PDA

View Full Version : NDK Costume and Cosplay Contest 2006


darth_teca
10-09-2006, 04:25 PM
First of all, I would like to thank Katie/Lady Neese for all the the hard work and improvements that were made to the competition by her. NDK is a growing con and the cosplay contest is finally beginning to reflect that. Since NDK doesn't have a talk-back session for reviews, this thread is to give both positive and negative things about the contest that can be used by NDK cosplay staff. Again, this is for CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK, this is not a rant place. If you really feel the need to have to rant about something, please make a new thread or turn it into something constructive.

So here are my things!

Pros:
-Craftsmanship judging: OMG, IT WAS THERE!! PRAISE THE ANGELS! The fact that there was craftsmanship judging was fantastic and a HUGE step forward. Costumes that the untrained/inexperienced person is not that interesting can still be amazing costumes that DERSERVE recognition. Last year, the Saga Frontier girls would have not been recognized at all for the amazing work that they did. It is a well-known fact that because of the nature of the judging at previous NDK's, mechas and mascot/furry costumes win only because they look better on stage. Recognizing that there is more to it than just that is wonderful.

-Green Room Badges: I thought this was rather brilliant. Not only did it keep random people from being in the Green Room, it was an easy way to determine the order you were in. If you forgot your number, there wasn't any frantic sheet checking, you just simply looked at the badge number given to you.

-Water and Staff: The staff was simply amazing at making sure everyone had water and that the cosplayers were told when was the last five minutes they should probably go to the bathroom. I might suggest having a bullhorn or something so that the poor people didn't have to scream so much, but I always fealt very well taken care of.

-Schedule: The schedule was very clear and that was really nice. Except for Piano Squall running over, it seemed to be well under-way.

-Online Sign-up: Brilliant. I am a BIG fan of this because it makes the sign up process slightly less insane. It also creates a nice balance of people who can register way ahead of time because they are super dedicated and the people who do it on a whim.

-Divisions: Expanding the class divisions was great. It helped split up the people more than before and give a more fair contest. With people moving up the divisions, it makes it so the same people don't keep winning over everyone else.

-More detailed rules: On that note, the rules in general were a vast improvement. They left less room for interpretation and gave a better idea of what was going to happen and how things were decided.

Cons:
-Craftsmanship: It needs to be expanded to all of the divisions. There is a HUGE difference between a beginner who lined their Integra costume and one who tapes together a mascot costume. In the current NDK system, the mascot costume has a better chance of winning, just because it looks better on stage. Craftsmanship needs to be supported at the "bottom of the totem" to help promote the over-all improvement of the entire Colorado cosplay community. An option is to make it optional for the lower levels. It will eat up a lot of time for the craftsmanship judges but it is worth it for giving people the recognition they deserve.

-Definition of Masters Catagory: Masters catagory needs to be like the other catagories and have an award requirment to enter. Previously, NDK did not do this with Masters because Masters was basically like compeating for the "Best of Show" award, so anybody could be in it. However, now that there IS a Best in Show award that everyone is elligible for, Masters needs to become a class where the most experienced go to compeat with each other.

-Cosplayers as Judges: While I think it is great that the guests get to be judges, you would not ask someone who doesn't have experience in baseball to be an umpire. There needs to be cosplayers who are also judges who can look past the fact that a costume is big and be able to spot a well made and detailed costume. While craftsmanship is a step in this direction, costuming and cosplay is also about stage presentation. Experienced cosplayers KNOW how to put on a good skit and how to show off a costume and can appreciate it when it is done particularily well that others might not realize. There needs to be a balance and CO has no shortage of wonderful cosplayers who could be a judge. One option might even to offer the winner of the Masters competition has the option of being a judge at the next NDK.

-Award Distribution: One of the biggest problems with NDK is that two or three people seem to win all of the awards. It is important to support and reward as many people as possible without going over-board. While judge's choice awards are hard to control(although I think it is possible), there shouldn't be groups winning Best in Whatever and Best in Show. Best in Show is the best out of EVERYONE, so ofcourse they are going to be the best in their group.

-Judging System: The olympic style judging system really should be gotten rid of. There are SO many variables in cosplay that change things, not to mention it is completely dependent on what the other entrants have. How can you possibly decide what number to give on one costume until you've seen how good it is compared to the others. Not to mention that the numbers are being given mostly by people who don't know the slightest thing about costuming in general.

Thank you for a great NDK!

grandis
10-09-2006, 04:33 PM
-Cosplayers as Judges: While I think it is great that the guests get to be judges, you would not ask someone who doesn't have experience in baseball to be an umpire. There needs to be cosplayers who are also judges who can look past the fact that a costume is big and be able to spot a well made and detailed costume. While craftsmanship is a step in this direction, costuming and cosplay is also about stage presentation. Experienced cosplayers KNOW how to put on a good skit and how to show off a costume and can appreciate it when it is done particularily well that others might not realize. There needs to be a balance and CO has no shortage of wonderful cosplayers who could be a judge. One option might even to offer the winner of the Masters competition has the option of being a judge at the next NDK.

-Award Distribution: One of the biggest problems with NDK is that two or three people seem to win all of the awards. It is important to support and reward as many people as possible without going over-board. While judge's choice awards are hard to control(although I think it is possible), there shouldn't be groups winning Best in Whatever and Best in Show. Best in Show is the best out of EVERYONE, so ofcourse they are going to be the best in their group.



Mind you, I wasn't in the contest this year, but I did watch the results. These two things are indeed what I would suggest you take a look at in the future, and DT did a great job pointing these things out.

As someone who's run cosplay in the past, I am a great believer in sharing the love. By only awarding a few, you run the risk of creating a climate where people feel there is favoritism and ringers, whether these things come into play or not.

NDK does have this problem, based on several side conversations I heard this year that surprised me. Maybe this is something to take a serious look at as you formulate your awards for next year.

