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Unread 08-22-2005, 12:32 AM   #1
KomoriChu
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How do the ranking systems work?

I was just wondering how you'd decide what rank of cosplayer you were, in regards to contests. (Like Novice, Journeyman, Craftsman). I heard lots of different ones. Like someplace I heard that Journeyman starts when you've won 3 awards, and some other place I don't remember says it starts with 2 awards.

Also, what would count as an 'award'? Is it just 1st place? Does 2nd place count? What about if one of the awards was in a game convention, rather than an anime con?

If you're in a group, how do you decide what rank you are, if the members are of different ranks? Is it the level of the highest rank member, or is it the average rank of the members?

Sorry for all the questions, it's just all so confusing...
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Unread 08-22-2005, 12:40 AM   #2
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Once you win any presentation award in the novice division you become a journeyman. It takes 3 presentation awards to advance to the next level. Any presentation award counts as 1 win, whereas a best in show counts as 2. I believe winning an award at a major world con automatically bumps you up one level, but the majority of cons that happen in Canada and the US are only regional.

Hope that helps!!
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Unread 08-22-2005, 12:54 AM   #3
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You've hit on an important topic. The thing is, nobody knows. Ask ten conventions what "Journeyman" and "Professional" mean, and you'll get ten answers. The anime convention circuit (in the US at least) seriously needs to come up with a set of judging standards quickly that all conventions can sign off on, otherwise masquerades will continue to become nothing more than a way to keep a couple thousand people occupied on a Saturday night with something to do until the J-Rock concert is set up.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 01:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Admin
You've hit on an important topic. The thing is, nobody knows. Ask ten conventions what "Journeyman" and "Professional" mean, and you'll get ten answers. The anime convention circuit (in the US at least) seriously needs to come up with a set of judging standards quickly that all conventions can sign off on, otherwise masquerades will continue to become nothing more than a way to keep a couple thousand people occupied on a Saturday night with something to do until the J-Rock concert is set up.
So nothing's set in stone? Oh, that's good. Squall's answer just kinda' confounded me more. ^^;;

My sis was just concerned because she didn't want to be unfair to other competitors by entering in the wrong category. We entered Novice because she had only won 2nd at an anime con and 1st at a game con. But I and my mom were also in the group, and I had only won 2nd at a game con, and my mom had won nothing. I thought maybe only 1st place awards counted, and the group's average of ranking, so I figured we should be in Novice. Should we have been in Journeyman, to be fair to people with no awards?
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Unread 08-22-2005, 01:10 AM   #5
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Actually, as far as the ICG (International Costumers Guild) goes, many of their members consider "Masters" division to be a misnomer. It's actually more of an "Open Division"; being in it does not mean anyone is a "Master" (and what the heck defines a "Master", anyway?), it means your skill level is such that you can fairly compete against anyone in an open competition, even if you have perhaps not been costuming very long.

"Novice" and "Journeyman" categories are supposed to be there to provide a certain amount of protection for relative newbies (developing their skills) from having to compete against more experienced and/or more technically skilled costumers, particularly to give them encouragement to continue with costuming. If one is a newbie but very technically skilled, one should in theory advance to Open Division AKA "Masters" very quickly, because that's where one's skills belong.

The International Costumers Guild Masquerade guidelines (http://www.costume.org/documents/guidelines.html) spell it out better than I can say here. These ARE supposed to be guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules, and subject to the interpretation of Masquerade directors. However, Masquerades which follow these guidelines do usually tend to end up with enough similarity to each other to make it less confusing to the participants.

How one advances is NOT set in stone, but often it's the "Best (workmanship or presentation) In (skill category)" that counts toward "moving up". Also someone competing at a "Journeyman" level at a smaller competition might still be able to enter at "Novice" at a large world-class competition where the average skill level may be much higher.

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Unread 08-22-2005, 01:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KomoriChu
So nothing's set in stone? Oh, that's good. Squall's answer just kinda' confounded me more. ^^;;

My sis was just concerned because she didn't want to be unfair to other competitors by entering in the wrong category. We entered Novice because she had only won 2nd at an anime con and 1st at a game con. But I and my mom were also in the group, and I had only won 2nd at a game con, and my mom had won nothing. I thought maybe only 1st place awards counted, and the group's average of ranking, so I figured we should be in Novice. Should we have been in Journeyman, to be fair to people with no awards?
Your best bet would probably be to first check to see if the convention has any rules listed on their site regarding classification, and if not then enter into what you feel is correct. A good rule of thumb is that if you've won a few awards, you're no longer a novice, but many conventions will have a different requirement before they bump you up into the next category. When in doubt, there's nothing wrong with asking the cosplay rep at the convention where you should go. If you get any specific answer (or don't get one) it's always cool to let everyone here know.

