are missing the point I was trying to make. How can a judge NOT take into consideration the overall look of your costume(s) when judging your skit? I'm not saying they're gonna be up close and personal inspecting it like a craftsmanship judge would, but I mean say a judge likes 2 groups' skits equally but one groups costumes aren't as great as the others? I have seen usually it's the group with the better looking costumes which will wind up winning. It's just an asthetics value. But I'm saying if you commission work (for all you non sewing people) the costume will most likely be extremely high quality and look damn good on stage where as if the same person who can't sew attempted to sew, their results may be very lacking in what the commissioned costume would have.

Most cons have rules stating that the costume has to be made by the individual who wears it, or by some group member or piece mealed from a shop with major alterations from the original pieces. Very few actually state the fact that this rule ONLY applies to craftsmanship judging. I just don't get how one can just determine that the rule like that applies to solely craftsmanship judging unless it clearly states that. Check the ax rules on that since they do have separate craftsmanship judging which is usually done prior to the event.

Miaka no Baka

Ginny
05-03-2004, 09:39 AM
Oh hey, I'm not for entering with commissioned costumes. And you are right that looking nice on stage IS part of presentation.

And I think more conventions need to get with the system then, if cons still aren't holding craftsmanship judging.

Miaka No Baka
05-03-2004, 09:47 AM
oh yes they do big time. ^_^ I wish fanime would. They sorta give "craftsmanship" awards out but they never do the up close and personal judging. Last year I wanted to give the judges reference material for our costumes and I was kinda greeted with a big "why would you want to do that?" lol ^_^; *is just used to having to provide reference and all*

Miaka no Baka

Ginny
05-03-2004, 09:50 AM
Jeez, even at tiny little dinky cons over here they have craftsmanship judging for the masq. That saddens me ;___;

LuckInSpades
05-03-2004, 12:01 PM
Have most of you not participated in masqs? Cause that's what it sounds like.

Well, I know that in the masquerades in the 3 conventions I attend in the area currently, only once has there been an attempt made to get a good look at the costume for craftsmanship, and that was unsuccessful due to lighting issues. Even at the largest convention, Fanime, in the year I was in masquerade (2003), the judges did not take time to get an up-close look at costumes.

So, my point is that perhaps that it is not that people have not participated in masqs, but it is that the conventions they have participated in do not do the procedures of the best conventions. And I must say, I find that very disappointing, because I put a huge amount of effort into matching every last detail I can in my costumes, and I try my best to not use patterns nor get assistance. (This is a personal goal for me, so don't think that people who use patterns are helpless or anything, of course.)

Dany
05-03-2004, 01:25 PM
Lack of continuity over various conventions is definitely something to look at. If there was a "standard procedure" for every Masquerade, the same rules and standards used for each one, life would likely be easier.

Fact of the matter is, however...that this isn't how it goes (and I'm sure there has been an argument or two of why any form of "standardization" should happen or should not happen). Some conventions use workmanship judges, and others don't. Some Masquerades put the focus on creations that are not commission items, some do not. The reasoning and logic is up to the people running the Masquerade at the time.

It's kind of a sticky situation if you think about it. If you have a Masquerade that requires all costumes to be the creations of those in the skit, you alienate those who can't sew or construct. If you open it up to commissions, you make the people who work very hard to create their own costumes feel as if their efforts are unimportant.

In this situation, you just have to choose your conventions wisely. If you are a detail person who wants the focus more on the costume and less on the performance, you should enter competitions that have that emphasis. If you prefer the presentation end of things, and are not looking to have the workmanship judged, that is the type of masquerade you should enter. If you aren't sure that the masquerade runs by the standards you want judged, you should contact the director in advance and get those questions specified.

hoshikage
05-03-2004, 02:36 PM
Fanime's Masquerade has problems. Quite frankly, after participating in that farce once, there was no way I was going to do it again. Just the fact that they pretend to hand out craftsmanship awards while not actually having any sort of craftsmanship judging is completely ridiculous. I'm very glad to say however that not all Masquerades have these issues. It may be that you would be better served by competing at a different con.

Dany
05-03-2004, 03:12 PM
Fanime's Masquerade has problems. Quite frankly, after participating in that farce once, there was no way I was going to do it again. Just the fact that they pretend to hand out craftsmanship awards while not actually having any sort of craftsmanship judging is completely ridiculous. I'm very glad to say however that not all Masquerades have these issues. It may be that you would be better served by competing at a different con.

Interestingly enough, Fanime had a table at WonderCon this weekend... I didn't think to go and inquire about their convention because I'm already committed to BayCon. :\

Ali
05-03-2004, 05:50 PM
Okay, here's a little research I did. I do realize not all cons are the same, but, in general, not being able to make your own costumes won't keep you out of the masquerade. These are all copied and pasted from the convention's rule pages.

From Anime Expo's Rules:
Costumes must be constructed by the contestants.
The only exceptions are:
Costumes of a group were made by one or two members of the group.
Costumes were made by or helped to be made by non-professional parents/friends.


This is pretty explanatory. You don't need to make the costume yourself to participate; group members, family, or friends can help. Lack of sewing ability won't keep you from participating.

From Anime Central's Rules:
Please note that costumes purchased or rented from a costume shop, designer direct, eBay, Yahoo Auctions, Cospa, any other costume store or online resource, or any costume made for you by a designer or seamstress, are prohibited from craftsmanship judging. Ignoring this rule will negate your eligibility(or your groups eligibility; even if only one person in the group has a disqualified costume) to participate in the Masquerade and will also disqualify you for any performance and/or craftsmanship awards. Honesty is always the best policy.

And we have a midwest con... same sort of deal. They have exceptions regarding "found" costumes, like Expo as well, I believe. And even then, these will only keep you from craftsmanship judging; not performing.

From Fanime's Guidelines:
Furthermore, the emphasis of this event is for each Der Cosplay participant to enjoy the moment, rather than worry about a skill level.

