First of all, I would like to thank Pop Expo for inviting me as a judge to the event. I accepted the position before I found out Heroes of Cosplay was going to be at the event. I decided to stick with it since it would ensure the judging process and criteria would stay as close to the usual as possible. Attendees and participants in the masquerade got a heads up (about 2-3 weeks) that filming was going to occur at the event, because PopExpo posted details on their Facebook page. Since I did take part in the filming process my report will be a little less detailed than usual but you can most likely glean information from others who attended the event.
It was PopExpo's first year and I am happy that the event was sustainable with over 7,000 people attending. They have already confirmed there will be a PopExpo 2014.
Myself and Miss Calamity (aka Valkyrie Gear) shared a table over the weekend and it was a nice place to run into all the attendees. We also had a clear view of the wrestling ring for the entire weekend, so we got an earful.
I was very impressed with the costumes present at the event. I was worried the cold snowy whether would keep people away. The gallery below includes cosplayers who did not compete in the masquerade.
On Saturday, I wore Tia Dalma (Calypso). The first half of the day was spent manning my table and checking out the event. The other half was spent at the masquerade.
There were four judges for the event: Frenzy Wonder, Nailo Syanodel, Yaya Han, and myself. Three out of four of the judges were local. All of which have judged using the ICG rules at other events and we all agreed to do this before finding out the filming was happening. The judging was basically the same, the main difference being there were cameras in the greenroom and judging area. We ran into some delays because there was no lighting in the judging area when we arrived but we managed to get back on track before the show started.
The masquerade went well except for one hiccup. The only difference in the setup was the lighting directly on the judges. Normally we are hidden in the darkness along with the crowd, so I'm sorry if that threw anyone off. Immediately after the show we went straight to deliberations which were also filmed. We deliberated on the awards (some had a cash prize attached) that were presented that night: Best in Show, Master class awards, and our judges choice. After we made our decisions we returned to the stage and presented the awards immediately. All other awards and honourable mentions were decided afterwards with more deliberations and presented at the award ceremony on Sunday morning.
Side note #1: Judge's choice are relatively rare at Canadian events. Normally, we find some other award or Honourable mention to give the participant.
Side note #2: Cash prizes are even rarer. Normally ribbons and certificates are handed out.
The award ceremony was first thing in the morning at 10:15, so it was no surprise that so few people were able to make it. In the end it lasted maybe 15 minutes. We handed out the awards and congratulated those who were awarded the day before again. I also welcomed all the contestants to come chat with the local judges to get some feedback on their costumes and performance. It was a positive experience and the majority of the people said they enjoyed the masquerade. We spent an hour and half talking to the contestants and that was quite possibly the most productive thing I did all weekend. The rest of the day was spent quietly behind my table.
Now I get to play the waiting game along with everyone else to see what kind of edit I get in the final cut.
A special thanks goes out to all the staff and crew of the masquerade for making it through all this.
FYI: I will most likely have my glasses on with my Tia Dalma costume for the most of the show because I have an eye problem so I couldn't wear contacts and my eyesight is horrible without them. Looking good comes second to properly judging the costumes. So please no comments about costume inaccuracy.
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.