Saturday night’s big show is the SF&F, the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Masquerade. Typically, costumes of any genre are eligible to be shown in competition, except for historical reproductions since they have their own show. Science fiction, fantasy, anime, video game, movie and TV reproduction, original designs, mascots, monsters, everything is encouraged.
An entrant can expect backstage workmanship judging, a short stage presentation, and performance judging. Entrants must be attending members of Costume-Con 34.
Your director for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Masquerade will be Stace Feldmann of the Madison Area Costuming Society.
Rules and Information on Entering
I. Competition Categories
All costumes entered must be either Original or Re-creation.
Original costumes are designed by the contestant, although they may be inspired by a fantasy, science fiction, or other source. They may be “interpretations” or “mash-ups” of media sources.
Re-creation costumes are those whose design is copied from a media or other source: TV, film, animation, art, illustration, comics/manga, theatre. They may also be re-created from a print description in a book. Documentation of the original source, showing at least one good view of the costume, or a print/prose description by the designer/author, must be provided for judging. (Bring paper copies only, no books or other media. No cell phones or USB drives will be accepted as reference!)
II. Skill Divisions
The Skill Division System is for protecting those who have little to no experience in costume presentation and workmanship from having to compete directly against those who have costumed for many years. Entrants may always choose to compete at a higher division if they feel their skills are adequate, but they may not compete lower than a division in which they’ve won in the past.
Young Fan: Any contestant aged 13 or younger who made their own costume, who is not part of an adult group. All entries in a Young Fan group entry must be 13 or younger.
Novice: Any contestant who has never competed, or never won any awards at all. Any contestant who has only won minor awards, judges’ awards, or honorable mentions in any competition. A person may not compete at Novice if they have won more than two major awards (Best in Division, or Best in Show) in the Novice Division in international competition. Any Young Fan contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter the Novice Division.
Journeyman: Any contestant who has not won more than three major awards (Best in Division, or Best in Show) in the Journeyman Division in international competition. A person may no longer compete at Journeyman if they have won more than three major awards. Any Young Fan or Novice contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter in the Journeyman Division.
Master: Open category: any contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter in the Master Division. Any contestant who has competed and won in the Master Division in an international competition must enter at Master. Professional costumers must enter in the Master Division. Any contestant who has won Best in Show at any regional competition is strongly encouraged to enter at Master.
Group entries must enter in the skill division that their most experienced member sorts into.
Young Fans wearing adult-made costumes must enter in the adult’s skill division, and the maker must be present at time of judging to explain the costume.
The Costume-Con masquerades are International-level competitions; the only other International-level masquerades are at Worldcon and Anime North. If you have never won awards at any of these international-level masquerades, you may enter as Novice at CC, but you may choose to go higher if you feel your skills are sufficient. If you regularly compete at Master elsewhere, it is strongly recommended you compete no lower than Journeyman at Costume-Con.
If you’re not sure which division you should enter, please contact the Masquerade Director.
These are the things you MUST pay attention to, as violating one of the rules can and will make you ineligible for awards.
Remember, when in doubt, ask the Masquerade Director! Don′t guess.
- All contestants must be registered attending members of CC-34. This includes both makers and models.
- No purchased, commissioned, or rented costumes may be entered in this competition.
- A costume may not be re-entered in this competition if it has won a “Best in Show” at any competition. A previous “Best in Division” winning costume from other competitions may be entered only if it can be entered one skill division level higher than its previous win – which means costumes which have won “Best in Master Class” cannot be re-entered in this competition. Costumes which have only won minor awards or won nothing at all may be re-entered with no caveats.
- Costumes worn in the halls prior to the competition and then entered in the Masquerade may not be eligible for Best In Show. Note: this is a special rule for Costume-Con. We would like to help keep your costume clean and undamaged before it appears on stage or before the judges.
- This competition is rated PG-13, so no nudity, please. “No costume is no costume” still applies.
- No contestant may appear on stage more than once. Costumers may enter more than one costume, but each must appear on a different model. No “cameos” allowed, either.
- Each entry will have no more than 60 seconds on stage. You may certainly use less time, but going over 1 minute requires approval of the director. Large group entries may receive approval for additional time, but must ask the director.
- No fire or open flame will be allowed on stage. No throwing things off the stage. No special effects (flash bulbs, strobes, sparklers, etc.) that might endanger anybody will be allowed on stage.
