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Unread 09-06-2012, 03:58 PM   #16
Wenora
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hime no Toki View Post
-if you think you'll get nervous and forget what to say, write down on an index card a basic run-down on the construction process - materials, methods, things you like most about the costume, etc.
Reading through the thread, I think this will help me in the future! If you are a nervous nelly like I am when it comes to talking this will help a lot! I sometimes would say the wrong things in front of the judge.
Every judge I had were understanding, friendly, and thorough.
I only experienced one judge who did not take a close look at my costume or flip the seams or looked at the back, etc. Just sat there and looked uninterested. I was a little annoyed. But at the end of the night, the fun I had meant more than dwelling on that little thing.
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Unread 09-06-2012, 05:35 PM   #17
NiGHTmaren
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Sometimes talking about your costume becomes kind of like a class presentation. I know from personal experience that my level of talkativity usually depends on the vibes I get from the judges - sometimes, in the case of judges that appear to be bored or distracted, I get so tripped up that I don't explain myself very well - even if I have an entire speech memorized and know what I want to highlight, I go blank! The index cards are a good idea but I don't advise anyone to rely on them too heavily - use them as a guideline in case you feel nervous, and for cosplayers new to competition, it can really help with memorization and confidence, I think.
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Unread 09-08-2012, 01:40 PM   #18
Amanita
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I am really not a fan of contests where the judges just sit behind a table and don't engage the cosplayers at all. I entered a contest where that happened once, dressed as Shaak Ti of the Star Wars Prequels. The centerpiece of my costume was a hand tooled leather apron, and I can say without hubris that it's perhaps one of the best fan-made replicas of that costume part I've ever seen, on me or anyone else. Even the actress who wears the Shaak Ti costume at Disney's Star Wars days doesn't have a replica as accurate (the colors are way off, for starters)

I later found out that during deliberations, two of the judges were ready to write me off entirely, believing the hand tooled apron I had spent 50 hours working on was something I had just bought somewhere. "That's professional work, there's no way she did that herself!" Luckily, the third judge was the proprietress of a local Gothic/Pagan store, and had sold pieces of my leathercraft before. She argued with the other two, saying that she knew I had made it myself. Unfortunately the judges never got a look at all that intricate work I had done, all that painstaking detail. (An almost three foot long piece of leather with almost every square inch tooled in some way and then hand painted)

An Iron Man cosplayer almost got boned in similar fashion, luckily he stopped at the judge's table and said something to them, showing them the inside of his helmet. (I didn't, because I didn't know I was allowed to say anything to them)

If anyone's curious here's a closeup of the costume piece deemed too good to have been done by my own hand, here it is, although the camera flash makes it look more orange than it really is, and the photo scaling flickr did kind of hides some of the detail:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/3121754...7617113502738/
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Unread 09-08-2012, 05:53 PM   #19
NiGHTmaren
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I'm sorry to hear, Amanita. That is amazing leather work - I've tooled leather before and it is incredibly time-consuming due to the size of the tools you use. This is why I stress progress photos for the judges, in case they do question the work. Though honestly, with judges like the ones you experienced, I'm wondering if that would have done any good at all. :/
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Unread 09-08-2012, 06:02 PM   #20
Kitsunebi-chan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hime no Toki View Post
Here are some things to do to prepare:

-print out references. If you can print out different views of the character (front, back, sides, up-close details), all the better.
-bring in-progress photos with you to pre-judging, as well. This shows that you made the costume, and judges enjoy seeing the construction process and some details may be hard to see underneath layers and layers even with a lot of poking and prodding (for example, if you made a corset to go under your costume).
-if you think you'll get nervous and forget what to say, write down on an index card a basic run-down on the construction process - materials, methods, things you like most about the costume, etc.
-never point out what you don't like/did wrong. Not only because you're drawing attention to a flaw, but judges don't like negativity.

