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The Masquerade is a Saturday night theatrical performance in which groups of fans display their costuming and acting skills. The participants create and perform short skits based on their favorite anime or video game. These skits can be dramatic, comedic, dance-based or just plain wacky! A panel of staff and celebrity judges present awards to the best performances and costumes. The Masquerade is just as fun to watch as it is to participate in!

Participating in the Masquerade:

  1. Registering (Pre-con Expectations for Masquerade Participants)
  2. Checking In (At-con Expectations for Masquerade Participants)
  3. Masquerade Rules
  4. Divisions
  5. Awards List
  6. Important Information on Craftmanship Judging
  7. Sound/Video Guidelines
  8. When a Group is Announced By the Emcee
  9. Exhibition Performances
  10. Props Policy
  11. Special Requests

  1. Registering (Pre-con Expectations for Masquerade Participants)
    • All groups must pre-register for the Masquerade online. A list of registered groups will be posted. Initially, there will be thirty-five (35) spots available for skits. Registration will open DECEMBER 1, 2013 at midnight.
    • There will be a "wait-list" in case of cancellations. Any slots that open up due to cancellations before the convention will be given to groups on the wait-list.
    • Groups are required to submit a short summary of their skits when they register for the masquerade. The summaries may be brief, only one or two sentences. These are required to prove that groups have started working on their skits and are not simply signing up to take the space.
    • Groups will also be required to submit a script to the Masquerade Coordinator before their skit will be accepted. This may be sent in afterwards. A group's spot will not be confirmed without a script or audio file.
    • Masquerade slots will not be available at the convention. All skits must pre-register.
    • The Masquerade Coordinator will email the primary contact of each group on a regular basis with important updates. Individuals must keep their contact information updated. If an individual's email is bouncing and/or phone number no longer works, we will be forced to remove the group from the Masquerade or the wait-list. Please update all contact information; simply contact the Masquerade Coordinator to alert us of any changes.
    • The deadline for changes to skits is March 1st at MIDNIGHT. Cancellations will be accepted up to the start of the convention, and the remaining spaces will be filled by wait-listed groups.
    • All contestants must be attending members of Anime Boston 2014 and will need to provide a badge at both Masquerade check-in and at the Masquerade itself. Group leaders who are submitting Masquerade registrations must be pre-registered for Anime Boston 2014.
    • By registering, all Masquerade participants agree to let Anime Boston use their images for promotional purposes, both photographs and video. All participants will be required to sign a waiver at check-in acknowledging this. Any individuals who do not sign a waiver, will not be allowed to appear in the Masquerade.
    • Minors (those under 18 years of age) may not participate in the Masquerade unless given written permission by a legal guardian. Forms will be available both at the convention and online prior to the event. Please bring the signed copy with you to Masquerade check-in if you are less than 18 years of age.
  2. Checking In (At-con Expectations for Masquerade Participants)
    • Groups must check in to confirm their registration at Masquerade Headquarters, located in room 102 of the Hynes, during operating hours on Friday, March 21, 2014 (Noon - 6PM) or on Saturday, March 22, 2014 (8AM - 11AM).
    • Any group that has not checked in by 11AM on Saturday will not be allowed to participate.
    • Craftsmanship judging will occur on Friday March 21, 2014 and Saturday March 22, 2014. Participants will be given the option of a morning or afternoon slot when they register. Please indicate the requested judging time on the application.
    • Please be advised that individuals will need to be able to remain for the duration of the Masquerade. In the case of medical emergencies, very young children, or personal issues, please contact the Masquerade Coordinator, or another staff member backstage at the convention.
    • Masquerade staff will attempt to secure a block of time for rehearsals. The length of which will determine the nature of the rehearsals. The time available is highly dependent upon other programming at Anime Boston, which has not yet been decided. We hope to have details about rehearsals before the convention, and will send emails as soon as this information is available. If a group would like to request a rehearsal, please note this on the application. We will make every attempt to honor the requests, but rehearsal time is not guaranteed.
    • The Masquerade will be held on Saturday March 22nd, in the Auditorium. An exact start time will be posted closer to the convention. Please keep an eye on the website for an official schedule to be posted.
