Craftsmanship Rules & Entry

Colossalcon East 2023 Craftsmanship Contest Rules and Guidelines

Please read the following information before submitting using the form found on the bottom of the page!

General Information

The Colossalcon Cosplay Contest is split into two competitions – Craftsmanship and Performance. You can choose to compete in either or both!


All competitors must have an official Colossalcon East badge. This includes attendee, panelist and artists badges. Those with staff badges or guest badges are not allowed to enter the Cosplay Contests.


Craftsmanship and Performance are separate competitions. Participants may enter in both Craftsmanship and Performance and if the judges see that a group has both excellent craftsmanship and excellent performance, they are eligible to win awards in both competitions.


Craftsmanship Competition: You will be judged solely on the construction of your costume in a private, scheduled interview. All costumes must have been made by the entrant. (Shoes and wigs do not need to be made from scratch, but we encourage modifying these items to fit your character!) You will walk onstage to show off your costume.


Performance Competition (skits): You will be going onstage to do some sort of cosplay performance for the audience. Acting, dancing, etc. These take some time and planning to do, but they are a great experience! You do not have to have made your own costume if you are only entering for Performance.



Please email the cosplay staff directly at   if you have questions.


Skill Divisions


A division is simply your placement and competition level. We advise all entrants to enter at the divisions/skill level they feel comfortable at within reason (see below).


Novice Division: This division is intended for those new to making their own costumes or performing on stage and have not competed much, if at all.


No more than 1 major award won previously at a comparable-sized convention or larger for their costumes or performances. These include “Best Of” awards (“Best Overall” or “Best in Class”) only. At your discretion, “Placed Award” (such as a 2nd or 3rd place award) and Honorable Mentions or Judges Awards, do not have to be considered.


Journeyman Division: This division is intended for those who are more experienced with creating their own costumes or performing on stage.


No more than 2 major awards won previously at a comparable-sized convention or larger for their costumes or performances. These include “Best Of” awards (“Best Overall” or “Best in Class”) only. At your discretion, “Placed Award” (such as a 2nd or 3rd place award) and Honorable Mentions or Judges Awards, do not have to be considered.


Master Division: This division is intended for those who have advanced experience with creating their own costumes or performing on stage.


More than 3 major awards won previously at a comparable-sized convention or larger for their costumes or performances. These include “Best Of” awards (“Best Overall” or “Best in Class”) only. At your discretion, “Placed Award” (such as a 2nd or 3rd place award) and Honorable Mentions or Judges Awards, do not have to be considered.


Note: The Cosplay Staff has the right to place a competitor in an appropriate division at their discretion.


All About Craftsmanship Judging (2023 Edition)


Hello everyone! Welcome to the Colossalcon East 2023 Craftsmanship Competition Information page! We are so thrilled to have you join us. I know so many of you are excited to sign up and get more information on our cosplay contest. And we are happy to introduce our cosplay contest rules and guidelines for this year. 


For 2023, Colossalcon East will be using our “Hybrid” Craftsmanship Contest system. 



Contestants will be asked to create a short video of them in costume, fully discussing their construction process in detail. This video will be submitted to the Colossalcon East Staff and will be reviewed prior to the event. On Friday and Saturday of the convention, contestants will have a short appointment to meet with our judges in person for a quick review of the costume and answer any questions that might arise. Awards will then be given out during the Masquerade event. 


You and/or your whole group must have a valid Colossalcon East registration in order to compete. 


Video Requirements

Video Length: MAX 5 minutes. Videos that exceed this time will be subject to disqualification. Videos must be uploaded as an unlisted video on Youtube and a link provided on your entry form. We will not be taking raw file formats. 


Format Shot (for Cell Phones): Please make sure you are holding the phone horizontally/landscape/sideways and film as such. Filming should be in a well-lit area with a simple background so as not to distract from you and your costume. 


Audio: Please make sure your audio is clear and easy to understand. Voiceovers are recommended while showing your costume, but not mandatory.


Must Include the following: 

-Reference shot of the character being portrayed (front and back if possible)

-Front shot of you in full costume. 

-Left and Right side shot

-Back shot

-detail close-ups of elements

-wig details (if applies) 

-prop 360 and close-ups (if applies)

-SLOW 360-degree turn in full costume 

-Three “action”/”in character” poses


This video is your opportunity to discuss your construction in detail with our judges. Tell the judges everything about how you made your costume. 


Things you should talk about include: 

-fabric choices

-construction methods

-any special methods you used to get around a problem in designing the costume. 


We want to hear about every technique, fabric, and process you used to create your project. Please include progress pictures if you have them as all of our judges would love to see your construction. 


Feel free to get creative with how you present your costume to us. You will not be judged on how flashy your video will be, but getting creative with it can make the process a little fun. 


ADVICE FROM THE DIRECTORS: Start from the top of your costume and work your way down. This way, you can hit all the key points on your costume and walk through your details. 


We ask that you do not include any SFX that could alter your costume in any way. Text, lower thirds, or any kind of graphics showing information about the costume are completely fine and encouraged if you can. 


In-Person Judging Check-In

On the day of your judging, contestants will be required to check in with the judges in full competition costume. 


This will be done through a 2-hour block of time that will be announced at a later date. This will give the contestants a chance to meet their judges in person and answer any questions our judges might have after their video submission. 


We will be keeping this timeframe short to keep with social distancing and safety measures. 



