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Unread 06-02-2007, 10:10 PM   #16
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part of the lack of resource base may have to do with "anime" being such a wide-flung net, encompassing thousands of individual designs from period historical to street modern to future dystopia. It's not like saying "Star Wars" and poof, there's a line of Star Wars patterns and prop replicas, or the same for Trek or Matrix or Pirates or any media fandom. Aside from school uniforms, there's not really any one thing that says "anime" that the resource providers can latch onto easily. That goes for props and fabrics and wigs as well as patterns and the like.

I'm not a director, so I have no control over any cons locally or regionally, but I'm a judge at a few. So, as much as I might like to advocate running more panels for costuming and improving masquerade structures, I can't get my hands in far enough to do so. I am going to attempt to volunteer to run some hands-on panels in the future, though. What little I can. But I'll get behind any masq director who wants to try to help people realize what they can do and what we hope they can bring to the stage. I'm all for it.
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Unread 06-02-2007, 10:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by CapsuleCorp View Post
part of the lack of resource base may have to do with "anime" being such a wide-flung net, encompassing thousands of individual designs from period historical to street modern to future dystopia. It's not like saying "Star Wars" and poof, there's a line of Star Wars patterns and prop replicas, or the same for Trek or Matrix or Pirates or any media fandom. Aside from school uniforms, there's not really any one thing that says "anime" that the resource providers can latch onto easily. That goes for props and fabrics and wigs as well as patterns and the like.

I'm not a director, so I have no control over any cons locally or regionally, but I'm a judge at a few. So, as much as I might like to advocate running more panels for costuming and improving masquerade structures, I can't get my hands in far enough to do so. I am going to attempt to volunteer to run some hands-on panels in the future, though. What little I can. But I'll get behind any masq director who wants to try to help people realize what they can do and what we hope they can bring to the stage. I'm all for it.
I mean in the sense that as anime cosplay becomes more of a recognized art form, you'll see patterns for popular anime being released just as you see them being released for Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Pirates of the Caribean today.

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Unread 06-02-2007, 11:47 PM   #18
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Wow.

I went to a Sci-Fi con this weekend (albeit a small one, but still) and the costume quality was SO much better than what I've ever seen at ANY anime convention.

Anyway, I agree that it's mostly due to the fact that the vast, vast majority of anime congoers are children and teenagers. Half of the people there for the sci-fi con looked old enough to be my parents.

Of course, I did see a couple of *cough* Naruto and Kingdom Hearts costumes, and I'm sorry to say that... They were rather sad to look at. Compared to the amazing Star Wars cosplays, with vacuum formed armor and real working lights, the anime/game cosplayers were just that: Children in poorly crafted costumes and spray-in hair color. I felt sad that they were there representing the anime crowd, but it is due to the fact that anime conventions are so new, and these people were probably 15-16 at the oldest. Only kids compared to 75% of the other congoers. I honestly saw more hardcore costumes on children that their Star Wars fanatic parents had made for them.

Anyway. I'd have to go to a bigger sci-fi convention before I could really say, but this convention didn't seem to be competitive about the costumes at all. The masquerade had a small insert in the program, and some of the more popular celebrities were scheduled for Q&A sessions at the same time as the masquerade. There were very few people who seemed to care at all about the costume competition. To me, it seemed like the Sci-Fi crowd had a better time with their little photoshoots and hall attention than a lousy paper certificate or plastic trophy.

