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Messages - melancholyfox

You should try to get in line as soon as possible Friday for your badge because you will likely be waiting in line for many hours. There are a lot of options for food around the convention center, even inexpensive stuff like McDonald's. However if your hotel room has a fridge and microwave I recommend bringing food since it'll probably be cheaper that way. Make sure you have a picture ID so you can pick up your badge without hassle, and make sure you have cash before you leave because the ATMs around Fanime will charge a nasty fee for withdrawals. If you're planning to be outside a lot bring sunscreen. Make sure to dress pretty warm since it'll be hot this weekend, but bring warmer pajamas, and possibly your own blanket depending on your hotel, because it does get pretty cold at night over there. Definitely print your badge confirmation. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a LOT. Bring a plastic bag for dirty laundry. If you plan to shop a lot in dealer's hall, bring an empty bag to fill it with your souvenirs. If you're cosplaying, bring super glue so that you can quickly fix any breaks on props/costumes. Of course you'll need toiletries and such as well. Along with food, having a snack to walk around with is always nice, like a box of Cheez Its or something. Camera! It's always fun to take pics of people's cosplays. Cell phone and charger. This is just off the top of my head. There's no reason to be overwhelmed really, but I understand your concern. My first year of Fanime was overwhelming too. I was worried about forgetting things or being overwhelmed once I arrived at the con. But the con is fun even if you don't have a super strict itinerary planned for every day. Browsing artists alley, dealers hall, going to panels, playing in gaming hall, going to the dance at night, it's all so much fun...there's so much to do that you won't know where to start but as you get through each day you'll see that it's pretty much like clockwork; wake up, get ready, go to the convention center and figure out what to do next, go to hotel and sleep, wake up and repeat. There's not a lot you need other than necessities, food, and a camera.
Quote from: Tony on May 18, 2014, 12:49:07 AM
Quote from: Nina Star 9 on May 17, 2014, 05:37:06 PM
Your previous reply in this thread, while still not entirely satisfactory, was one of the best staff responses that I've seen recently, since you gave some insight into how things work behind the scenes. I'd actually be interested to hear what you had to say in response to all the criticisms in this thread.
I cannot speak for staff because I'm not involved much this year, but I can talk in generalities.

The industry thing is probably the biggest, because it affects so much else.

People in the industry are working hard, so they're busy. It means they are either booked solid and can't come, or they can come only at the last minute when it's clear they can make time for Fanime.

Fun, related fact: nearly every single year, a Big Name contacts us days to weeks before con saying they are available. By then it's too late. We could certainly scramble to make things happen, but: 1) we look disorganized making announcements too close to con, 2) we're usually out of money, meaning we have to fight and scrape for cash, and 3) theres zero marketing value at that point - i.e. the "I wish I'd heard about this earlier!" effect from attendees. Yoshiki's appearance in 2011 was one of these, and thankfully it was a great experience, but we pulled a lot of strings and had some late nights making it happen.

"So pull strings, work some late nights, then!" That's how GR typically operates; it's a soft-skills game and doesn't scale well, operationally. Just contacting guests is taxing - maybe a 10-20% response rate - then there's a long back-and-forth waiting for confirmation, then budget adjustments, then contracts negotiation. Now we can get started: the fun of coordinating press releases, dozens of flights, passports, taxi rides, hotel room check-in and check-out dates, panels, events, stage plots, equipment lists, set lists, appearances, interviews, dietary restrictions, sightseeing requests... it's a fun challenge, but it makes "just work harder" not much of an option.

I'm sure I'm coming off whiny here, but I do want to give some idea as to the scale of effort involved. This is something that can, and is, being improved on each year. So let's move on.

Back to industry. People in a lean industry have to stick to what works. They can't afford to take risks - including servicing a smaller, foreign market: the U.S. This is a major problem with MusicFest guests - as the music industry is likewise suffering - because performing here may mean turning down a domestic gig that makes them real money. For anime professionals, there's no financial incentive in promoting your work overseas unless it is actually imported there - which is not happening like during the licensing sprees of the 90's and 00's. Seiyuu are a combination of both scenarios, in that they are typically multi-talented, incredibly busy, and so have even less incentive in turning down paying performances and coming to a place that doesn't sell what they create.

