FanimeCon 2020 Forums

FanimeCon Events and Discussionmentarianism => Big Event Showcase => Topic started by: sakaki on May 27, 2013, 06:06:43 PM

Title: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: sakaki on May 27, 2013, 06:06:43 PM
There were so many issues with this year's Cosplay Spectacular it's not even funny. Now, for the record all of the staff I talked with were nice and tried to be as helpful as possible. Unfortunately I don't know where the blame for all this lays and I don't really care - what happened, happened, and this is the gist of it:


Myself, my group and a bunch of other people we talked to are seriously considering not attending Fanime nor participating in the Cosplay Spectacular again. It wasn't fun, it wasn't organized, it was a huge mess and I think everyone should be aware of this for the future.

Sakaki
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Erik_anderson on May 27, 2013, 08:46:22 PM
Hi Sakaki

I just volunteered that day at 4:45, so I am unaware of much  the background. I did try to manage as best I could to keep communication going, get water for the contestants and to keep everyone safe.  I however as a (I'll be it temporary) member of the crew, personally apologize if I let you guys down and I hope to see you next year.

Erik (Big, red pants, white shirt guy)
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: PinkHairSasuke on May 27, 2013, 11:09:20 PM
That seems way too chaotic and disorganized. It's something you'd expect from a con that was just starting in years, but Fanime has been going on for quite some time. You'd think they'd have their act together. This whole year was pretty chaotic.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: der Glitzkrieg on May 28, 2013, 01:15:03 AM
The only really good thing I can say about participating in it was that the staff was very nice and, at the very least, tried to get us answers when we needed them. Erik, you were especially helpful and I appreciate that so much.

We had to have someone guide us to the proper entrance for our pre-judging/rehearsal and he wasn't even a staffer, he was just some very helpful attendee. There was no direction given to the participants as to what to do when we got on stage. We had to talk to someone just before we went on, since we were first in line. Our audio, like almost everyone else's, was screwed up. I had hoped that our audio being messed up would have been the one hiccup, but no, it wasn't. We weren't even announced at all, no names or anything.

That was another issue -- the MC didn't even have a script until part way through the show. There were no group names nor series names announced, which was confusing, especially when awards were announced since no one had any idea who won what at first.

I went in 2009 and participated in the Cosplay Spectacular then and it was run well and smoothly. I had hopes for the same experience this year, but that was just not to be. I can afford one out-of-state con a year and after the experience I had at Fanime this year, I won't be going back until the issues are ironed out.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Dany on May 28, 2013, 09:10:10 AM
As an audience member and past participant in the Masquerade, while I had a decent enough time watching so many people I know or are acquainted with compete, I was truly disappointed in what I saw in the execution of the event this year. I was giving every possible bit of my patience, as with new management there are natural bumps and thuds that will happen as someone different takes over. With that said, there were far more major issues this year than I have seen since I started attending Fanime, and it has resulted in a significant loss of trust in the event that will likely keep participants from returning, and may keep audiences opting for room parties or Black and White Ball instead.

Perhaps part of the reason is because with new management also came a switch in staff to those far less experienced. Perhaps major technical difficulties occurred that were unanticipated. Perhaps communication was simply not strong enough...whatever it was, this year was not to standard at all.  I do not foresee many people wanting to return to the masquerade in any capacity if these things are not openly addressed (as in, discussed openly on the forum if possible) and major effort is putting into resolving these issues.

I know running an event like this is not easy, and does not come without quirks sometimes.  I commend the significant effort that WAS put in to hold the event together until the very end. I commend Wendell specifically for his effort in trying to keep the audience energetic while...whatever was going on behind him. His was not an easy position to be in and I think even the most savvy emcee in the world would have had troubles with keeping the audience engaged given the situation. Go light on him, because I am sure he was sweating bullets a few times over....I know I would have had done no better in his shoes.

But I will say with no reservation that Jack and his team must put in a LOT of extra work to prepare for next year.  Based on what I have picked up from many who have competed and my own personal experience in the audience, it's a small list, but it impacts things immensely.  Communication has to be aggressively shored up so that changes in logistics are relayed to staff and participants in a timely manner.  A significant backup plan needs to be in place so that the event resumes flow if there is technical failure.  And if things need to start being prepared earlier so that an event starts on time? Get in the building earlier and make it happen no matter what. I can live with a slight delay, but the fact that the audience was not even in the door at 5:00, let alone seated and waiting for things to occur, was a huge issue.

On a much more positive note, I would like to praise is that there appeared to be more effort put into utilizing the technical resources of the stage than in the past (lighting effects, etc). Maybe I'm wrong, but if that was something intended, please continue to take advantage of it! I know many people come to compete on the stage at Fanime because it is a true stage, and any additional effort turned that way is sure to fire up a few imaginations.

EDITED TO ADD:  Curious, what was the influence of the decision of choosing the Trims as an opening band for the show? I was a bit surprised as in the past, there has been far more thought with keeping the opener at least in the Asian theme. The band was OK, but it just seemed to not fit in, and of course, it was not what people came to the show to see.  I hope that perhaps some form of cosplay-related performance can be chosen as an opening act next year, or at very least, something more related. I actually really liked Hideo, for example...or even the Taiko group that we had a couple years ago. Anything that could be kept short, ideally - remember, the primary purpose of the event is the masquerade, and anything taking from that ought to be minimized.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: der Glitzkrieg on May 28, 2013, 11:38:02 AM
Oh, I also forgot to add that one auditorium employee was being extremely rude. The guy that was closest to the right hand front of the auditorium was being very rude, yelling at us to get out now when we were trying to pick up our stuff (phones, award papers, costume pieces, etc.). There was zero attempt made to be at least somewhat polite, like 'please hurry up', just straight up rudeness and verbal escalation every time I said something. He was also getting physical with some people from what I heard and the group of people I was with thought he had actually pushed me. This is unacceptable, as the other people working there were at least polite and saying we looked great and we did a great job and asking us politely to hurry.

