CONvergence Masquerade is one of the premiere events of the convention, showcasing the talents of costumers spanning all skill levels, from beginners to masters. Awards are given by the judges for both workmanship in the construction of the costumes and performance in the presentation.
Watch the Masquerade
At the Convention
The Masquerade takes place on Saturday evening of the convention on CONvergence Mainstage, in the Grand Ballroom of the DoubleTree by Hilton. (See the CONvergence Schedule.) The event is very popular, so arrive early if you want a seat. The CONvergence Masquerade is also broadcast live on CVG-TV, available on all TVs inside the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel rooms.
Watch individual CONvergence Masquerade entries from previous years on the CONvergence Masquerade Youtube Channel!
Participate in the Masquerade
Click here to sign up for the CONvergence 2017 Masquerade.
The number of entries will be limited, so register early to guarantee yourself a spot.
All entries must sign up online and then come to the Masquerade Registration Table during the convention to confirm their spot in the show, tech rehearsal time, and workmanship judging time.
Tech rehearsal and workmanship judging will be done Saturday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. You will be scheduled into an hour slot during that time and will do both an on-stage run through and workmanship judging within your scheduled hour.
Tech rehearsal and workmanship judging times are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis and there is a limit to the number of entries that will be scheduled into a given hour time slot, so if you have time restrictions, be sure to schedule your hour at the Masquerade Registration Table as early as possible.
Masquerade Registration Table Hours
Thursday: 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 1:00pm and 2:00pm – 6:00pm
You will need to provide your pre-recorded music in our dropbox with your costume entry name as the file name. The audio file should be MP3 format. Pre-recorded music can also be accepted on a USB drive at the Masquerade Registration Table when you check in.
Please let us know on your entry form or when you register if you want any of the following:
- Special Lighting
- Special Sound Cues
- Unusual Effects
- Unusual Assistance on or off Stage
- Accessibility Accommodations
You may surprise the audience, but do not surprise the production crew!
If you are interested in participating in the Masquerade, it is very important that you read and fully understand all of the rules.
- Orientation is mandatory and takes place Saturday in the CONvergence Mainstage from 8:00am – 9:00am. No exceptions, regardless of how many times you have participated in previous Masquerades. If you have any difficulty with mobility whether in your costume or not, please inform us during Orientation.
- All dialogue delivered during your presentation must be pre-recorded or read by the Emcee. You will not have a microphone, and if you try to deliver lines live on stage, most of the audience will not be able to hear you.
- Presentations are limited to 45 seconds for entries with up to 4 persons. Entries with more than 4 persons will be allowed up to 90 seconds. Any entry that needs more than 90 seconds must have special permission from the Masquerade Director. You are strongly encouraged to limit your performance to less than a minute. Time limits will be rigidly enforced, so if you have not timed your presentation, please ask for help doing so during rehearsal.
- Group Size is limited to 10 people on stage. Exceptions are made only by the Masquerade Director.
- Special FX Make-Up Judging: If you are doing heavy make-up/FX for your entry, you may bring a photograph of your OWN makeup trial tests to give to the Workmanship Judges and streamline your Workmanship Judging. You must be in full make up by 6:00pm call for the Masquerade itself.
- Commissioned costumes are not allowed. You cannot enter a costume that someone else (professional or store bought) has made for you entirely. If you did part of the work and bought part of it, tell the workmanship judges which parts you constructed and which parts you bought.
- Props must be cleared by the Masquerade Director for safety reasons. Any props presenting the possibility of damage to the health, well being, costumes of the other contestants, or the audience will not be allowed. Additionally, messy, wet, dry, or oily substances that might damage the costume of any other contestant will not 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 & Stage Fighting: The Masquerade Director must clear all weapons/replicas, which must conform to CONvergence policies and be peace bonded. 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: lasers may not be visible under stage lighting.) No pyrotechnics, fire or flame allowed at anytime. All Entries featuring fights or other weapon drills must be cleared by both the Weapons Master/Mistress and the Masquerade Director.
- No smoking or smoke effects are allowed in any part of the Masquerade, Halls or the Green Room. 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. NO nudity. Remember, all persons are subject to the laws of Bloomington, MN while attending CONvergence. Additionally, if your costume is tight, make sure you have the proper support garments.
- The Masquerade Director 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 process.
- All persons who enter the Masquerade or perform on stage, visible to the audience or not, must sign the liability release form and agree to the Masquerade Code of Conduct.
Whether you’re new to costuming and the CONvergence Masquerade or a seasoned veteran, please keep the following in mind!
- Attend the Masquerade 101 Panel on Thursday night (see the CONvergence Schedule) to help guide you, and allow for Q & A with the Masquerade producer, staff, and judges.
- Be kind to yourself before the competition. Get some sleep the night before and don’t forget to eat and drink something in the late afternoon.
- 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.
- Check in on time and let a Costume Assistant take care of you. If you are in need of a sudden repair, ask at the repair table in the Green Room and we’ll try to take care of you. If you have a problem, tell a Costume Assistant or the Back Stage Manager.
- Remember to remove any anachronisms that you don’t want to be seen with your costume, i.e. Watches, Con Badges, Street Shoes, etc.
- 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.
Most of all, remember to have a good time. Enjoy yourself! You’re going to do a great job, and besides, you look marvelous.
All entries in the CONvergence Masquerade will be classified in one of five divisions based on the experience of the costumer. The CONvergence Masquerade Entry Classes are:
- Master: An individual who has won four times as a Journeyman, who has professional qualification as a costumer, or who has won Best in Show at CONvergence or any other major convention.
- Journeyman: An individual who is not a professional costumer 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 costumer, 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.
- Exhibition: An individual or group not competing for any awards. This entry class does not take skill or prior awards into account.
There is no separate division for Re-Creation costumes. Re-Creation costumes will compete in the same manner as originals, using the qualifying entry class.
Any participant may compete in a division higher than the one for which they qualify. For group entries, the group’s primary designer determines the group’s entry class. If you are unsure which division you should enter, please ask the Masquerade Director or staff during the convention or contact Masquerade by email.
In addition to the performance judging, contestants may choose to compete for a Workmanship Award, which are awarded for exceptional craftsmanship. Judging for Workmanship Awards will be done in the Green Room prior to the Masquerade. Workmanship judging is optional, but strongly encouraged.
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 in Show eliminates the contestant from consideration in all other standard categories. They are, however, still eligible for awards in special categories.
- 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 judges may also present the following awards:
- Best Performance: Presented to the entrant considered to have the best performance. If the entrant 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 Interpretation of CONvergence Theme
- Best Props
- Best Re-creation
A full PDF detailing the criteria judges will use can be found here: CONvergence Masquerade Judging Criteria.
Aside from Best in Show, CONvergence Masquerade 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.
Questions & Comments
If you have any questions or comments about the CONvergence Masquerade or anything on this page, please contact Masquerade.