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citrus

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Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« on: March 09, 2015, 08:02:23 PM »

I've been going to Fanimecon for 2007 and always had an immensely good time. But ever since 2011 the convention has being bringing me mostly disappointment after disappointment. And even though it's 2015 and the convention hasn't even STARTED. I'm already becoming disappointed with the results. This is the second time the hotel registration site crashed and its even worse then last time. Not only that, in my opinion most of the guest roster for 2014 was absolutely TERRIBLE compared to the previous years. It was almost as bad as the 2012 guest roster. Possibly even worse.

The only saving grace fanimecon had during 2014 was their musicfest. I was incredibly disappointed with the first act. I found it to be extremely cheap and it's someone you would see at a much smaller convention. And overall disappointing. Trust me I was not the only one who was disappointed. I literally heard at least one person booing the first act. Which has NEVER happened in any of the previous musicfests. If someone's booing then it's clear fanime is doing something wrong! But thank god Home Made Kazoku made everything up for it.

I might as well also give my small feedback about fanime 2014 since no one had made a proper forum for it.

Pros: - the main act of musicfest

- The vendor hall and much more organized and what looks like an even bigger artist alley

- They FINALLY fixed the registration line!

And... that's pretty much it.

Cons: programming for the first day SUCKS! I was so bored and I had nothing to do most of the time. So all I did was shop at the vendor hall and artist alley. But oh wait! That probably benefited fanime since I'm spend A LOT of money there! Because of how bored I was. I think that effected me spending more compulsively then usual...

- This was probably fanime's 2nd worst musicfest yet. And I say 2nd because at least they had a super amazing act. in the 2012 one, fanime pulled a giant middle finger towards everyone and even lied to their fans.

- Like I said in the top. The guest roster was terrible and we got some guests NOBODY cared for or even heard of.

- The effort it took to get a hotel.

And so this brings up to my point and the original topic I was going to discuss. I apologized if I rant but I felt like I had to get it out of my system.

And so my question to all of you is. Is Fanimecon even worth going to anymore? I've been going for so many years now but I feel I should just cross fanime off my list and find another convention that has a better guest roster and OVERALL more organized and better overall. For example one forum member from another convention website that he/she was so dissapointed  that he/she flew all the away to North Carolina for animazement and was not the only one. Quite a few fanimecon attendees did the same. And I might as well start doing the same. What do you guys think? is the convention worth going to? Or should I take my business elsewhere. If yes it's not worth going to. What other conventions do you recommend going?
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Imperial

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 10:30:08 AM »

Some points you made are true, some, not so much.

On Hotel site: For me, It didnt crash this year. It was strained, but it did not crash to the point of not working for several hours as of past years. I Stress tested it after initial rush, and I didn't crash it then as well with it being hit with 5k browsers hitting it at the same time. practical. But in general, It will always be easier to get a hotel for next fanime During the current fanime. We kinda are stuck at the convention center, as its the largest venue in the bay area, and the hotels are already strained from other local things at the time.

On guest Roster/music guests: 2 years ago had a pretty good roster IMO, last year I was too busy running from gathering to gathering to sit down and go to see them, so again, I cant Testify to whether or not they were good. Although, they were really late in getting them last year, so there is that. Apparently from the meetings, Guest are already "set" as of feburary for this con, they just will announce them later. Its one thing I have hammered in at staff meetings and other staff things, if we want guest fans request, we need to get them by January as most are planned by then now in days...because we are in the hunt with many other cons for limited time. That, and people who were vocal last year on guest they wanted, got what they wanted. If you want someone, SAY SOMETHING, and SAY IT EARLY. all is fair in the game, so long as your starting in it.

on Feedback: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/board,27.0.html is where I went for seeing Feedback, and again, starting early is a good thing on giving feedback, allows us to make sure that we see it, take note, and improve. This post is REALLY late in the game for this year. Plus, I believe they sent out an email requesting feedback, but don't quote me here.

On day 1 programing: in a way, its meant to be an appetizer for the rest of con, due to the fact that the biggest surge of people come Sat. & Sun. I can't stress that there is more than just panels at fanime, and the major reason I keep going is the gatherings. How much time and effort are put into these cosplays are just amazing, and just going to see one of an anime you have never seen might get you to see it. I picked up Touhou, KLK, Kuroshitsuji, SMT, and so much just from going to the gatherings. Don't feel like your bound to only going panels/Day 1 programming. Sometimes just exploring the town can make Con even more fun.