As mentioned, Fanime's a bit of an exception. The con is primarily performance oriented (as of last year, I'm pretty sure performance made up a good third of the judging points). I couldn't find a rule prohibiting any particular costumes.

But here's a good point to consider:
From Katsucon's Cosplay page:
The first word in Cosplay is Costume: your presentation should be designed to highlight your costume, not vice versa.

I'm behind this entirely. As demonstrated, there is nothing standing in the way of people who can't make their own costumes and just want to perform, but the contest is primarily about seeing people IN COSTUME. It's what makes it interesting.

Dany
05-03-2004, 06:14 PM
I'm behind this entirely. As demonstrated, there is nothing standing in the way of people who can't make their own costumes and just want to perform, but the contest is primarily about seeing people IN COSTUME. It's what makes it interesting.

Nice job with the rules samples, Ali.

And I think this is what has to be decided..is the concept of a masquerade supposed to be costume-centric or performance-centric? Or, is there a way to combine BOTH in a way that is harmonious?

CapsuleCorp
05-03-2004, 10:16 PM
I think there is, but it's a pretty fine balance. Let's face it, some costumes are better off seen in a walk-on than in an attempt to perform, because some costumes (fandoms, series) just don't have that element of performance built into them. Take for example the last two entries I had at CONvergence - neither anime, so forgive me. But. Can-can dress from Moulin Rouge, replica: VERY easy to think of a performance for that! Won Best in Class. Luminara Unduli from Star Wars, Ep.2: Jedi Master, entered with my Padawan, we didn't really know what the hell to do for a skit so we made something silly up that involved lightsabers and glow sticks. Won workmanship for the insane amount of detail and research that went into making the costumes accurate. I'm happy with both, but it goes to show you, some costumes just don't work when you try to perform with them. Especially if half the audience is unfamiliar with the series or whatever in-jokes might be involved in the skit. The thing about Masquerades is, people have become so used to seeing skits that it's expected now, and a lot of times people just go overboard in the wrong direction - concentrating more on the skit than the costume.

I agree that if at all possible, patronize the quality Masquerades and ignore the crappy ones. If that's the only con you can go to, that's one thing, but if you have a choice, give your support to the ones who take craftsmanship seriously and don't mess around with the commission issue. Those are the kinds of shows that end up becoming really popular and helping give the con a good reputation.

And as a commissioner, i'm agreed with the majority. if I caught anyone entering my work in a Masquerade, they'd get hell and then some. Especially because I DO enter my own stuff.

lunasreincarnat
05-04-2004, 11:44 PM
well its not right or fair to buy a costume and then win awards with it... BUT then again your paying maybe like 100+ on this amazing costume... so its kinda like paying for the rights of it...

i know some people who do commissions ask what cons you will be wearing to or if you intend of competing in it...

if someone wins an award for a costume they should atleast tell the person who made the costume for them so they can atleast say on there website that they won certain awards for this costume the created.

i dunno, i have jsut commissioned someone to make a part of a costume for me becuase its beyond my talents... and im spending over 100 dollars on it... i kinda feel that if i paid all that money i should be allowed to compete with it, i should get credit for looking like the character, but i wont compete in it cause its a waste of my time, and if i ever won an award i would tell the person who made the costume that i won an award just so they could be like " my costumes are good people win awards with them" or something like that...

i think commissioners should let people compete with their costumes, becuase if they won its kinda like advertisment to them.

kiwi
05-05-2004, 02:11 AM
But here's a good point to consider:
From Katsucon's Cosplay page:


I'm behind this entirely. As demonstrated, there is nothing standing in the way of people who can't make their own costumes and just want to perform, but the contest is primarily about seeing people IN COSTUME. It's what makes it interesting.

Wow -- I guess I'm in the definite minority -- costume is only about 10% of the masquerade-goodness for me (the other 90%, of course, being the skits). I still don't get it, though; you can hardly see anything sitting in an audience! Seeing costumes from four feet away in a nicely lit hall is *way* better than seeing the same costume under stage lights from 15 rows back. If I knew nothing about cosplay and were following this dialogue, I'd assume that people only wore costumes for masquerade, and never as hall costumes (and, generally, most cosplayers wear their masquerade costume some other time during the con, as well). The whole argument is somewhat moot as well, since each con has clearly delineated rules about what is and is not allowed, and as long as all groups at that particular masquerade abide by the rules then there's no issue. It's not as though anyone's being misled in this whole arrangement.

And, as far as having nationwide masquerade standards... who's to decide those? It seems like each con has rules it likes and that work for its particular gathering, so why bother asking for blanket rules that wouldn't work for everyone?

oreo
05-05-2004, 07:18 AM
hrmmm...dont take this as a bad thing but what about people who cant sew(like me) but really want to enter a contest? And yeah, just mentioning/crediting the person isnt too much(at least I think). Ya think I should just back out?

Miaka No Baka
05-05-2004, 09:21 AM
But most conventions don't even really announce who made the costumes, so what the general public watching the masquerade will think that you didn't even make it. Which I know that may not be your intentions but that's what it will come off as being. And if the person who sewed your costume for you sees your picture up on fansview on the masquerade winner page I think they're going to be upset because how will they know that they were given the credit? They'd just have to take your word and who's to say the person who bought the costume is going to be 100% honest about it?

I agree that the costumes are what drives the masquerade because it's like, if it was just about the performances we'd all be up on stage in normal clothes acting out stuffs. A costume can make or break your skit, even if you don't want to think it ^_^; I mean wouldn't it be hard to follow a skit between two characters if you had no clue who was who because everyone was in street clothes?

Miaka no Baka

kiwi
05-05-2004, 12:27 PM
hrmmm...dont take this as a bad thing but what about people who cant sew(like me) but really want to enter a contest? And yeah, just mentioning/crediting the person isnt too much(at least I think). Ya think I should just back out?

