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Unread 03-26-2013, 08:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ineedaname9 View Post
Also about the masquerade, isn't it a contest to see how much you look like the character?
No. No it isn't.

A masquerade is a costume contest wherein everyone is judged to see who has the best costume for their skill level. It's about what you created, not where it came from. Yes, when doing a reproduction of an existing character accuracy is a factor, but it's not the only one. And it's not the point of the masquerade.

As to Amanita's question...there are OCs and ODs. Original characters, and original designs. The stigma is mainly with the former, but that means it carries over to the latter even though it's not fair to tar everyone original with the same brush.

The problem with OCs usually falls into one of these categories, and yes I'll be repeating what others have said:
- poor closet cosplay
- Mary Sues
- LARP
- "let me tell you all about my half-elf ranger/Corellian Jedi/ninja halfling/Harry Potter's third child"
- not visually interesting or distinguishable from street clothes nerds
- yeah there's probably some elitism from people who think cosplay only means Japanese media

It's not about the DESIGN of the costume, it's about the "character" and the costume-wearer's attitude toward that character. When the character is their own creation, they're worried more about the character, and it's their baby - so they have a naturally over-sensitive reaction to anyone who doesn't care about the character and doesn't want to hear about it. Well, newsflash: nobody wants to hear about your character. They're not going to sit down and listen to your hour-long spiel on the character's backstory and what you do with them besides cosplay them. Instead, they're going to form an opinion based on a ten-second glance at your costume as they pass you in the hallway. If you're engaging in obnoxious behavior at the time, that will compound the issue.

Costuming/cosplay is about the visual. People who like to roleplay their characters do exist, but by and large not everyone (and not even a majority) of people in cosplay like to roleplay or get into character. LARP is still a big enough part of many cons that it's understandable that some "OCs" might get confused for LARPers - or worse, shown the same stigma.

Now, original DESIGNS on the other hand...those tend to be widely accepted because there's no character behavior attached. Aside from how you pose for pictures or carry yourself on stage, there isn't any in-character behavior to cause people to assume you fall into one of the above categories. Your costume gets all the attention even if it's not from a fandom source, especially if it's elaborate and well-made. Let's be fair, people have been creating original designs since well before anyone started cosplaying anime characters (in 1979) and no one looked down on them. It's all about the difference between how you look and what comes out of your mouth.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 10:27 PM   #17
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Pretty much all that. ^

I don't mind because they are doing it for fun but I can see where the problems can come from. That and I wonder if people's oc's often get mistaken for other characters?
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Unread 03-26-2013, 11:20 PM   #18
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When I did my One Penn Plaza cosplay, I got a lot of people coming up and asking me what it was. About the only thing that annoyed me was when the askers said "Oh good, I don't lose any geek points for not recognizing you!" It was the geek points thing that annoyed me, because really, NOBODY knows every single thing that's out there, so why worry about losing "geek points" all the time?

Now, my cosplays do tend to get attention, because I design them to look cool. I compensate for lack of recognizability by doing striking and interesting designs. This year I am hoping to have some illuminated parts on my costume, as well as my first attempt at armor beyond simple leather bracers. Having a cool design helps if you want to get attention- something that doesn't blend into the background. And I do try to take cues from others when chatting with them. Some people just want to know what I am, some others ask for more info, and I've had some great chats with people who wanted to know what inspired the costume.

I really like to see things that people put some thought into- my friend's disastrous Jedi could have been much cooler had she gotten me to help her out- she can't sew or fabricate her way out of a paper bag. I might have been able to steer her away from that long green coat and all that other mismatched stuff, and towards something a little less..random looking.
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Unread 03-26-2013, 11:55 PM   #19
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Whenever a thread like this turns up, I always wonder just how much people are conflating not getting much attention with getting an outright bad rap. People paying more attention to things they recognize is natural; it's not that they're biased against OCs, so much as they're interested in hanging out with people who like the same shows and characters they do. I understand the feeling of being disappointed when people don't pay much attention to a costume you put a lot of time into, though, and I could see how people would take that as an actual bad rap thing, rather than just an issue of what's unrecognizable.

That said, I do think the strikingness of the design goes a long way for an OC. Something very elaborate or unusual-looking is going to draw attention for novelty and oddity, even if it's completely obscure. Something that looks like it came out of a closet, though, is not going to stand out in any way. Closet cosplays of recognizable characters, no matter how last-second they are, are going to get attention for recognition alone. Take away the recognition factor, and your closet OC might as well be going to the con in plainclothes, and then you get even more into the thing where feeling ignored leads to feeling like you have an actual bad rap for what you do.

