Cosplay Contest submissions are now CLOSED!
At this time, online Pre-Registration for the Masquerade is closed. However, we have ten slots available for at-convention signups! We will be at the Information Booth on Saturday between 3pm – 4pm taking signups. See you there!
Cosplay Contest Information
The Cosplay Contest is a competitive event where costumed skits that range from comedy to dramatic fight scenes are presented to an audience and judges. Please read thoroughly for all rules and how to enter.
Cosplay Contest Registration
It is our recommendation that you Pre-Register regardless if you are 100% that you want to compete. That way you can ensure your slot in the competition and you will not have to worry the day of the event. Please just extend the courtesy to let the coordinator know that you will not be competing if you drop out.
When: May 6th, Sunday | Time: TBD
Where: Main Events Room
Best in Show $400 + Trophy
1st Craftsman $300 + Trophy
1st Journeyman $200 + Trophy
Novice $100 + Trophy
Judge’s Awards + Certificates also to be awarded.
General Rules- Please read thoroughly
Lvl Up General Rules and Guidelines must be followed at all times.
Online pre-registration is now open!
We will cap the groups at 80 entries. 50 entries will be available for pre-registration and after we hit 50, the remaining 30 will be available for at-convention signups. All entries must purchase tickets to Lvl Up.
Craftsmanship judging times will be done on Saturday and Sunday with the Masquerade taking place Sunday late afternoon in the Cashman Theater.
Individuals will receive 5 minutes, groups will receive 10 minutes.
Any contestant under 18 years of age at the time of the Masquerade, must have their parent or legal guardians sign the appropriate section of the General Release & Waiver Form.
There are four levels: Novice/Journeyman/Craftsman/Youth. Novice is 0-3 Major Awards, Journeyman is 4-6, and Craftsman is 7 and up.
Youth Awards are for those 12 and younger.
Competing “down” (A Craftsman entering as Journeyman for an easier win) is discouraged and will lead to disqualification.
The “strongest” member of the group will have the group entered as that level (One craftsman, two Journeyman, one novice entering will result in the group entering as Craftsman.)
There is a required meeting Saturday morning (Time TBA) for at least one person from each entry to go over stage movement, basic rules, and iron out any details such as music submission not already done online as well as ask questions.
Skit time limits are as follows: Groups are given 3 minutes, walk-ons are sixty seconds. While we do give a bit of leeway, please do not push the time limit. Time will be given for set-up. Going over time will have you disqualified from receiving major awards.
All music is accepted in mp3 audio form. If necessary, we can accept CDs, although mp3 format e-mailed after receiving confirmation is strongly preferred. After your entry is accepted and you have Received an acceptance e-mail then you may e-mail your music in as well. We strongly prefer you have an mp3 file E-mailed as well as a back-up on on a memory stick at convention.
All skits must be PG and tasteful. No shocking, vulgar, or outright offensive performances. There are children in the audience – pleas keep that in mind.
Everything you bring on stage must be taken with you. No confetti, fire/explosives, or jumping off the stage. This is a platform stage, not a theater. If you have any questions over staging, please ask the coordinator. If you have any surprises, ask the coordinator. If you plan on doing any martial arts, gymnastics, hard falls – please consider this is a small platform stage and if it is deemed too risky, that the coordinator may ask you to tone down your skit. And
Costumes must be built by or at least 75% modified by the wearer or designer. No commissioned costumes unless the creator of said costume is entering in the entry.
Any costumes that have won Best in Show or a major craftsmanship award are prohibited unless extensive changes have been made to the costumes with proper documentation.
No live steel or weapons. If you are unsure if a prop is acceptable for the masquerade, please ask security or the coordinator. In order to win a Craftsmanship award or Best in Show, you must attend craftsmanship judging.
Original or alternative take on designs (for example: Halloween Town Riku or Steakpunk Link) are acceptable, but must have strong or obvious references from the series with documentation to back up.
At convention signups will be available Friday afternoon and if slots are available, Saturday morning as well.
Costume references are strongly preferred as it helps showcase the details and work that you have put into your costume in your pursuit for accuracy.
Lying or falsification of costume work will have you banned from the competition and all future Lvl Up Masquerades.
The coordinator’s word is final as is all decisions of the judges. All awards are presented following the Masquerade.
Notes to Consider
Presentation and Craftsmanship combine for the overall decision on the awards.
Originality and unique concepts are something looked upon favorably by judges in both skit execution, choice of series, and costume work.
Costume documentation, from original notes to the building process is valued. The judges are all designers and builders and enjoy the entire creative process.
Clean and simple construction will always trump a busy, sloppy costume. It is more difficult to construct a proper-fitting costumes with fewer details to hide stitchwork and fitting behind than to construction an over-the-top costume that hides construction.
That said, if you have a stellar costume with details and stitching that deserves some notice that isn’t necessarily noticeable, please photo and document! Judges love details!
Q: What awards are there??
A:Honorable Mentions, Judges Awards, 1st/2nd/3rd for Each Division: Novice/Journeyman/Craftsman, Best of Show, and a youth if applicable.