I know the staff of the auditorium has nothing to do with Fanime, but I figure that it's worth a complaint, at the very least, so maybe someone can tell the people that own/run that venue.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: sakaki on May 28, 2013, 12:06:50 PM
I pretty much agree with everything everyone has said.

@Erik - I do remember you and we all noticed that you were making a huge attempt to try and get things running smoothly. Unfortunately it seemed like someone was working against you because we were yelled at the minute we entered the wings that we were going on NOW (guy in black, headset, baseball cap?), despite the fact there had been multiple people in front of us.

@Dany - I hope didn't come off like I was saying anything mean about Wendell! He did try to do his best and I felt really bad that he was thrown into that situation - since he was the "face" of the show I was worried some of the audience might blame him for whatever was going on. And yeah - the band choice was the least of the problems that night but a bunch of us were miffed by it and how it seemed like having them there really gummed up the works.

@der Glitzkrieg - That IS totally unacceptable - probably what happened is the auditorium staff was told things would be cleared by 9 so they could shut down....and when things weren't over at 10 I bet a lot of them got really mad. They never should have taken it out on cosplayers though - it's not like what happened was your fault =/.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Okach on May 28, 2013, 12:10:57 PM
Black and White Ball has its own set of issues, which we are working through  :(.  Keep the feedback and suggestions going!
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Jazqui on May 28, 2013, 12:18:17 PM
I agree with all of this. I was EXTREMELY upset with the fact that the times for tech/onstage rehearsals were changed after the website had said that they would last from 1 to 4 on Sunday, which is standard for Fanime Masq. I had a shoot I had been planning for a YEAR with friends from out of state with costumes that are extremely difficult to get in and out of on Sunday morning, and because I found out SATURDAY NIGHT that tech rehearsals apparently had to be done by 1:30, which did not seem like the case anyway as people were on the stage until at least two or two thirty when we went out into the hallway to practice on our own, I was not able to be a part of that shoot. Which is a personal problem, I know, but I think it was extremely inconsiderate of the staff to NOT have established times for these things that they stuck to. Given that nothing even started until 5:30 and the audience wasn't even brought in until 5:15, there is no reason why tech rehearsals COULDN'T have lasted until four.

In preparation for the con, I was never added to the mailing list of skit participants (and neither were a few other groups I know), and I only got updates because one of my skit members religiously checked the thread on the forums, so I wasn't receiving the proper information. I didn't know where masq check in was, and when I emailed Jack to ask WHEN and WHERE they were, he just said, "Yes, you can check in today." I ended up asking the info desk where it was, and they had to call about ten people to figure out where it was. On the first day, I was told we did not need backstage passes, but the next day one of my friends told me their friends' group was given backstage passes, so when we went back Saturday afternoon, we were told that they had "changed their mind," and they gave us stickers to put on our badges and told me that I had to personally walk in every member of our skit (which wasn't possible given how late it was at that point) because EVERY TIME I HAD ASKED if they wanted a list of the names of the skit members, they had said no and that I should just show up with everybody in the skit as their representative. I asked about three times, and was reassured time and time again that it would not be necessary (which I knew was going to be a mess, but whatever).

In the end, badges and backstage passes were not even checked on the way in to the Masq hall or backstage, and it was a huge hassle for no reason whatsoever. We also forgot to turn in a permission slip for one of the younger members of our skit on the way backstage after we were told to bring it to the actual event, and we realised in hindsight they didn't even ask for it. They were not enforcing any of their own rules this year, I felt like.

And can I just say how ANNOYING it was that absolutely no one had any clue when Masquerade started? We were in there from 12:30 until 10:00 with a half hour break to get food and bring it back to eat. We did NOTHING ELSE the entire day. Every single staff member told us something different, but the general consensus from most people seemed to be 5:15, so that's what we were assuming. We were practicing in the hallway after our tech rehearsal at about three when someone came out and told us we had to go in the auditorium because it was call time because Masq started at four thirty. At that point we were so fed up with everything we left to get food and came straight back to eat it in our seats. When we got back, half of the skits weren't even there--I'm assuming because absolutely no one bothered to be clear about when the event started, which I think is the most unprofessional failure in the entire event. It is not difficult to decide on a time for the event to begin and be perfectly clear on your website, con schedule, and with all your staff.

No one came out to tell our group when we were supposed to go backstage--we were the third performance skit, so after half of the walk-ons had gone on, we went backstage ourselves to ask if we should be backstage because normally you miss about five to ten skits standing backstage. They told us they didn't know. The photo people were really behind because we kept having to get rushed backstage since no one knew what they were doing.

This is also a minor detail, but since we were not allowed/made to go through the front doors this year, we didn't know about the strobe lights that were used in one of the skits. I am epileptic, and so was one of the cosplayers in the group I was sitting next to. I have NEVER seen strobes used in a Fanime Masq. performance. Those strobes were REALLY bright and really bad. We both were complaining that they could have warned us, and when we were told there were signs on the front doors, we said that we weren't allowed to come in through the front doors so we wouldn't have seen that. A staff member told me, "Well, how likely is it that the performers are going to have a problem with it?" Note that two of us happened to be sitting RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER. A big coincidence, I guess, but it's likely enough that it's worth pointing out.

