Masquerade Rules

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Before the Convention

If you are thinking of showing a costume, please read this page. When you feel ready, please register online here: sasquan.org/masquerade/registration. Adjustments can be made to your details up until your actual performance, so for now, just enter as much information as you can.

Online pre-registrations for the Masquerade will be accepted until 11:59pm PDT Monday, August 17, 2015. Registrations will be accepted on-site at Sasquan until 6pm Thursday, August 20, 2015. All entrants must check in at the Masquerade Registration Desk at the Spokane Convention Center before noon PDT, Friday, August 21, 2015. All persons appearing on stage must rehearse on stage during the day on Thursday or Friday. This will be your only scheduled rehearsal time. Your allotted rehearsal block will be assigned to you when you check in.

Before the Show

Participation:

Thank you for choosing to enter the Masquerade! YOU make the show!

Although it is advisable to premiere your Masquerade costume at the Masquerade itself, thus giving you the biggest impact possible on the audience and judges, this is not mandatory. If we find you in a fabulous costume in the hallways of Sasquan, we may recruit you into the Masquerade! If you are in doubt about entering, please come by the Masquerade Registration Desk in costume, or with a photo of you in your costume, or just talk to us about your costume ― we’ll be happy to help you decide.

There are NO restrictions on costumes being worn at this convention or prior to the convention before the competition. We ask that you use your best judgment about whether to enter in or out of competition (if you’re not sure, ask us). If you have won an award at an international competition (international competitions include Worldcons, Costume-Cons, and Anime North) with this costume, please consider competing up one level or presenting out of competition. We DO want to see your costumes here.

While you may participate in the Masquerade in a purchased or rented full costume, if you do so you are not eligible for a Masquerade award. It is possible, however, to show those costumes out of competition.

Your presentation will be limited to 60 seconds. Make your presentation as short and to the point as possible so as to avoid losing the audience’s interest. Entries with three or more people should discuss presentation plans with the Masquerade Director. Any entry running beyond 60 seconds without the express permission of the Masquerade Director will be disqualified from judging, and will be in danger of their lights and/or sound being faded or cut at 60 seconds.

Each person may appear in only one entry on stage.

At-con Check-in:

The at-con Masquerade Registration Desk will be open Wednesday, August 19th from 9am to 6pm, Thursday, August 20th from 9am to 6pm, and Friday, August 21st from 9am to noon PDT, at the Spokane Convention Center, near Convention Registration.

ALL MEMBERS OF EVERY ENTRY WHO WILL APPEAR ON STAGE MUST CHECK IN ON-SITE AT THE MASQUERADE REGISTRATION DESK WHILE IT IS OPEN.

In order to appear, all members of your entry (including your Crew if you have any) must sign the Sasquan Masquerade Release in person. A parent or legal guardian must sign for anyone appearing on stage under the age of 18 at the time of the show.

Paper and on-line Registration Forms will be available at the Masquerade Registration Desk until Entrant Registration is closed at 6pm on Thursday, August 20th. Entrants will still be able to check in there until noon on Friday, August 21st, but we will only accept new entries until 6pm Thursday or until we run out of rehearsal slots, whichever comes first.

The only person allowed to speak from the stage is the Master of Ceremonies (“MC”). He will be happy to work with you in reading a short script, or to interact with you as planned ahead of time. Please provide your script in .txt or .rtf format by email to us at masquerade@sasquan.org or have it available on a thumbdrive. We will modify it solely for printing style, and print it out prior to the beginning of rehearsals.

Submitting Your Music/Speech/Other Effects:

All your speech and music (or other sound effects) must be prerecorded.

Two copies (preferably on different media, see below) should be handed to the Audio team via the Masquerade Registration Desk as early as possible. Please label your media with your name and title for your entry, and not use a generic label such as “Sasquan Masquerade — Star Trek.”

It is strongly suggested that you put only the music and/or speech that you want us to play on the media you bring us.  Start the sound from the point you want it played during the show; while can can do some audio editing at the Masquerade desk, this does take time which may be in short supply.

Before your rehearsal, the Audio team will capture the sound file from your media and prepare it for playback. We will return your media at the rehearsal.

