So you made an amazing costume and you now want to show it off to let the world bask in its glory, but more than that, you want it to be recognized on a higher level. A level that will give you bragging rights for a full year, equipped with oodles of self-esteem and geeky ecstasy. You want to hold the keys to that special kingdom and join the ranks of the legends who dared to take those courageous steps before you. You want to enter your costume into a cosplay contest. But wait, one cannot simply enter a contest without their tools of survival! Lucky for you, we are veterans of TWO cosplay contests, and can provide you with the insight and knowledge to come out alive from such a daunting mission. Brace yourselves, [cosplay] knowledge is coming.
- Prepare To Sacrifice Your Time. The first thing you MUST realize about a cosplay contest, is that they will eat up A LOT of your time on that day of a convention. If you go into the convention that day expecting to go to all your favorite panels, celebrities, or vendors, you will most likely be incredibly disappointed. Although your judging times are usually set at a specific time, things happen, and you’ll end up waiting around longer than you think. Not only that, but many contests will have you sit in a green room for about half of the day. On top of that, since your costume is so jaw droppingly amazing, you’ll be a showstopper, and it’ll take you AGES to get anywhere, so it’s usually safer for you to hang out around the judging/green rooms so you don’t miss anything, which results in waiting around (luckily that particular waiting usually results in much picture taking). Even after you’ve been judged and after you’ve sat in a green room for 3 hours, you then have to wait to go on stage, then wait even longer for others to go on stage, and then wait the longest for the judges to make their decisions. In short, you will likely be spending half of your day doing nothing, just accept it.
- Keep a Handler… or Ten. If you’ve ever worn a costume in your life, you know that wardrobe malfunctions almost always happen. Whether your make-up smears, a seam rips, or your armor completely falls apart, something will inevitably go wrong with your costume. This becomes a terrible tragedy when you need to look absolutely PERFECT for the judges and the crowd. As such, we HIGHLY advise having a handler, or ten. Most contests allow for contestants to bring a handler with them into the green room, and we definitely recommend taking them up on that. It will reduce your stress when something goes wrong, and even if nothing goes wrong, it’s a friendly face to help calm your nerves. If you have a costume that you need help getting into, you’ll definitely need a handler. Chances are you’ll need to go to the bathroom at some point, and if you can’t take your giant Mr. Freeze helmet off by yourself, you’ll need an extra pair (or three) of helping hands.
- Sustenance. Just like in general, make sure you have proper sustenance for your journey. That includes food, water, and caffeine. Nobody wants to see you hangry, and more importantly, nobody wants to see you pass out. So PLEASE, keep yourself hydrated and well fed. Eating and drinking will also help calm your nerves, so, that’s a plus. Also along those lines, make sure you go to the bathroom BEFORE being stuck in the green room or going on stage, as that could make for an extra unpleasant night.
- If Nothing Else, it’s a Learning Experience! Sometimes things go right for contests, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you wait an excessively long time only to be told your costume was not worthy enough, and sometimes you win a prize. Just remember, not everyone can win, but everyone can learn from others and have a good time. If nothing else, just go in with an attitude to have fun. If that’s your mindset, it’ll happen, regardless of the results. Make friends, talk to other contestants about their costumes, talk to the people running the contest (they’re usually more bored than you), and make the best of the situations you’re given. Everything will all work out in the end.
Do you have any Cosplay Contest tips, tricks or stories? Tell us in the comments below!!