A weekend ago costumers and comic lovers alike took over Downtown Phoenix in style! This weekend saw many great costumes and events take place, the creme de la creme (in my opinion at least) being the Costume Contest that closed down the convention Saturday evening. For many costumers and con-goers out there, the costume contest or masquerade is the end all be all of conventions. For many conventions they are centered around the big show. While Amazing Arizona Comic Con is not such a con where the Costume Contest is the crown jewel of the convention weekend, it was still the hot spot to be this past Saturday.
This past weekend, GNN has covered the costume contest inside and out. If you have ever considered competing in a contest, this is definitely for you. Deciding to compete in a costume contest is not always an easy decision. The process starts with picking a costume, or costumes if you are in a group. This isn’t as easy of a process as you would think it is. When deciding on a costume, you want to pick something that is both unique, maybe never seen before or rarely seen. Being one of kind and not one of 10 Elsa’s definitely gives an edge for originality. The other aspect of your costume to think about is difficulty and skill. It’s great if you can make a costume incredibly accurate, but what was the level of difficulty involved? There is a difference between creating something that’s accurate and simple, versus taking some liberties on something more complex.
In many conventions today, it’s not just your costume judges are looking at. In many conventions skits are a part of the contest. If the skit is an option, it’s always a good idea to try to put one together, because it can definitely add a level of showmanship to your costume. However, never forget that this is a contest to judge your skills as a costumer. So while the skit can certainly help you in the showmanship category, never let your costumes take a back seat!
Once you’ve got your costumes together, you’ve spent months and countless dollars on your costumes, it’s time for the convention! Of course, make sure you’ve signed yourself or your group up for the show. Be sure to review the rules and ensure your costumes, music, and skit are complying with the rules. Some shows will have an old school pen and paper registration whereas others may have some kind of online only pre-registration. Since these contests are very popular, especially at larger conventions, many conventions will have a registration limit so it’s important to sign up early in order to secure your place in the contest.
Next is prejudging. Depending the type or size of the contest prejudging can be done in a number of ways. At some of the larger conventions, prejudging can take place weeks before the contest happens. This can happen in the form of online pre-judging where you submit detailed photos of your work and the work that went into your costume, or it could be in person a week before the convention as it was for Salt Lake City Comic Con in 2015. In the case of the in person judging before the convention like that, the convention will most likely also have spots available day of for anyone who is coming from out of state. For conventions that do day of on site pre-judging, it can be anything from a few hours before the convention to all day. So if you’re participating, be prepared to potentially lose your saturday. However, it can be worth it!
The actual prejudging can be pretty daunting, but this is also your time to shine and really explain the complexities of your costumes to the judges up close and personally. While again, depending on the convention and where you’re at there may be different rules, requirements, or processes. Many times it can be helpful to have your progress photos either printed out or on a tablet that you can show the judges. During prejudging the judges get an opportunity to fully inspect your costumes up close and personal. Be prepared to have your seams flipped and to explain in detail all the work you’ve done. The judges are likely to ask a lot of questions too. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and have fun! These judges are typically professionals and you’ll want to get their input and advice too.
Once prejudging has taken place it’s on to the actual contest! During the contest, the only real thing you need to remember as a costumer is to have fun and be respectful of your fellow costumers. You’re here to have fun. While winning something is always ideal, this is a great opportunity to meet others who are just as passionate as you are about your craft. Also, the best part of any contest is the young kids who trot up on stage to show off their moves!
The final piece of any contest is of course, the awards! More or less all contests have 3 major categories: beginner, intermediate, and experienced. Titles may be interchangeable. Sometimes intermediate is called journeymen and experienced is sometimes referred to as masters. Each of these groups will have a first, second, and third place which typically comes with some prize ranging from tickets to next year’s con to small trinkets. Then of course, there are some smaller speciality awards such as best prop, best performance, and best showmanship. Then of course there is the creme de la crème title of best in show.
While this was just a general rundown of how Amazing Arizona’s contest went, for anyone interested in competing this should give you an idea of what to look forward to and prepare for! Be sure to check out all the photos from Amazing Arizona Comicon!