G’day everyone! Long time no blog and long time no Tutorial Tuesday.
This is a handy little thing I started doing recently when I need to heat gun any little foam bits hahaha!
Enjoy and happy crafting.
Here’s a very (VERY) condensed look at all the work I’ve put into my Azure Starlord Set (A.S.S).
I’m making both the male and female set (because they’re both beautiful and I must have them both).
I’m making the armour almost entirely by leathercraft, focusing on being as immersive and true to the world of Monster Hunter with my craft as I can.
So far, for the armour portion of the costume, I have:
– embossed designs onto 2 chest pieces, 2 knee patches, 4 elbow pads, 4 knuckles, 8 waist belts,16 buckles and 32 spikey stripes
– embossed accents and shadows into each individual scale of 80 panels of croc print leather
– antiqued, dyed, buffed and highlighted 136 separate panels.
– actually Repeated til Cry
I’m not nearly done with this yet (kill me) but I’m already feeling really proud! This is really the type of projects I really like making.
I hope you guys are enjoying my A.S.S. so far. 😉
Check out all my ongoing leatherworking tutorials from this project on my Patreon.
Good morning! After a couple of nights of intense crunching while taking a “break” from my current major projects… I managed to finish Jiraiya!
Which means, with Tsunade completed already, my Project Sannin is now 2/3 done.
Only Orochimaru left now!! I can’t wait to make him as gross as i think he is!!
For Jiraiya I had some pretty strict time and budget constraints; I had to finish him within 2 days because of my major projects and I didn’t have spare money to spend on him. This meant I had to use some unusual techniques and had to get thrifty with my materials!
Here’s a look at some of the work in progress:
A Tutorial booklet of Project Jiraiya, as well as full work in progress photo records are on Patreon for supporters.
For everyone else, Tsunade’s tutorial booklet can be found in my store now. Jiraiya’s booklet will be released for everyone to get later.
G’day Tutorial Tuesday!
This week I’m going to share my personal strategy on how to work under the impending doom of a cosplay convention deadline!
We’ve ALL been there. Your local (or not local and you just love pain) event is coming up something ridiculous like THIS WEEKEND and you realised your the costume progress is woefully behind… or worse not even started maybe because you been procrastinating with Kingdom Hearts 3…
Here are my personal process during a con crunch written up into a CON CRUNCH SURVIVAL PLAN:
1. PAUSE As soon are you realise you’re heading into crunch time, stop ALL progress for a second to take a step back and look at your upcoming crunch as a whole.
Answer these questions: How much time do I have left? What components of each costume do I have left to make? How fast am I working? How well am I working? How nice does this costume need to be?
2. RANK YOUR CHILDREN If you have multiple costumes planned (eg. them crazy American cosplayers with over 3 costumes per day per convention like are they immortal), look through your lineup and rank them from most important to least important.
It’s up to you how you prioritise.
Eg. by how close to finished each costume is, by how much you want each costume done, how much each means to you, by who you’re cosplaying with, by competition. Whatever floats your goat. Yes goat.
3. MAKE FOCUSED PROGRESS Once you’ve ranked your projects, list out all incomplete components for each costume and sort them into task groups like machine sewing, hand sewing, wood work, casting, painting etc.
Then focus all your effort on getting ONE TASK GROUP DONE AT A TIME.
eg. style EVERYONE’S wigs, then do ALL the sewn components across your line-up, then paint EVERYONE’S props and so on.
This way, you can set up a specialised workstation with all the relevant tools and the mindset for a single focused task ahead. It also means you can also PUT SHIT AWAY FOR GOOD after you’re done with each step and set up the next work station rather than skipping back and forth between set ups and end up with an explosion of random tools and supplies that eventually disappear into the abyss of your con crunch mess.
This approach is pretty ‘all or nothing’. Because you’re simultaneously progressing on multiple projects, there’s also the risk of all the projects simultaneously not making it.
This is where that ranking earlier comes in.
4. SYSTEMATICALLY GIVE YOUR FAVOURITE CHILD MORE LOVE
Yes. Fuck the other children.