Your ending statement: The feedback I have seen of last fanime was 90% positive, praises all around, there was somewhat an exodus 2 years ago because of linecon, and I understand that. But last year actually was pretty great IMO, minus some bullpucky that happened (nother story, nother time). This year, I know we have more vendors coming, and the gatherings are just blooming. I dont know anything on the panels yet, nor the guest as thats pretty shut right now. Honestly, I believe Fanime had a downtime with the construction, and without it now, It is worth going to. To a degree, it still is made by the fans, for the fans. Its your money however, and I can't spend it. Anime North is the same time, and from friends its sliding downwards, thats all i know of cons at the same time slot.

Although, reading through this, I realized I am more weighted towards cosplay than general con events, so take it with a grain of salt. TBH, cosplay is why I go to cons, help cons get started locally, and develop from what I can to make the con better. Guess I got addicted ever since I took the picture of a first time cosplayer exclusively, and the smile on her face was wider than the river Nile.

In the end, Go on what you think is worth going to.
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echoshadow

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 08:46:08 PM »

I can see where your coming from, I felt that way the last few years too.
One thing that seem to make sense is that just because Fanime is now a huge con, it's still not a  major con like AX or Otakon. It's really just a 2 day con spread out to cover 4 days. That's Fanime in a nut shell.

Fanime is the biggest hangout con there is. You really can't expect huge voice actor/industry guest, music guest, or anime premiers. I guess that's why a lot of people expect big names for a con this size. If all you want to do is look,be in, take pic of cosplays then that's Fanime's main dish. But if cosplay is just on day of Fanime then the rest is kind of meh.

I agree with you on the programing last year. There was not much to go around. Unless you love fan panels. Which are fine and fun, but two or there homestuck/MLP panels a day, it kind of feels like there are filling in time. Makes you think why the official schedule has been released 2-3 prior to the start of the con, for the last 4 years. 

Not sure what else is out there, but for me Fanime is financially cheaper than going out of state. Unless Fanime is the only con you go to, I would try to make some out of state cons. I would never make Fanime my only con I go to. Not really worth it, what I get out of it. 

I guess what it comes down to is this: don't expect huge names coming to Fanime. Instead expect a hangout con with little interesting programing. Explore the city, eat out, sure beats walking around the con ten times in order kill time. If you come with this mind set then your experience would be better.

@tjimmy2 As for the hotel booking going live... Yeah it crashed within 3 minutes. I guess you where not on FB/twitter/forums to read 1000+ people saying it crashed. Or where smoking some good stuff. It's been that crappy the last 4 years. Not sure why you would even say it worked this year, let alone in years past.
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Sunara Ishi

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2015, 12:58:21 AM »

Fanime is the biggest hangout con there is. You really can't expect huge voice actor/industry guest, music guest, or anime premiers. I guess that's why a lot of people expect big names for a con this size. If all you want to do is look,be in, take pic of cosplays then that's Fanime's main dish. But if cosplay is just on day of Fanime then the rest is kind of meh.

I agree with you on the programing last year. There was not much to go around. Unless you love fan panels. Which are fine and fun, but two or there homestuck/MLP panels a day, it kind of feels like there are filling in time. Makes you think why the official schedule has been released 2-3 prior to the start of the con, for the last 4 years. 
Actually, they had some awesome music guests, voice actors, mangaka, etc. in the years past. (I've been attending for about 12 years...) They can get them but it requires a lot of outreach. And it is probably harder now with so many more conventions competing. Though my biggest issue with the past few years was that they were promoting more American industry versus Japanese industry. And the behavior of their fans does impact who they can get. (such as the booing Citrus mentioned. )

Programming can be a hit and miss. And it really requires input from the fans. What they want, etc. Day 1 used to be dead because everyone used to be checking into their hotels, stuck in reg, or at school. And the big events have always been on the weekends. Now that reg. is shorter, maybe they can do more?

I believe a lot of the late schedule release issues actually had to do with guests and guest panels & autograph sessions.

@citrus: Whether it is worth going to is really up to you.
You could find a facet of the con that you enjoy (artist alley, cosplay, etc. ) or join staff to try to make it better/ how you'd like it.
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Kuudere

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2015, 10:54:00 AM »

The real question you should be asking is if it's worth going to Fanime to you. If you feel your points are valid and justified, then perhaps it is best to forgo Fanime for you. You don't need our approval or agreement to determine what's best for you. Your opinion alone should be what matters in that decision, since it's you who is spending money to attend these conventions. The following is only my response to your listed concerns, which hopefully help to explain some of these things from a different perspective.

Disclaimer: I am not staff, nor have I worked for any convention aside from a small, local con, so consider the following information to be mostly casual research done by an outsider, rather than someone with inside knowledge in the structure of Fanime and other cons.