Then when we went to collect our prize money like we were told to, we were told that the money was handed off to someone else and that it would be mailed to us instead.

Overall Masq had me running around almost the entire convention like a chicken with my head cut off. I participate in this event every year and if this is going to happen again, I'm not sure I want to next year.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: sakaki on May 28, 2013, 12:44:05 PM
@Bisouspapillon - OMG. Those strobes were terrible and while I don't have any epileptic issues I have friends that do and holy moly those should have never been allowed. I don't even remember why they were used but I closed my eyes because it was just THAT bad. And your overall experience paints a very clear picture of exactly what happened to just about everyone who participated. If anyone is still confused why all of us are upset, THIS is it.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Dany on May 28, 2013, 12:55:37 PM
@Dany - I hope didn't come off like I was saying anything mean about Wendell! He did try to do his best and I felt really bad that he was thrown into that situation - since he was the "face" of the show I was worried some of the audience might blame him for whatever was going on. And yeah - the band choice was the least of the problems that night but a bunch of us were miffed by it and how it seemed like having them there really gummed up the works.

Oh by no means did I think you meant to say that! :) More precisely, it's as you said, sometimes the emcee gets heat for being a bad emcee when in reality they are desperately grabbing straws to keep the audience in check in an extreme situation. He deserved a lot of credit for working with things as best as he could, especially since I have been present at other events Wendell has been in charge of and he's always been great with the crowd. I personally hope that he will have the opportunity to come back and be given less issues to have to work over.

The band choice itself is truly a small quibble in the grand scheme of things, but it does touch on a bigger issue: that people have been protesting the whole opening act thing since I started coming in 2010 (at least) and the Masq staff (or some other staff) seems INSISTENT to have something in that time slot. It poses a couple of problems:

        1. The cosplayers who are competing and are in uncomfortable costumes, some with a significantly limited vision, some with no ability to take care of biological needs without disassembling themselves..that hour can seem like not much to someone in their T-shirt and jeans, but to someone in an elaborate costume, that hour can feel like an eternity.

        2. Why put a band in front of an audience who is captive and likely may not give a damn about you? That's a disservice to both the audience and the band, in my opinion...they were a decent enough band to get the crowd going a bit, but it wasn't my thing and I would have been happier moving on to the performances.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: pantsu on May 28, 2013, 01:17:03 PM
Agreeing with everything said above....this was just a freakin HOT MESS. (I used to compete in some very poorly run masqs in FL and the cosplay spectacular made them look professional by comparison)

The scheduling thing is really what bothered me....we never knew when things were going to start/finish and I basically lost a whole day to "hurry up and wait" over at the auditorium.  When you're wearing a giant wig this is exhausting....normally I wear Scarlet Claw for 7-8 hours for fatigue issues...this time it was more like 11 hours and I was totally over it near the end.  I came to fanime alone this year, so I didn't have the ability to have someone run and get me food....and pretty much everything was closed by the time we got out of the masq.

Also NO staff knew where the cosplay spectacular room was so I had to go to 3 different places just to be sent elsewhere to get the info on where it was.  No one knew about who had submitted CDs vs. emailed in an mp3 file, etc.  The whole thing reeked of massive amounts of disorganization.

On another note...does Fanime not consider costumer levels normally?  Usually I compete at the Master level and was a bit surprised to see that all levels seemed to be lumped together for craftsmanship consideration.... 

EDIT: also, band was not really appropriate...but didn't the karaoke contest winner usually perform at the masq?  that would be WAY more fun and they could do it while the judges meet, keeping more of the audience around for the awards part.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: rynn on May 28, 2013, 01:22:17 PM
I think everyone else has already noted the bulk of the problems, and more eloquently than I am able to muster at this point. I don't know where exactly to place the blame but I truly hope that Fanime takes note of our concerns because I know that many cosplayers (myself included) will not be returning unless there are DRASTIC changes made to regain our trust and respect in 2014. There is a LOT of work to be done.

On a positive note, thank you for offering cash prizes this year. It was a nice gesture and definitely appreciated.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: clickclackbang on May 28, 2013, 02:00:57 PM
Yup this is the only year that I've been going where there were so many technical difficulties. I did not like the MC, but since he had no script I guess he was trying to make the best of a bad situation. Btw the time for the masquerade wasn't mentioned in the pocket schedule. Had to download the app to know what time it started. Explains why there were so many empty seats this year huh.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Highlander97 on May 28, 2013, 03:53:14 PM
Looks like they placed more effort on getting the band to perform, than to actually concentrate on the Masquerade.

Let me shed some info on the audio.

Our experience with Masquerades is to always double and triple check with the crew to make sure our music was received... even when we physically handed it to them at the check-in. When we did check, they couldn't find the music cds. It wasn't clear whether it was just our cd they couldn't find, but at the time it seemed like it wasn't just us. Mind you, this happened while the band was playing so the show already started and they were still trying to look for cds.

Fortunately, we had a back up that we rushed back to the Marriot to grab. Based on that situation, it sounded like they were far from ready to begin with, and with all the numbers changing, they didn't really have any time to preview the audio or setup properly.

