The Anime North Masquerade is a staged costume showcase and competition that is a great opportunity to show off that extra-special costume you've been working on.
At Anime North, we have two major stage costume competitions: the Skit Competition and the Masquerade. Both events are amateur costume competitions for Anime/Manga costumes, Media costumes (Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, computer games etc.), Fantasy and Science Fiction costumes, Japanese Historical Costumes, and any other costumes related to one or more of these categories. The time limit for the Masquerade is one (1) minute, so it's more focused on costumes as opposed to skits. The Friday Skit Competition is for those who love to perform - lip-synching, dancing, acting, comedy, etc. and has a longer time limit per entry than the Saturday Night Masquerade. For more information about the Friday Night Skit Competition, please go here. Each event has a different registration instructions, so be sure to follow the correct procedure.
NEWS FOR 2015: Because of Anime North's expanded programming schedule, the Anime North Masquerade is moving to the North Building Ballroom of the Toronto Congress Center! Check out the YouTube announcement to find out more details.
Due to the popularity of the Masquerade and limited space in our main room, Anime North has a Wristband Policy for seating at the Saturday Night Masquerade. To be guaranteed a seat, you MUST pick up a wristband from the Masquerade office in the South Lobby of the International Plaza Hotel during hours of operation (see the programming schedule for the location). Wristbands only guarantee a seat, not a group of seats together. If you plan to sit with friends, we recommend you arrive at the main room early to claim your seats.
To guarantee seating, you must be in line by 7:00 PM on the day of the Masquerade. After that time, we open up the line to overflow seating and anyone can enter, space permitting.
SEATING IS LIMITED, SO BE SURE TO PICK UP A GUARANTEED SEATING WRISTBAND FROM THE MASQUERADE OFFICE PRIOR TO 2:00 PM SATURDAY.
You do not need a wristband to enter the Masquerade.
The 2015 Anime North Masquerade has a limit of 70 spaces available. All contestants must register at the Masquerade Registration Desk on Friday from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM (tentative), and on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. You must register by 2:00 PM on Saturday in order to be in the competition. Please note that due to the entry cap, all slots may be filled before 2:00 PM on Saturday. Each day will have a specified number of registration spots, granting those who cannot make it to the convention until Saturday a chance to still register.
Green room check-in for entrants begins at 5:00 PM on Saturday (tentative) in the North Building of the Toronto Congress Center. To avoid undue stress on the little ones, young fans can come later - they may check into the green room from 7:00 to 7:30.
The Masquerade will begin at 8:00 PM on May 23, 2015. Note: Because times are tentative, please check the official convention schedule to confirm.
Judging Divisions and Information
The Anime North Masquerade uses a 4-class system that has been in existence for over 20 years. This system recognizes and rewards the time and skill that costumers at all levels put into their works, as well as how they present them on stage.
Thanks to the hard work of the Masquerade Team, and the amazing skill shown by contestants, the Anime North Masquerade has the honour of being officially recognized by the International Costumers' Guild (ICG) as an international-level competition. This means that those who win Best in Show at Anime North are of the same standing as a winner of Best in Show at Worldcon and Costume-Con. This recognition is a testament to the dedication of our costume community, both those in costume and behind the scenes. All others are considered regional-level competitions.
Other important terms to consider when determining which division to enter:
- Professional: Anyone who makes 50% or more of their income in a costume-related business.
- Major Award: Any award such as Best ___ or Most ___. It does not include awards for Workmanship, Judges' Choice, Honorable Mentions, Honored for Excellence, and awards won in the Junior Division.
- Purchased Costumes: Any costume that was purchased, commissioned, or rented.
The Standard Division System, in accordance with the International Costumers' Guild Guidelines, will be used as follows:
Junior Division (also known as the Young Fan Division)
Any competitor under 13 years of age at the time of competition may compete in the Junior Division. The Junior Division is divided into two subdivisions:
- Junior Self-made: A Junior contestant who has largely or wholly constructed his/her own costume.
- Junior Adult-Made: A Junior contestant whose costume has been largely or wholly constructed by an adult.
A competitor who has won fewer than three (3) major awards in the Novice division of an international-level masquerade. Purchased costumes, professionals, and winners of Best in Show, Best in Class: Novice, or any award from a higher division from an international-level masquerade may not enter this division.