IE: winner of last year's masq being next year's judge. We did that at AI, with varying success. It's worked, and it's failed. Still, it is a nice way to reward your winning participants, AND it's a nice way to get them out of the contest next year, so someone else has a chance to win best of show. :)

I loved the video game award, the JPop award, and the historical award, by the way! Those were nice touches, and unlike judges choice, they represent the choice of a con subgroup, not individuals.

Grandis

lilacwire
10-09-2006, 05:00 PM
I'm going to add on to Mandi's entry.

I, too, am a big fan of the competition being expanded into a "everyone judged for craftsmanship" type of deal. There was definitely Master's level work in the Intermediate category, and I would have like to seen those cosplayers bumped up.

I'm going to break down my list like darth_teca did, just to help me figure out what I want to say.

Pros -

1. I agree with a lot of darth_teca's comments. Great care of the cosplayers by the staff, green room badges, the start of craftsmanship judging. Bravo! It's very exciting for NDK to introduce craftsmanship especially. We've all been waiting for that. ^^

2. Audience Favorites - it's fun to see the audience get to pick their favorite costumes and skits. It's a strength NDK has and I hope they keep it in addition to any other changes they make. I think it keeps the audience involved and having a good time finding the entry that wowed them the most.

3. Judging half-time. I'm glad NDK was not adverse to us getting up and being able to pace around during half-time. 'nuff said.

4. Diversity of other awards - I love that NDK gives out a traditional kimono award, video game award, and J-rock award. I think it helps the community strive to make unique and excellent costumes. I'm glad this aspect of the masquerade was also kept.

Cons:

1. The greenroom was too small. I know this seems nitpicky, but for cosplayers to be standing for over an hour could truly be a problem for someone with high heels, a hot, or heavy costume. A large green room is truly a blessing. If there's any way to make it bigger for next year, I think everyone would appreciate it.

2. Agreeing with darth_teca here: too many awards for certain individuals. Because the Masters were the only ones competing for craftsmanship, a lot of awards got placed on the same people, including my partner and myself. I would have liked to see this spread out a bit more to recognize more of the Colorado cosplay community for there were some very wonderful costumes that had no recognition. I know that is because NDK is based a lot on presentation, and think it has a lot of room to grow.

3. Skit & Walk-On Diversity. I understand that something like this may be several years down the line, but it would be wonderful if there was no difference between skits and walk-ons. I.E. skits and walk-ons were all judged for craftsmanship and all eligable for craftsmanship awards. Skits would also be eligable for presentation awards given by judges and not just audience favorite. That way all walk-ons could include music if they so wished (which I was not aware that Masters could have) and add more emphasis to their stage presence.

4. Masters. On the NDK website it is mentioned that in-progress photos would be required for masters, and I was under the impression that this contest was also for people who had won a certain number of awards or who had a recognized level of craftsmanship. I was wrong (the NDK site has no mention of needing to have won anything before), and kind of curious why there would be regulations for beginners and intermediate, but no requirements for proof of previous experience/wins for Master. I would hope for a clear division of levels and the allowance for any craftsmanship judges to move people up or down into different categories based on their judgement of the costume level. This would continue to equal out the competition in terms of skill.

Also, I was asked for a reference picture for my costume, but no in-progress shots (I brought them anyway). I think it would help for craftsmanship judging if all entrants knew a year in advance they needed to be documenting their work. That would make craftsmanship judging a lot better for any judge (and entering a commissioned costume harder for a contestant).

5. Microphones on stage. It's hard to hear and keeps someone posed in the middle of the stage rather than using the area to show off their costume. Requiring a cd with the music or words is easy - anyone with a microphone and a computer can mix music, or get help doing it.

6. Limiting the number of entrants in each category. Instead of having only 15 slots for beginners, intermediate, etc., what about opening up the competition to anyone who wanted to enter until all 75 slots were filled? This would mean that people who belonged in masters wouldn't be stuck in intermediate if all masters slots were filled, as I know happened to a few people. Also, this would help the divisions remain equal.

I hope this list doesn't come off as "angry." I have the utmost respect for the work done this year and I know that changes cannot be brought around in one day. The NDK Masquerade staff did SUCH a good job. I want to give kudos to everyone for their hard work. I respect it a lot. As darth_teca said, everything mentioned here are my initial opinionis and critiques from the cosplayer's POV. Maybe at the next con there can be a masquerade round table for more people to give constructive feedback.

Kakashi101
10-09-2006, 05:11 PM
-Award Distribution: One of the biggest problems with NDK is that two or three people seem to win all of the awards. It is important to support and reward as many people as possible without going over-board. While judge's choice awards are hard to control(although I think it is possible), there shouldn't be groups winning Best in Whatever and Best in Show. Best in Show is the best out of EVERYONE, so ofcourse they are going to be the best in their group.

I couldn't agree more! It was wonderful that two groups kept getting awards, showing that they really did a good job, buuuuuuuuuut...after seeing that only those two groups out of the tons was rather silly.
My partner was a first time cosplayer watcher, and she got very mad that the two groups kept winning. As she said 'Wait, didn't they already win three of those little figure things? There must be a lot of awards...'

And I would like to add in my own two cents if I may- *stands on soapbox* I, and my group, thought that there should have been a second place cosplay skit award and a audience favorite one too. Just having first, and the screwy judge vote was disapointing on our part. Didn't they have a second place last year? On the other hand- It made sence. Why have three awards when there were only three skits? But still...a second place wouldn't have been bad. *gets off soap box*

But still!! We had SUCH a fun time preforming. And to the Bleach group- I'm glad you guys won, I almost pissed myself. XD

lilacwire
10-09-2006, 05:18 PM
Kakashi - the reason there's such a distribution of awards is based on the olympic grading style. Each judge rates the cosplayers as they cross the stage, so if they really like a costume, they give it a high score. Then they also pick it as their judge's choice award. So several awards end up going to the same groups since they made such a good presentation the judges.