The deadline for submissions is Saturday, August 26th by 11:59 pm.


Video FAQs


How long does this video have to be? 

Contestant submissions should be no longer than 5 minutes MAX. This would be the same amount of time you would have in an in-person judging session. Therefore it should be perfectly acceptable for your videos. 


I don’t have a video editing program! What do I do? 

Most computers do have some very basic programs available to use without installing a new program. However, if you are looking for a program, here is a list of some of the best free video editing software:

VSDC (For Windows) 

Movie Maker 10 (For Windows)

iMovie (For Mac) 

Vimeo Create (For iOS and Android) 

OpenShot (For Windows, Mac, and Linux)  

Lightworks (For Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Shotcut (For Windows, Mac, and Linux)

DaVinci Resolve (For Windows, Mac, and Linux) 


I don’t have a camera! What do I do?!

Cell phone cameras are insanely powerful and high quality, these days using that should be just fine. If Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, and Lady Gaga can shoot full music videos on an iPhone, then your phones can do it too! Just take your time and ask for help if you need it. 


So I’m shooting on my phone, how should I hold my phone? 

Horizontal (or sideways) is the best method to film on any phone. This will give you a wider shot and fill the screen or “frame” more. Please make sure that everything is shot horizontally to make sure you are filling the frame. Here is a photo to help remind you:

I get nervous talking on camera. What should I do?  

If you are nervous about talking straight to the camera, maybe try a voice-over instead! You can script your notes and then record your audio to put over your video. Writing out your notes can also help you make sure you include everything you want to say to the judges. You can record your audio using the program Audacity. (For Windows and iOS) 


What is considered “good” lighting?

You don’t have to have a huge lighting setup to create good lighting for your video. Natural light can be your best friend when you are looking for a well-lit area. Try shooting your video outside if you can. Windows are your best friend when finding the best lighting for videos indoors during the daytime. Make sure the window is generally in front of you when filming. This will give you the balanced lighting you’re looking for. 


If you have access to something like a ring light, then please feel free to use it to shoot your work. 


How do I get my files to the computer to edit? 

You can use programs like Dropbox, Google Drive, or even the cloud to upload your clips to a computer. It can take a few minutes to upload, but it can be the most effective method. 


Can I have music in my video? 

You can have music in your video, but please do not make it so loud that we cannot hear you talk about your costume. We want to hear you talk about your work and this is your time to shine! 



My character levitates and shoots fire from their hands. Can I include those in After Effects? 

No. This is about showcasing your costume and construction. Any other visual effects will pull from your work and we just want to see you and your amazing costume. 


Can I share my video publicly before the competition? 

We request that you do not share the video until after the convention is over. These videos are meant for you to give your judges an in-depth description. Once the competition is complete, you may share your video with the world.


Any advice for judging to make this easier? How should I talk about my work?

To help ease nerves and keep your mind calm when discussing your costume for your video or any in-person judging, start from the top of your cosplay and work your way down. So discuss your wig/hair accessories, then go down to the shirt and jacket, etc. Focus on the parts of your costume that you are proud of! I promise that our judges will not bite and are all very nice. 


My costume won’t be finished until super close to the convention. But I still want to enter. What do I do? 


Still submit a video! Even if your costume isn’t completely done, we still encourage you to enter. For anything that isn’t completed, just state in the video that this will be completed for your in-person review. 


Just remember: anything submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.


General FAQ 

  1. Q) Why are you opting to do a hybrid contest rather than a full in-person judging session? 
  1. While this process began due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we discovered that the video judging process was a very effective way to allow our contestants a full, uninterrupted 5 minutes to discuss their work. This also allowed the judges to get a bit more insight into some of the behind the scene processes of our contestants. This, on top of the in-person judging, really gives a very thorough judging process.


  1. Q) Do I have to attend the in-person meeting?
  1. Yes. This is a required part of judging your costume. If you do not show up, you will be disqualified. 


  1. Q) Do I have to show up for this short meeting with the judges in costume? 
  2. A) Yes. The judges would like to see you in your full competition costume at the time of your meeting.


  1. Q) I’ve never competed before! What is my category?
  1. If this is your first time competing, you may technically enter at any level that you feel is appropriate for your quality of work. However, if you are unsure, always start with the Novice category. There is a full breakdown of the categories on our rules page.  


  1. Q) What is a build book? Do I still need one if I’m doing a video? 
  1. A build book is a recap of your construction to present to the judges for in-person judging. This will be a physical book that includes references, in-progress photos, swatches, and any other information you would like to include. (We always love pictures of pet helpers!) Even though you do have a video,  we strongly encourage you to still create a build book. It doesn’t have to be very fancy, but it can really help the judging process. 


  1. Q) Last year I didn’t get my book back. What’s up with that? 
  1. This was an oversight by both our staff and management. And for that, we do apologize. We will be making sure that all books will be returned to their owners during the Green Room time before the Masquerade. 


  1. Q) I just want to walk in the fashion show but I don’t want to compete. How do I do that? 
  1. The fashion show during the masquerade is reserved for our craftsmanship contestants only. If you register for judging and do not show up for your in-person appointment, you will be disqualified and will not be permitted to walk in the show. 


  1. Q) I don’t want to submit a video but I want to compete.
  1. Unfortunately, your spot will be given away to another contestant if a video is not submitted and you will be disqualified. Videos are part of your judging.


Enter the Craftsmanship Contest Here