We say “do everyone’s sewing, make everyone’s wigs”. But what we really mean is “do everyone’s sewing but sew your top ranked project first, then work down the rankings if you can be fucked keeping everyone”.
i.e. Try to avoid making one character’s wig first when you style everyone’s wigs, then another character’s sewing first when you’re doing everyone’s sewing. Use your ranking to stay consistent in who you work on first during each task so you can maximise the chance of getting SOMEONE done.
5. EAT, DRINK AND REST
Put. Food. And. Water. Inside. Your. Body. And. Let. It. Be. Unconscious.
When a deadline is approaching quick, it’s so easy to feel “if I stop for anything I’m wasting what little time I have”. If that thought starts crossing your mind, it’s time to put everything down, grab a bit to eat, take a shit and have a shower because that’s panic.
You’re already putting your body and mind under a lot of stress by even getting into a con crunch. The worst thing you can do is to bake it in that stress by starving and fatiguing it! Don’t feel bad for needing to rest.
Set an alarm for a 20-30 minute shut-eye or at least just sit down and do nothing once every couple of hours.
A quick meal doesn’t take long. 15 minutes tops. It’s not a feast with a toast to the family.
A quick shower is even shorter. 10 minutes tops. You’re not contemplating the universe in there.
You’ll find that regular brief resets will do your energy level, focus and productivity wonders even though on paper you are spending time not making progress.
Besides, realistically speaking, what significantly groundbreaking amount of progress are you possibly making in 15 minutes that it can’t possibly wait? ABSOLUTE JACK SHIT. That’s what.
Go eat something. Come back when you’re less of a mess.
6. WORKING FAST vs RUSHING
The key to producing quality work under time pressure is to work fast without rushing. Many people think “but working fast IS rushing” but they’re quite different.
The differences between working fast and rushing is procedure and mental awareness.
Working fast is: – result of practice
– Taking a second to plan then execute the plan.
– Taking the care to go through each necessary step of a method but doing each step quickly
– Realising the current method might be time consuming for the approaching deadline and switching to a faster alternative that can be followed through and finished properly
– Multitasking to keep production moving (eg. sewing while paint on a prop is drying)
Rushing is: – Result of panic
– Going in without a plan and making blind progress
– Skipping steps to for the sake of shortening production time
– Sticking to a time consuming methods for the method itself but shortening each step because there’s no time to do it properly
– Doing whatever comes to mind at the moment
Ironically, the best way to work quickly is to take your time.
7. PAUSE 2 3 or 4 days before leaving for the event, do another drop-everything stop. Note: This is 3 or 4 days before leaving your house to travel to the event and NOT 3 or 4 days before convention Day 1!
Ask the same questions as before during this pause.
Then add this question: Do I need to cut any projects out of my line-up? NEED. Not WANT.
8. KNOWING WHEN TO CALL IT OFF It’s really hard to let go of the grand expectations you might’ve had for your cosplay plan, especially if you’re just crunching one new costume for an event.
But sometimes it simply is not worth pushing.
I can promise you the disappointment of missing half the convention because you’ve been holed up the very hotel room that you paid money to enjoy being in just to barely finish something that’s you know is not up to your standard then going out to show it off late, tired and not happy is INFINITELY more devastating than the disappointment of not having something new to wear.
For each cosplay that don’t involve competition or work, I ask myself the following questions 2-3 days before the convention:
Is this costume absolutely necessary particularly for this convention?
Will I be okay with this costume being rushed?
Will I have a good time at the event as a result of pushing for this costume?
For a competition costume I ask myself 5 days before competition:
Is this particular competition so important that it’s “now or never”?
For promotional cosplay work where I need to make a new costume, I ask myself at before accepting the work: Are they paying me?
Is the deadline achievable for me?
Does the budget allow and/or motivate me to make something quality?
If I answer “no” to ANY of the questions… then con crunch for that project is CANCELLED. Don’t be ashamed of calling off a cosplay. It takes courage to step back, admit defeat for now and pick up the project for a later deadline.