As for those of us in masters - we were the only ones eligable for craftsmanship, so the masters/craftsmanship awards were passed around a very narrow group of people. This is why I would like to see craftsmanship for the entire group of entries, as well as the craftsmanship judges in on the skit awards as well. This would help diversify the awards. Then there could be 1st & 2nd Novice, 1st & 2nd Intermediate, 1st & 2nd Masters, etc. Best of show could be the overall best and thus be bumped up from 1st in its class and then move up the 3rd best to become 2nd. I hope that was clear.

Plus, if the judges would discuss their choices and not give judge's choice awards to people who were winning craftsmanship or other major awards, it would help too.

Tell your friend that the cosplayers who won are aware of the "award-heavy wins" and we're hoping to make an impression on the NDK masquerade staff to keep improving the masquerade. I'm so glad there was the start of craftsmanship judging this year and I hope it can be spread to everyone.

Tenshinoitami1
10-09-2006, 06:08 PM
I'm from Virginia and have gone to many cons on the East Coast and entered in a few different cons' costume contests. When I entered teh contest at NDK I was awestruck at how it was handled. I'll do my best to list the differences.

-Hall costume contests vs walk ons
At the cons I go to they have hall costume contests for firday and saturday so those who wish to NOT go on stage can enter a costume, also if someone wants to enter more than one costume at the con they can. These are pre judged and there is no limit on how many beginners etc slots are avaible, you just enter and get a judging time. At judging you are asked about how you made your costumes etc, adviced to have reference pictures because lets face it, not eveyerone knows EVERY anime or game out there, ESPEICALLY when it comes to jrock. Some cons take a digital picture of your costume for judging references.

-Skits
When I heard there were only 8 skits I was like "WHAAAAAAAAT!?" at my cons we have like 20-30!!! and very few walk ons. We also do not have an audience judging system so we have a lot more awards to give out, however having an aditional audience award would be cool.

-Craftamanship judging
When I found out I was in teh contest (I was on teh wait list) I was told to be in the green room at 5:30, I was like "You don't give judging times? Do I bring my reference pictures?" They said nope, just show up. I was all O__________O because that was so obsecure to me. I entered a jrock costume which of course would be VERY UNKNOWN. Without my reference pictures how do you know I got it right!?!? I had come prepared with all these pictures and ready to explain allllllllll the little details I had in my costume (which I am oh so proud of).

-Divisons
I was going to enter as beginner gecause I thought that's what I was, I thought I didnt have enough awards to be in intermeddite (found out that I do though xD;; ). When it came to my turn to sign up for the contest I was told there were no more beginner slots and asked if I wanted to enter as intermediate. I was very confused that was I allowed to do that since I was under the impression you had to have so many awards to be considered in a certain divison. When I started to ask about having my costume judged they said only masters has craftsmanship and asked if I wanted to be in masters. Again GREAT confusion as I feel I dont belong anywhere near masters!

The contest itself though was SO MUCH FUN! I am soooooooo glad I got a spot in it! I met some really fun people backstage. The constant supply of water was GREAT as I thought I was going to DIE in all that vynil and layers I had on x.x And the supply of straws XD that was wonderful too for those costumes with lots of makeup etc.

I was -VERY- happy that there were special awards for the kimono, video game, and jrock. You have NO IDEA how happy that made me! Usually jrock gets pushed aside in these contest because lets face it, its a subgroup that not everyone is aware of. Anime and game costumes tend to get the awards more because they are more known. If you look at my gallery it may appear I only do jrock (that's not true! go look at my cosplaylab) but I have tons of anime costumes and have entered with those before as well so it was really nice to have that reconition specfically for jrock.

All in all I had a ton of fun and if I make it to NDK again next year I'll definate be entering again!

phantomthief
10-09-2006, 07:17 PM
*hugs Tenshi*

Congrats again!!! :D You really deserved that one (Kaoru would be proud) and, yes, the JRock award made me super happy because it rarely gets recognition. T.T

Though... I have to wonder along with her. Why is craftsmanship limited to Masters catagory? This was my first NDK and I had to be a little more than dissapointed with that little issue. As a person who spent half a year and literally hundreds on my costume (but was in the beginners catagory) I felt a liiittle bit cheated.

My costume was extremely obscure (I love all of you in the entire con who recognized me! Both of you XD) and I honestly felt a little biased against due to this. (Seeing as the two costumes that did win in the catagory were more well known)

Is it just me, or were most of the winning costumes more mainstream and recognizable? (Besides the specials ^.~)

I'm definately not going to let this get me down, when I went on stage the collective "Oooooooooooh" more than made up for it XD (I could've died right there) But I think references are a REALLY good idea. Just to be a little more fair to us super obscure people.

(For any reference, I was the blue multi-layered kimono clad girl. *points to avatar*)

Also, I suggest implementing the AWA awards system. ONE award per costume! PLEASE.

~Ari-chan

Lady Neese
10-09-2006, 08:04 PM
Thank you to everyone for the feedback and to those who have yet to comment. One of the only ways for me to know how to improve the contest, besides me looking at the behind the scence stuff, is for your feedback. It has been an interesting year, I just took over as the head of cosplay at the end of July/beginning of August, at the same time I was fininshing school and an internship and starting a new job. While I thought I was pretty organized for the contest there are definatly some things I would like to change and your comments help me decide what worked and what needs to be worked on. So once again thank you guys for the constuctive feedback.

Katie

darth_teca
10-09-2006, 08:11 PM
Though... I have to wonder along with her. Why is craftsmanship limited to Masters catagory?