It would then appear that they didn't get things together until half, or more, of the contestants already performed. So it was very unfortunate for the first groups that got screwed over by this.


While it's understandable they did their best, and there are volunteer staff involved that are giving their time to do this... it also needs to be said that the performers also put forth a lot of their time and effort to put on the show. We spend money, time and effort to make the masquerade possible. We are the fans, for the fans. It just didn't feel like the coordinators of this event really took that into consideration and did not treat our performances seriously, nor with respect.

With that said, there are those staff like Erik_Anderson who really did try to help the best he could.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: CeruleanRogue on May 28, 2013, 05:57:56 PM
Now that I'm back from my own transportation, I can chime in as well.

This was my second competition, and it was...interesting.  I really felt for Jack, Wendell, and the entire CS Staff.  From speaking with a few of them, they literally had to rebuild CS from the ground up this year, and much of the staff was incredibly green.  It really seemed they weren't prepared for a lot that was going on, and as such weren't able to roll with the punches as easily.

With that said, the audio goofs were rather annoying.  For the record, I was Maou-sama.  The reason I was out on stage for so long?  They couldn't find my music, and the lights weren't cut so I could make my way offstage to help them locate the music file.  (I've been trained that you don't move until the lights go down.)  I also really felt for the other groups who had major audio issues, though I really have to wonder why the Hetalia group wasn't offered a redo the way the Madoka group was.  From talking with their group members, they were rather rudely rushed off stage and not allowed a redo.

Also, how were the awards grouped?  Normally, you have three groups (Novice, Journeyman, Master) and both the craftsmanship and the performance awards are lumped according to that.  It wasn't made clear who won what and in what category they competed.

With all that said, I wanted to thank the other cosplayers.  Those of you whom I spoke with were awesome, and it was fun interacting with everyone.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Hakaru_chan on May 28, 2013, 06:56:08 PM
Hi everyone, as a former Cosplay contestant/participant and audience member, I want you guys to know that other cosplayers, fanime attendees and staff who didn't participate or even watch this year, feel your pain. The issues with the masquerade were brought up several times during the closing Q & A session and there were a lot of notes taken.

I remember last year being the last year for many veteren masquerade staff. It is inevitable but when life gives you babies, you make lemonade right? Opps lol.. I mean move on in life you know? I'm surprised they didn't implement many of the working structures and guidelines used before in past years.

The first flag for me was not having that part on the Fanime website that let’s participating teams sign up into a page where they can write down their information. Sign up information was conducted by email (which gives the opportunity for groups to miss information). It also makes it difficult to implement changes and updates.

The second flag was the lack of information about masquerade in both the Fanime program book and pocket book schedule. No time was mentioned in the program and the masquerade wasn’t anywhere in the booklet. This issue was brought up several times during the closing Q & A.

Another flag like everyone mentioned before was the time CS started. Many attendees thought it would start much later than 5:00 pm. I, myself, was used to attending/performing around 7:00pm. I can see the strategy as to why it may have started earlier as maybe they wanted to end early so people can still enjoy the B&W ball (unfortunately, it still ended around 10pm ish which is the normal time it has always ended).

Other things I noticed/heard about:

-   The lack of tier levels (such as beginner, advanced etc). Everyone was clumped together and from what I’m gathering, this is not a positive thing. As a performance group, we focus our shows more on performing than construction (just because we lack the experience in construction but have been dancing, singing, doing theater since we were young). If we were to clump the categories together, the general level of competition and difficulty for the masquerade assumingly then increases, thus putting competitors under the impression of both categories, however that is what "Best in Show" is suppose to be and remember, there is only ONE Best in Show is it's only for one winner/one group anyways.

-   The unfairness between groups – both in rehearsal and during the competition. From what I gathered, during rehearsal, it was still conducted in performance order (numbers 1 to etc) on a first come first serve basis, however, now this is my suggestion, maybe there should be a limit to how many times a group can go up and rehearse on that stage because even going in order is time constraining and it’s impossible to go through that list as many times as a performer wants. From my past experience, I was barely able to get in two stage uses during rehearsal. With the band cutting in like it did, even more so are the constraints for people.

-   The lack of experience with the host – now, I keep hearing from people, there ARE NO EXCUSES and maybe in this situation, I can understand that (being that he’s had experience from stage zero). Still, cut him a break guys! He didn’t have a script and thinking off the top of your head to improv is hard. I think with more training, and having more than one host, we can definitely make it work in the future.

@ bisouspapillon – Strobe lights should never have gotten through the civic doors because there are strict rules about having lights especially rotating lights on cosplay. Someone should have have caught them before they got inside. HOWEVER, I think this is where the "loop" in the ruling comes in. Lights cannot be turned on/used/working on the cosplay if its ON THE CONVENTION FLOOR and since the civic technically isn't the convention itself, I guess this is where the miscommunication comes in. I think we need to make this rule more clear but I'm sure this rule was in effect SINCE before this year. Past years, I remember being advised about lights over and over again prior to Fanime. The rules were always clear on the website. For this year, if it was part of their CS cosplay, it should have been mentioned in that group's email that lights were going to be on their cosplay and it should have been caught by staff months prior to Fanime so the group can adjust. I don’t work on staff or anything but I apologize for that experience. Again, some staffers will catch it, some won't. That's normal.

