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Martin Jaquish, masquerade(send e-mail)

Information and rules for the
2006 Worldcon / L.A.con IV Masquerade

What is it?:

Considered by many to be the most prestigious of fan convention costuming events, Worldcon masquerades have for decades been deemed the ultimate place to showcase creativity and talent in the costuming arts. Fabulous creations not only from all over the United States, but often from other countries are presented on stage to the most devoted fans of science-fiction and related genres you'll find anywhere. And yet, it also welcomes first-time costumers to take part in the fun as well. With wonderful original designs, impressive re-creations of characters from film, television, fantasy and anime, some presented with drama, others with humor, it's a night full of wonder and surprises. Most contestants bring recorded music and plan bits of choreography. Some entries will be individuals, others groups with a shared theme. Trophies will be presented in three divisions (Novice, Journeyman, Master), as well as awards for workmanship and other categories. The elevated stage will feature theater style lighting, and audience viewing will be enhanced by large video screens. For those with a L.A.con IV membership it is entirely free to be a participant, or just come and watch.

When? Where?:

8:00 p.m. Friday, August 25th in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. The event will run about three hours. Yes, while most Worldcon Masquerades are on Saturday night, the L.A. con IV committee determined that it could achieve significantly lower hotel rates, travel costs, and facility costs by choosing a non-holiday weekend. Each event is therefore moved up one day from its usual position, with the Hugo Awards to be on Saturday night. The Arena was used for the 1996 Worldcon Masquerade, and proved a pleasing venue for contestants and audience alike.

How to enter:

Submit an Entry Form NO LATER than August 11, 2006, via mail, e-mail, or using the form on the official website. You should receive confirmation of your entry within two weeks. After that date you may sign up at the convention until Friday at 10:00 AM, but no new entries will be accepted after that. If you find you must drop out, please let us know so we don't keep looking for you to show up. There will be a limit on the number of entries allowed, so please register early.

Once you get to the convention:

If you arrive before Friday, sign-in at the Masquerade Table to confirm your arrival and fill out some forms. You may, if you like, request these forms in advance, and we'll send them to your postal address. You can fill them out ahead of time, bring them with you, and have one less thing to worry about at the convention. Whether you get them in advance or on site, return your completed forms no later than the Orientation Friday morning. If Friday will be your first day at the convention, go to the Arena and sign in with the Masquerade staff there. If you submit an Entry Form in advance, but don't make contact with us at the convention by noon on Friday, we will probably assume you have canceled. However, if you know ahead of time that you will not be able to arrive at the convention until later on Friday, drop a line to the Masquerade Director to let him know.

If you won't be able to arrive until late Friday:

There is no reason that you can't be in the show even if you arrive at the convention as late as 5:00 PM, but, you must inform us of your arrival time in advance, have sent an Entry Form and completed show forms to us in advance, and be in costume by 7:00 PM. You'll miss the Orientation, but we'll get you a few minutes of practice time on the stage.


No flash photography of the show will be allowed. Cameras are permitted, but all photos and video taken must be for personal, non-profit use only! Photographers who wish access to the flash-friendly Photo Area, where the contestants will pose after exiting the Arena stage, must sign- up at the Masquerade Table, or write to the Director ahead of time to request a spot

A photo will help:

It's very handy in the planning of technical and other elements for us to have an idea what your costume will look like before we see it on you Friday night. Does it have large wings? Is it entirely black? Is it 10 feet tall? Is there another contestant that has similar color or theme who we'll want to place far apart from you in the order of appearance? Will the video crew need to be alerted not to miss some highly impressive aspect your entry? So that we can help your stage experience be as effective and fun as possible, the Director would appreciate a photo of the costume(s) you intend to present. This is not a requirement, and entries will be accepted without photos, but with the proliferation of digital cameras and the ease of e-mail, it is hoped that most contestants will find it a simple task. A "work in progress" photo will do, and all photos will be kept confidential so that you will still be a complete "surprise" for the audience and judges. Send it with your entry form, or as a follow-up later on, or bring it with you to the convention.

Masquerade Orientation / Rehearsing:

We suggest attending the contestant orientation. It is not required, but a good idea. It will be on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Arena. There we will discuss all contestant aspects of the show from start to finish. You need not bring your costume. You'll be able to see the stage, the backstage dressing areas, meet your show staff, and so on. Our Tech crew will able to talk to you individually to assure that your presentation goes just the way you want it to. The stage will be available for rehearsing on the rest of the day, from 12 noon until 6:00 PM. You'll be able to sign up for specific practice times, generally given in 10-minute segments, using your light and sound cues. Note that this rehearsal opportunity is not the time to be inventing your presentation, but to test out the stage actions you have already conceived!

Arriving for the show that evening:

All contestants must check-in with the head "Den Helper". Den Helpers assist you with your backstage needs, like where to change, repairing your costume, etc. Check-in is important so that we know you are here and getting ready for the show. You may check-in as early as you like, but NO LATER than 6:00 p.m. and you must be stage-ready by 7:00 p.m. to allow for judging photos to be taken. Please do not be late! Dressing areas will be assigned when you arrive. If your costume has parts you wish to bring in earlier in the day, there will be plenty of space to safely store it. For make-up needs, there will be bathrooms with sinks and mirrors. And of course, being a sports arena, there are large loading doors for those items best brought by vehicle.

Reference materials:

If your costume is a re-creation, we strongly suggest providing the judges with reference pictures of what it is based on (a photo, magazine, trading card, etc.), since not all the judges may be familiar with your costume. You may submit materials for the judges at the convention. They will be returned to you, along with your music, afterwards.