Fanime, as it states in its slogan, is "by fans, for fans." This is actually a big deal, considering some of the largest cons are basically run by organizations and corporations these days. Which, while that gives those conventions more power in the guest relations department, it can also take away a lot of control from the people who attend the event. Fanime has the advantage that they can listen to their attendees, because they don't have bigger organizations as their primary interest. They're fan-focused.

"Well, they don't do a good job in giving us what we want," you may be thinking. There are several comments I'd like to make to that, primarily that you're not going to like everyone they get. That's a fact. They cannot please everyone. But for every time you hate a guest they chose, there are at least several dozen that genuinely enjoy that guest choice. One of the biggest complaints are when cons go with American VAs over Japanese VAs. Sure, those might not appeal to older fans who are die-hard sub watchers, but have you noticed that conventions are tending to draw younger crowds? I won't speak for every young person, but I know that many of them are exposed to anime through American programming, which is by-far dubbed. Same-day dubbing is actually revolutionizing the industry and making the same shows you watch available to all types of viewers. American VAs are what they know. These guests are a big deal to them.  I don't think it's fair to focus solely on the older crowd (and by older, I don't just mean age, I mean time spent in the anime fandom) when it comes to determining guests, especially when our guest choices are much more expensive and difficult to bring.

Second, they have designated places that they encourage you to request the guest you want to appear (and they actually monitor and keep record of the suggestions). I don't see where that option exists for Anime Expo. Unfortunately, I don't see enough people take advantage of that offer, or if they do, they request guests in February when it's really late to be securing guests. Perhaps staff can make more of an effort to promote that option to people early on in the planning stages. Anyway, they at least make an effort to find out what guests that their attendees are interested in.


As others have stated, the main programming is reserved mostly for Saturday and Sunday, as those are the days with highest attendee count. Many people are in school or they work during the week, so it wouldn't make sense to put the biggest events on a Friday when many can't even attend. And with 24-hour schedules (which not every convention has), it's impossible to pack things that are relevant to every attendee in every hour.

There are a lot of things that this convention offers outside of Japanese guests. It is in a fantastic location, surrounded by hotels within walking distance and close to a large variety of food sources. There are excellent places for photoshoots for cosplayers and photographers. I've heard from many people that Fanime is pretty well-known for having excellent cosplayers attend. It's not extremely overcrowded. 24-hour programming. A wonderful artist alley and a huge dealer's hall. Typically great weather. Attention given to attendees. It actually had an enviable line-control system last year (heard from plenty of people who went to other cons that they wished that those cons were more like Fanime in that respect).

And hey, they even get some amazing guests to come to the US for the first time (and come back, like FLOW did, meaning the guests enjoy the experience as well). Those are just some great perks that Fanime has to offer.

I absolutely agree on the housing website mess, though. I think Fanime has long outgrown the services they get from CMR and either need to upgrade, if possible, or move to another provider. Whatever servers they're currently using are way below what is necessary to accommodate the amount of traffic the site now gets. Also, I'm hoping that they eventually roll-out the badge-before-hotel system they've been trying to implement (maybe badge-buyers get access to a unique code that gives them access to the hotel page before it's open to the general public, and there's a limit to how many rooms can be reserved under that code? I don't know.)

Those heading the convention this year are different from the previous few years, so I'm kind of excited to see what changes happen. So far, the website (a huge complaint that I, and many others, had last year) is revealed around the time it used to be revealed years ago (yay!). They've been a bit more transparent on progress than in the past, in my opinion. So other than the hotel problems, I think that these point to a promising year.

So, if, knowing this information, you are still not happy with the direction that Fanime has taken, then I think it would be a good idea to see what other conventions are a better fit for you. If it's Japanese guests you like, AX tends to do well with that because they've got connections and the budget. People talk positively about ColossalCon in Ohio, but that's less because of the guest list and more because it's hosted in a giant indoor waterpark. There's also ACen in Chicago and Otakon, which are both popular conventions.

Sorry for the wall of text.
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commisar_maticus

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 07:30:55 PM »

I first attended Fanime  in 2004 also same year i started staffing info desk. It wasn't till 2009 when i took position as a second that i really started to pay attention to the inner workings of the con. In 2009 we had about 15k attendees, this last year we nearly doubled that. Pleasing every one can be hard. Expand your horizons if it is some one you have never heard of. Before 2013 I'd never heard of Steam Powered Giraffe, now i can't get enough.

 As Kuudere said
Quote
Fanime, as it states in its slogan, is "by fans, for fans." This is actually a big deal, considering some of the largest cons are basically run by organizations and corporations these days. Which, while that gives those conventions more power in the guest relations department, it can also take away a lot of control from the people who attend the event. Fanime has the advantage that they can listen to their attendees, because they don't have bigger organizations as their primary interest. They're fan-focused.