@ Sakaki – I’ve watched that skit over and over and although it can be debatable if the skit is in “bad taste”, being we’re in a family friendly environment, there is nothing blatantly inappropriate with it. He still had his clothes on, it was jazz/hip hop dancing with no grinding or excessive expression of certain body parts/areas, and honestly, Fanime’s had past masquerade performances more suggestive than that (look up Fanime 2012 Megaman LMFAO and Fanime 2010 Super Yaoi Brothers). As a note, the Megaman skit was later disqualified but the Super Yaoi Brothers won an award.

Sorry this post may be TL:DR status but I definitely want to apply to be staff/volunteer in this department being that in order to move forward, we will definitely need more hands on deck.

For those who feel the same, I encourage those, with experience or not, to help out if you could with this section of Fanime. Helping the new staff of CS will all the more make Fanime better in the future.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Jazqui on May 28, 2013, 08:09:42 PM
Quote from: Hakaru_chan link=topic=18572.msg463578#msg463578 date

@ bisouspapillon – Strobe lights should never have gotten through the civic doors because there are strict rules about having lights especially rotating lights on cosplay. Someone should have have caught them before they got inside. HOWEVER, I think this is where the "loop" in the ruling comes in. Lights cannot be turned on/used/working on the cosplay if its ON THE CONVENTION FLOOR and since the civic technically isn't the convention itself, I guess this is where the miscommunication comes in. I think we need to make this rule more clear but I'm sure this rule was in effect SINCE before this year. Past years, I remember being advised about lights over and over again prior to Fanime. The rules were always clear on the website. For this year, if it was part of their CS cosplay, it should have been mentioned in that group's email that lights were going to be on their cosplay and it should have been caught by staff months prior to Fanime so the group can adjust. I don’t work on staff or anything but I apologize for that experience. Again, some staffers will catch it, some won't. That's normal.

The cosplayers didn't bring them in. They were on the ceiling. I'm pretty sure they were requested from the tech crew and I was unimpressed and caught off guard by that decision because i have never seen strobes at this event as long as I have been attending Fanime
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: der Glitzkrieg on May 28, 2013, 08:27:39 PM
Quote from: Hakaru_chan link=topic=18572.msg463578#msg463578 date

@ bisouspapillon – Strobe lights should never have gotten through the civic doors because there are strict rules about having lights especially rotating lights on cosplay. Someone should have have caught them before they got inside. HOWEVER, I think this is where the "loop" in the ruling comes in. Lights cannot be turned on/used/working on the cosplay if its ON THE CONVENTION FLOOR and since the civic technically isn't the convention itself, I guess this is where the miscommunication comes in. I think we need to make this rule more clear but I'm sure this rule was in effect SINCE before this year. Past years, I remember being advised about lights over and over again prior to Fanime. The rules were always clear on the website. For this year, if it was part of their CS cosplay, it should have been mentioned in that group's email that lights were going to be on their cosplay and it should have been caught by staff months prior to Fanime so the group can adjust. I don’t work on staff or anything but I apologize for that experience. Again, some staffers will catch it, some won't. That's normal.

The cosplayers didn't bring them in. They were on the ceiling. I'm pretty sure they were requested from the tech crew and I was unimpressed and caught off guard by that decision because i have never seen strobes at this event as long as I have been attending Fanime

Yeah, the strobes were a part of the lighting fixtures on the actual stage and were used during one skit and apparently during the opening band. A friend of mine isn't epileptic, but strobe lights are VERY disorienting for her and she had to sit with her face covered for awhile to recover from it. Not allowing groups to use the strobing effects should have been enforced.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Angelx624 on May 28, 2013, 09:48:05 PM
Well, saying as we had to drop our skit due to a couple reasons(mainly the bg music we wanted to use hasn't been released onto a soundtrack yet, as the series our skit is from is still fairly new) I'm kinda glad we're saving it for another con.

It's sad to hear that the Masquerade didn't turn out successful. I didn't go, though, so I can't give an opinion on it.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: 01 on May 28, 2013, 10:06:25 PM
At first I was #50 then I was #36 and the Zeldamen were #30. But i ended up being third to last. Only to find out the microphone was off and i had to perfect my performance in 30 minutes as practice time. They had lots of water backstage.  Oh and about the lights on the cosplays ...my cosplay had the blue sound response lights on my miku skirt and i am so sorry if they bothered anyone.  I had to leave them on because they were on the edge of breaking and i needed them for my performance (but the lights flooded them out).
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Keiko on May 28, 2013, 10:59:37 PM
I was just a walk-on so I didn't have too many things that could've gone wrong; I don't think I even had any major hiccups seeing as I didn't have specific lighting directions and just had the music that I sent. This year was my first year competing in CS, so I was asking a lot of questions prior to Fanime weekend. There didn't seem to be a lot of guidance on the website about what sorts of categories craftsmanship division participants would be divided in, so as a relative novice to cosplay (especially in competition) I just sort of hoped for the best? I ended up looking at Anime Matsuri's Masquerade guide as a general guide for how to approach topics like how to present reference materials to judges and how to conduct myself during a judging, but I would've liked to see that information on Fanime's website already instead of having to look it up separately.

Also, I practically spent all day waiting around for the performance to start on Sunday. I was told to be there by 3pm but as soon as I got there I wasn't given rehearsal time or directions other than to just sit tight and wait for more instructions. I ended up twiddling my thumbs for 3 hours, which would've been okay if I were actually doing something, but I considering I spent my con time sitting on the side of the stage instead of on the con floor I was a bit miffed. I asked the volunteers for things that I'd expect to see backstage, like a holding room for performers and a location for water; I was given a chair in the wings to sit in which was great (volunteers you are all wonderful!) and the water arrived midway through the opening band. Even the minutes prior to my walk-on I was confused, having gone from #27 to #6 to #4 in a matter of minutes. If it weren't for that stage hand ushering me off the wings I wouldn't have even known. After my performance no one seemed to know where I ought to sit and watch the other performers so I just ended up setting up camp off to the side; it just would've been nice to have some direction.

