We are very proud of our costume contest here at CONvergence, and every year we look forward to producing the best show starring YOU. We love highlighting your creativity and hard work. In order for the best show possible, there are many details you need to be aware of. Send us a message if you are interested in participating.
Let’s Get Started
While the Masquerade is a judged event, you should not be discouraged from participating, even if you do not feel your entry is worthy of an award. It is completely acceptable to enter the Masquerade just to have fun!
We have a Masquerade 101 Panel (see the Programming Guide) Thursday night to help guide you, and allow for Q & A with the producer, staff, and judges.
If you are interested in participating in the Masquerade, it is very important that you read and fully understand all of the policies and rules.
The Masquerade Registration table is found in CONvergence Central, outside the Mainstage ballroom. Look for the Masquerade signs and check in with our staff there.
Sign Up Hours are as follows until all time slots are filled:
Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-6pm
No registrations are accepted after 10am on Saturday. Signs will be posted when registrations are full.
Orientation: Orientation is mandatory and takes place Saturday in the CONvergence Mainstage from 9am-10am. No Exceptions regardless of how many times you have participated in previous year’s CONvergence Masquerade.
Presentation: Presentations are limited to 1 ½ minutes for entries with up to 3 persons, and 15 seconds more for each additional person in an entry up to a total of 3 minutes. Any entry that needs more than 3 minutes must have special permission from the Masquerade Director. You are strongly encouraged to limit your performance to less than a minute. In most cases it will be more beneficial for smaller entries.
Time limits will be rigidly enforced, so if you have not timed your presentation please ask for help to do so during rehearsal.
Please let us know on your entry form or when you register if you want any of the following:
- Two-Sided Entry
- Special Lighting
- Special Sound Cues
- Unusual Effects
- Unusual Assistance On Or Off Stage
You may surprise the audience, but do not surprise the production crew!
Music: If you are using pre-recorded music (mp3) for your presentation, it must be turned in with your Masquerade Registration form. NO one can register without music submission if applicable to your entry.
Make sure the mp3 file extension is labeled with your REAL name. There needs to be 2 copies of music file provided. No CDs will be made by Masquerade Tech at the convention.
Special FX Make-Up: If you are doing heavy latex make-up/FX for your entry to streamline the Workmanship Judging, it is fine to bring a photograph of your OWN makeup trail tests to give the Workmanship Judges your “this is what it will look like” schpiel…and then be in full make up by 6pm call for the show. This will hopefully alleviate much stress for all.
If you have some difficulty with mobility whether in your costume or not, please inform us prior to rehearsal.
- All persons who enter the Masquerade or perform on stage, visible to the audience or not, must sign the liability release form.
- Props: Large props must be cleared by the Masquerade Director for safety reasons. No dangerous or potentially dangerous props will be allowed. This includes anything which represents a possibility of damage to the health, well being, or costumes of the other contestants, or the audience. No messy substances, wet, dry, or oily that might ruin the costume of any other contestant will be allowed in the Green Room or on stage. No item may be dropped on stage that can not be easily picked up or swept up by the stagehand before the next contestant goes on.
- Weapons: All routines or entries which contain fights or other weapon drills must be passed by the Weapons Mistress and then the Masquerade Director. All weapons/replicas must conform to CONVergence policies and be peace bonded. The Masquerade Director must clear all weapons/replicas. No projectile weapons of any kind are allowed. Unstrung bows may be carried, but arrows must be tied into quivers or otherwise secured. No cap guns or guns with blanks. Low level lasers only. (Please note: that under stage lighting they may not show up. No pyrotechnics, fire or flame allowed at anytime.
- No smoking in any part of the Masquerade, Halls or the Green Room. This includes smoke effects. If you need a smoking break, let your Costume Assistant know you are leaving and where you are going. You may not leave once the masquerade has started.
- The Masquerade is rated PG-13. Please, NO nudity. Remember: No Costume is NO COSTUME and all persons are subject to the laws of Bloomington, MN while in hotel space.
- The Masquerade Producer has full authority to eliminate anyone from the competition on the basis of taste, danger to the audience/contestants, violation of the rules, or any other reason deemed sufficient. There is NO appeal.
Terms for Masquerade Personnel
- Masquerade Producer: Individual in charge of the overall look and the logistics of the event.
- Masquerade Director: Individual who directs the show.
- Green Room Manager: Individual who oversees all Green Room access, event flow management, and go to person for participants while backstage.
- Tech Crew: Individuals responsible for lighting, sound, and other technical aspects of the Masquerade production.
- Weapons Mistress: Individual who oversees any weapons or weapon recreations used the Masquerade.
- Costume Assistant: Individuals assigned to entrants and groups of entrants to see that their needs are seen to and that they are where and when they need to be during the run of the show.
