First Time Performers

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#1 Laikrios on 4 years ago

Hi everyone!
My friend and I have decided to compete at a relatively small anime convention, and do a skit. We've competed before, but only in craftsmanship, not in performance. And I was wondering if anyone has any tips or advice for performance competing. Or if any veteran performers could lead us in the right direction in planning a successful skit!
Thanks so much!

#2 Ness and Lucas on 4 years ago

I'm actually performing for the first time too in a week, but I still have a few tips I learned from acting classes. :)

-Make sure your back is never turned to the audience. They should always be able to see your face.

-Prerecord your audio and leave space for laughter after jokes (I should take my own advice on this one, but it's hard to do that when your skit has major time constraints). Otherwise the next line could go unheard.

-Always be interesting to look at. Even if you don't have a speaking line, REACT to the others on stage with facial expressions or movement. Utilize the space around you.

I hope that helps! And don't forget to practice!!

#3 Magyarita on 4 years ago

~Make sure your skit doesn't go on *too* long or have too many long breaks in between jokes/lines/action. Otherwise the judges and audience will get bored.

~Choreograph any fighting or dancing scenes well and practice a LOT. Otherwise you won't look like you know what you're doing.

~Fangirls screaming =/= good skit. A low-quality skit with shipping or fanservice may make the fangirls happy, but it's still low quality and the judges won't be impressed.

~Try to avoid memes in your skit, especially meme songs/dances. (ex. Gangnam Style, Caramelldansen, Hare Hare Yukai, etc. EVERYONE has done these before.)

~Make sure it's understandable to people who don't know your fandom. Try practicing it in front of a relative or friend who doesn't know your fandom, and see if they understand it or are lost.

Good luck! :D

#4 CapsuleCorp on 4 years ago

Actually, Ness is incorrect. This is a convention where you're showing off a costume, not a play - DO show your back to the audience. The judges want to see that the back of your costume looks nice, and what if you have some special details there? Let them see it!

Now, I can't speak for contests where it doesn't matter what you're wearing, you could perform in a paper bag and it would be the same as performing in costume. Those contests are strange to me. Where I compete and judge, performance/presentation is weighted equally with workmanship and both are important to the competition. So the advice I can give is good for well-rounded performances and not skit-only competitions.

Have audio. Even if you're not doing dialogue, at least perform with background music. Walking around the stage to dead silence is a surefire way to be boring.
Use the emcee if you're allowed to - have them read an intro or read a punchline after you exit stage if you can. Don't make that intro a 10 minute long paragraph on your character's background, a single sentence to set the scene or lead in to your performance is enough. You don't HAVE to, but if you're stumped for how to get started, an emcee intro usually helps.
You don't have to do a comedic skit with dialogue. There are TONS of different ways to present your costume and character, choose something unique and appropriate. If you're wearing something beautiful, a choreographed piece of performance or pantomime to play out a scene on stage, over the right background music, is much better than trying to do a joke skit. Think about dancing, or at the very least, showing off. If you're wearing a fighter's costume, think about doing fight poses. If you have multiple people in your group, choreograph to move around each other in interesting ways that make the audience's eyes follow you, and show all sides of your costumes. Does your costume do anything neat like light up or transform? Show that off.
Use all of the stage, don't just stand in one spot.
Consider set pieces - a backdrop, a prop, a little sign, anything you can have them set on stage for you to give you a new entrance point, a point of interest, something to interact with, etc.
If you really want to be great, don't be satisfied with simply walk, pose, walk to new point, pose, walk off. That's the most basic of basics. Push yourself to do something neat. Punch it up. TELL A STORY. Use your movement, your music, and your costume itself to tell a nice 1 minute long story that the audience can understand even if they don't know your character.
Finally, don't feel like you have to use all of the time they give you. Going on too long is guaranteed to bore the audience.