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CCI 2012 Masquerade Contestant Info and Rules


San Diego Comic-Con International 2012
Masquerade Contestant Information and Rules

What it is:  Our 38th  annual Costume Competition, showcasing costumes inspired by movies, comic
books, TV, fantasy, Japanese animation, video games, and the imagination of our attendees.  Note
this is not a dance or party, but a show on a stage. It is free for Comic-Con attendees to
participate in or be in the audience. Most contestants provide recorded music and choreograph
dramatic or humorous action for their presentations. Some entries will be individuals, others will
be groups with a shared theme. Impressive Comic-Con custom award medallions, as well as cash and
other prizes will be given in various categories. The large stage will feature theater-style
lighting and sound, and excellent viewing for all in the audience will be provided by giant
high-definition video screens suspended overhead.

When & Where: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14 in Ballroom 20 of the Convention Center. The event will
run three hours, and doors will open at 7:45 p.m. for audience seating.  As the line will start
forming long before then, early arrival is suggested. Tickets for seating will be given out FREE to
people in the line beginning at 2:00 PM.  A ticket guarantees a seat, so you need not stay in line
after you receive yours. After tickets have been distributed to the people in line, any that may
remain from the 3,900 available will be given out at the Masquerade Desk. Should you be unable to
obtain tickets there will also be overflow seating in the Sails Pavilion and in other ballrooms
where the show will be projected on giant screens. Reserved seating is available for convention
special guests.

No flash photography of the show is allowed, and any photos or video taken must be for personal,
non-profit use only! Photographers who wish access to the flash-friendly Photo Area, where
contestants will pose after exiting the ballroom stage, should write to the Coordinator ahead of
time to request a reserved spot, as only a limited number is allowed.

How To Enter: Send in an Entry Form no later than June 25, via mail, FAX, or e-mail. Some years we
fill up as early as April or May, so submitting a form early is recommended. A photo of the costume
you’ll be wearing is also required by that date, and until received your entry is only tentatively
accepted. Photos may be sent via e-mail or regular mail. A "work in progress" photo is acceptable
if only a small amount of work remains to be done. Send it with your Entry Form, or as a follow-up
afterwards.  If your entry is a group please provide photos of all costumes. This is to assure
costumes meet all the Rules criteria and to assist us in helping your presentation by letting us
know what to plan for. Photos will be kept confidential so that you will still be a "surprise" for
the audience and judges. Many costumers reserve a space months early, then send photos by June. 
Confirmation of receiving your form should arrive within two weeks.

There will be a Waiting List to fill spots arising from cancellations, as there are always a few
costumes that don’t get finished in time, or a mishap occurs, or their travel plans change, and
entry forms arriving after we have filled up will be put on the waiting list. Those on the list
will be notified if a spot opens for them. You may also sign up on the Waiting List at the
Masquerade Desk at the convention on Thursday and Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If you reserve a spot and later find you must cancel, please tell us so the space can be given to
another. Do not wear your costume at the convention before it is seen in the Masquerade, or it will
be ineligible for the competition.  People line up several hours in advance to see something
special, so keep your Masquerade costume out of sight until Saturday night.

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Unfortunately, due to the limit on number of entries we can accommodate so that the backstage is
not overcrowded and the show doesn’t run overly long, we must turn some costumes away. Therefore,
to fairly give spots to contestants most deserving of them, we will evaluate photos during the last
week of June (or earlier, if photos showing the completed costume are received) using a 3-person
jury, to ascertain if an entry has sufficient original craftsmanship and quality.

Comic-Con Trophy And Medallions: A panel of guest judges, assembled from professionals in
costume-related fields, will select winners of the beautiful Comic-Con International Masquerade
medallions in the categories of Best In Show, Judges' Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original
Design, Best Workmanship, Most Humorous, Most Beautiful and Best Young Fan.  In addition to the
impressive medallions (a maximum of 5 are given per category, although large winning groups may
purchase additional medallions at our cost), a Comic-Con International Masquerade trophy will be
given to the Best In Show winner. There will be a special workmanship judge for those entrants who
would like a close- up appraisal of their costumes.

NEW for 2012!
Any costumed entry winning one of the above Comic-Con award categories will receive a
FREE 4-day membership to our 2013 Comic-Con!  You will have no need to deal with the uncertainties
of on-line membership registration, if you're a winning costume you’ll have your badge for 2013,
Comic-Con’s extra thank-you for all your dedication, hard work and talent! These free badges will
be non-transferable; if a group wins, up to four memberships will be given.

Company & Organization Awards: In addition to the Comic-Con Masquerade awards, representatives of
the following companies & organizations will be generously donating their own cash and collectibles

- Frank And Son Collectible Show, of the City of Industry, CA, “The first & last stop for all your
collectible needs”, will present to the entry they deem the audience favorite a $1,000 cash prize,
plus an impressive crystal trophy.

