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HBS Creatin' Contest Judging Criteria


KathieB
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Sally was generous enough to spend some time chatting with me when she called to tell me I'd won 2nd place in the 2008 Creatin' Contest with my Marie Laveau Creole Cottage. I asked her about the judging process, and she kindly gave permission for me to share it with you.

She said that first of all, when entries are received at HBS, the person who opens the envelope assigns an identification number to the entry. The judges never see the name of the entrant until they have made their final selection. She said that they are all curious to find out if the winners are entrants from prior years or new talent. :blink:

Second, four photos are marked with the ID #. Anything else in the envelope, like the entry form, statement, extra photos, etc., is put into a file folder. I asked if some people sent more than four photos, and she laughed. Yes ... some send binders full of photos! When that happens, the person who opens the entry selects the four photos to be sent to the judges. So, it is really important to send only the four photos that you think represent your project the best, because you'll have no control over what the judges see if you send more.

Also, the judges do not see the little blurb you write about the entry, so all of the midnight oil we burned honing our stories does not affect the outcome. She never saw the two pages I sent -- essentially the information and detailed photos from my blog.

There is a standard judging form, rating each entry on areas such as imagination, creativity, craftsmanship, etc., on a scale of one to five. Top possible score is 25. (I'm sorry ... there are two other categories, but I don't remember them. This was a very exciting phone call in general!)

All of the entries that receive a 25 go to the next level. That's when the judges really scrutinize the photos. In the case of my entry, she said they liked the lush garden with all of the flowers in front, they liked that I left some of the plaster off the side of the house so they could see the construction materials underneath, they liked the overall colors used, and they liked that there were dolls in the scene to give it some life.

[Note: I notice that Brandaen used a doll in his 3rd place entry, too. This may be significant. Or maybe not. :lol: ]

In the second round, each entry is again scrutinized on the five criteria as to the level of craftsmanship, creativity, etc., until the grand prize winner and the three runners up float to the top. She said that subject matter is not of great concern. She said she's sure that the fact that they chose two Creole/Cajun cottages this year will get them some letters accusing them of bias, but that's just the way the voting fell.

Each of the remaining entries that received a rating of 25 is awarded an honorable mention. That's why the number of honorable mentions varies from year to year.

So, just as it says on the entry form tips: four clear photos is what it all boils down to.

The grand prize winner and three runners up receive phone calls around the end of January or early February. The honorable mention winners will see their entry in the March catalog and on line at miniatures.com (click on Creatin's Contest for links).

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Yes, that's very interesting. I've never entered, but it's nice to see how they go about picking winners.

I'd love to see those that didn't even make honorable mention. Can you imagine the backlog of photos of all those projects and that eye candy!

Someday they're going to pick a kit that I like and get inspired to enter. I had a few ideas for the bus, if they would have picked that, but that gazebo isn't something I really want to build.

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It's great hearing how careful they are about making it anonymous (especially when people are sending in books of photos instead of the allotted four!) Smart of them to create a buffer there...

It's really nice that they don't take into account past winners! "Well, they've won before, let's give it to someone else" That would just be so wrong.

I know they've mentioned that photos sent in become their property. I swear they're sitting on a goldmine. They really could make a killing on a coffee table book of ALL the past winners and honorable mentions... I know I'd buy it!

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They did have a booklet of past winners. I think I got one in an order some time ago, but I'm hazy on details. Am fairly certain it has not been updated and don't know if any are still available. Does anyone else know?

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I have the booklet, too, that they sent out with orders a year or two ago, but it's only winners and honorable mentions through the years. I kept mine in case inspiration struck sometime.

I can't wait to see all of this year's winners. The ones from this forum are great.

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Yep - I have the one from two years ago too... I reference it quite often! It has grand and first through third place for every contest up to the travel trailer and then a blank page FOR the travel trailer pictures... But I'm thinking bigger! One with large pics of winners and pics of all honorable mentions. I'd buy it.

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Holly, Sally said it is a very difficult job. There is a fairly high attrition rate among the judges. (I don't know how many are involved in the actual judging.) With the overall quality of the entries and working from just four little glimpses of each, I shouldn't wonder it is a strain!

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