Cosplay is welcome throughout the convention and we encourage attendees to come in their favorite cosplays! This page contains information about our cosplay competition, which is held on our main stage.
Cosplay Contest Rules
Welcome to our cosplay contest. We wish every contestant the best for joining our show! Prizes for all categories will include admission to the following years show plus additional prizes as per Sponsorship availability. All Contestants must register at Con Ops during the convention.
- For all accessibility needs and considerations, please notify our costuming team with this information on your registration form.
- All Cosplay(Costume) Contest or Performance participants must be registered attendees of the convention.
- For availability and time, 50 contestants will be allowed to register with 15 spaces allotted for masters, and intermediate categories. Novice/beginners will have 20 slots available. It is your responsibility to sign up for the contest at the required times and avenues.
Contestants for the Cosplay Contest will be based on two categories: Exhibition & Workmanship.
Prejudging is required as well as Exhibition. Failure to appear for either will result in disqualification. Exceptions will not be granted.
Workmanship – Entries are judged on overall appearance and skill used in making/assembling the costume. Costumes must be crafted, forged, heavily altered or have some degree of skill applied to be eligible to compete. Purchased, thrifted, or alternatively sourced are not eligible . Groups of no more than (4) may enter, but all must qualify within their skill level. Modeling is not allowed and all work must be that of the contestant entering. (If an outfit includes a combination of created and purchased items, Judges will have final say on eligibility for award and participation.)
General Rules for Workmanship
- The cosplay director, or judges, maintain the right to move the contestant amongst divisions as necessary to create a fair competition during pre-judging or following exhibition. This is often done to create fairness for both participants and class of workmanship. This in no way is meant to harm or demean the quality of work of an individual. Should this happen staff or judges will reach out to said individual. Prejudging contestants are required to line up 15 minutes before their time slot.
- Costumes/cosplays or Performances that have received a “Best in Show” at a similar sized convention or larger are ineligible from competing with that same costume, cosplay, or performance and will be disqualified. Divisional wins such as 1st Masters may still compete for “Best in Show”. Smaller awards like Judge’s Choice and Honorable Mention awards do not count towards your number of awards won to define your division and eligibility.
- Cosplays Must be finished for prejudging. No other modifications will be made outside of basic repairs limited to sewing a small hole, gluing back a piece, etc. Costumes or Cosplays should be ready by day of. Costumes or Cosplays need to be functional and able to be moved by a single person with a reasonable weight limit.
- Youth participants (ages 18 and under) must be accompanied by a parent/guardian who is a registered attendee. (Same for performance )
- Members of groups may only participate once and cannot enter individually. Group Members are limited to 4 persons and must all be at the same level of experience or will default to the level of the most experienced member. For example a member of one group is a master level, the rest are novice, therefore they will be judged against the masters level standards.
Workmanship Judging Divisions:
The Novice/Beginner division is to encourage those new to the hobby. This category is for novice cosplayers who are beginning their journey and have received less than 3 to 5 best novice or other related awards. It is expected that 50% of the contestant’s costume has been made or modified by the contestant. You may not enter as a beginner if you have ever received professional compensation for costuming (inclusive of: commission-based sales, careers in various craftsman fields related to the making of cosplay, paid professional modeling of cosplay or other compensated appearances)
The intermediate division allows further development of costuming skills. It is expected that 75% of the contestant’s costume has been made or modified by the contestant.
Contestants may not enter if they have accomplished any of the following in international competition: have placed 3 to 5 times in an intermediate division, have placed any award in a master category or have won ‘Best in Show’.
Contestants in this category are recommended (not mandatory) to create and bring a portfolio to present to the contest judges during prejudging. The portfolio consists of printed information showcasing the costume, design reference images and color images of the costume during construction. If a contestant chooses to bring a portfolio, it must be a physical copy. Photos or portfolios on phones/mobile devices/technology will not be allowed. All portfolios will be returned following the stage portion of the costume contest.
The master division is an open class. It is expected that 90% of the contestant’s costume has been made by the contestant.
It is required that contestants in this category of competition bring a copy of this portfolio (returned immediately following the contest) to present to the contest judges during prejudging as well. Contestants must bring a physical copy of their portfolio. Photos or portfolios on phones/mobile devices/technology will not be allowed. All portfolios will be returned following the stage portion of the costume contest.
Master division participants may not enter a costume with which they have previously won ‘Best in Show’ or another convention’s Masters division, including but not limited to a previous shows matching or greater in attendance. If you have competed in any ‘Best in Show’ or another convention’s Masters division and placed in any of those categories with the costume you are competing in, you are required to list those awards to judges in prejudging along with any other awards won with the costume. Failure to do so may lead to disqualification. Professionals who make income from but not limited to craft based careers, commissions or perform professionally may only compete at masters level.
The Costume Contest will permit a maximum of fifteen (15) entrants into the Master category, due to time constraints. This may change based on registration responses.
