Not how we know and love them, anyhow.
I’ve talked a bit about Masquerades before, but focused on Worksmanship and how that’s important for competitors. I haven’t talked about the actual stage presentation of masquerades yet because I’ve been hoping to get more experience actually competing in them before I do. (Dance only takes you so far in experience y’know?)
But! While I was talking about the World Cosplay Summit Canada (WCSC) with a friend, a couple of important issues came up about how the WCSC is different than most Masqs we’re used to. This article will mostly cover the Canadian style of Masquerade, simply because I know more about them and they seem to be more standardized than the American contests.
Let us Begin.
There aint no Show without it’s stars. These are the hard working, brave cosplayers who not only finish their cosplays on deadline (mostly) and strut their stuff up on stage. While many Masquerade regulars will be entering to compete in WCS, it’s fair to say that the spread of entrants is going to be a LOT different than the entries we’re used to.
Mirror looking awesome. And green.
For one thing, they have to apply ahead of time.
Reader X: So like, they send in their entry form early?
Nawp. They have to send in a resume with a cosplay biography, list of major awards and photos of 4 favourite costumes, explaining where the costume is from and why they included it. Presumably their best 4. You also have to list what character(s) and series you’ll be entering as.
Reader X: Why? Isn’t that unfair to people who haven’t won awards? Or people that have less than 4 costumes?
Not really, WCSC is kind of a big deal. The best in Canada will be entering (if not this year, then next when everyone has more time and notice), and presumably the best team in Canada will be sent to Japan to show the world just how friggen awesome we are at cosplay.
Because we only have the one WCSC competition this year, organizers have to whittle down the entrants to a size they can manage within an evening. If you or your friend(s?) don’t have awards or 4 costumes yet and want to compete in WCSC, look at the next year to build up your skills and resume. Or, you can apply anyways if your skill is awesome and you just have 3 costumes. I guess, but I’m not sure if you’d be weeded out by not meeting entry requirements…
Only 5’9” and over!
Reader X: 😦
Just kidding! Don’t cry!
Reader X: 😥
Nuuu! Reader, Stahp! I meant how many people can enter per group!
Pictured: more than two people.
In most Masquerades, entries can be anywhere from one person, to …lots? I think the biggest group I’ve seen on stage was a complete red and blue team each from TF2. They didn’t have much room to move around. While some Masquerades might have a cap on people per entry, usually it’s only upwards of 6.
In WCSC, a team is: two people, one alternate.
Reader X: Can the alternate be on stage?
Reader X: What if they’re acting as a prop?
Still no. TWO PEOPLE, One alternate.
Reader X: So what’s the alternate do?
Say you’ve got a family emergency, or actually break a leg (note: that’s not good luck!) then the Alternate literally steps into your shoes and replaces you for the remainder of the competition.
Reader X: Why only two people?
Probably cuz flying to Japan is suuuuper expensive.
Reader X: :”(
Reader X: I’ve got my resume ready, I also have the perfect costume in mind for WCSC: Genderbent Superman ballgown! My partner will be one of Cowslip’s Gijinka! probs Trubbish.
Erm… so there’s a problem with that.
Reader X: What? It’ll be like Sakizou, red ruffles and garbage everywhere!
Not that. But, Ick. See, for WCS competitions, the source material has to be Japanese in origin. So no Superman. No Disney games that were made in japan, but actual, legit Japanese source material.
Reader X: Okay, so two pokemon Gijinka!
Uh, sorry. Fan works and non-cannon designs aren’t allowed either. Part of the contest is ‘fidelity’, or how closely you can represent the character.
Reader X: Naruto? Bleach?
Normally, no. BUT, because WCSC is super last minute, Entrants can be from different series, and from Shueisha series. However, that’s probably a this-year-only rule.
The Level of Competition
You know how there’s that application process for WCSC? There’s also no skill divisions.
