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SDCC@HOME: Comic-Con launches Online Masquerade Competition – accepting video entrants, NOW

San Diego Comic-Con 2020 should have been running out of the San Diego Convention Center in just a few weeks (Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th July; Preview Night Wednesday 22nd July) but a nasty global pandemic put paid to all of that, with the whole enchilada moving to a virtual space as SDCC@HOME.

When the new iteration of the con was announced, cosplayers from across the globe were curious as to how they were going to be able to represent their efforts, especially as they make up such a huge element of the physical convention, from meetups and impromptu photo sessions, to the world-famous Masquerade Ball, traditionally held on the Saturday of the event.

Today, Comic-Con International has revealed, via their Toucan Blog, exactly how the Ball will form part of SDCC@HOME – and it’s going to be in the form of a curated selection of FIFTY video submissions, vying for the categories of Best In Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Best Presentation, Best Group, and Most Humorous. And here’s the fantastic news – it’s looking like anyone from across the globe will get the chance to show off their skills, without all the faff of dragging your creations halfway across the globe.

The only stipulation is, you must have a Tumblr account to upload and submit your entries because someone at CCI seems to think that Tumblr is still a thing. Entries can be in the form of TEN PHOTOS or 1x 45 SECOND VIDEO (groups get a full minute, the attention-grabbing scene stealers). All the rules and regulations are listed below – you have until no later than… MONDAY 13th JULY. Wait, that’s less than a week away! WHAT THE HELL?!! Better start heating up those glueguns, firing up the 3D printers, whipping out those cameras and get your entries in sharpish…

From the Comic-Con International Toucan Blog:

Comic-Con@Home 2020 Virtual Masquerade Costume Competition

Comic-Con@Home 2020 Virtual Masquerade Costume Competition
Celebrating Costuming in the Popular Arts, and the Creativity of Our Attendees

Calling all costumers, this year a page shall be our stage—a webpage that is, a Comic-Con@Home Tumblr webpage of costume entries that our virtual attendees can access and watch your Masquerade entry as a video presentation or a series of photos showcasing your cosplay crafting and presentation talents. We know many of you likely crafted costumes this year for Comic-Con or WonderCon Anaheim or other fan conventions and were extremely disappointed at those cancellations. Comic-Con@Home this year is your opportunity to share your costume creations with Comic-Con viewers all over the world who love to see great fan-made costumes presented with style, character, and imagination. As always, awards for entries deemed the most outstanding will be given in several categories as judged by professional costumers.

Your entry can be a solo costume, or a group entry. Each entry is allotted up to 10 photos or 45 seconds of video time, and groups (remember to practice social distancing) get 15 seconds additional time for each member in the group (maximum of 2 minutes).  A series of several photos are fine, but for those of you who have a hobby of video production, this is your chance to feed two passions at once. You may even include some of your construction process if you like. Whatever you include should be suitable for all ages of viewers.

The Masquerade website will then go “live” on Tumblr for viewing Friday evening, July 23, during the Comic-Con@Home dates (July 22–26), and will remain available online for at least a few months afterward for viewers the world over to enjoy. Your entry will be judged prior to the convention by our panel of guest judges, and winners will be announced on-line on Comic-Con Saturday, July 24.

As per our decades of previous live events, we anticipate that many entries will be solo costumes; others will be groups with a shared theme. Many will be re-creations from movies, TV, anime films, Broadway shows, computer games, history, and of course comic books, but there will also be completely original designs, some never seen before anywhere. All costume genres are welcome, but no purchased or professionally sourced ones are allowed. Our event is a celebration of imagination, creativity, and crafting skills, and fun is the main objective as we recognize the impressive talents and dedication of our convention attendees.

But like our live Masquerades, entries are limited, and we are planning for a maximum of 50 entries, You will need to reserve your contestant spot in this year’s virtual show. To apply for a reserved spot please click here to download, fill out and send the Masquerade Entry Form, or make a facsimile of it with your information, along with one or more evaluation photos, to Masqueradeathome@comic-con.org no later than July 13 (the sooner the better). You can submit an entry form now and submit evaluation photos later, but evaluation photos must be received no later than July 13.  Your photo(s) need not be the final ones you provide for the show and need not show your costume in fully completed form.  If we deem your costume meets the rules and quality criteria for the event, then you will be notified you are accepted and provided more instructions.

Selected, confirmed participants must create a Tumblr blog/account (or use an existing account) by July 13 and share the URL with San Diego Comic-Con.

Accepted contestants will have until July 15 to upload your show-ready video or photos to our Tumblr site. Selected participants will be required to draft a blog post with Masquerade info (this will be a private post to be shared only with Comic-Con for approval). 

A complete, illustrated, and very friendly Tumblr guide specifically for our Masquerade will be sent to those confirmed for a spot in the contest. Uploaded costume videos can be up to but no more than 100MB in size, in MOV or MP4 formats. You can select up to 10 pictures to create a photoset. Each entry is allotted up to 10 photos or 45 seconds of video time, and groups may have an extra 15 seconds additional video time for each member in the group (maximum of 2 minutes). 