Besides, it’s simply common sense to put your well-being over a mere costume.
9. FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS
Bless all friends and helpers and handlers out there who keep us crazy masochists known as cosplayers alive.
Always show them your appreciation for supporting you whether they’re spending hours putting you into costume or coming to your house to make sure you drank water, or just messaging you to say “you got this”.
Just because you’re the one dressed up in the spotlight on the day, don’t ever forget everyone who got you there in the first place.
10. Lastly and most effectively…DON’T GET INTO CON CRUNCH! This last one is just common sense but somehow genetically incapable of accomplishing. But try:
– Make costume plans for deadlines that are achievable for your skill level and working speed.
– Start costumes early. Once you start, do whatever you can to make sure your project never gets to a stand still. It doesn’t matter how tiny, make some sort of progress every single day. It could be a small as applying a single rhinestone or as abstract as merely thinking about a skit.
– Avoid “leaving it for a day” because leaving it for a day usually leads to 2 days leads to a week to a month and then suddenly the convention is this weekend.
THAT’S ALL I GOT!
Remember that none of the above are RULES. They’re simply how I work best and how I’ve managed to keep meeting deadlines for over a decade.
I only hope my con crunching approach will help you tackle your own deadlines!
Happy Kingdom Hearts 3 launch, everybody!
We’ve waited SO long for this main story to continue – the last time I was really into Kingdom Hearts was when I cosplayed Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2…10 YEARS AGO!!
To celebrate this new installment, I’m going to make an epic 10-year throwback to my KH2 Sora cosplay and attempt to make a Sora tutorial for you.
(I say attempt because 10 years ago I didn’t really take work-in-progress pictures…so it’s going to be closer to a write-up than a step by step tutorial).
Costume: Breakdown: Standard pleather hoodie jacket cut short + standard inner shirt with a tummy pocket + a fat balloon pant with random shit stuck all over it. The giant zipper was made from EVA skin sheets, for the EXTRA GINORMOUS teeth. The shoulder pads were silver vinyl fabric trimmed with white bias tape.
The balloon pants were lined with heavy fabric to give it some mass. I left gaps in the lining to allow airflow, so the pants actually inflate like a balloon when I bend my legs which was pretty fucking cute.
Necklace and Buckles: all modeled from Sculpy oven bake clay.
Gloves: Nothing special here.I bought a pair of gloves and stuck belts and pads onto them.
Shoes: These were my pride and joy back then. I got a pair of CROCS, taped a massive amount of Hobby Fill to the front then covered the shoe with spandex for the big round look. Then I just stuck all the random zippers and belts onto them.
Wig: Before the time of quality wigs… I styled my Sora wig using a punky party wig. I just spent a night with a can of hairspray and a tube of got2be hair gel and a blow dryer. Completed in 5 hours. Destroyed by the wind at the beaches of Perth where we did our first photoshoot in 2 seconds.
Oathkeeper Keyblade: First I drafted a stencil by hand onto several sheets of baking paper.
Then I transferred the stencil to sheet of 12mm ply wood and cut that shit out with a jigsaw. Then I ran a table router along all the edges to give it some beveled edges. Further details and contours were then built on with DAS modelling clay, and sanded smooth once dry. Nowadays, a more lightweight and quicker drying option is foam clay from luminsworkshop.com.
The paupu fruit is a hand sewn plushy. The leaf that’s attached to it was a real leaf that I picked from my garden.
The paint job was done with several enamel spray paints. I chose a metallic sky blue for the center of the colourful detail to give it a much more elegant shine instead of the rather kindergarten colours that a dark blue gives off when applied next to yellow. The wings were done with a gradient of dusk gray and beige to enhance the smoothness of the feathers. I didn’t own an airbrush, so all the gradient effects were done by extremely careful spraying with the spray can that the paints came in.
First I drafted a stencil by hand onto several sheets of baking paper.
Then I transferred the stencil to sheet of 12mm ply wood and cut that shit out with a jigsaw. Then I ran a table router along all the edges to give it some beveled edges.