The anime crowd seems to, in general, strike me as quite the opposite. The anime crowd, at least in the masquerades where I've been, are bitter towards the winners, and downtalk them, no matter how good the winners' costumes are. I actually had someone take one look at me at a con and say, (I assume they thought I couldn't hear them) "Ugh, I hope SHE isn't competing against US..." Of course I wasn't. I was in the Journeyman, and she was a Novice. I can't say how many people I've heard complaining because the same master level competitors keep winning awards and best of shows. It seems to me that the anime crowd in general just needs more time to mature and realize that "OMG, hey... This person who spent 200+ hours on their Trinity Blood cosplay JUST MIGHT deserve that award a little more than me, who spent two days on a sweat suit Naruto cosplay...".
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Unread 06-03-2007, 10:45 PM   #19
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Are you referring to Anime Detour by chance, Twilight Clover? (saw photos from it, wasn't there this year - could swear that's you and your costume with the winners) I was a judge there up until this year, but it looked to me like the judging standards were intact, based on the winners. Detour learned their ropes from CONvergence, a sci-fi con which shares many of the same staff members (and attendees) and has what I consider the best-run masquerade in the upper Midwest - outside Archon in St. Louis. But yes - that kind of attitude among competitors will handicap the masquerade. The reason certain people keep winning is because, quite honestly, they're doing the best work! You can't fault them for that, you have to fault the rest of the field for not putting a little extra effort into their costumes in order to compete. But they don't want to hear that.

Though I admit to speaking the words "I hope they're not competing against us" - but in panic rather than disgust. Followed by "oh no, they're in our class! We have no chance!"
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Unread 06-04-2007, 06:00 AM   #20
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Bear in mind too that sci-fi costumers are coming from a different tradition, with a different established aesthetic. In general, competitive SF/F costumers design and make their costumes with a firm eye toward their usefulness as stage costumes, and consider their presentation as they are making them. They're often meant to look good from stage, while anime costumes are often meant to look good at conversational distance. It's honestly not that one way is better or worse than the other; the anime con tradition has developed largely separate from the SF/F tradition, and they simply bring different things to the table. I don't compete much, for instance, because I don't feel like my costumes are the type that display well from stage, and I'm not much for presentation - but I also cut my teeth in SF/F cons, and that might not be a concern for someone who only knows anime cons.

I do agree that the SF/F people in general have a much more open or collaborative attitude, and a real sense that everyone is part of the same hobby; they seem much more willing to learn from and work with each other. The backstabbing competitiveness, whining over awards, dishonest entries, etc. probably aren't unique to anime cons, but they certainly seem to me to be much more prevalent in that environment, and I have no idea why.

All that said, the SF/F/ICG costumers really do want to see cosplayers at their events, too! If working on a different playing field interests you, please do go to your local SF/F convention, meet some people, share your knowledge and ask questions, participate in the masq if you like.

I wrote an article for the ICG newsletter a year or two ago about this, and my conclusion was that there may never really be a happy medium, so the best you can do may be simply to find the environment that's right for you.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 09:34 AM   #21
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@CapsuleCorp: I actually wasn't talking about any one single convention. I've had the rude competition problem at both competitions where I have won an award. One girl (who, admittedly, had a very half-done costume that didn't look anything like the reference picture) actually threw off half of her costume and tossed it onto the ground, crossed her arms and legs, and kept glaring at me after she saw that I'd gotten an award and she hadn't. I can't tell you how many times the judges (during my judging, at BOTH competitions) had complimented my attention to even insignificant details, and complimented how well I had looked "Exactly like the picture". The other girl, on the other hand, had store bought pieces that only vaguely resembled certain accessories, and all of her armor was misshapen, and didn't have even half of the detail work on it. She just seemed mad at ME because I'd put so much work into my costume.

It seems to me that at anime conventions (even the two more masquerades where I won nothing) just seem to have a much more rude group as compared to Sci-Fi cons anyway. I didn't compete at the Sci-Fi con because, well, I don't want pure Sci Fi or fantasy costumes to compete at anime conventions, I feel that's wrong and out of place, so I wasn't about to compete an anime or game costume at a sci-fi con.

What I noticed a lot was that, of course, even where there were multiple people dressed as the same character, they were all buddy buddy, having fun, taking pictures, and whatnot, and I rarely see that at anime conventions. I always see the "better" or "less ghetto" cosplayers talking behind the backs of the "lesser" ones, and then scoff in their face when the "lesser" ones ask to take group pictures.

