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Contest Rules

Contest Rules and Procedures for the FISM World Championships of Magic


a) FISM World Championships of Magic (WCM) are organized under the auspices and supervision of the FISM and are open to:

· any magician who has reached the FISM Level (see Article 7d) and who is a member of a Society affiliated to the FISM, after having received the written authorization of the President of the FISM Society of which he or she is a member;
· any magician who has reached the FISM Level and who is not a member of a FISM Member Society, after having received the written authorization of the Presidents of FISM Member Societies from three different countries.

b) The President of the FISM Member Society who has given this authorization is responsible for the quality of the act of the contestant. Only contestants having attained the FISM Level should receive such an authorization. The names of the Member Society and its President will be mentioned when the contestant is announced. Member Societies, having sponsored more than one competitor performing under FISM level, can – by judgment of the Board of Directors – lose their sponsoring rights for the next FISM WCM.

c) The number of contestants is limited to 150 applicants, being around 100 for the Stage and around 50 for the Close-up competition. Winners of the Continental Championships take precedence over the other candidates

d) Excluded from participation in a given FISMWCM are artists who are booked by the organizing committee to perform or lecture at that Championship.

e) A contestant who has been awarded a Grand Prix in a previous FISMWCM is not allowed to compete again with essentially the same act.

f) A contestant must be a paid registrant of the FISMWCM during which the contest is held. The organizing committee must have received the duly signed registration form for the contest, including the appropriate authorization(s), the convention fee and the contest fee, at least four weeks before the opening of the Championships.

g) All contestants, as a right of competition agree to abide by and be bound by these Contest Rules and Procedures for the FISMWorld Championships of Magic.

h) Winners of the Continental Championships take precedence over other candidates.


a) To determine all prizes and other awards (see Article 6), two judging panels are composed, one for the performances on stage and one for the performances under close-up conditions. The judging panels consist of seven to nine judges. One of the judges of each panel is the chairman. A non-judging president presides over the two panels.

b) All judges, including the Jury President, are chosen by the Board of Directors. These choices should be based on the qualifications of the candidates in both the Art of Magic and that of judging magic performances. There should be a diversity of age and cultural background and all judges should be able to communicate in English. The Board of Directors should also acknowledge continuity in FISM juries. Preferably there will be only one judge for any one country.

c) For the second phase of the competition (see Article 7a) the Board of Directors may decide in common accord to add a non-magician, preferably an authority in the theatre or entertainment business, to the appropriate judging panel.

d) The president of the jury, although watching as many contest performances as possible, does not judge the acts as the other judges do. He chairs the joint jury meetings and attends as many of the panel meetings as possible. He or she concludes and summarizes the final decisions and is, together with the panel chairmen, responsible for the observance of the FISM contest rules. In case of a tie, the jury President will arbitrate, and that decision will be final.

e) Judges will be exempt from paying a convention registration fee, and will get free refreshments and meals during their judging time.

f) The decisions of the judges, are final and not subject to appeal.

g) The President of the jury will send a full report of the contest results, with appropriate remarks and observations, to the International President of the FISM within three months of the closing of the Championships.


a) The contest performances are open in the following categories:

Stage Magic Performances:
- Manipulation: A magic stage act wholly or largely based on sleight of hand.
- General Magic: A magic stage act which is, in most cases, a mix of several of the other categories. The props used are usually smaller than the ones used in a Stage Illusion act.
Some performances using modern high-tech or video technology can also be categorized under this denomination.
- Stage Illusions: A magic stage act in which huge props are used (even when these are not visible to the audience). Often several people and/or animals are involved.
- Comedy Magic: A magic stage act of which the main purpose is to make people laugh. It can be based on any one of the aforementioned categories, provided the emphasis is laid on the
magic nature of the performance.
- Mental Magic: Branch of magic comprising demonstrations of apparent extraordinary or supernatural mental powers, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, super
memory, lightning calculation and simulations of mediumistic phenomena.

Close-up Magic Performances:
Acts, intended to be performed for small groups of people in close proximity. The contestant can be seated or standing behind a table, mostly with some members of the audience also seated at this table, but the act can also be presented standing up without any use of a table. The items used are generally small and most effects directly involve the spectators or participants.