A competitor who has won fewer than three (3) major awards in the Journeyman division of an international-level masquerade. Purchased costumes, professionals, and winners of Best in Show, Best in Class: Journeyman, or any award from the Artisan or Master divisions from an international-level masquerade may not enter this division.
A competitor who has won fewer than three (3) major awards in the Artisan division of an international-level masquerade. Purchased costumes, professionals, and winners of Best in Show, Best in Class: Artisan, or any award from the Master division from an international-level masquerade may not enter this division.
Any competitor, with the exception of those with purchased, commissioned, or rented costumes, may enter this division. If there are not sufficient Masters competing to fill this division, all entries for this division will be judged in the Artisan Division.
The Masquerade is an amateur competition. Purchased, commissioned, or rented costumes may not be entered in competition for awards, but may be shown on stage in the Out-Of-Competition Division. Similarly, costumes made for business purposes, and theatrical and professional events are also ineligible for awards, but may be shown in this division. In addition, anyone who wants to show their costume in this division may do so.
A competitor may compete in any division that s/he is eligible to enter. However, if the competitor receives an award in this higher division, they must compete in that division (or higher) in future competitions.
Due to high demand for places, first priority is given to non-purchased and amateur costumes. If space is available at the end of the registration time, we will accept purchased and commissioned costumes. Those wishing to enter a purchased or professional costume should consider the Skit Contest, which has different policies regarding purchased and professional costumes.
Judging for Workmanship Awards will take place backstage prior to the start of the Masquerade. These awards, for excellence in construction, will be given out in addition to the Masquerade awards. You can be judged on your entire costume, or only on a specific piece or prop. Workmanship judging is optional, so please indicate on your entry form if you wish to be included in this judging. Workmanship applies to entries in any of the Divisions, except the Out-of-Competition Division. Quality is quality, no matter the Division, and a beautiful job deserves recognition. Our Workmanship Judge(s) will look for technical skill, finishing, fit, handling of fabric and materials, etc.
Note: Workmanship Judging is optional, but all Artisan and Master costumes must undergo a workmanship inspection so that the judges know what parts of the costume were constructed and what parts (if any) were purchased. Similarly, to qualify for the Best in Show award, your entry must be inspected by our workmanship judges.
Documentation can include any pictorial representation of your costume. Provide copies only — do not bring originals. It is strongly recommended that you provide documentation for re-creation costume entries as the Judges may not be familiar with a particular costume source. If you are entering your costume for Workmanship Judging, bring two copies of your documentation. Do not submit documentation with your entry form, but bring your documentation with you when you arrive at the green room for the Masquerade.
Presentation Time Limits
ALL ENTRIES HAVE A TIME LIMIT OF ONE MINUTE (60 SECONDS). If your audio goes over this time limit, it will be turned off once this time has elapsed. Please note that entries that go over the time limit will be disqualified.
Those planning extremely complex or large presentations should strongly consider entering the Skit Contest, which has more generous time limits. Those wishing to enter the Skit Competition MUST pre-register BEFORE the convention.
Introductions, Music and Sound
If you have any special introduction for the MC to read, please have it typed or printed clearly so it can be easily read. Without an introduction, the MC will announce only your entry number, division, and title at the beginning of your presentation. When your presentation is complete, general credits will be announced.
There will not be any microphones provided for the contestants. Directly addressing the audience is strongly discouraged as most of the audience will not hear you and this may detract from your presentation. If you have narration or dialogue included with your presentation, it should be recorded in advance.
If you have an introduction, music, or sound effects to accompany your presentation, please bring it as a WAV or MP3 file on a standard USB device or record it on a standard CD as an audio track. We will not accept other sound file formats nor can we play audio from cassettes, iPods, or similar devices. It is also advised that you bring more than one copy of your audio in case of any problems playing the original.
If the sound runs longer than your presentation (i.e. a commercial CD) or must be cut on cue, please be very specific as to when to cut. The usual cue is to fade the sound as the entrant leaves the stage. It is best, when you want the sound to end at a specific point, to record the material you want to a custom track. If your track has silence on it, please include a note of this so as the techs know to expect this and don't stop the track prematurely.