All details were molded on top with DAS air dry clay. Once again, foam clay from luminsworkshop.comwould work now too.
I made the chain that runs down the middle of the keyblade out of oven bake clay.
For the painting, I mixed Metallic Grey and Black to give it realistic colour and weapon-like shine. The center gem was colored with silver with a layer of clear blue on top.
THAT’S IT! That’s how I made Sora 10 years ago.
I hope you enjoyed my Baby Wirru crafting and I hope it gives you some crafty ideas for your own cosplays. Happy KH3 launch~
Please support my ongoing supply of cosplay tutorials by either becoming a Patron on Patreon or purchasing a book from my Store.
Cosplayers… Let’s all hold hands and admit what we do is some sick form of self torture. It seems no matter what costume you wear, whether it’s hand made or bought, a giant mecha or a goddamn sports jersey… as long as you are cosplaying, physical suffering will eventually find you. (I once got shoulder pains that lasted A WEEK from wearing a BASKET BALL UNIFORM. WHAT THE FUCK?!)
So as a craft-based cosplayer, I decided to be a fucking survivor and started building ANTI-DEATH features into all my costumes so when my costume and/r my life starts to fall apart at a convention… I’M READY FOR IT.
My favorite anti-death feature is THE SNACK RACK (also repair rack…but mostly snacks). A.k.a. storage compartments, places to hold shit.
Here are my 5 favorite places on my costume where I’ve made a snack rack so far ranked by their RACK STATS.
The Rack Stats are:
Easy to make: how easy it is to make. Functionality: how easy it is to access the stored supplies and how little it affects the comfort/mobility of the costume. Stealth: how unnoticeable the snack rack can blend into the costume. Repair kit storage: how much cosplay repair related supplies it can store. Snack storage: how much food it can store. Novelty: fun factor.
Here they are !
6. IN THE CORNER OF A CAPE
It’s an invisible zipped pocket in both corners of the cape.
PROS: It’s completely out of the way AND can act as a cape weight for MAXIMUM CAPE FLINGING. They can be unnoticeable if you take your time sewing the pocket in neatly. It’s an unexpected place to store things so novelty value is high! I mainly used my Endymion cape to store cookies and bobby pins, safety pins and a small powder compact.
CONS: the pocket have to be small. Requires very clean sewing. Mostly limited to storing small, flat items. Or else cape will become a sack.
RACK STATS: Easy to make: D
Repair Kit Storage: C
Snack Storage: D
5. KIMONO SLEEVES(Venusaur, Mutsunokami)
A.k.a. Snack Arms.
PROS: it happens naturally. You don’t even have to do anything. When you make a kimono sleeve, you’re actually just making a giant bag on your arm. All you got to do is use it. Lots of space. Super easy to retrieve items and put them back.
CONS: despite the amount of space available, you have to be careful about how much you carry. Keep items light or the sleeve will become a visibly heavy sack that could swing around and hit things around you.
RACK STATS: Easy to make: S
Repair Kit Storage: C
Snack Storage: B
4. Leather Pouches and
(MHW Field Team Leader)
They’re just… pouches.
PROS: They’re a no-brainer. No imagination needed. All you need to do is make any and every pouch functional on any and every character that has pouches. It’s a pouch so if it’s not functional what are you even doing to yourself. And pouches are EASY. If you’re working with EVA foam, it’s just a box with a flap. If it’s fabric, you’re just sewing squares to each other. I prefer hard leather pouches because 1) they’re aesthetic AF, and 2) they’re tough AF too so you can really cram a lot of shit in without warping the shape of the pouch or fear of it ripping. In my FTL rack, I was able to store a full repair kit (glue, pins, tape, make up, sewing kit) in the large pouch, coscards and candy in the small pouch, and a bottle of coke in my holster.
CONS: Your snack rack’s capabilities depend on the shape and size of the pouches on your character’s design.
