Cosplay For All: Cash Prizes-The Future of Cosplaying?


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There has been a new trend in cosplay, and it has raised a lot of eyebrows as to the future of cosplaying and costuming. This new trend is cosplay masquerades giving cash prizes for those who win
“The Best in Show” winners.

This trend began in early 2011, when Anime Expo, announced that they were going to be giving the winner of the best in show cosplayer, a cash prize of
$10,000. In an instant wave, many conventions all over have begun to follow the new trend. The money may not be in the massive amount of Anime Expo, but now, it has begun a massive trend of people cosplaying for the money they could win. This also has begun to have commentators wonder, if this is a good plan to monetize something, that in the past, is won due to love of the cosplay, not who deserves money. Although we at The Geeky Manifestos, remain neutral in the subject, as we are not avid cosplayers personally, we have spoken to many people on the subject, and have come up with a pros and cons to topic. This is in no way to offend any conventions or organizations that have decided to have cash prizes, just something for them to consider as they get ready to take on this new trend.

Pros to the argument:

1) Those who put in the hard work, and serious efforts to make the best costumes-will win. Even if they may not win, they will win the respect and maybe even lesser prizes for their hard works.

2) Cosplayers do have a much higher incentive, to produce the highest quality of work possible. In the past, we saw many terrible cosplays, and even more terrible masquerade skits. Cash prizes will be a grand incentive for people to take cosplay a little more seriously and produce higher quality works.

3) In a recession, there is no greater incentive to doing something than cash. This consequently will raise convention attendance rates, hotel rooms, and overall generate more revenue to the convention as a whole.

Cons to the argument:

1) There is the fear that the money could be coming from a fund, that could improve the conventions operations or even their location. While a lot of conventions do have the money to do that, smaller conventions should make sure that the prize money does not come out of the bill paying money.

2) There is the general fear, that in the quest for money, the passion and the fun of cosplaying will be lost.

3) There is also the backlash of convention for who wins the money, and who doesn’t win. As there are always issues with those who win and don’t win. So the convention (especially Anime Expo) must be ready to stand by the decision and furthermore be even more ready with strict and tough rules to hold the contestants too.

Only time will tell what will become of this new trend. But our greatest hope, is that the fandom is not lost in the quest for money and acclaim. That’s when a fandom dies, and people stop loving it.

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One comment on “Cosplay For All: Cash Prizes-The Future of Cosplaying?

  1. Very interesting article. Here are my thoughts on the cons:

    1. If the prize incentive increases the attendee activity, I think that’s a great thing, because more attendee activity will raise the overall quality of the convention.

    2. I don’t think prizes would remove from the fun and passion of cosplaying (or any niche interest). People who are intrinsically motivated to cosplay will do so regardless of the prize because the act of cosplaying (or any niche activity) is a reward in itself.

    3. I think #3 can be solved if the prizes go to the crowd favorite determined by some kind of open voting system. That way, there’d be no issue of favoritism or bias from a panel of judges.

    -Jose

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