In the case of audio CDs, it is strongly recommended to test using a standard CD player (i.e. not a computer's CD-ROM drive) to ensure maximum compatibility. Also, do not submit valuable or rare original CDs — copy to a self-burned CD.
Submit one copy of your audio to Masquerade Registration when you complete your registration forms. If you have made a second copy, bring it backstage with you to the Masquerade.
Note: We must receive your audio when your registration form is submitted. If we do not have your audio by the close of registration, we will NOT play your audio on stage.
CDs used in the Masquerade can be picked up at the Masquerade Registration Desk on Sunday. Unless specific instructions are given, any CDs left at the end of the day become the property of the Masquerade, and may be flung into orbit, or used as shiny coasters.
The default lighting for each entry will be dim (half-lit), rising to full lighting when the entry is announced, fading to dim (half-lit) on exit. Entries are able to request additional lighting changes during the presentation, such as slow fade up or down or sudden cuts on cue. We unfortunately cannot do changes in colour at this time — only changes in brightness.
In addition to noting all lighting requests on your registration form, please discuss the request with the registration staff when you submit your form. It is highly recommended that your lighting cues be tied to a time on your audio track — for example, "At 35 seconds, dim the lights for 4 seconds, then bring them back up" — rather than basing your cue on something happening on stage.
It is also important to note that excessive changes in lighting during your presentation may distract the audience and the judges from fully appreciating and evaluating your costume. Please take this into consideration when preparing your presentation.
Note: The stage lights will not be turned off completely for the safety of our competitors and staff.
Junior Division entries will present first. Entries that include children may request to go on next if they do so at the time of registration. Remaining divisions will generally present in order of rank. If there are any special circumstances that would affect your place in line (such catching a ride home that night) please indicate this on your registration form and tell the Masquerade staff this when you turn in your form. While every effort will be made to comply with your requests, we cannot guarantee placement.
- No open flame, fire, flash powder or flash paper is allowed. Sealed electronic flashes are permitted. If you are using a strobe effect, please note it on your form so the MC may warn the audience. No pointing of laser pens at the audience or tech crew.
- No messy substances on stage. If in doubt, ask the Masquerade Directors. The stage must be in as good a condition when you leave as when you enter. If you are leaving something on stage, it must be able to be easily picked up by the stage crew, or bring your own ninja to clear the stage.
- No flagrant nudity will be permitted. The Masquerade is rated PG-13. There will be children in the audience.
- The weapons policy of the convention must be followed at all times. No real firearms, realistic copies, nor projectile weapons are allowed. Other weapons must be checked by our staff to determine if they are permitted on stage. Any weapons that do not conform to the convention weapons policy but are approved for use on stage must be transported to and from the Masquerade in a bag or closed container. All weapons must be sheathed before leaving the stage. If your costume requires a bow, it must be unstrung when you are not on stage.
- Each person may present only once during the Masquerade. While any individual may enter as many costumes as they like, they can only wear one of them. The other costumes must be on other bodies.
- Competitors must report to the Masquerade Green Room on time. Finalized report times will be supplied at the convention: check at the Masquerade Registration Desk for this information. Failure to appear or to be ready to go on stage may result in disqualification. While competitors may be subject to circumstances beyond their control, the Masquerade Directors have final arbitration.
- The Masquerade Directors reserve the right to eliminate anyone from competition on the basis of taste, danger to the audience or other contestants, or for any other reason deemed sufficient. Repeated violations of the rules may result in the contestant being barred from future Masquerades.
- The Judges may choose not to give out any awards in any category or division, including the Best-in-Show Award, if they do not feel any costumes entered in that division are deserving of an award. The decisions of the Judges are final.
- No proposals.
The Masquerade Entry Form will also be available at the Masquerade Registration Desk in the South Lobby of the International Plaza (please check your handbook for times).
The form must be completed in full, with signatures from all participants, and brought to the Masquerade Registration Desk at the convention before Saturday 2:00 PM.
DO NOT submit the form in advance of the convention, as there is no Masquerade pre-registration.
Please also be sure to read all the Masquerade Rules posted above. When you fill out and submit this form at the convention, you acknowledge that you have read, and agree to abide by, all masquerade rules.
Any queries concerning either the Friday Night Skit Contest or the Saturday Night Masquerade should be directed to the appropriate email address below in advance of the convention.