Exhibition – The stage presence piece to correspond to the workmanship category. Also, any who do not meet eligibility such as staff, alternatively sourced cosplays etc may enter solely as Exhibition. This will allow stage presence but not be eligible for prizes. This does not require prejudging but does have limited availability(10 slots) Stage exhibition will provide approximately 1 minute on stage to be viewed by both judges and crowd.
- Background audio will be supplied on stage by our audio team in effort to avoid causing delay in the flow of the show and to avoid technical difficulties.
Performance – Entries are judged on acting, memorization, accuracy, and presence. A good performance that the audience likes will be great. Your audio will need to be submitted and reviewed in advance to participate along with a detailed summary of your performance.Must have ages and names of all performers and please refrain from lewd or inappropriate activity on stage. This could result in disqualification.
- Performances have a required minimum of 30 seconds to be on stage in any competing category. That way, the judges have enough time to actually do their job and see/judge your cosplay or performance.
- Performances may not exceed 2 minutes, 30 seconds in duration. Plan ahead. If your skit is affecting the flow of the program, or is running excessively long, we reserve the right to interrupt and end your performance. If your skit is so interrupted, it will not disqualify you from winning any of the awards, unless you refuse to leave the stage.
We maintain the right to make adjustments or modifications to the rules at any time to improve the contestants experience or the operation of the contest.
Audio Guidelines(for performances only)
QUALITY AUDIO IS IMPORTANT!
- Sound for your entry is not required but is recommended for the Performance category. Microphones will not be available. Any words spoken from stage will not be heard by the audience.
- There will NOT be audio editing software/machine on site. Please have all audio prepared ahead of time.
- We will only accept submissions in MP3 format on a flash drive. Not accepted: cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc. Bring your laptop or other backups of your audio files.
- The pre-recorded music/dialogue submitted to the Cosplay staff must be 2 minutes and 30 seconds or less. There will be no exceptions to the “2 Minute” rule. Any entry over the 2:30 mark will be stopped at that point.
- All audio must be turned in with your entry/application.
All contestants must be in full costume at the prejudging session and may present a printed portfolio of the costume’s fabrication process. Reference image material for contest entries is encouraged, but not required. Judges are not always able to look-up reference images on their own, so it is best to show up prepared for the contest. Contestants will be given approximately three (3) minutes for their prejudging session.
Prejudging is not open to the public. Only contestants and their handlers are allowed in prejudging areas.
The judges and directorial staff reserve the right to bump the contestant up or down a craftsmanship level if they feel it is necessary after they have seen all entries during prejudging. Judges have the right to abstain from judging contestants based on prior knowledge of competitors (such as direct personal relationships, being coworkers, etc.) and these scores will be based on the average of the remaining judges.
Costumes must be finished before you get to prejudging, and no additional components should be added or modified before the onstage portion of the competition. No sewing, gluing, soldering, or other construction work will be accepted, with exception for unexpected repairs. Unexpected repairs are to be brought to the attention of the Cosplay Directorial Staff so they can be deemed as necessary and not last-minute modifications.
Mainstage Cosplay Contest Rules
- Exhibition, Performances etc are expected to be at main stage 30 minutes prior to show at minimum or may risk ability to exhibit or perform on stage.
- Performance content that is a duplicate of an existing performance will get you disqualified unless you credit your source. See cosplay director for details.
- Be careful onstage! No dangerous running or horseplay as part of your act.
- NO blatant nudity/adult related content. This event is rated PG-13, and we are a family-friendly convention. Please use some discretion with your character, props and presentation. Also, please keep bad language to an extreme minimum level.
- Participants will be required to sign a liability release and a release for use of video and photo images.
- For safety reasons, the following are not allowed:
- Live animals
- Substances which might damage or soil
- Aerosol sprays
- Projectiles of any kind.
- No pyrotechnics including but not limited to: fire, flash powder, explosives, smoke bombs or fireworks.
- Entries that could potentially damage the Convention Venue, other participants or the wearer will not be allowed.
- Illegal weapons of any kind are not allowed.
- Prop weapons used as part of the costume are allowed with restrictions. You are expected to act responsibly with your weapon. If you decide to carry a weapon, by attending you accept any legal and financial responsibility for damage your weapon may cause to persons or property.
- Entries with electric power requirements need to be self-contained. There will be no access to electrical outlets on stage.
- Audiences are not allowed to run up to the stage area for any reason.
- Audience members must be courteous and respectful. Please do not boo or shout negative things to cosplay contestants. You may be removed from the show as well as have your registration revoked.
- Staff members, and immediate family, are not eligible to win in any category.
The Costuming and other staff maintain the right to remove, disqualify or revoke any entry from the competition on the basis of taste, danger to the audience, building or yourself, violation of any of the above rules, or any other reason sufficient.