Of course, like I said, it's probably due to the fact that the vast majority of Sci-Fi congoers are adults, whereas anime congoers are children and teenagers, who seem to think that you have to have certain "social groups" even among what is already a social group in itself. : /
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Unread 06-04-2007, 10:02 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twilight Clover View Post
Of course, like I said, it's probably due to the fact that the vast majority of Sci-Fi congoers are adults, whereas anime congoers are children and teenagers, who seem to think that you have to have certain "social groups" even among what is already a social group in itself. : /
Very true!
Which is why everyone walks a fine line on how they socialize during any contest. When I'm in a competitive atmosphere, I want to stay focused. I tend to stick with my group and only wander away to talk with other people I actually know. I do NOT treat the back stage or green room as some sort of social hour, which unfortunately, can make anyone look like a snob or unfriendly. But it's how I function.
But it never fails that I take moments to mentally step back and just check out my surroundings. And I've seen all sorts of different behaviors from other cosplayers. Some folks just love being around others in costume and talk to anyone near them. I've also watched just as many little groups turn inwards and whisper amongst themselves. Could be going through lines, trying not to disturb anyone around them or give away some skit surprise... anything really. And easily mistaken as catty remarks about others. Or can be just that. I've also checked out costumes, mentally calculating the work, the process, the quality. And I've noticed when others do the same to me. *shrugs*
The only real difference I've seen between the backstage antics of anime cosplay competitors and those at scifi/horror/etc. events is that anime cosplayers are much more emotional and animated. And I'll agree with the thread, it has a lot to do with age.
One thing that would be interesting to do would be an age poll at competitions. Just how many anime masquerades have competitors under the age of 21? Still in high school? How many of the young competitors at scifi/fantasy events are doing it on their own and not with their parents who probably raised them in this hobby?
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Unread 06-04-2007, 10:23 AM   #23
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It's also those same kids that do poorly at competitions, then bitch and complain afterwards about solid, skilled cosplayers winning awards time and again. I've seen/heard/been a target of so much sour grapes over the years because the youth & novice in competition would rather try to get experienced cosplayers barred from competition than step up a notch and improve their own skills.

Tikki
THIS is why I gave up managing the AnimeIowa masquerade. I could no longer give the "kids" at the masquerade the kind of thing they wanted. So many of them had this sense of entitlement: I should win! Damn the skills! I should win! There are great costumers out there too, and good folks. I just burned out, essentially, on about 1/3 of the cosplayers at AI who thought they were entitled regardless of their skills. I so walked away from that.

That said, I believe that we are seeing better costumes at anime conventions. However, NOT in general. In general, people dress more to have fun than to have good technique. Which is okay, but it's not technique.

Um...are SF costumers better? More experienced. Are there anime cosplayers who could compete with them? Yes. Anime cosplayers have been coming out very favorably in recent years because some very skilled anime cosplayers have been entering World Con and Costume Con masquerades and winning, and as Gravely said, they haven't lowered their judging standards at all.

Will the average anime fan do well? Depends. This will sound strange, but did you finish your seams? Are you wearing tennis shoes? Did you glue things on sloppily? It's about technique and innovation, not skin or popularity. It's a whole new world where skilled costumers go, regardless of age, body shape, gender, or how popular your character is. As a matter of fact, complicated costumes are preferred...

If you're a good costumer/cosplayer, you're going to do well regardless of where you go.

One other thing I'd like to note is the drama factor. I've taken to addressing it every time someone begins to snipe. If it's about how much better X is than they are, I say work harder. Don't worry about X. It's not a competition with X, it's a competition with yorself. If it's about how much worse X is than they are, I mention that I never tear other costumers down, regardless of how they compare to my costumes. That often shuts up folks who notice what I'm wearing if they're insecure. Tearing each other down is tacky, and we're all geeks sharing the same hobby. If folks don't get it, they aren't worth my time until they grow up, regardless of their age. Do we get that at SF venues? I think, honestly, more discreetly, but yeah.

All that said, I'm not very competitive. It's art for me, and I love good costumes, regardless of what kind they are, and where I see 'em.