Now that I think about this, my experience at Anime L.A. this year hits all of those points. I cosplayed three OCs and one very popular character. Two of the OCs (a personification of the Puente Hills Fault, for which I have no good photos, and Streetcar 1040) are unusual/striking/obviously not closet enough that people came up to me to ask what I was and to comment on aspects of the costume or design. The third OC (a personification of the city of Riverside), however, got no commentary whatsoever, because I designed him to look like a stereotypical Riverside person, which means that all of the components of his costume could have been pulled out of someone's closet, even though that wasn't the case for me. But, the day I cosplayed Karkat from Homestuck? So much attention, so many photos, so much talking. It's all about who people in fandoms are hoping to see at a con.

So I guess my con experience was a little beside the point, but long story short, conflating not getting recognized with getting a bad rap is probably just going to widen that gap between people who cosplay featured characters and people who cosplay OCs.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 12:46 AM   #20
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The bad reputation is more along the lines of how others perceive OC cosplayers- thinking of them and their creations as "not real cosplay" or the like.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 12:54 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanita View Post
The bad reputation is more along the lines of how others perceive OC cosplayers- thinking of them and their creations as "not real cosplay" or the like.
What I'm saying is, how much of that idea that people think OC cosplay isn't real cosplay comes from OC cosplayers feeling neglected in favor of recognizable characters, as opposed to that phrase being actually uttered? I'm wondering how much of it is just a perception thing.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 12:56 AM   #22
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See, I personally wouldn't mind seeing an OC. But, in general it better be one spectacular character which isn't: a fan character to represent the creator married to their "Kawaii" Anime Husband, Mary-sue, or something that you made from clothes in your closet and it's SO close to normal clothes that you get angered someone can't "recognize" you. This is what people think when you say: "Hey guys! I'm going to be an original character at the next con I go to!"

There isn't any other way other reason as to why it's feared, besides the people few people who say: "Oh that isn't cosplay." or "Cosplay is only from Anime/Games/Movies." You can ignore what they say anyway. On a side note, recently in Deviantart I've noticed a few comments directed to those that cosplay as a 'real-life' person. The comments we're in response to a picture of two cosplayers dressing up as the 'lets play' gamers Pewdiepie and ChaoticMonki (Cry). A few of the comments mentioned something about how "It isn't cosplay because it's similar to dressing up as the "cool" kids." But if they see it that way, then it is their opinion.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 01:37 AM   #23
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I think anyone putting anyone down about their original characters is immature and ignorant. Anyone who is against it or is mortified by it are free to their own opinions. On the other hand, anyone using OCs as an excuse for laziness deserve the heat. Cosplaying is a presenting art and like any presentation will turn out horrible when ill prepared. Original characters shouldn't get hated on, or looked down on, but they need to be presented in public a certain way. Unlike known characters, they won't be received the same way because they lack that familiarity trigger. They are probably more prevalent with presentation online (on this website, deviantart etc.) due to the fact that there is (or should) be a reference to them. If I was cosplaying an original character of my own at a convention, it would be because I was trying to sell OC art, my own manga etc etc. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done without those things, but people would probably be making a more practical decision doing them in a way similar so that the intent of the cosplay is clear.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 01:49 AM   #24
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@Seismogenic - I totally agree with you and support you cosplaying OCs.

Regarding this topic in general, how much of an original character is it that one is making? If its a spin-off of another character or a series it isn't very "original". When I think about it, how original can you make a character that relates to or is a made up character to an already prevalent anime/show/movie/game? If so, how much of a shock factor can you make it, while still paying tribute to the original media? It's not impossible, it's just a little out there, and I haven't seen much of that yet. I'm an advocate for creative people who can take that step to produce something original in all it's meaning, and shock others into intrigue. I mean, isn't that what art is? Originality can prevail in cosplay!
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Unread 03-27-2013, 02:42 AM   #25
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Personally, I don't consider my "garden variety" Jedi to be truly original characters, they're more like derivatives. Now, my personification cosplays are truly original. I don't just take my favorite skyscrapers and make sketches out of them, my friends and I have created an extensive backstory and world that they all fit into. Now, I don't dump all of that on everyone who asks what I'm supposed to be!

