We all see the judges at the front of the room when we attend cosplay or skit shows, and often times I’ve wondered how they choose the winners. Do they have a scale of 1 to 10 and they just circle one? Do they take detailed notes so they can recap later? Well we’ve learned a little about their criteria:

“I personally enjoy it the most when I have some way of scoring tangibly, with points or numbers, it makes the deliberations go A LOT FASTER. But it should be simple and dummy-proof. No more than three categories with relatively low numbers (like, a 1-5 range), something easy to add up and easy to average. For construction, it’s important to judge not just the technical proficiency but also the attention to detail – accuracy for a re-creation, creativity for an original design. For performance, it’s not enough to just judge the idea, there’s also execution. Too little guidance is as unwanted as too much – too many categories, too many options, etc. Balance in all things.”

“The system I’m used to involves a veeeeery simple scoring sheet, just for getting a judge’s basic overall reaction to the entry, from 1-10. We use this rather than anything more detailed for the reasons you brought up, in that any categories you use may let someone slip through the cracks.

This score is then used purely as a sorting tool during deliberation; when we have a lot of entries, it makes it easier to sort out the high scores as ones that we want to look at more closely and decide what we want to award. All the decisions about awards are then made through discussion with the other judges.”

Sounds like each con has their own methods but they both seem to be similar and concise.