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Unread 03-29-2013, 05:15 AM   #1
SilverThread
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Costumes that would be less likely to win?

What costumes would be less likely to win in a competition? Does how often that character is cosplayed taken into account in judging? I'm making a costume for fun, and some of my friends and family suggested I should enter it into our local con's contest. Supposing I do, it could be my first competition. Though now I'm curious, and the following is just a bunch of hypothetical stuff that I've been thinking of doing for this costume.

Don't shoot me for this, but the character is Hatsune Miku...I know, I know. Anyway, here is a reference for what I am going for: http://www.goodsmile.info/product/en...u+Hatsune.html.

I'll be making it out of PVC mainly and adding in lights to it. I know, it's been done, but I'm really trying to get the little finicky details to light up that most people miss. I'll be drafting the patterns for everything but the blouse, which will most likely come from an altered pattern. The blouse will be lined for comfort (do things like that matter to judges?), and my self-made petticoat will be used under the skirt to out it to flare out more. Though really, just a small bit of what I plan to do.

It's a lot of work (Really, what costume isn't? xD) and while I'm not doing this for the competition, it would be nice to take home a win.

tldr; If a costume is overdone one, is it automatically overlooked in favor of another, no matter how the costume was made?
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Unread 03-29-2013, 07:42 PM   #2
CapsuleCorp
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Short answer: no.

I have seen probably thousands of Jedi in the 14 years I've been costuming. But if I am a judge in a masquerade and someone walks in with a Jedi costume, either movie replica or original take on it for their own character, I put those thousands of Jedi behind me and look at only one: this one.

A fair judge does not carry their biases over into judging, including dislike for a series/movie/source material among other things. A fair judge only looks at the costumes they're given to judge that day at that con, and doesn't worry about what they've seen in the past or even whether they personally know the contestant. If you ever feel like a judge or judges or staff at a masquerade is being unfair, by dismissing you outright because of who or what you're cosplaying, you should bring it up with someone. But as long as you get a fair assessment of the costume you've made, whether the judges even know who it is (hey, we don't watch/read/play everything and might not actually know!), then all is fair.
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Unread 03-29-2013, 10:27 PM   #3
TheFontBandit
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In reality, costume popularity shouldn't be an issue. Most fair judges will rate your costume on its own merits.

I did once have an experience with it. Back when FFX came out, I entered a Lulu costume in a contest. Afterward, I was told by one of the judges that another judge didn't want me to win because Lulu was too overdone. It was a fairly small, new con though.

So while it does occasionally happen, it's not supposed to be a factor. Most cons now treat their judging in a very fair and professional manner, so I wouldn't worry about it.

As for lining, it can be a factor in judging if it's well-done. It shows you thought about details like comfort and planned for it, as well as addind another level of difficulty and showing additional skill.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 06:19 AM   #4
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That is quite the relief, I was really concerned over these things. A big thank you to the both of you!
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Unread 04-06-2013, 02:23 AM   #5
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It shouldn't happen. When you are a judge you don't even take in to account the progress of a contestant if you have been lucky enough to watch them over the years. And I have had my share of *omgomgomgtheydidiit!!!* reactions personally over progress but that hasn't always led to an award either because sometimes someone else has also advanced their skills or someone out of nowhere turns up and amazes!

Short answer there is no guarantee of an award, at least there shouldn't be. You cannot predict who else will enter and with what! I have given awards to obscure and "overdone" characters depending on was presented at the actual contest.
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Unread 04-07-2013, 11:28 AM   #6
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Don't even worry about whether it will win or not. That's not the point. Just make what you love and put your best effort into it! If you're happy with your costume, don't worry about whether you win a silly competition or now. If your craftsmanship is good, a good judge will see that.
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Unread 04-07-2013, 07:48 PM   #7
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I am a pretty well seasoned competitor, an one thing I have noticed over the 7 years I have cosplayed it really depends on what kind of convention you take your costume to. I ended up taking my Awakened Clare to a scifi themed convention and ended up losing. 5 months later I attended an anime con and won first place in that competition with my awakened Clare. Same costume, generally the same sized con I had taken my costume to. My only guess was the people at the scifi con didnt know who the character was, when also explaining how I made my giant wings they looked lost as well. What Im trying to say is you are more likely to win at a convention where people know who your character is, then lets say a scifi con, where the judges might not know who your character is. Most fair judges won't do this though, they will look at craftsmanship over who your character is.

Remember all in all, wiether you win or not. It is all just for fun
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Unread 04-08-2013, 06:11 PM   #8
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Not knowing a character is no reason to not be able to judge it well, unless there was no reference material given.. I once had to judge a contest where a contestant did not provide images (tightened that rule) and so had no idea if the choice of pattern for the jacket was based on the art or simply because they had no idea about pattern drafting and just used what they could.