Craftsmanship is something new for NDK. The staff for this contest was completely new, so they are trying to introduce things into the contest. While those of us who have been to many contests before, craftsmanship is normal but there are those who have never dealt with that before. I think that the staff was just trying to break in the idea and see how it went. Hopefully now, it can be extended. ^.^


Is it just me, or were most of the winning costumes more mainstream and recognizable? (Besides the specials ^.~)


Yeah, that's the problem with having judges who are not cosplayers. If you really don't know much about making costumes or putting on a skit, it is natural to get more excited about costumes that you recognize and know the characters for. So "popular" characters and those that are huge and vissually impressive have an advantage.

Beverly
10-09-2006, 08:36 PM
This year was far improved from previous years, and I commend the hard work of all the cosplay staff and helpers. You all did a wonderful job, and we love you for it! We enjoyed ourselves so much, and all the cosplayers were just AMAZING!

I sit in the same position as Lilacwire, as my group was the other in the masters category that was honored multiple times. Regarding that, I was one of them who last year suggested that they figure out a system in which they should award only ONE (at the very most, two, mostly regarding the "special" awards) awards per entry. It can be as simple as a pack of sticky notes or a whiteboard and a marker... the judges are intelligent people, they will figure it out. So that's a point to work on. We're still completely honored and grateful for the awards we did win... and being that there were three (and then some) people involved with the whole project... well, maybe it kinda evens out a little? XD

A+
The institution of the levels system.

C-
The application of the levels system. There were a great deal of people that needed to be in different levels, whether because of their skill level, their awards, whatever.

A lot of people have mentioned awards in how people are placed in their levels... I disagree with that. The single award I ever won before this at NDK was an audience choice in '99, and it was for a skit. That did not -technically- qualify us for masters, but taking into consideration what we had planned, mine and their history, and our personal levels, I felt it was more appropriate. There are a great deal of people who have wonderful skills who've never won an award. Let skill level be a bigger part of the equation, not just awards won.

Awards should NEVER push someone out of a higher level if they want to compete there... it should keep those with enough skills in the higher levels, so that they don't have an unfair advantage. If we need to use different words for the levels, so be it, but it should be a matter of keeping it fair for those in the lower levels, above all. I use myself as an example... I don't have any awards that would have kept me out of intermediate - but knowing my own level personally, and the BIG MCLARGEHUGE (uh, the glider) that we were bringing, knowing that it was going to be some serious WOW factor (well, we were hoping, anyway. XD Guess we were right), I opted to compete in masters. To do intermediate, I felt, would have been unfair, not to mention rude, to the other cosplayers in that division, even though by all technical standards/awards I'd won, I didn't have to be there. My skill level, as well as the wow-factor of the glider (the same wow factor that included mascots and robots for so many years) made that, for me, the only way I could fairly compete.

Which takes me to the need for craftsmanship to determine said skill level. I agree strongly that we need craftsmanship judging for all levels. If it's a matter of manpower, there are people who are willing and ready to do it. I like Grandis' idea of letting the previous year's winner judge, I suggested that last year, too. Let there be a celebrity judge, but let there also be a judge who can deal with performance (someone from the industry, perhaps a singer, voice actor, etc), and someone who can deal with construction (preferably a cosplayer, but perhaps even an artist, someone with an understanding of form and composition).

Regarding the skits, NDK usually lets their skits have at least 3-4 minutes (it was 5 minutes in previous years), thus the small number of them. 2-3 minutes would be more appropriate (because God knows we have the shortest bloody attention spans that I've ever encountered... XD), and that would allow for more skits.

Uh, the hotel's sound system sucked. I couldn't understand a damn thing in any of the skits.

I also agree that there should be more awards for the skits, but I think that would hinge on there being more skits, too. XD

phantomtheif, I think if they instituted the craftsmanship into the intermediate and beginners category, you definately would have had a much greater chance. ^^ People missing out on beautiful work like yours, and Paperwings, and a number of other people who were overlooked, is exactly why we want craftsmanship judging in all the levels so much. But there is also the inevitability that more recognizable costumes will get the more attention... that we can blame on human nature, at least. XD

PS: Whatever happened to the hall cosplay? I know a few years ago staff members had little pins to give out to costumes they liked... I think that'd be a great thing to start up again. ^^ I got one of those that year, and it was a real pick me up.

Kakashi101
10-09-2006, 10:24 PM
Wait...wait. Phantomthief, you wern't in the Masters with you SohRyu? Are you kidding me!?

phantomthief
10-09-2006, 10:27 PM
Nope ^.^ Again, I though it was award based X3

(BTW, were you in the singing-Yuna skit? If so that was HILARIOUS. If I could've rolled, I would've ^.^)

~Ari-chan

Kakashi101
10-09-2006, 10:37 PM
Yup! That was me ;) Thanks!...next year, you better win Masters.

keikana
10-09-2006, 11:00 PM
I agree with everything Mandi and Christine said. And great job Lady Neese! This year was a big improvement!

Though at one point I was sitting there thinking "how uhh.. do they decide who's in what category?" For example, someone like me who isn't as brilliant a seamstress as others but who isn't really new to cosplay would fit into the 'Beginner' category, right? And to the same degree, someone who has won numerous awards at conventions is automatically elligible for the Masters division, correct? Ultimately this year it was up to the contestants to judge which category they belonged in, and as a result I saw some stuff in beginners that I thought "wow, maybe that belongs elsewhere".

I realize it's probably really hard to ask for a way for the staff to 'sort' the contestants, though, and the fact that the categories are there at all is smashing! X3

I'd also like to comment, since this year I was a spectator and not an entrant, that the voting got a little bit confusing when the little ballot said "Beginner, Intermediate, Master", AND "Cosplay", while we had a second ballot to vote for our favorite skit. we had a lot of people sitting there thinking "huh? Are we voting for the craftsmanship of the people in the skits or what?" I ended up leaving the "Cosplay" line blank on the yellow ballot because I didn't want to skew the results because of any confusion I might have.

Daydreamer
10-09-2006, 11:14 PM
I am a very strait forword kind of guy and I don't like to buff things up with words I have to look up on dictionary.com:bigtu: , so my answers are short and to the point, if that upsets anyone, sry.

