The informaiton below is from Otakon 2020 or previous year. The information on this page is subject to change as we are currently in the process of planning Otakon 2021. Please check back regulary for any updates.
OTAKONMasquerade Rules and Regulations
In order to participate, you must have an Otakon member badge (Dealers, Press, and other specialty badge types are also valid).
There will be a maximum of 35 skits performing at the Masquerade. All entries must register for the Masquerade via the Otakon website prior to the convention. No new entries will be registered at the convention.
The first 25 entries will be registered as "reserved entries." Once filled, an additional 25 entries will be registered as "overflow entries."
Reserved entries will be reserved a performing slot in the Masquerade, but must check in to confirm their place in the Masquerade. Check-in sessions will be held on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning at the time and location listed in your confirmation e-mail. If you fail to check-in during one of these periods, we will drop your entry and your performing slot will be made available to an overflow entry.
At the conclusion of check-in for reserved entries, any unclaimed slots, including the remaining 10 slots will be made available to registered overflow entries on a first come, first serve basis.
Changes to your skit and your cast may be made at check-in. Any changes thereafter are subject to the approval of the Masquerade Coordinator or Stage Manager. Changes to your cast after check-in will be approved under only the most extenuating of circumstances, such as illness or other emergency. Please take the time to finalize the details of your skit and organize your cast prior to check-in.
Access to backstage areas will be restricted to individuals listed on your entry form. If any individuals who are not part of your skit (such as a parent or significant other) are needed backstage, please inform the Masquerade staff at check-in.
Entries will be separated into one of four categories:
Youth - individual or group consisting primarily of children 13 years of age and under, as well as their parents, guardian, or other individuals deemed appropriate by the Masquerade Coordinator.
Beginner (Previously Novice) - one or more contestants who have won zero or one major cosplay award at any convention.
Intermediate (Previously Journeyman) - one or more contestants who have won two, but less than five major cosplay awards at any convention.
Advanced (Previously Craftsman) - one or more contestants who have won five or more major cosplay awards at any convention.
Awards of ranking, including but not limited to Best in Show, Best in Division, Best Performance, or First Place, Second Place, etc. in any type of cosplay competition are considered "Major Cosplay Awards." Honorable Mentions, Judges' Awards, and similar forms of recognition are not considered "Major Cosplay Awards."
Each entry's appropriate category will be determined by its participant with the highest number of cosplay awards won out of its particular group. For example, an entry consisting of 3 participants with zero major awards won and 1 participant with 2 major awards won will be placed in the Journeyman category.
Children 13 years old and under will be judged separately in the Youth category. A parent or legal guardian is required to accompany children 13 years of age and younger during the Masquerade.
Entries which include participants who do not qualify for the youth category, such as parents or guardians, in addition to qualifying youth participants may request to be judged in the youth category. These requests are subject to the approval of the Masquerade Coordinator.
All participants must submit a permission/release/waiver form at check-in to participate in the contest. This includes any individuals appearing on stage, such as stage hands or assistants. Minors under 18 years of age may participate in the Masquerade only if a permission/release form signed by the minor's legal guardian is provided. Forms will be provided at check-in and on the Otakon website prior to the convention. If your entry is missing any waiver forms at check-in, you will not be checked in.
All participants appearing on stage, including stage hands or assistants must be listed in your registration form. You may not have unlisted or "secret" participants. Your participant list must remain accurate and up-to-date during your rehearsal as well as your performance during the Masquerade. Skits performing with unlisted members will be immediately disqualified.
Skits and costumes must predominantly pertain in some way to anime, manga, anime-style video games or some facet of East Asian culture. Characters from a non-asian media that has East Asian designs are allowed. Original character costumes may be worn but are ineligible for craftsmanship judging as it is impossible to determine the accuracy of the costume.
"No costume is no costume." Public nudity is not allowed at the convention, so come fully clothed.
No real weapons of any kind are allowed. This includes air soft guns, paint ball guns, and steel weapons. Compliance with Otakon weapons policy is expected. Contestants violating this rule will be immediately disqualified, as well as any other repercussions for violating weapons policy.
Your costume must allow you freedom of movement so that you can go up steps or if you are handicapped use the ramp. Make certain your costume allows you to do this unassisted. For liability reasons, Otakon staff will not assist costumers on or off the stage.
A single person may not participate in more than one presentation. This is done entirely to keep the number of participants and presentations down to a quantity that will fit within the time available.
Groups are limited to 12 people. This includes any individuals appearing on stage, such as stage hands or assistants. This is for the safety of the participants and equipment. Individuals not appearing on stage (including backstage) are not counted toward this limit.