Last year we had a little more then 1,000 staffers for the planning and running of the con. We get some ok perks for being on staff but for the most part we do this because we want to. Pretty much all the money we get from the previous con goes into next year. From my understandings of guests for other conventions is that the convention pays them to come out or their company is paying them. Here I am unsure how much we give them but its has a lot more with them wanting to be here.

A lot of stuff I buy at Fanime i could probably buy from online. I go for the memories i make at con. Like in 2005 me and my friend maushed so hard at the ZZ  concert  we could barley walk back to our hotel rooms.

If you are still  feeling disappointed even with our answers take a break from fanime check out another venue to see the difference between a fan convention and a corporate one.
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Glitch

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 11:37:59 PM »

The real question you should be asking is if it's worth going to Fanime to you. If you feel your points are valid and justified, then perhaps it is best to forgo Fanime for you. You don't need our approval or agreement to determine what's best for you. Your opinion alone should be what matters in that decision, since it's you who is spending money to attend these conventions. The following is only my response to your listed concerns, which hopefully help to explain some of these things from a different perspective.

Disclaimer: I am not staff, nor have I worked for any convention aside from a small, local con, so consider the following information to be mostly casual research done by an outsider, rather than someone with inside knowledge in the structure of Fanime and other cons.

Fanime, as it states in its slogan, is "by fans, for fans." This is actually a big deal, considering some of the largest cons are basically run by organizations and corporations these days. Which, while that gives those conventions more power in the guest relations department, it can also take away a lot of control from the people who attend the event. Fanime has the advantage that they can listen to their attendees, because they don't have bigger organizations as their primary interest. They're fan-focused.

"Well, they don't do a good job in giving us what we want," you may be thinking. There are several comments I'd like to make to that, primarily that you're not going to like everyone they get. That's a fact. They cannot please everyone. But for every time you hate a guest they chose, there are at least several dozen that genuinely enjoy that guest choice. One of the biggest complaints are when cons go with American VAs over Japanese VAs. Sure, those might not appeal to older fans who are die-hard sub watchers, but have you noticed that conventions are tending to draw younger crowds? I won't speak for every young person, but I know that many of them are exposed to anime through American programming, which is by-far dubbed. Same-day dubbing is actually revolutionizing the industry and making the same shows you watch available to all types of viewers. American VAs are what they know. These guests are a big deal to them.  I don't think it's fair to focus solely on the older crowd (and by older, I don't just mean age, I mean time spent in the anime fandom) when it comes to determining guests, especially when our guest choices are much more expensive and difficult to bring.

Second, they have designated places that they encourage you to request the guest you want to appear (and they actually monitor and keep record of the suggestions). I don't see where that option exists for Anime Expo. Unfortunately, I don't see enough people take advantage of that offer, or if they do, they request guests in February when it's really late to be securing guests. Perhaps staff can make more of an effort to promote that option to people early on in the planning stages. Anyway, they at least make an effort to find out what guests that their attendees are interested in.


As others have stated, the main programming is reserved mostly for Saturday and Sunday, as those are the days with highest attendee count. Many people are in school or they work during the week, so it wouldn't make sense to put the biggest events on a Friday when many can't even attend. And with 24-hour schedules (which not every convention has), it's impossible to pack things that are relevant to every attendee in every hour.

There are a lot of things that this convention offers outside of Japanese guests. It is in a fantastic location, surrounded by hotels within walking distance and close to a large variety of food sources. There are excellent places for photoshoots for cosplayers and photographers. I've heard from many people that Fanime is pretty well-known for having excellent cosplayers attend. It's not extremely overcrowded. 24-hour programming. A wonderful artist alley and a huge dealer's hall. Typically great weather. Attention given to attendees. It actually had an enviable line-control system last year (heard from plenty of people who went to other cons that they wished that those cons were more like Fanime in that respect).

And hey, they even get some amazing guests to come to the US for the first time (and come back, like FLOW did, meaning the guests enjoy the experience as well). Those are just some great perks that Fanime has to offer.

I absolutely agree on the housing website mess, though. I think Fanime has long outgrown the services they get from CMR and either need to upgrade, if possible, or move to another provider. Whatever servers they're currently using are way below what is necessary to accommodate the amount of traffic the site now gets. Also, I'm hoping that they eventually roll-out the badge-before-hotel system they've been trying to implement (maybe badge-buyers get access to a unique code that gives them access to the hotel page before it's open to the general public, and there's a limit to how many rooms can be reserved under that code? I don't know.)