If you are using music with your presentation, it can be on audiocassette or compact disk. If a cassette, your music should be the first thing on the tape. If you are "burning" your own CD, test it on various CD players to assure it is compatible! Please bring two copies of your music, one to give to us, and one to keep for rehearsing and as a back-up. Your tapes/disks should be labeled with your real name and costume name, and presented to us no later than noon on Friday. If you cannot arrive until later that day, send your music to us in advance so we have it. Label cassettes "Play This Side" and the back "Wrong Side". There will be NO MICROPHONES for contestants! Any needed speech must be on your recording, or supplied as text for the Master of Ceremonies to read.

Stage information:

Complete stage information to include dimensions will be made available approximately 4 months before the convention. Please check the Masquerade website from time to time for this and other additional updated information. Please do not contact the facility with questions! Write to the Masquerade Director via one of the addresses provided.


  1. Costumes must be of original construction, or show significant modification of pre-existing materials. No costumes are allowed that are purchased, rented, or otherwise obtained from a commercial source. It is expected that some costumes may include as minor elements some purchased clothing items. If your entry utilizes many of these, check with the Masquerade Director for approval. This is a show of creativity and craftsmanship, not shopping ability.

  2. Competing costumes MUST NOT be worn at the convention prior to the show. If everyone's seen your costume walking around, there's no point in displaying it on stage, so keep it out of sight until Friday night. Costumes entered in previous Worldcon Masquerades may not return.

  3. Maximum time allowed on stage: 1-3 people: 2 minutes. 4-6 people: 3 minutes. 7 or more: 4 minutes. If you would like more time, clear it with the Masquerade Director beforehand.

  4. Safety: No liquids, fire, messy substances, or anything that may pose a danger is allowed on stage. Unsheathing of bladed weapons is not allowed without clearance from the Director. Violating these rules will disqualify you, and possibly result in escort off the premises. Minors may not perform martial arts or other combat simulations. Minors' parents will need to sign a permission form.

  5. There will be two categories of costumes for each Judging Division: Re-Creation - A costume copied from another person's design, such as something from a movie, comic book, famous artwork, history, etc. Original - A design original to the maker/wearer. It may be inspired from some work of fantasy, science fiction, mythology, etc., but is not a copy. There will also be a Junior division as well, for contestants age 8-14. For safety reasons, entrants under age 8 are not allowed. Minors must have a parent or guardian present with them backstage.

  6. Contestants agree to show up no later than the specified time for the show, and to allow video recording and photography of their costumes for non-profit purposes. This includes allowing your photos or video recorded images to be used to promote subsequent Worldcon masquerades, and to be displayed on the L.A.con IV website after the convention.

  7. The Masquerade Director may reject or disqualify an entry on the basis of inappropriate or unsafe behavior or content, because of excessive purchased items, or due to a breach of rules.

  8. Professional costumers are permitted in the competition, but must enter in the Master division. A professional is defined as an adult who earns 50% or more of their annual income from the making of costumes. If you fit this criteria but feel your situation warrants an exception, you may discuss it with the Director. However, the Director has the final say in the matter of determining division placement.

  9. Awards are decided based on Skill Division Judging. So that excellence at all experience levels can be recognized, contestants are divided into three divisions, with winners in each division. The Masquerade Director will be happy to consult with you to determine the division that best suits you:

  10. Note that Workmanship awards alone do not count in advancing you up into the next class, and Workmanship judging is optional. It is your choice whether or not a judge takes a close look at your costume before the show. A Workmanship award will be presented in each division.

    You can always choose to compete in a division higher than what your past awards suggest. Anyone can choose to compete at Master level, and a Novice can choose to be judged as a Journeyman. However, if you win at the higher class, you will no longer be able to compete in the lower class at subsequent conventions. An exception is made when a group consists of mixed classes (such as a Master with a Journeyman), the highest class represented is what you'll be judged at, however the Journeyman of that group may count his award as being still at a Journeyman level when entering subsequent masquerades. If you have any questions about your entry, ask the Director.

Who's running the show?

L.A.con IV has chosen Martin Jaquish as Masquerade Director. Having served as Technical Director for the L.A.con III Masquerade and a host of other conventions, and with 13 years' experience as Masquerade Director at the annual San Diego Comic-Con International, he has the abilities and knowledge to provide a well-run evening and a fine showcase for your miracles. Some of his experienced usual staff will be helping him, of course, however he would love to have any of you with previous Worldcon crew experience contact him to be a part of the 2006 team! If you have the experience, the patience, a flair for theater work, and a willingness to serve in the shadows while others get the applause and glory on stage, please drop him a line!

Who will be judging?

The panel of guest judges will include individuals of varied costuming backgrounds, and the intent is to have at least one judge familiar with each costume genre. Thus, whether you costume from science-fiction, fantasy, movies, anime, mythology, or just from your creative imagination, there will be a judge with a knowledgeable eye as to what you are presenting. There will also be two workmanship judges, who, if you choose, will take special close-up looks at your costume before the show to note those special details that may not be apparent on stage. While specific award categories will be set ahead of time, the panel will also be able to create award categories so that deserving costumes are recognized.

Why be in the Masquerade?

The reason is simply to have fun. Your Masquerade Director and crew love to see a great costume show just as much as you do, that's why we are donating our time and skills. Don't fixate on winning an award, don't worry whether or not you will be good enough. Let this simply be a fun celebration of costuming. We'll do our best to help you feel like a star.

For some useful tips on being in Masquerades, you may wish to look at excellent website of one of the previous Worldcons: Noreascon 4 Masquerade Competition [offsite link]

"World Science Fiction Society", "WSFS", "World Science Fiction Convention", "Worldcon", and "Hugo Award" are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society. Limited permission is given to copy this document for personal, non-profit use only.

Rev. 07-Apr-2006