RACK STATS: Easy to make: A
Repair Kit Storage: B
Snack Storage: C
3. Inside Weapon Prop
(Ovan , Bakugo)
The whole thing is a container! I had a rack inside the cannon next to the handle.
Bakugo’s grenades are also two giant snack shakers.
PROS: MASSIVE storage space. The bigger and cooler your weapon, the more potential it has as a snack rack! It’s EASY to incorprate into a prop; just make it hollow! (I mean if you’re making a giant prop solid, you’re just asking for pain.) It has absolutely no effect on costume mobility since it’s a hand held accessory. In both Ovan’s cannon and Bakugo’s snack hands, I was able to store my entire repair kit, sandwiches, a change of clothes and a bag for my costume after I change.
CONS: It’s easy to get carried away and store so many things that the weapon becomes heavy luggage. It’s easy to just make a box and stuff it full of stuff. But if you want this snack rack to be organised and easily accessible, you’ll need to spend sometime designing its compartments.
RACK STATS: Easy to make: B
Repair Kit Storage: S
Snack Storage: S
IT’S A FOAM CUPBOARD INSIDE HIS HOLLOW CHEST IN FRONT OF MY FACE.
PROS: easy to design and make! It’s as simple as making a foam rectangle and sticking it inside the front wall of the chest. If you’re making a costume larger than your house and you’re gonna be caged inside it… You might as well make th costume INTO YOUR HOUSE! ALL larger-than-life builds should have room for a little rack!! This way you can constantly re-hydrate without having to get you handler to feed you on a stool. Besides it is HEAPS of fun and very impressive to be a giant costume that’s self sustaining! In Bahamut, I had a rack full of bottles of water, soft drink and one little bottle of vodka 😉 I drank them through straws.
CONS: unfortunately self repair isn’t possible with most larger-than-life builds so there’s not much point in storing repair supplies. Requires a secure and organised rack, making sure supplies can be accessed and put back precisely without looking and nothing falls or spills inside the costume (cause you’re stuck with it of it happens).
RACK STATS: Easy to make: A
Repair Kit Storage: D
Snack Storage: A
1. BOOBS (Tsunade, Mai)
THEY ARE A RACK. THEY ARE A SNACK. THEY ARE A SNACK RACK! (They’re padded pockets inside fake silicone cast boobs.
PROS: THEY’RE BOOBS. SUPER easy to make. Max fun. Pad pockets for max comfort. BIGGER THE BOOBS BIGGER, THE STORE ROOM. Because I made my pair of silicone boobies GINORMOUS, I was able to fit a convention emergeny kit consisting of enough hairspray, bobby pins, safety pins, UHU glue, contact cement, duct tape, make up compact and brush, scissors and sewing kit and a glue stick for not just myself but everyone around me 😂
CONS: accurate neck and back load. Can get sweaty so keep everything in little zip lock bags. Takes a little practice to get all the items and put them back precisely. Can’t store chocolate because it’ll melt.
RACK STATS: Easy to make: S
Repair Kit Storage: A
Snack Storage: B
That was my 6 favourite snack racks in costumes! I hope they gave you some ideas on how to make your costumes a little more anti-death.
Let me know your favourite places to store things in your costume, and let me know your RACK STAT!! XDDD
Please support my content on Patreon or buy a book from my Shop <3
As a seasoned cosplay competition entrant and judge locally and overseas, I often get asked for tips on how to be a strong contender and a healthy competitor.
I started entering cosplay competitions with my first cosplay in 2006. Since then, I’ve competed around Australia and the world, winning over 80 awards including 5 national-level competitions, and representing Australia 3 times at global level championships. I’ve also participated in just as many competitions where I got no awards!
Now as a cosplay guest traveling the world, I’ve had the privilege of judging competitions worldwide from small local events to major international championships.
So it’s been 12 years… and I’ve…seen some shit go down.
Here are 10 things I think a competition cosplayer should be pretty good at.
CHOOSING A COMPETITION TO ENTER
This would be the first step for any cosplay aiming to be a serious contender who can get the most out of what the competition has to offer.
Choose the competition FIRST.