Pros:
Intro to lvl of costume(costumers)
This was a big one, NDK was on the right track of creating a childrens and masters category, but I am really glad that they came out with the intermediate category. There really did need to be a median there.

Pre-reg cosplay signup
This is a good start to a great idea.

Staff
The staff was very helpful this year

Cons:
It would be nice if there was an anouncement that the judges were back from judging, like maybe someone on the pa or a volunteer walk through the con and yell it, then wait like 5 min.
I like missed the first award I got(Yes I know thats my fault, I'm just saying it would be a good idea)

Staff Confusion
1. It seems to mye like everyone was trying to take control, like one lady told us to go in this line to register, then another lady moved us, then the previous lady moved us back. It didn't seem like the staff was very informed with each other, then in return we were not informed.
2. I was told that they put the Piano Squall line and the cosplay line in the same line. Not very good.
3. We were told to go to the green room at 5:30, so I went early at 5:15 and was screamed at for being early, if you don't want someone in a room, close the door.


*hugs Tenshi*

My costume was extremely obscure (I love all of you in the entire con who recognized me! Both of you XD) and I honestly felt a little biased against due to this. (Seeing as the two costumes that did win in the catagory were more well known)

Is it just me, or were most of the winning costumes more mainstream and recognizable? (Besides the specials ^.~)

My costume was not well known, cause I made it up. I still won some awards, so I don't belive the well known costumes gave you a boost.



Also, I suggest implementing the AWA awards system. ONE award per costume! PLEASE.


Well thats not the point, its a contest, not a feel good about yourself thing you do for four hours.

darth_teca
10-09-2006, 11:32 PM
Well thats not the point, its a contest, not a feel good about yourself thing you do for four hours.

The argument for more awards spread around is because there is no need for a costume to GET more than a placement award and then possibly a specialty award. There are PLENTY of good costumes that are in NDK that do not get the recognition they deserve. Not to mention your costume was armor, which people find "cooler," even though a five piece kimono is harder to make and takes a higher skill level. This simple fact is, not everyone who deserves an award is getting one.

Beverly
10-09-2006, 11:47 PM
Well thats not the point, its a contest, not a feel good about yourself thing you do for four hours.

Well, it can be. ^^ Not winning shouldn't make you feel any less better about your costume. Yes, I have an extremely existentialist view on the subject, because I think as long as you have a good time, you're successful!

You always get the applause of the crowd, so be sure to take something from that, and the pleasure you get in having accomplished something for yourself. ^^ Everything else is icing on the cake.

...armor, which people find "cooler," even though a five piece kimono is harder to make and takes a higher skill level.

Not necessarily. ^^ Armor building and sewing are two seperate skills, one of which someone may find easy, and the other impossible. I may have no qualms about a five piece kimono, but I pass out at the mention of armor. XD Conversely, I know people who make buster swords that are wonderful, but claim that explosions occur when they sit before a sewing machine. ^^ Skill level needs consideration of all skills... wigs/hair, makeup, sewing, propwork, etc. This is an additional challenge for anyone responsible for craftsmanship judging.

This simple fact is, not everyone who deserves an award is getting one.

This, however and sadly, is completely true.

Daydreamer
10-10-2006, 12:28 AM
The argument for more awards spread around is because there is no need for a costume to GET more than a placement award and then possibly a specialty award. There are PLENTY of good costumes that are in NDK that do not get the recognition they deserve. Not to mention your costume was armor, which people find "cooler," even though a five piece kimono is harder to make and takes a higher skill level. This simple fact is, not everyone who deserves an award is getting one.

Well, if that is the argument the solution is not for the awards to be spread around, but for there to be a few more awards, such as a 3rd place award for each category, and maybe even a creativity award for each one as well with a grand creativity award.


Also I agree with Beverly on the armor thing, Armor isn't nessecerly "cooler" nor is it easier.
True, I can't sew worth a darn but I can make armor, and from scratch from that too. I didn't even have a picture to derive from, its about being creative and thinking about how you can make what and how.

Plus I don't belive for a second that everyone who was awsome at making a 5 piece kimono could make armor the way I did or as creative as I did. I'm not saying that couldn't happen, I'm saying that everyone is good at something.

MemoryMnemosyne
10-10-2006, 02:01 AM
Is it just me, or were most of the winning costumes more mainstream and recognizable?

Actually, the SaGa Frontier costumes that Lilacwire and I competed with were not all that well-known--the general response we received was "You're really pretty, but I don't know what you are!" ^^; However, as Darth Teca said, that's truly a testament to how far the NDK system has come in recent years.

As Lilacwire pointed out, we had no idea that Masters were allowed to have music during their walk-on (that is, until Voltron marched on-stage.) Not to mention that backstage we also discovered we had a minute and a half of stage-time to fill (which is quite a bit of time, especially when you're only prepared to do a walk-on.) I agree that the idea of differentiating between skits and walk-ons should probably be done-away with. For example, I like AX's idea that every entrant gets two minutes to do their thing (with music/sound), whatever it may be. That way you can do either a skit, a walk-on, or a glorified walk-on. ^^

I also second (or third or fourth) the motion to have cosplayers act as judges, both in craftsmanship and in performance. Again, I very much enjoyed AX's set-up with a panel of four judges (each had a specialty area, such as seamstressing, props, make-up, etc) that cosplayers had to meet with for craftsmanship judging (which was optional, but required if you wanted to be considered for any of the overall winner slots) and then the same panel of judges would watch your performance and rate that as well.

Let me reiterate how impressed I am with NDK's turn to a new system and congratulate Katie on all her hard work. :D I'm excited and look forward to the continued improvement of the Masquerade.

