Look what's here early: Masquerade applications.
Seasoned attendees and cosplayers, you already know what the Masquerade is - a chance to bask in your costumed glory before your peers and possibly collect a variety of prizes. Hopeful first-timers, the best way to understand the Masquerade is as a cosplay talent competition and performance. Yes, performance. Participants don't just walk a runaway, they tell a story with their costume and actions.
While participants have to make their own costumes - no recycling your zombie Wonder Woman getup you bought from the local Spirit store last Halloween - the skill level is very high and the whole affair is more elaborate than just a costume party. In fact, some people are operating at a professional level in makeup and costume design and use this as a career springboard.
That isn't to discourage you from having fun with it - just know that you should bring a moderate amount of cosplay game to this.
Now, let's address the whole badge issue. See, to participate you must have a Saturday badge. And quite a few of you have no idea if you'll have a Saturday badge since Open Reg is still weeks away. So SDCC is doing something interesting. If you've been accepted into the Masquerade at least once since 2011 and you get accepted into this one, it COULD be "arranged" that you can buy a 2015 attendee badge even if they are sold out. Only a limited number of Masquerade contestants will get this opportunity.
If you fit into this category, email the Masquerade coordinator. And don't wait for Open Reg before applying if you're ready to go.
Okay, onto what else you need to know to participate:
- Again, no store-bought costumes. Don't cheat.
- Space is limited and not everyone will be accepted.
- You can go solo or do a group theme.
- Typical portrayals are characters and recreations from Hollywood, video games, comics, sci-fi - you get the idea. You can also make something up.
- You can't wear your costume around the Con pre-Masquerade.
- There's an orientation the day of and a practice stage, giving you the opportunity to iron out your music and tech effects and do a dry run.
- The official deadline is 20 June, but you should throw that date right out the window and apply as soon as you can. Last year they were forced to close registration prior to the deadline because of the overwhelming number of entries.
- You still need a Saturday badge.
- Tickets are free and handed out that Saturday starting at noon. People do line up early for this (you're shocked, I know.) But my impression is that the line time and ticket demand have been pretty manageable the last 2 years. If I'm wrong, correct me.
- That's only if you want to watch it live in Ballroom 20. You don't need a ticket to watch it in the overflow rooms on big screens.
Award categories include Best in Show, Judges' Choice, Best Re-Creation, Best Original Design, Best Workmanship, Best Presentation, Most Beautiful and Best Young Fan; every category winner gets a free four-day badge to Comic-Con 2016. If a group wins, up to 4 memberships are awarded. There are also a number of vendors who hand out cash, collectibles and other prizes as well. One of them is new this year - the Will Eisner Spirit of Storytelling Award, which will go to whoever best exemplifies the "art of storytelling."
You can and should read all of the rules and details here.