Those heading the convention this year are different from the previous few years, so I'm kind of excited to see what changes happen. So far, the website (a huge complaint that I, and many others, had last year) is revealed around the time it used to be revealed years ago (yay!). They've been a bit more transparent on progress than in the past, in my opinion. So other than the hotel problems, I think that these point to a promising year.

So, if, knowing this information, you are still not happy with the direction that Fanime has taken, then I think it would be a good idea to see what other conventions are a better fit for you. If it's Japanese guests you like, AX tends to do well with that because they've got connections and the budget. People talk positively about ColossalCon in Ohio, but that's less because of the guest list and more because it's hosted in a giant indoor waterpark. There's also ACen in Chicago and Otakon, which are both popular conventions.

Sorry for the wall of text.

Pretty much that. I was gonna mention the part of new chair myself. Things seem to be moving much faster and smoother in the lead up to this Fanime. Most of us were caught off guard by how early hotel registration came at us. All of a sudden it was like earlier years of Fanime.
This year is at least worth a look for the reason of change in the con.

CatToy

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2015, 12:19:23 AM »

Fanime, as it states in its slogan, is "by fans, for fans." This is actually a big deal, considering some of the largest cons are basically run by organizations and corporations these days. Which, while that gives those conventions more power in the guest relations department, it can also take away a lot of control from the people who attend the event. Fanime has the advantage that they can listen to their attendees, because they don't have bigger organizations as their primary interest. They're fan-focused.

Fanime is run by a corporation, too. They really hate advertising it though. You won't see any mention of the organization that runs Fanime on their own website. Any distinction anyone draws between Fanime being a fan-run event and other cons being "Corporate" events is purely cosmetic and more than a little misleading.
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cutiebunny

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2015, 02:43:04 AM »

^ And that's pretty much it, in a nutshell.  If I recall correctly, Fanime is a 501(c)(6) organization, meaning that it's in the same category as the NFL when it comes to making a profit.  Fanime is also the only con where I see staff getting such perks as swamping a guest with their own requests to the point that the attendees who bought their passes ended up getting screwed so staff could walk away with nice sketches.  When Kia Asamiya was at Fanime in 2012, the autograph session started half an hour late because staff was busy having him draw what they wanted first.  I go to a lot of cons nationwide, and while it's common for staff to have a separate autograph session at a separate time, Fanime is the only con where they will delay the official autograph session to attend to staff requests first.

Like the OP mentioned, I'm one of *those* people that, despite living near Fanime, have dropped it altogether for Animazement. I can vouch that there are several former Fanime attendees at Animazement (AZ). I used to be a loyal Fanime attendee until the debacle of 2012.  I could deal with the long reg lines, but what I couldn't deal with was the increasingly crappy guest list.  i also don't like how Fanime usually doesn't announce their guests until a couple weeks prior to the event.  And while I understand that it depends on contracts and that things aren't announced until the ink is dry, I fail to see how every other similarly sized con can announce guests months in advance.  Take a look at Animazement's guest list right now and compare it to Fanime. 

The thing is, I want to come back to Fanime.  I want a guest list similar to 2011 and several previous years.  While I love North Carolina dearly, I'm tired of having to fly there for a decent con experience.  I want to be able to enjoy a good musical group and good artistic guests.  And while, with exception to 2013, Fanime does get solid music guests, their animation guests have been poor in comparison to Animazement.  I end up choosing between music or animation every year, and every year, animation wins out.  But until Fanime can bring in top notch animators AND announce them at least a month prior to the event, I'm going to choose Animazement every single time.

OP, you wanted to know if it's worth leaving Fanime.  In addition to "most bang for your buck", you need to consider travel costs as well.  Airfare to Animazement will run you at around $600 (hurray for Memorial being the start of summer prices!) and a nearby hotel for four nights is about $500.  You can, obviously, share a room with others to lower that, but the initial investment to travel to North Carolina is not for the faint at heart.  Food prices are cheap and it's amazingly good, and the con does provide free water, so bring a bottle and fill it up.  Overall, despite the charity auction prices hitting insane levels, I'm happy enough with my Animazement experience to have gone for the past two years and will likely attend it again for a third year.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 02:48:30 AM by cutiebunny »
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Kuudere

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 10:50:34 AM »

I guess you could call ARG a company that controls Fanime, but I was under the impression that Fanime was all they did, hence no outside interests to appease. Unless there's another company that I'm unaware of, it seems like they do have the freedom of acting in their attendees' interests.

I think that's some solid advice from cutiebunny regarding the cost factor. Where does money play in roles of importance to you? Because it may end up costing quite a bit to attend another convention that could be out of state. Unless there was a guest that I absolutely had to see, I couldn't see myself personally leaving the state to go to a convention.

