For many cosplayers, Comic-Con is about strutting their stuff on the showroom floor during the 4-days of SDCC. But for the elite cosplayer, they set their sights on conquering the Mount Everest of cosplay competitions- the Masquerade. As one of the largest costume competitions in the galaxy, the San Diego Masquerade is the Academy Awards in the cosplay subculture. You don’t have to do it if you are passionate about cosplay, but it is considered a ‘right of passage’ for anyone who seriously dresses up year after year. To a full capacity crowd in Hall H (and overflow in the Sails Pavilion) and with hundreds of competitors, the Masquerade is the highlight for many Comic-Con attendees (Saturday night). If you plan on competing for the first time, here are a few tips you should know:
- While it helps to get the audience behind you, ultimately the judges pick the winners.
- Categories to include: Best in Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Best Presentation, Most Beautiful, and Best Young Fan
- Winning takes more than just the craft of your costume- you also get a chance to act out a short scene. With the help of music or audio, you can recreate your favorite moment of your cosplay character.
- Fortune favors the foolish. Take a risk and really physically project on stage. Otherwise, your small movements and gestures will be lost in this cavernous hall. Magnify everything you do.
- Creativity and performance is important, but also is the craftsmanship of your costume. Use the finest materials and pay attention to the smallest details.
- While there is nothing cuter than our pint-sized cosplayers, typically kids don’t win the big Masquerade awards (except Best Young Fan) because of ambiguity of who actually made the costume. But they sure are adorbs and we love seeing them.
- Sometimes, size does matter. No one can deny the visual impact of a huge Optimus Prime or Avatar battle-suit. While not so convenient to walking the floor, a cosplay behemoth may find you a place in Masquerade history.
- It seems that in recent years, creativity has been the key. Doing a creative mash-ups, twists, or gender-bending has caught the eyes of the judges.
- There are many great prizes given to winners but the best one is getting a Comic-Con badge for 2014!
- Search YouTube for past entries and get an idea of what the crowd and judges like.
- Deadline to submit is July 1st.
Check out the Comic-Con Masquerade page for more info, rules, and to download the entry form. If you are reading this and the thought scares you to death, then I encourage you to take this courageous step. Participating in the San Diego Comic-Con is a rare opportunity and you never know what will happen. Doing things scare us tends to cause the most growth in our personal life. Plus, you will meet a lot of other fear stricken cosplayers and will be adored by many fans. Besides the swag from winning a category, a winning title can also open up doors for you professionally. Good luck to you brave rogue and may the Force be with you!