Daydreamer
10-10-2006, 02:17 AM
I agree that that a cosplayer or two be part of the judges, probobly someone who has won best in show one or more times..... just a thought.

darth_teca
10-10-2006, 02:48 AM
I apoligize if I made it sound like I didn't think armor making was an important skill. It's certainly something I have problems with and I think it deserves recognition. I more meant to say that at NDK, there tends to be a trend that skills such AS armor and mascots tend to get rewarded far more often than sewing skills, when they should be on even ground in an ideal setting.

OmegaDog
10-10-2006, 06:38 AM
Hey folks -- well, apparently, I already registered way back, though I'd forgotten about the account I'd made on here. Lemme throw out a quick Hi to everyone here before the meat of the post!

I more meant to say that at NDK, there tends to be a trend that skills such AS armor and mascots tend to get rewarded far more often than sewing skills, when they should be on even ground in an ideal setting.
On that note, I'm also looking forward to seeing much more in the way of craftsmanship judging, but for a different reason and from a different angle: so that the big mascots, mechas, and such in the masquerades aren't looked upon by other masquerade participants with such scorn.

As someone who's made and presented a few full-body suits up on stage, I can say that it's incredible fun to do so (well, when the suit lends itself well to that, at least). It's awesome fun to get up on stage and present oneself in an incredibly-large manner. But, from a craftsmanship point of view -- even if it looks big -- if it's less detailed than other non-full-body costumes, or even exactly as detailed (let's assume theoretically that exact comparisons are possible), it shouldn't be judged in better favor over something like darth_teca's Fersen, which took over 1000 hours to bead in an incredible amount of detail. I do agree that all costumes should be looked at on a level playing field. And if my entering, or someone else's entering, of a less-detailed full-body suit prevents those more detail-oriented cosplayers from getting recognized for that kind of detailed work -- well, I really don't feel comfortable entering the masquerade in a full-body suit. People would start to assume that I'd be out there to exploit that bias -- and, well, that's an incredibly-uncomfortable feeling.

Back in NDK 2005, I actually entered my Baphomet costume into (what was then) the Master's Level competition, as I was seeking to present myself, though I wasn't seeking any awards -- and because the Masters competition then had a one-winner-take-all approach and wouldn't interfere with the main competition, it seemed right for me. The thing was, though, that I knew, going into it, that it definitely wasn't a Master's Level costume (especially given, seeing photos later, how boxy and sloppy it actually ended up looking, and how poor I made the vision in the head. But that's going on a tangent). Someone seeking to present a full-body suit up on stage shouldn't be afraid to do so in (what was then) the regular competition, just because s/he's conscious of the possibility of unfair judging in his/her favor, due to that full-body bias.

That's not the only reason why I've been wanting to do more detail-oriented clothing-style work -- there are several much-larger reasons, like wanting to diversify, wanting to prove to myself that I can do it, and (heh) thinking that I'd look good doing it -- but that potential full-body bias from judges, and the resulting scorn from other participants against full-body costumes, is something that I do consider right now when choosing potential costumes for the masquerade.

With all that said, though -- it's definitely encouraging that steps are being taken in the right direction. I was a spectator this year, choosing to do just hall cosplay -- but from what I caught of the awards, it was awesome to see different levels of costumers getting different awards. For NDK 2007, I've got what I'm planning on being a pretty-detailed clothing-style costume planned for the masquerade (again, though, more to diversify, more to prove to myself that I can do it, and more because I want to do it) -- though, for NDK 2008, if the masquerade has progressed far enough (will it have progressed far enough?), I'm planning on what should hopefully be a pretty-detailed full-body costume that I've been wanting to do for a while. Hopefully, with the progress the NDK masquerade is currently making, I can be on a level playing field with all the other kinds of costumes there, and I can just worry about having fun -- which is what I'd be primarily there to do.

lilacwire
10-10-2006, 09:44 AM
I think I insinuated that award count should be used as the way to sort cosplayers - but I misrepresented that. What I would like to see is a judge-based "level system," like they do at AX. Cosplayers sort themselves into the level they think they belong in, be it from their knowledge of their craftmanship ability and previous awards (just as a barometer), and then when craftsmanship judging comes around, the judges place the costumer into their competition level. This would allow the judges to create a very even competition system and help costumers feel at ease that they were in the right place for their skill.

This would mean that there are no "slots" for the novice, journeymen, masters, but the competition would end up having an uneven number of competetors in each slot. Although this goes against what NDK did this year, it ends up working really well because competitions tend to be pyramid shaped anyway. There are generally a larger number of novices compared to a tight group of masters.

And I'd love to see what Mnemosyne mentioned - to do away with the difference between walk-ons and skits completely. Give everyone 2 minutes, allow cd's for all (and fix that sound system - I couldn't understand the skits at all and held my hands over my ears the entire time) and judge craftsmanship no matter if it's a skit or a walk-on.

Tenkage-chan
10-10-2006, 10:34 AM
As a first-timer in the cosplay contest, I think everything was pretty well-handled. I had fun, and I enjoyed being able to mingle with the other contestants. There are a few things I think could be improved, though. Like Lilacwire stated, the greenroom should've been a bit biggerl, to accommodate all the cosplayers and the complexities of their costumes. Even so, they took very good care of us in handing out water and making sure we all stayed hydrated. The badge system was definately a good idea, but I don't think there was enough communication among the staff, as they always seemed to be checking with each other to figure things out. I'd definately like to see more skits added in, and if that makes for more awards for them, even better. NDK is really starting to expand, and it would be great to see them have a bigger costume and cosplay contest. I really enjoyed all the skits done this year, and I'm sure we'd all like to see more of them.

Daydreamer
10-10-2006, 01:27 PM
It seems that the only way to fix it is to put more cosplayers in the judges seat.

Beverly
10-10-2006, 02:28 PM
And I'd love to see what Mnemosyne mentioned - to do away with the difference between walk-ons and skits completely. Give everyone 2 minutes, allow cd's for all (and fix that sound system - I couldn't understand the skits at all and held my hands over my ears the entire time) and judge craftsmanship no matter if it's a skit or a walk-on.