Check the rules of the con. If it's allowed, by all means go for it. You aren't breaking any rules and you're well within your rights to perform in a costume you purchased. Just because some people don't agree with it doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. You do, however, need to check the rules before you register, as commissioned costume policy varies from con-to-con, and ask whomever you're commissioning from if they object to their costume being used legally in a masquerade. They technically can't stop you since the con allows it, but most seamstresses would like to know that it will be used in a masquerade, that you are not misrepresenting where it came from, and, of course, whether you win any awards :)

Dany
05-05-2004, 01:04 PM
They technically can't stop you since the con allows it, but most seamstresses would like to know that it will be used in a masquerade, that you are not misrepresenting where it came from, and, of course, whether you win any awards :)


They meaning the person who made the commission?

Perhaps they can't "stop" you, per se, but there's always the off chance that they will ask you not to..and if that is the case you should respect that.

kiwi
05-05-2004, 06:00 PM
They meaning the person who made the commission?

Perhaps they can't "stop" you, per se, but there's always the off chance that they will ask you not to..and if that is the case you should respect that.

Yeah, that's what I meant. If you have a purchased costume and are using it legally, then the seamstress can't object even if she doesn't want it used in masquerade. The polite thing, of course, is to ask, though (either when requesting the commission or before you go to the con). I personally don't care what people do in my costumes as long as it's within con rules, but a fair number of seamstresses, for whatever reason, don't want their work in any (performance-based) competitions and that should be respected.

(ergo why you should mention it when you inquire about the commission, so you don't end up in disagreement over how the costume's going to be used after she's spent a lot of time and you've spent a lot of money.)

_Mandy_
05-05-2004, 09:25 PM
There's really no way of telling if a costume is commisioned...it all depends on how honest the buyer of the costume is. If they bought the costume under the sole purpose of using it to win a masquerade then that's what they're going to do regardless of rules since there's no way to know who actually made it. Face it, tons of people will do anything to win. Including taking credit for other's work.

What if it's bought as a gift though? The person who recieves the gift has no idea who made the costume and what's stopping them from using it in a contest? There's a lot of different circumstances. What would a con do if they found a costume was commissioned and won a masq.?

Ali
05-06-2004, 01:15 AM
There's really no way of telling if a costume is commisioned...it all depends on how honest the buyer of the costume is. If they bought the costume under the sole purpose of using it to win a masquerade then that's what they're going to do regardless of rules since there's no way to know who actually made it. Face it, tons of people will do anything to win. Including taking credit for other's work.

What if it's bought as a gift though? The person who recieves the gift has no idea who made the costume and what's stopping them from using it in a contest? There's a lot of different circumstances. What would a con do if they found a costume was commissioned and won a masq.?

Some (not all) cons have craftsmanship judging, where you essentially present your costume to the judges. Not knowing anything about the construction of the costume would certainly reveal that the person didn't make it.
I'm not sure what kind of consequences there would be if a commissioned costume won, even though it was against the con's rules... certainly it would be a lot of trouble that normal amounts of honesty could easily prevent.

Sarcasm-hime
05-06-2004, 12:21 PM
Lack of continuity over various conventions is definitely something to look at. If there was a "standard procedure" for every Masquerade, the same rules and standards used for each one, life would likely be easier.

Fact of the matter is, however...that this isn't how it goes (and I'm sure there has been an argument or two of why any form of "standardization" should happen or should not happen). Some conventions use workmanship judges, and others don't. Some Masquerades put the focus on creations that are not commission items, some do not. The reasoning and logic is up to the people running the Masquerade at the time.

It never fails to amaze me that much of the Cosplay community (and anime fandom community at large) is totally ignorant of the fact that costuming and fandom have been around for a GOOD LONG WHILE (like, since the fifties at least)...and the people who've been doing it for 30 years or more know what they're doing. They have the experience, they know what works and what doesn't; if only more anime masquerade organizers would pay attention and emulate the veterans, we'd all be better off.

International Costumers' Guild (http://www.costume.org/)

Dany
05-06-2004, 01:17 PM
It never fails to amaze me that much of the Cosplay community (and anime fandom community at large) is totally ignorant of the fact that costuming and fandom have been around for a GOOD LONG WHILE (like, since the fifties at least)...and the people who've been doing it for 30 years or more know what they're doing. They have the experience, they know what works and what doesn't; if only more anime masquerade organizers would pay attention and emulate the veterans, we'd all be better off.

International Costumers' Guild (http://www.costume.org/)

I am SO tempted to make a T-shirt that reads "Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Costuming I learned for CostumeCon".

That might seem funny, but it has a point. The period between when I got talked into going to CostumeCon 22 and when I left was a HUGE learning experience for me. The people that I talked to had YEARS of experience doing what they do, most, if not all, with a generous list of awards won (one of my roommates for CC22 has won several awards in her past, and this year won Best in Show-Interpretation for the Historical Masquerade).

If even half of the knowledge and ideas for masquerades from CostumeCon filtered into some of the "not so good" masquerades, it would probably increase the satisfaction overall significantly. The problem with this happening, from what I can tell, is you're going to have the contingent that will say "well, we have our standards and they're fine enough, we don't need yours".


There is one thing, now that I think about it, that I am curious about..it kind of fits here, because of the whole "you made it vs. someone made it for you" thing. There are people here who have said "I can't sew, so why can't I get someone to do the work for me?" My first instinctual response to this, for some reason is "why can't you learn to make things?"

Now, before you bite my head off, this is not Dany being an elitist snob and looking down my nose at people who buy their costumes. This is a sincere curiousity. If I don't know how to do something, and I think it will help me, I'm going to try to get some assistance learning to do it myself, because I enjoy the feeling of being able to say "I made this on my own". I'm not saying anything against buying some things at first when you don't know how to make something (because I've bought pieces myself), but if you're really into the costuming/cosplay thing, why not go for the gusto and learn to make even a few things on your own?

