World Cosplay Summit Prelims Report!
Officially the slowpoke of posting this...
So! Teca and Shani and a few others asked if we could post about our experiences with summit this year. Here's mine, sorry if it's a little repetitive for anyone who watches my DA! Thanks for reading!
I look forward to NDK every year. It was my first out-of-state con and has always been my favorite. I have made so many amazing friends there and sadly I only get to see some of them once a year. The masquerade is always full of INSANELY talented people and competing is always a blast. This year, however, the World Cosplay Summit preliminaries were also to be held there. As some may know, Elrowiel(aka Zelda) and I planned to make our 3rd attempt at summit this year with our pairs group "Green Jello Cosplay."
It's always new and different each year we have competed in WCS, but we try to learn something from our experiences and polish our work so that our chances will be better next time. Our first year, we did C.C. and Lelouch from the CLAMP art books and did a dancing skit with much pasadoble and drama. The second year we decided to focus more on performance(we did Umineko no Naku Koro Ni!) and did a lot of stage magic and had Elrowiel quick change from Beatrice's ball gown into her school uniform. I think the most unbelievable part was that all the cues and tricks actually worked on that skit when sooo many could go wrong. We ranked top 10 in the nation, so it was a great feeling to be recognized amid so many talented people!
So this year, what would we do? I have always ALWAYS wanted to cosplay as Princess Serenity. Sailor Moon was the very first anime I watched and what got me into cosplay in the first place. While winning was always something we wanted to shoot for, we decided this year, we wanted to do something we both loved a lot and would enjoy. I started Serenity back in January(haha yup, before we even competed in the 2012 WCS). I was lucky enough to get my chiffon for the skirt and a tooon of beads in the fashion district when we went to Anime LA. I knew the dress as I wanted to make it would be an undertaking, so I wanted to make sure I had time. Melissa helped me pattern and figure things out. I have to admit, I'm still lost a lot of the time when it comes to making dresses. Most of my cosplays up to this point have been pretty men or tomboy-ish girls. ^^;
I really wanted to test-run the costume, so I set my goal for Fanime 2012. I managed to get most of it done, though there was still a looot of beading to do. We took some photos though and I got to pose with Kimi's Endymion, which was really fun. XD I was going for the manga version because it's my favorite of the two dresses. I'll let Elrowiel tell everyone about her own dress and wig and cloak fun times because that's another story in and of itself.
The hardest part I think was figuring out our performance. It's something the judges told us needed work and we're still trying to alter and fix to make better before finals. It was really difficult because the skit that won for 2012 WCS US finals involved mirrors(Coconut Bubble Sex's awesome Princess Tutu skit!) and we felt like with a villain like Queen Nehelenia, we HAD to use mirrors. I mean. It's a thing she does. So how to stay away from being compared to another skit and make it unique and exciting? I guess we will see what we come up with! But for NDK, I made a mirror-set piece that could come apart and gutted some cameras, then set up a foot-trigger that Elrowiel could step on to symbolize her breaking the glass of the mirror. (Sadly, it worked for every single rehearsal, but malfunctioned on stage. Such is life. XD) The other hard part was trying to get a flash to fit into my Silver Crystal and still be bright enough to be seen on stage. X_x Originally we'd planned to use a magnet-trigger to turn the flash for the crystal on. Unfortunately, the magnet sensor messed with the flash's charge and we got a lot of really weak and warped looking flashes. XD
ANYWAY, on to the actual con time! It was so much added worry this year's summit would be held amid so many talented people(seriously NDK. Scary.), but our other options were Hawaii or Maryland and since Denver was closest, we decided to go for it. I opted out of competing in the masquerade on top of summit stuff, so it was a little strange to not be in the cosplay contest on Saturday. Still, had tons of fun though!
Friday got to take some pics with Pas and Deej in Tsubasa, then derp around in Princess Serenity and take pictures with the amazing Inoli (And Kimu and all the Paopu Guardians joined us at one point or another XD). Afterward, got to run around in Matsumoto for a little while, then it was back into Serenity for summit judging. (judging was on Friday, performance was on Sunday) Much to our surprise Inoli turned out to be one of the judges! I was both excited and suddenly terrified to see her. XD She had seen all of my costume and derpy mistakes up close and personal when we'd shot photos just earlier that day! Eeeeep!
Despite all the stress and hard work, I felt really good about our choices for summit costumes this year. We both really love Sailor Moon and it's been a big influence in our cosplay and I know for me it was actually my first anime. I've wanted to make that dress since I was only 14. XD So I felt a lot less stressed during the interviews and judging. Last year, I was so very nervous(I think we both were - "LIVE YOUR DREAMS!?" XD ) but this year I felt relaxed and had fun answering questions. Even if we didn't win anything, I felt like I made something that made me happy and I will treasure always.