Large sound systems bring out the best and worst in recordings. If at all possible, base the music for your presentation from non-compressed sources such as CDs rather than from downloads. Keep the sound files in uncompressed .WAV or .AIF format throughout the editing process, and deliver final material as WAV, AIFF, LAC, ALAC, and AAC files for playback. Do not save the sound file in a compressed format (.MP3 or otherwise.)

We prefer that you bring your sound file on a USB drive, but a burned AUDIO CD (not a CD of data files or .MP3s) is also good. Please don’t bring the audio files on your smartphone or tablet;  that can cause the files to be compressed, and you probably don’t want to leave your phone with us.

It is suggested that any recorded voice be checked for clarity by playing it in a car traveling at highway speed and making sure it is still understandable.

If you have questions about any of this, please email masquerade@sasquan.org and we will help you.

Special effects and weapons use must be cleared with the Masquerade Director and Stage Manager before the competition. The best time to do this is before the rehearsal, so that we can schedule enough time to insure to our and your satisfaction that the effects will work, and see a demonstration of your use of weapons in your presentation.

Rehearsal:

For safety and coordination with the Tech Crew and the MC, you are required to rehearse on the stage of the INB Performing Arts Center. You will be assigned a rehearsal time when you check in at the Masquerade Registration Desk. Rehearsals will be scheduled during the day on Thursday in 10 minutes slots and Friday in 8 minute slots. No one will be allowed to present on stage if they have not rehearsed with our MC, Stage Manager, and Tech Crew.

You should bring the following to your rehearsals:

  1. Costume items in the dominant color or pattern
  2. Any props that will be used on stage, especially if they need to be preset or struck after your presentation is over
  3. Any part of your costume that it large or heavy
  4. Any mask or costume part that will limit your vision
  5. Footwear that you will be wearing on stage

In addition to the Stage rehearsal, there will be opportunities to practice your choreography in a ballroom with the dimensions of the stage “marked” on the floor. You will be able to schedule time in this space at the Masquerade Registration Desk.

NEVER surprise the crew. ALWAYS surprise the audience. Together we can ensure that both these goals are achieved.

Division System

These Divisions are based on guidelines published by the International Costumers’ Guild, and have been modified for this competition. As always, when in doubt check with the Masquerade Director before the competition.

A Craftsman or Master is anyone who:

  • is considered a Master in International Competition, or
  • is considered a Craftsman in Regional Competition, or
  • is a professional costume maker, or
  • has won three or more awards as a Journeyman at the Regional or International level, or
  • chooses to compete in this class

A Journeyman is anyone who:

  • does not need to enter as a Craftsman or Master, and
  • has won at least one award as a Journeyman at the Regional or International level, or
  • has won at least three awards as a Novice at the Regional or International level, or
  • chooses to compete in this class

A Novice is anyone who:

  • does not need to enter as a Journeyman, and
  • has won fewer than three awards as a Novice at the Regional or International level, or
  • has just become old enough to NOT qualify for the Young Fan Class

A Young Fan is anyone who:

  • is 12 or under on the day of the competition (born on or after August 21, 2002), and
  • is also not part of an adult group.

A group should compete in the skill division of the group’s most experienced member.

What Category Should I Compete In?

Original – a costume inspired by a science fiction, fantasy, mythology, anime, alternate history, or other original source, including your imagination, but whose design is the creation of the entrant.

Entries based upon descriptions in books, online articles and such are not re-creations as there is no visual source for the entry. These entries will be considered in the Original Design category, and will have been “inspired by” the source material.

Documentation about your costume, how you made it, and any other information is welcome and will be reviewed by the Workmanship judge. Presentation judges may review the documentation should they request it. However documentation is NOT REQUIRED for costumes in this category.

Re-Creation – a costume whose design is copied from a movie, video, television series, art, comics, theatrical presentation, book illustration, sculpture or other medium, showing at least one good view of the costume. Re-creation costumes are duplicates or design adaptations of the published design or work of someone other than the entrant.

Re-creation costumes REQUIRE documentation of source. A picture must and possibly a written description or sculptural piece may accompany your registration forms and/or be turned in at the Masquerade Registration Desk when checking in. Both the Workmanship and Presentation judges will have access to this documentation.

Entrants competing in the Re-Creation category must provide at least one image of the original work at Masquerade Registration. Some judges may not be familiar with the work you are copying.