Is it the lack of time? Small budget? Past bad experience?

OK, I hope this makes even a small amount of sense....I'll be happy to clarify more if I need to.

hoshikage
05-06-2004, 02:12 PM
If even half of the knowledge and ideas for masquerades from CostumeCon filtered into some of the "not so good" masquerades, it would probably increase the satisfaction overall significantly. The problem with this happening, from what I can tell, is you're going to have the contingent that will say "well, we have our standards and they're fine enough, we don't need yours".

I've been known to espouse this idea myself... and I've never even BEEN to an ICG event. Not yet anyway. This year for sure! ^^;; Now while I don't think that adopting everything they do as some kind of blanket reform is necessarily the way to go, certain aspects could be very well applied to anime con Masquerades, in my opinion. Skill levels, for one.


There is one thing, now that I think about it, that I am curious about..it kind of fits here, because of the whole "you made it vs. someone made it for you" thing. There are people here who have said "I can't sew, so why can't I get someone to do the work for me?" My first instinctual response to this, for some reason is "why can't you learn to make things?"

I have a similar reaction. I think that really, there are basically two kinds of cosplayers... the Costumer and the Actor. (I know I'm generalizing a bit, and there are certainly many people who fit into both categories, but for the purpose of making my point...:P) The Actors are the people who don't sew, don't *want* to sew (or think it's too hard, don't have the time, whatever), but still want to "be" their favorite characters, perform in skits, or just get their picture taken. The Costumers, on the other hand, like me, are obsessed with what the characters are *wearing* and how to realize it, usually doing everything possible by oneself for the satisfaction of "this took forever and it was horrible but I did it, and doesn't it look wonderful?"

The Costumers in general seem a little baffled by the Actors. "What do you mean I can't make a costume just because it's pretty? I'm not into the whole in-character thing..." And the Actors are in turn baffled by the Costumers. "You spent seven months and hundreds of dollars on that costume which you can't see out of and you don't even know anything about the character? Why?"

Now I know this seems like an off-topic tangent, but I think it's relevant because I think what it boils down to is that the Actors want to be able to perform skits and maybe win awards regardless of who made their costumes. For them, the costume just isn't as important. This point of view makes the Costumers mad (well, "mad" might be overstating) for a number of reasons, most of which have already been stated here. :P

Thing is, cosplay in general encourages both kinds of people to enjoy themselves, but anime-con Masquerades really haven't figured out how to make everybody happy, I think. (If that's even possible!) And then there's the problem that even if a given Masquerade has decided to forbid purchased costumes, there are people who will lie and do it anyway. It's a fact of life, sadly...

Dany
05-06-2004, 03:00 PM
I've been known to espouse this idea myself... and I've never even BEEN to an ICG event. Not yet anyway. This year for sure! ^^;; Now while I don't think that adopting everything they do as some kind of blanket reform is necessarily the way to go, certain aspects could be very well applied to anime con Masquerades, in my opinion. Skill levels, for one.

*nodnod* This one I think would definitely help. Newer costumers could compete with costumers at a similiar level, and not have to feel they are going to end up "trumped" by the master-level costumers.



I have a similar reaction. I think that really, there are basically two kinds of cosplayers... the Costumer and the Actor. (I know I'm generalizing a bit, and there are certainly many people who fit into both categories, but for the purpose of making my point...:P) The Actors are the people who don't sew, don't *want* to sew (or think it's too hard, don't have the time, whatever), but still want to "be" their favorite characters, perform in skits, or just get their picture taken. The Costumers, on the other hand, like me, are obsessed with what the characters are *wearing* and how to realize it, usually doing everything possible by oneself for the satisfaction of "this took forever and it was horrible but I did it, and doesn't it look wonderful?"

The Costumers in general seem a little baffled by the Actors. "What do you mean I can't make a costume just because it's pretty? I'm not into the whole in-character thing..." And the Actors are in turn baffled by the Costumers. "You spent seven months and hundreds of dollars on that costume which you can't see out of and you don't even know anything about the character? Why?"

Now I know this seems like an off-topic tangent, but I think it's relevant because I think what it boils down to is that the Actors want to be able to perform skits and maybe win awards regardless of who made their costumes. For them, the costume just isn't as important. This point of view makes the Costumers mad (well, "mad" might be overstating) for a number of reasons, most of which have already been stated here. :P

Thing is, cosplay in general encourages both kinds of people to enjoy themselves, but anime-con Masquerades really haven't figured out how to make everybody happy, I think. (If that's even possible!) And then there's the problem that even if a given Masquerade has decided to forbid purchased costumes, there are people who will lie and do it anyway. It's a fact of life, sadly...


I really like this explanation a lot...even though I sort of have to categorize myself as a bit of both the Costumer AND the Actor. I want a really good costume that someone can get close to and realize the effort I put into it. Plus, I want the presentation for said costume to be as interesting as the costume. I think I called it the "Alice Cooper" syndrome...or I've seen a bit too much of Animal X's stuff.

...and if you know who Animal X is..bonus!

kiwi
05-06-2004, 03:40 PM
I think that really, there are basically two kinds of cosplayers... the Costumer and the Actor...

I agree fully; this whole bit was basically what I was trying to get at, but you said it much better than I did ^^;;

And as for why people don't always want to learn to sew... well, it's hard for one thing. Teaching yourself to sew, from absolutely scratch, is expensive, frustrating, and *really* time consumming (if you don't own a sewing machine, there's often the price of a commissioned costume right there). having a friend or family member to teach you speeds it up and lessens the frustration, but it still takes a really long time to get from learning how to sew straight to completing a Final Fantasy-type costume. For a lot of people, that's simply not worth the time or effort, since they're generally either going to school, working full time, or maintaining other hobbies (and have no interest in sewing other than cosplay). I don't find it so weird that a 20-something person with a full-time job and social life and healthy amount of other interests would simply rather pay someone to make something (complicated) for them than go through all the learning themselves (besides, to make a lot of the costumes that get commissioned would take a long time to learn oneself, so someone wishing to self-teach would often have to start more than a year in advance if they wanted something more complicated than basic clothing-type costumes.)

