Cosplay Rules & Regulations

Hi there!

Welcome to the rules for the Supanova Cosplay Competition. Now, you’re here because you want to join in the fun right? Awesome! We’re looking forward to it! But you will need to read all of the following rules. Breaking any of these rules may result in you not being in the competition. And we wouldn’t want that right? Read on! If you have any questions after reading the rules, please email us:


1 What do I need to do before the competition?

Now before the day of the competition arrives, there are a few things that you should do in advance. This is to ensure that you have as much of a stress free day as possible, as well as a smooth run in competing. Preregistering will help in securing you a spot in the competition.

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1.1 How do I pre-register?

Pre-registration is the preferred method of registration for the Supanova Cosplay Competition as the competition will almost always be filled by pre-registered cosplayers, making on-the-day registration a rarity. We wouldn’t want you to miss out, so if you can, always pre-register.

You will need to fill out the online form found on the Registration Page.

Please be aware that if you do not fill out the form correctly, you may not be registered. Also for groups, everyone needs to fill out the registration form individually, just make sure the group name is the same. And remember that you can only enter a costume once during a weekend.

Pre-registrations for each city close one week before the event. If you pre-register after that date, you will not be pre-registered. This is regardless of any confirmation emails you get, that’s just how the system works at the moment.

Pre-registrations for each city generally open two months before the event, and close one week before the event, unless filled to capacity prior.

1.1.1 – Reserve List for Pre-Registration

Any entry received via the online form after pre-registration has closed will be added to the reserve list, regardless of any confirmation received. This does not guarantee you a place in the competition.

To confirm your reserve place, please visit Cosplay HQ on the day between 10AM and 12PM. When check-in closes at 12PM, any pre-registered contestants that have not checked in will be replaced by people on the reserves list in order of entries received, upon which at 1PM a list will be published showing which reserve list places have made it into the competition.

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1.2 What categories can I win?

Prizes for the Supanova Cosplay Competition are provided by our sponsor, Madman Entertainment. Per show, up to $3,000 of Madman Entertainment vouchers are up for grabs ($1,500 per day).

Our competition has various different prize categories, which will be decided upon by a panel of judges. These are:

  • Best In Show – Awarded to the one entry in the competition which stands above all the rest! There’s no specific criteria for this award, so give it your all!
  • Best Cosplay – Awarded for both quality of costume and portrayal of the character (i.e. Costume play).
  • Best Craftsmanship – Awarded for quality of costume, this is for those that are serious about their costume making!
  • Best Performance – Awarded for the most engaging or entertaining performance (skit) during the competition.
  • Best Group – Awarded for both quality of costume and character portrayal within a group entry.
  • Judges Award – Awarded for an act that the judges feel deserves recognition, but isn’t quite at the level of the other categories.

Please note that the only category that can be selected at the time of registration is Best Performance, as it relies on a performance (skit) being nominated on the registration form.

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1.3 What costumes can I wear?

Depends on what your costume is. Remember that this is a family oriented event. If it is too risqué or deemed inappropriate, you will be withdrawn from the competition and told to change. If you refuse to do so, you will be removed from the convention without refund.

It is in your best interests to make sure that you do not, and will not be possible to, have any wardrobe malfunctions. And use some common sense. If you’re wearing a super short skirt and don’t want to flash people, wear some shorts underneath, etc. You’re most likely going to be photographed. And you don’t want all your friends on Facebook seeing your underwear right?

If you have worn your costume for any other competition at any convention and have won an award, you will not be able to win in this competition.

If you are unsure if your costume will be ok, or if your costume is not from a published series (i.e. Original Characters), please contact Cosplay HQ via email prior to entering.

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1.3.1 Can I buy my costume?

You can buy your costume, but the only category that you will be eligible to win is the Best Performance category. We prefer it if you make your costume yourself, or if a bought costume has been significantly altered. Please contact Cosplay HQ via email prior to entering if you are unsure.

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1.4 Will my weapons or props get confiscated?

Any weapons or props that are over 1 metre in length will need to be checked in at the Weapons check in. This is next to the Cosplay HR. This is for everyone’s safety as the venue can get very crowded. You wouldn’t want sharp tips or pointed parts stabbing into you right?

Staff my ask to examine your weapons or props at any time and may ask you to check them in. Please ensure that your props aren’t metal, as metal props (such as swords and replica guns) may be illegal to carry in public (please check state and federal weapons laws if you are unsure).

If you are found to be carrying illegal weapons, the appropriate authorities will be contacted. Please also refer to our Weapons Policy.

Don’t be afraid to check your weapons or props in though, as you can take them out again to take photos or enter the competition. If you are still unsure if your weapons or props will be ok, please email us.

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1.5 What do I have to do for a performance?

You don’t actually have to do a performance at all if you don’t want to. If you are comfortable with performing, then this is a good opportunity to add to your cosplay. Performing in character will always reinforce your cosplay and make you more believable in your portrayal of your character.

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1.5.1 How long can my performance be?

We have a limit of 2 minutes per performance. If your performance runs longer than 2 minutes, you will be cut off without warning and will be disqualified from the performance category.

