Behind the Scenes: Crown Championships of Cosplay 2018 - Contestant Interviews (Part 1)
I am so grateful to have competed in this competition for the past 3 years!
Qualifying for the 3rd year in the row is such an honor. So hopefully next year will be the year that I actually place in a category.
I spoke with one of my friends who's also a competitor this year. John Spaw - Also known as Mnamna Cosplay. Him and I met at the contest back in 2016 and I'm so excited that he's back with another awesome coslpay!
How does it feel to be back to competing in Crown this year?
It was a bit less stressful this year compared to my last time in 2016, but putting my wife into a costume added a whole new level of concern for me. I was so excited to have another piece of my work accepted and given the chance to be seen by the audience again, but I really wanted Tiff to have a fun experience and that's exactly what happened. She volunteered to get into costume to give me a chance to experience what it's like to see the reactions first hand and that was pretty wonderful. :)
What was different from the last time you joined in it?
ReedPop /C2E2 improved the experience at just about every turn. Their communications during submission and the event itself were vastly improved this go around. The organization of the Saturday events was very efficient. We knew where we had to be when and when we got there, there was plenty of staff to answer questions and help prepare. When it came time to set up for the stage itself, I was prepared for some long uncomfortable waiting, but they moved us along on time and we had plenty of room to move, seats to rest on and water to drink back stage. :) They really deserve some recognition for how far they have some as an organization.
I spoke with a few, new contestants this year!
Here's Brent, aka Outtaline Cosplay, with his first time joining the contest -
How does it feel to win in such a big competition?
It feels great! A lot of time and thought goes into building a cosplay so it nice to be recognized for my work.
Do you plan on joining again next year?
Absolutely, meeting cosplayers from around the world was incredible and educational, it's inspired me to make bigger and better things
What do you want to see in the competition next year?
I'd like to see more of the same, this was my first big competition and everything was very seamless
Was the contest everything you expected it to be?
Considering this was my very first contest, I didn't know much about what to expect, which led to a lot of stress. In some ways, the contest was exactly as I expected. I knew the morning leading up to prejudging would be intense and stressful, and it certainly was. However, I quickly realized all my nervousness and nightmares about the stage portion of the competition was for nothing. I was able to relax and have more fun than I imagined, and everyone was far more supportive and friendly than I expected.
Do you plan on joining next year?
There were a few stressful moments on Saturday that left me telling myself, 'I can't do this again', but the moment I got off stage, I was already thinking about what I could do to step up my game for next year. Already, I have an idea in mind and have begun the research to help me execute it. Needless to say, I've quickly learned how competitions such as this can be addicting! In fact, I'm moving on to compete at smaller competitions in the Midwest this year.
What was your favorite part of the competition?
My favorite part of the competition, hands down, was the chance to meet the judges and my fellow competitors. The judges were incredible in prejudging and went above and beyond what I expected; They didn't sit behind the table once. Instead, they inspected every inch of my cosplay inside and out, and asked great questions. And if it weren't for the other competitors I got to chat and joke around with backstage, my nerves would have been through the roof. I had so much fun with them, and got some new ideas from them as well. Everyone was so supportive of one another. It was truly the highlight of the day to be with them.
House of a 1,000 Glue sticks brought their Frost Dragon from Skyrim, and it left everyone in awe at the dressing room!
Tell us about your experience joining the contest.
I mainly applied to get a feel for how the application process worked, for when I was ready to enter in a year or two. Actually being accepted this year was a complete shock! It was a massive honor, but I was intimidated, knowing the level of awesomeness and perfection that would be there. I definitely felt like an amateur heading into this, but everyone was so welcoming and helpful! It was truly an amazing experience!
Tell us a bit about your costume.
My costume is based on a Frost Dragon from Skyrim. He is a giant mechanical puppet costume. This is the first project of this kind that I’ve ever built. It was definitely a lesson in trial and error and took three years to build.
If you had one thing you wanted to change about the contest, your costume, or anything else - what would it be?
The judges, staff, and fellow contestants were so helpful and amazing, I wouldn’t change a thing! Well, there was the issue with the carpet in the venue and on the stage. We had never tested our dragon on carpeting. His wings kept catching on it and eventually broke, right before I went on stage. I guess I can chalk that up to a learning experience.
I also spoke to International contestant, EyeofSauron Designs - the cosplay champion from Austria!
What were your expectations with the contest in Chicago?
My expectations for contests are the same for every one i participate in. I don't expect to win, I just want to meet exceptional people with amazing crafting skills and talk shop with them.
What part of this experience was most enjoyable to you?
