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Unread 04-15-2012, 02:35 PM   #1
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Pointers for costume contest presentations

I hope it's okay to post this here; I couldn't see any other forum section that seemed suited to this. I'm entering my first hall costume contest this summer and I was wondering if anyone has any pointers about the presentation? I understand you generally get 4 to 5 minutes with the judges to discuss your costume, and obviously you need to be prepared to explain how you made it, but do they prompt you with questions the whole time or do you need to know what you're going to say in advance?

What kinds of things is it good to focus on? What do they ask about? The rules suggested bringing a portfolio of progress pictures; do you wait while they look at it, or talk while they're looking, or hold the portfolio yourself and walk them through it? I get very nervous when presenting but advance prep helps. Any tips would be much appreciated!
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Unread 04-15-2012, 03:06 PM   #2
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This might get moved to the Masquerade/Skit Discussion Forums because Hall Contest stuff sometimes tend to be put there.

Anyway, each judge for Hall Contests are different. I've done a number of them and never take progress pictures with me for the simple fact that I document so much (and usually enter in a pair or group) that they could spend hours looking at what I've done. But reference pictures and some progress shots can be good. Focus on the things you are most proud of in your costume. Tell them if you learned new techniques or if you drafted your patterns and so on. Most judges will ask questions and usually look over your costume and references while you talk. If you are at a big con, you will feel a bit more rushed because of the number of people entering, but just pace yourself. Judges also understand you get nervous, even if you've been entering for years, because no one likes to be stared at and almost broken down as they present themselves and their hard work.

Just prepare yourself with what you want to showcase about your costume and be prepared to answer questions about it. Most of all (and I need to learn to take this advice myself) just be relaxed. Judges won't bite and are usually costumers themselves who used to be in the same position you are in.
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Unread 04-16-2012, 01:59 PM   #3
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I would bring a three ring binder or whatever full of photos. Reference photos of what you are cosplaying. Progress shots of the work you've done. Talk about the challanges of the costume and what you did to overcome them.

Blah blah blah blah. When I won with my Raziel costume, one of the judges doc'ed me for not included a detail from the reference photo. However, I explained that I had -tried- to include it, and all of the things I had done to try and make it work. In the end, he gave me back the point because of all the work I had done trying to include it.
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Unread 04-17-2012, 11:30 PM   #4
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agreed about 3 ring binder. I actually got a scrapbook thing and well I forgot it at the last convention but I usually go through and add my reference photos, go into some detail about how I did it and include even photos of patterns and such. They judges LOVE it

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Unread 04-18-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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Our last con costume contest didn't have pre-judging, but I still did up some reference notes. As I was cosplaying the avatar of a skyscraper, I included the character concept art I had done, as well as a photo of the building that inspired it. I described how I incorporated various features of the building into the costume (its black and grey glass, the aluminum pinstripes on its facade, its overall angular look), and also how I modified each pattern I used to make the different elements of the costume. Some of those mods were extensive- adding lining, stand-up collars, a center back opening, pockets, and even more to one garment, for example.
I included lots of pics to help tell the story, so the judges could see what I was talking about.

When I came on stage, I paused right in front of the judges so they could see my costume, and bowed while passing them my notes. Then I went on to do my short performance. I later found out that the judges really appreciated my notes, I was one of the few contestants to provide any.
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Unread 04-29-2012, 09:12 PM   #6
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One good thing to do to "reherse" for your time with the judges is to just make a bullet-pointed list of the important parts of your costume that you'll want to remember. Say you hand beaded something, so make sure to mark that. If you had to dye something or alter an existing pattern, make a note of that. I've been to some pre-judgings where the judge's just say "So! Tell us about your costume" and just let you say whatever you want. Sometimes they don't ask any questions at all! But as long as you make sure to knock out the parts you feel the most proud of or took the most effort/time/planning, then you'll be just fine~!

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