Cosplay contest rules

This document is designed to provide guidance and clarity to Contestants, event organisers, and of course our audience as to the mechanics and judging protocol of the Cosplay Costume Contest.  Additionally, it provides guidance to the judges of what is expected in their marking.

1. Cosplay Costumes, Props and Stage Dressing

All contestants must have made the costume they are using by themselves (as much as possible).

  • All significant visible costume elements that can safely be made without assistance must have been constructed entirely by the contestant  
  • It is acceptable to use bought wigs, shoes, and spectacles as long as they are not customised or commissioned. Any customisation such as the styling of a wig or modifying of the shoes must be the sole work of the Contestant
  • Instruction and planning advice is acceptable, as long as the practical construction of the costume is by the Contestant.

The costume should not exceed 3 metres in any one dimension, and the Contestant should be able to safely move in the costume on flat surfaces and on a small flight of stairs to get on to the stage.

Any item that would not typically be carried or worn by the character that the Contestant is portraying will be considered to be stage dressing.

 

The following applies to stage dressing items:

  • Stage dressing does not have to be made by the Contestant; their construction and accuracy is not judged except in the circumstances below.
  • If a Contestant has no handheld prop as part of their costume, then they may choose a single item of stage dressing to be judged if they have made it themselves.
  • Any item of stage dressing must be easily manageable by a single person in terms of the item’s size and weight.

 

2. Stage Presentation 

  • Each Contestant will be on stage for a maximum of 30 seconds
  • Going outside of these bounds will incur a penalty.  
  • Each Contestant is allowed one assistant. The assistant should be dressed all in black and may NOT perform directly in person in any way. The assistant may help prepare the stage and operate props.
  • Energetic performances involving e.g. running or martial arts displays will require further assurance regarding the skills of the performers, and we reserve the right to interrupt performances for safety reasons.  
  • Replica weapons and props for use on stage are unrestricted, any blades should be blunt and in the case of projectile weapons e.g. guns shown to be empty.  These props must comply with the GICC Cosplay Rules.

 

As a costume focused contest, it is important that the audience can clearly view the costume when on stage.

The safety of the audience, staff, and other participants must not be compromised.

This means that pyrotechnics, fireworks or any other methods of creating or causing a naked flame or explosion are forbidden; anything that may make the stage slippery or sticky that cannot be quickly removed is similarly banned

 

3. Judging  

Costume judging will take place before the stage presentation and assesses the accuracy of the costume against provided source images and the quality and complexity of the construction.

It is the responsibility of the Contestant to be present for judging at the time decided by the organisers. Failure to do so may lead to a penalty to the Contestant’s score or exclusion from the judging.  

 

The stage presentation will be assessed by the judges considering stage presence, nature of the presentation, the ability to take on the role of the character and level of entertainment or engagement.

 

The judges’ decisions are final, and no further negotiation will be entered into when the judges have made their decisions.

If a Contestant is found to have broken any of the rules in this document, their official placing in the competition may be revoked which may include removal or cancellation of their participation.

 

The weighting for each of the judging criteria is as follows:

  • Accuracy – 40%
  • Construction – 40%
  • Performance – 20%

Detailed Description of Judging Criteria is done by interviewing and closely assessing the Contestant’s costumes against the criteria of ‘Construction’ and ‘Accuracy’ in addition to assessing how the Contestant displays their costume on stage.

Below is a more comprehensive breakdown of the three main judging criteria, including standards for scoring bands and how the different elements of each of the three scores may interact. Note that the weighting among the elements of those three scores is left to the discretion of the judges on a costume by costume basis in recognition of the wide variety of costumes possible and that the elements are not intended to be exhaustive in recognition of the judge’s knowledge and experience.

The spirit of the competition allows people to choose who or what they want to portray without penalty, according to their cosplay skills.

Note that ultimately Contestants must respect the judges’ decision, the judges’ interpretation of the rules and guidance and the judges’ assessment of the costume and use of stage time.

Disrupting the schedule or running orders during the contest may incur a discretionary penalty of up to 3 points or disqualification depending on the circumstances, degree of changes, and proactive communication with the staff.

 

Accuracy

The accuracy score is an assessment of how closely the costume matches the source material. It is the responsibility of the Contestants to provide high quality reference images which clearly depict as much of the costume as possible, at a suitable resolution that detail is clearly visible.