- The “no peanut butter” rule applies: No messy substances – wet, dry, sparkly, or oily – that might ruin another costume are allowed on stage or in the Green Room. This means no loose glitter or confetti, no unsealed body makeup, no loose powder, etc.
- There will be no live or pickup mikes on stage. You must pre-record your dialogue (if any) and background music. You may also submit text for the MC to read before, during, or after your entry. All of this background content may be vetted before approval to ensure we stick to our PG-13 rating. Audio must be submitted no later than your rehearsal time on CD or USB (in mp3 format). Music will not be provided. Editing assistance will not be provided.
- No weapons which might endanger people will be allowed on stage – edged steel, working projectile weapons, or real-world weaponry. Entrants must display all weapons to the Masquerade Director at time of rehearsal to be approved. Prop weaponry is fine, but when in doubt, ask for the director’s approval. All weapons and props must meet the general safety requirements for the entire convention.
- Special effects may be approved after safe display at rehearsal, provided they are legal. In no case will a special effect be approved that leaves a mess on the stage. Self-contained fog-machine type effects will be approved only if the “fog juice” is proven non-allergenic and non-messy.
- No flash photography will be allowed during the competition. Please pose for your friends during the photo-run on stage after the contest, or for our photographer while you are not on stage!
- You must check in at the green room by the required call time or you will be disqualified.
- Rehearsal is required. Sign up for a rehearsal slot on-site at the convention before rehearsals are scheduled to start. Failure to show up at rehearsal time may result in disqualification.
- Entry numbers will be given out in the Green Room. You must be in line and ready to go on stage when your entry number is called. If you miss your call, your entry may be dropped.
- Entries with great difficulty getting on and off stage within a reasonable amount of time must be pre-arranged with the Masquerade Director. All entries will be provided stage assistance as necessary.
- The Masquerade Director requires real names to be supplied on entry forms. These real names must match the ones you used to register for the convention. You can always ask the MC to announce nicknames.
- No exceptions will be made to these rules without advance approval by the Masquerade Director.
- Do NOT surprise the Masquerade Director or crew! Let us in on what you have planned, and trust us to keep the surprise from the audience until you’re ready to unveil it.
IV. Additional Information
Sound: We plan on accepting both CDs and MP3s. If you use CDs, be sure that they are recorded as an audio CD, that your dialogue/music is recorded on track #1, and that it is the ONLY track on the CD. When in doubt, bring extras, including extra blank media. USB sticks with mp3 media will be accepted, but if you must, please reduce clutter so we don’t have to search for your audio file. Please scan your USB stick before providing it to the tech crew to prevent virus/malware infection.
Lights: No details yet. Do not plan on anything more complicated than color washes, fade in/outs, and spotlights. Default lighting cue is full lights on at start of presentation, fade to black/blackout at end of presentation.
Power: there will not be power cords/plugs on stage. Lights and other effects must be self-contained.
Stage: Our official stage dimensions are 16 feet deep by 30 feet long. Default entrance will be stage left, default exit will be stage right. Plan on using stairs with non-removable handrails to enter/exit the stage. If a ramp is available, we will add that information when it becomes available. If you have mobility issues, please inform the director so accommodations can be made.
Miscellaneous: We do allow stage scenery, large props, etc, but the director would appreciate a heads-up if you will be bringing anything of this nature, so we can coordinate storage space, stage crew handling, and rehearsal time.
V. Workmanship Judging
Workmanship judging is optional, but strongly encouraged. Workmanship score does factor into Best in Class/Best in Show awards. Your entire costume need not be judged; you can (and many do!) submit just one part of it for judging. For example, you may present just one prop, or a headdress, or all the beading.
If you think you may want workmanship judging, please check the YES box on your entry form. If you’re sure you won’t, please check NO. This will help us schedule our judges’ time better, to ensure everybody’s work gets a fair viewing.
If you are entering a re-creation, providing reference material is absolutely necessary. The judges don’t know every media source out there, they may not know your costume. Please print copies of any reference you wish to submit, phones/tablets/computers will not suffice. A huge documentation book is not necessary, a single image may be enough.
VI. Entry Forms
Registration forms will be available at the convention. Pre-registration may not be done online at this time. Registrations will be taken Friday until 6pm and Saturday until the end of the Masquerade Orientation panel. There will be a mandatory “check-in” at the Masquerade Orientation panel in Main Programming, to make sure the director has your completed forms, music (if any), and all entrants and their handlers have a “green room permissions mark” applied to their badge.
For more information, please email the director, Stace Feldmann, at [email protected]