U.S. industry isn't good for us, either. Fanime has always shied away from industry involvement - we didn't want to become AX - and so our relationships are underdeveloped. Yes, CR and Viz still come to con, but they're not showing premieres or announcing, for example, Sailor Moon. In the past, you could arrange to bring relevant talent to con with the industry: maybe they'd pay half for the mangaka of that new license they just picked up. Between our lack of relationship, and the state of the industry, that's not happening for Fanime. This also leaves us without the advantage of sponsorship dollars.

Speaking of dollars: guests tend to need compensation nowadays. It's part "I have to eat", part "I'm tired of crappy cons screwing me over". No one is happy with that. One guest even remarked how the money issue tainted their visit, as they really prefer to come out of their own passion. We don't like it, either.

"So what - quit being cheap, accept reality, and throw some cash at the big names!" That's pragmatic, but I've never liked it, because it takes tremendous discipline not to start looking at guests as a money problem and start thinking about profit. Next you're looking at guests as an investment, measuring ROI, and you're charging for VIP seats, photos, autographs, etc.

"Fine, then stick to your philosophies - invite guests that want to come!" That's what we do - we don't invite guests that don't match that philosophy. If it seems they don't care, or are in it for a payment, we pass.

But it's not like it was 10 years ago, where coming to the U.S. was a new, interesting thing. Meeting American fans, playing an American gig - that novelty has worn off. It used to be a big, exciting thing - it's why some huge names in music and anime were coming in the early and mid 00's. But the grand experiment didn't yield much, and the market never broke open. The licensing bubble popped, U.S. companies collapsed, Japan turned inward, and here we are.


Let's put all this together as a typical scenario. I'm a member of a band and our manager comes to me talking about a possible appearance in America. But I work a day job to pay the bills, and I don't know if I can get time off until after Golden Week. The drummer and the bassist can't stay past Sunday morning because they have a gig Tuesday night. This isn't an event for us specifically, or a music festival, but an anime convention - the ones known for hosting "concerts" in hotel banquet rooms with borrowed equipment run by amateurs in costume. The crowd only really knows that opening song we did for that anime 5 years ago. They want to offer me free hugs and want my autograph, which is weird.

Our performance fee? They can't afford the Japanese price. Our sound technicians, guitar and drum techs? We can only afford to bring the FOH guy. Upgraded flight? Nope, we're flying economy for like 24 hours of lives. It's too expensive to ship lots of merchandise that may not sell, so we have to make money off of however many CDs, photographs, and knick-knacks can fit in a check-in. Americans don't buy CDs, you say...?


That's the kind of thing that makes it difficult to get big names. How do others do it?

Brand is big. It's easier to convince, and to explain, when you're #1 or #2. That carries its own momentum, because once you're known as a place where big names have been, big names are more comfortable to visit. See: AX, Otakon. You can even screw up and still have this advantage. See: AX.

Relationships are key. Otakon, ACen, etc work really hard to maintain relationships. They do a good job, too, so they are trusted. This is something that can literally take a decade to build up and one year to destroy. We have had volatility in certain areas that harmed us; I know I went through several promoters with MusicFest before we got and really developed our current relationships - which are stronger than people might think! - around 5 years ago. The anime side is more hit-or-miss; we are building relationships with seiyuu and their management, but many individuals represent themselves and don't have a management layer to trust and delegate to.

Related is staff. Otakon in particular has long-standing staff that have floated around and kept some consistency in the quality in execution. Personally I did not do a good job in this respect: I handed things off and took a nice vacation, leaving the new guys and girls hanging. They've had to re-learn things I could have taught them, but didn't. Then again, I was making it up as I went along, too. Like relationships, this is also something that can take years to develop, but one bad burn-out year can ruin it.

Money. Some conventions happily raise and pay fees and move along; others, like us, are more hesitant to go down that road.


There's some inside info. I hope it explains a bit why guest relations - across many conventions - are why they are what they are.

I really appreciate this post. Every time something is going wrong in any aspect of my life, whether that be why the government is so shitty right now, why my income taxes take so much from my checks, why my son's doctor can't schedule my appointments sooner, etc....all I ever want is a little insight so that I have the option to understand and move on, but without that I just remain frustrated and confused. So thank you for this. That being said...