To be honest, there are parts of costuming that I'd rather pay people do (contruction work, fiberglass, etc) because it simply doesn't interest me to learn it, nor do I have the tools or framework or money to start (or even someone to teach me). And, if I hadn't been sewing basically my entire life, I might feel the same about sewing (that is, not worth the investment if you're only going to be using it to make two costumes a year.)

Sarcasm-hime
05-06-2004, 04:05 PM
Hoshikage, that was a great breakdown of the Great Divide between cosplayers. ^_^

As an avowed Costumer, I don't really understand people who aren't interested in learning how to make things...learning new skills is a major part of why I do this. *shrug* but to each their own. I usually pick a costume based on how visually interesting it is and how challenging it would be, with no idea of what I'll do onstage....which causes problems when I'm trying to think up a non-lame skit at the last minute. *lol*

Whatever happened to Animal X? Her stuff was so amazing... (http://www.animalx.com/artist/aurora.htm) But I haven't seen her in the pics from recent CostumeCons.

Dammit, I *HAVE* to make it to CostumeCon next year. Grrr. Money...-.-;;

Dany
05-06-2004, 04:18 PM
And as for why people don't always want to learn to sew... well, it's hard for one thing. Teaching yourself to sew, from absolutely scratch, is expensive, frustrating, and *really* time consumming (if you don't own a sewing machine, there's often the price of a commissioned costume right there). having a friend or family member to teach you speeds it up and lessens the frustration, but it still takes a really long time to get from learning how to sew straight to completing a Final Fantasy-type costume.


This is true. It does take time, just like any other hobby, and at first can be extremely frustrating, especially if you are teaching yourself. But just like anything else, if it's something that you really want to learn and become good at, you make the time for it. And if you don't, that's your perogative. ;)

I know of plenty enough people who have very busy lives outside of their costuming, though still find it in their schedules for their craft. They can't go about whipping up elaboarate costumes in a short amount of time, but it's amazing what people who put a few hours in here or there while in front of the TV can come up with.

As for the expense? If you know what to look for then you can shave "learning expenses" down. For example, you don't need to have a brand-new sewing machine to start. The first "real" machine I bought myself was a 35 dollar thrift-store pickup. It stitched forwards and backwards and had a zig-zag stitch, and the mechanics were in working order. While you're figuring out things, that's all you really need. You could hit garage sales, or talk to relatives and see if someone has an old spare in the closet.

Also, while it takes a lot longer, there is the tried and true hand-stitching method. In some cases, it can be advantageous because you have a lot more control of what the fabric is doing. I hand-stitch a lot of finishings like necklines and cuffs and such simply because if I do them on a machine, I run the risk of messing up far more and having the damage more difficult to remove.

For practicing, you can begin on small, really easy projects and work your way up to bigger things as your confidence builds. They don't even have to be costumes either...you could, for example, take older clothes that don't fit anymore and rip out all the seams, then put them back together like a puzzle. If it works, you learned from it. If it doesn't, you rip it out and try again..and you still learned from it.

hoshikage
05-06-2004, 04:32 PM
Okay, some more notes on my theory since it seems to have sparked more discussion... ;)

1) Yes, I do in fact know who Animal X is. ^_^ Though I have sadly never seen more of her work than a few photos...

2) The Costumer-Actor crossover is why I mentioned that there were probably many people who fit into both categories. Just because *I* don't (Skit? What skit?) doesn't mean there aren't others who do. ;) And on that note...

3) I'd like to observe that I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a cosplayer who doesn't find it a priority to learn to sew. It's just a viewpoint that I can't particularly sympathize with, because my priorities are different. Just because I can't fathom it, though, doesn't mean I think it's wrong. ;) I'm addicted to learning everything I possibly can about how to make things - I'm the type of costumer who wants to be able to make *everything* myself. That's just the way I am, but not everybody will feel the same as me, and of course that's fine.

Dany
05-06-2004, 05:18 PM
1) Yes, I do in fact know who Animal X is. ^_^ Though I have sadly never seen more of her work than a few photos...

To go briefly off topic...her presentations are at least as neat as her costumes. I've been able to see some of the tape from both her "Aurora Borealis" and "Holocaust" presentations, and I was quite impressed.

What's she's doing? Sadly, she's not attending CostumeCons! But it looks that she has a lot of stuff going if wandering through her website is any indication. It's good to see she's still doing things of a costumey/performance nature.

But between her and Adrian Butterfield and a few others, I've got a nice set of costuming heroes :) </costume-geek!>

CapsuleCorp
05-06-2004, 10:01 PM
3) I'd like to observe that I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a cosplayer who doesn't find it a priority to learn to sew. It's just a viewpoint that I can't particularly sympathize with, because my priorities are different. Just because I can't fathom it, though, doesn't mean I think it's wrong. ;) I'm addicted to learning everything I possibly can about how to make things - I'm the type of costumer who wants to be able to make *everything* myself. That's just the way I am, but not everybody will feel the same as me, and of course that's fine.

I'm with you in that boat, though I do have considerable portions of Actor in me and only do costumes that I like that are a challenge that belong to a character I love and would emulate. :) (woo ignore the bad grammar) But, my question, whether rhetorical or open for discussion, shoots off of this point: why would someone of the Actor type who has no interest in construction WANT to enter a costume Masquerade? Perhaps I've been to far too many of them that judge and value workmanship and have been a part of that costume collective too long to understand the anime cosplayer's fetish for performance above construction. Back in the day, and still among anyone who cares a whit for ICG standards, the only reason and motivation for entering the Masquerade at a convention of any kind was to be able to take this great work that you've been slaving over and show it off on stage in front of people, and hopefully get a little award for it. Thus, I can't fathom HOW it got to be standard-acceptance among anime cons that the work doesn't count as much as the performance. Or why anyone would want to do that to themselves - to worry simply about performing and then just go buy the costume to suit the performance. It seems to me that that defeats the whole purpose of having a Masquerade.