Skits will enter the stage at the beginning of their presentation using the stage-right entrance and exit using the stage-left exit at the conclusion of their presentation. Skits may utilize these entry and exit points as staging points throughout the duration of their presentation. If you require a different configuration for your presentation, please indicate this on your entry form.
All presentations must be within the delineated area of the stage to protect the stage equipment.
No jumping off the stage. Anyone not using the appropriate stage exit or returning to the stage after their presentation is over will be disqualified.
Purposeful damaging of stage equipment is prohibited. Violation of this rule will result in immediate disqualification.
Presentations will observe the following time limits based on the number of performing participants in their presentation:
Masquerade entries exceeding their designated time limit will be disqualified and may be asked to leave the stage. The length of the skit is measured from the first move or line until the last move or line. Participants must be present on-stage for part or all of their performance and play an active role in the progression or storyline to be considered a performing participant. Participants who do not play an active role in the progression or storyline of their performance, such as stage hands or assistants, or never appear on-stage during their performance, such as off-stage narrators, will not count towards the number of performing participants. Remember, short is good, funny is better, short and funny is best. We will not grant any extensions to this time limit. Please do not ask.
The Hall Costume Contest Fashion Show is reserved for Hall Costume Contest participants only. Any Masquerade participants who attempt to enter the stage during this event will have their entry disqualified. In addition, any Masquerade participants who attempt to enter the stage during any Masquerade presentations other than their own will be disqualified.
Please remember that children will be present in the audience. Please keep your content to the equivalent of a "PG-13"-rated film. No explicit sexual references, gestures, or swearing will be allowed. Any presentation that violates this rule will be disqualified and may be asked to leave the stage during the performance of the presentation.
The Masquerade emcee will read an introduction, if provided, prior to the start of your skit and a list of your skit's participants after the conclusion of your skit. The Masquerade emcee may not be used for any part of your performance beyond this capacity.
All props and materials that are taken on stage must leave the stage with you. Masquerade staff will not assist in placing or removing props from the stage. No dangerous or potentially dangerous props will be allowed. No confetti, fireworks, flash paper or other forms of pyrotechnics, rose petals, liquids, flame, or smoke and fog generators of any kind are allowed on stage.
We will not provide tables. Do not ask. Chairs may be used if available. If you wish to utilize chairs for your performance, please note that on your registration form. All chairs that are taken on stage must leave the stage with you.
We will not provide special lighting, such as spotlights, color washes, blackouts, and fading or dimming lights. Do not ask.
A maximum of two handheld microphones with accompanying stands will be available. If you wish to use any or all microphones, please note that on your registration form. If your skit consists of any speaking parts that are unable to utilize these microphones, you must pre-record that dialogue to an audio CD or files. A mix of live dialogue and pre-recorded dialogue is permitted, but your skit must remain audible throughout its duration. The clearly identified audio CDs and files will be collected at the convention during check-in. (See Submitting Audio CDs below)
We will not provide any special type of audio equipment for your performance, including but not limited to: musical instruments, amplifiers, additional microphones of any type, and audio connections directly to any of the venue's audio equipment.
Only Otakon staff and its associates will operate the audio equipment. Participants will not be allowed to operate the audio equipment, no exceptions.
We will not provide electrical power connections on-stage.
The video equipment at the masquerade is provided strictly to enhance the viewing experience of the audience. We will not play any pre-recorded video of any nature, provide special or specific camera shots for your presentation, or allow participants to operate the video equipment. No exceptions.
The order of skits on stage will be determined by the Masquerade staff. If you wish to perform early or late, please note that on your registration form, along with your reason for the request. Such requests are not guaranteed, but we will make every attempt to place your skit near the requested slot.
Registered Masquerade entries are also eligible to be judged for costume craftsmanship. Those wishing to do so must sign up for judging at check-in. Registered participants will be scheduled for judging to take place in a separate session prior to the Masquerade. (See Craftsmanship Judging below)
All Masquerade entries will receive a special Masquerade ribbon listing pertinent line-up times. Please be on time! If you miss your time, we will drop your entry.
All Masquerade entries must participate in Masquerade rehearsals. Registered participants will be assigned a rehearsal time at check-in. Please be on time! If you miss your time, we will drop your entry. Participants are not required to be in costume for rehearsals, but are highly encouraged to bring all props required for their skit.
Costumers may not wear the same costume in both the Masquerade and Hall Costume Contests. Masquerade contestants may enter the Hall Costume Contest, but must wear a different costume in addition to adhering to Costume Contest rules.