Assembled – a costume assembled from an assortment of pieces from different suppliers; when those suppliers were not all costume resources, you may use the “Assembled by” line on the Masquerade Registration form to indicate you did that. For instance, if you purchased some parts from a consignment shop, some from a donation store, and some from a costume shop, that would be considered an “assembled” costume. These costumes can be in competition, but are only eligible for Presentation Awards.

David Gerrold Special Award – a costume based on the books or stories by Guest of Honor David Gerrold as declared by the entrant. This category overlaps the above three categories. For a list of David’s works, please see www.gerrold.com.

Restrictions on Costumes and Props

No flame, fires, sparks, or other flaming on stage (including people) will be allowed. However, if you are a dragon, plenty of fake and safe flame is welcome.

No liquids of any kind will be allowed, including bubbles, steam, smoke, or mists that could leave a film on the stage or may be spilled, poured, squirted, thrown or projected during a presentation.

Do not leave trash on the stage. That includes things like confetti, streamers, beads, Silly String, feathers, etc.

Do not construct or decorate yourself or your costume or props with anything messy, smelly, or slimy. There will be Stage Crew available to help place or remove props before and/or after your presentation.

If you have a lighted costume or prop, all power and lights must be in self-contained, non-corrosive containers. Absolutely no leaking of corrosive or poisonous materials is allowed.

Wireless (radio) remote controlled devices are discouraged. We do not know what sort of interference will exist in the Theater during the show. It would be a shame to base your entry on something that doesn’t work and that we cannot predict ahead of the show. In turn, your device might interfere with the Tech Crew’s equipment causing unknown glitches in the show as well.

Weapons Policy

Please read the Sasquan Weapons Policy.

The Masquerade Director must approve the use of any actual weapon(s) or item(s) that could be mistaken for a weapon when used as a part of a costume during the Masquerade. Both real and crafted fantasy or recreation weapons are considered weapons for the purposes of this discussion. These items must be wrapped when being transported to and from both the Masquerade rehearsal and the Masquerade proper.

These items cannot be worn with your costume at any other time during the convention; you may not wear them as part of hall costuming, for instance.

The Masquerade Director must be informed in advance of any weapons being used and must approve all such uses. When registering for the Masquerade, include a clear description of the weapon and what you intend to do with it during your presentation.

All weapons must follow these guidelines:

  • No object can be fired or thrown onto the stage or into the audience
  • No heavy object can be dropped onto the stage or into the audience
  • All edges must be dulled

Items that are flammable, odorous, or unreasonably noisy are also considered to be weapons and must be cleared with the Masquerade Director.

Costumers will have to demonstrate that they understand the appropriate safe use of any weapons planned for their presentation. Refusal to do so will lead to disqualification if, in the Masquerade Director’s opinion, the unrehearsed use could have endangered members of the convention, whether in the audience, backstage or on stage.

In the Masquerade Green Room

The Masquerade Green Room will be in the Spokane Convention Center, Ballroom 100A. There, you will find out your presentation order for the show when you arrive. Please sign in at the desk with the person in charge as you enter the room; if a group, all members must sign in at this desk.

The Masquerade Green Room will open Friday, August 21st, at 5:30 PM, 2 1/2 hours before the show starts on. Your entire group MUST be in the Masquerade Green Room by 7 PM in order to compete.

Young Fans will be sharing the Masquerade Green Room space with the adults. We will make assignments in the Masquerade Green Room to focus Young Fan entrants together (at least one parent or legal guardian is required to accompany their Young Fan at all times).

You will be assigned a den and given over to the care of your Den Mom or Dad. If you need anything, please let them know. It is their responsibility to insure that you appear for the Workmanship Judge (if you so choose), Official Photography, are ready to go on stage in the right order at the right time, and care for anything like your eyeglasses and convention badges that you may need before and after your appearance on stage.

There will be a Repair Table available for you to use. Please do not abuse this privilege. It is here to provide safety pins, a little glue, a dab of makeup. Do not expect to use the table for large projects, it is here to cover last minute emergencies.

There will be a small amount of snack food and drink available in the Masquerade Green Room. The size and type of food and drink will be determined closer to the convention, and depends upon budget and Spokane Convention Center considerations. BE SURE TO EAT DINNER BEFORE YOU ARRIVE.

No alcohol or other mind-altering substances will be allowed in the Masquerade Green Room. Should you be found to be intoxicated, or otherwise impaired, by any of the Masquerade staff your entry will be scratched from competition and you will not be allowed to present on stage.