From what I understand, there's a lot of trouble running this con because the staff is full of regular human beings, not corporate-funded business folk, putting in as much effort as they can to put together a great con for other regular human beings. Since Fanime is so big and Japan-US relations are changing have changed so dramatically, the staff is now having a tremendous amount of trouble competing with these bigger corporate-run conventions, right? I love Fanime, but in my opinion it seems as though Fanimecon isn't going to be able to compete over the next 5-10 years similarly to how, say, a family owned coffee shop is run out of business when a new Starbucks opens up across the street. And then there's also the possibility of the fans that love Fanime so much standing up and saying "We can still have fun at Fanime! Screw the big cons!" But considering the demand for "relevant" guests and so many people saying "Sorry Fanime, but this us going to have to be my last year attending", I don't see that lasting. It's a very sad reality that I feel has been approaching over the last few years. The only way for the con to lift itself out of the mud might be to seek corporate funding of some sort.
I'm never intending to be rude towards Fanime staffers at all, so I hope I don't come off that way, but...considering the con has been around for 20 years, shouldn't some relationships have been developed by now? I mean, are current staffers really that fresh to con planning that no one has a good industry relationship enough to bring in quality guests of honor? For all I know I could be talking out of my ass, but logically 20 years seems to me to be enough time to develop enough recognition for quality guests of honor to want to come to the con. So then I wonder, has Fanime developed a bad reputation amongst these guests? Maybe I'm just speculating.
Registration / Registration for babies?
May 06, 2014, 05:57:32 AM
I don't know if this has been asked but I'm pretty new to it so I figured I would.
I have a one year old. I brought him last year to Fanime when he was 2 months old and I ended up having to get him a badge at the con (for free of course) but I wasn't sure if there was a way to do it before the con so I won't have to wait in line to get my badge and then wait in another line to get his.
Quote from: keitoghostie on May 05, 2014, 12:20:09 PM
I'd assume some of it is due to Memorial Day Weekend being a popular time for conventions (there are 9 others going on not including Fanime), some of which may be quicker to grab up or have more resources (whether it be monetary or based on the quantity/quality of international relations bookers) to book high-ticket guests.

From what I can see, Fanime WAS late when it came to booking guests (i.e. still soliciting suggestions for guests even in January)
I generally don't hit up MusicFest but from what I can see on here, this is the point of most dissent.
No disrespect, but I really think the process should start WAY earlier - comb through previous suggestions lists and choose artists that are mentioned more than once, and if they're prolific that's a huge plus! Artists who have worked on many many series are sure to have a number of excited fans.

Start early, book a "headliner" (musical guest or otherwise), announce them early (like December/January, February at the latest) = happy and relieved Fanime attendees PLUS I'm sure it would bring in new attendees due to hype.

That's just what I would hope would happen and it's understandable if that's not entirely realistic, but I think a lot of people feel the same way!

I completely agree with you. It seems to me like most other cons get a much earlier start on reserving guests. I've seen SacAnime constantly updating their guest list for several months and they have a great lineup and their con is in August; on top of that, they have more than one con a year! A summer and a winter! And they consistently get great guests! Anime Expo similarly gets started very quickly every year and that con is CHEAPER now that Fanime is boosting their prices so much.

Quote from: Nina Star 9 on May 05, 2014, 03:04:34 PM
I don't really go to cons for the guests (unless there happens to be someone really cool who is related to something I'm interested in), but I can understand all the disappointment. Looking over the guest list, it feels like these are guests that someone can see at a smaller convention, or that have been at many previous Fanimecons. With the size of this con (I am also interested in knowing where the budget is going), it seems like there should be guests that would get people (maybe even someone like me!) excited. I don't know if it is a budget issue, or a management issue, or a time issue, or a legal issue, or some other issue entirely, but whatever the problem is, it needs to be fixed. It's a bit sad when even small, one-day cons have bigger guests (or even bigger guest lists!) than one of the largest cons in California (the nation? Fanime is what, #5 or so now?).

It feels like at this point, this con is relying on its reputation (which is quickly going south) and its size instead of working on making itself the best con it can be, not just guest-wise, but overall.

I agree that the guests really ought to be a bit better as the con grows. I mean, one of this year's Fanime guests was at the VERY FIRST Stocktoncon a couple years ago so he can't be all that hard to get and isn't much to anticipate in my opinion.
Quote from: Tetsuo on April 30, 2014, 06:17:30 PM
In my opinion...

