Main Stage Cosplay Contest
Whether you're new to cosplay, new to contests, or a veteran cosplayer, our Main Stage Cosplay contest is a great way to dip your toe into the waters of cosplay competition and performance. We pride ourselves on being a supportive and helpful community that encourages everyone to follow and work towards even their wildest cosplay dreams (and hopefully become as addicted to cosplay as our cosplay directors are).
You can pre-register for the Main Stage Cosplay Contest online or sign up at the front desk at the convention. All sign-ups are on a first come first served basis, so if you really want to compete, the earlier you sign up, the better! Sign-up for the contest ends at 12:00pm on Saturday at the convention or when the maximum number of contestants is reached. Registration is required for all contestants, even if you are not competing for craftsmanship and just want to be judged for your performance on stage.
- All contestants must be registered attendees of the convention.
- All ages are welcome, but contestants under the age of 10 are put in the Junior Performance category and must be accompanied by an adult in the green room before the contest.
- Staff members and immediate family of staff are not eligible to compete.
- If you have competed at constellation with a cosplay in a previous year, you cannot compete with it again unless it has undergone major alterations and/or you are participating in a higher level division.
- If you have competed with and won a major award (Best in Show/Best in Division) with a cosplay at a larger convention, you cannot compete with the same cosplay in the same division or a lower division.
Cosplay Contest Time Commitments
Friday through Saturday 12PM: Check in with Cosplay Registration at the front desk to confirm your pre-registration. You may also sign up for the contest if you have not already pre-registered online (if there are spots still available). If you did not provide an audio file in your sign-up form, please bring your chosen audio on a usb drive when you check in.
2:00PM--Craftsmanship Prejudging, all Craftsmanship entrants must attend this! (individual time blocks will be assigned at check-in if there are more contestants than expected, otherwise contestants will be called one by one)
3:30PM (half hour before contest)--All contestants must be in the green room by 3:30pm so we can line you up and hide your fabulous cosplays from the audience until you're ready to strut your stuff.
4:00PM--Contest begins. Awards will be given out at the end of the show.
Constellation's Main Stage Cosplay Contest has two different ways to compete: Craftsmanship or Performance Only. You will need to select one when you pre-register for the contest.
- Will be judged on performance of at least a stage walk (think about it like a fashion show where you pose on stage in a few places), but are given the option to perform from 30 seconds up to 3 minutes in a medium of their choice (song, dance, skit, yoyo twirling, etc.).
- You may compete solo or in a group, but no additional stage time will be given for additional members.
- You have the option to provide us with an audio file to play while you perform on stage. This must be attached to the online sign-up form, or provided via USB drive at check-in at the convention. If no audio file is provided, we will provide one for you.
Performance Only: for cosplayers who didn't make their cosplay, but want to be judged on how well they walk on stage and interpret the character, or on the quality of their talent in a performance up to 3 minutes in length. Please do not feel like you have to fill all 3 minutes in order to perform. You CAN participate in this category and just do a 30 second stage walk.
- Any singing acts must provide instrumental or karaoke versions of the song at or before check in.
- All performance acts must attend a rehearsal prior to the show so that we can check to make sure we can provide you with the tech support you need and give you time to see and try out the stage.
- No nudity, crude language, or adult gestures during your performance on stage. This is a family friendly event, so please respect that and use discretion. No matter how in character it is, we don’t want to see it.
- Please refrain from including performance elements that are a danger to yourself or others. These include, jumping off or on stage, performing complex acrobatics, or throwing things from the stage into the audience. If you have an element of your performance you would like to do, but aren’t sure about, please clear it with cosplay staff when you check in.
- Those competing with larger cosplays, those with inhibited eyesight or other disabilities, are encouraged to have a handler with them on stage. The handler’s attire and presence will not affect your score.
- Performance only participants do not have to attend prejudging, but performances longer than 30 seconds need to attend a tech rehearsal.