 

The following table has suggested considerations for judges when assessing scores for this category:

Score Detailing Proportions Colours & Texture
1-5 Costume is lacking noticeable costume elements such as gloves, hats, jackets, etc. The costume is awkward with sections heavily overlapping or too far apart. Colours and type of surface do not match the reference.
6-10 Costume includes all elements but detail is visibly different even at a distance OR the costume is so simple that little detail is needed. Costume is a cohesive whole but the ratios of most of the parts are far from those in the reference. Colours are an approximate match and the texture appears to be a good match from a distance.
11-15 Costume includes all elements but detail is somewhat different when close OR the costume detail lacks variety or is unchallenging. All major parts of the costume are well proportioned with regards to each other and the reference but designs and detailing are not. Colours are a good match and the textures meet expectations when closely inspected.
16-19 Costume includes all elements and is well detailed with due consideration given to the ambition of the costume choice. The scaling of all major parts of the costume are perfect, and the designs and detailing are also a good reflection of the source. Colours are an excellent match and textures are good choices considering the source material.
20 Costume is immaculately detailed and an ambitious costume to have created. The scaling of all parts and detail of the costume are precise and correct. Colours and textures are a perfect match.

 

Each judge will provide an Accuracy score out of 20 with due consideration to each element above; Accuracy has a weighting of 40% for the final score.

Contestants are expected to make use of makeup and shaping for their costumes where appropriate, but it is not a modelling contest.

 

Construction

The construction score reflects how well made the costume is.

The variety and difficulty of the techniques used to craft the costume and the mastery of those skills is key to this score.

It is also important that the costume can withstand being worn and moved around in- this is not to say it cannot be delicate.

Note that deliberate weathering and distressing is itself a technique and should not be considered as ‘wear and tear’ when evaluating the robustness of the costume unless it has adversely affected the costume’s integrity beyond the judges’ expectations.

 

The following table has suggested considerations for judges when assessing scores for this category:

 

Score Variety Difficulty Robustness
1-5 The costume showcases few different techniques, at a normal level of mastery. The techniques used are basic. The costume is falling apart in places, or has excessive signs of wear and tear.
6-10 The costume showcases a fair number of techniques at a normal level of mastery. There are a couple of more difficult techniques used. The costume has pieces prone to coming loose when moving and shows some signs of wear and tear.
11-15 The costume showcases a fair number of techniques at a good level of mastery. There are a good number of more difficult techniques used. The costume shows few signs of wear and tear and can be moved in confidently.
16-19 The costume showcases a fair number of techniques perfectly, or a huge number of techniques at a good level of mastery. A good number of advanced techniques have been used. The costume shows negligible signs of wear and tear and can be moved in confidently.
20 The costume showcases a huge number of techniques perfectly. The techniques used to construct the costume are mystifying to a layperson. The costume is resistant to wear and tear and can be moved in confidently

 

Each judge will provide a Construction score out of 20 with due consideration to each element above; Construction has a weighting of 40% for the final score.

It is recommended that judges give lesser weight to this element under most circumstances, and also consider the stresses that are involved with transporting the costume to the Event.

 

Performance

Performance is the most intangible measure and the one most affected by personal opinion or taste. It is a measure of how well a character’s essence is captured on stage for a dramatic performance; how amusing it is in the case of comedy or parody performances; or the level of skill demonstrated for talent based performances.

Overall a good performance should entertain the audience regardless of the style of the performance and without complete reliance on audience knowledge of the source material.

Note that for every 10 seconds or part thereof outside of the allowed performance time, the Contestant will lose a point from their total score.

 

The following table has suggested considerations for judges when assessing scores for this category:

 

 

Score Entertainment value Showcasing
1-3 The performance is flat and lacks characterisation OR fails to be humorous OR there are numerous mistakes in the talent demonstration. Overall, it is not entertaining. Poor use of the stage and a lack of motion means that the audience had a limited view of the costume.
4-6 The performance is appropriate for the character but is plain OR the humour is very inconsistent OR the talent demonstrated is simple. Overall, it entertains but is not memorable. Adequate use of the stage and some motion means that the audience had an adequate view of the costume.
7-9 The performance has flair and/or brings the character to life OR manages genuine and well delivered humour OR the talent is impressive and demonstrated well. It may have managed to achieve more than one of these considerations. Overall, the performance is solid and entertaining. Good use of the stage and motion means that the audience had a good view of the costume. There may have been performance choices designed to deliberately showcase certain costume elements.
10 The performance is excellent and memorable, superbly delivering a dramatic, humorous, or skilled performance or a good combination of these styles. Overall, the performance is very good, memorable and entertaining. Excellent use of the stage and good movements means that the audience were able to fully appreciate the costume. There were performance choices designed to deliberately showcase certain costume elements.

 

Each judge will provide a Performance score out of 10 with due consideration to each element above; Performance has a weighting of 20% for the final score.

The Entertainment value is the dominant consideration for performances, and it is recommended that judges give lesser weight to the Showcasing element under most circumstances.

After all assessments and performances, the three scores will be collated and a score out of 50 presented for each Contestant.  

These are the GICC rules for the cosplay costume contest.

 

GICC reserve the right to deny entry, withdraw access, or cancel tickets without refund at the event to anyone deemed to be breaking these rules.