I think so, too! I was kicking myself, too, when I saw that we could have had music and stuff... aw, the presentation could have been so much better, you know?

I blame the hotel for the sound system... but then I blame the hotel for a LOT of things... =p

But definately giving everyone the option to be judged on craftsmanship would be a great improvement. ^^ I know it'll be a lot of work, but there are a ton of folks out there who are ready and willing to do it.

It seems that the only way to fix it is to put more cosplayers in the judges seat.

I wouldn't say that's the ONLY way, but it's going to be one of the steps toward a better system. I definately think observation of what works and doesn't work at other conventions will play a part as well.

Yunie-chan
10-10-2006, 05:17 PM
Ooooh, my turn for a reply!

For those that don't know, I was the Ho Mario in the Super Mario brothers group... with a twist. So, yes, I'm copying and pasting from my livejournal, making a few changes here and there, as my cursing can get out of hand at times.

"And again, NDK cosplay reminds us of why people NEED to stick to the rules that they either post or read.

1. Masters had 9 people in it. Of the 9, maybe 4 deserved to be in it; Intermediate had a CRAPLOAD of people that should've been in Masters, as did some of the Beginners. Obviously, people weren't checking up on awards or work put into the costumes. I don't blame the cosplayers, as some had no clue hat was going on, but I do blame the people that set it up. More application of the rules and such NEED to be done.

2. When you run a Masquerade, whomever is performing prior to it needs to end at the appropriate time whether they like it or not. Yes, Piano Squall, you are no exception. I had to pee like a racehorse, had a horrible headache, and my feet are still killing me; the pain would be less if your timeslot had been pulled by NDK instead of having us all wait in the TINY greenroom. Thank God for a sweet staff keeping us hydrated and running the fan.

3. As awesome as it is to win awards, there are times when you feel like crap when you walk away with them. The videogaming one we got? I think we deserved it, much like the judges' choice one. Those are given to you by outside people. But the 1st place intermediate? NO. Obviously the gorgeous three standing in the XxXHolic costumes, you know, the chick with the red steel covering her tatas? YEAH, THAT AWESOME GROUP DESERVED IT. After we won that, we picked out the prize that we felt was obviously for them and gave it to them, explaining our reasoning for doing so. So for everyone that thought we were being arses and the like? Yeah, that's what happened directly after the contest. So for anyone that says we totally didn't deserve that, you're right. We agree. But it ends here. Any other things about it can be discussed with NDK and their staff.

4. Craftsmanship judging means you have to *gasp* LOOK at the costumes. And how (zomg!) they made it. JUST A THOUGHT.

And on a sidenote: To the buttheads who vandalized the hotel... I hope you rot. YOU ARE GUESTS. YOU ARE REPRESENTING THE CON. Who gave you the right to do ANYTHING like that? I'm glad I never learned who did it... I think I would've beat the poo out of them on the hotel/con's behalf. Dear God, I went up to management on Saturday night and APOLOGIZED for what they had gone through because I thought it was nonsense!

...And those are my rants for NDK. Anything else I have to say is moot."

grandis
10-10-2006, 05:22 PM
Ooookay...

It seems that everyone is aware that judging is pretty much a crapshoot, right? And winning is never a good way to measure your costume's worth.

Because...every judge has biases that they can't control (they like armor/mecha, or they think the girl in the costume is pretty, or they admire a skillfully put together suit.) The costume field can be weak or strong in a particular contest.

Another problem is that sometimes we believe that if you can make a good costume, you can be a good judge. That's not always the case. I've had some costumers judge for me who fall for the same things inexperienced non cosplaying judges fall for: the mascot suit MUST be the hardest, the largest group is the best presentation, etc, etc.

So, we continue to call for a mix of judges, a variety of types of judging (craftsmanship, performance, and overall), but most of all, we try to enjoy our craft, because if we rely on winning to enjoy our craft, we will be disappointed 7 times out of 10.

And now that I've gotten that preachiness out of my system, I just want to reemphasize that spreading the awards around really makes more cosplayers feel that their efforts are appreciated, and that's why it's good to do that. I have been dressing up for a long time, have a great deal of faith in my skills and ability, and have both won and lost. It's really nice once in awhile to win, just to realize my skill doesn't exist in a vacuum. :)

So, spread the love, both in workmanship and onstage.

Grandis

grandis
10-10-2006, 05:25 PM
3. Obviously the gorgeous three standing in the XxXHolic costumes, you know, the chick with the red steel covering her tatas? YEAH, THAT AWESOME GROUP DESERVED IT. After we won that, we picked out the prize that we felt was obviously for them and gave it to them, explaining our reasoning for doing so.

Well, I think that's cool. You had everyright to do that with your prize, and it was a good gesture, especially if you disagreed. :bigtu: Nice work!

Makoto
10-10-2006, 05:57 PM
First, I'd like to say what huge advances the NDK cosplay made this year! With the institution of online sign-up and skill levels, it gave the entire competition a different atmosphere, and I applaud all the staffers who worked so hard. Way to go, Katie! Thanks for all your effort!

Also, a huge thanks to EMS for their hard work. Our costumes were fabric-ovens, and I appreciate the efforts to keep us hydrated. (A kind Watari-san offered her labcoat so my partner could dry her obi when she spilled water on it, that was an amazingly sweet gesture. NDK works hard to foster a family feeling, and this definitely applied.)

The costumes this year were amazing, and there seems to be a definite improvement in presentation as well! (Bev, is that your influence? ^_^) I hope the show was as enjoyable for everyone in the audience as it was for me.