Lucky for us that California has a good deal of conventions.
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fanimefreak

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2015, 04:21:06 PM »

I think it ultimately comes down to what you get out of it.  If the guest roster and panels are the reason you go and you've felt let down in recent years then don't go.  Last year was my first fanime I have to say I was so busy being in shock and overwhelmed by what was going on that I missed a lot of programming.  But, what I found the funnest for me, was meeting new people, finding groups of people to hang out with, the raves, hotel parties, and the general laid back attitude.  To me, that was what made it.  I was in a place with like-minded people enjoying the hell out of myself.  Of course, this year I am going to try and go to more panels and events, but to me that's not what fanime means to me.  Fanime is a place for me to be myself and lose myself in my geeky-ness. 
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Erik_anderson

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2015, 01:56:29 PM »

Full disclosure: I am staff and I head up the Cosplay Masquerade, however I am responding a private individual and not my role.

For tax purposes Fanime, like every other convention, fair or event is organized as a corporation, so its misleading to imply that this is the same as a for profit corporation like AX, ComicCon or Wizard.  What 'for fans by fans' means is that we volunteer our time and while some perks are rewarded generally we spend far more time and money then the benefit.  Personally I spent around $3000 last year of my own funds to host my event.

On the tax status in general, there has long been the accusation of groups using 501c6 status, however this seems unlikely because that status is used to promote business without favoritism.  You can search for the records here for yourself:

http://990finder.foundationcenter.org/990results.aspx?990_type=&fn=Animazement&st=&zp=&ei=&fy=&action=Find

On the Fanime staff/volunteers has addressed issues around the use of guests time and it is now part of the standard training that such behavior is not allowed.  Just as volunteers do not get to cut lines when not working for an event.

Personally, if you want Fanime to improve, come to the meetings and voice your concerns.  Join the convention team and make things happen.  We are very transparent and are always looking for passionate people to make it a better event.

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cutiebunny

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2015, 06:27:59 PM »

^I take no issue with Fanime, Animazement nor any other convention being a 501(c)(6) organization.  Most of these conventions openly state that they are, with AX stating during their charity auctions that you will likely be unable to use your wins as tax deductions.  However,  Fanime is the only con that operates under the "For Fans, By Fans" tagline.  The motto is misleading; It indicates that whatever money is made by the event will be, for the most part, re-invested and used towards the following year's event.  The reality, though, is quite a bit different, with a good chunk of the profits going to pay off investors, just like every other convention run by a corporation.

If Fanime management is as transparent as you make it seem, why not simply come out and state that the convention is run and funded by a corporation?  Abolish the FFBF motto.  State that you are a 501(c)(6) in your guide book and website(s) like AX and every other con run by a corporation. As much as I complain about AX (albeit for many other reasons), I appreciate that they openly state that they're a business.  I am under no illusion when I attend AX that it is a grassroot, "buy local" type convention whereas with Fanime, I always got the impression that that's what management wanted everyone to think.

After attending several conventions around the US for years, I have found that the most effective way to get things to change is not by donating your time nor by vocalizing your preferences on forums/Facebook, but rather through money.  I am under no illusion that Fanime management gives one iota about my choice as attendance numbers have increased during my absence. As long as attendance increases and profit is made, there is no impetus for Fanime to change. 

As mentioned earlier, if Fanime wants to show that it's changing, announce your signed guests now and not early May.



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Erik_anderson

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2015, 01:25:14 PM »

Quote
The motto is misleading; It indicates that whatever money is made by the event will be, for the most part, re-invested and used towards the following year's event.  The reality, though, is quite a bit different, with a good chunk of the profits going to pay off investors, just like every other convention run by a corporation.

You wouldn't mind pointing me to the source of this information?  While conventions can rack up debts from loans, this is no different then every other convention or event, even charity events require investors to start. 

 Organizations are required to incorporate, all organizations to be incorporated as a tax entity.  This means 'Make a Wish', PETA, Greenpeace or the American Red Cross all are organized the the same way, these are all charity organizations under the US tax code.  This does not mean its a business intended to make profits for investors.

Quote
After attending several conventions around the US for years, I have found that the most effective way to get things to change is not by donating your time nor by vocalizing your preferences on forums/Facebook, but rather through money.


The only problem with this, vote with your feet approach is that there are so many reasons why someone switches from attending events.  This kind of economic voting only works when you are talking about two identical stores where all things being even except a key difference like quality or service.  Often time this is a post rationalization groups use to explain why something happen with incomplete information.  I still recommend asking for what you want and see what will come out of it.

Quote
I am under no illusion that Fanime management gives one iota about my choice as attendance numbers have increased during my absence. As long as attendance increases and profit is made, there is no impetus for Fanime to change.

