Competition/Sandbagging

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#1 rebel-cosplay on 6 years ago

(For those unfamiliar, sandbagging is when you re-compete a cosplay for which you've already won an award and potentially win again and prevent others from placing. It's not *technically* banned except I guess at some cons, so is more of a personal honor code thing.)

So I have a question about sandbagging during masquerades. To date, I've won one large award and a couple of smaller awards (ie honorable mentions, judges awards..).

Would it be unethical for me to compete with a cosplay I won "Best Prop" for? It's a fairly minor award I would think, but I'm not sure. Would it be the kind of thing where I tell the judges I've won for my prop, so to not judge that as part of my cosplay and only consider that it is present for accuracy's sake?

#2 Sarcasm-hime on 6 years ago

IMO it's only sandbagging if one or more of the following applies:

1. You won a major award (Best in Class or equivalent) with that costume at a large event, and now your'e competing at a smaller event.
2. You won an award with that costume at a higher division and are now competing at a lower division.
3. You won Best In Show and are now competing the costume again at an event of equivalent or smaller size.

Best Prop is totally fine IMO, as are other minor awards. People often compete the same costume a couple times in the same year, starting with a small local con as a 'trial run' to work the bugs out and then progressing upwards to bigger competitions. Once it wins big at a large con (or once it's accumulated a bunch of smaller awards) it's usually considered that the costume should be retired from competition unless major modifications/improvements are made.

#3 CapsuleCorp on 6 years ago

Pretty much what the glorious sarcasm-hime said. And those are the main definitions of sandbagging as I've always understood it. I have noticed more cons starting to explicitly put it in their rules, too, after getting complaints or hearing other cons getting complaints.

But yeah, Best Prop is a minor award, a judge's award or honorable mention of some kind, and doesn't disqualify you from recompeting it. If you really are concerned about someone else mistaking you for violating rules, then yes, you can explain to the judges that you won a minor award for the prop alone and would like them to ignore it while judging, but you don't HAVE to. When in doubt, run it by the masquerade director or cosplay staff head of the place you intend to enter, they can say for sure whether you SHOULD ask to have your prop not-judged, or if you don't need to go that far. A director worth his/her salt might even be willing to run interference should anyone question your eligibility, having already talked to you about it and knowing all the important info.

#4 tereshkova2001 on 6 years ago

I've run across an interesting problem with this sort of thing.

I was recently explicitly encouraged to enter *in competition* by a masquerade director at a small con, even after explaining that I won best in class previously and just wanted to walk the stage and show off. They didn't have a division system, and I ended up participating in their "fan favorite", applause-ranked competition instead. It felt kind of weird and arrogant to insist that I was too good for their competition, but I just couldn't honorably enter that size of show with that particular costume.
Has anyone else had that happen? What do you do when a con doesn't have an out-of-competition option?

#5 lunaladyoflight on 6 years ago

They shouldn't push you to do it if you don't want to. My competition doesn't have a defined non-competition category but anyone that came up to my cosplay registration table and asked to simply walk the stage was allowed to do so. We put them after the juniors and before the novices.

#6 CapsuleCorp on 6 years ago

Yeah, no one can force you to enter or even compete. I think, if it were me, and I was trying to exhibit but the director/con staff insisted otherwise or didn't want to make allowances for exhibition (all competing or nothing) then I would politely refuse and walk away. I don't need to be on stage, particularly with something I've already won, so if I'm floating around some tiny convention that barely has a structured contest, I would probably give it a miss no matter what. I don't consider it arrogance or elitism, it's simply a case of facts: if your skill level is light years beyond anything else anyone at the con is wearing, after honest assessment, it's only polite to step back and let some young newbs have their night in the spotlight.

Nothing says you can't go for it anyway, though. It's sort of a catch-22, isn't it? Sometimes entering at these small cons can help raise the bar so that in subsequent years, people feel like they want a challenge and will bring their A game. But I would agree that if you happen to be wearing a costume that has won major awards before and either weren't planning to enter or weren't planning anything beyond an exhibition just to amuse the audience, it's more polite to refuse offers to compete than to say 'well the director said it was cool so take it up with them.'

#7 tereshkova2001 on 6 years ago

Okay, thanks. It's good to get other costumers' opinions. I may be done competing at small cons and comic-cons, and just enter at sci-fi cons that take masquerades really seriously and have division systems. (Not saying that anime cons don't, just that I'm more likely to go to a sci-fi con.)

#8 rebel-cosplay on 6 years ago

Thanks to everyone who replied to this!

I wasn't entirely sure of the technicalities of the term, so thank you for that Sarcasm-hime. I go to a couple of smaller conventions, so I'll remember that for them :)

@tereshkova2001: I agree with what's been said. I'm not personally to that skill level yet, but I'm the motherly sort who wants to help more people improve their skill and would step back for the youngins to compete.