[spoiler]Guest wise--I was, but the likelihood that HOME MADE KAZOKU will be the only worthwhile musicfest guest killed my HYPE. I honestly thought that as the convention grows larger, we'd be able to secure more relevant industry guests. Hell, even HOME MADE KAZOKU isn't much relevant anymore, as the latest anime related song is Freedom from Naruto-- which was back in 2011... 3 years ago. Now we have Mr. Ramayya, who apparently did work in Cowboy Bebop and Wolf's Rain. I understand that Cowboy Bebop is a critically acclaimed franchise, but really? We couldn't secure any other(more relevant) musicfest guests? I for one am quite sad they (haven't quite yet..maybe?) announced an idol group.. I would've even been stoked if they at least brought back Halko Momoi.

Then we have the other guests, I'm quite happy that we at least have Hiroyuki Kanbe, director of Oreimo. That aired last year and it was quite a good watch. Unfortunately, the fun stops there(at least for me) because the other guests are pandering towards people who watch and are a fan of dubbed anime(or games).

Of course, I'm preparing to take back everything I've typed so far because I've heard that actually securing guests is the hardest part, and they only announce guests once they're guaranteed to come. Maybe there is still hope, but for now I'm not particularly hyped.

Before anything else though, nothing negative towards the guests themselves. They're all fine and I'm not trying to say that they don't belong in the convention, I just want more relevant guests.

Everything else though, the new venue, the cosplayers, pretty much everything else other than [spoiler]the guests[/spoiler]... I'm pretty goddamn hype for.

I couldn't have put my own thoughts into words any better than this; I completely 110% agree. To be honest this will probably be my last year of Fanime. I can only afford one big convention a year and I'd like to experience bigger, better ones from now on. My boyfriend made a good point; the Fanime attendance is growing but the organizers aren't doing enough to compensate for that. I've had fun at Fanime mostly in Gaming Hall, Dealer's Hall, and Artist's Alley. I'm excited to go on vacation for Memorial Day Weekend more than anything. And I'm excited to play games and shop and eat. I'm hyped to be away from home in an environment I can relate to more than my horrible home town. But next year I want to try out some other conventions.
Panels and Workshops / Re: Status of Panel Approvals
April 24, 2014, 02:43:41 PM
Will anything information on panels be listed on the website at any point before the convention or are we going to have to wait for a majority of info about the panels/con in general until day 0? It would be really nice to know what to expect before the con and such info is usually expected...well, a long time ago, but since we're less than a month away, then will anything come up in the next couple of weeks? At all?
General Convention Discussion / Re: Day 0: Worth It?
April 24, 2014, 02:39:13 PM
I haven't done a day zero, but I plan to this year because the past two years I went, I feel like I missed a lot of panels I wanted to see on Day 1 because I had to drive to San Jose, check into my hotel, stand in line to get my badge, make sure I didn't pass out from starvation, etc. So I'm looking forward to getting that stuff out of the way on day zero so that I can enjoy Day 1!
I hope you get the permission to sell it (I don't see anything questionable about it) because I will definitely want to buy it! :D
Quote from: Avairrianna on April 08, 2014, 04:40:30 PM
And don't forget about taking the deals off of websites like Groupon! I already have 3 meals paid for that weekend around the convention center ^^ Great way to A) Try new places that you've maybe never been before, B) Pay for food before you even get there!, and C) Get them at discounts anyways!

I've already got the Asian fusion place behind the Fairmont, the crazy hot dog place, and an Irish restaurant under my belt! (Just a word of warning, If Psycho Donuts puts out a coupon they will not honor it on Fanime weekend. This happened last year but since we were from out of town they hooked us up!)

WOW that'sa really good idea, I completely neglected Groupon! THANKS FOR REMINDING ME!  :D
My first year of Fanime I was very poor and I got a hotel five miles away from the con for $150 for the whole weekend, I found free parking every day that was less than half a mile from the con, and I ate McDonald's for every meal all weekend and skipped breakfast. My spending money for the whole weekend was $35. I bought food and a small arpakasso plush. I highly regretted only eating McDonald's but I did what I had to do.