Think of it like taking an exam. It’s easier to prepare for an exam if you know what exam you’re taking in the first place… right?
WHEN is the competition?
Give yourself a reasonable timeline to avoid last minute panics and unpleasant number of all-nighters… (you will have all-nighters either way but there’s no harm in TRYING to keep them to a minimum. FUCK sleep is great.) WHAT is the competition?
READ THE RULES. FIND THE JUDGING CRITERIA. Is it craftsmanship only? Skit only? 50/50 costume and skit? Or some other custom setting made by some sadistic cosplay organiser (I say this with love)???
Based on that info, you can choose a competition you would do well at, or one you where you could safely try a new skill, or generally know what’s expected from your entry. What’s the prize? Is it a national leg of a global championship? Is it a trip? Is it MONEY? Or will you be given a bag of old figurines? This could either be a major motivator or a good indicator as to how much effort/little you’d be willing to put in.
BUT THEN if you’re just some serial competitor who just wants to collect all the titles available in your country (lol guilty)… then ignore the prize and go 9000% on whatever competition you choose.
CHOOSING A COSPLAY FOR COMPETITION
Cater to yourself:
Choose character you like. Choose a costume you think looks cool. Choose a project you wouldn’t mind going into the depths of hell with. Choose techniques that you can enjoy between the hours of 3am-5am in the morning. Choose from a series you don’t think you are capable of getting sick of.
Because whatever you choose…it will become pain.
Cater to competition criteria: Choose a costume that can fulfill the competition’s judging criteria.
If it’s a competition that requires a performance/skit, make sure it’s a costume that you can perform, express and MOVE in. You might even choose to sacrifice some size/intricacy/costume difficulty to achieve this.
If it’s a craftsmanship only competition, you might prioritize in having an impressive costume, and in reverse be able to sacrifice some movement.
BUT it’s important to remember that the ability to move and express character can become an unspoken deciding factor for many judges even in craftsmanship-only competitions. So try not to completely sacrifice movement and comfort for visual impact.
Cater to audience/judges: For the extra competitive… Impress the crowd, because crowd reaction can contribute to the judges decisions as an X-factor. The crowd most likely won’t get to see your costume up close like the judges do. Make your costume as visually impressive on stage as you can, or choose a character that has the potential to look amazing from afar. Research who the judges are and what they specialize in. But this isn’t so that you change your project just for them, because you’ll be trying to make a costume that looks amazing up close regardless who they are anyway.
This is more so you can plan how to impress them with your work.
MAKING YOUR COSTUME
Obviously… a strong contender in a cosplay making competition would be good at making costumes right? But there is a little more to that.
A competition costume needs to look good in 4 ways: Outside. Inside. Afar. Up Close.
The ultimate goal is to be visually interesting from afar, satisfying up close, finished on the outside and clean on the inside.
So put your BEST SKILL forward: The BEST way to make a quality costume is… to make it with ways you KNOW you’re GOOD AT!
A common mistake ambitious competitors make is they would center their entry around something they don’t usually do or use a technique they’re not very good at in an attempt to stand out by showing judges growth or originality. This only works if a quality end product is attached.
Cosplayers, as artists, are encouraged to expand their skillset by venturing outside their comfort zone. Just be careful with it in competition, where the finished costume matters. It’s important to remember not to sacrifice your comfort zone for the sake of it.
Chances are (especially in big competitions with guest judges), none of the judges know what your usual work is like. All they see is what you show them on the day. So it is okay to rely on the skills you’re amazing at and spent ages mastering!
This isn’t to say “don’t experiment or try new things in competition”. It’s more like “don’t bench your specialty just to be different”.
Base your costume around your best skills, then compliment and stretch it with some little components outside your comfort zone.
4.WRITING/PLANNING YOUR PERFORMANCE (SKIT)
This is usually a very neglected part of a cosplay entry because we’re already dying from making the damn costumes.
Spend time writing and planning the skit as if it is a part of your costume – if not more important!