  3. Masquerade Rules
    • Anime Boston is a Japanese Animation convention, so all costumes must be based on Anime, Manga, Japanese-origin video games, or Japanese live action productions based on Anime or Manga (such as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, NANA or Cutey Honey.) Generally, if the series and/or character originated anywhere else than Japan, it doesn't qualify. (Japanese adaptations of foreign material are permitted - such as Rose of Versailles, Gankutsuou, or RomeoXJuliet.) If you have doubt as to whether a specific skit or costume qualifies, please contact the Masquerade Coordinator.
    • The Masquerade allows the use of American (and other non-Japanese) music in the skits. Groups may use the latest popular American movies, commercials, TV shows, etc., as an influence. The Masquerade staff requests that individuals act as the character would in that situation. If a group isn't sure if their skit plans are appropriate, please ask.
    • Costumes based on promotional art for anime and manga are allowed, even if the costumes do not appear in the actual series. In this case make sure to bring as many reference photos as possible.
    • Individuals who plan to participate in the Masquerade and Hall Costume Contests may not wear a costume at the Anime Boston 2014 Masquerade that was worn for any previous competition at Anime Boston. Participation in the Staff-Vote costume contest is still allowed.
    • Groups may not perform a skit at Anime Boston 2014 that was performed at any earlier Anime Boston.
    • Individuals may not enter both the Hall Costume Contest AND the Masquerade.
    • Judges for the Hall Costume Contest and Masquerade may not compete in either competition.
    • ALL COSTUMES MUST BE HOMEMADE. Costumes purchased or rented, or any costumes made by a professional designer or seamstress, are prohibited from craftsmanship judging. Please inform the Masquerade staff if only one person in the group made all of the costumes. That person (as long as he/she is a member of the group and not a professional seamstress or tailor) is still eligible for a Craftsmanship Award. Even if he/she happens to be a friend or relative who is NOT participating in the Masquerade, he/she is required to be at Craftsmanship judging in order to answer questions.
    • Each contestant may present (wear) one costume, or a group of people may wear one costume at the same time (i.e., a large costume that requires several people inside to move it). Multiple entries worn by the same person, or one entry worn by multiple people at different times, will not be allowed. Individuals may begin a skit wearing a concealing cloak or coat, and then remove it to reveal another costume underneath. (Please be advised that strip-tease oriented skits will NOT be permitted).
    • The maximum number of members allowed in one group is ten (10) people. If more than the approved number of contestants appears on stage, the group will be disqualified from receiving Presentation Awards.
    • No use of any messy substances that might ruin the costume of another contestant. Any individuals wearing body paint or makeup must make sure it will not come off in casual contact with others.
    • Do not leave anything on the stage that cannot be picked up and removed in a few seconds - this includes glitter, confetti and rose petals.
    • No throwing things from the stage, for example: T-shirts or Beach Balls.
    • Costumes must be self-contained. Connections to electrical sockets will not be available.
    • Please review Anime Boston's Props Policy. All props used in the Masquerade MUST COMPLY with the Anime Boston Props Policy.
    • No fire, flash powder, lasers, explosives or open flame of any kind will be allowed. Electronic flashes will be permitted provided that you notify the Masquerade Coordinator in advance, and it must be announced in your MC introduction to protect those who may be affected by the flashing lights. Strobe lights are not permitted.
    • Nothing is allowed that would be banned in a "PG-13" rated film. Actions, dress, or mannerisms that would not be allowed in public must be avoided. (ie: explicit sexual gestures, nudity, and explicit swearing.)
    • Anime Boston staff does not allow jumping off the stage, nor does the Masquerade staff allow entering or exiting the stage from any area that has not been approved by the Masquerade Coordinator.
    • All presentations must be confined to the stage area. The aisles and other audience areas are not to be used for any part of the presentation.
    • Please show respect towards fellow cosplayers backstage and during judging. Any heckling or threatening of other participants will NOT be tolerated.
    • Anime Boston and the Masquerade staff reserves the right to cancel a group's performance at any time for any reason.