Reader X: what? Why? I’m only an novice/journeyman/artisan, can I still enter?
I don’t see why artisans can’t apply to enter, but keep in mind that this is a competition to find the best cosplayers Canada has to offer. If you think you’ve got a shot, go for it, just be sure to keep in mind that you’ll be against Masters for the title of Team Canada.
As for journeyman and novice levels, unless you have been cosplaying for years and just not entering masquerades… keep working on developing your skills and apply next year. I’m not saying you can’t apply, just that it’s worth being realistic about skill levels. If you go over to the Rubric I mashed together for masquerades, then you’ll have a rough non-official guide on where you’ll need to be.
On with the Show
Alright! Let’s get to the main event. You’ve applied and your team has been accepted to compete. Now what?
Reader X: So I was thinking of doing a Dance-off between Ichigo’s Hollow form doing thriller and Naruto’s sexy lady form doing Gangam Style!
Please don’t. Unless you can legit dance or are willing to choreograph and practice until you can pull it off, just… please don’t.
Reader X: Fine. So what would be a good skit?
Something about the series your character is from. Or something new and innovative, or just… look up popular skits. This isn’t my forte, but if you see a panel about performing in Masquerades, definitely check it out.
Also, while you’re allowed props in WCSC (encouraged, even!), there will be no Ninjas on stage to animate/move/act as props. Just like the ninjas, friends-as-props won’t be allowed in WCSC.
Reader X: But I can still fight Ninjas right? Audiences love ninja fights!
Stock image by shanethemainman
Nope! No ninja fights, sorry. Ninjas will be there to help you and your partner up onto the stage, set up the props on stage that have to be there before the skit starts, and then help you and the props off stage. That’s it.
Reader X: Okay, so I’m going to have a castle that has a dragon that comes out of it, and a full table with chairs and-
Woah slow down cowboy. Cowgirl? *squints*
Are you a boy, or a girl, or…
Reader X: Yes.
You’re so helpful. Okay, gender aside, there’s a couple guidelines to props to make sure everyone’s on an even playing field, and also so that you don’t break the poor ninjas. If we look to the Rules, it’s pretty clear what you are and aren’t allowed to bring as a prop:
- All costumes, props, and equipment for both team members combined is limited to a maximum of 40 kg (88 lbs).
- All props need to be self-contained. Items which require external power sources are not permitted. The use of any convention property as a prop will also not be permitted.
Reader X: Okay, so I’m getting the hang of this. Can I play out a touching scene from my series that will turn the audience and judges into weeping wrecks with my thespian prowess?
Yup! That sounds awesome, as long… as you don’t use the original audio clips.
Reader X: What? But the voice overs in FFX is crucial to the laughing scene.
*wince* It’s a copyright thing. Because the WCS Championship is televised, wiggly wobbly copyright says no. Besides, I’m sure you can do a great job with your own voices! Better, even. Maybe.
GO TO THIS.
Seriously, the technical rehearsal was probably the best thing that could have happened to my group at Costume Con. It lets you troubleshoot out any movement issues on the stage, arrange the lighting cues and make sure that your music works.
Reader X: But there’s this panel I want to go-
Reader X: -to because-
Reader X: Fiiiiiiiiine.
Okay. Unlike the other Masquerades we’re used to, WCSC has a hard-and-fast (*snortgiggle*) rubric for judging. It reads like this: (again from the WCSC rules.)
- Performance – 10 points – quality of performance, inventiveness, entertainment value on stage
- Costume – 10 points – design, faithfulness to the original costume design, craftsmanship
- Fidelity – 5 points – faithfulness to the original character’s personality during performance
That’s it. You know where the points lie when you’re prepping for the contest. You’ll get more points if your costume and performance is on point, and the fidelity falters. BUT. It’s worth reaching for the stars with all three regions.
I will! 😉
Best of luck to all the entries! I can’t want to see what Canada comes up with, whether i’m watching from backstage or the audience.