We expect to have a TV feed of the show in the Masquerade Green Room. It is there to provide feedback to the team on how the show is progressing, and to allow entrants to see what’s on stage during your down time.

Workmanship Judging

Workmanship judging will take place in the Masquerade Green Room, generally before the show starts. These judges will talk to you, and will want to see the best parts of your costume, up close and personal. Please let these judges know specifically what you are most proud of in your costume and/or props, and be sure to tell them how you made your costume.

Please provide sufficient documentation for the Workmanship judges to fairly and impartially evaluate your work. The judges will have a limited amount of time to review your work and your documentation, so please, don’t write a novel. Photos, sketches, screen shots, and short written descriptions of your work are encouraged. Photos and any other documentation will be returned to you after the show on Saturday, August 22nd.

Often entrants may choose to have only parts of their costume judged, such as a staff, vest, or hat. If in doubt, visit with the Workmanship judges anyway. Even if you’re not impressed with the work on your costume or props, they very well may be. Leave it to the judges’ judgment as to whether your work is special in the context of this competition.

Assembled costumes are not eligible for Workmanship Judging.

Your Presentation

You may surprise the audience, and we would be happy to help you do so. Thus, it is imperative that the Stage Manager, Tech Crew, the MC, and the Masquerade Director are completely aware of what you plan to do on stage. No exceptions.

We will open the show and introduce the MC. The MC will then introduce the judges and explain the Division System, before any presentations start.

Young Fans will appear first in the competition. All presentation rules still apply. Young Fan entrants will remain backstage following their presentations. Young Fan recognitions will be awarded before the adults’ entries start. After Young Fan awards, entrants will be free to visit Fan Photography, go to bed, watch from the audience, or return to the convention at large in the charge of their parents and/or guardians.

Not only is this Masquerade rated PG-13, it is also highly rated for safety.

Your Den Mom or Dad will make sure you get into the INB Performing Arts Center in the right order and on time to make your best entrance.

There will be Stage Crew (people in black) both at the entrance and exit from the stage. They are there to help you with a hand up, to move your props onto or off the stage, and to prevent you from falling off the stage. They may catch you if you fall, but please don’t! It’s up to you to tell them how much assistance you need. The more assistance you need, the earlier you should let them know. So, if you have big props, please tell them about it at the Rehearsal, and tell the Masquerade Director in your registration as well. That way, we’ll be sure to have the right people there to help you, at the right time.

There will also be Stage Crew at key points around the stage to try to stop you from stepping off the stage by mistake. Do not run, skip, jump, or dance so fast that the best they can do is to let you go. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety.

Your presentation will be limited to 60 seconds. After 60 seconds your lights and sound may fade (or we’ll find a hook to remove you!). Entries with three or more people should discuss presentation plans with the Masquerade Director, who has the discretion to possibly grant more time for large groups and/or those doing complex presentations. You will make your best presentation by making sure the audience has enough time to see your whole costume, see what you can do once, understand your story if you are telling one, and then leave the stage. A good costume and presentation can be ruined by taking too long on stage.

After you’ve given your presentation, your Den Mom or Dad will take your den to the Fan Photography area in the Lobby of the INB. (This is optional.) After getting your picture taken you can return to the Green Room, hang out in the Lobby, or go to a reserved section of the audience to watch the rest of the Masquerade. Please be available somewhere in the general vicinity.

Awards will be given when the judges are ready. Be prepared to be called back onto the stage for awards. Don’t worry about wearing your whole costume, but remember that we’re a PG-13 show. Be comfortable and come onto and leave the stage easily and quickly.

Workmanship Awards will be given at the same time as Presentation Awards. You may be called onto the stage more than once, or asked to remain on stage to receive different awards.

Awards will be announced by the award name, and will be given by Division. First all Novice Awards, then all Journeyman Awards, and then all Master Awards. The final award in a Division will be the Best in Division (if there is one). If you are called onto the stage for an award, approach the person handing out the awards and then form a line near the back of the stage until the final awards in that Division are called. You will be recognized as a group and then allowed to leave the stage with the rest of the winners for that Division.

Theater Layout for the Masquerade

The Masquerade will be held in the INB Performing Arts Center. You will be able to view the facility and stage details, as described below, during your mandatory scheduled rehearsal.

