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Cosplay Contest

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Sakura-Con 2019 Cosplay Contest Official Rules

Come see your favorite characters come to life on stage!  The Sakura-Con Cosplay Contest is a competition for Costume Construction and Cosplay Skits — a showcase of costumes and stage talent, open to Cosplayers of all levels and abilities.  This is not a Popularity Contest or a Look-like Contest. You may choose to sign up for Craftsmanship Only (Walk-on), Skit Only, or Skit AND Craftsmanship (limit one entry per individual).   Craftsmanship Entries will be evaluated on quality of of construction, accuracy, and attention to detail. Skit Entries will be evaluated on entertainment value, stage presence, and audio quality.  

For any questions regarding the rules and sign-up details, please contact the Cosplay Coordinator* at cosplay@sakuracon.org

*Cosplay Coordinator and staff have the final say on rules. Failure to comply may result in disqualificaon.  SakuraCon and ANCEA are not responsible for any damage or loss to a prop or costume brought on-site.

Contest Format/Time Requirements

Participating in a Cosplay Contest requires time commitment for the show itself, but also at other times during the convention.  Be prepared to devote the necessary time during the weekend to attending judging sessions (for craftsmanship entries), rehearsal, and possible pre-show meetings/check ins.

Each entry choosing to undergo craftsmanship judging will sign up for a judging time-slot for friday of the convention. You will be expected to show up on time for your block.  If you are unable to due to circumstances out of your control, you must notify the coordinator as soon as possible to determine if accomodations can be made. All contestants will be required to attend the other scheduled meetings.  This is to make sure that the show runs smoothly!

General/All Entries Rules

    • All contestants must  be registered attendees of Sakura-Con and possess a Sakura-Con Convention Badge.   
  • All costumes and skits must adhere to the Sakura-Con policies. No live steel, no functioning or previously functioning projectile weapons, no indecent exposure, etc… please see Sakura-Con policies for a complete list.  Additional rules (listed below) also apply.

    • This is a SC-13/PG-13 event – please keep this in mind when planning your skit/or performing on stage. No cursing will be permitted, and any innuendo must have an equally obvious non-suggestive interpretation.  If you are unsure whether something is allowed or not, please email cosplay@sakuracon.org.  
  • Each contestant may only appear on stage in a single entry, whether this is a skit or walk-on.  

  • Only contestants appearing on stage (including cosplayers and ninjas) are allowed to be in the green room/backstage during the show. Contestants with very large or unwieldy costumes, or other special circumstances will be allowed to bring one (1) handler with them, but must notify the cosplay coordinator. Parents/Guardians may accompany participants whose age requires them to be under supervision according to SakuraCon policy.

    • All sign-ups are Online Only — No Entries will be accepted for the show or wait-list at the convention.   Applications will be accepted until Thursday, March 28th. If all slots fill before then, entries received after hitting the entry cap will be placed on a waiting list.  If any confirmed entries drop, places will be offered to those on the waitlist on a first-come-first-serve basis.
    • You must have some kind of foot covering. Shoes or boots are required. Be aware of safety concerns. If your character does not wear shoes the lack of accuracy will be forgiven; consider flesh-toned or clear shoes.
    • Substances that are not permitted on stage are anything that may cause damage or mess to the stage, equipment, or other entrants costumes.  This includes but is not limited to anything oily, greasy or that can stain, liquids, fire, smoke/smoke machines, dry ice, confetti/powder/small debris.  If you are unsure, please ask the cosplay coordinator.
    • Surprise the audience, but never surprise the staff/crew — No jumping on or off stage— Any ‘surprise elements’ must be run by the cosplay coordinator and approved.   Violating this may result in disqualification from future SakuraCon cosplay contests. When in doubt, ask.
    • At time of sign up, all contestants will be required to set up and link to a file share folder — Google Drive is prefered, but DropBox or One Drive are also acceptable.  This will be where you will submit any files/documentations requested/applicable to your entry (Audio, Skit Scripts, etc.) — though you do not have to submit them at the time of your signup, all Audio for Skits and Walk Ons is due no later than Friday, March 29th (one day after sign-ups close)
  • All contestants are required to attend any tech rehearsal, pre-meetings or on-site check ins at the convention. Day and times will be announced as the convention approaches. Failure to comply will result in a disqualification.


For those entering in Craftsmanship, there will be (2) portions: the Prejudging portion and the Stage portion (as either a Walk-On or Skit).

Costumes will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Execution – How well the costume is constructed.

Accuracy – How close the costume is to the source material.

Complexity – How wide the range of skills used in the project, and the difficulty level of those techniques.

Creativity –  Design choices, use of unusual materials, personalized embellishments, etc.

Costume Contest 2019 Judges Bio Page

The Prejudging portion will take place on Friday of the convention during a time slot that you will sign up for. During judging, contestants will display their costumes to a panel of judges, where they will have a chance to inspect the costumes and props from a close distance. Contestants will be evaluated one entry at a time.  Individuals will be granted 5 minutes, while groups will be granted a minimum of 5 minutes, up to 10 minutes depending on the size of the group.

Costumes must be made by the contestant, or in the case of groups, must be made by someone in your group.  You may model a costume for someone else, but the creator of the costume must be present for prejudging to answer questions about the costume build.   Commissioned costumes, Pre-made Purchased costumes, or Costumes made from assembling purchased pieces (“Closet Cosplay”) are not eligible for Craftsmanship evaluation/awards.   These types of costumes are only permitted to participate in Skits.