The confusion occurs when conventions start lumping a 5-time best-in-show winner and a cosplayer who happened to make $50 styling a couple of wigs into the same category, purely because the term "professional" is so ambiguous. This is why there needs to be a set of standards that conventions can either publicly ascribe to, or publicly snub.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 11:41 AM   #7
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Thank you all very much! This was very enlightening, I had no idea the ranks were so complex. o_o
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Unread 08-22-2005, 12:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KomoriChu
Thank you all very much! This was very enlightening, I had no idea the ranks were so complex. o_o
The thing is, they're not really. It's the lack of standardization at anime cons that makes them seem that way. Admin is 100% right that the only way around this kind of confusion is for anime cons to adopt a consistent system. Some cons have started to adopt ICG guidelines, and I hope more will do so quickly. Please consider encouraging your local cons to adopt ICG guidelines for their masquerades.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 12:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koumori
Admin is 100% right that the only way around this kind of confusion is for anime cons to adopt a consistent system. Some cons have started to adopt ICG guidelines, and I hope more will do so quickly. Please consider encouraging your local cons to adopt ICG guidelines for their masquerades.
Of course you know as a long time campaigner for the adoption of the ICG guidelines I agree 100%. I'm very heartend to see that some Anime Conventions in the US are finally starting to adopt the system.

We only have one big holdout here in our area, The Garden City Anime Festival, which I belive wishes to make itself more unique by going with a system that's just Beginner & Advanced.*No longer relavent, they folded after their first con.

Having an International system (or at least a standard that is adheared to in North America to start), will make things much more stable, and pleasent for cosplayers everywhere and will take the guesswork out of entering unfamiliar competitions. Also I belive it will save alot of headaches on the part of masquerade directors.

The next big challenge will be , having a universal agreement upon wether commissions should be allowed to compete or not. (For the record they may be shown here but not competed)
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Unread 08-22-2005, 03:02 PM   #10
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Does ICG keep track of a member's number of awards, or is this on the honor system?
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Unread 08-22-2005, 03:48 PM   #11
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The ICG mostly operates on the honour system, but people often do know who has won what.

The important thing about the ICG system is that it isn't all about rank. Your 'rank' only matters in the context of the next masquerade you enter; it isn't a special badge meant to give you prestige or anything. People misinterpret this a lot, so it bears repeating. The ICG system is designed to keep high-level costumers from competing at low levels, not to keep low-level costumers from competing at high levels. Anyone can compete at a higher level if they wish.

So you do not have to strictly adhere to the 3-major-awards rule if you don't want to - if you've been sewing for years and have lots of experience but have never won an award, under the ICG system you can enter in Journeyman or even Master if you like. You won't necessarily win an award, of course, but if you feel that's where you belong because of your skills, you can do that. All the ICG system does is keep people like Masters from competing against Novices, because once you've won an award at a higher level you can't go back down to the lower level.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 05:18 PM   #12
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I doubt anime cons could agree on unified rules (ICG or not), since each masquerade director has their own view of how the rules should be. Most cons change their masquerade director annually, so with each rotation, the new director may decide to mold the rules to fit his/her ideas.

As for commissioned costumes, I would agree that they should stay out of craftsmanship judging. However, I think I would allow commissioned costumes in skits, if and only if the performance is the only thing being judged, and such awards do not add into the craftsmanship rankings.

I would really prefer the awards specifically target either performance or craftsmanship and rank on those categories separately. There are some people who can make good outfits, and there are some people who are really good actors.

I enjoy seeing good costumes, but I see a lot of skits that don't entertain me.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 09:38 PM   #13
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I don't see why anime cons should be any different from any other type of con - of course each masquerade director has their own opinion, but most masq directors at long-established scifi/fantasy cons have realized that the ICG model is the best place to start from when figuring out what rules to use at your convention. Anime masq directors should do the same. If they'd just get their heads out of the sand they'd realize there is already a good system that WORKS and all they have to do is implement it - they dont' need to invent things from the ground up.

