The Cosplay Costume Contest took place Friday night at All-Con 2010 and with the help of Jay and his sidekick Luigi, it was an awesome time. On a side note, why does Luigi always end up No.2? Poor Luigi.
Three judges were on hand to preside over the competition. Cosplay, which is short for “costume play”, is where a person dresses as a character particular character from a specific show, game, comic book, etc. Contestants are judged in categories such as costume and presentation.
The participants were introduced one by one by the hosts.
First up, Naruto’s parents made an appearance and shared the tale of how young Naruto was conceived. It involved ramen noodles, an awkward pause and a firemen over-the-shoulder move.
Next up was Mew Mew Pudding in a great representation of the character followed by Mario. Luigi was not kind to his brother when he took the stage but Mario simply reminded him of who has the better games as the lead character. Luigi didn’t have much of a rebuttal and the red brother won again.
Kakaschi, Hokage and Sasuke from Naruto were next to the stage in a great team effort and fantastic attire. They were followed by Sailor Mercury whose funds had been cut back from her excessive spending and her bubble move was not as spectacular as you would see on the show. This was a very entertaining, well done piece.
Naruto continued to be well represented as Kabuto participated with a well done costume complete with props and poses.
Solid Snake also found some time in his busy schedule to drop in and show off his stuff. His excellent sword skills may have been overshadowed by Luigi’s plunder as he placed a banana peel on the stage which made Snake slip. Even with all that pent up resentment, maybe Luigi does want his brother to win?
The next cosplayer on hand actually pulled their character from a feature length movie, Paprika, playing the title character.
Skull Kid was certainly a favorite. This first time cosplayer was well receipted with an insane garb and was a front runner for top prize.
Myoubi took up the rear of the line-up with excellent attire and presentation. Using graceful poses, bows and spins, she obviously had put a lot of work into her ensemble and it was fantastic.
During the time when the judges were making their selections, Luigi and Jay passed the time by telling some jokes for the crowd. They were unsuccessful but in an entertaining, funny kind of way. Naruto’s dad tried his hand at comedy which left some scratching their head and Mew Pudding softened the crowd’s hearts with a classic Knock-Knock joke.
When it was all said and done, the winners were as follows:
Best New Cosplayer: Skull Kid
Judges Choice: Mew Pudding
Runner Up: Sailor Mercury
Best of Show: Myoubi
Great choices and a fun competition. Winners were awarded with prize baskets filled with candy, collectibles and DVD sets while Best in Show collected a spiffy trophy.
Also on Friday night, two local authors held workshops/panels to help the aspiring writers attending All-Con.
Skyler White, whose book “And Falling, Fly” was recently released, gave a wonderful workshop based around world building. In this hour session, she gave insight as to how plot, theme, and characters shape your world and how they continue to intertwine and develop each other.
One of the biggest items given were some of the laws writers need to live by when it comes to the expectations and assumptions readers will have. For instance, if someone uses five locks to lock their door in the opening scene and then uses only one later on with no explanation, the reader will question why.
Another law is that the reader will assume that events read take place in chronological order. If the point of view never shifts between characters, it is imperative the events take place in the order they happened or the reader will be confused, lose trust and be unsure of your direction.
Skyler also did a workshop with a piece that one of the attendees brought to the event. Asking for a plot, theme, or character that the story is centered on, she took the given item and showed the crowd how to evolve the world piece by piece, asking questions to help the world building process. As an example, if the story is based upon a theme, how does that theme affect the characters? In turn, how do those characters then affect the plot? All of these things help weave a basket which is the world your story will take place in.
Also on Friday night, local self-published authors A. P. Stephens and Justin R. Macumber held a talk specifically about the world of self-publishing and the risks and rewards associated with this avenue.
A. P. Stephens had his first book published in October of 2009 and has already sold hundreds of copies here in DFW. His book, “The Stolen Moon of Londor”, is the first book in a three part series called “The White Shadow Saga”. Justin R. Macumber has self-published six short stories and hosts a podcast called “The Dead Robot’s Society”, which is a podcast by writers, with writers for writers.
The first bit of information passed to the crowd was the various sites and businesses that offer quality print-on-demand services at a great value. Four sites were highlighted: createspace.com, lulu.com, iuniverse.com and lightningsource.com. While each site’s available service packages and associated pricing may vary, these four were highlighted as the best options for self-publishing.
International Standard Book Numbers, or ISBN, were also covered by the hosts, sharing stories of purchasing and the importance of planning ahead.
Additionally, A. P. Stephens and Justin also shared their experience and advice when it came to having your work edited. While some places may offer lower prices, reputation and experience are the most desirable qualities when it comes to hiring an editor. They explained that why it make seem cost effective doing it yourself or have friends and family proof read your work, having experienced professional eyes pour over your work is invaluable to the end product. The writer will reap the benefits in the long run by having released only the best work possible right out of the gate.
However, they did caution users against using editing packages associated with the publishing websites listed above. They can prove to be too expensive for the value you receive even if it may seem to be a simple, beneficial option.
Another way to be cost effective as a self publisher is to do the formatting yourself, which is the process of loading your book onto a .pdf file (which is the standard publishers use) so that it can be printed properly. For instance, spacing the words from the edge of the pages, numbering the pages correctly and extending the cover beyond what the end product will look like to account for bleeding and cutting.
Speaking of covers, another cost-saver is to have your cover art done by a contractor on bidding or contractor sites. These are websites where you post work that you’re looking to have done and artists who are members of the site can contact you about the project and make bids for you to retain their services. It’s a great system which can really benefit both the person looking for work and the person looking for work to be done.
For those interested in picking up a copy of A.P. Stephens’ book, he will be doing a book signing on March 20th and March 27th at Barnes & Noble. The 20th will be at Stonebriar Mall and then the following week is also at Barnes & Noble at the Firewheel Town Center, both taking place between 2pm and 4pm.
Also Friday evening was the LosBastados and their Rocky Horror Picture show. We heard nothing rave reviews the following morning with attendees praising their hilarious musical numbers, sharp wit and charming presentation.
It was an awesome opening day for All-Con 2010 and Saturday looks to be only bigger and better!