...wow, have I ever fallen into this discussion late. >_<
For the record, I guess I could be considered a "local master" in the same community as Kaijugal and Sarcasm_hime, though I feel more like an artisan or journeyman in terms of skill level in that group! And IIRC, I have had the honor (?! ^_~) of competing right after Derwin Mak, in my very first Toronto Trek masquerade no less.
By way of contributing to the thread...Saeto, the workmanship judging you described sounds so intense! That would definitely intimidate me, and make me a whole lot more nervous heading onto stage having been subject to that degree of scrutiny first! I too find the rules of promotion in the divisional system a little hard to follow sometimes...this discussion has been extremely interesting to read, hopefully over the next couple of days I will catch up on the whole thing. After hearing some horror stories about the judging situation at masquerades where the ICG guidelines aren't used in any way, it's encouraging to know that the word is spreading and the community at large is that much more aware.
'Who's the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?'
Thanks to all the contestants, staff, and volunteers for Anime North's Skit Contest. See you in 2009!