sarcasm-hime! Yeah, I can run my mouth with the best of 'em.
Some of this stuff has been on my mind since I started doing anime costumes, adding them into my sci-fi repertoire. I started out costuming with Star Wars, and am technically still a Rebel Legion member - and part of the Windmill community of Moulin Rouge costumers. I've been to DragonCon. I've run the circuit. I've been involved with the prop-making community that long, too. Very few of these people are professionals, some of them take prop commissions but not custom work. And few of them compete! Most of them are into the instant gratification of camera circles in the lobby and being stopped in the halls, or showing their mad skills to the actors whose costumes they've replicated. But those that do compete know the ropes, and are usually pretty good about teaching the newbies how this whole masquerade thing works. In my experience, there hasn't been any of the egotism and high school drama of anime cons. Well, not much of it.
Originally Posted by Tikki
Yes, anime cosplay is definitely bringing out some really skilled costumers nowadays, but five years ago? *Snorts* I'd find it amazingly hilarious if a Master costumer from the scifi/fantasy or even horror circuit would compete at an anime convention. It would give a necessary SMACK to the head to a lot of cosplayers that have no clue how amazing costumes can be when you put serious effort into all aspects of a costume and presentation.
They're starting to, thankfully. Actually, I think grandis earned much of her Master qualification outside of anime cons, but don't quote me on that - you'd have to ask her. What's really impressive is the CostumeCon people. They've been watching the explosion of cosplay with the air of kids at a pet store window looking at the puppies.
They see any costume as worthy of attention, regardless of the source, and even though a lot of them are in an older age demographic and don't know much about anime (they'll say so honestly), they WANT to learn because they see the potential for so many awesome designs they can replicate and display. At the same time, they're practically begging cosplayers to go to CostumeCon, and bring their costumes, so they can see them as well as give those cosplayers the opportunity to learn hands-on stuff about improving their skills. Going to CC25 this year is probably the best thing I've ever done for my costuming hobby. I learned so much, and even though people didn't know who we were dressed as, they were simply impressed by the designs and our craftsmanship. We broke out our Yu-Gi-Oh Egypt costumes just to wear to the sci-fi masquerade and were told to our faces at least twice "omg please tell me you competed those somewhere!" (we did - ACen 06 - but it was a disaster) I plan to compete at CostumeCon 2010 in, get this, a Japanese RPG video game costume! An obscure version of one of the Suikoden characters. It doesn't matter that they won't know the source, what matters is that it's an impressive costume and if I do it well, that's what they'll look for.
I really don't want to be ageist, but I do blame a lot of it on the young age of the vast majority of anime cosplayers. They get into anime cons via their clubs and friends at school, discover cosplay as "running around in the hall dressed as my favorite character," and don't really think about what goes into making a costume. It's the Halloween costume mentality. But if the masquerade directors at anime cons WANT higher standards, better cosplay, and better contests, they have to start holding people to some kind of standard and not listen when they start to whine. It is unfortunate, Tikki, that you've seen people try to ban experienced cosplayers just because they can't be bothered to try harder. I did hear a rumor (and I will flag it as a RUMOR for now) that ACen chose not to give strippervash and his group an award this year solely because "they win too many awards." Not because they weren't as good as other costumes or performances. It isn't Zach's fault that he's talented at making and wearing costumes plus writing performances, no one should be penalized for consistently standing head-and-shoulders above the masses. Granted, he may be getting to the point where he's one of those Masters who ought to politely enter out of competition to give someone else a chance
but that's another barrel of monkeys. I honestly don't understand why people think that the only way to get fair competition is to lower the standards to the lowest common denominator. That's not now competition works, and it's not how life works.
I think the directors at anime cons who want better competitions have to be aware of this. And not buckle to pressure, not let anyone tell them they're too strict. Eventually, people will catch on, and in turn they'll start demanding better competitions at the *other* cons who currently have bad ones. I just hope "eventually" doesn't take another decade.