It's a few days after the awards ceremony, and I still haven't been contacted about receiving my cash prize. Cash is great and I really appreciate it, but I saw that the 2012 winners also received a small glass plaque? Is that something I can hope to receive as well?

Might I also suggest utilizing Google submission forms for next year's CS entry submissions? I didn't know what to even send in my email other than 'Hello! I'd like to compete! Thanks for considering me!'

Fanime is my home con, and I intend to attend it for as long as I stay in the Bay Area, but I would rather see this particular part of the con grow from this experience.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: luluko on May 28, 2013, 11:50:12 PM
After I went through the frustrations of trying to register for the masquerade, I eventually decided not to enter, and I am sad to hear that this turned out to be a very good decision on my part.

I can't say anything for the during-con experience, but I was very shocked by how unprofessionally things were handled this year. I'm confused as to why last year's registration system wasn't implemented once again (all we were told was that staff "wasn't able to get it up and running in time" - doesn't exactly clear things up) but even more baffling is why registration and all the information that goes with it was handled via e-mail. it takes five minutes to set up a form on Google. too busy to do that? take your laptop to the bathroom and do it while you're doing your business in there. such a simple thing that would have made proceedings so much smoother, yet it wasn't done. also, waiting three weeks to hear back from masquerade staff after sending in our entrance e-mails? unnecessary.

I heard several rumors that several veteran staff members left after 2012, including the masquerade director, and while I never saw these confirmed by Fanime staff themselves it is fairly obvious that the rumors were true. Fanime needs to get someone who can run a proper masquerade. I don't see why this would be a problem in a state that is famous for being home to many accomplished cosplayers and several internationally-known conventions. hire someone from out of state if you have to. the masquerade is too important to not have it run successfully.

also, I know this was a part of the rules last year (not sure about years previous) but I also find it confusing/frustrating that entrants aren't grouped by skill level. that is a part of the rules written by the International Costumers' Guild (which can be viewed here http://www.costume.org/documents/fairness.html) and I've never seen those divisions not included in a masquerade... it really helps to level the playing field and encourages first-time entrants to participate in what is usually a wonderful and valuable experience.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: jemz on May 29, 2013, 08:33:03 AM
I heard several rumors that several veteran staff members left after 2012, including the masquerade director, and while I never saw these confirmed by Fanime staff themselves it is fairly obvious that the rumors were true. Fanime needs to get someone who can run a proper masquerade. I don't see why this would be a problem in a state that is famous for being home to many accomplished cosplayers and several internationally-known conventions. hire someone from out of state if you have to. the masquerade is too important to not have it run successfully.

I will confirm that the Cosplay Spectacular staff is completely new for 2013. Marisa, our former Cosplay Masquerade Dept Head, stepped down for personal reasons after finishing FanimeCon 2012. Along with her, the majority of her staff took a leave of absence as they have been wonderful to FanimeCon and worked for many years. 

The logistics of the Cosplay Spectacular is fairly intricate and, as a volunteer-only con, we cannot "hire" anyone. If you are interested in helping the Cosplay Spectacular run more smoothly next year, please volunteer.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Dany on May 29, 2013, 09:07:46 AM
also, I know this was a part of the rules last year (not sure about years previous) but I also find it confusing/frustrating that entrants aren't grouped by skill level. that is a part of the rules written by the International Costumers' Guild (which can be viewed here http://www.costume.org/documents/fairness.html) and I've never seen those divisions not included in a masquerade... it really helps to level the playing field and encourages first-time entrants to participate in what is usually a wonderful and valuable experience.

There is indeed a separation between regular craftmanship and advanced craftmanship, which was in turn broken down by individual versus group...and this has been in place at least since 2010 when I started attending regularly.  The only thing that Fanime lacks is a true "beginner" division. That said, I don't think that is entirely a bad thing...yes, you will get beginners that get discouraged, but you will also see beginners who get inspired and drive themselves to put themselves on the level of more experienced cosplayers.

It may not be the exact ICG structure, but the Guidelines have never been intended to be more of a guidepost anyway. Fanime doesn't march exactly in time to the ICG drum, but they do keep people with less experience separated to some degree.

(and I'll say it - the Guidelines do have the flaw in that they tend to rank by competition experience, not by actual costuming experience. I've seen people ranked novices that really should have been ranked Masters and the only thing that made the difference is that they never competed in an event before.)

Disclaimer: This message comes from someone whose first masquerade was at CostumeCon and who has competed with and without ICG guidelines. They are nice and helpful to those who need them, but they are not the answer to all events.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Hakaru_chan on May 29, 2013, 09:11:47 AM
Quote from: Hakaru_chan link=topic=18572.msg463578#msg463578 date

@ bisouspapillon – Strobe lights should never have gotten through the civic doors because there are strict rules about having lights especially rotating lights on cosplay. Someone should have have caught them before they got inside. HOWEVER, I think this is where the "loop" in the ruling comes in. Lights cannot be turned on/used/working on the cosplay if its ON THE CONVENTION FLOOR and since the civic technically isn't the convention itself, I guess this is where the miscommunication comes in. I think we need to make this rule more clear but I'm sure this rule was in effect SINCE before this year. Past years, I remember being advised about lights over and over again prior to Fanime. The rules were always clear on the website. For this year, if it was part of their CS cosplay, it should have been mentioned in that group's email that lights were going to be on their cosplay and it should have been caught by staff months prior to Fanime so the group can adjust. I don’t work on staff or anything but I apologize for that experience. Again, some staffers will catch it, some won't. That's normal.

