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Unread 06-10-2007, 02:11 AM   #61
Sarcasm-hime
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Even at SF/F cons it can be hard for the Masq department to be taken seriously. I heard through the grapevine that one SF con chair said "why do we need the masquerade anyways? Let's put something else there." He had NO CLUE that it was popular; he and his crew always went for dinner during the Masq. -_-'

As mentioned above, Anime North has the problem of other events needing the Main Room so we simply don't have the time to do a rehearsal.
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Unread 06-10-2007, 03:09 PM   #62
Brittany Bunny
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Um...you know, I really think the large masquerades should do away with the skits. Three hours is a little long for your average audience.
AWA doesn't have skits, because of time and also because they usually, well...suck. >.> Out of the conventions I've gone to that have skits in their show, out of 20 skits, there might be 1 or 2 that are good. The rest are just TERRIBLE. I have noticed a huge difference in skit quality at conventions that preapprove and prescreen the skits, though. But as has been mentioned, cosplay coordinators seem to have a hard time getting time/space as needed. For an example of how overlooked cosplay/masquerades by upperlevel staff, just look at the problems with the Masquerade at Acen this year.

Also: Along with scifi cons having a better quality show regarding their contests, they also treat the contestants better! At anime convention contests I've always felt like the contestants were treated like crap; made to wait around for hours doing nothing, with no idea of when we would be judged, judges not showing up on time, being yelled at and moved around like cattle, being kicked out of contests because of time constraints (that was the worst I think...), whereas at Dragon*con (the only scifi con I've been to so far), we're given drinks and snacks, put into small groups with "den mothers" who update us on what's going on with the contest, have photographs taken but professional photographers, and I've seen people that come late be allowed in. BIG differences.
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Unread 06-10-2007, 07:04 PM   #63
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At Ikkicon 2, our staff and I will not only be screening skits for content, but for quality as well. I still haven't quite figured out how we are doing this, but our staff as well as Kim and I all agree that it's neccesary to cut the crap from the show. The audience generally enjoys most skits, with only a few being true duds, but we REALLY want to get rid of those duds.

So, how do you guys suggest we go about doing this? I was thinking about making skit audio required, but that seems a bit harsh to implement yet...we also need time to set aside so we can read all of them, so should we end skit sign up on Friday? Or maybe carry a bit into Saturday? I'm honestly at a loss on how to go about this.

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Unread 06-10-2007, 09:58 PM   #64
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Well, if you can't have the main events space to run a real rehearsal, there is always a screening rehearsal in another room. Tape off a section of the floor that's the same size as your stage and make people perform the skit for you. That way you know if they've bothered ever rehearsing it, and you can give critique or the almighty gong right then and there.

What's tough about screening, though, is that I don't know how you're going to handle people you have to reject. Maybe instead of registering or submitting at-con, you'll need to have all skits with scripts approved beforehand. That way, people don't work on it and think it's good enough and then get there and get rejected. You can tell them before the con that they won't make it in, and/or suggest that they enter as walk-ons or do a little work on it before they get to the con.

I really don't know. I've never seen that kind of thing attempted before. All I know is, at rehearsal at convergence, if the director had any helpful suggestions, she gave it to me and had me run through it a few times until it looked like it was going to be good. Course, I may just be better at putting together a performance than I thought, because I never got any serious criticism, nor was told to completely revamp anything. I've never seen anyone with a truly bad performance at rehearsal, so I don't know how the director handled them. But that's what rehearsal is for, at sci-fi cons. So, in lieu of a full rehearsal, doing a screening rehearsal in a smaller room might suffice.
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Unread 06-11-2007, 03:52 PM   #65
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Maybe...it would also make it easier to screen for quality if we required recorded audio for skits....this is something we're going to need to REALLY brainstorm on. Any ideas and suggestions would be infinitely helpful.

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Unread 06-20-2007, 05:36 PM   #66
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International Costumers Guild. The fine folks who put on Costume-Con.
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Wow, I feel dumb. >_>;;

Thanks for the info! *Runs off to research.*
Umm --- Not Quite.