The stage is a permanent professional stage in the INB Performing Arts Center. The actual dimensions of the stage are 66′ wide and 36′ deep. Much of this area will be curtained off to provide a place to set up before entering the presentation area.

The presentation area on the stage will be 44’ wide and 24’ deep. It is advised that you use not more than 18’ of depth for the best lighting, and ability to be seen from the audience.

The route from the Green Room to the stage includes a short walk of about one block outside on a public sidewalk, escorted in dens by the Den Moms and Dads. This will not occur before the audience has been seated in the theater.

There is a flat backstage prep area that you will access by a ramp at the back of the building. The limiting dimensions of this ramp are 45″ wide and 84″ high. You will be pre-staged by your Den Mom or Dad and the Stage Crew in the area.

You will enter from upstage left (from the audience, that looks like the back, right side of the stage) and exit the stage from upstage right. If you need to enter or exit any other way, please clear that with the Masquerade Director ahead of time.

If you have large props or pieces of your costume that are larger than can be brought easily through the doors into the INB, please check with the Masquerade Director to arrange storage of those pieces backstage before the show.

The audience has raked seating in the INB Performing Arts Center, with a capacity in the vicinity of 2,700 people. There will be image magnification of your costumes on a screen for the audience and the live feed. If there is something in your costume or presentation that you feel needs to be displayed specially on that screen, please make sure that you discuss that with the Video Crew during rehearsals.

Photography and Videotaping

There will be organized Judges’ Photography, Official Photography and Fan Photography. Participation in the Masquerade constitutes consent to be photographed by the Judges’ Photographer and the Official Photographer.

Judges’ photos are solely for the purpose of giving a reminder of your costume to the judges during their deliberations. These photos may be shared by the Masquerade staff only for their personal use.

Official photos will be taken in the Masquerade Green Room with professional lights and in full costume. Those photos will be available to you and others for sale after the Masquerade, and generally no earlier than the day after the Masquerade.

At this time, Fan photos will be taken in the Lobby of the INB Performing Arts Center, by fans who have signed up to take posed photos of entries. You may choose not to participate in fan photography. Some fan photographers may be offering free or paid copies of their pictures to you and others. Please make direct arrangements with any Fan photographer you wish to do business with. Fan photos sometimes appear on the ICG website and in ICG slide shows. See the ICG website for examples. Please be aware that Fan photos often appear on public websites such as Flickr, Facebook, LiveJournal, etc.

In the convention hallways many fans may wish to take your picture. It is entirely up to you whether to allow people to take your picture.

NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY from the audience is allowed during the Masquerade. Viewers will be ejected from the room should they be found to be taking flash pictures from the audience.

We will be videotaping the full Masquerade, and may be broadcasting the video during the Masquerade live to additional seating locations in the Spokane Convention Center (SCC.) Participation in the Masquerade constitutes consent to be videotaped and to have that footage broadcast and distributed as described below. The video will be preserved and shared with the ICG Archivist, and may be sold after the convention. We will send an email to you and/or your group’s primary contact when and if the video is for sale at a later date.

We expect audience members to be taking non-flash photos and videos during the presentation for their own personal use. There will be reporters for the Sasquan newsletter and others from the outside press in the audience taking photos that may appear in publications or online. We cannot reasonably restrict the use of such photos or videos.

Presentation Judging

The Presentation judges will be looking at your costume from the audience’s point of view. They will look at the costume itself and makeup, in addition to how well it works with the music, script, and choreography that you use on stage. Even a mediocre costume can win an award if it is presented well, and sometimes a great costume is passed over for lack of a coherent or entertaining presentation. Remember, funny is good, shorter is better, and short and funny or exciting is best!

After the Masquerade

On Saturday, you will have the opportunity to retrieve your documentation and media. When the Official Photographer is ready, they will make their photographs available for sale. We will announce the locations where you can retrieve your items.

Masquerade Show and Tell Program Item

In order to encourage sharing about the costumes presented in the Masquerade itself, and about costuming in general, we plan to have a Show-and-Tell post-Masquerade panel on the Program. The judges, the crew and other staff may be there to answer questions about the show itself, and address any issues that may come up regarding the show itself one-on-one. You are encouraged to wear or bring your costume, or parts of your costume, to this panel and have the chance to talk about your creative process and how your entry came to be. Photos may be taken, and documentation may be returned to entrants at this time.