Besides, unless they're REALLY funny or really witty, or eye-catching, I'm bored to tears with performances. Probably why I compete - so I don't have to watch them in the green room. ;)

I suppose it's up to the Actor types to explain what the magical lure of performance means to them, versus showing off their accomplishments in the craft.

kiwi
05-06-2004, 10:05 PM
3) I'd like to observe that I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with a cosplayer who doesn't find it a priority to learn to sew. It's just a viewpoint that I can't particularly sympathize with, because my priorities are different. Just because I can't fathom it, though, doesn't mean I think it's wrong. ;) I'm addicted to learning everything I possibly can about how to make things - I'm the type of costumer who wants to be able to make *everything* myself. That's just the way I am, but not everybody will feel the same as me, and of course that's fine.

Yeah, I don't think there's anything wrong with someone who doesn't want to sew; goodness knows I don't want to learn how to do advanced calculus, but I have some friends who *enjoy* it (and coincedentally can't and don't care to sew ;) ). So whatever floats your boat, ya know?

But mostly I just have to ask -- Hoshikage, what's in your little avatar? Reminds me of the white rabbit were he a horse ^^; It's a pretty cool costume, at any rate ^^

hoshikage
05-06-2004, 10:50 PM
But, my question, whether rhetorical or open for discussion, shoots off of this point: why would someone of the Actor type who has no interest in construction WANT to enter a costume Masquerade?

I am interested to know the answer to this question too, because I don't understand it either. Fundamentally a Masquerade really is about costumes... so why do it if you don't sew? What's the attraction?

Besides, unless they're REALLY funny or really witty, or eye-catching, I'm bored to tears with performances. Probably why I compete - so I don't have to watch them in the green room. ;)

To be honest, I usually don't find many skits that entertaining either. But then, I have odd tastes in comedy, I suppose, since most movie comedies strike me as painful rather than entertaining. So it could just be me... but since the vast majority of anime-con skits tend toward comedy, well... ^^;;

But mostly I just have to ask -- Hoshikage, what's in your little avatar? Reminds me of the white rabbit were he a horse ^^; It's a pretty cool costume, at any rate ^^

It's Freya, from Final Fantasy IX. My theory is that she's a kangaroo. :) It would explain the Jumping, anyway...

Ali
05-06-2004, 11:56 PM
But, my question, whether rhetorical or open for discussion, shoots off of this point: why would someone of the Actor type who has no interest in construction WANT to enter a costume Masquerade?

I can help with this... at least from my experience. Y'see, I'm a convert. I entered my first masq at my first con in a costume my other friends had made for me, and 2 other masqs in costumes I wasn't particularly proud of. I had 2 reasons for doing so:
1) I do the acting thing. In the acting thing, you don't make your costumes, you don't worry about costumes; you just act. Performing is exhilarating! There is an element of escape in getting to pretend to be your character, and the masquerade allows Actor types to go all out in that respect.
2) Attention. I admit it. It's a way to be remembered at a con. You get lots of exposure, and whether the costume is well done or not, it gets its moment in the spotlight, along with the person wearing it. ^_^

Recently, I started to really take pride in the craftsmanship of my costumes, and now it's hard to imagine a masq without an excellent costume. I still love performing; there's no thrill like it. But I'd like to use my moment in the spotlight to showcase an excellent piece of craftsmanship. I feel that I should take pride in every aspect of the presentation, and that includes the costume.

hoshikage
05-07-2004, 12:46 AM
*scratches head* Okay, I can understand the thrill of performing, but I guess for me, without the costume, the thrill isn't there either. Costume is a really important part of character - Hollywood knows this, as I've seen it mentioned on various DVD extras and such how wearing the costume helps the actors immensely in getting into character. And somehow I just can't imagine feeling the emotional connection with what I'm performing, if I didn't also feel an emotional connection with what I was wearing, by virtue of all the time and effort I put into it. Is that odd? ^^;; I guess it's sort of like feeling pride and satisfaction in one's work, or something... it's the culmination and payoff of all the weeks (or months, or whatever) of work. Without having made the costume, I just can't imagine that the performance would feel... well, relevant to me, I guess.

*rereads* Gah. I'm rambling. Going to sleep now.

musica heart
05-07-2004, 11:22 PM
Bringing up, the " cons make thier rules..Fin"
Over here in the "south" the only con that I have been to that has actually had up close judging was AWA.
I would be nice, if they just separated the two..one in more of a run way style for the peeps who want to be judged for construction, and one for the skits ( which can include both groups, come togther people) both at different times so..the costruction costumers can join in on the fun of skits, and the skit people will have a time just for them.
Jamming the two together in one show, just seems a bit odd from my stand point.
Many people who have done an absolutley drop dead, holey crap, my jaw is about to fall off , your wings are awesome, everything is awesome costumes end up with a complimentary anime preview cd and zippo?
Should they have been beaten by a group who got a judges award in the same competition just because that one group had a baby with a large felt hat in the skit? ( incident at az o3..hahah)

On the "should people with commissioned costumes be alloud?"
From the stand point of a costume maker for other people, they should be aloud in skits, why not? they are not doing any harm what so ever they are just having fun with what they are wearing, people wear Lee pants during a play, do they have to be busted on for not saying that they are lee pants? but I think that would only work if they seperated the skit shows from the fashion shows.( I am not saying that this would cut the faking out, but it may help)

It is a sad fact, that people would lie about thier costumes, and really there is no way to stop it, unless the cosplay community internationally brought about some coding system for all commissioners to subit data to...but that is a bit to matrixy no?