You don’t have to perform for the entire duration of 2 minutes. We suggest that you keep your performance to be as brief as possible. This will ensure that your performance is punchy and highly entertaining, doesn’t drag on longer than it needs to; and most importantly, impresses the judges.

If you do however need more than 2 minutes for your performance, please contact Cosplay HQ via email with a detailed description of your skit and why you need more than 2 minutes. If you are granted an exemption to perform for longer than 2 minutes, please note that you will still be ineligible to win the Best Performance category.

Please also note that regardless of the size of your group, be it 5 or 20 people, you still need to adhere to a maximum of 2 minutes for your performance.

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1.5.2 Can I do a performance about anything?

You aren’t limited when it comes to what to do a performance about, be it a deep reflective monologue, a comedy routine or a song and dance routine; however please be mindful that Supanova is a family oriented event so please keep any content to a PG level. If it wouldn’t be appropriate for a 10 year old to watch your performance, please rework your performance accordingly.

We want you to have entertaining performances that surprise the judges and audience, but don’t surprise us. If you are planning on something that’s different, please contact Cosplay HQ via email prior to registering.

Things such as explicit nudity, sexual activity regardless of gender, gratuitous violence, drug use, advertising etc. are considered to be inappropriate. This will not be tolerated. Inappropriate behaviour on or off the stage will result in disqualification from the competition and you can possibly be removed from the convention without refund.

No fire, flash powder, lasers, explosives, smoke, or open flame of any kind will be allowed. If your performance has flashing lights that could cause an epileptic fit, please contact Cosplay HQ via email prior to the convention.

Please realise that people will be watching your performance and may not understand or appreciate your sense of humour. The best way to have a positive impact on the judges and audience is to ensure your performance can reach everyone, whilst being true to your character.

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1.5.3 What is the size of the stage?

Unfortunately we usually don’t know the size of the stage until the weekend (things can change with the build due to available resources, available space and other adhoc restrictions). That said, if you’re planning on utilising space for added dynamics to your performance, we suggest trying to keep it as tight as possible, with room to adjust to a larger space if we’re lucky enough to get it.

Make it your mission to swing by the cosplay stage and have a look at the stage yourself to see how large it is. It is your responsibility to do this as we won’t be reminding you to do so.

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1.6 Can I have music or video with my performance?

Indeed you can. For video, please refer to the technical requirements in section 1.6.2. For audio, all performance dialogue must be pre-recorded, as no microphones will be given. Then just lip sync it like all the pop stars do. Don’t forget to practice a couple of times beforehand so you look your best on stage.

This also ensures that the judges and audience can actually hear what you’re supposed to be saying, which provides a much more entertaining performance. For recording of performance audio, Audacity is a good free program to start with if you’re stuck for one.

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1.6.1 How do I give you the file for my performance?

Don’t email us the file for your performance. All your files must be on a USB flash drive. We will reject your files if they are on other devices or media, e.g. iPhones, CDs, SD cards, hard drives.

Make sure you bring it on the day that you’re competing in the competition. Once you check in at the Cosplay HQ, you will need to make sure that your file is processed by staff at the same time. We will not take any files that are handed in later than 2 hours before the competition.

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1.6.2 What are the technical requirements for the files that I hand in?

For audio:

– MP3 format only

– No more than 2 channel audio (Mono or stereo only)

– Encoded files must be between (and including) 128 kbps and 320 kbps

– Recorded audio sample size must be 16-bit

– Audio files must be normalized

– Audio files submitted must be below 10 MB

For video:

– Same rules apply for audio

– H.264, WMV9 (or higher), DivX or XVid compression

– Accepted containers: .AVI .WMV .MP4

– Video resolution has to be one of the following: 640 x 480 (VGA), 800 x 600 (XVGA), 854 x 480 (480p) or 1280 x 720 (720p)

– Video sample size must be 24-bit

– Frame rate must either be 30 fps or no less than 20 fps.

– Video bitrate should be no more than 2.5 mbps or no less than 1 mbps.

– Video MUST NOT be interlaced

– Video files submitted must be below 250 MB

If you use Windows Movie Maker; after encoding your video file, you can usually check the specifications of the file by right clicking and selecting ‘Properties’. Select the ‘Summary’ tab and then click the ‘Advanced >>’ option to reveal the specifications. If you can, try test running your finished file in VLC player on OSX.

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2 What do I need to do on the day?

So you’ve now completed your awesome costume, trekked from home to the con, finished the line ride, and you’re now ready to rock. Huzzah! If you’re doing a performance, make sure you’ve brought your files on your USB flash drive. Now what do you do?

You will need to make sure you head to the Cosplay HQ as soon as possible to complete your pre-registration for the day’s competition by checking in. This will make sure you have a spot in the competition. You will have to check in before 12 noon. If you arrive later than this time you will forfeit your spot and not be accepted into the competition.

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2.1 How do I check in on the day?