I agree that performance and craftsmanship should be judged separately, although of course the quality and appearance of the costume (as it appears onstage) must be taken into consideration to some degree when judging performance. I think commissioned costumes have no place in a masquerade except in the "Out of Competition" category, which many people seem to be unaware of. It's for when you want to show something off but don't want to actually compete.

As a corollary on the 'ranking' system: I've heard of some masquerade organizers forcing experienced costumers to enter as Novices just because they hadn't won many awards, which IMHO is incredibly stupid, not to mention unfair to the other (truly novice) competitors. "Competing up" (competing at a higher level than you have achieved) harms no-one but possibly yourself (you may not win an award), but "competing down" creates unfair competition for the true newbies.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 10:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcasm-hime
I think commissioned costumes have no place in a masquerade except in the "Out of Competition" category, which many people seem to be unaware of. It's for when you want to show something off but don't want to actually compete.
For one thing, "Out of competition" isn't well-stated in the ICG guidelines. It gets a passing mention in one sentence for Fantasy and Sci-Fi competitions under the "Junior/Youth" section. So, how do people realize it is even a category?

Also, most anime cons do not have an "Out of Competition" category. The closest things I've heard about are a "fashion show" or simply no competition at all (Ushicon in Texas). "Out of Competition" for most anime cons is simply walking around at the convention in costume, not an actual event.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcasm-hime
As a corollary on the 'ranking' system: I've heard of some masquerade organizers forcing experienced costumers to enter as Novices just because they hadn't won many awards, which IMHO is incredibly stupid, not to mention unfair to the other (truly novice) competitors. "Competing up" (competing at a higher level than you have achieved) harms no-one but possibly yourself (you may not win an award), but "competing down" creates unfair competition for the true newbies.
The rules are being enforced to the letter. The action is perhaps stupid, but the action is technically correct. This is the problem of "the spirit vs. the letter of the law."

------

Sarcasm-hime, on your site, you define the Masquerade as follows:
"A Masquerade is the costume contest held at many fandom conventions (sci-fi, fantasy, media, anime, etc.) in which costumers show off their hard work to an audience. They may do this via a short performance such as a skit, dance number, or simple walk-on. The purpose of entering a Masquerade is to display your costume and to put on an entertaining and pleasing presentation." [Emphasis mine]

I've seen some anime masquerades allow walk-ons, but I don't find walk-ons to be particularly entertaining. I don't get the sense that many anime fandom audiences find walk-ons entertaining either by the lack of enthusiastic laudations (sometimes even silence or blank stares). I do feel that walk-ons would need to be extracted from general Masquerade proceedings and put into a separate "fashion show competition" event, which most anime cons do not do.
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Unread 08-22-2005, 10:43 PM   #15
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I think the problem there is that a "walk on" is a misnomer. I find it used more as a reference for a single competitor, not just as it sounds - walking on and walking off. A good walk-on will incorporate some type of related music, perhaps drama, poses...a good walk-on/solo performace is quite difficult to do.

I think it's just the mentality of anime fans. They're younger and want to be entertained - which to them means skits, laughs, yaoi and the like. But those who are more interested in the costumes can appreciate a dramatic, solo walk on presentation, even if the anime audience is bored silly by it. I've seen walkons go over well at more established conventions, usually sci-fi oriented.

However, walk-ons work best with costumes that are intricate and visiaully stunning - the costumes that as soon as the audience sees it they gasp and go ohhhh, for example.

Although, if it were technically a straight "walk-on" and "walk-off", doing nothing, I'd find that really boring, too, and relegate that to a fashion-show type thing.

The problem with putting walk-ons to separate events is that they usually don't get the same chance to win best in show, even if their costumes are exquisite and the presentation is well thought out. It forces people into performing and falling into the "I need a skit with funny dialog" to compete, which I feel shouldn't have to be the case. It rules out a lot of solo competitors.

I think another issue could be in the purpose of the cosplay competition. If it's for entertainment of the skit kind (cosplay skit contest, or if 90%+ or so of the judging points come from performances, for example, and time limits are long (2-3 minutes?!)), then walk-ons have no place. If it's a competition more aimed at the costumes (costume points have a fairly large percentage, smaller time limits (<1 min)), then I think walk-ons should most definitely be allowed. The purpose of the competition should also be looked at.

And now I wait for Sarcasm to respond, because I know she will. And my post has nothing to do with ranking systems. >.<
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