- Back Stage Manager: Individual responsible for assisting participants on and off stage. Manages setting and striking of props and scenery.
- Stagehand: Individuals dressed in black who move things (and people) on and off stage and prevent Masquerade entrants from falling off the front of the stage.
Please be kind to yourself before the competition. Get some sleep the night before. Register early and turn in all your Masquerade materials properly labeled. Let the Masquerade Director know what you’ll need for your presentation to run smoothly.
Don’t forget to eat and drink something in the late afternoon. We will have some snacks, but they are not a substitute for a good dinner.
Check in on time. Let your Costume Assistant take care of you. If you are in need of a sudden repair ask at the repair table and we’ll try to take care of you. If you have a problem, tell your Costume Assistant or the Back Stage Manager.
Let the crew help you on and off the stage. We don’t want anyone to fall. Let your Costume Assistant take care of your excess belongings while you are on stage. The stagehand will retrieve anything that you leave behind on the stage and will get it back to you.
Remember to remove any anachronism that you don’t want to be seen with your costume, i.e. Watches, Con Badges, Street Shoes, etc. Unless of course they are supposed to be there.
Most of all remember to have a good time. Enjoy yourself! You’re all going to do a great job, and besides you look marvelous.
The awards will be given based on scores compiled by the Workmanship and Performance Judges. A full PDF detailing the criteria judges will use can be found here: CONVergence Masquerade Judging Criteria
Aside from Best in Show, the judges are not required to give an award in any category. Many of the special awards, for instance, will be given only in years where an entry of merit exists.
Best in Show eliminates the contestant from consideration in all other categories. They are, however, still eligible for awards in special categories.
Entry levels are set by the CONvergence Masquerade. All entries will be classified in one of four levels depending on the experience of the costumer. An individual who qualifies as a Journeyman cannot participate as a Master. Group entries are categorized based on the skill level of the most skilled member of the group. Any participant may compete in a Skill Division higher than the one for which they qualify. For group entries the group’s primary designer determines the Skill Division. If you are unsure which Skill Division you should enter please ask the Masquerade Director or staff.
There will be no separate category for Re-Creation costumes. Re-Creation costumes will compete in the same manner as originals, using the proper Skill Division.
If you have chosen to do a Re-Creation, please remember to bring some documentation for the judges. It’s hard for them to judge re-creation if they don’t know how it’s supposed to look. Please do not assume that they will know.
In addition to the performance judging, contestants may choose to compete for a Workmanship Award. These will be given for exceptional craftsmanship. Judging for these awards will be done in the Green Room prior to the Masquerade. Workmanship judging is optional, but strongly encouraged.
The entry classes are:
- Master – An individual who has won four times as a Journeyman. An individual who has professional qualification as a costumer. An individual who has won Best in Show at CONvergence or any other major convention.
- Journeyman – An individual who is not a professional and has won one or more major prizes at previous CONvergence masquerades, regional conventions or has won a major prize at WorldCon.
- Novice – An individual who is over thirteen, not a professional and has never entered a masquerade or won a major prize at a previous CONvergence, regional convention or WorldCon.
- Young Fan – An individual who is 13 years or younger and has not won three awards as a Young Fan.
Five awards will be given using the combined score of the Workmanship and Performance Judges:
- Best in Show – Awarded to the best combined score for all entries.
- Best Master – Awarded to the Master with the best combined score. In the event that individual wins Best in Show, this award goes to the second ranked Master
- Best Journeyman – Awarded to the Journeyman with the best combined score. In the event that individual wins Best in Show, this award goes to the second ranked Journeyman
- Best Novice – Awarded to the Novice with the best combined score. In the event that individual wins Best in Show, this award goes to the second ranked Novice
- Best Young Fan – Awarded to the Young Fan with the best combined score. In the event that individual wins Best in Show, this award goes to the second ranked Young Fan
Workmanship judges may also present the following awards:
- Best Workmanship – Presented to the costume considered to have the best workmanship. If the costume received an award for Best in Show, it is not eligible for Best Workmanship.
- Awards of Merit – Up to four awards of merit may be given for costumes the Workmanship judges consider worthy of recognition. They are not required to give any awards of merit.
Performance Judge may also present the following awards:
- Best Performance – Presented to the costume considered to have the best workmanship. If the costume received an award for Best in Show, it is not eligible for Best Performance.
- Awards of Merit – Up to four awards of merit may be given for costumes the Performance judges consider worthy of recognition. They are not required to give any awards of merit.
The following special awards may at times be given at the discretion of all the judges:
- Best Make-Up
- Best CONvergence Theme Related Costume
- Best Props
- Best Re-creation