  • Craftsmanship Entries may be either Individual, or as a group.
        • Individual entries will be judged on the quality and craftsmanship of a single costume (including props and accessories).
      • Group entries may have 2 to 10 cosplayers.  They will be judged based on the quality and craftsmanship of the group as a whole. In other words, the entire group will receive a single score.
    • All entries, Individual or Group will register under ONE of the following categories.  Groups must enter under the category of their most experiences group member:
        • Novice: You or anyone in your group has never won a contest, or have entered fewer than three (3) contests before.
        • Journeyman: You or anyone in your group has won an award in the past, have participated in more than three (3) contests before, or have made more than 8 costumes.  
      • Masters: You or anyone in your group has won an award in intermediate or higher at any convention, or have made more than 20 costumes. Anyone who does cosplay work professionally (such as commission work, selling pre-made costume accessories, or works for industry events) MUST enter at Master Level.  It is also open to anyone who feels they belong there.
    • Judges reserve the right to adjust your category if they deem that your cosplay was entered at a level too far below the appropriate category.  
    • Costumes and props must be at least 75% made by the entrant
      • Found parts or props are allowed, though they must not comprise more than 25% of the costume, and must be disclosed at time of judging. (eg: shoes that were painted or covered, tights or simple gloves, a purchased undershirt or pants that were modified in some way, are all types of items that may be permitted, as long as 75% of your costume is home-made.)
    • Entrants may not enter a costume which fits any of the following:
        • Has been entered at a previous Sakura-Con cosplay contest.
        • Has won an award in Masters or Best in Show at any convention.  (Novice and Journeyman award winners from other conventions may be entered, at the level above the award received.)
      • Costumes made by someone else — the exception is that you may model for someone else only if the maker of the costume is present for craftsmanship judging.   
  • At the time of pre-judging, entrants must bring the following with them:  
      • At least 2 printed color reference images of each costume. Digital will not be accepted.  We recommend that at least one be a full-body shot.  Exceptions will be made where only one image exists (i.e. an artbook illustration or promotional art).   
    • At least 5 printed color progress pictures of each costume.  Digital will not be accepted.    

The Stage portion will take place on Saturday, at an exact time TBD. During the walk-on or skit, entrants will either perform a skit (further rules below) or walk across the stage to a piece of pre-selected audio.  Walk Ons are limited to 30 seconds.   All walk-ons MUST be Craftsmanship Costume Entries.  Audio must be submitted Digitally in MP3 format via file share by March 29th, 2019.  All Skit entries are subject to additional Skit Rules.

Any questions regarding the rules or application process can be directed to cosplay@sakuracon.org

Skit Rules

Those choosing to enter a skit may do so with or without craftsmanship judging.  Skits will be judged based on the quality of the performance, including entertainment value, stage presence, and audio quality/clarity.  Purchased, Commissioned or Closet Cosplay costumes will be permitted in skit entries, but they will not be eligible for Craftsmanship Awards.  

    • There are no levels in the Skit category — Skits will all be evaluated equally, with awards handed out based on Genre (example: Drama, Comedy, Dance).  The judges will determine the category that best fits your performance when they deliberate.
    • Skits are limited to 3 minutes and should be planned with this limit in mind.  If this limit absolutely cannot be met, up to 3 minutes and 30 seconds may be allowed on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the cosplay coordinator.  Anything over that will NOT be accepted. Please email cosplay@sakuracon.org with questions.
    • There will be a maximum of 15 groups allowed for the Skit Category.  Once this fills, the rest will be placed on a wait list. If a confirmed entry drops, the space will be offered to those on the waitlist on a first-come-first-serve basis.
    • Groups are limited to 10 persons, including stage ninjas. (No stage ninjas will be provided at the convention, so if you need assistance with your skit you will need to provide your own)
    • All audio for your skit must be pre-recorded; there will be no microphones available for your use.  Audio must be submitted by Friday, March 29th in MP3 format only.  This must be submitted digitally into the file-share folder you provided at time of sign-up (Google Drive is prefered, but DropBox and One Drive are also acceptable)
    • Custom lighting Cues during the run of the skit will not be permitted.  You are limited to when your lights come up (before or after you are on stage) and when your lights go down (After you’ve exited, or while still on stage) — Please note these in your Script Submission.
  • Skits must be screened for general content. Some time before your audio submission, please provide a ‘script’ in your digital file-share folder, including any of the following which applies to your skit:  Dialogue, general blocking (IE: Character A sword fights with Character B), and your choice of starting/ending lighting cues. For Dance-Focused performances, you may simply note the style of dance (IE: Belly Dancing, Ballet, etc) or in the case of dance-covers, provide a link to video of the original choreography.  The Cosplay Coordinator may ask for additional information or clarification. If there is anything questionably against the rules or deemed inappropriate, you may be asked to make changes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!


It is up to the contestant to state any possible conflicts of interest. Such conflicts will be evaluated by the cosplay coordinator, and appropriate action will be taken at the discretion of the cosplay coordinator and sakura con staff.

All awards are final. Poor sportsmanship may result in disqualification and barring from future contests.

Harassment of judges or staff, or any conduct that violates the Sakura-Con policies may result in disqualification and barring from future contests. Further action may be taken at the discretion of programming staff.

Have fun and happy crafting!

Cosplay Contest Application Form