You will need to check in on the day that you’re in the competition. Head over to the Cosplay HQ and line up. Make sure you check that you’re in the right line. Sometimes there’s a line for on the day registrations and you don’t want to be standing around wasting time right? You’ll go through the line ride and mark off your name and hand in skit files if you have any. Done! Easy right?

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2.2 I haven’t pre-registered. How do I register on the day?

Registrations for the Cosplay Competition will only be accepted on the day in the event that pre-registration has not completely filled the competition. Supanova recommends that cosplayers pre-register online (see section 1.1) in order to secure a space in the competition.

If spaces are available, registrations can be accepted over at Cosplay HQ from 10AM on the day. This is strictly on a first come, first served basis and will be available until either 12pm or no more spaces are available, whichever comes first.

In the event that the competition has been filled, you can opt to be a part of the reserves list. Being placed on this list does NOT guarantee you a place in the competition. When check-in closes at 12pm, any pre-registered contestants that have not checked in will be replaced by people on the reserves list in order of entries received, upon which at 1pm a list will be published showing which reserve list places have made it into the competition.

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2.3 But my weapons and props are awesome, why can’t I swing them around?

Because you will hit someone. And that’s no fun. As you can imagine, the convention gets rather crowded, and any big or sharp weapons and props can potentially poke someone’s eye out, or do some damage one way or the other. We have a Weapons policy and any large weapons or props will need to be checked in at the Weapons Check in desk. Which is right next to the Cosplay HQ. Convenient right?

Don’t worry though, you can check out your weapons at any time for photos or when it’s time for the competition. If you think about it, it’s better for you as you don’t have to carry around something huge and can enjoy the convention.

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3 What do I do during the competition?

It’s time for the competition! There are a few things you should know to make your competition experience as enjoyable as possible.

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3.1 Where do I go for marshalling?

You will be told where marshalling is when you check in at registration. Marshalling occurs half an hour before the competition starts. Please note that competitions usually do not start at the same time. It is your responsibility to make sure to check your event guide for when your competition starts. When marshalling begins, please listen carefully to and cooperate with the marshal so you can be ordered quickly, and then you can chat with each other.

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3.2 How do I make sure I don’t hurt myself? Or others?

Since you will have your weapons and props, please make sure you don’t swing them around or poke anyone while waiting to get on stage.

If you’ve been reading these rules thoroughly (which you should be ;D), you would also know to go and check out the stage to know the size and other restrictions.

Supanova accepts no responsibility for any injuries you may sustain. If you do any fight or acrobatic sequences, you do so at your own risk.

Please also make sure if you use any props to take them with you once you’re heading off the stage. Do not use anything that will create a mess on the stage that you can’t clean up.

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3.3 I’m all ready to be super, but why doesn’t my skit work?!

Did you follow the technical requirements in section 1.6.2? If so it should work fine. We’ve had plenty of cases where the files handed in did not play audio, or video, or either. You should test your file to see if it works in VLC player on OSX. If you did follow the requirements exactly, then there may be a glitch with the system. But don’t worry, please be patient and we will restart the file if need be.

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3.4 Can I kill the host?

No. Unless they let you. And even then you will need to be gentle. If we find that you inflict any harm on our host, you will be held accountable for it, and will report you to the appropriate authorities. Our host may choose to interact with you in one way or another. If you aren’t comfortable with being interviewed by our host, please let us know when you check in so we can make a note of it.

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3.5 What am I being judged on?

There are a few categories that you can win, which you’ll find up in section 1.2. Please note that the judges’ decision is final. The judges do not need to disclose how they arrived at their decision. Although there are prizes to be won, please remember that everyone is here to have fun. Please remember to have fun yourself, and to not ruin anyone else’s time. If you do otherwise, you will be removed from the convention without refund.

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3.5.1 I did this awesome K-Pop dance in my costume. Why didn’t I win best cosplay?

Cosplay is essentially costume play. It will depend on the accuracy of your costume, the accuracy of your portrayal of the character and general attitude. You may have the best Batman costume ever created, but you wouldn’t see him doing a K-Pop dance would you? The performance should be relevant to the character’s personality.

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3.5.2 I make better outfits than Versace. Why didn’t I win best craftsmanship?

There are many ways a costume can be constructed, and although you may be the best tailor in the universe, someone else may have created a more impressive costume that makes them look exactly like the character they are cosplaying. It’s about the impact of the costume.

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3.5.3 My group had over 9000 people in it. Why didn’t we win best group?

Yeah heard the saying quality over quantity? Best group is a result of everyone looking good as their characters, portraying their characters and interacting with each other accurately.

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3.5.4 My performance was awesome and full of epic lols. Why didn’t I win best performance?

What you find funny may not be what everyone else finds funny (especially the judges). Someone else may have performed a breathtakingly performance that accurately brings the character to life. I suggest if you plan on doing a performance, make sure you think long and hard about the purpose. If you’re trying to win the competition, then this will serve you well.

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4 What if my costume is busted on the day?

Supanova now has a Cosplay Repair Station which can be found at Cosplay HQ. Our skilled team is able to assess and repair your costume, give you quality advice, and get you out and ready for your photo shoots and onto the stage for the competition.

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