Grandis

ps Yes, CC, I did earn a lot of my master designation outside of anime conventions, mostly regional conventions, but some at Comic Con International and Costume Con.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 11:29 AM   #24
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One thing that would be interesting to do would be an age poll at competitions. Just how many anime masquerades have competitors under the age of 21? Still in high school? How many of the young competitors at scifi/fantasy events are doing it on their own and not with their parents who probably raised them in this hobby?
Tikki

I was actually paying more attention to that at the last competition I was in. At LEAST 75% of the people in the green room were still in high school. I asked around a lot, it was, admittedly, a small competition, but most of the people there were in groups, and almost all of the groups were high school age. Which is why that competition had a special category for "High School Groups". Couldn't tell you exactly how it works, though. I'm in college, but I'm an "old lady" compared to most of them.

Grandis is absolutely right about the costume quality though. There are plenty of anime cosplayers who could be on equal level with sci-fi cosplayers, but the general costume quality at conventions has not gotten better or worse. I honestly don't expect the general costume quality of conventions to ever improve. There will always be the "Oh, I decided on this the week of the con" or "I ran out of time so threw this together with what little funds and time I had". And most importantly, there will always be the newbies who have great potential and just haven't found it yet.

While in the green room, I usually just talk to whoever I feel like talking to. I've never seen Higurashi no Naku Koro ni or Cyborg 009, but both of the people I socialized with for 90% of the masquerade during my last competition were cosplayers from those shows. They were both novice competitors, but simple as they were, their costumes were beautifully constructed and I enjoyed asking them where they bought their fabrics, how they made certain pieces, etc. etc. etc. If I'm in a group, I'll normally stick with my group, but if someone wants to talk to me, I'm usually more than willing.

PS:

I was randomly poking around at your cosplaylab.com profile, Grandis, and your Mystique from some time ago was hawt. ^_~ Just so y'know.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 12:22 PM   #25
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I didn't compete at the Sci-Fi con because, well, I don't want pure Sci Fi or fantasy costumes to compete at anime conventions, I feel that's wrong and out of place, so I wasn't about to compete an anime or game costume at a sci-fi con.
But anime costumes have been a part of the sci-fi/fantasy con circuit for at least a good twenty years - ever since fans started watching anime. I've seen many anime presentations at sci-fi cons, and many of them were very good... and don't forget that anime presentations have won top awards at Costume-Cons and Worldcons. The SF/F community really doesn't enforce a division between the two, and imho they shouldn't. If it's a con specifically for anime, then yes, competition should be for anime costumes only; but anime fits into the overall sf/f umbrella, and there should not be a problem with showing it at sf/f cons.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 02:04 PM   #26
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I recently joined the ICG chapter in my area and at 21, I'm the youngest member in the group by far. I'm also the only cosplayer (so far) Everyone else was really excited when I joined and even though some of them have decades more costuming experience than I, they still look to me when it comes to cosplay. And they do want to get into it. My chapter is hosting CostumeCon in 2009 and at the last meeting they were talking about how they wanted to make anime a bigger part of it than it has been in the past. They want cosplayers to attend, panels on cosplay, and cosplay entries in the masquerade. They want to reach out to the cosplay community and build relationships with the younger generation.

Sure, there are a lot of young and sloppy cosplayers who just throw things together, but once those younger cosplayers grow up a bit more I think they'll either work to improve their own skills or quit altogether. Just because they're young and can only throw together a sweat suit Naruto at this point, I think that they can be nurtured along and taught that they can do better. Part of that is going to be teaching them that they can't whine their way to an award they don't deserve and that all the backstabbing is only going to keep them from learning from other costumers.

As far as masquerades go, I think that if there is going to be a bar set, it should be one that sets a minimum standard for competition, not a maximum. Don't prevent the master class people from showing their talents, they only inspire me to become better. Seeing a badly made costume on stage just makes me wish that I had the guts to enter the competition myself.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 05:54 PM   #27
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Hmm, this reminds me...does anyone here know if there is an ICG chapter in Texas? If not, we really ought to consider starting one up...