Craftsmanship: for cosplayers who make their own cosplays. They are judged on the extent, quality, and accuracy of their work as well as their stage presence. Contestants in this category can also do a stage performance up to 3 minutes if they wish, but are only required to do a stage walk. Mostly purchased cosplays cannot compete in this category. It is not required that you make 100% of your cosplay (because, come on, who makes shoes?), but the more of your cosplay you make, the better your score will be, so shoot for at least 50% made by you. It is okay to have received help while making it, but if it was completely or primarily made by someone else, they must be present with you in order for you to compete. Competitors in this category must come to the prejudging session to talk the judges through what parts of the cosplay were made and how.
- Craftsmanship Prejudging: Each contestant will be given a set amount of time (3 minutes for Beginners, 7 for Experienced, Groups get either 3 or 7 minutes per person in cosplay) to talk with the judges, so think through what you want to say beforehand, or even make a list so you make sure you don’t forget anything when the jitters inevitably hit you.
- Contestants must be in full costume and have any props with them. If the costume is being worn by someone other than the maker, both the maker and model must be present for prejudging.
- Contestants should NOT be in character at this time. This is time to explain your work, not show off how much you can be like your character. Please save that for your stage performance.
- Craftsmanship contestants are also encouraged to bring progress pictures of their work, either digitally or in print, and may be asked to produce a progress picture to prove they made part of their cosplay.
- If you miss prejudging, you will not be able to compete in the craftsmanship portion and will be moved to the Performance category only.
- Passing other people's work off as your own is plagiarism and will immediately disqualify you from winning any prizes, and put your name on a watchlist for future contests. Trust that our judges are absolutely smart enough to catch you at it during prejudging questions. So, please, respect your fellow contestants and the work they have put in, and just don’t. Thanks.
- Junior: contestants under the age of 10. Junior contestants are not eligible for Craftsmanship Awards, or Best-in-Show, but all receive participation awards and could additionally win a Performance Award.
- Performance Only: contestants are judged on the quality of their time spent on stage and ability to perform (act, sing, dance, be in character, play the saxophone, etc.) How accurate your cosplay is could impact your score as costuming is an important part of performance, but you will not be judged on your ability to make your costume yourself. Performance only contestants are not eligible for Best-in-Show.
- Beginner Craftsmanship: contestants who have never competed in a craftsmanship contest before, or have competed before as a beginner but have never won a major award.
- Experienced Craftsmanship: contestants who have competed as a beginner and won a major award, or competed in a more advanced category without winning, or who might never have competed before, but possess professional level skills that put them ahead of other beginner level sewers or prop builders.
- I Don’t Know?: if you can't figure out your category from the list above, then mark this and we will help put you in the correct category when you check in at the convention. We understand this can be confusing, and we're happy to help! You are always welcome to try competing in a higher level than these rules state you’re qualified for, but not a lesser one.
Possible Awards: The judges are able to award any of the following, but are not required to do so if there are no contestants that fit that category.
- Best-in-show: The best overall contestant in terms of craftsmanship and stage presence.
- Best Experienced Craftsmanship
- Best Beginner Craftsmanship
- Best Performance
- Best Stage Walk
- Best Prop
- Judge's Choice Awards: these awards are entirely at the discretion of each judge and have no definite set of criteria. Usually these are given to contestants who deserve a shout-out for something that doesn’t apply to a specific award, or that appeal to that judge in particular. Judges are not required to give a Judge’s Choice award.
The following are not allowed on stage:
- Live animals
- Aerosol sprays
- Small scatterable items such glitter, confetti, or silly string
- Projectiles of any kind.
- Heavily strobing or flashing lights.
- No pyrotechnics will be allowed including but not limited to: fire, flash powder, explosives, smoke bombs or fireworks.
- Entries that could potentially damage the convention center facilities, other participants or the wearer
- All prop weapons must be cleared and peace bound by convention prop check staff prior to competition. Metal weapons must be peacebound in the sheath and may not be brandished on stage. You are expected to act responsibly with your prop weapon. Please see the convention’s prop weapon policy for any further clarification.
The Cosplay Director, and convention management, have the right to eliminate any entry from the competition on the basis of appropriateness, public interest, taste, risk or hazard to the audience, the venue, the entrant, other entrants, violation of any of the above rules, or for any other reason deemed sufficient in the cosplay director's sole discretion.