1. Don’t forget about your Performance
With all the stress of trying to finish your costume on time, it’s not uncommon to forget about the performance aspect until the very last moment.
Performance can play a big part in the scoring, so check out the rules before entering. Craftsmanship and Accuracy level are often very high amongst entrants, so a good performance can really differentiate your entry from the others. Consider what story you can tell on stage with your chosen character, and if any stage props can enhance your performance. Do you want your performance to have a comedic or dramatic style? It’s also important to consider your mobility in a cosplay; big costumes can look impressive, but if you can’t perform on stage you’re likely to lose out on points.
It’s wise to prepare a performance plan for the stage crew including: Stage layout for any large props, a lighting plan (if the stage set up allows) and notes on your audio (when to start your track). This will minimise any audio, lighting and stage mishaps during your performance.
2. Spend time on your audio
Clear, professional audio will also help your performance to stand out above the rest. I recommend using “Audacity” to edit sound tracks, which can be downloaded free from the internet. Try to choose background music that compliments the theme and emotion of your performance.
It’s recommended to pre-record any voice work as microphones won’t always be available (or reliable). If your soundtrack requires voices, try to use the original character audio (Note that some competitions won’t allow this, check the rules) or record new voice work with a good quality microphone. Try asking amongst your friends, you never know who has a hidden talent for voice acting!
3. Practise, Practise, Practise!
It’s vital to practice your performance, even if it’s a solo competition. Practise and listen to your audio over and over again until you know it off by heart. Remember that most of the audience will be watching you from far away, so it’s important to make your movements big and clear.
Get a few of your cosplay friends to watch the performance, as actions and movements that look good in your head may not necessarily work from the audience’s point of view.
Remember to also practise in costume and with your final props, particularly if they are heavy, or restrict your movement or sight.