Costume-Con is a separate entity from the International Costumers Guild, although the group of us that started ICG did so because of Costume-Con. The confusion is easy to understand, because it's the same group of people oftentimes.


Costume-Con was started in 1983 by Karen Dick. There is a strong correlation between the people who win the right to win it each year and chapters of the ICG, but it is a separate thing.


For instance, next year's CC26 in Silicon Valley is being organized as a project of the Unconventional Foundation, a corporation I created to do CC26 and maybe some other conventions in the future. Many of my staff members are ICG members, but just as many are not.
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Unread 06-23-2007, 01:00 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Danzikumaru View Post
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Maybe...it would also make it easier to screen for quality if we required recorded audio for skits....this is something we're going to need to REALLY brainstorm on. Any ideas and suggestions would be infinitely helpful.

*

I think if you're screening the skits for content/decency/whatever, you should have them submit them before the con. More and more often, cons are having the cosplayers who wish to participate in the masquerade sign up online 1-2 months before the con. You could do the same with your con. Allow so many slots online, and then allow a few extra AT the con when/if you have the time to do so. That would at least eliminate any "OMGWEEKOFTHECONTHREWTHISTOGETHERATTHELASTMINUTESO ITSUCKS" entries.

I actually find it a lot more convenient to do the online cosplay sign up. I hate that at AWA you have to fill out a form and wait in a line to sign up. A line that, after waiting in it for an hour, you could still be turned away due to them being "too full".

But I do think that some larger cons should either do away with skits or at least make a smaller limit of the number of ones there are. As Brittany said, there are few masquerades where half of the skits are even tolerable.
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Unread 06-23-2007, 10:07 PM   #68
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Enforcing the time limits would go a long way towards that, at the bigger cons. Rather than differentiating between a walkon and a skit and capping the number of entries in those categories, all "performances" have the same time limit. That's what I'm used to, and it works fine. If people don't have three minutes to dilly around on stage, they won't - so long as the time limits are strictly enforced.

Some people don't like the way DragonCon enforces their time limits, but being a pal of many a stormtrooper, I love it. I think it's hilarious. Embarrassing to the contestant, yes, but so is going over the time limit and being disqualified. I don't necessarily advocate every single con go out and round up some stormtroopers to escort disqualified contestants off stage when they've been gonged, but it's a very visible example of the principle. Reasonable time limits, strictly enforced by whatever means possible, can aid most cons in encouraging better presentation of the costumes and hopefully fewer sucky skits.
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Unread 06-24-2007, 12:43 AM   #69
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The problem with DragonCon IMO is that they give people too much time and then arbitrarily kick them off when they inevitably get boring, which is unfair and a recipe for drama. I'm all for enforcing time limits as long as you stick to the same thing for everyone rather than making subjective decisions.
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Unread 06-24-2007, 11:06 AM   #70
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*Snickers.* While I do see Sarcasm-Hime's point, that does sound like quite an amusing sight to see.

I do believe that screening skits before hand is a really good idea to help cut down on the number of boring ones, though. Skits that have too many "in-jokes", skits with crossovers that make no sense and just seem like, "Okay, we have Chii, Cloud, and Usagi, what kind of skit can we do?", and skits that are just overdone in general could all be weeded out without annoying or boring the audience.

Not to mention skits with references so obscure that 90% of the audience doesn't even know what they are. I remember a skit a few years ago, a Gravitation cosplay with a skit that was based on something from Violinist of Hamelin... I'm sure it made sense to the girls that wrote it, but... Seriously, HOW many people even know what Violinist of Hamelin even is? Not a single person in the audience knew what was going on, and there was this awkward dead silence the entire time the girls were on stage until they left.
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Unread 06-24-2007, 04:46 PM   #71
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Regarding what I've heard of DragonCon (admittedly I have not had occasion to attend it), both the excessive times allowed for entries and the disrespectful gonging / arbitrary removal of people seem very unprofessional to me.