- DC Comics representatives will present a special DC DIRECT collectible valued at $300 to the
finest Masquerade entry portraying a DC Comics character or characters.

- Lucasfilm Ltd. will reward the best Star Wars costumers with fabulous items from their Licensing
Archives. The finest entry from the Star Wars galaxy will be selected by a Lucasfilm representative
to receive very special limited- edition Star Wars collectibles.

- Century Guild, the company offering “the finest art of three centuries”, will present $200 cash,
or $400 credit, at their exhibit hall booth to the entry they select as best portraying the
elements of Archaic Technologies or Art Nouveau.

- Sideshow Collectibles: Do you think your costume entry into this year's show will elicit lots of
ooo's and ahhhh's from the crowd? If that's the case, you'll be in the running to win a $350 gift
card from Sideshow Collectibles for use on their web site! So bring that WOW factor to Comic-Con's
annual Masquerade contest and you might walk (or strut) away with Sideshow's prize.

- The David C. Copley Award for Most Innovative Costume: Oscar-nominated costume designer and David
C. Copley Center director Deborah Nadoolman Landis, costume designer of Raiders of the Lost Ark, An
American Werewolf in London, Michael Jackson's Thriller, plus many other films, and UCLA's David C.
Copley Chair in Costume Design, will present to her favorite entry the UCLA Copley Center for The
Study of Costume Design Award of $250 cash, plus a copy of her beautiful book: Dressed: A Century
of Hollywood Costume Design, (cover price $75).

- Anime Pavilion will present, to what they choose as their favorite anime costumes in the show,
booth credit for their first choice, $50 credit for runner-up, and $40 credit to the best Young Fan

- Anime Social Scene will award $100 cash + prizes to the best single or group anime presentation
in the Masquerade. Also, TME That's My Entertainment will award $100 to the best Movie
Representation, plus $100 for the People's favorite! Courtesy of their parent company, The
Testmarket Evolution (

More companies will join this list as the convention approaches.

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The presentation area of stage will be 32' wide by 20' deep, elevated 48" from the ballroom floor. 
Going up to stage level will require traveling up seven wide 7" high stairs. The ballroom doorways
are 9' high by 6' wide. Nearby rooms will contain dressing rooms, and there will be bathrooms for
make-up needs. Standard entry will be stage-right, with the exit stage-left, behind the M.C.
lectern. Groups may enter and exit from both sides. Special accommodations for the disabled are
possible if we are related the particular needs in advance.  For more information contact the
Masquerade Coordinator.

Contestants Should Read All of The Following Information:

When you arrive at the convention, sign-in at the Masquerade Desk upstairs near Ballroom 20 to
confirm your arrival and to fill out some show forms.  If you don't sign-in by noon on Saturday, we
will have to assume you have canceled and will release your spot to someone from the Waiting List. 
Completed show forms must be submitted no later than
5:00 PM Friday, or, if you are a Saturday-only attendee, you may submit them by 12:00 Noon
Saturday, either at the Desk or the Orientation. All contestants and helpers need Backstage Passes
for the show, obtainable at the Desk and at the Orientation. Masquerade Desk hours are 10:00 AM to
5:00 PM Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

If your costume is a re-creation, we suggest providing the judges with one or more reference images
of what it is based on, since not all of them may be familiar with your costume. You may submit
reference materials at the convention, and they will be returned afterwards. Most contestants
simply provide a photo or two, but some supply elaborate booklets detailing the features, close-up
photos of the construction and even fabric samples.

High-Definition  cameras  will  be  providing  close-up  views  for  the  projection  screens,  so 
if  theatrical  make-up  is appropriate to your costume, you may wish to use it. Following your
stage appearance, you will be escorted to the Photo Area to pose in front of a few dozen
photographers, and you will need to remain in the Masquerade backstage areas until all the award
presentations conclude. You may win an award and be called back on stage to receive it!

Please let us know ahead of time about any especially large costumes, prop items, or set pieces
you’ll have. Freight elevators, storage space and special temporary parking for unloading and
loading is available, but must be arranged for beforehand. Experienced costumers know the rule:
“Surprise the audience, but never surprise the backstage crew.” Be as elaborate as you like, we
love elaborate costumes and presentations, but please inform us in advance.

We strongly suggest attending the Masquerade Orientation from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday,
in Room 31, where we will discuss your technical needs and answer questions. You need not bring
your costume, although you can bring it and store it there if you like. This room will contain a
practice stage available to contestants for the rest of the day. The ballroom stage will be in use
for other events during Saturday, but the practice stage will have similar dimensions. There will
be a Masquerade Review Sunday so contestants may watch a large-screen video of their presentations.

