We are planning to hold a Maskerade Parade on the Saturday evening during the Gaudy Night Gala Dinner1. This will be an opportunity for attendees to show off their best Discworld costume and also perhaps entertain us with a brief Discworld sketch or dance. Wizard costumes are not required – you may dress as any character or creation from Discworld or Terry Pratchett’s other works.
We are planning a Undergraduate category (up to 16) and a Post-Graduate category (over 16). There will be prizes for each category, as well as an overall “Best Costume” award and trophy for the entire convention. This is awarded at the closing ceremony and is separate to the Maskerade.
The Maskerade is run by our kind sponsors The Australian Costumers’ Guild who are also donating the prizes.
This is a fun event performed in front of other Pratchett fans, and the rules are there to ensure your enjoyment and to minimise personal risk.
Here are the details!
Our Master(s) of Ceremonies will introduce each contestant. If there are any particular details you want mentioned (perhaps something about the character or anyone who helped you with the costume) please include this on the application form. Each individual performance should be a maximum of 2 minutes long. However, where there are several of you performing a piece together, we can be more flexible on performance time.
It would help our Maskerade Team if you could complete and send in your application form. in advance. You can specify if you will bring a particular sound track for your piece.
There will be a Maskerade Briefing Session on Saturday before the actual event, at which we will take you through how the event will run, where you will need to be and the running order. So we need your entry forms to be handed in by 12pm on Saturday so the rehearsal can be run on Saturday afternoon. The exact time of the rehearsal will be available in the convention timetable which you will be given on arrival.
The overall length of the Maskerade will depend upon how many entrants we have. At the end we plan to run an “official” photography session, where other fans can take pictures of your fantastic costumes, while our judges reach their decisions. We may also take a documentation picture of each contestant, for use by the judges.
Rules and Suggestions (Provisional)
Note: these Rules may be subject to change and clarification before the event.
- Strong Suggestion: Please limit your presentation to 60 seconds or less. It’s longer than you think. Brevity is the soul of wit. Large groups or more complex performances may need a bit more time.
- Clarification: The “Contestant” can be one person or a team consisting of designers, makers, and models. Everyone who worked on the costume presentation should be given credit on the signup forms.
- Rule: No fire or flame allowed on-stage. The Maskerade is indoors. It’s a convention centre safety thing. Small sparks will not be considered fire, but please have your effect vetted by the Maskerade director.
- Rule: Thou shalt not slime thy neighbour! No messy substances (wet, dusty, oily, sharp, etc.) that might damage the venue or interfere with other contestants will be allowed.
- Rule: Wholly purchased or rented costumes will not be eligible for any prizes, but are welcome as a Display Only item. You may use some purchased parts in a competition entry, but the overall costume is to be fan-made.
- An original arrangement of variously obtained parts (charity store costuming) counts as a fan-made costume. Creative shopping is a costuming skill.
- For example, a Death with a store-bought mask or scythe would be okay if he built his own robes. He’d certainly impress the judges more if he did build the skull. A guardsman or barbarian hero is not really expected to have forged his own sword.
- If a friend or relative made your costume (for love not money), it’s still fan-made. Please make sure the maker’s name is included on your signup forms. Any awards belong as much to the maker as the wearer.
- If you have a store-bought costume that you’d like to show, or a cosplay sketch to perform using professionally made costumes, you are very welcome here. Just be sure to note this on the application form. Sometimes a presentation has one person in a purchased costume to set up the performances of the “real” contestants. Just tell the judges, “We’re using him as a prop.”
- Rule: The Maskerade is rated M. There will be children present and it’s not our job to teach them the facts of life. Please, no more skin than beach-legal at a non-French beach. Please, no deliberately offensive language, disturbingly violent or serious gross-out action in your performance. Don’t make anyone lose their dinner.
- If you have an idea that sounds good, but might be over the top, please talk to the Maskerade Team first. We have a fairly open idea of what constitutes an M rating and how an idea might be made to work. This rule applies when preparing as well as the performance. Please show discretion and respect for others when you change clothes. No mooning the kiddies!
- Audience Rule: No flash photography during the presentations. Flashes are very distracting to the contestants and audience. A sudden, dazzling light can cause a contestant to trip and fall. Non-flash pictures are okay. Posed pictures can be arranged off-stage with permission of the individual contestants.
- Law of Nature: Stuff Happens. Yes, some of your plans may go wrong here in the real world, particularly if your presentation has complicated cues or a lot of tech. Murphy was a prophet. Please stay calm and handle it with grace. Don’t let self-imposed stress or a hot temper ruin the experience for you and those around you.
- Firm Rule: Keep the action on the designated stage area. Weapons, stunts, and special effects must be approved in advance by the Maskerade Director.
- If the weapon and its presentation have not been cleared, you will be disqualified from competition. This is a safety thing. We like weapons as much as the Last Hero, but we want to see for ourselves what you are carrying and what you intend to do with it. This safety approval rule also applies to acrobatic stunts, special effects, energetic dances, or anything else that might inadvertently extend beyond the stage area.
- Safety Principle: Surprise the audience, not the crew. (See Rule 9.) If you are going to do something surprising, please clue in the Director and MC in advance. If you want to interact with the MC, you must rehearse with him/her at the contestant meeting.
- Rule: The Maskerade Director is on close terms with several Wizards. She has full authority to eject anyone from the Maskerade on the basis of unrepentant bad taste, danger to the contestants or audience, violation of the above rules, or any other reason deemed sufficient. Any House and Backstage Managers are the director’s duly deputized bledlows and may exercise similar authority as needed. This rule is intended to protect you and the convention from the real loons. The rule will not be invoked for frivolous or unfair reasons. Don’t make us go all Librarian Poo on you.
- Rule: Thou Shalt Submit Thy Paperwork! Everyone appearing on stage must submit an image permission form that bears his or her legal signature (not just a character name). The image permission form will be part of the final contestant signup form. Persons under 16 years old must present the signature of a parent or guardian.
- Maskerade Policy: It’s a Big Disc After All. The Unseen University Convivium is a gathering of fans of the Discworld, and that covers a LOT of territory. However costumes do NOT have to be re-creations of specific Discworld characters, though it is preferred. Original characters and creatures which would fit well onto the Disc are welcome. Characters from Sir Terry’s other works would certainly be welcome. Have doubts? Talk to the Maskerade team.
Photos from Nullus Anxietas 3, courtesy of Marah Weston.
1 You do not have to have a Gaudy Night ticket to participate in the Maskerade. Also, people who do not have Gaudy Night tickets may come in and watch the Maskerade. However, once it is over, non-ticket holders will have to leave so the rest of us can eat the rest of our dinner, and the catering staff do not get confused!