The cosplayers didn't bring them in. They were on the ceiling. I'm pretty sure they were requested from the tech crew and I was unimpressed and caught off guard by that decision because i have never seen strobes at this event as long as I have been attending Fanime

Yeah, the strobes were a part of the lighting fixtures on the actual stage and were used during one skit and apparently during the opening band. A friend of mine isn't epileptic, but strobe lights are VERY disorienting for her and she had to sit with her face covered for awhile to recover from it. Not allowing groups to use the strobing effects should have been enforced.

Sorry for the misunderstanding guys but thanks for the clarification! Wow..even more so should the lights not have been there... since attending masquerade since 2008, I have never seen strobe lights or any of those kinds of lights used in any masquerade skit or opening show. I'm guessing they've always been there and not turned on? Or that maybe they were just implemented as of recent? I'm sure it doesn't matter which it is.. just that they are to never be used again. However, again, that issue has to be made clear to the people who own the civic and who are union paid to work in the civic while Fanime's CS takes place. The Fanime staff do not directly control the lightening because they HAVE to hire the people by the civic (unless this policy has changed of recent). Again, there are many uncertainties because of all the recent staff changes and what not...
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: sakaki on May 29, 2013, 10:25:38 AM
@ Angelx624 & luluko - you guys dodged a bullet. Consider yourselves lucky ;)

@ 01 - so you were supposed to be singing live to your video? That's absolutely terrible they didn't have a working mic for you.

@ Hakaru_Chan - No, you are absolutely wrong regarding the "Zeldamen" performance. You're mistaken if you think that I'm complaining about it because most of the participants are shirtless - that's not it at all - while I do take issue with their so-called "costumes" (a hat and underwear? okay....) - did you miss the part around 2:09 where two of them (red and purple) jumped onto another man's crotch (tingle and green) and are physically gyrating on them? How is that appropriate again? A number of people I spoke with were disgusted that this was let onstage at all. It is absolutely not PG and yet another instance that Fanime did not bother to enforce their own rules.

@ jemz - ridiculous. If you seriously think no one can be "hired" that's a complete joke. Did the band play for free? I'm sure most everyone would have preferred one knowledgeable organizer over that band. And I'm sorry, I don't believe the logistics most of us are complaining about are "fairly intricate." How hard is it to know that if you are asking participants to supply music via CD that you will need something to play said CD? How hard is it to know in advance that participants will need some indicator that they are participants in order to to go backstage and have that prepared? I could go on and on. I'd argue the only truly intricate part that a volunteer thrown into the whole thing should have difficulty with is doing stage lighting, sound configuration and emceeing. And I don't believe that any new volunteer was asked to do that. Seriously, if Fanime is somehow in such a bind that they are unable to attract any volunteers of quality they COULD hire someone on a contract basis to assist with certain things.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: ewu on May 29, 2013, 10:40:04 AM
Hi everyone,

Thank you for your suggestions, but I am going to lock this. Please leave all feedback and suggestions here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1WUsyOJkzz0qwypoNR5waear2tF119V60FExdi0G44Ig/viewform

Thanks!
Eric
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: pantsu on May 31, 2013, 12:34:19 PM
There is indeed a separation between regular craftmanship and advanced craftmanship, which was in turn broken down by individual versus group...and this has been in place at least since 2010 when I started attending regularly.  The only thing that Fanime lacks is a true "beginner" division. That said, I don't think that is entirely a bad thing...yes, you will get beginners that get discouraged, but you will also see beginners who get inspired and drive themselves to put themselves on the level of more experienced cosplayers.

Except this was not the case this year.  AT ALL.  The craftmanship awards went: Honorable Mention (individual and group), 2 judges awards, Best Crafts. (indiv and group), and of course best in show...plus the performance awards.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, as it was impossible to hear the judges announce award titles from the stage....but there did not appear to be any attention to costumer level this year.  I was never asked for it on my initial judging form...but I did mention it because I feel bad when experienced folks get lumped in with less experienced costumers for judging.  There was no "Best Journeyman" nor "Best Master"....so I'm still perplexed as to how fanime didn't just lump us all together in 1 big group.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Dany on May 31, 2013, 02:21:48 PM
There is indeed a separation between regular craftmanship and advanced craftmanship, which was in turn broken down by individual versus group...and this has been in place at least since 2010 when I started attending regularly.  The only thing that Fanime lacks is a true "beginner" division. That said, I don't think that is entirely a bad thing...yes, you will get beginners that get discouraged, but you will also see beginners who get inspired and drive themselves to put themselves on the level of more experienced cosplayers.

Except this was not the case this year.  AT ALL.  The craftmanship awards went: Honorable Mention (individual and group), 2 judges awards, Best Crafts. (indiv and group), and of course best in show...plus the performance awards.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, as it was impossible to hear the judges announce award titles from the stage....but there did not appear to be any attention to costumer level this year.  I was never asked for it on my initial judging form...but I did mention it because I feel bad when experienced folks get lumped in with less experienced costumers for judging.  There was no "Best Journeyman" nor "Best Master"....so I'm still perplexed as to how fanime didn't just lump us all together in 1 big group.