My second year, I shared a room with someone who paid for the room completely at the St. Claire, so I had more money to spend. I had room service for breakfast for one day only because it was so expensive and the rest of the days I had no breakfast. I ate from some food carts nearby on some days, like the hot dog carts and such, Subway, and I brought some food to put in the hotel fridge like sodas and stuff to make our own food. I lived off of Cheez Its half the time.

This year I am much, much better off financially and have $1200 saved for the whole weekend so I plan to mix up my meals by eating and the various establishments surrounding the con such as Pho69, Original Joe's, Morton's, Arcadia, etc.
Is this going to end up on the website as well? I know a lot of people who don't think to view the forums for important information and they tend to open the website daily to check for new information.

just sayin'
I'm pretty fed up with how the con has been going over the past few years. It's unforgivably disorganized & lacking information. I swear to God if this happens next year I'm not even going to bother & I'm changing my yearly vacation to SacAnime or Anime Expo. I'll probably save money too since Fanime unnecessarily overcharges on registration. If I hadn't already paid for my registration this year I would go to SacAnime instead. There's some good guests going and I'm concerned that the guests for Fanime are going to be shit in comparison. I'll likely spend my time shopping and winning another iPad because I don't want to deal with the Bullsh*t Black & White Ball and the Massacre Masquerade.
I bet half of Fanime attendees could have put together a functioning website within an hour.
I mean, if the website isn't working then throw together a blog. Tumblr, Wordpress, Blogger...even if not a blog, you have both a Twitter and a Facebook account. Guests could have been listed on FB easily. I have some HTML themes for Tumblr with drop down lists and such that would be perfect for listing panels and guests. I can't imagine these routes weren't thought of, or weren't they?
Even just a list of information using Times New Roman on a blank white page is fine. As long as the information is there.
Quote from: DrScorpio on March 25, 2014, 11:10:39 PM
Quote from: ewu on March 25, 2014, 08:55:41 PM
Above posters: thank you for your comments. We understand your frustrations. I'm not too sure what I can do to appease you, but we hear you.

Im pretty sure you guys hear us. The problem is we dont hear you guys. I would love to hear why things were allowed to go so wrong in 2013 and know how things would be different from 2014. I want to know why after all this time the website is a shell of a website.

You guys need to understand that we have been waiting for quite some time and have gotten nothing other then a working Clockwork Alchemy site. The frustration has built up over time and now I want to know who I should be directing my anger at.

Quote from: ewu on March 25, 2014, 08:55:41 PM
Before this thread becomes an venue exclusively used for venting frustrations, please let me know what questions you have that I can realistically answer and information that I can reasonably get for you.

This thread is pretty much for venting frustration. It is the only expected outcome when you have people asking for information, getting none, and only getting vague assurances things are being worked on. Normally I would agree that we should be in the "be patient and let the staff do their jobs" phase. That ship sailed like a month ago.

Quote from: ewu on March 25, 2014, 08:55:41 PM
From what I can put together from the posts, you are looking for more information through other means of dissemination. I will pass that point on. Unfortunately, they are not optimized for our current model, but we will look into posting them there.

Its simpler then that. We simply want INFORMATION. Because there is an opinion that maybe the lack of information is because the website is not working, that information should then be shared with the fans via alternative means. Since the website development is in such a incomplete unusable state, it only makes sense to not be held back by the website and share the information via facebook, twitter, etc. I simply believe that there is no information and that is why everyone is silent.

When I attended my first year of Fanime in 2012, the website was already up by September. LATE registration was considered to be February. And registration was reasonably priced and the convention itself was definitely worth the money. 2013 and now 2014 have both been horrifyingly disorganized it seems, and my only conclusion to the reasons behind the delayed website is an inability to get things together in a timely manner. Like EVERY OTHER CONVENTION IN THE WORLD, you should have been working on the following year's convention the MOMENT the last convention ended. This fiasco is causing me to rethink my yearly vacation plans and start attending other conventions in order to simply avoid the hassle of Fanime. Without prompt information I can't know if the guests/events are going to be worth my time and money, and therefore I can't decide ahead of time whether I should attend, say, SacAnime or Anime Expo instead. With as much money as you want for registration I expect fantastic guests but they've been about as good as StocktonCon, which JUST started up two years ago.