Last year, Dragon Con decided it wanted a craftsmanship costuming contest to rival other contests across the globe. It had to meet high standards if it were to be considered a choice contest: ushering in the very best in costuming talent. Rather than create an all new contest, Dragon Con chose to raise the stakes for the Friday Night Costuming Contest (FNCC.)
For years now, the contestants of the FNCC have raised the bar on the quality and ingenuity being put into the costumes that walked across our stage. Naturally, raising the contestant requirements to match those of other professional costuming contests just made sense. So for several months prior to Dragon Con 2014, a number of extraordinary changes were made as we worked our way toward the contest – all designed to draw out the most competitive of costume makers.
One of the changes in requirements was advance copies of documentation so they may be juried the weeks preceding con. After all, the judges do not have the luxury of time to examine documentation during con. Documentation is important to a craftsmanship contest: it provides the judges with insight into your construction process, where you found inspiration, what patterns you may have used, and (most importantly) it shows them that you are indeed the person that built the costume. Deadline for submitting documentation this year is August 20, 2015 by midnight. Any documentation turned in after that will be given a zero score for documentation.
Other changes included increased time for professional entries and reduced time for novice and journeymen, private time with the judges, and increased weight being given to documentation and judges presentation as part of the overall score.
Changes did not affect the contestants alone. Dragon Con was willing to offer larger prize packages to compensate winners for bringing there A-game: $50 in Dragon Bucks for all skill levels and Best In Show is awarded $250 in cash along with a guaranteed reservation at one of the con hotels for the following year!
A new ‘category’ -ish was also added: the Social Media Fan Favorite award, where pics of all professional category contestants are published to Dragon Con’s social media giving fans an opportunity to vote beyond the confines of Dragon Con’s physical location. Social Media Fan Favorite is given a speed-pass for the celebrity autograph lines to get a free photo and autograph with their favorite Dragon Con celebrity! (If you have tried standing in line for an autograph you know how valuable this prize really is.)
Of course, these more visible changes also brought about less obvious changes within our administrative processes for qualifying, tracking, and scoring of contestants. …but that is the part, though exciting to us, is usually pretty boring to contestants and fans of the contest. We will simply say that much was learned last year and contestants of the 2015 edition of the FNCC can look forward to an improved judging experience.
So you can see that a lot happened on our way to the Friday Night Costuming Contest. We invite your comments. Please follow all the latest news on the FNCC and other Costuming Track sponsored contests by liking us on Facebook and Twitter.