Three categories are distinguished:
- Card Magic: the act is exclusively based on effects using playing cards.
- Micro Magic: although playing cards are not to be excluded, the act is of a more general nature.
- Parlour Magic: An act, midway between close-up and stage magic, meant to be performed for a group of people in a moderately sized room.

b) If the Judges are of the shared opinion that it would be in the best interests of a contestant to change his category, they are entitled to make such a change.


a) A contestant is responsible for his own performance. He undertakes to FISM that he has secured the necessary rights to perform this full and complete contest performance, (also known as his ‘act’).

b) The contestant’s undertaking includes the right to perform the act in question and encompasses the contestant securing all ancillary rights and licences whether music or otherwise from all legally required third parties, if applicable.

c) The contestant will specifically undertake to FISM that he is entitled to exploit and grant solely licence of his act and that his act does not infringe the rights of any third party.

d) In the event that the contestant is in breach of any of the aforementioned undertakings, he has to accept all the consequences and liabilities. If the contestant is in breach of the regulations concerning the Music Rights of his act, if necessary the Organizing Committee has, after having communicated with the contestant, the exclusive right to either obtain the necessary performance and/or music rights at the expense of the contestant or to substitute the music in question.

e) A contestant must present a complete act (not a single trick) of at least five minutes and not more than ten minutes.

f) A contestant can only present one act in one category in Stage magic and one act in one category in Close-up magic.

g) A contestant who presents an act that is obviously a copy of the act, or a significant or typical part of it, of another performer, will be disqualified.

h) Performances, mainly depending on a pre-arrangement between the contestant and a volunteer or assistant in the know, are not considered magic performances. The contest, being a contest on the performance of magic, the Jury can decide to disqualify the contestant. In case of doubt the competitor will be asked to explain the method used and, if necessary, to repeat the effect in front of the judging panel.

i) A contestant must be ready to perform his act at least ten minutes before the scheduled time. The jury may disqualify a contestant who is not ready by this ten-minute notice.

j) An act begins when the contestant enters the stage or when the music of the act starts, whichever comes first.

k) At the front of the stage will be two electric lamps, one yellow and one red. After nine minutes of a performance, the yellow lamp will be switched on. After the tenth minute, the red lamp will be switched on, showing the contestant that he or she is over time and therefore disqualified. A contestant will also be disqualified in case of a flashing red lamp (see Article 7e)

l) When introducing a contestant, the Master of Ceremonies of the competition will refrain from any comment on the performer or the act, restricting the announcement to the name of the contestant, the category of performance, the country and society and the name(s) of the President(s) authorizing this participation in the contest.


a) By no later then four (4) weeks prior to the commencement of the competition, the contestant will provide the Organizing Committee with a list of all music titles to be used in his act; including the title’s name, composer, adapter, recording artist, the time of the soundtrack and the name of the label.

b) A contestant’s performance or act may be recorded and/or videotaped by or on behalf of FISM and broadcast and transmitted to monitors inside and outside the performance theatre.

c) The contestant, as a right of competition, authorizes and allows FISM without limitation to time and/or place to use his image and/or voice and to edit, and re-assemble a contestant’s recorded act as FISM deems appropriate.

d) The contestant, as a right of competition, further authorizes FISM to reproduce, adapt, sell and market his performance. FISM in consideration of same agrees to pay the contestant a one-time compensation, calculated per second per second of contestant’s performance in a (video) programme to be marketed or as a fixed amount.
The amount of the compensation will be set by the Board of Directors of the FISM in close consideration with the other members of the FISM Executive Board. In case of a divergence of views, the members of the FEB will take a vote, the result of which will be final and not subject to further challenge or appeal.

e) If requested, FISM will provide to a contestant free of charge for his personal use only the filmed images of contestant’s performance. Commercial use without FISM’s prior approval is prohibited.


a) Prizes
In each category, three prizes can be awarded by the jury: a first prize, a second prize and a third prize.

b) Special Contest Awards
· The Jury can issue one or more awards for an invention both in stage and close-up competitions. The inventions have to be presented as part of an act in one of the categories and the invention has to be claimed by the contestant when registering for the competition. There is no hierarchy for awards for invention. The jury, who will determine the invention to be at
least a new effect or a new method or technique, will decide on these awards.

· The Jury is entitled to award a special contest award for “Most Original Stage Act” and “Most Original Close-Up Act” to the act (in any category) that can justify such a decision.

c) Grand Prix
In the second phase of the judging process (see Article 7), a Grand Prix for Stage Magic and a Grand Prix for Close-up Magic will be awarded by the jury.

d) Other awards
No other prize, award, distinction or gift can be given without the approval of the Board of Directors and the President of the jury. This includes any prize or award given on behalf of a private company. Only FISM contestants having received a prize or a (special) contest award, are eligible for an additional prize or award beyond those mentioned in the preceding paragraphs of this Article.


a) The judging process is two-phased.

