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Unread 03-06-2011, 12:07 AM   #1
BraveKnight
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Hall Contests...

So I know I'm just a beginner when it comes to Cosplay (and does anyone else get annoyed that when we are on a site called Cosplay.com that the word cosplay shows up as incorrect in spellcheck... sorry moving on) BUT I took my Snow costume to get judged and like most people who work really hard on their costume it's hard to deal with the idea of being judged but I got to ask:

HOW DO YOU KEEP COMPOSED!

I've done public speaking and all that jazz but my turn came up to get judged and when I showed up I croaked. It was just silly. That and when the judges are in costume and their outfits look pretty effin sweet you just kind of... FEEL like you need to clam up.

I love being in my Snow costume and enjoyed working on it. Sorry I tend to ramble when its just me talking about my feelings =P

To those who are just looking to by pass the rambling... I'm looking for help on how to prepare yourself for being judged. I had photos... like quite a few of them. But when it came to time to show them I just couldn't wait to get out of that room rofl.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 12:36 AM   #2
Yui
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That's one of the reasons that I don't really like cosplaying when I'm judging a contest - I feel that it is distracting to those being interviewed. ^_^; (And I know other judges feel differently about that, and prefer not to work in normal clothes, since I can totally understand that wearing your own costume is an instant credential - just as judges in costume may intimidate some contestants, other contestants sometimes are confused by judges who aren't.)

Something important to remember is that a good judge will evaluate your skills based on your actual experience - they are not comparing you to the other divisions. You're only up against fellow novices, and only the ones that are at that particular convention that weekend (and not all novices everywhere) - it's kind of like a grading curve.

Also remember it is your skills, your artwork, your creative decisions that are being graded, not you as a person.
...
…Okay, well that still sounds a little intimidating. But just know that no fair judge will be questioning if you "deserve" to be in the contest. So long as you made your own costume yourself and you are following the con's specific cosplay rules, you are as welcome as every other contestant.

Something you can do to help with some nerves is seriously to practice ahead of time. Especially if you aren't used to being interviewed for jobs, etc. you should try to do so out-loud the day before, perhaps with people you're rooming with at the con. It's good to think about all the points you are satisfied with and stress those rather than the parts you don't like as much, since you usually have a limited few minutes to get everything explained. Be familiar with your content, and that really helps with composure.

Also, if you are seriously having a panic attack, let the cosplay staff or the judges know! You can sometimes trade interview slots or come back later if time allows.



I've been trying to analyze other ways for the judges to help make the interviews be less stressful, though. Do you have any other suggestions that you think judges themselves should consider?
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Unread 03-06-2011, 12:41 AM   #3
ChilmarkGryphon
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I get really nervous too, and I always forget mentioning important points D: And it's always the points that make me sound like I know what I'm doing (seam finishes, painting techniques, etc). Combination of terror and the pre-con sleep deprivation, I guess.
I'd feel much more comfortable writing up a page of bullet-point construction notes + reference pictures/WIP photos and giving that to the judges, but I'm afraid that'd make it look like I didn't make my own costume -___-
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Unread 03-06-2011, 12:46 AM   #4
Yui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChilmarkGryphon View Post
I'd feel much more comfortable writing up a page of bullet-point construction notes + reference pictures/WIP photos and giving that to the judges, but I'm afraid that'd make it look like I didn't make my own costume -___-
Dude, bring it! Even if most anime cons don't have time to consider full process books as part of the judging process (sci-fi cons more often do, though) if having personal notes helps you relax and stay organized, have them with you while you talk. I've judged several master-level cosplayers who are just really shy and need that extra help, so it's really not that weird.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 12:55 AM   #5
Mehdia
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I have only entered a few cosplay contests for this very reason. I am very shy, no matter how well I know I've done on my costumes. I have been making costumes and clothing for ten years, and still have a bit of trouble telling people about them. I lucked out and the second time I entered costumes, my group and I won a Best Craftsmanship award for them. I felt like I did forget important things, but the girl that judged the Hall Cosplay Contest we entered was extremely nice, and as enthusiastic about techniques used as I was, so she made it very easy to talk to her.

I have had the experiences of doing lots of things on stages and in front of crowds. I used to sing in a choir and then I showed horses competitively until I was 18 (even showing at an invitation only world show), but still, none of those public experiences are the same as having someone scrutinize your handiwork. I just try to let my nerves stay down, and concentrate on what I have to say that will show what kind of work I have put into the costumes. It does help me that I have entered contests with at least one person with me. The first time I did, my friend had to make sure she was right next to me because I thought I would freak out and end up leaving the room before our turn came up. Support is something that's really important to have, even if you aren't competing. I know it helps me feel like I do better work than I give myself credit for at times.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 12:58 AM   #6
BraveKnight
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Well to be honest I am normally pretty calm. This is the first time when I was like actually working on something. If you look at my costume pics I managed to do all that with just a 15-20 minute crash course on how to use a sewing machine ><

I was competing a novice and I did just alter a lot of my clothing. I made my armband myself though completely as well as the boot covers. The trench coat I altered an sinched (sp?) to fit me better. I added all the stripes to my vest, the collar, and the lining. When it came to talking about my outfit though I don't know what to say. I can really only explain it as clamming up. I only talked about my armband because it was the only thing I was super proud of and didn't let them look at my vest or coat because I didn't want them to see my stitch work ><

*whew* I kind of thought of it all as just something to be fun and relaxed, but when I saw the panel it was like... "crap... these people are sizing me up!" rofl

Thank you for the tips though! I guess if I had a question or comment for helping out new cos-players it would be:

To gauge the competitors differently. If someone seems like they are ready to prattle on and on then great. But I'd tend to think that most of us newbies are a little gun shy and might need a little ice breaker. "What was your most difficult aspect of your costume" or "I like your weapon. How did you go about making it?"