Go into the prejudging room with pride in your work. This is your first contest and you'll be judged most likely in the Novice category (some cons don't have categories...I see you are from Florida, and I know down here it can really vary from con to con), but the judges should know you're new to cosplay and won't judge you nearly as harshly as they would a Master level craftsman, anyhow. I know it can be hard to smile when you're feeling nervous, but like Sarcasm-hime said, your average judge is not going to be mean in any way, shape, or form. I'm not going to say all judges are nice, because I've had my fair share of ones who were not - but no judge should ever give you a critique during the process of judging.
just found out not all judges will look at your info,you cosplay portfolio or refence pics.... did all that for afest dallas las week and hey said they were too behind to go to much into detail
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Unread 09-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #21
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Unfortunately, not all judges are good judges. I've been competing for years and years now and I've come across a wide range of judging experiences - from judges that ask me questions, look at the material I presented to them, and prod my costume, to judges that take the time when I'm explaining the costume to them to look away from me and drink a bottle of water instead. I really think a lot of it boils down to the head of cosplay and how he or she chooses the judges and how strictly they enforce the judges to follow proper protocol and ethics. I really wish it could all be the same across the board, but entering a costume contest can be a risk of sorts. Sometimes you just never know what kind of judging you will get. The good thing is, remember that there are always other cons to go to that you can try again. It can be hard to stay positive when you go through a negative judging experience, I know how that is.
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Unread 09-09-2012, 01:52 AM   #22
Spiritwalker
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I've only been to a few contest judgings myself, but I definitely recommend you give them a play-by-play of how you made the costume (if you did make it anyway), and don't be afraid to put some of your creation techniques into your MC intro either. Mention how hard you worked to get a particular part of your costume right if it was difficult or time consuming or you are particularly proud of it, ect. I can't tell for sure, but it seems to help some of the judges remember that way, and if you made your own costume (and it's still good) and most of the other competitors did not even if theirs is better, that often can work in your favor if it's more about the costume than energizing the audience with skits and stuff. There's a lot of different categories you might be able to go after if it's a big contest, so keep your options as varied as possible. You might not be the big winner, but maybe you can win a category of some kind instead, which is still pretty cool imo. Baby steps and all that.

Edit: I think that costume is pretty awesome btw. :3 If you are excited about your costume, good judges should respond to that instead of making you feel like a slab of meat just there to hold your costume up. I hope your judges are like that.
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Unread 09-09-2012, 03:29 PM   #23
Amanita
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Thanks I'm working on a smaller leather apron and some other accessories for my latest costume project- I think handing those judges some notes might have helped- they did listen to Iron Man, after all. I just didn't know I was allowed to approach or speak to them at all- especially since I was the FIRST person out on stage!
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Unread 09-09-2012, 06:13 PM   #24
Sarcasm-hime
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I've encountered the 'too good to be homemade' thing too, when being judged by a panel of celebrities. -_-' That's why we say about masquerades "It's always a crapshoot" because you can't control who's going to be judging, who you're competing against, or even whether your sound will work for sure. You just do your best, that's all you can do. And if you have a bad experience, tell them about it...and if it doesn't get fixed, then vote with your feet and go elsewhere.

Normally (in my experience) approaching the judges while you're onstage isn't cool, but it does depend on the contest.
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Unread 09-09-2012, 08:03 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsunebi-chan View Post
just found out not all judges will look at your info,you cosplay portfolio or refence pics.... did all that for afest dallas las week and hey said they were too behind to go to much into detail
Both A-Fest and Akon are notorious for not giving a fig about any kind of documentation you give them or really about any work that goes into a costume. I wrote those contests off long ago due to poor judging and favoritism. Sorry that you had to experience their bad judges. Most contests are not like that though, well, the ones I compete in anyway are not.

I think documentation is extremely important. Not only does it include your reference of your character and/or conceptual artwork for your costume, which is important for the judges to see, it should include progress pics, construction notes and other tidbits that help to show you built the costume and how you might have worked out problems as they happened in the course of the build.

Just my two cents worth though.
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Unread 09-09-2012, 10:02 PM   #26
tifaia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsunebi-chan View Post
just found out not all judges will look at your info,you cosplay portfolio or refence pics.... did all that for afest dallas las week and hey said they were too behind to go to much into detail
Yeah. We were a little unsure of judging this year. I'm glad that we had someone in our group that was very vocal about showing our portfolio. He flipped through those pages and made sure the judges saw our seams, hems, leather-work, and latex up close. They weren't going to see the details sitting behind the desk.

As Sarcasm-hime said, it really is a hit or a miss. We can't control the judges or how they judge. All you can do is your best, turn it around on them if they're sitting quietly, and flip through your portfolio as you give your presentation. Everyone is a little different. And if you're concerned about how it was handled, bring it up with the staff.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 02:08 PM   #27
Amanita
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With the contest I was in, the judges were not on stage with us, their table was off stage, off to one side. So you would walk past them after you had had your stage time. And last year, the judges were sitting on stage, but they were sitting on the same side of the stage as we entered from, so it was possible to walk past them, bow (completely in-character), and hand them my notes before going out to the middle of the stage to do my thing. (there was no pre-judging there)

After that first contest, I did post my complaints to the con forum. But I did so constructively, offering ideas for ways to make the next contest better. And it looks like con staff really do care, aiming to make it better for us every year.
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