The sort of things I am hearing about would seem to me to actually encourage entries of "lets see what we can get away with" craftsmanship and writing, and shoddiness in editing of performance length, as well as people who WANT to "bait the gong" so to speak by pushing over time limits. That doesn't sound like a venue to enter one's work when one is actually trying hard to provide some sort of quality of presentation.
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Unread 06-24-2007, 07:34 PM   #72
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The second time I entered into DragonCon's main masq, I was totally wearing a ghetto costume - after the first time I entered when I had worked really hard on my costume then found out they didn't do craftsmanship judging and so I didn't care what I wore second time and was just out there with a group for pure silliness. Group that was two in front of us was removed by StormTroopers and ended up with crying and confrontation behind stage. I try to avoid DragonCon's main masq, and enter the few contests at DragonCon that at least have some care over the costume instead of what the judges arbitarily like.
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Unread 06-24-2007, 10:05 PM   #73
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Yeah, knowing what I know now of DCon's masquerade, I'm glad I never entered and it's changed my mind about a lot of things.

...but attempting to do an entire para-para routine to an entire song outside the time limit before an audience that doesn't know what para-para is, really, that was asking to be stormtroopered.

I don't envy Danziku's screening process, because my area is workmanship and I while I'd like to think I know a good skit from a bad one, I don't have the performance background required to objectively evaluate a performance for whether it will go over well. I wish him luck with that. ACen does screen performances, in lieu of a full rehearsal, which seemed odd to me but now I think I understand why they do it. They just want to know that people are prepared. However, I'm not sure they actually screen out bad skits. I've only seen one of their masquerades - the one I was in - so I have no idea if bad skits get through regardless.

Conversely, from the sci-fi side, Convergence has the full rehearsals but their directors have serious theatre backgrounds and know how to direct a show, not just watch people parade across the stage. So, they don't stop people from performing no matter how bad their skit is. They try to offer advice if there is any to be given, but they still let everything through. It just means that the bad ones stick out really badly, and it's kind of obvious who *isn't* going to get an award. But, because the competition factor is so astronomically high at some of these cons, bad skits are few and far between - most of the people who would compose those kinds of skits are too intimidated to enter. And wisely so. They wouldn't have a chance.
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Unread 06-26-2007, 04:06 AM   #74
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I have no problem with D*C taking people off-stage with the Storm Troopers. Everyone knows what the time limit is (or SHOULD know) before they go on stage. Everyone knows (or should know) what constitutes an interesting skit. I've never actually seen a skit get ended, it's usually just the people that are up there dancing FOREVER, or giving some non-stop monologue. If you're unsure what would be considered entertaining for a particular convention, then you should research its past contests or just not enter your first year.

If the contestants aren't putting on an entertaining show, then I see no problem with D*C trying to make it entertaining for the audience. It's all supposed to done for fun, anyway.

As I've said, I've been in it, and it was a heck of a lot more fun to participate in than anime convention masquerades have been (dawn contest was more fun, too). No, it's not a "serious" costume contest and they don't judge based on costume construction/quality, but that's not what the contest was made for (and they now have a contest for that anyway). This contest was made primarily for stage presence and entertainment value.
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Unread 06-26-2007, 04:40 AM   #75
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I've never actually seen a skit get ended, it's usually just the people that are up there dancing FOREVER, or giving some non-stop monologue.
I guess I wonder at the standards in the type of show that consistently would draw such unfortunately-designed "entries".

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No, it's not a "serious" costume contest and they don't judge based on costume construction/quality, but that's not what the contest was made for (and they now have a contest for that anyway). This contest was made primarily for stage presence and entertainment value.
"Serious" contests can also have awesome stage presence and a very high entertainment value, as well as really well-done humorous entries.

I'm guessing it's a matter of the standards chosen in the first place, and the standards at different events simply... differ. Nothing "wrong" per say with a glorified off-the-street-entry-talent-type show, but people should be aware that there ARE more differences these days between ostensibly similar (and unfortunately similarly-named) contest events than there perhaps used to be 20 or so years ago.
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