Music Usage

If you wish you can include music in your video, however while we pay performance fees for copyrighted music heard at our conventions, our licenses do NOT cover Internet use. This means you’ll need to use “free to use” or “public domain” music only—and there are several Internet sites where you can select and download music to accompany your video entry with no royalties or fees involved. Note that some sites grant free use of their music as long as you credit the composer or source in your video, so be sure to credit them or we will not be able to accept your video. Also, some websites claim “royalty free” or “copyright free” music, but charge fees to download them, so avoid those sites, and search for “free to use” or “public domain” as your best chances for selecting music we can use. For those of you musically inclined, feel free to compose your own. Audio elements of your submission may contain narration, music, interviewing and sound effects, but NO copyrighted music (unless it is your own).

Why is it called a Masquerade and not simply a costume contest or fashion show? Because it is more than just posing on stage, it is about capturing the persona of the character, creating moods, and sometimes a sense of story. The Masquerade reminds us that the creative arts reside in ALL of us, and that among our attendees there’s plenty of amazing talents and creativity worth showcasing. More than a few times over the years we have seen our cosplaying contestants go on to professional costuming careers.

Entry Rules:
  1. Costumes must be of original construction or show significant modification of pre-existing materials. No costumes allowed that are purchased or otherwise obtained from a commercial source. The show is about creativity and craftsmanship, not shopping ability. It is expected that some costumes may include as minor elements some purchased items. As a general rule, at least 75% of your costume must not have been purchased. If it could pass for street clothes, it is not a costume. You need not have made the costume yourself, perhaps a friend or family member did, or was a group effort, but it cannot be purchased from a professional maker.
  2. Category definitions: Re-Creation: A costume copied from a pre-existing design, such as from a movie, comic book, famous artwork, history, etc. Original: A design original to the maker/wearer.  It may be inspired by some work of fantasy, science fiction, mythology, etc., but is not a copy. You must be at least age 18 to participate in this Internet-based event.
  3. Due to the limited number of entries that can participate, costumes accepted for the event must have appropriate quality as determined by our evaluation team, and must show a significant amount of one or more of the following: Quality crafting, innovation, originality, beauty, storytelling aspect, and characterization. They may reject an entry for what it deems inappropriate content, or due to too many purchased items, or because the construction materials or techniques used do not meet the criteria of quality for the show, or from reaching the limit for entries.
  4. Each entry is allotted up to 10 photos or 45 seconds of video time, and groups may have an extra 15 seconds additional time for each member in the group (maximum of 2 minutes). 
  5. Costumes that have appeared in previous San Diego Comic-Con Masquerades or as “Hall Costumes” at our past cons are not allowed, however, costumes that have participated in the past at other fan conventions are welcome in this event. Note that participating in this virtual Masquerade will not disqualify you from participating on stage at San Diego Comic-Con or WonderCon Anaheim in 2021 with the very same costume.
  6. Your Masquerade entry cannot also be also entered in the Comic-Con@Home Cosplay Challenge photo contest (intended for what is usually seen at the con as walk-around “Hall Costumes”). However, contestants may enter a separate costume(s) into the Cosplay Challenge from their Masquerade costume entry, thereby participating in both events.
  7. You are not required to wear your costume yourself; someone else can present it in the virtual contest.  But if it is worn by someone other than you, that person should not be a paid individual, nor may your soundtrack, narration or costume include content that advertises an actual product, service, or website. Music utilized may NOT be copyrighted material!
  8. Entrants agree to allow San Diego Comic Convention to keep and reuse images that you provide for subsequent promotion of our conventions and other future events and will be asked to sign a release form if accepted for the event.

QUESTIONS?  Write to masqueradeathome@comic-con.org

Awards & Prizes:

Beautiful Comic-Con awards, featuring our custom-created Masquerade medallions, will be presented in categories of: Best In Show, Judges’ Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Best Presentation, Best Group, and Most Humorous. We may expand these categories depending on the costumes that are submitted. Our Masquerade award medallions were designed by fantasy artist and illustrator Sue Dawe, and custom crafted by the same maker of the Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

Plus: Any costumed entry winning one of the above Comic-Con award categories will also receive a FREE 4-day membership badge to Comic-Con 2021!No need to deal with the challenge of online membership registration, if you are a winning costume, you will have your badge, Comic-Con’s extra thank you for all your hard work and talent. Complimentary badges are non-transferable, and if a group wins, up to four free memberships will be given.

In addition to the awards listed above, some professional organizations and companies will be participating with their own prizes, and they will be announced in coming days.

Leonard Sultana
Leonard Sultana
Leonard Sultana is a full-time DJ / part-time nerd and is doing his damnedest to swap those around. He is the creator of An Englishman In San Diego, The Convention Collective and a rather nice cocktail involving Dandelion & Burdock.

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