Please note that awards may be toggled depending on turnout.
Q: What should I bring to judging? What’s going to happen?
A: You will basically go into a quiet room with three judges who are all accustomed to not only competing, but have judged as well. You will explain to them how you made your costume with any photos of reference and/or the building process. Focus on the details and try to be thorough but efficient.
Q: What are the judges looking for?
A: Originality, cleanliness, and thinking outside the box. A clean, well-made costume will always trump a flashy
Q: What if I’m running late for my judging appointment??
A: We will do our best to accommodate. The judges have all competed and understand issues and stress to meet deadlines. Please feel free to E-mail if you are concerned and we will do our best to work with you.
Q: If I have questions about judging or how awards went?
A: There is a Q&A/feedback panel on Sunday to voice your concerns to the judges. We are always open to comments and criticisms. At this time you can give your feedback as well as receive feedback on your costume, if you wish.
Q: Are there prizes?
A: Yes. Trophies, Cash, and other prizes!
Best in Show – $500
1st Craftsman – $250
1st Journeyman – $150
1st Novice – $100
Q: What Happens after I send in my Cosplay Registration?
A: After a few days you will get a confirmation that you are in the contest as well as a time for judging and a request for music. After you have sent in your music and received a confirmation that your music was tested and received, you will not hear anything until a few days before the event itself with a full schedule of judging, where to go for the contest as well as confirmation that you will still be in the competition.
Q: Can I compete with a comic book series? League of Legends? Game of Thrones?
A: Yes! All series are open as long as there is a something to compare the sewing work to – you must have a reference for us to judge you against as accuracy is a huge factor in your overall score.
The Judges and Coordinator’s decisions are all final. Our goal is to have a fair and enjoyable experience for all to enjoy.
Cirque du Soleil. Nightclubs. ONE PIECE. Olympians. Red Carpets. Electric Daisy Carnival. Film. Commercials. Music Videos. Jez Roth started sewing at the age of 13 on small crafts and at the local dance studio before falling in love with the art of cosplay at Katsucon 1998.
After many years of competing at anime convention masquerades winning Best in Show 15 times with tailored costumes and heavily choreographed skits, he moved to Las Vegas to work for The Venetian designing the Opera Gowns, eventually landing at Cirque du Soleil’s water spectacular O. Since leaving Cirque, he currently works freelance out of his own studio – creating everything from mermaids that shoot water, Mirrorball Men, and Golden Fairies that contort through the air, designing for events with A-list celebrities such as Kim Kardiashian, Eva Langoria, Snoop Dogg, and DJs such as Benny Benassi, Dash Berlin – his jewelry has even been worn on the red carpet at the Billboard Awards. He has represented the United States at the IOEA Otaku Expo in Japan as a Cosplay Guest and in Canada to choose the Canadian WCS representative for 2016. He believes that the world of costuming is an endlessly fascinating pursuit—from armor to gowns, giant puppetry to monsters. He shares unique events that educate and involve the community (such as Lip Sync For Your Cosplay) and has restructured and organized cosplay events for conventions in his goal to make the competition scene more mainstream. His artistic journey came full circle last year when he was hired as an Artistic Consultant for One Piece: Gold film, working with Toei Animation to give their film a fully realized Las Vegas feel.
Steff Von Schweetz
Steff Von Schweetz has been cosplaying since 2003 with nearly 200 costumes under her belt. She prides herself on being completely self taught in all aspects of the hobby and believes that anyone can cosplay, regardless of skill. Steff has won a handful of awards across the West Coast including Best in Show and Best Advanced Craftsmanship; and has been a guest for major cons including Wizard World and Anime Expo. While she loves to craft and create, Steff’s favorite hobby is annoying people with her love of Neon Genesis Evangelion. She’s excited to be back helping out LVL UP Expo for the third time.
Levi Miles is the regional College Representative for the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), a private, four year applied arts college in California. Before working for FIDM, Levi worked as the Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor and Wardrobe Supervisor for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, as well as in the costume department for Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay. Levi earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Costume Production for Theatre from UW-Milwaukee. He is honored to have been invited to judge the Cosplay Masquerade at LVL-UP Expo!
Denise Davis has a varied career in the theater and in the entertainment field. Thanks to the talents of her mother, she grew up learning at an early age sewing basics and how to run fashion shows. Straight out of college she was recruited to work for Knott’s Berry Farm Halloween Haunt doing costume work, then onwards to working with Mistress of the Dark, Elvira. She soon found herself in Vegas, and worked for Cirque du Soleil as a costume attendant, handling everything from millinery work, costumes, to making leather boots from scratch. Her resume also includes working with Ed Alonzo, Vanessa Williams, and the Pointer Sisters. Denise’s Cosplay Debut was at Katsucon, picking up a “Best in Show” with the ensemble troupe Cirque du Cosplay for a Final Fantasy 9 skit as Queen Stellazio. You also might have seen her as a judge for Aki-Matsuri and Otakon Vegas.