When I was at Katsucon it was my first competition and they had A LOT of people there (and I think they all did a real good job) but man, I felt like half of how I presented myself effected how I looked.

I could prattle on and on though... so I'll just stop there.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 01:44 AM   #7
Yui
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Yeah, a panel of strangers staring at you from behind a table is kinda scary. O_o I think it makes it a lot more relaxed if the judges stand up too (if they can) so it's more like a real conversation - plus they can take a better look at the details you are pointing out then.

Some judges are new at judging, too - and they don't realize yet that they should give newer cosplayers some prompts, and might sit in silence waiting for the cosplayer to run the presentation. So, I do recommend asking the cosplay sign-up people what to expect and how to best prepare.

Taking a friend in with you for support (even if they didn't help make the costume and even if they are not entering themselves) should be totally fine, too, if it helps you feel more at ease.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 03:46 PM   #8
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All i can say is, if the hall contest you entered had a panel of judges that just sat there and stared at you, no wonder you got nervous.

Good judges, be they hall judges or masquerade judges, are the ones asking the questions. I like to start with a generic "so tell me about how you made this," or "what do you want me to know about how you made this?" and then ask leading questions from there. We know people can be nervous and might not know what to say, especially if they're novices, so the more questions we can ask them, the better. Then they start to feel comfortable about talking and may eventually volunteer information for us.

I still compete at international level, and at some regional cons, so I know what it feels like from both sides. I honestly prefer the hall contests that are just some roaming judge who thinks your costume is beautiful handing you a ribbon - that way the only panel interview I have to do all weekend is for the masquerade itself. That can be nerve-wracking enough even for a master! I don't like adding onto the costume stress by making hall cosplays go through the same thing. At that rate, just enter the stage masquerade, really.

BUT...that said. The judges shouldn't be unhappy if you bring them reference materials and maybe some notes about your costume, even if you just read them the notes. At home while you're working on the costume is where you remember all the important things to tell them, about what you learned, what you're proudest of, etc, but all that goes out the window at the con. So go ahead and write it down, and explain it to them off a notecard if they don't ask enough questions or give you a comfortable space in which to show and tell your costume.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 04:12 PM   #9
koi-ishly
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Oh man, you should have seen me at my first hall cosplay. I was shaking and when I spoke my voice shook... Oy. And I'm a teacher! I teach everyday. I'm up on my little teacher podium everyday telling people what to do, and I freaking break in the matter of seconds when it come to being judged by others. I just don't get it...

Anyways, my 2nd time I was still shaking but it was much much less... and I just kinda prattled on and then turned it over to my partner. I gotta say, having pointed questions instead of the broad, "how did you blah blah blah" helped a lot more. The judges asked about the wigs first, so that made things so much easier for me. I had reference pictures the first time, but they were being passed around. The 2nd time they were at a table, so I could point out certain things about them. The judges did not all sit, two of them got up and looked at our costumes. I was still talking and what not... I really can't tell you what happened the whole time as I don't remember it all. When I'm stressed or nervous, moments tend to blend all together.

Capsulecorp had a good suggestion of the note cards. You can't guarantee that the judges are going to ask you specific questions, then having bullet points to keep you on target will keep the conversation flowing and on point. I knew once my partner and I were talking about how my cat was so helpful in the construction of the kimono I knew we ran out of things to say to the judges ^^;;
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Unread 03-06-2011, 05:38 PM   #10
BraveKnight
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Thanks guys this has been real encouraging! I know for a fact that the people who won their awards were well deserving. I just left that room knowing I really didn't present myself so much as just stood there kind of prattled on and on about stuff and then we made jokes about my EVO and how the judges needed to "keep my reference material". (I had the photos stored on my phone) lol

/sigh it was still a lot of fun and I'm not discouraged about competing or just cosplaying in general. I just really wish that I was better prepared for what a panel was going to be like.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 07:42 PM   #11
koi-ishly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveKnight View Post
/sigh it was still a lot of fun and I'm not discouraged about competing or just cosplaying in general. I just really wish that I was better prepared for what a panel was going to be like.
While there is some info on hall contests, there isn't a whole lot, but IMO there doesn't need to be a ton of info to explain what a HC is. As for being prepared... while you didn't have print outs, you still had references. That's more than some. I wish I had been more prepared for my 1st time going up, but I don't think anyone can be fully prepared for it. People can give you all the advice in the world, but until your in the moment can you put it to possible use. When I'm in front of the judges I feel like my head empties ^^;; and well it did my first time, all I did was state my character what game I was from and froze for second until they asked me about the costume.

Don't get too down about how it went. We all tend to be a bit self critical, I do it all the time. But the thing to remember most is that is this is a hobby, and it's all about the fun and the experience of how you made your costume.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:56 PM   #12
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Thanks Koi. It's true that we can all be super critical of ourselves. I do intend to try and do some more editing and print out my material. I didn't have all of my costume either... not that I can take credit for the Square Enix Jewelry but man... KNOWING that you aren't at 100% can do things to you as well. That stuff is expensive and not to mention that technically this costume was several years in the making and that was even before Snow came out lol. I don't know if anyone frequented the fitness section of the forums here but I used to weigh 285 and now weigh 220. I always wanted to cosplay and although the weight loss wasn't purely for cosplaying or for Snow it was a big motivation to make sure it happened. Lol too bad working on your bod can't go into a judging =P All the same this was a very big moment for me and I intend to keep improving this costume as my knowledge progresses!
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Unread 03-06-2011, 09:04 PM   #13
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Since we have some people here who do judging, what are some of the things that judges look at when judging costumes, especially workmanship?
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