On August 29 I hosted “So you want to enter an A&S competition” class for artisans in Montengarde (Calgary) and we had 12 people in total attend and participate. I tried to keep some very loose notes for anyone who couldn’t attend – though these will likely require some conversation to elaborate on some of the points.
Pre-planned topic: What to expect from an A&S competition?
- Read the competition description, don’t make assumptions that the competition will be the same as previous ones
- Let the organizer know your project information well in advance so they can find the best judges for you
- Consider WHY you are entering – a sense of duty? fun? learning? to win?
- Be ready to learn from the experience
- Practice “I don’t know” – there’s no shame in not being able to answer a question.
- Commonly asked questions might include things like: What would you do differently if you were to do this again? What challenges did you encounter? – keep a notebook of interesting questions you encounter, and see if you can prepare for them for future challenges.
- Use whatever calming techniques you find useful if you get nervous during competition.
- Practice your presentation – possibly with someone who can give you feedback
- Bardic competitions/entries are judged a bit differently from other A&S projects
- Read the rubric in advance; it’s like a guideline for how to excel
- ask your contest organizer for the rubric if they haven’t posted it in advance
Pre-planned topic: What to watch out for?
- If you include photos with text in another language, include a translation.
- Keep documentation to the minimum that you need
- Use executive summaries, bullet points, clear areas of discussion
- Don’t point out your errors until discussing what you’d do differently; be proud of your work
- Make eye contact with your judges
- Try not to nervously fuss while presenting
- Use samples or photos of your various stages to illustrate steps
- Consider if your garment would be best on a dressform or a person
- You MIGHT get a “bad judge” – someone who hasn’t had their morning coffee, etc.. try not to let their bad mood influence your presentation
- You might want expert judges, but organizers often have trouble getting judges; you may get more general judges and fewer experts, especially on unique topics.
- You can let the organizer know in advance if there are any conflicts with a judge
- Include your learning mistakes in the presentation
Pre-planned topic: How to excel?
- Use primary sources if possible
- Analyze the published experts – do you agree or disagree with their conclusions?
- Original work can excel due to sheer beauty
- Consider using period tools over modern tools for “bonus points”
- Ditto for period techniques, patterns, materials, etc
- Making your own tools, materials, etc can be another step-up, going above and beyond what would be expected
- However, consider – would your persona have done all the steps in period? What would have been made? What would have been purchased?
- Knowledge of things around your project:
- lifestyle of people making what you made
- political, economic, social factors
- Enthusiasm, passion, and attention to detail go a long way
- Eager for critique (constructive)
- Not overly defensive
- Awareness of the judges “we’re here viewing people’s dreams”
- Take good photos of your work/resources
- Avoid disorganized documentation, use executive summaries, consider best use of footnotes, end notes, and appendixes.
Requested topic: Research papers & levels of competition
- largely a discussion on the various levels between Shire, Baronial, and Kingdom championships
- discussion around fun challenges versus championships
Requested topic: “What would Master Thorvald ask?”
- Most questions arise directly out of what is seen, what might be missing from documentation.
- Wide questions like: who would have owned it, etc
- Looking at how the candidate reacts to the question as much as the response
- Do you know the answer? Not know?
- Defensive with critique? Not?
- Might throw curveballs if there’s time – but that usually means you’ve addressed the basics already
- Are you inspired by the competition?