Actually I, and I am in management care quite a bit and would like to see what can change or grow to make it both an event you would want to attend and recommend to others.  Its why I am here having this discussion.

As for impetus, this can come from various motivations.  If it was just a profit motive like ComicCon, the focus would be on big name guests,from hot general media movies, TV shows, charging for every event and extracting value from every interaction with fans.  However Fanime's motivation is to make a convention where fans enjoy it, where its not for sale at the highest bidder. 

Now we still have to pay guests, we have to pay for the facilities to host the event, insurance and so on. These costs do not come cheep, but if the intention was to 'run it as a business', Fanime would look far different; from badge prices, selling tickets, cutting services and paying the bare minimum for content.
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Kuudere

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2015, 01:51:36 PM »

Thank you, Erik_anderson, for putting my sentiment in much better wording.

I don't think that Fanime operates as a for-profit organization. If it did, I think they'd be charging additional prices whenever possible (for example, many cons charge additional fees to attend their music act, whereas it comes with the price of the badge for Fanime - and that badge price is still reasonable when compared to other cons of similar size). They'd probably rake in some nice revenue from that, depending on the guest, but I don't see that happening. And they make the concert available to all attendees, not some random lottery system where scalpers can make money.

From my experience with staff, they've all been very helpful and willing to listen to suggestions I've made. They've even implemented some of the changes I've suggested. But those changes only happened because I asked... If I just refused to attend without giving any feedback and said that I'll come back when they figure out and change what I don't like, I doubt I'd ever get what I wanted.

Feedback is key to positive change, and they've vocalized their desire for that many times over the years.
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Glitch

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2015, 03:15:14 PM »



If Fanime management is as transparent as you make it seem, why not simply come out and state that the convention is run and funded by a corporation?  Abolish the FFBF motto.  State that you are a 501(c)(6) in your guide book and website(s) like AX and every other con run by a corporation. As much as I complain about AX (albeit for many other reasons), I appreciate that they openly state that they're a business.  I am under no illusion when I attend AX that it is a grassroot, "buy local" type convention whereas with Fanime, I always got the impression that that's what management wanted everyone to think.
Fanime has always been pretty clear that are run by the Anime Resource Group(ARG). It's been said a few times during opening ceremonies. You can even find the logo and name in the Fanime program.
Unlike AX, all of Fanime's funding from attendees. They aren't getting sponsorship from corporate backers. Fanime has to answer only to their customers(aka attendees). It's ridiculous to say they shouldn't use "For fans, by fans" just because certain individual staffers broke Fanime's rules when it comes to guests of honor.
Honestly, Ax is way more hypocritical for saying they are non-profit, when they are basically one giant puppet for several companies.

Erik_anderson

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2015, 05:03:45 PM »

Not to defend AX, but its hard to think how they could have grown as fast as they have without the structure they took.  Its just very hard to get to that scale, that quickly.  While I personally have qualms about their practices, I am delighted that anime is as accessible and enjoyed as it is today.  The fact that there are so many options for peoples time and attention is something to be celebrated.

Personally I have always felt that anime conventions do better by helping each other then looking in suspicion one another.  I try to volunteer for ALA and any other convention I can because we, as fans are really in it together.
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cutiebunny

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2015, 11:05:24 PM »


You wouldn't mind pointing me to the source of this information?  While conventions can rack up debts from loans, this is no different then every other convention or event, even charity events require investors to start. 

 Organizations are required to incorporate, all organizations to be incorporated as a tax entity.  This means 'Make a Wish', PETA, Greenpeace or the American Red Cross all are organized the the same way, these are all charity organizations under the US tax code.  This does not mean its a business intended to make profits for investors.

That's not how investment in companies and events work.  Those donating large sums of capital expect to get something in return.  Investors don't donate with the expectation that the con will repay them 100% of their funds within a year or two without any sort of interest, be that in the form of additional funds, tax deductions, advertising or something else the investor has stipulated.  I would imagine that those that initially provided the funds to create Fanime have a similar arrangement, perhaps receiving a certain percentage of the profit for a certain period of time, if not ad infinitum.  Otherwise, an investor would see no reason to invest with that entity and instead choose to invest their funds elsewhere.

While I agree with you that organizations can opt to incorporate, it's more about how they choose to go about doing it.  Fanime could have opted to go the 501(c)(3) route instead.  If they had done that instead, your ticket fees would be tax deductible.  Not that I really care about Fanime's filings, but rather, would prefer they emphasize this instead of acting as if this is all organized, funded and run by your average 25 year old.  However, if, as claimed in this thread, Fanime is now making a point of mentioning that they are a corporate event during their opening ceremony, I stand corrected.  As I mentioned, I haven't gone to Fanime since 2012.