When arriving for the show that evening, all contestants must check-in with the staff at Room 32. 
Check-in is important so that we know you have arrived!  You may check-in as early as 5:00 p.m.,
but NO LATER than 7:00 p.m. and you must be stage-ready by 7:15 p.m. to allow for judging photos to
be taken.  We’re sorry, but if you are late, you will probably be pulled from the show.  Private
dressing rooms will be assigned when you arrive.

If you are using MUSIC with your presentation, it should be provided to us on compact disk. If you
are "burning" your own CD, test it on various CD players to assure it has wide compatibility! CD-R's are fine as long
as they are audio format. Avoid computer-only formats (such as MP3's).  Bring two copies, one to
give to us, and one to keep for rehearsing and as a back-up. Label them with your name and costume
name. Submit your music when you sign-in or at the Orientation (no later!). There will be NO
MICROPHONES for contestants, so any speech must be on your recording, or written as text for the
Master of Ceremonies to read.  If you have no music, we can probably  provide some if you’d like.

2012 Comic-Con International Masquerade Rules:

1)    Costumes must be of original construction, or show significant modification of pre-existing
materials.  No costumes are allowed that are purchased or otherwise obtained from a commercial
source. This is a show of creativity and craftsmanship, not shopping ability.  It is expected that
some costumes may include as minor elements some purchased items. If your entry utilizes many of
these, check with the Masquerade Coordinator for approval. As a general rule, at least
75% of what you bring onto the stage must not have been purchased. If it could pass for street
clothes, it’s not a costume.

2)    Competing costumes MUST NOT be worn at the convention prior to the show!  If everyone's seen
your costume, there's no point in displaying it on stage, so keep your entry out of sight until
Saturday night. You may of course wear your costume around the convention after it’s been in the
show. Costumes entered in our previous shows may not return.

3)    Maximum time on stage: 1-2 people: 1 minute 15 seconds.  3-6 people: 2 minutes.  7 or more: 2
minutes 30 seconds. If you would like more time, check with the Coordinator beforehand. Show off
your costume well and have fun, but remaining on stage too long can lessen the impact of your
presentation, but don’t be too quick, either!

4)    No liquids, messy substances, or anything that may pose a danger is allowed on stage.
Unsheathing of bladed weapons is not allowed without clearance from the Coordinator.  No throwing
of things into the audience. Nothing is allowed that would get a movie an “R’ rating.  Violating
these rules will disqualify you, and possibly result in escort off the premises.  Due to safety
concerns, minors may not perform combat simulations.

5)    Category definitions: Re-Creation: A costume copied from a pre-existing design, such as from
a movie, comic book, famous artwork, etc. Original: A design original to the maker/wearer. It may
be inspired by some work of fantasy, science fiction, mythology, etc., but is not a copy. Young
Fan: Ages 8 to 14.

6)    A costume that has previously won Best In Show or Best In Master Class at a Costume-Con,
NASFiC, or
Worldcon convention is not eligible for an award from the judges, but is still eligible to win
company prizes.

7)    Contestants agree to show up in the Masquerade rooms no later than the specified time the
evening of the show
(7:00 P.M.), and to allow video recording and photography of their costumes for non-profit

8)    The Coordinator may reject an entry on the basis of inappropriate or unsafe behavior or
content, because of too many purchased items, because the construction materials or techniques used
do not meet the criteria of quality for the show, or because the event has reached its limit for

9)     For safety reasons, children under age 8 are not allowed.  A Young Fan must have a parent or
guardian present with them backstage and minors' parents will be asked to sign a permission form. 
Please do not bring small children into the backstage areas. With a hundred costumers plus helpers
and staff all rushing around, some in sight-limiting masks, some of them carrying large props,
tools, or scissors it is not an appropriately safe environment for small children.

10)  You are not required to wear your costume yourself; someone else can present it in the show.
But if your costume is worn on stage by someone other than you, that person should not be a paid
individual, nor may your soundtrack or narration or costume have content that advertises an actual
product, service, organization, or website.

A Final Note:  It’s called a Masquerade and not just a costume contest because it’s not just about
costumes, but about characters too, and drama, humor, song and dance, and more. It’s about
celebrating the ancient and modern art of costuming. The purpose of the show is for fun, so please
don’t be so concerned about winning that you forget to enjoy that you’re bringing smiles to 7,000
people. All of the Masquerade staff are volunteers, and we donate our time to the show because we
love costuming as much as you do. So thanks for being a part of the show. — Martin Jaquish,

This pamphlet ©2011 by San Diego Comic-Convention International, a non-profit educational
corporation dedicated to creating awareness of and appreciation for comics and related popular art
forms, primarily through conventions and other events that celebrate the historic and ongoing
contribution of comics to art and culture.


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