For the whole con, as for the contest, my favorite part was socializing. I met the French representative early, and we had a great time, and I also went to the Afterparty on Saturday, and met so many great people there.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experience in this contest?
Coming from Austria, I expected everything to be way more stressful, especially since we arrived on Thursday and left on sunday. But the organizers made everything as streamlined as possible, i saw a lot of the con, and had a lot of fun. I expected a weekend trip to the US to be way more effort than it actually was, thanks to all the great organization
France's Champion of Cosplay, Arlequin Propsmaker, dishes on who his toughest competitor is-
How do you compare the cosplay here to the cosplay in France?
In France DIY is very important in cosplay. Most of the cosplayers even not for contests makes their costumes. So we're very interested by techniques Cosplay in France is also really attached to accuracy and existent reference. Generally a original creation is not considered as a cosplay.It leads that we're often attached to every details of the costume.In France the play is inseparable from the cosplay, in the contest the skit is very important.
During the contest, who did you think was your toughest competition?
I thought one of my toughest competitor was Eye of Sauron the Austrian competitor. He had one of the most accurate and cleanest costume of the contest with as mine a lot of different techniques engaged
Everyone was absolutely amazed with your work (including myself). How long did it take for you to hone these skills and how long did it take for you to create this piece?
I began cosplay nearly 6 years ago. I love techniques and learn new skills. This costume is the costume where I put the biggest amount of different techniques, it's like a state of the art of my skills set. I took 1 month and a half to put it together
IMJM had a few things to say about the contest as well. He's the cosplay champion from India -
Did you want to tell us more about your experience in the contest?
Well it was good. I just felt that armor(rather foam/and/3dprinting) itself is not a strong component when it comes to making a costume. Fabric gets way to much waitage (in the judging). So I'll just focus more on fabric based costumes from next year. Although I'm happy for the winners.
Did you want to include on the interview why you're selling your cosplay on FB?
Well the reason is simple. I don't have enough storage back at my home. I want to make room for more costumes. And that's why selling it. And I like to keep making new things
Ah! so it was already anticipated that you will be selling it right after the competition?
What's different with the contest compared to the one held in India?
Well it's almost the same. The judging here is more strict. Which is good as a lot of people do commission others for their projects. In my country the judges don't just judge a cosplayer on their "costume making" skills, rather everything is accounted like being in character, replicating the exact visuals of the character and performance as well. But here it's just the Craftsmanship that is to taken into consideration as one of the judges openly said in the group that this is after all a "CRAFTSMANSHIP COSTEST". So I think that does not do justice to the word "cosplay". And I believe because of this critera only professional costume makers will enter the contest and people like us who rather enjoy cosplay as a whole will have to struggle and improve our skills for later competitions.
WORDS FROM THE CROWN CHAMPION OF COSPLAY 2018
I am a huge fan of your work, as well as thousands of others out there. What did you have to do to prepare yourself for this competition?
Well the costume itself took about 9 or 10 months in total to finish. I started it in April 2017 and was adding things all the way up to the competition this April! It started with a lot of research, then material shopping, making patterns, sewing the garments, making accessories, RE-making parts that weren't working out, etc. etc. And once the actual costume was finished, I also spent a good amount of time practicing in the costume! How I could move and pose like the character, what I planned to tell the judges in the 5 minutes I had with them, and what I wanted to do on stage to best display the dress and prop. Mental preparation is a whole other thing too... I still get butterflies after 4 years of competing, especially for an event this large! But at the end of the day it's still just really fun to get out there and meet fellow cosplayers, and cosplay fans! Makes it all worthwhile.
What did you think about the competition this year? Your fellow competitors?
The competitors at this event are all AMAZING. Both in terms of talent, and with how open and welcoming they are. Everyone was so supportive and friendly with each other, and it was great meeting the international competitors also! I have met and become friends with so many fellow cosplayers backstage at competitions, and this event is no different. I'm already looking forward to seeing many of them at cons in the future!
Do you have any tips for people wanting to join Crown Championships of Cosplay next year?
Just go for it!! I've heard from a lot of people that want to compete in this event that they are intimidated to even submit an application. And it's true that this event in particular has a very high standard for entry, but four years ago my first application wasn't accepted either! I still went to watch the event as a spectator, and learned what types of costumes had been accepted and which ones won. Then after three more years of trying new things and improving my skills, I was selected Crown Champion! So do some research, pick a costume you love, and give it your best!
Learn more about my very own journey to Crown Championships for the past 3 years--check out these articles -
Don't forget to follow the contestants by clicking on the Instagram links on each interview!
And look out for Part 2 of this article! It will cover an interview from Reed Pop's Marketing Director as well as things you didn't know about the contest (according to my experience), and this year's full list of contestants and winners.