Ditto on a method. I've been judged where all my talk of hundreds of hours of sanding and bogging and sculpting molding and casting work went completely over the head of the person doing technical judging. Anyone who has had experience with the stuff would know the physical slog as well as precision in construction and been able to judge it. But as they had no clue I assume they thought my 2 years of work was less than a few months kit bashing and altering. Sigh. I dislike contests that proclaim they are workmanship based but then don't actually follow up on it. (It's why I starting doing a lot of the crazy costumes I do so that I could fairly judge "my" contest- if you want to judge you should be upfront about your limitations or learn even if you don't have hands on experience).
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Unread 04-08-2013, 06:53 PM   #9
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Satine is absolutely right. I'm not saying that there aren't cons of ANY genre out there where the judges don't know a good quality costume from a hole in the ground, but the only way to know for sure that you were shafted solely because your costume was from a source unfamiliar to the audience is if you have absolute confidence that both sets of judges knew their stuff construction-wise and you got the fairest shake from both sets equally in terms of how your costume was made. A good judge doesn't have to know a single thing about the series or character - but a good judge DOES need to know when a set of wings has been well-constructed. If they didn't understand your craftsmanship in the first place, that's probably why you didn't win an award. You didn't lose - you simply didn't get an award.

There are indeed crappy judges out there in the cosplay world. There are crappy masquerades. But there are also really good judges at really good masquerades. I've seen my share on all sides in my time. All you can really do is give it a shot, and if you feel like your experience was less than fair, either give feedback to the director/judge/staff or take your patronage elsewhere. No entrant should ever be made to feel like they didn't get a sincere shot at being fairly judged.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 08:52 AM   #10
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This convo makes me realize that in the conventions I go to, I rarely recognize what the heck the masquerade winners are supposed to be dressed up as. But it's not because it's a character I don't know, it's because it's someone's original design that isn't meant to be an existing character at all. It's their interpretation of a fairy or a sorceress-princess or something. The judges are judging on craftsmanship, not fandom.

For what it's worth this is a relevant discussion in lots of different contest and show type contexts. I remember how at the local horse shows when I was a kid, the winners would always be the Western style riders on quarter horses, because the local judges had experience with that style and that breed. They were unable to see that some kid riding English on a warmblood was actually a better rider, because they didn't know what the style was supposed to look like.
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Unread 04-18-2013, 07:33 PM   #11
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I have a similar question to pose to the knowledgeable members of cosplay.com. I plan to go to an upcoming Con as Poison Ivy from Arkham Asylum. In spite of it being my first cosplay, I am putting a lot of thought, time, and preparation into the details of this costume and am already excited about it and proud of it.

I am currently on the fence as to whether to enter the masquerade or not. My primary concern is that since it is more body paint than costume it would be dismissed, for lack of a better term. Additionally, if I were to enter it would likely be just me, and while I have a plan for a walk-on entry complete with poses and music, I also know that opinions of solo entries are considerably divided.

And so I ask you for your thoughts and experiences with masquerade entries that were more body paint than fabric, and I thank you in advance for your time and advice.
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Unread 04-26-2013, 01:12 PM   #12
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I'd advise to jump in and go for it. You really don't have anything to lose, since you're making the costume, anyway. If the judges are good, they will listen to what you have to say about the construction and the work you put into it and judge it accordingly. If the makeup is a lot of work, talk about what you did for it, how you made the selections for your supplies, and whatnot. Bring a reference picture and if you can some in-progress pictures that will help you to show your work (and, incidentally, help you remember what you want to talk about - I've been doing this for ten years and judging is still scary and makes me forget things). Judging is your time o sell yourself and the work you've done. Stay positive and talk about your achievements, not what you thing the shortcomings are.

As for walk-on vs skits? Personally I pay no attention to that and in general I find that the better masquerades don't either. The question shouldn't be "is my presentation a walk-on?" but rather "is my presentation entertaining?" I have seen many so-called walk-ons that were better than whole scripted skits.

In the end, there's not much you can do other than just go for it, do what you like, and see what happens and what you enjoy and what you don't. If you find you like it, great! If not, don't dismiss masquerades or what you did altogether, but step back and think about what the turn-off was and maybe try another masquerade. Each one is a little different and not every masquerade is for every costumer.

Long story short, there's really no reason not to go for it. Everyone has to start somewhere. If you win an award, great! If not, there's no shame in it. Everyone was a novice, once, so you're in some very excellent company.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 03:12 PM   #13
tereshkova2001
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Absolutely enter your Poison Ivy. I had similar concerns about a costume that's mostly body paint and jewelry, but I entered anyway, and won both Best Makeup in my class and Best in Show. They might comment on the makeup, sure, but the awards are given for your accomplishment and for your resemblance to the character. Unless the contest is specifically a sewing or a tailoring contest, makeup is part of the costume and totally acceptable.
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Unread 05-07-2013, 11:31 AM   #14
Whiskey_Ginger
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I just wanted to say thanks for your replies and advice; it is certainly appreciated. If all goes as planned I'll put pictures up once everything's complete.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 09:04 PM   #15
Satine
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For body paint it's sort of the same as any other element of a costume A costume is not clothing a costume encompases *everything* including accessories to create a whole.

So for me as a technical judge I'd be looking at how well it was applied and who was involved (if the contest makes a distinction between technical aspects). It is possible to compare paint work to paintwork and I highly recommend taking any time you can to explain the process and specific materials used! Either in your portfolio/registration or in person. Just as any other part of the costume you make choices based on product and needs, explain them as well. Treat it like any other element that took time to plan and implement and then the judges will know exactly how much effort you put in
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