The Masquerade Coordinator has the full authority to request a change to a costume or skit. Refusal to make the requested change will disqualify the person or group from the competition.
Otakorp, Inc. reserves the right to withdraw or disallow any skit that, in our judgment, poses a risk to the safety of performers or audience members, fails to comply with facility rules, or otherwise fails to meet the requirements of these rules and regulations.
In addition to skit performance, Masquerade entries may be judged for costume craftsmanship at the request of the participants. The following rules must be observed:
Craftsmanship judging is optional. Skit members that do not participate in craftsmanship judging, however, will not be scored for costume craftsmanship, which will affect your overall score. Please be aware, Craftsmanship is required to count towards ‘Best in Show’ award.
If you wish to participate in craftsmanship judging, you must sign up for a judging slot at check-in.
All or part of your entry may participate in craftsmanship judging. You must indicate which members of your skit are participating in judging on your entry form.
Purchased, professionally made or rented costumes will be excluded from craftsmanship judging. Costumes consisting mostly or entirely of store bought or commissioned items will also be excluded.
Designers of costumes being judged for costume craftsmanship must be a member of your skit. If the designer is not the individual modeling the costume, they must be present during craftsmanship judging to explain their construction techniques. The designer may also wear a costume to present for craftsmanship judging.
Costumes that have won or are part of any skit that won any major overall awards at any convention, such as best overall, best in show, best in division, etc., or any major costume craftsmanship awards at any convention may not be judged for costume craftsmanship.
Store bought, purchased, professionally made or commissioned props or other elements of costumes will be excluded from craftsmanship judging, and will not be factored into the participant's score.
All entries are strongly encouraged to bring reference material for their costume(s). While we will not turn away entries that do not bring reference material, the absence of reference material could greatly affect your score.
Please come to craftsmanship judging in costume and ready to be judged on time! If you need to utilize the dressing room, please arrive early so that your judging session can begin on time. If you miss your time, you will not be scored for craftsmanship, and it will affect your overall score.
While failure to observe these rules will not disqualify you from the Masquerade, they may greatly affect your overall score.
You may choose to submit an audio file to provide background music, dialogue, effects, etc. for your presentation.
MP3 files are prefered for audio, but we will take OGG, AIFF, etc.
We cannot switch CDs or tracks during your presentation. All effects, music, dialogue, and other audio elements of your skit must be recorded on a single track.
We cannot fade in, fade out, or alter audio levels during your presentation. Please include these changes in audio level in your recording.
Please practice good recording techniques, respecting all nominal audio recording levels. Due to the unpredictability of the audio setup and characteristics of the Masquerade’s venue, we highly discourage the use of audio panning techniques, such as limiting certain sounds to the left or right stereo channel. Any usage of such techniques is at your own risk. Masquerade staff will not be responsible for distorted or missing audio as a result of bad recordings.
Once we start playing audio, we will not stop until your presentation is finished. If you need pauses in the background effects, please include these pauses in your recording.
After registration, you will be provided with an option to submit your audio to Masquerade staff digitally. We strongly advise that you do not submit audio until it is completely finalized. A submission will only be given three chances to re-submit.
Alternatively, USB drives and CD’s can also be collected during check-in. Should you choose to submit one of these items, the following restrictions must be observed:
Submitting USB Drive
No other files should be on USB drive other than your submitted audio.
USB drives will only be accepted during check-in. They will be returned to you after the audio file has been copied to our devices.
Please ensure your audio follows the previous rules.
Only standard audio CDs will be accepted. These CDs are also known as "Red Book" audio CDs or "CDDA" CDs in technical terms. Data CDs will not be accepted. Masquerade staff will not be responsible for unplayable CDs as a result of incorrect recording methods.
CDs will not be returned. Please make a copy of your CD prior to check-in if you wish to retain a copy of your audio.
CDs will be accepted only during check-in. They will not be accepted any time after check-in, including rehearsal.
CDs must be clearly marked with the participants' names, skit title/number, and track to be played.
Due to the variety audio media available to consumers, Masquerade staff will not be responsible for unplayable audio as a result of incompatible media. Please record your materials on good quality CDs, avoiding the usage of odd varieties of media, such as black-bottomed CDs, 99-minute CDs, CD-singles, etc. We strongly encourage you to make a backup copy on an alternate media in case your primary copy is unplayable.
There are many tutorials available on the internet regarding making audio CDs. We highly encourage you to consult one of these tutorials if you have any questions regarding the proper methods of creating an audio CD.