Cosplay journal for competition

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#1 Lindiranae on 4 years ago

I hope this is the right place to ask for suggestions. I've been cosplaying for about nine months and would love to enter my costumes in a few competitions. So far I've hesitated to enter ahead of time because I've still had so much work to do on the costumes that I wasn't sure they'd be ready in time and I've been to a few small events that I could have entered on the day, but had forgotten to take any reference pictures with me.

I'm considering entering for a couple of competitions over the summer and I've read through the rules and regulations for a few different conventions to get a feel for the restrictions and eligibility criteria. I noticed that the majority ask for a journal (it looks like most prefer a hard copy that the judges can see on the day rather than a blog link?) but it's not very specific about what they actually want to see.

I'm assuming that, at the very least, several reference pictures and some WIP shots are going to be necessary. I don't often think to take many WIP photos (although I'm getting better about remembering), so I wondered if it was also worth including things like designs, sketches and notes, too, as further evidence that they were self-made or if the additional material is likely to be superfluous? I don't want the judges to feel like I'm asking them to slog through War and Peace :crylaugh: but I also don't want to potentially do myself out of points by not including enough information.

I'm probably over-thinking it but I wanted to be sure that I have everything I'm likely to need :o

#2 CapsuleCorp on 4 years ago

I have never in my life heard of a competition or judges asking for a journal.

Where is this happening?

#3 wayracosplay on 4 years ago

It's not usually something that's required, more-so suggested. I know that when I judge craftsmanship (Im guessing this is what the journal is for?) it's very helpful. What's usually good to put in there are progress shots, reference pictures of the character it's based on (or the original design sketches if it's not based on a pre-existing work), and maybe a list of techniques used/learned. This way the judges will be able to see the original work and how accurate your costume is to the source, know that you did indeed make it as well as see how you made it, and be able to know what exactly to look for in the finish product in terms of how well a technique was executed. Also, try to keep it brief. The time judges have to really take it all in is very minimal and you don't want anything to go overlooked by how much unnecessary info there is, so really try to highlight the things you're the most proud of in your costume!

#4 CapsuleCorp on 4 years ago

See, what you're describing isn't a journal, it's documentation. And as both a judge and a director, unless you're doing Historical competition at Costume-Con, less is actually more. I used to put a lot of progress shots and pages of text into my documentation until I realized the judges don't actually read it. With re-creations of media costumes, it's the reference pictures more than anything that matter, because the judges need to know how close you got to the character. With originial designs, inspirations and your design sketches are important.

Most of what I used to write out in documentation is stuff I end up telling the judges in person during my judging time, so what I started doing instead of putting that into documentation is just making a notecard with important points so that if I get nervous during judging and forget what I wanted to say, I have notes.

When you're being judged in person at a competition, particularly if it's not a super strict judging, what matters most is being able to hand them some printed reference images of your character and then just telling them what you want them to know about how you made it. Don't waste your time putting together a book if they're not going to read it and do NOT hand them a tablet or phone with a website pulled up. Judges are often extremely pressed for time and don't have time to waste trying to work your technology...or even read through a page full of text.

#5 Lindiranae on 4 years ago

Thanks for the info :D It was possibly just a misleading phrase, then. I'm glad I posted instead of leaping straight into wasting time putting together something I don't need!

#6 CapsuleCorp on 4 years ago

As a side note, not all competitions do things the same way, so if there's something in either the rules or on the cosplay contest page that sounds different or doesn't seem to make sense, you can always email the director of the masquerade or head of contests, whoever's in charge. If they've decided to try something new or different, they'd be the best ones to ask to find out exactly what they want from you - or what they're expecting. For all we know, it's a contest trying some new idea to assist their judges or something! :)

I've seen some amazing book-style documentation made for the Costume-Con Historical, though, so sometimes people definitely go all out. But it does sort of disappoint when you go to those kind of lengths and then the judges don't even look at it.

#7 Lindiranae on 4 years ago

I must admit, when I first noticed the word "journal" I was mentally planning a full on project with fabric samples, sketches and as many step-by-step pics of each piece as I have, but thought that was probably a bit much and decided I'd probably need to rein it in a bit :rofl: The entry form I saw it on was for a small local convention, that I think is only in its second or third year, so I will double check with them about their definition of a journal, but having looked back over the other rule lists that I was checking out, I think you're right that a couple of reference pictures and possibly a few notes is all they want.

I've bought a basic presentation file (the sort with a clip binder and clear cover) for two A4 sheets: one with three reference pictures (front, back and side views) and the other with some brief notes on techniques and what I had to learn, as suggested by wayracosplay. Being new to the hobby, almost everything I've made so far as required either learning a brand new technique or improving basic skills, so even if no one really looks at that page, I thought it would be useful for my own development to be able to look back at it. And it at least it means I'm not handing over crumpled paper from the bottom of my bag and it looks like I've put a bit of effort in, without being over the top.

I may yet put the time into a scrapbook style journal, for my own use, because the idea of it really appeals to me, even if no one else ever sees it!

#8 Satine on 4 years ago

I used to recommend the journal format for people who were overwhelmed by the idea of documentation. All you need to do is snap a picture or two as you work and write a few lines. It's so much easier to do that as you go than to try and remember everything at the end! It also means that you can edit out excess information rather than try to create more :)

So if you already use social media, it's just a case of getting your archives and putting them in a document :) Even facebook allows you to save archives.

That may be what was meant, as an option for getting your information as easily as possible- and it's especially helpful for creators who work to the last minute on their work and simply get so close to the deadline they get stressed by a blank page :)

I used to copy and paste from my livejournal as the images were already in line and I could just parse it all through spell check :) I'd also trim the text a bit. But it was much faster than trying to write it out cold.