If I could make a brief statement regarding the judging, though: I think I speak for Lauren and Nick as well when I say, Please don't make us the "poster-children" to question NDK's awards process. The contest was tough this year, and I'm happy to see great costumes get rewarded! :) The outpouring of love and affection has been incredible, and I appreciate every kind word from you guys a thousand times more than an award. When Yunie-chan and her group walked up to us after the contest and gave us their prize, my eyes started watering. What a truly sweet and selfless gesture, and please know how much we love you for it. We did what we set out to do, we made costumes that we hope were visually impressive on stage, and hopefully made a few CLAMP fans smile. Someday we'll win an award, but for now I have more than enough encouragement from you all, whether it comes with convention recognition or not. So thank you thank you thank you, and we can leave it at that. :angel:

Let's all work together to keep NDK moving in the right direction. :)

Mintimo
10-11-2006, 12:47 AM
I'm not as well-known in the cosplay scene, because I tend not to speak up too much. I'm a part of Kageshien, with Mandi and Yunie-chan.

I'd like to thank the EMS team greatly for all their work this year. It was hot and stuffy in a fleece costume, and I adored having water brought to me, especially because I probably wouldn't have had as much as I did without that. Thanks for keeping us hydrated and healthy!

I thought that the costume contest this year was one of the greatest in all of the years I've been in it. For all of the complaints about the same costumes winning over and over, I think that the spread really was much wider this year than it was previously... though I do wish the judges would communicate with each other... you know, like, "Oh, you're choosing them? Then I'll go with another group I also liked." I know it's difficult to judge, and that generally, I have a hard time choosing what I like, and often two or three groups rank evenly. But I also haven't been judging contests as long as many of the people on the panel. :)

More than anything, I had fun. I adored talking with everyone in the green room, and I did very much enjoy that I could get up and move during the judging. I thought Lisa's performance between the contest and the awards was wonderful (Yay Lisa!!).

I do agree that there should have been either more slots in the Master's category, or serious consideration taken when accepting applicants. It's difficult, though, when there are so many fine costumes out there. The sheer quality of the costumes this year astounded me; everyone's getting way too good!

I know the contest will continue to improve in future years. Thanks, Katie, for all of your hard work. If I could make a suggestion, I think we should have a "show" category. For people like me, who don't necessarily need to compete, but like the attention of showing off our hard work. That's difficult with the Audience awards, since they might be confused who to and not to vote for... but I think it would be fun.

supermouse
10-11-2006, 09:36 AM
Hey all! Just wanted to chime in here, I was the staff member in the green room who was wearing the black shirt with flaming dice on it. Okay a few things I wanted to comment on about how things went.

1. I agree with the green room being way to small! It was hot in there even with the fan we had. I am not sure what other room we could use that would hold so many people save maybe the Aspen room (the one with the tier seating). This is something that could be brought up to the con heads I am sure.

2. Fans! Omg! I felt so bad for you all in there with just a single fan but I can say that we plan on getting more and better fans for next year to do our best to keep the green room and hallways you stand in nice and cool.

3. I think the biggest problem was our lack of knowledge (staff wise) on what was going on. We had not real direction and most of us in the room were staff from other departments who were trying to lend a hand. Piano Squall running over and a mix up on the schedule didn't help things any. But you all were wonderful and i thank you for that.

4. I was able to watch the judging and I have to agree with most of you, I felt some people in the masters should not have been in there and I have always felt that the awards were a bit off balance. Having the judges give out their own awards is fine but I think they need awards which compliment you people on the hard work you put into your costumes. I saw a few in the intermediate group who I felt should have been in Masters and given a chance to be judged on the craftsman ship along with the stage presence and look of the costume. Maybe with your help we can put something like this into play, like I told one Cosplayer. "You all are the ones up there, you have been to other cons and other contests. your advice to our staff on how or what you would like to see is what we need to make the conest fun for you all."

5. Also I would like to say that I defense of our Staff head for Cosplay she had this dropped on her head a few months before con and I don't think she was fully ready for it. She was doing this with 2 others who had to leave NDK for personal matters, I think she did a good job but needs somone to help stand with her and take over the logistical details and leave the juding and what not to her. I hope that we can find somone to lend her a hand and get her a good staff setup to take some of the load off her.

Also I loved all your costumes you all do such a amazing job and I am amazed each year with what I see.

Mintimo
10-11-2006, 10:00 AM
Fans! Omg! I felt so bad for you all in there with just a single fan...


Ehehehe, and I hogged it all night :)

lilacwire
10-11-2006, 12:12 PM
I know this advice may be unwarranted, but I think that AX runs a great masquerade, and if anyone running the NDK masquerade could have the chance to perhaps shadow at AX or another "large" convention, it would really give a good example of the judging system, etc. It's where I saw a lot of really great examples of how to run a masquerade.

And I agree with whoever said cosplayers don't necessarily make the best judges - hence, why there should be a panel of 3-4 craftsmanship judges, each with a specialty or a lot of experience.

At AX we were judged by 4 other cosplayers and it was such a rewarding experience. They knew the cosplay "scene" and thus understood what sets cosplay apart from other costuming, but also had a better chance of knowing the characters and the artwork, and how a cosplayer might interpret how to put the costume together.

I hope my comments don't come off as me saying "nobody at NDK knows how to host a masquerade." Where I'm coming from is that I know myself and other Colorado cosplayers have had reason to be impressed with how AX is run, I find them to be a great example of a masquerade that has a lot of the elements that I think the people commenting in this thread are looking for.

barakk
10-25-2006, 07:39 PM
i would first like to say that i didn't compete last year in the contest because the first year i did it was horrid. however, this year's contest was very well ran and i enjoyed it very much. (other than feeling like a goat by the time it was done, i was in the black knight armor and was hot as heck)

however, i feel that craftsmenship should play a part in all divisions of the contest. not that the people who won didn't deserve it, but i put a lot of work into my costume that may not be noticable by just a quick turn on stage.

other than that, i think everything ran very well and i learned a lot that will help me out next year. thank you to everyone that ran the contest