  4. Divisions
    • All entries will register under ONE of the following skill Divisions:
      • Novice: A group may compete in the Novice division as long as:
        • No member of the group has won more than one minor award at Novice level at previous conventions.
        • No member of the group has won ANY major award.
        • No member of the group has won any award above Novice level (Intermediate, Advanced/Craftsman or the equivalent).
      • Intermediate: A group may compete in the Intermediate division if:
        • Members of the group have not won more than three (3) total major awards in cosplay/costume competition.
        • No member of the group has won any award above Intermediate level (Advanced/Craftsman/Master or the equivalent).
      • Master: Your group will be required to compete in the Master division if:
        • Members of the group have won more than three (3) major awards in cosplay/costume competitions.
        • If any member of the group has won any award above Intermediate level (Advanced/Craftsman/Master or the equivalent.)
    • Groups may always choose to compete at a higher level than that for which they qualify. For instance, if a group thinks the quality of their skit or costume is above the usual standards of Novice level, due to extra preparation, a more ambitious project, extensive stage experience, or for some other reason, then the group is encouraged, though not required, to participate at the Intermediate or Masters level.
    • If a group has opted to register and compete in a higher skill division (Intermediate, Masters etc.) in the past, and won ANY AWARD in that division, the group is obligated to compete in the same Division (or higher) thereafter. Knowingly entering Novice division when a group ought to be in Intermediate or Masters is grounds for disqualification.
  5. Awards List
    • Presentation Awards:
      • First Place, Novice division, Presentation
      • Second Place, Novice division, Presentation
      • First Place, Intermediate division, Presentation
      • Second Place, Intermediate division, Presentation
      • First Place, Masters division, Presentation
      • Second Place, Masters division Presentation
      • Best Performance
    • Craftsmanship Awards:
      • First Place, Novice division, Craftsmanship
      • Second Place, Novice division, Craftsmanship
      • First Place, Intermediate division, Craftsmanship
      • Second Place, Intermediate division Craftsmanship
      • First Place, Masters division, Craftsmanship
      • Second Place, Intermediate division Craftsmanship
      • Best Craftsmanship
    • Judges Awards:
      These awards are given for any and all exceptional entries whose merits are not covered by the basic awards. These awards are granted by the members of the Judges' panel and by the Event Manager and Emcee.
      • Judge's Awards: Eight awarded. Four for presentation and four for craftsmanship.
      • Emcee's Award - one awarded
    • Best in Show:
      Best in Show is determined by overall craftsmanship and overall presentation at the Masquerade. In order to qualify for Best in Show, the entry must participate in both Craftsmanship and Presentation judging. The winning entry may be from any division (Youth, Novice, Journeyman or Craftsman.) Understand that the winners of the Best in Show award will not qualify to win any other awards.

    Each entry may receive a maximum of two awards in each Division - one for Craftsmanship and one for Performance. No single entry may receive MORE than two awards.

  6. Important Information on Craftsmanship Judging
    • All Craftsmanship Judging occurs prior to the Masquerade itself. In order to participate in the Craftsmanship Award category, groups or individuals must make an appointment to be judged by expressing so on the registration application. Time slots will be assigned by the Masquerade Coordinator. Participants will be notified of this time slot by March 14th at the latest. Craftsmanship judging will be held in Masquerade Headquarters (room 102 of the Hynes.)
    • Craftsmanship judging will occur on Friday March 21, 2014 and Saturday, March 22, 2014. Masquerade staff will attempt to reschedule missed craftsmanship judging appointments but, staff cannot guarantee there will be time to do so.
    • All Craftsmanship judging participants must also be approved entries for the Masquerade and must participate in the performance on Saturday March 22nd, 2014. (If individuals want to be judged for craftsmanship prizes but do not want to go on stage, we suggest registering for the Hall Costume Contest.)
    • All Craftsmanship judging participants should bring at least one color picture, preferably more, of each character for reference. A black and white image is acceptable if the participant has designed a manga-based costume for which no color image is available. We recommend that the images chosen be full length (including shoes), and show both, back and front. Individuals should bring an actual image from the anime or manga - a screencap, a manga page or a piece of promotional art. Failure to bring a reference picture may disqualify participants from craftsmanship judging. If the judges don't know what an individual's costume is supposed to look like, they cannot judge it completely.
