Posted By Kathleen David on September 18, 2013
Last night after watching Face Off, we watched the last episode of Heroes of Cos-Play which was the second half of the costume contest at the Planet Comics convention in Kansas City. This was the group rather than the individual contest. This is the episode that Caroline has been waiting for since she saw the previews and knew somewhere along the line there was going to be an Astrid costume from How to Train Your Dragon.
Now this is a “reality” show where it is edited within an inch of its life to creates stories and drama that the audience will find interesting. Most of life can be pretty mundane and that doesn’t make for good television. I talked to both Yaya and Monika at this past Dragon Con and they were rather frank about the whole thing along with the editing process that either made them look good or bad.
In the first episode the Internet exploded because there seem to be an elitist attitude being portrayed. Only costume to your body type and the like. It was as I expected that choice lines were pulled out of context, which is was evident because they didn’t show the person talking but a reaction shot from another person. There was a lot more to that conversation than was portrayed.
Most of the other episodes were pretty much edited the same way. There was always a bit of drama some of which seemed pretty made-up and the music they were using wasn’t helping matters.
Then we came to this episode and the costume Caroline has been looking forward to since the show started. The drama was high. Costuming contacts were left in eyeballs overnight which begs the question of why she forgot to take them out. Another individual might have the flu or food poisoning. But the show must Go On!!!
This was bad enough but the capper to me was when the heckling started both by the audience and some of the costumers who were not part of the show. That was such bad form on so many levels.
One of the individuals did put up her version of events on the whole matter on her facebook page. You can read it here.
When Caroline saw it this morning she said, “They aren’t being nice. I always try to be nice even if I don’t win.” And a little later, “why are they being so mean to them?” We had a talk about reality TV and editing and the like but she still felt that the words shouldn’t have been said.
I understand being ticked because the rules have changed. I understand being peeved because the contest has been taken over by a reality show. I understand the hungry and tired after competing. That, in my book, does not forgive bad behavior. And the “they provoked us” defense just drives me crazy. As my mother would say, “Monitor your mouth.”
When you are in public or in the public’s eye like being in a costume contest or on a panel, for the love of glob think before you speak. These sorts of things do go around especially since the costuming community is not very large. Heck fandom maybe larger than it was but still it is a small group of people compared to some other groups.
I can remember way back in the mists of time that if people heard that the Stringers were competing then it was a lot of bellyaching and people complaining that now no one but them would win best in show. The Stringers turned their hobby into a business and have worked their hardest to make costumes that are wonderful to look at and easy to wear. But just because the Stringers were in the contest didn’t give them an automatic win. They were judged harder than everyone else because the judges knew what they could do. Eventually there was another group that came in and started winning various contests. It is almost the circle of cos-play that the vets cycle out and the newcomers become the vets. I competed against the Stringers. I participated in costumes with them. I won and lost against them and with them. All in all it was pretty even handed.
We have been fighting the elitist tag on costumers for years especially if you participated in the International Costuming Guild. I am a very inclusive person. I want to learn from others and teach what I know to others. I want to help people become better costumers and make some amazing costume that I couldn’t even contemplate making. The ICG is inclusive too. Marty Gear worked for years to convince people that the ICG was not just for those who made historical costumes, but for all costumers no matter what skill level. You just have to have a passion for costuming.
And maybe this “reality” show might encourage some new blood to join us. I am more concerned that it may have chased some of those who were about to dip their toe in to just forget the whole thing. Cos-play as a business is a very small group of individuals who have worked very hard to get where they are. A number of people I know have gone onto jobs in films, television, and theater along with numerous haunted houses that are staffed by fans. It just doesn’t help when they can make it look like we eat our young.
I am grateful for all the costumers and cos-players I have seen over the years that help each other rather than snipe.