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Unread 06-04-2007, 06:16 PM   #28
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I haven't been to a Sci-Fi con because honestly, it's a little intimidating. I believe this is the same reason that I haven't joined the ICG. (And there's a chapter in my state) But there is a lot of that pettiness in the anime cons I've seen. My hope is that when this crop of people grow older, they'll realize the importance of their craftmanship and improve on thus. I don't know for sure, but I believe that the Sci-Fi cons went through the same things when it was newer, and they didn't have as many resources (such as the internet and this site) to collaborate.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 10:01 PM   #29
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yeah, it did take a while for costuming to grow up in other circles. But the fans have always been slightly older in the first place. sci-fi is just a catchall name, they don't differentiate or discriminate - so feel free to enter your anime costumes, Twilight Clover. There's overlap in the fanbase, just not always in the types of cons those fans go to. Some sci-fi nerds with massive anime and manga collections won't go to anime conventions (or don't, or can't)...that doesn't mean they won't appreciate a well made anime costume.

here's a thought, as we continue to discuss the abilities of hall cosplayers as relates to masquerades - and I think it does relate. Yes, there will always be a lowest common denominator in the halls, it's to be expected. From lazy-asses to newbs, it'll happen. Where I think we have the problem, is when people think that what passes for daily fun-wear in the halls is deserving of being on stage. That just because it's a costume, no matter how they put it together, they should have a right to go on stage and be seen by the audience as the next best Naruto since sliced bread. I don't think they realize the gap between "fun for a day" hall cosplay and masquerade costumes, until they start coming up against serious costumers and have a fit in the green room because they get slapped in the face with just how GOOD people can be.

On the one hand, I would like to see more of the people who haven't competed before, who only wear hall costumes, get into masquerades. I have seen some gorgeous work in the halls, people who are legitimately doing great costumes and deserve to be on stage. They don't compete for their own reasons, and that's fine, but I'd like to encourage them more if they're just intimidated. On the other hand, not every costume on every body in the halls is worth being in the masquerade, and I'm starting to mentally consider being a little more strict to people when they whine about it. There's nothing wrong with throwing together a costume and wearing it for giggles in the hall all day, or all con, but that doesn't automatically entitle you to an award for going on stage with it. And anime congoers really have NO concept of "don't wear your masquerade costumes in the hall." Most masquerades don't necessarily put it in the rules (a rare few do) but it's one of those things I learned by osmosis at CONvergence. You want to wow people when you walk on stage, they're not going to be wowed if they've seen you in that all day. Of course, the more complicated the costume, the less likely you'll want to be in it all day, but that's for later.

There is some kind of pervasive attitude among anime kids that if you're good at sewing, therefore you must automatically be a snob. I hate that. If they'd just put aside their pride for half a second and go up and talk to the good cosplayers, they might be able to learn something that they can use to improve themselves. Yes, there are snobs, and they come in crappy costumes as much as good ones. But being a talented sewer does not make you impossible to approach. I would like it if someone asked me for tips - get them via email all the time.

Grandis, I don't blame you for bailing on AI. That sounds like a drama nightmare. But yes, as far as CostumeCon goes - I admit I was intimidated going into my first one. But now I'm preparing to compete at the next one I go to. It's not hard, and I feel confident that I will be appreciated just for having the guts to jump in.
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Unread 06-04-2007, 11:04 PM   #30
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@CC: I guess you're right. I might compete next year if I have something to compete in. I really only have ONE finished costume that's masquerade worthy, and it's already won a group award and an award on its own, so I'm not competing her again.

I had planned to make a Sci-Fi costume, and even though I had all the supplies sans shoes and wig, I just didn't have the oppurtunity to finish it. So sad, maybe next year. ^_~

But yes. I have noticed that the anime community, in general, are drama addicts who either can't leave their school drama at school... Or are fresh out of school and feel the need to start drama in their con life. As Crazy Flower said, they seem to be petty, making big deals out of things that don't matter or complaining when things don't "go their way".

Forgive me for asking... What is ICG?
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