    • One of the major craftsmanship judging criteria is how closely the costume matches the original. If some portion of the costume is never shown, such as the back or the shoes, then individuals should design the missing components as best as possible.
    • Please note that the entire group does not have to participate in the Craftsmanship judging. However, the entire group will only be assigned one score for craftsmanship.
    • If one person in your group made all of the costumes for that group, that person is solely eligible for Craftsmanship Awards.
    • Every contestant needs to be prepared to answer the judges' questions about his/her role in the construction of his/her costume.
  7. Sound/Video Guidelines
    • Staff requests prerecorded music and/or dialogue for both skit presentations and walk-on presentations. Live microphones are available, but pre-recorded sound is preferred.
    • If participants are submitting a video, be aware that the only display that can be used is the one located directly behind the stage. Its aspect ratio is 4:3. Also, consider adding a black border to the video to compensate for a slight overscan.
    • If a group would like to perform a LIVE AUDIO performance they may bring partial or no pre-recorded sound, but will be required to do a full rehearsal at some point on Saturday.
    • There will be microphones on the stage. There will be four (4) handheld microphones available for use. Please contact the Masquerade Coordinator in advance to organize the use of our microphones.
    • It is required that all groups prepare their sound ahead of time and submit a digital sound/video file or MP3 by e-mail, or via a file sharing site such as SendSpace or MegaUpload. These files should be sent directly to the Masquerade Coordinator. The earlier groups send in their sound/video the better, and sending it in ahead of time will allow us to pre-screen it and notify groups of any problems.
    • All sound must be on ONE TRACK. Any skit soundtrack that is divided into multiple tracks cannot be used. If a group needs silence at the beginning of the sound, they must record it into the track. Conversely, if a group thinks that something is going to get a laugh, leave a pause after the line before continuing.
    • For Anime Boston 2014 the skit lengths are as follows:
      • If the skit has 1 person: <1:30 minute
      • If the skit has 2-4 people: <2:30 minutes
      • If the skit has 5-10 people: <3:30 minutes
    • Please do not abuse the time limits by padding your skit with people. If padding is suspected by the Masquerade coordinator or the staff, you will be disqualified.
    • All groups must have their music/audio confirmed and audio/video submitted by Saturday March 8th, 2014 so that staff can check and verify the final playlist.
  8. When a Group is Announced By the Emcee
    • On the Registration form, groups will be requested to supply an introduction to be read by the emcee. If individuals do not supply one, the staff will write a simple introduction for you. Introductions may not contain profanity, sexual innuendo or anything else that does not comply with the PG-13 rating.
    • Any narration to be read by the emcee will be limited to 50 words or less (Remember it needs to be PG-13). All narration by the emcee will be read prior to the performance. All names and character names will be read after the performance.
    • Please do not interact with the emcee. Masquerade staff prohibits any involvement with the emcee during skits. Staff also prohibits any emcee dialogue during the performance.
  9. Exhibition Performances
    • The Masquerade staff will allow a certain number of slots for special performances. A special performance is exhibition-only (i.e., does not qualify for awards).
    • The length of special performances will be worked out by the performers and the Masquerade Coordinator. The special performances may come at the beginning, middle or end of the Masquerade.
    • If individuals are interested in a special performance, please send us a proposal in advance. Staff cannot guarantee or accept all proposals. Contact the Masquerade Coordinator for any and all proposals.
    • Masquerade staff reserves the right to cancel any performance at any time for any reason.
  10. Props Policy
    Please review Anime Boston's Props Policy.
  11. Special Requests
    If individuals have any special requests or concerns (such as requiring large props, or needing to be judged early or late on a given day, or anything else unusual) please contact the Masquerade Coordinator in advance or as soon as possible, or place the request on your registration form.

    Because of the complexity of the event, few special requests will be able to be met, but the sooner staff is notified about them, the more likely it is that accommodations can be made. Special requests made at the convention itself are likely to be impossible for us to accommodate.