Skit ADVICE !! (please contribute!)

Started by angeljibrille, June 01, 2006, 12:23:36 PM

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OK kids -- we already have a Craftsmanship Judging Sheet to let people know the kinds of questions that judges are going to ask.

I think, based on what people have said elsewhere in the forums, we also need some sort of advice sheet for people who are going out for a Performance Award.

However, considering the extent of my performance skills was my last ballet concert 16 years ago, I think YOU the cosplayers, especially the people who have won awards, might want to help give some of your sage advice to newbies (or those who have never won and wonder why) on coming up with skits.

All advice posted in this thread will be compiled and put together as a "Tips" or "FAQ" type thing that will be provided to the contestants next year.

Thanks for your help :)
FanimeCon Masquerade Coordinator


The first tactic to an entertaining skit is the easiest one: Cater to the skills of your group. If you're people who are all experienced stage combat people, see if you can -SAFELY- conduct an onstage skit with stagefighting. If you have a knack for comedy, then write a comedy skit, etc.

The second tip is one I cannot stress enough: PRACTICE. For this purpose I'd personally reccomend having group members with at least two things in common:
       1: (Less important) Interest in Anime. If you have one Shoujou-Ai fan in a big group full of Yaoi fans something's bound to go wrong. If you have one Naruto fan with a bunch of Eva purists, you'd better have a few people in between to hold back the flood gates.
       2: Geography. Make sure your group can hopefully get to practice before con. This means that having team members who live in Georgia (USA) and team members who live in Georgia (Russia) is a bad idea.

Third: Surprise the audience. Give them something they haven't seen before. If you give them something they HAVE seen before, then make it in such a new interesting way that they'll think they haven't.

Fourth: This one is pretty important and for many, many reasons. Decide what your group is going to do democratically. Unhappy team members perform worse. It's that simple. When all of your team members can be satisfied with what you're going up on stage to do then all of your team members are going to do a better job at it.

Fifth and Final: Whatever you do, at any cost, have fun.
Kabe ni kono Nyuuji wo tsukete mite kudasai.


Short is always better. If you haven’t captured the audience in the first 30 seconds, you aren’t going to. I’ve rarely had the experience of wanting to see more of a skit, but I’m sure we’ve all had the skits that we wish we had seen less of that drag on and on and on and on....

PRACTICE! I’m sure the idea you came up with at the con was great, but without practice, it will just come across as a bad campfire skit. This doesn’t just include your skit itself, but also your preparation and exit. Audiences fidget and bore really quickly, and the longer you spend setting up, the more likely you are to lose them before you even begin.

Put some time into thinking what to do. I’m also sure your crossover of Inuyahsa/GuiltyGear/Cardcaptor Sakura meeting at the mall would be hilarious, but only if your audience recognizes all the characters, and their normal behaviors, and their costumes in seconds. When thinking of what to do, assume 50% of the audience don’t know your reference material. They aren’t going to find your skit funny unless they know exactly what it is you’re doing fast enough to appreciate the skit while it’s happening.. What is there for them to watch? This is where really flashy costumes, or slapstick, or dance numbers, etc, come into play. Yeah, you can have “inside jokes” that only people who recognize your source will get, but your skit shouldn’t be solely comprised of them...

If in doubt, run your skit idea by someone not in your group who doesn’t know the material. While it may be OMGFUNNY!!! to you, how does someone else see it?  Think of it this way... the Pirates of the Caribbean movie was funny to all audiences, regardless of whether or not they’ve ridden the Disneyland ride. Yeah, there were a few inside jokes (like whistling for the dog with the key), they were “treats” for those familiar with the source material, rather than a neverending source of befuddlement for the rest of the audience.

Pre-record your dialogue! Even if the con has microphones available (and most don’t), you don’t want worry that they won’t work, or that the audience won’t understand you.

Eri Kagami

Just a few words from a performer...

+ With a large venue like Fanime, pre-record your skit. I like live performances myself, but I don't think Fanime has the time to sitzprobe (sic?) everyone in the masquerade. When pre-recording, don't breathe into the mic as much and keep doing takes until it sounds fresh. Remember, you're projecting this to a huge audience!

+ Sometimes less is more. If the rules give you 2 minutes and 30 seconds, you don't have to use up all that time. I've seen skits that taken the whole time and could have ended at 1 minute. Make the best of your time, but keep in mind the audience. Most "otaku" have short attention span!

Nina Star 9

more with the inside jokes:
do not assume that the audience knows random anime jokes, random internet jokes, etc. assume that your audience is is full of ranomd people off the street that have a vauge notion of what anime is and you need to entertain them with your skits. having a skit too full of refrences to anything (from star wars to amano tsukiko and everything in between)just bores and confuses those of us in the audience with little knowledge in such things.

also, keep in mind that not everyone like yaoi and random yaoi parings, and that not everyone knows the characters so will probably not get why said random yaoi paring is so funny/intresting.

basically go for somethign as universal as you can. you can sprinkle some inside jokes in there, but please do not base an entire skit on them, as many people will be scratchign their heads.


All of the above posters made excellent points. :D
Two minutes is a long time for a skit.  The best performances with really high efforts are usually within two minutes.  The energy and creativity stay high from beginning to end.  Come up with an idea with your friends at least a couple of months before the con starts and then refine your basic concept and then....practice. 8)
I must repeat the points about obscure charaters/series.  If you really want to do something from say "Brother Dear Brother" just expect to get confused looks.  Perhaps during the course of the skit some context can be communicated to the audience.  

(I was thinking that an unlikely paring could be "Brother Dear Brother" and "Revotuntionary Girl Utena")  There is so much drama to both in the same style and dress codes!  They seem like natural bookends, imho. :)

As to Yaoi/Bishonen Ai cosplay skits.  Yes, it has caught on a bit in the mainstream cosplays and not everyone (er, most people) might not find it amusing/entertaining.  Again, if your group wants to take this path, I would stress a tasteful aspect.  We don't want non-yaoi fans to get a distorted view of yaoi fans, right?
Brian Doan "Dieter"

Fanime Cosplay Host 2006
Fanime DerCosplay Coord. 2001-2005
Yaoi Con Cosplay Coord. 2002-2005
JTAF 1 & 2
2003 Anime Expo Cosplay, Art & Charity Host
2002 Project Akon Cosplay Host


Yea, shorter is usually has to capture and keep the audiences attention and keep them entertained which is a hard thing to do for two or three whole minutes.

I have to whole heartedly agree with the 'not everyone is going to know your series'. For the most part I was fine at the masq because I've been into anime for so long however the friends I sat with are big anime fans but seriously only got about 40% of the skits if that. Plan your skit and then look over it and say to yourself 'if I didn't know this anime, would I still be able to understand the skit? Would it entertain someone who didn't know the anime?'
That is VERY important to making a good skit.

Yea and I wouldn't use microphones. Fanime should ban them like so many other cons have and just have contestants use pre-recorded sound.


Practice. The Vash Hunter 2003. We practiced this so many times. You'd be surprised how far a little effort goes. I made sure that our group rehearsed at least once every couple of weeks. And you know what? People loved our skit. It also didn't hurt that I motivated our Vash with free alcohol.

Regarding mics. Personally I prefer live micing as opposed to recorded dialoge. It gives it a more kinetic feeling.

and yes, do keep it short. if you're gonna use the full alloted time, be damn sure its entertaining. that's all i ask.

"You know, AX gives you cancer."


ok i have a question i get a bit of stage fright but when im in larger group it helps. when ur on stage is there anything that might help get over stage fright?
can some one give me a tip?