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Entering Costume Contests
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  • If the rules don’t specify how much of your costume you have to make yourself, follow the 80/20 rule- 80% your own work & 20% bought. Some contests will ask for more or less than this, so always check the rules first.

  • No Sandbagging! Sandbagging is entering the same costume in multiple contests after winning an award, in order to win more awards. Once you have won with a costume, retire it from competitions.

  • Make a contest portfolio that includes work in progress photos of your costume being made. I’ve written a guide on what to include here!

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  • Credit all help you had making your costume & make that information available to the judges. This should include any parts you bought & resources you used that were made by others such as 3D print files or character-specific sewing patterns. Being honest is always the right choice!

  • Never, ever pass off a costume you bought or commissioned as your own. Judges are very good at spotting this. Even if you get away with it initially, the internet will find out! You will get banned from competing & you will get blacklisted by your fellow community members.

  • Be gracious! Regardless of if you win or lose, don’t take to the internet to voice your opinion on your fellow competitors or the judges. There are many factors that go into choosing winning costumes, and they are often subtle aspects that give the winning edge.

  • Ask for feedback! If you didn’t win the prize you were hoping for, it’s okay to ask the judges (politely) for constructive notes on where you can improve your costuming skill for the next time you compete.

Cosplay is what you make of it
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  • Cosplay can be fun or it can be stressful. In the end, it’s up to you what it becomes.

  • Kindness is key.

  • Treat your fellow cosplayers with respect. Even if you don’t like their costume, everyone starts somewhere. Keep in mind that everyone has different skillsets and motivations. This hobby is for everyone.

  • Not everyone cosplays for the same reason as you do, and that’s okay.

  • We are a diverse community and have a unique opportunity to make friends with people from all walks of life from all over the world.

  • Offer critique only when asked, not when you feel it is needed. People will seek out constructive critique from others they view as trusted, respected, or knowledgeable sources. Unsolicited critique is viewed as criticism when it is not being given by a trusted person or in a setting that is appropriate for critique.

  • Remember this is a hobby. For many, it is a vacation from real-life stress & pressure. There is plenty of negativity from outsiders. Build your fellow cosplayers up - Don’t rip them down.

Level 9 is ready for you! 
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