My design process involves a lot of things- elements taken from the design of the building itself, aspects of its history, and things that just look cool.
For example, my One Penn cosplay incorporates the black coloring and silver pinstripes of the building, along with its red and white ornament, and its stylized "1" logo. I decided to make a set of robes instead of just wearing a pinstriped suit for a number of reasons. One is that let's face it- flowing robes just look cool. That, and I wanted to create a strong contrast between the look of the building avatar and what its tenants look like. Oh yeah, and a pinstriped suit doesn't exactly get much attention- it's likely to be overlooked as street clothes. I must have done something right- I got a decent amount of pics taken of me the year I wore it
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Unread 03-27-2013, 05:43 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanita View Post
I thought masquerades were much more than simple lookalike contests- workmanship is a much bigger factor than physically resembling your character. Now, some cons DO have rules pertaining to subject matter, such as "Anime or Japanese stuff only". But for cons that have no subject matter restriction, there should be no penalizing somebody for being original. Now, a judge might have to use some discretion- if somebody looks just like Anakin Skywalker, save for some missing parts and obvious shortcuts, that might provoke an eyeroll or two. But if they designed their own jedi costume- used his for inspiration, but made it their own- changing tunic length, wearing a divided skirt instead of tight pants, that would be different.
I think maybe it's how well the cosplay is made plus having it look like the character? Not like body types wise or anything I mean having the outfit resemble such and such character? Why else would masquerade require 'reference pictures' otherwise? (Not saying a simply look alike, I mean the craftmenship going into it. Like if ran out of fabric, so since it's your OC, you just simply changed it to make it seem like you didn't mess up with your fabric?
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Unread 03-27-2013, 07:06 AM   #27
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Personally, as someone who has no decision over those things and will never affect any judging ever, I dislike OCs and original designs at masquerades. Accuracy is something that is rated - and when they're the person doing the design it's hard to be inaccurate. Designing is usually not a cut-and-dry "this is my first draft, I'll follow it to the letter" thing, which is perfectly fine - sometimes you only see what works visually and what does not when you're working on it. But it makes it hard to judge whether or not the design was changed because it didn't work, or because some elements were too hard, or because they couldn't find the right materials.

I think that is unfair, but it's not really a huge deal to me either. In general I don't have anything against OC cosplays, but in general I also think it doesn't really matter what kind of costume anyone is wearing at a convention.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #28
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I can't really imagine why OC cosplayers would get a bad rep. I love original characters. I mean, aside from people making mary-sues I can't really see why people think OC cosplay isn't real cosplay. Is it a fictional character? Then it is cosplay.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 01:22 PM   #29
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Personally, as someone who has no decision over those things and will never affect any judging ever, I dislike OCs and original designs at masquerades. Accuracy is something that is rated
That's why I think that maybe judging based strictly on "accuracy" needs to go away. People are going to keep doing originals and derivative characters, so perhaps one solution might be to replace the accuracy section on judging sheets with a section titled accuracy/design. It might read "For costumes falling into media or historical recreation, use section 1a- Accuracy. For Original or Derivative designs, use section 1b-Design.

Design would evaluate such thing as overall looks- does the outfit look cohesive, or a thrown together mess of randomness? Does it look suited to the character? For example, an assassin wouldn't run around in an epic ballgown. And while judging on accuracy, you might ask how somebody researched their costume, you might ask an original what their thought and design process was, when coming up with the design.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 01:52 PM   #30
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I just...holy crap, I do not want to hear about anybody's character. Ever. Again. And while I know there's plenty of people in OC costumes who have successfully figured out that they can't open up with a 15-minute monologue about their character...

*shudder*

...the people who will still launch into that same monologue once you approach them to compliment the costume and make polite remarks are fucking LEGION. It's like there's that same uncontrollable urge to SHARE MAI GENIUS ERMAGERD, and the thin veneer of manners can only hold it back for so long before they decide you're somehow an exception and safe and they can cut loose and it inevitably, tediously, tumbles out. And there you are trying to excuse yourself from an increasingly awkward situation.

Long story short, OCs can be cool costumes. If they are, I'll admire them from afar: I've been bored out of my damn mind too many times to trust the people in them.


(Naturally, this doesn't apply nearly as much to different kinds of convention environments where pretty much everybody is a freestyle OC of one general fantasy archetype or another. It's the attempt to make a *specific* original character that causes this kind of behavior.)
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