In higher level competitions where everybody is on top of their craftsmanship game, your skit/performance/stage presence will become a tiebreaker. Whether it’s 50% costume 50% skit, or 90% costume 10% skit, make it your skit like it decides your chances!
Use your time on stage to show off why your costume and your character is great. In a skit, make sure your story grabs attention quickly and develops to a climax and then ENDS when it needs to.
5.PREPARING FOR COMPETITION DAY
This is where we try to make it to competition day alive.
So inevitably we need to say our cosplayer’s CURSE WORDS:
I know we’re cosplayers and artists which means something in our genetic make up renders us incapable of time management.
Here’s how to at least attempt it and minimize dying:
Break your cosplay entry down into components as soon as you’ve chosen a competition. eg. for World Cosplay Summit: Costume, Skit file (audio and video), Stage Props, Portfolio.
Set a personal deadline for each component.
For example: SKIT FILE (audio and video): ASAP. Preferably over a month before submission date. First thing to be completed out of everything – so you can listen on repeat and PRACTICE. Practice a lot. Practice until the skit music and cues are second nature. Then you’ll have room to build characterization, confidence and presence.
COSTUME: All essentials completed a week or two before deadline. Leave the last two weeks leading up to the big day for optional detailing and being extra.
Pull all-nighters EARLY in the project. So come the night before, any remaining work is optional and can be ditched for sleep.
STAGE PROPS: Depends on skit. If the stage prop is a functional center piece that contributes to the climax of the story… Get it done along with the skit file so you can practice. If it’s some inanimate stage decorations to set a scene… you can give it a lower priority.
PORTFOLIO: some competitions require extensive online folio submissions. Add to your folio after each worthwhile crafting session like a diary. This will save you from having to fiddle on your computer on submission night, when you could just be clicking send.
Optional physical portfolio: Some competition organizers print off physical copies of your online applications for the judges. But it can’t hurt to organize one on your end as well. This not only makes you look and feel prepared, but can help you remember what to say to the judges too.
6.TALKING ABOUT YOUR HARD WORK
Most competitions that take themselves seriously will have this dreaded thing called “PREJUDGING”, which is a fancy way of saying “INTERROGATION IN SCARY ROOM WHERE STRANGERS MUST COME NERVE-RACKINGLY CLOSE TO YOUR WORK”.
Interrogation – I mean – Prejudging can range from a minute to 5 minutes depending on the competition.
This isn’t long. Especially if you’ve worked so hard so long over this one thing and you only have mere minutes to express it all. It’ll feel even shorter on the day if you don’t know what to say!
So, prepare and practice your prejudging talk. Like it’s a skit.
Think about it like a sales pitch. What are the features of your costume that make it stand out? What are the techniques you’ve used to create the costume, and WHY?Why is it so impressive? How did the techniques you’ve chosen contributed to your finished costume? Are there any interesting stories behind any of the parts?
This is where researching your judges can come in a little handy too!
Appeal to the judges who are familiar with the methods you’re using and make them sympathize with your efforts. At the same time, try flex a little (nay, flex a lot) and make whatever you’ve done REALLY interesting to someone unfamiliar to your craft.
Try to avoid spending too much talking time on the end product but more time on the process and intentions behind the end product.
eg. Most judges can see when a costume fit nicely and has clean hems and is well painted. So rather than wasting time telling them that it’s nice, tell them HOW you made it so nice.
SHOWING OFF ON STAGE
Performance on stage is often a tiebreaker in competitions, whether performance is even a part of the criteria.
Practice heaps. Practice to the point where you don’t have to concentrate to listen out for cues in the music. Then think about poses you can hit while performing and angles that will make you and your costume look great to the audience.
Think about your poses beforehand so you can just WORK IT when you get up there without having to think what to do next on the spot! Try to hold each pose still for a few counts before moving onto the next so you can get photographed nicely.
PUSHING THROUGH UNEXPECTED HAPPENINGS
Obviously prepare your plan Bs and plan Cs. Think about what could go wrong with your costume and props. Plan how they can be fixed at an event venue. Then bring the supplies with you.
