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Lossien's Masquerade Advice

Lossien's Masquerade Advice


Article by: Lossien
Hey all! Lossien here again, this time to talk to you about Masquerades. Now, for those who don’t know, Masquerades (also known as cosplay or costume competitions) are my favourite part of conventions – the part where you get to show off your hard work. Amanda and I have been entering masquerades at different conventions since 2006, and have even judged a couple. I’ll go over how we get ready for Masquerades.

Masquerade Lossien

Fan Expo 2011 – Master Level, Best In Show

Step 1: Choosing the costumes

Anime North 2010 – Artisan Level, Best Tailoring (workmanship)

The first step is deciding what you want to show. These should be impressive costumes with good detail work, and they should take the most time out of all the outfits for the convention. Mind you, this isn’t a rule; it is more of a guideline. Amanda and I usually end up wearing the costume on the Saturday, another reason we want it to be our most impressive costume. We like to look at what we think people would like to see, something that hasn’t been done to death, and something that takes a lot of work. I also try to make sure that there are plenty of reference pictures available.

Step 2: Planning the presentation
There are two ways to present your costume on stage; a walk on or a skit. I’ll go over both.

A: Walk-ons

Fan Expo 2009 – Journeyman Level, No Award

When you do a walk on, you really need to know the character. You walk onto the stage, hit one to three different poses and hold each for about 3 seconds, then walk off. If you choose this route, be aware that you need to really show the personality of the character. It is hard to win presentation awards going this route, but if your sewing and craftsmanship is strong you can aim for workmanship awards.

B: Skits

Anime North 2011 – Master Level, Best Characterization (presentation), Best Attention to Detail (workmanship)

Skits are harder to do, in my opinion. They are easy to get wrong, and they take a lot of practice. The first part is coming up with a good idea, and it has to be something that appeals to a lot of people. Try to stay away from inside jokes with your friends and character-specific humour. A lot of judges might not know your character or even your series. We try to stick with broad humour, and we try to stay away from current memes online. These are usually overdone. Once you get an idea, run it past as many people as possible. Talk to your friends, talk to your parents, talk to your geeky coworkers. If they giggle as you are describing it, you’re on the right track. Figure out your choreography, then start practicing. You can also go for a dramatic skit instead of comedic, but you are usually stuck with a 1 minute time limit and it is hard to capture an audience in that time.

Step 3: Record your audio

Fan Expo 2012 – Master Level, Best Presentation (presentation)

Now, this could be music from the show or game, a conversation between characters, or an unrelated song. If you have sound you want playing with your entry, make sure you have it on a CD before the event. Make sure that the format is what they want (usually listed on the website for the event), and play the CD in a car, an old CD player, and a computer. You want to make sure that different players can read it, and it is always good to have a copy of the file on another CD, as backup in case it is lost or misplaced.

Step 4: Practice

Anime North 2006 – Novice Level, Best Choreography (presentation) (1:55 – 4:15)

Once you have a solid idea of what you are doing, practice. Then practice. Then practice again. And then practice more. Seriously, practice until you can do it in your sleep. Practice until you can do it with or without the sound, practice until you can picture it perfect in your head. Practice in your pyjamas, practice in your work clothes, practice in your costume. Try the wig on and practice again. Seriously, you cannot practice enough. Amanda and I practice 6 or more months before the event, then in the hotel room the night before, then in the green room minutes before.

Step 5: The show must go on

Anime North 2009 – Journeyman Level, Most Practical Elegance (workmanship)

Remember, not everything will go as planned. Don’t let it throw you. People understand when your audio doesn’t work, you trip on your hem, and then you lose your prop. Trust me, I’ve been there (watch the video. Three issues in one entry, it wasn’t our day!). Remember, just keep going! Your audience may not even notice that you weren’t supposed to fall; they may think it was part of the script! If your audio doesn’t work, you could decide to do a walk on instead. There are many different ways things can screw up, so just take a deep breath and do what you can to get through it.

Step 6: Have fun!

Anime North 2008 – Journeyman Level, No Award

Northern Anime Festival 2009 – Journeyman Level, Best Patterns (6:35 – 7:29)

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!!!! When it comes down to it, cosplay and conventions are about enjoying yourself. If you’re not feeling the costume or the masquerade, or if you’re ready to quit everything; no one is making you do it. In the end, you should enjoy yourself. Now, if you’re really nervous, I say do it anyway – you might really have fun! I have met the greatest people though masquerades, including Geek Girl Cayla at Fan Expo 2011. I also enjoy the awards for all of my hard work sewing and practicing, and I love getting in front of people and showing what I can do. If you’re unsure, you can start with smaller conventions like Con-G, Con Bravo, Ochiba Con, or Genre Con, just to name a few. Just remember that it should be a fun experience. Try your best!

Stephanie has won multiple awards for different masquerades she has entered into. Here is as complete a list as she can compile.

Overall Awards
Fan Expo 2011; Best in Show
Northern Anime Festival 2009; Best in Show
Dot-Con 2008; Best in Show

Master Level Awards
Fan Expo 2012; Best Presentation
Con Bravo 2011; Best Comic
Anime North 2011; Best Characterization, Devotion to Detail

Artisan Awards
Con-G 2011; Best in Class
Northern Anime Festival 2010; Jailbait Wears Prada
Anime North 2010; Best Tailoring

Journeyman Awards
Northern Anime Fesitval 2009; Best Patterns
Anime North 2009; Most Practical Elegance

Novice Awards
Northern Anime Festival 2008; Best Patterns
Anime North 2006; Best Choreography

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December 22 2012

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