Grover wrote:I would also like to clarify my position: my goal is to improve my building techniques. Therefore, I don't care what my score is (and frankly think that Bruce's point is quite right about scores being demoralizing), and I don't even care how well I did versus anyone else who put in entries. I would, however, like feedback from judges when they say "I thought the wall was too bare" or "This could have used more variety in vegetation" or something. More specific "A SNOT wall would have helped bring depth to this vignette" or whatever would be highly appreciated.
In point of fact, I saw the CCC this year, was inspired to build a ship and did so, then realized that there was no way my entry would win compared to the others, I would not receive any feedback, and the only consequence of my entry would be to waste more of the judges' time looking at something that had no hope. Rather than waste the precious volunteered time of the judges with my work, I chose not to enter. I see the CCC as a contest for professionals--those of you who already have advanced building techniques down and large collections of the interesting color shades and plant pieces. I have no motivation to enter my builds since they're not going to win and I get nothing out of it. That's fine, but if the intent here is to encourage or include younger builders, I'd say that it is not working that well.
Anyway, my 2c, and I don't want to sound ungrateful for the great judging, prizes, and awesome builds that I enjoy looking at every year!
About your concern on feedback: generally, judges don't have the time to go through every build that is entered into a contest, and make a comment giving constructive criticism on what they think could be improved and how to improve it. Even just writing about one thing that could be improved for 150+ builds would be a monumental task.
A good alternative, if you really want feedback, is to specifically ask for constructive critiques from other competitors or other builders in general. They're usually happy to give it, but you have to ask for it first, as some people just want to build at their own pace and not worry about making 'top class' builds (which is subjective anyways).
The way I look at contest, is as such: if you're really eager to get constructive feedback on your builds, it's a great way to get people to see your builds and thus be able to give that feedback. But if you don't get your builds out there, how will they even know about you?
The general reason people run contests is for people to have fun building in a particular theme, and be given cool prizes as incentive to do so. They want all the entries they can get, because that is what keeps it alive for future years.
As an example, if the first year of The Summer Joust (a contest Isaac and I, along with several others ran) had gotten 10 absolutely mind-blowing entries, I wouldn't have been happy. But instead, we got 130 entries from 70 different builders. The majority of which were not massive, incredibly detailed dioramas. And that was way more encouraging to me, because it showed that lots of builders enjoyed the contest and had fun.
There's not some un-written rule somewhere saying that only people with huge collections and loads of experience in the specified genre can win. Does it give them a better chance at winning? Quite possibly. But if the person who just started collecting 3 months ago, comes out with a very well done vignette-size build, they also have a good shot at winning.
As for encouraging builders, well, everyone has to start somewhere. Just take a look at this thread, and you'll see some now fabulous builders weren't always that way: http://classic-castle.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19492
Continuing with that, you shouldn't be ashamed of what you build. As the thread above demonstrates, you don't just become a 'master' builder overnight; it takes time and practice. Does it come quicker for some compared to others? Sure. But it's that way with anything in life, and you don't have to win at contests to enjoy building with LEGO. Though usually, if you build long enough, the wins do eventually come.
Anyways, those are my thoughts, and I hope to see you enter next year