Cosplay Contest Rules

  1. There will be three categories in which contestants will be judged: Costume, Performance, and Authenticity.
  2. The Costume and Performance Categories will have 2 judges each, while the Authenticity Category will have 1 judge, all of whom are successful in their respective category, scoring ONLY for their category. ie. The performance judges will not be scoring on authenticity and so forth. Those judges will each give their own score for each contestant and then the average of the two scores will be combined with the other scores for a final TOTAL score.
  3. The three categories will be scored as such:
    • Costume (100 Points)
      • Construction: how the costume has been put together, ie. Sewing machine, hand stitching, tape, ect.
      • Materials: functionality of all materials used, including props
      • Creativity: how the costume was created, ie. Sewing patterns, free cutting, bustform, ect.
      • Overall Impression: the individual judge's opinion on the completeness of the costume
    • Performance (100 Points)
      • Conception/Creativity: how well the performance was put together ie. Storyline, completeness, uniqueness, ect
      • Preparation: how well rehearsed is the performance? Does everyone know their lines?
      • Performing Skills: does everyone speak clearly? Are people blocking others on stage?
      • Entertainment Value: is the performance entertaining? Does the audience get involved?
      • Time: how long is your performance? Do you go over your allotted time limit?
    • Authenticity (50 Points)
      • Character Personality: how closely does your actions match the actual character?
      • Costume: is the outfit instantly recognizable as the character you are portraying?
      • Performance: does the performance depict a realistic scenario for the character?
  4. Each judging pair will be responsible for awarding the prizes for their respective categories, and will also be contributing their scores to the overall scores. If needed, any of the judges may consult with the other judging teams for a second opinion. The Award system is as follows:
    • Costume Category: Best Costume and Best Costume Runner Up (awarded to an individual)
    • Performance Category: Best Performance and Best Performance Runner Up (individual or group)
    • Authenticity Category: Most Authentic and Most Authentic Runner Up (individual or group)
    • Best in Show and Best in Show Runner Up (individual or group)
    • Fan Favorite and Fan Favorite Runner Up (individual or group)

      The Fan Favorite Awards will be decided upon by the judges in concert with the Cosplay Director and the Cosplay Host depending on the overall reactions of the audience during each entrant's performance. The Best in Show awards will be a total average of all of the judges scores.

  5. The judges will be provided with access to resources in the event they need to verify their results, ie. Needing reference material for an unfamiliar character, ect.
  6. All costumes will need to be pre-judged by the Costume judges during the registration portion of the day. Your total score will be impacted by the pre-judging as this is the only time that the costume judges will have the opportunity to speak with you about your costume and ask questions. Pre-judging is MANDATORY if you wish to participate in the contest, there will be NO EXCEPTIONS. The Costume Judges will be in attendance during the performance only to add or deduct points for use of costume in the performance, costume malfunctions or for props used in the performance (including banned weapons that have been given permission to be used for the performance, see Rule 7)
  7. According to the Otafest Weapons Policy (see website), any forbidden weapons to the convention will be also banned from the Cosplay Contest. However, some weapons and props may be given special permission to be used ONLY during the Cosplay Contest as per the discretion of the Cosplay Director. These weapons will be stored by the Otafest Security Personnel until the time of the contest and then will be brought to the green room for you to use. Use of a banned weapon or a weapon or prop that has not been inspected by the Otafest Security will result in immediate disqualification from the contest. If you bring a weapon that is deemed banned by the Otafest Security at time of registration, please let the judges and the Director know upon check-in on the day of the contest.
  8. All Participants in the Cosplay Contest must abide by all Otafest Policies at all times.
  9. The Time Limit system will be as follows:
    • Every Entrant (single or group) will be given a base time of 2:00
    • Each Additional member to a group (beyond the first participant) will be granted an additional 0:15 to the total time allotted for the group. (eg. A group of 5 people would be granted 3:00, 2:00 + 4 x 0:15)
    • Special time requests may be submitted at Pre-Judging time and will be noted for the performance judges who will be monitoring the time of your performance.
    • Going over your allotted time limit will result in deductions from your performance score.
    • If you are performing a walk-on, you will not receive a performance score but will still be required to stay within your allotted time limit.
  10. Only costume items (clothing pieces, props, accessories, ect) that were created by the contestant (with reasonable help from friends and family) will qualify to receive a costume score. This includes re-purposed clothing (changing or adding on to a store bought base piece of clothing or footwear) and all prop material. Store bought or commissioned costumes will not qualify to receive a costume score during pre-judging. Please be honest when asked about your costume by the judges, they are experts in the field and will appreciate honesty.
  11. If you require music to be played during your performance, you must bring your music either on a CD that has been tested beforehand or a flash drive and submit it during Pre-Judging. This CD must be a burned copy with ONLY the track(s) you will be using in your performance on it. Due to potential loss or damage of CD, make sure this is something that you can part with. The flash drive will be inserted into a computer and the music file transferred during pre-judging and will be returned. No other forms of audio will be accepted. If for any reason your form of music can not be used, please have a back up plan in place.
  12. Due to time constraints on the duration of the Cosplay Contest, the Cosplay Director will be capping the number of entrants once a pre-determined number of entrants have registered and have been pre-judged. There will be no further entries accepted past this point. Due to the variety of entries (both single and group entries), there will be no fixed number announced prior to registration, however it will be announced when the maximum is approaching.
  13. Any other questions not included in the above rules should be brought up with the Cosplay Director or Judges before the contest. All questions can be forwarded to cosplay@otafest.com and will be answered promptly.