As much as we try to prepare for everything, shit can and will happen on the day that’s totally out of our control .
Try to breathe and prioritize your stress energy.
Random button falls off? EH! Leave it. No one cares. You shouldn’t either.
A toe get chipped from your armour? EH! Leave it! People will understand.
A prop gets shattered into a million pieces? Okay stress here. But it’s not the end of the world. Get up there without your prop like you weren’t meant to have it. Fake it til you make it.
You get the idea.
At the end of the day, they say “the show must go on”… and the show will go on with or without you. So just do the best you can with what you have at that time. At the same time, doing what you can is all you can do. Don’t worry about all the stuff that you can’t control.
Besides, the best thing about cosplay is that you’re in charge of what you’re supposed to be anyway… so if you need to, JUST WING IT.
Be pleasant to each other:
We’ve all heard the phrase “In it to win it, not here to make friends”.
BUT. WHY. THE. FUCK. NOT. BOTH?
It seems almost illogical that in a competition that involves being liked (even if it’s just what you’re wearing) that anyone would abandon the option of making friends…a.k.a BEING LIKED!
Besides, everyone is stressed out. Who needs extra negativity? Make some goddamn friends! Stress around friends is better than stress around people who hate you… any day of the millennium.
Rise to the occasion, not put others down: Your goal in anything competitive should be about being the best by being better than the rest, and never about being the best by making others worse.
Healthy competition is when everyone involved is putting their best effort forward and encouraging others to do so. Dismissing others’ work does nobody good. If you want to win, just raise your standards – let others be. Besides, wouldn’t you rather be a part of an incredible show where everybody was fucking amazing, than win a competition where everybody sucked and you just happened to suck least? Which one is more worthwhile? Which one is more credible as a win?
The power of friendship (with judges)… is really not all that:
With any competition, comes talk of biased judging, comes conspiracy theories about winners winning because they’re friends with judges.
The reality of most (key word: most) competition circles is that they’re small enough that once you’ve competed a couple of times, faces start getting familiar. And as long as you’re not a nasty piece of work, familiar faces naturally become friends. Over time the competition circle becomes a friendship circle. So when you sometimes notice that competition winners are coming out of the same friend group… it’s more the result of people becoming friends backstage rather than the cause of people winning.
If anything, it’s a bigger red flag to see a competition regular who has no friends…
The power of friendship (with judges)… is actually pretty shit:
People can fantasize all they want about how knowing the judges can somehow boost their chances of winning competitions. But ask any seasoned competitor and you’ll learn that it actually feels harder.
Imagine being being interrogated – I mean – prejudged by someone who knows you, your flaws, your shortcuts, your telltale cover ups, your weaknesses, and all your techniques you’re trying to sell as amazing craftsmanship gold but they know you’re full of shit and can do it in your sleep.
Don’t abandon a good time!
Being rivals doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Being there to win doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day. Having a prize on the line doesn’t mean you have to push people away.
COPING WITH RESULTS
Of course winning feels great and not placing feels like crap.
But despite what all the competition hype can make us think, the reality of any judged competition is that it’s never an absolute indicator of “who is the best”. Never has been. Never will. It isn’t a ball sport or a track race where our work can be measured.
It is simply “who, out of those who rocked up that day, managed to sell their shit to three people behind a table the most that day?”.
The most counter-productive thing a cosplayer can do to cling onto a competition result – whether it is being bitter about a loss or letting a win get to the head.
If you don’t win, it’s okay to feel bad but don’t waste the defeat by dwelling on it. Use it because it’s the best chance to grow. Find out where you did well and where you fell short so you can come back better and stronger.
And if you win, it’s okay to celebrate but it’s over as soon as you let the win make you think your work is done. The work is never done. There is always a higher place to reach for, and there are always people catching up. Don’t live in the past.
Win, place, or not. Keep moving on. The biggest, most undeniable win you can have is a win against yourself!
I hope this has been a helpful read.
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Good luck to you all. Happy competing and REPEAT TIL CRY!