Con Reviews

Behind the Curtain, Part 2: The Saturday Night Cosplay Competition

Reader, I want you to imagine a Thunderdome. The Thunderdome. Are there multiple Thunderdomes in canon? I’m not really caught up.

The point is, picture the Thunderdome. And next to that Thunderdome, there is another, as equally impressive as the first.

That, dear readers, is Saturday Night Cosplay. New judges, new faces, same hardcore cosplay attitude.

This is Dragon Con. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

I will warn you, reader, that because of Saturday’s hectic nature, we were unable to get as much commentary as we were on Friday. We still got a lot, though! And we’re extremely grateful to have even been allowed backstage with all the work that had to be done. And trust me, it was a whole lot of work.

I got a moment to talk more with Lee Cox, Costuming Track director of Dragon Con. Lee told us that he’s actually been working for the Dragon Con costuming track for 11 years, beginning in 2004.  From 2005-2010, Lee was second in command; since 2010, he’s been in charge.  He also 

The Saturday Night Cosplay Competition is entirely separate from FNCC. Contestants from FNCC are allowed to apply to the Cosplay Competition, and prior scores will not be considered.

There is no pre-registration for Saturday. Contestants were required to show up at 5:30 at the Georgia Aquarium to register.  Contestants are given a number and a brief session with the first round of judges.  There’s twofold judging: the pre-judging at registration, and then the show judging if the contestant makes it to the competition.

At the time I was there, I saw somewhere between fifty and sixty applicants, though that’s just a visual estimation.  There was a large amount of them, for sure, and only twenty (group or individual) contestants actually make it out onto the main stage.

The pre-judges are not the same as the judges the contestants will later see on stage. This group does the first evaluation and scoring, taking time to look at the costumes up close and consider the handiwork of the pieces.  Since there’s no paperwork, as there is on Friday, it’s up to the contestant to be as prepared as possible to discuss the highlights of their costume. Following the pre-judging, the contestants each get their picture taken. The pictures are spread out after the pre-judging ends, as a way for the judges to remember contestants and pick the top 20.

Contestants aren’t told they’re competing until their numbers are called by the MC, ten minutes before showtime. From there, it’s up to the contestant to head backstage and prepare for their major debut.

There are no categories for this competition, because the pool of contestants is so small.  I certainly wouldn’t have called this a Novice competition, if I hadn’t seen the talent of the Novices from FNCC.  This isn’t really so much a competition about experience as it is about the work; hard work and good costuming pay off.  Is there as much emphasis on craftsmanship? I think so.

Two of our judges, Lee “Fev” Camara and Catherine L Jones, are both experienced costumers from the Atlanta area. I had a lengthy discussion with prop/armor maker Fev, who stressed her love of craftsmanship and good armor. I’m sure all of you have seen impressive armor cosplays at conventions, but Fev reminded me of the importance of movement! Good armor moves! Appearance is important, yes, but well-made armor allows the wearer to at least walk. Moving armor means that the wearer understands the craft of making it.

Cathy Lee was named by Fev to be one of the most talented costume makers around! She’s our seam master; she was looking for quality of fabrics, stitching, and overall costume.  Cathy emphasized that while the judges have specialties (judge Monika Lee being a professional competitor) they were all looking for fine craftsmanship in this competition.  And trust me, they picked the best of the best! 

The pool of winners all had expertly crafted costumes. They’d put Hollywood costuming departments to shame. Because again, this is Dragon Con, and WE ARE NOT HERE TO PLAY. This is not The Saturday Night Best Friend Competition.

I’m joking. Despite the massive amounts of talent and the highly competitive environment, everyone was so incredibly friendly. You could almost forget how stressed and tired everyone was, which, I cannot stress this enough, was very. Everyone, from the contestants to the judges to the crew, worked their butts off to make this show great.  Check out our winners below!

firstplace
Gary and Angela Sterley, First Place

 

secondplace
RJ Foster, Second Place
thirdplace
Elizabeth Gerringer, Third Place

Once again, we at Word of the Nerd would like to extend a huge thank you to Lee Cox for all of his help. We’d also like to thank Greg Euston for being our Saturday guide, the Contest crew for being so kind to us, and Fev Camara and Cathy Lee for taking the time to speak with us at such a busy time! Congratulations to the winners, and to everyone who competed!


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About the author

Rachel Greeman

is the Editor this city needs, but maybe not the one it deserves. She is a graduate of New York University, and spends her free time at Starbucks. She believes herself to be a combination of Selina Kyle and Kate Bishop, which is why she cosplays them all the time. Actually, her cosplay page is facebook.com/bishopkatherinecosplays. Check it out if you're cool or feel like looking at cosplays or whatever. Once, she met Chris Evans and accidentally flirted with him.

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