There will always be those types of people who steal from snack machines, then wave it around saying " I am so cool, i got two packs of peanut butter crackers...HA OOH the skills pouring from my viens, watch out, you may drown in my glory"
It just depends on the morallity of the customer and the costumer.
Even if an agreement was made, that person still could say it was thier work.

Though on the other hand, I believe that i would help to explicitly,bold font the whole shabanng, state that if the costume was not made by you, you cannot enter the costruction judging without a written consent, along with the makers phone number, so that someone could actually call the costumer before the con was over to check.


possitive dreaming? probably so.

_Mandy_
05-08-2004, 01:34 AM
There is one thing, now that I think about it, that I am curious about..it kind of fits here, because of the whole "you made it vs. someone made it for you" thing. There are people here who have said "I can't sew, so why can't I get someone to do the work for me?" My first instinctual response to this, for some reason is "why can't you learn to make things?"
True, it really isn't hard to sew at all...especially with a machine. And as for working without a pattern it's easy to go find an article of your own clothing like it and see how it's put together. That's how my friend made her Homura (Saiyuki) jacket...she took a trench coat and then just worked from there. Sewing isn't hard at all, you just need to learn like everything else, but few people have the patience for it.

Like hand painting on the design on my Yuna costume...I just started today and it took me five hours to make half of the obi. And I still have to add the flowers and the design on the blue circle. Now, how many people would be patient enough to sit down and do that themselves? Not many...people are always rushing and just want to get things done. Which is probably why a lot of people comission...lack of time.

Eriol
05-27-2004, 06:17 PM
There is one thing, now that I think about it, that I am curious about..it kind of fits here, because of the whole "you made it vs. someone made it for you" thing. There are people here who have said "I can't sew, so why can't I get someone to do the work for me?" My first instinctual response to this, for some reason is "why can't you learn to make things?"

Because some of us will not produce a costume of any satisfaction to ourselves and would rather leave it to *experts*. Oh, yes, we will be paying a premium for the experts' service, but the experts will definitely produce something that fits our vision better than anything we can produce in the *short-term*.



I have a similar reaction. I think that really, there are basically two kinds of cosplayers... the Costumer and the Actor. (I know I'm generalizing a bit, and there are certainly many people who fit into both categories, but for the purpose of making my point...:P) The Actors are the people who don't sew, don't *want* to sew (or think it's too hard, don't have the time, whatever), but still want to "be" their favorite characters, perform in skits, or just get their picture taken. The Costumers, on the other hand, like me, are obsessed with what the characters are *wearing* and how to realize it, usually doing everything possible by oneself for the satisfaction of "this took forever and it was horrible but I did it, and doesn't it look wonderful?"

This is an astute observation and a very valid one. I fall into the Actor category. I have almost zero interest in making any costumes. I'd rather wear a good costume than any bad costume I could churn out in the next 5 years.

That's why I think Masquerades need a performance category that is totally separate from costume construction category. Some people like to act. Others may just want a fashion show (give them a catwalk venue).

And quite frankly, some skits are just plain bad. I really wish cons would actually create separate venues for costuming construction and masquerades. If I'm watching a stage performance, I'd be more concerned about the acting than the costuming. I want to be entertained first. Eye candy can only go so far (just like video games...)

Dany
05-27-2004, 07:58 PM
And quite frankly, some skits are just plain bad. I really wish cons would actually create separate venues for costuming construction and masquerades. If I'm watching a stage performance, I'd be more concerned about the acting than the costuming. I want to be entertained first. Eye candy can only go so far (just like video games...)

To many, however, the costuming IS part of the acting. It's the way that we lure people into the illusion, for a few minutes, that we ARE that character. You don't get that if you're wearing a T-shirt and jeans, or worse, if the costume does nothing to present the illusion that you have become the subject of your work.

And this is where things get delicate: Two equally good performances, say, of the same character, one person went through the work to make the costume themselves, the other had it made for them. Who would you vote for?

Here is the meat of the problem. And yes, I know, it's a very idealized situation, but I'm boiling things down to a very simplified point.

Eriol
05-27-2004, 08:23 PM
To many, however, the costuming IS part of the acting. It's the way that we lure people into the illusion, for a few minutes, that we ARE that character. You don't get that if you're wearing a T-shirt and jeans, or worse, if the costume does nothing to present the illusion that you have become the subject of your work.

I disagree. Do we expect Broadway thespians to have to concern themselves with costuming? No, they have a wardrobe department.

People take drama classes, but they are not required to wear outfits.

A costume adds to the illusion, but when the question is the acting skill itself, costuming does not add anything. You can wear the most well-constructed costume and still act poorly. There are plays whose designs are not to have elaborate costumes. So, what carries the play? The acting.

It's the way that we lure people into the illusion, for a few minutes, that we ARE that character.

That's fine if it's Disney World, and you're a "street actor" in the theme park. But if you're going on-stage to perform a skit (and you are not a walk-on character or a mute), you will need to act.

I can't expect people to put on professional quality acting, but some skits seem like the people aren't trying or just threw a quick script just to get to show off their costumes. That's why I prefer separate skit and fashion shows.

In the case of anime cons, who source material is highly stylized, then a costume helps a skit, but if your acting sucks, the costume is but an empty shell.



And this is where things get delicate: Two equally good performances, say, of the same character, one person went through the work to make the costume themselves, the other had it made for them. Who would you vote for?

Here is the meat of the problem. And yes, I know, it's a very idealized situation, but I'm boiling things down to a very simplified point.

If I were judging solely on he basis of acting quality, I would actually vote a tie. If I had to give a "judge's tilt", I'd favor the one who made their own outfit, because he/she has demonstrated more than just acting acumen but sewing acumen, even if the one who bought the person had a better costume.

My voting pattern would only work if I *knew* who was submitting their own costumes and who would be submitting commissioned costumes. If entrants lie about the origins of their costumes, it can't be helped (you could give entrants a rigorous interview about their costumes to sniff out liars).

