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Unread 09-18-2013, 02:53 PM   #1
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Masquerade vs. Hall/Craftsmanship Contests

I normally compete in craftsmanship only contests. There is craftsmanship pre-judging and a stage walk (which is not judged.) I'm trying to expand the conventions I attend and I've come across several that have a hall contest and a masquerade, where the masquerade has a craftsmanship element/walk-on, etc.

So what I'm wondering is that for someone like me who doesn't do skits but treasures good craftsmanship, which one is better to enter? Normally I'd say masquerade isn't for me, but if it has that walk-on pre-judged craftsmanship option, it sounds similar to other non-skit contests I've been in, like AWA. I am not scared to go onstage so that's not a factor, I'm just not into performing yet, and I like to go solo.

I guess a good example would be Katsucon, which I'm attending for the first time in 2014. I can't decide between hall and masquerade! Bc if both have craftsmanship judging, what's the difference besides a stage walk? (Which I'm hoping you guys can answer ) Do the quality of judges differ? Would hall be easier to win for craftsmanship? So many questions!! :P
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Unread 09-18-2013, 03:05 PM   #2
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Generally the Masquerades I have been to are judged both on Stage Presentation and Craftsmanship. A successful union of both is what will win the major awards such as best in class or best in show. Some competition split Masquerade awards into Craftsman ship and Performance category. This allows for someone to win based purely based on the craftsman ship.

Personally I have a lot of fun coming up with skits, blocking them out, recording the audio and presenting them. In the end if the audience has a good reaction to it then I've done a successful job. If you don't get enjoyment out of doing the skits or from the Masquerade culture in general then it may be best to stay with just the Hall Contest. If you are unsure I'd say try entering! Your skit / presentation does not have to be complicated or fill up all the time you are granted. You can do successful Solo performances, just don't make them too long =)
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Unread 09-18-2013, 04:28 PM   #3
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I have done a number of masquerades and won many awards for both workmanship and presentation, but I have never done a "skit." I've danced (not crappy JPOP dances, like actual dancing), and I've done pretty walk ons to either music or something for the MC to read.

Whether a masquerade is for you depends on the con. Some work more as skit contests (even if they have workmanship judging), and some work as a costume contest that hopes you do something interesting on stage. The only way to know which is which is to talk to people who've participated, but another pretty good indicator is how much time they give you to be on stage. Shorter might mean they care more about your costume, and longer might mean they care more about what you do onstage.

At the two masquerades I enjoy (Arisia and CostumeCon), the presentation is described as a place to give some context to your costume. For example: a Princess Tutu cosplayer with the ability might dance a classical variation. The judges tend to still see it as a costume contest first: How the costume looks on stage still counts first for the presentation award. Not every masquerade is like this though.
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Unread 09-18-2013, 11:56 PM   #4
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You REALLY have to check con-by-con for that kind of thing. Sometimes a "hall contest" is polaroids (wait they don't have Polaroid anymore...hastily-printed digital photos, then) of costumes that people can vote on, to pick their favorites. Sometimes a "hall contest" is a roving judge handing out ribbons to people who look amazing, regardless of the craftsmanship or if it's even purchased/commissioned. Sometimes a "hall contest" is duplicating exactly what the masquerade will be doing later, just without the element of going on stage. Sometimes a "hall contest" stands in for a crappy excuse for a masquerade, and is the only way to get your craftsmanship judged. I have seen ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I really only compete at masquerades where workmanship and performance are equally weighted and performance is not expected to be a full-on skit, places like CostumeCon, Archon, CONvergence, and a few others. This is the model I was introduced to as a newbie costumer back in the dark ages before the internet, it's the model that has been around the longest, and is IMO the most fair model to people who do care about their craftsmanship and their stage presence equally. I generally know what to expect from this kind of masquerade, and at those cons, there either isn't a hall contest or it's extremely informal and fun compared to the stress of the masquerade.

That said, do simply look into it at each con you plan to visit. I am in complete agreement with alpha_helix, knowing what you want out of a contest will help you decide whether you want to enter any given masquerade OR hall contest - or both!
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