Mainstage Cosplay Contest

Mainstage Cosplay has three components: Performance, Design, and Exhibition.

Mainstage Categories
  • Design: Entries in this category are judged on how visually impressive their cosplay is. Accuracy, color, and attention to special details are important here. We also note the quality of construction of the cosplay, but we do not have the time to make this a primary factor - the focus is on how well-designed and nice-looking the costume is. Purchased costumes can not compete in the Design category. Entrants can participate in both the Design and Performance categories at their option.

  • Performance: Cosplayers are being judged on their acting, how well they can act like a certain character, or how well they perform a skit, how well they present themselves in their cosplay, etc. Purchased costumes may choose to compete in this category. Entrants can participate in both the Design and Performance categories at their option.

  • Exhibition: Exhibition is for those who do not wish to compete, or for those with commissioned cosplays that do not want to perform. This is also open to QCAZ staff members. Contestants in this division are ineligible for any awards.

Design Walk-on: A single cosplayer being judged on the design and visual appeal of their costume. We ask that you do not just walk onto the stage and walk off again. Let the judges see your cosplay! Strike a few poses, count to five for each pose, and then leave the stage. If you’d like, you can have our MC read off an introduction to tell the judges a little about your cosplay: what you used to make it, what you used for references, how long it took you, etc.

Design Group: A group of cosplayers that work together to make their own costumes and would like to be judged on their work. They can perform a skit if they’d like, but they will only be judged on performances if they also choose that category.

Performance Walk-on: A one person skit performance. This is where you want to be if you have a commissioned cosplay, but you really love to act, and you don’t have a group. It’s a one-man (or woman) show! You will be judged on your performance, not your cosplay unless you elect to be and made it yourself.

Performance Skit: A fancy way of saying you’re a group that wants to be judged for your skit performance, not (just) your costumes. If you’re a group with mostly commissioned costumes, or you’re a group with a fantastic skit that’s going to blow the minds of the audience members, this is your time to shine! Groups in this category are judged on their ability to perform, not their cosplays unless entered in the Design category as well. ^_^

Exhibition walk-on: So you’re a lone cosplayer with a completely awesome costume, but you don’t want to compete for anything, you just want to show off your awesomeness. Or you’re a lone staff member of the con? Here ya go! Exhibition is open to everyone, but keep in mind that it is a non-competing category, and anyone in an exhibition is NOT eligible for an award. Commissioned or purchased cosplays work well here.

Exhibition group/skit: You’re a group with a skit or awesome costumes, but you’re not in the mood to pit yourselves against all the other groups? Or you’re a group of con staff members? Here’s your place! Exhibition is open to everyone, but keep in mind that it is a non-competing category, and anyone in an exhibition is NOT eligible for an award. Commissioned or purchased cosplays work well here.

Youth: Ages 13 and under.
Inexperienced: If this is your first Cosplay experience or have never won a Cosplay award, this is your sub-category.
Experienced: If you have been in several Cosplay presentations and/or have won a Cosplay award(s), you, my friend, are experienced.

If you are uncertain which division your entry should be in, the Cosplay staff can assist you. ^_^

You can choose whether or not to come onstage with the stage dark or lit up. However, we will not change them during your skit - the will be on the entire time once you begin. Keep this in mind when preparing your act.

If we have space, we will attempt to setup a cosplay first aid station. Cosplay Staff may be available to help with emergencies or damage repair. We do not supply participants with any of the following: make-up, make-up applicators and/or removers, paint, etc. Please come to the convention with everything you need to complete and/or assemble your cosplay.

Audio Guidelines
  1. Sound for your entry is not required but is highly recommended. You should plan to record any dialog for your entry as there will be no microphone available. Any words spoken from stage will not be heard by the audience.
  2. There will NOT be audio editing software/machine on site. Have all audio prepared ahead of time.
  3. We will only accept submissions in CD or MP3 format. Cassette tapes will not be accepted. We are not able to support DVD-R format, and can’t guarantee successful ripping of audio from thumbdrive files. If in doubt, bring multiple copies.
  4. The pre-recorded music/dialogue submitted to the Masquerade 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.
  5. All audio must be turned into our cosplay staff before 11 AM on Saturday.
Mainstage Cosplay Contest Rules
  • Be careful onstage! Running-tackle-hugs might not be very safe.
  • All Cosplay participants must be registered attendees of the convention.
  • Staff members are not eligible to win in any category, though they can earn honorable mentions.
  • Presentations 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.
  • Presentations may not exceed 2 minutes, 30 seconds in duration, unless you have received permission by our department head. 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.
  • 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.
  • The following may not be worn for competition in any craftsmanship category: purchased costumes or rented costumes. These may be entered on stage in the Exhibition Category or Performance Category but will not be eligible for craftsmanship awards.
  • Youth participants (ages 13 and under) can be accompanied by a paid parent/guardian. This isn’t a requirement, just a suggestion, especially for children 10 and under. ^_^
  • Your entry must be finished before you get to the Masquerade room. No sewing, gluing, spray painting, welding, or other construction work is allowed backstage. However, final assembly of large pieces and/or props and unexpected repairs will be allowed.
  • 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 will be allowed including but not limited to: fire, flash powder, explosives, smoke bombs or fireworks.
    • Entries that could potentially damage the Convention Center facilities, 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 signing your registration form, 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.
  • Surprise the audience, not the Cosplay staff. If you are planning something completely different, let us know well in advance. All information will be held in the strictest confidence. Also let us know well before the masquerade starts if there are any last minute changes to your performance! ^_^
  • Smoking is not allowed in the Convention Center. Contestants who leave the building for a smoke break may lose their turn to appear on stage.
  • All contestants must be able to move their costume on their own. So please no 80 lb wings or giant mecha unless you can walk up stairs in it.
  • There will be no microphones available. Any and all music and/or skit audio must be pre-cut, pre-recorded and turned in (in MP3 format) on a CD or USB Flash Drive at sign-up. Bringing back-ups is strongly encouraged to ensure you have working audio.
  • Reference art is strongly recommended for both Hall and Mainstage Craftmanship participants. No judge has seen everything, so references allow us to accurately judge your cosplay. ^_^
  • Audience are not allowed to run up to the stage area for any reason.
  • Audience members should be courteous and respectful. Please do not boo or shout negative things to masquerade contestants. ^_^
The Cosplay Director has the right to eliminate 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 deemed sufficient.
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