If I had a compromise, I'd group people with similar-quality outfits to be competing against each other in the same acting category if both are tying to put on a skit. That way, the person with the "lesser-quality" outfit has somewhat equal footing.

My main point is that I care more about acting if I'm seeing people on-stage doing a skit. Perhaps I don't represent the majority thinking on this matter, but I really thinking anime con masquerades should not lump costuming and acting judging into a single event.

SpikeSpiegel
05-27-2004, 09:59 PM
Well, simply put in acting class we wore normal clothes and played parts from different eras. The believablity of it had nothing to do with what we were wearing. I don't think 'skits' should be judged on the costumes honestly. I think they should be judged by the acting and the story. I know that seems wacky when it comes to cosplay but thats how I feel about it. Anyone can wear a fantastic costume and be a crappy actor/actress. No offense to anyone. I'm not exactly a oscar winner myself heh.

I don't sew. Why? I don't have a sewing machine for one and I don't think my work would live up to my standards even if I did. That is why I plan on having my Spike outfit commissioned. It doesn't make me any less of a costumer in my opinion. I won't participate in skits and masq's though, if I do at all ever, without letting it be known I didn't make the outfit.

Dany
05-27-2004, 11:34 PM
I disagree. Do we expect Broadway thespians to have to concern themselves with costuming? No, they have a wardrobe department.

People take drama classes, but they are not required to wear outfits.

This isn't drama class, however. It's a Masquerade.

But that, of course, is not the basis of the discussion. Originally, it was about whether someone who purchased their costume from someone should enter it into competition where costume construction is, at times, a factor in the judging.


A costume adds to the illusion, but when the question is the acting skill itself, costuming does not add anything. You can wear the most well-constructed costume and still act poorly. There are plays whose designs are not to have elaborate costumes. So, what carries the play? The acting.

Again, see above. We're talking about Masquerades. Apples and oranges. The very definition of the word "masquerade" denotes costumes being involved. Take the relevance of the costume away, and you might as well just have a talent show. Though I must say, how often do you go to a talent show where the performers aren't at least somewhat dressed up, if not in a costume?

For my part, if it were to come to the idea of separating the "costume contest" from the "skit performance", I'd likely go to the costume contest, because 1) that's my interest, and 2) unless the convention strictly forbids a skit in the costume end of things, I might be more likely to see the combination of costume and performance that I enjoy.

Eriol
05-27-2004, 11:51 PM
For my part, if it were to come to the idea of separating the "costume contest" from the "skit performance", I'd likely go to the costume contest, because 1) that's my interest, and 2) unless the convention strictly forbids a skit in the costume end of things, I might be more likely to see the combination of costume and performance that I enjoy.

That's perfectly fine. You would have a costume contest event for those interested in costuming and be entertained in that manner.

People like me can go to the skit show and be entertained by skits. I am not implying in any way that a skit should be devoid of all costuming. I'm advocating that in a skit, costuming gets a very minor part of the scoring (less than 25%). In other words, in a skit, costuming can decide a winner in a close acting competition, but a skit should never win based predominantly on costuming. If I wanted that eye candy and little acting, I would go see a Hollywood movie. I like good costumes too, but if someone is going to do a skit, I expect him/her to try to come up with a good skit and act it out.

Having two events would be a win for everybody. Cosplayers would probably flock to the costuming events. Anime fans, but who are not cosplayers, can go see skits.

Or for the contestant's benefit, run the events at different times to allow the contestant to enter both. But I bet most entrants will only do well in one of the two contests.

Karisu-sama
05-28-2004, 03:18 AM
I really wish cons would actually create separate venues for costuming construction and masquerades.
Seems only fair to me. The most experienced (and best-run, in my NOT humble opinion) con Masquerades DO. ~__^ (I'm talking about SF/F cons here; whose Masquerades I've been watching, working at, and/or participating in for 25+ years.)

I'm an actor. (In the amateur sense only - my parents nixed my plans for a Theater Major for something that would instead "provide more gainful employment".)

I am also a costume maker. (A craft in which I take pride.)

When I'm going for workmanship judging, I expect it to start offstage where the judges can see the costume and reference materials up close. Further judging in this category may occur when the judges see how the costume functions onstage, what special capabilities it has for performance, etc.

When I go on stage to enjoy acting before an audience, I expect to be judged on a presentation, which usually means some sort of skit, special dance, what have you.

For any costume that wins on the merits of its beauty, craftsmanship, design, special effects etc., that award belongs to the costume crafter(s) which may or may not include the person wearing it. (A person wearing a commissioned costume may therefore choose not to compete in the Workmanship category, unless it's a family member or friend who made it.)

Coming originally from the world of Science Fiction / Fantasy convention Masquerades, I am used to both categories of judging at a Masquerade, and the contestants' choice of either one category or both. More Anime cons need
to actually study successful existing Masquerade organization & judging, not keep trying to re-invent the wheel. IMO, of course. :p

*Shiva*
05-31-2004, 10:23 PM
I think that masquarades should be first and foremost be comprised of people who make their own costumes, because I feel that despite the emphasis on the skits, judges are looking mostly at the costumes as opposed to the performances.
HOWEVER
As Karisu-sama mentioned, performance SHOULD come first, and in that case, I don't think it matters. As a dancer and actress (I just got my BFA in theatre and dance - whoo-hoo!), I think that it would be fun to see a catagory develop in masquarades which focuses soley on PERFORMANCE - productions which are more than just a 3 minute comedy routine or a lipsync, but include lots of choreography, acting, real singing and musical instrument skills. Although these occur occasionally, the majority of skits are just that - skits. IF such a catagory was developed in which the emphasis truly was on performance, than I see no reason why commissioned or store bought costumes couldn't be entered. It wouldn't bother me any more than a dance school which buys its competition costumes rather than makes them - its not really what matters.