At judging we also got to meet the other two teams, who were also really awesome. Teca, I've known for a few years now, but Shani and her husband and Lilacwire were all new. I am always so impressed by the costumes that summit competitions bring in! It's scary and exciting at the same time. Every competition feels different, but what I loved about this year was that there was so much camaraderie among the candidates. Sometimes the green room is awkward, sometimes it's scary, but I really felt like everyone there was so supportive and sweet and genuine. I could honestly say I would be happy for any winner and am very happy for the friends I made of KawaiiCosplay and WildGarden. ♥
Saturday came and I had a minor panic attack when I saw Teca in her cow pajamas asking why we weren't at rehearsal. REHEARSAL?! I about screamed. It was Saturday morning?! We'd not been able to check the updates to the summit announcements and had missed it. Spent the rest of the day texting Laura like a maniac and checking my phone to see if we would have a chance to do a dress rehearsal. LUCKILY, the tech crew was willing to come in early on Sunday and let us go. We promised them donuts for coming in early, though I think they didn't believe us at first. Hehehe.
Later that day, got to do some Steampunk style DuRaRaRa with some of my online friends. We also joined forces later to do (fem)Avengers and then I got to shoot with Noel and Kat in Inuyasha stuff later in the night!
Biggest and most amazing surprise of the whole con was that night when we all met for dinner after masquerade(it's become a tradition I think!). I came down dressed in my normal-people-clothes and saw an army of florescent green shirts coming toward us! Pas and Maya and Kay and Mik and all our Denver friends had made "Green Jello Cosplay" t-shirts to cheer us on. It was so incredibly touching and I feel I am really so lucky to have such sweet and amazing people as friends. We worked so hard to get to summit these last few years that it meant so much to know there were people rooting for us and wishing us luck. I feel so awkward and stumbly with my words just trying to describe it, but I can say in all sincerity it is one of the most incredible things anyone has done for me. <3 Much love guys!
Came back to the hotel to find Inoli and Kimu in their cute Fai and Kurogane (Japan world!) costumes.
Guys, I ship KuroFai so hard it's not even funny... XD but they were tipsy and adorable and Teca even snuck by to confiscate our donuts!! After we rescued them, we headed up to bed.
Sunday was the competition itself. There were maybe 2 tech crew members up that early, but we ended up getting a dozen or so donuts... XD Hopefully they were enjoyed! I don't think they knew what to do with them. We did get to do our run-throughs though and get the lighting and timing cues down, which helped a lot. Then we went back to get dressed.
I'd been feeling a bit panicky about it all con. I couldn't really explain it, but all weekend felt like a blur and suddenly summit was HAPPENING and as I tried to explain to Elrowiel (without getting teary and smearing my makeup) was that I needed a "moment of zen" or I'd be all nerves. Elrowiel helped me calm down before the skit and we took a few deep breaths and prayed and I knew everything would be ok. We'd never gone first before, always last, so it was intimidating to be the first ones up, but I felt like it went off pretty well! Seems like no matter how many times we practice, some tiny things manage to go wrong, but overall I was really happy with it. Seeing the other skits though, I knew it was anyone's game. KawaiiCosplay did an amazing dance number and had this really awesome set piece and then WildGarden with their precise timing and theatrics, it just gave me goosebumps. I could totally SEE where the invisible threads were the entire skit. Can't imagine how much practice it must have been!
As they rounded us all back on stage to announce the winners, I must have squeezed Elrowiel's hand so hard. We didn't win, but our friends Lilacware and Teca were given the well-deserved prize. The were so sweet and so gracious and while I couldn't help being a bit disappointed, I couldn't for a moment think that their performance wasn't going to rock the finals. I remember Teca squeezing everyone so tight and then apologizing. I told her "no, don't you dare be sorry! You go and kick some butt for all of us!!" ^^ She invited us all for drinks and foods after our photoshoot, but we had some complications and couldn't make it.
After the contest, I was thrilled to get to do photos with Lynleigh Sato's Queen Beryl! We'd also planned to do a Tales of Symphonia shoot, but our poor Genis wound up with a bad leg injury. I felt like such a derp running barefoot across the parking lot in my dress to get an EMT, but luckily she was ok and family got her to the hospital quickly. We will have to make sure that food and drinks with everyone happen next time, as well as a Tales of Symphonia shoot!!
Before we knew it, the con was over and we were headed home. A bit disappointed, but it was hard to ignore the warm fuzzies of the con. It's always a little bittersweet to have to leave our friends. NDK always feels like this amazing reunion but it's always much too short. I will miss everyone so much already!
Two days passed.
Imagine my surprise and shock when I went to work a few days later and found an email from World Cosplay Summit telling us we were the runner-up team in Denver and that we were also invited to compete in the summit finals!! I literally screamed at my phone (and my sister wondered what on earth was wrong with me) and blew up Elrowiel's phone all morning until I could share the news. I was freaking out the entire day, just bouncing in my seat at the office while co-workers thought I'd had too many Red Bulls.
It's going to take some tight budgeting since we didn't win the paid trip, but it is so very worth it for a second chance! (Haha, I felt like I must know how Chris March of Project Runway Season 4 felt when he got called back to have another chance at fashion week. XD
Such a project runway nerd...) So we are re-working the skit and should have some fun new stuff to show in Maryland in February! So excited!!
Trying to cut back on cons has proven a failure though, as I've plans in the works for Anime Banzai, Anime Vegas, Anime LA, and Sakura-con in the coming months too. @_@ Most of them are small little weekend trips though and not too far away, so should be fun! Thanks for reading, sorry it was so long!!
- Pannon (Green Jello Cosplay!)