In the first phase the jury will judge all the contestants’ performances during the contest in order to determine who’s eligible for the prizes and awards as mentioned in Article 6a and 6b, when appropriate. The second phase will take place during the final competitions and is meant to elect the two Grand Prix winners, as mentioned in Article 6c.

b) A member of the jury shall give a fair judgment on the performance of every contestant, without prejudice, with an equal level of critical standards in regard to the following six aspects:

· Technical Skill/Handling.
· Showmanship/Presentation
· Entertainment value
· Artistic Impression/Routining
· Originality
· Magic Atmosphere

c) In the first phase, using the official judging form in conformity with Annex A, each judge will give a total score of up to 100 points to each contestant. After each contest performance, the part of the judging form below the dotted line will be collected by a member of the special staff as mentioned in Article 9a. Adding the scores of all Judges and dividing the total by the number of judges, the final score will then be calculated. The maximum final score for a contestant will thus be 100 points.

d) A contestant with a final score lower than 50 points is considered below the FISM level and will be disqualified.

e) Judges will each have access to a switch to activate the lamp on the performing platform. If, after the three first minutes of an act, a judge is of the opinion that the performance is below FISM standard or abusive, they may press their button. When at least 70% of the number of judges have pressed their button, the red lamp will be activated and start flashing, meaning the contestant is disqualified. In case of maltreatment of persons or animals or when the performer is endangering the assistants or the audience, a jury member shall press the button immediately, without any time restraints. When the red lamp is flashing, the chairperson of the jury panel decides whether the curtain should be closed or not (or, for a close-up performance, whether or not the act should be ended.)

f) At the conclusion of the first phase, having seen the performances of all the contestants, the individual Judges may reconsider their judgments and, with the approval of the President of the jury, will be given the opportunity to change some of their scores. These changes will be given to the special staff members who will recalculate the final scores.

g) After all necessary calculations are complete, the list of final scores will be handed to the President of the jury, who will assemble all the judges in a meeting to determine who qualifies for the divers prizes and who will be in the final competition.

h) The prizes will be awarded to the highest scores in each category. To be awarded a first prize, a contestant must have a final score of at least 80 points. The final score must be at least 70 points for a second prize and at least 60 points for a third prize.

i) If no contestant has the required points for a given prize in a given category, that prize will not be awarded.

j) The list of prizes and other awards as mentioned in Article 6a to 6c will be kept secret until the official proclamation and presentation of the trophies to the winners. The declaration of the awards will be made in reverse order, beginning with the special contest awards, then the lowest prize and ending with the first prize.

k) For both performing conditions, Stage and Close-Up, only the first-prize winners, are qualified for the second phase of the judging process, during which the winners of the Grand Prix will be elected. In judging the competitors in this second phase, the jury will apply the same standards as mentioned in paragraph b of this Article. After the last performance, the judges will be asked to list all contestants in the order of their preference. Their number one gets (n) points, where n is the total number of contestants, number two on the list gets
(n-1) points, number three (n-2) and so on. The Jury Support Officer adds all the points of each contestant and the contestant with the highest total points will be awarded the Grand Prix.


a) Only a first-prize winner is entitled to use the title of ”World Champion” along with the prize category prize, plus the year of its acquisition (e.g., “World Champion Stage Illusions 2015” or “World Champion Card Magic 2015″).

b) The holders of the two Grand Prix awards are entitled to precede their title of “World Champion” by “FISM Grand Prix Winner” (e.g., “FISM Grand Prix Winner and World Champion Manipulation 2015” or “FISM Grand Prix Winner and World Champion Card Magic 2015”


a) The organizing committee, in coordination with the Board of Directors, will appoint official timekeepers for the contests. A special team, headed by the Jury Support Officer, will assure a smooth-running judging process. Among other responsibilities, the jury support team shall collect the forms, do the necessary calculations, and take care of the well-being of the Judges. The jury support team will keep all the scores strictly secret, revealing them to no one except for the jury President, who will share them with the chairmen of the judging panels. These scores will not be shared with the other judges before the list of final scores is provided (see Article 7g).

b) The organizing committee will provide the official trophies, the necessary judging forms, clipboards, lamps or flashlights as well as the diplomas for the contestants.

c) Trophies for the divers prizes have to be designed according to FISM specifications.

d) The Jury Support Officer will send the contest rules and procedures to the Judges no less than four weeks before the start of the Championships.

e) At the beginning of the convention, prior to the start of the contest, the judging panels (as mentioned in Article 2a) will be briefed by a member of the Board of Directors or by the President of the Jury on the main issues of these FISM contest rules and procedures.


a) A contestant and FISM will indemnify each other in case of an intellectual property infringement claim by a third party. FISM’s maximum aggregate liability shall not exceed the total amount paid by FISM to the contestant for the matter at the origin of the indemnity, and excludes any indirect damage, even if foreseeable.

b) These rules do not constitute a partnership or agency between a contestant and FISM.

c) Any dispute arising from these rules, provided that no out of court agreement has been reached within thirty (30) days from its occurrence, will be governed by the laws of Switzerland, with the exclusive place of jurisdiction deemed to be Lausanne.