Quote
The only problem with this, vote with your feet approach is that there are so many reasons why someone switches from attending events.  This kind of economic voting only works when you are talking about two identical stores where all things being even except a key difference like quality or service.  Often time this is a post rationalization groups use to explain why something happen with incomplete information.  I still recommend asking for what you want and see what will come out of it.

But you are the same.  I look at Fanime and Animazement as being two different fruit; they may look different, but they both will benefit me roughly the same. Each con has a selection of guests both foreign and domestic.  Each con has a variety of sellers that, for the most part, overlap.  Each con has a mixture of fan/industry panels, game/movie rooms and concerts.  Both cons occur on opposite ends of the country.

I used to post, religiously, on the boards about things I liked and felt could use improvement after attending Fanime 2010-2012.  I also used to post guest requests as well.  Conditions did not improve.  Fanime still waits until May to announce their guest list.  Guest lists in the area that I care about (the animation aspect) did not improve and declined from 2012-2014. Clearly, posting constructive criticism doesn't work.  Fanime's attendees, on the whole, care more about musical guests then animation guests. 

Quote
Actually I, and I am in management care quite a bit and would like to see what can change or grow to make it both an event you would want to attend and recommend to others.  Its why I am here having this discussion.

Now we still have to pay guests, we have to pay for the facilities to host the event, insurance and so on. These costs do not come cheep, but if the intention was to 'run it as a business', Fanime would look far different; from badge prices, selling tickets, cutting services and paying the bare minimum for content.

I'd love to see Fanime improve as well.  So, tell you what.  I'm willing to provide Fanime up to $5K to bring over an artist guest for 2016.  That should be more than enough to pay for a round trip business class ticket and hotel for a guest from Japan.  If Fanime is seriously interested in improving itself and needs the capital to do it, I am more than happy to respond.

Regarding your last paragraph, Fanime is very much a business and is structured as one.  There are several conventions across the U.S. that receive just as many, if not more, guests than Fanime.  In order to stay competitive, Fanime has to keep its prices competitive, especially in an area such as California.  If Fanime charges too much, attendees will go somewhere else.  Most cons around the US charge roughly $50-$70 for a pass to attend the entire event.  If Fanime decided to offer minimal content, they would have to adjust their prices accordingly or risk losing attendees.
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Admiral Donuts

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2015, 09:47:26 AM »

So is there any proof Fanime is a for-profit money-making event or is it just assumptions?

FanimeCon is transparent? Fanime doesn't even release attendance numbers.



I mean I like going to the con but y'all are close-hold about everything. What was Fanime's budget last year? Why was hotel registration and con registration mucked up this year?

Erik_anderson

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Re: Is Fanime worth going to anymore?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2015, 10:47:32 PM »

Cuteiebunny,

Lets start with who would you like to see as a guest.  3 picks would help me ask some questions and see if I run into any walls. Then I can get back to you.

Hi Admiral Donuts

I think ewu post is clear why we not post numbers and that those that have been posted and what those numbers means are tricky.  its made even more tricky because Fanime incubates a steam-punk convention under its umbrella and so a clear understanding of which event people attended is hard. To your point though, perhaps this is an area that it should provide clear analytics and drive a conversation around what attendance means across the conventions in general. 

Back 20 years ago sci-fi conventions used to use this as a yard stick, but the numbers are rather meaningless.  for example Creation Entertainment events (generally known as star trek cons) pull in huge numbers of people to basically hit the dealers rooms and signature tables.  These people would often only attend a single day and leave right after getting X item or Y signature and thus could not be a measurement of the vibrancy of the convention experience. 

Take San Diego Comic Con a convention I attend and compete in, only provides a rough number of 130k+ attendees for the "last several years" with no information about the exact nature of the number, nor what the actual cap is.  SD city estimations range for 100k to 160+k of foot traffic at the site at any given time.  Is that number, as vague as it is, meaningful?  not really, the convention center only has around 85k event seating capacity in the rooms that are used (not counting lines).  This means at peak times there is a quarter of the convention that is in line waiting for seating space. 

Then there is a odd counter point where international conventions generally have significantly smaller attendance numbers, yet given higher prestige.

budget. I've not ever asked about the whole budget myself. I have mine and that's been work itself.  Generally events don't publish their full budgets because vendors and publicist use them to argue for a larger fee or move up prices. 

Hotel registration, specifically housing blocks had issues this year and there are some very detailed posts about the issues and efforts to avoid it in the future. 

I think a key point to consider is that fanime is,  in general, willing to talk about the rational for why some information is not published or in some cases why issues with vendors are not aired publicly. 
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