The Masquerade, the highlight of many a con experience, is a staged show where costumed entries appear in front of an audience. Entries take the form of rehearsed skits which may include, but are not limited to: musical numbers, choreographed dances, comedy sketches, acting, instrumental acts, and parodies. The performance should be planned and rehearsed before the event.
In addition to the performance, participants are also judged on craftsmanship. Craftsmanship judging is optional, but it will affect the overall score. Please indicate if the entry will partake in craftsmanship judging on the Masquerade registration form.
Entries that would like to perform a skit at the Masquerade, yet do not wish to be judged on either performance or craftsmanship may enter as exhibition. Exhibition entries must still adhere to the same rules as any other skit. Entrants will be able to indicate this on the application form. Exhibition entries must apply online. Time limit restrictions may be waived for exhibition skits at the discretion of the Head of Cosplay, and must be approved prior to the convention. There will not be sign-ups at con for exhibition entries.
The Masquerade will take place on Saturday evening of the convention. Come support your fellow attendees as they delight you with their creativity!
- Entrants must be registered to attend Zenkaikon. This means entrants who are registering online for this event must be pre-registered for Zenkaikon. This includes all members of group entries. Group leaders should verify all members have pre-registered for Zenkaikon before registering their skit for the Masquerade.
- Check-in for the Masquerade will be held Saturday morning. Failure to check-in will result in the entry being dropped and the Masquerade slot being opened to another entry. Check-in time and location will be made available online once the Zenkaikon con schedule is set.
- Performances must be, at most, rated PG-13. Zenkaikon is a family friendly event.
- Time limits are dependent on the number of entrants who will be performing in the skit. Going over the allotted time limit will result in disqualification for the skit. It is not necessary to use up the entire allotted time. Time starts at the first step onto the stage or at audio start, whichever comes first. Limits are as follows:
- One (1) or two (2) entrants have a maximum of three (3) minutes.
- Three (3) or more entrants have a maximum of four (4) minutes.
- There will be a maximum of eight (8) participants in any Masquerade performance, this includes stage "ninjas".
- Participants under 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Staged falls, as well as smoke, pyrotechnics, glitter, or other special effects that will leave a mess behind are prohibited. Nothing can be thrown into the audience and any item that comes on stage must be brought off the stage at the end of the skit.
- It is recommended that skits are prerecorded for the best audio clarity. There will be a limited number of microphones available. Please record skit audio and burn it onto a CD or Flash Drive, and give it to the cosplay staff at check-in. Label the CD/Flash Drive with the name of the group leader and skit title so we can make sure that it is matched up for your performance. If entries would like their CDs returned, they will be available for pick-up after Masquerade awards are announced. It may be a good idea to bring a back-up of your recording on an MP3 player or cell phone, just in case there is an issue with the file.
- All costumes and props are subject to the Zenkaikon Convention Policies.
- Participants’ costumes must allow them freedom of movement. Zenkaikon cosplay staff will be unable to assist entrants with their costumes. Entrants must be able to navigate stairs and move around the stage unassisted.
- Any participant who does not follow the rules of the competition, misses assigned judging or line up times, or does not follow the instructions of cosplay staff during the event, may be disqualified at the discretion of the Head of Cosplay.
- The number and types of awards presented are at the discretion of Zenkaikon Cosplay Staff and the Head of Cosplay.
- Only Masquerade participants will be allowed in the Green Room.
Craftmanship Specific Rules:
- Participants may not enter a costume for Masquerade Craftmanship that they did not make. It is expected that participants are the primary creator of the costume and make at least 75% of it. Youth participants can be expected to have received help with their costumes, however, the youth participant must have had a hand in its construction. If the major part that makes it a costume is purchased (e.g. You are Edward Elric and you made the pants, shirt, and wig, but purchased your cloak, or have created a costume from a “kit”), it cannot be entered.
- If the costume has ever won a “Best of” award or placed (ie. 1st, 2nd, 3rd), at any convention, it may not be entered in our competition.
- Reference material is required. Even if a character is popular or well-known, reference material is needed in order to judge for accuracy. Lack of reference will greatly affect scoring, as not every judge has knowledge of every detail of every character. Quality printouts of screencaps and official images of characters, and artbook images are acceptable. Please include images that show front, back, and sides to demonstrate details of your costume. Not every character will have such images available, but the more shown to the judges, the better they can analyze the costume. Progress pictures of construction work may also help, but remember that judging time is very limited and the judges do not have the time to look through pages upon pages of reference.
- Craftsmanship entries must be from official asian and sci-fi sources such as anime and other sci-fi and fantasy animation, manga, artbooks, comic books, video games and live-action sources (e.g. Star Wars, Serenity, and Battlestar Galactica).
- Original character entries from sources such as role-playing campaigns, unpublished manga, fanart, or original art (ie. ginjinka designs) are not permitted. These original characters/designs/costumes are more than welcome to participate in the Masquerade skit, but cannot be entered for craftsmanship judging.
Entrants will be judged according to Skill Level. The skill levels for judging are as follows:
- This is the category for those under 13 years old. Participants in this category will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. This includes groups that are majority youth.
- Though it is expected that youth entries will have assistance, it is assumed that the work entered is still mostly created by the youth entrant. If the work is wholly created by a parent/guardian, a relative, or an older sibling, the entry should be entered in the appropriate Skill Level under the actual creater.
- Professional costumers may not enter in the Novice division.
- A contestant who has competed and won in any division other than Novice may not enter as a Novice.
- A contestant who has won 3 or more major awards in the Novice division must enter in a higher division.
- Professional costumers may not enter in the Journeyman division.
- A contestant who has competed and won in the Craftsman division may not enter as a Journeyman.
- A contestant who has won 3 or more major awards in the Journeyman division must enter in the Craftsman division.
- Any contestant may enter the Craftsman division.
- Professional costumer is defined as someone who makes over 50% of their income through costume making or commissions.
- Major awards are defined as “Best in Show”, “Best of Division”, “Best of Day” or placement (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)
- Minor awards are defined as those such as Honorable Mention, Judge’s Awards, and those not covered under Major awards. They do not affect skill level placement.
Masquerade registration will be open until Friday, March 6th at 11:59pm EST, or until all slots have been filled. Please be sure to read the rules above and remember that all members of the group must be pre-registered for Zenkaikon. Any Masquerade registrations submitted with group members who are not pre-registered for Zenkaikon will be rejected. It may help to check the Zenkaikon pre-registration list.
Apply here: Zenkaikon Masquerade Registration
If, after reading the above, you are still uncertain about what level you belong to, or if you have any questions, please use the contact form and select “Cosplay” as the category.