It’s that time of year again. Twenty eight teams have worked hard for months and now the entries are in and the playlist is public. It’s time to watch and vote on this year’s Lightsaber Choreography Competition.
Let’s get the important links out of the way first; then, we’ll talk more about the LCC in general and what’s special about this year.
Where can I see the entries?
The official playlist for LCC 2016 is right here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL53oOolbonUb_X6zuI3jBgoS34tkiIsUx
Where can I vote?
You can vote by ranking your top three entries here: http://lcc.phispace.net/vote/index.php/489872
Full disclosure: I do have an entry in this year’s competition. I won’t tell you which it is, so as to not try to sway you for easy public votes, but it should be easy enough to figure out anyway.
What is the Lightsaber Choreography Competition?
Starting on the Fan Film boards on theforce.net, the Lightsaber Choreography Competition has been held for almost fifteen years. (They used to be numbered sequentially but stopped after XII, I think, instead switching to just “2015” last year.) Management has changed hands a few times, rules have come and gone, and judging practices have waxed and waned, but the core idea remains the same: make a cool lightsaber fight, enter it, and let everyone see what you can do.
What’s new this year?
This year, the competition was formally announced on May 4th, “Star Wars Day”. (Previous years you weren’t given a specific start time as much.) With the announcement came the rules – only the weapons seen in the official canon (so no light whips, for instance), a three minute time limit, and a theme of “time” that must be incorporated. The crew running the competition is in their second year doing so and are continuing to shape it into something engaging, and year after year are trying different things. To some, the rules were restricting; to others, a worthy challenge.
Some things are staying the same, though. For the past few years, judging has been conducted via livestream. It started with the Friends in Your Head crew (known for the What Are You Doing, Movie? commentary podcast) and has gradually expanded and slimmed down; this year’s judges are all veterans of the competition and most are seeing their first year as an official judge.
It’s a competition; there must be a winner. When it was first getting started, there weren’t official judges; community members would comment, talk about each, and rank them by their favorites. As the competition grew and especially as it moved away from TF.N, official judging became the center of the competition. Popular judging was still in effect but was considered unofficial.
That changes this year. This year, public voting will influence the weighting of the official results (to an unspecified but small degree). I love that public voting is being considered, in some way, official again; you can pick apart the minutiae of choreography or dissect the application of the theme all you want, but in the end it’s all about what pleases the crowd. Official judges do a great job making sure that the rules are stuck to, but when it’s close, public voting – whether individuals are voting based on the criteria or just how entertained they were – can swing it, and it just feels to me like a slight return to the democratic nature of the competitions of old.
Update 10:15 PM: Each judge will award 15 points to first place, 10 to 2nd place, and 5 to third place. The public votes taken as a whole will amount to a bit less than one judge’s share, with 10 points awarded to first, 5 to second, and 3 to third.
So that being said, go vote. More than previous years, your vote can have a big impact on the competition. I urge you to look at the criteria, but in the end vote for what entry you feel is best. (Did that sound a bit on the nose to you? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Nope.)
We all do! Haha okay. Live judging takes place this Saturday at 8PM Eastern, 5PM Pacific. Public voting will be open until an hour before then. Like last year, the live judging won’t cover all 28 entries – they’ll instead do a countdown of the top ten, showing each and giving each time for proper critique. I personally don’t like that the other 18 will be ignored, but at the same time this format makes the judging a lot more enjoyable to watch, instead of having to rush along. “Boy, that sure was an entry,” they say, then queue up the next. No – the judging will be important, but also a show, and I’m really looking forward to it. Already organizing to get my crew together to watch, actually – great way to spend a Saturday night!