Because they do not use the terms "Best Journeyman" or "Best Master" in their judging. They use "Craftmanship" which is beginner and intermediate cosplayers, and "Advanced Craftmanship" for "master" cosplayers...and both of these are in turn broken between individual vs. group. Performance awards are more based on size of group: singular entries are put against all other singular entries, groups are put against groups.

It's not ideal, but it's more than some events have.*

The performance section is probably the only section where beginners are not protected from advanced folks, but at least an individual, who can only do so much by themselves, is not pitted against a large group, who are capable of doing a lot more onstage.  If you want to see beginners truly unprotected, that's SDCC.

Here's last year's awards, if it helps at all (because I am not sure when they will post this year's stuff). They traditionally stick to the same arrangement year to year, so hopefully it makes some sense.

http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,17481.0.html

...also, is this thread supposed to be locked? Or did ewu reconsider? :)



*By the way, I will say that the ICG and its guidelines are met with mixed emotions - I get the concept, because I came from that world, but you find out quickly that not every masquerade wants to be painted by their brush.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: pantsu on May 31, 2013, 03:02:15 PM
Were there "Advanced Craftsmanship" awards given out this year?  (we couldn't hear from onstage) 
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: ga-ko on May 31, 2013, 03:15:11 PM
The awards are all listed here:

http://www.acparadise.com/acp/cons.php?cyid=5015&t=3

I'm surprised that Fanime staff hasn't posted this info yet... It does seem like there were levels when it came to craftsmanship, but not for presentations.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Janan326 on May 31, 2013, 10:05:25 PM
would of been nice to know what level i was judged at, also I was sad they lost my audio for my walk on so I didn't get any cool theme music as I walked on hence why I did that *wait what's going on* kinda pose part way in because I thought my music would play, but If it didn't I didn't want to stall the walk-ons when they announced my name. Hope the staff volunteers learned what to do better for next year, because if it's possible for me to upgrade my suit and still bring it to masquerade next year ill return and hopefully in motorized, musical glory! xD
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: CeruleanRogue on June 01, 2013, 01:10:43 PM
would of been nice to know what level i was judged at, also I was sad they lost my audio for my walk on so I didn't get any cool theme music as I walked on hence why I did that *wait what's going on* kinda pose part way in because I thought my music would play, but If it didn't I didn't want to stall the walk-ons when they announced my name. Hope the staff volunteers learned what to do better for next year, because if it's possible for me to upgrade my suit and still bring it to masquerade next year ill return and hopefully in motorized, musical glory! xD

Early on, there were several audio glitches like this.  That's why I was stuck on-stage waiting for my music to start; they misplaced it in the playlist, but the lights remained on so I couldn't just walk off stage (I've been trained to never do that, wait for the lights to be cut).  So I also hope next year runs more smoothly, and that Jack and the rest of the staff get any assistance they might need to minimize errors.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: TruePoindexter on June 02, 2013, 12:18:35 AM
Hi everyone!

I am one of the members of Pizza Time Cosplay and we thought that we should clear up what happened at the FanimeCon 2013 Cosplay Spectacular. You can see (most) of our performance here thanks to ACParadise! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVLxqFGs2yc

The TL/DR version is that the CS staff at the time of our performance could not get the audio system stable and it failed about twenty seconds before the end of our skit. A member of our group asked about completing our performance at the time of the issue, but we were instead removed from the stage. We were not offered the opportunity that another group was offered to complete our performance at the conclusion of the show and were later informed that we were removed from stage because the CS staff “panicked.” This after an entire day of frustrations and non-communication. Hard feelings were had by all.

We found it very difficult to obtain any information regarding the Cosplay Spectacular event prior to FanimeCon as our and others forum questions went unanswered and the website had not been updated with any information. We shrugged it off and figured during the convention all of the information would be disclosed to us. Unfortunately even on the day of the Cosplay Spectacular we didn’t know what time the event would be held, what time we needed to arrive, what time the mandatory meeting would be held, what the rehearsal procedure was or even just how to access the backstage of the theater.   This was further exacerbated by no information regarding the event being listed in either the guidebook or the pocket guide. At some points we even questioned if it was going to happen at all.

On Friday we went to have our costumes judged and were concerned with how few details we were given. We left with a lot of unanswered questions regarding the event. Basically it was determined we should go back to the same room on Saturday for (hopefully) more information.

So we trekked back over on Saturday to check in with the CS again to turn in our audio and try to find out the times/places important for our participation. At this time, we inquired about backstage passes and were informed that we only needed a sticker on our badge to prove we were authorized. When we informed them that not all of our group members were there, we were told to just keep them with us and we could vouch for them at the event. We also made sure to find out if our audio CD would be acceptable for the performance and we were assured it would be fine. We were told by Jack Chau that rehearsals on stage would start at 10am and there would be a mandatory meeting Sunday afternoon. We also inquired about the lighting and were told we could write it down and give it to them there, which we did - luckily we had simple instructions.

On Sunday we arrived to the convention around 10am and spent some time trying to find how to access the backstage area. We encountered another performer at the locked entrance to the venue who told us how to get to it (around the corner at an unmarked, unmanned door) and we checked in and had another judging. At this point we wanted to rehearse but were told we could not as suddenly now there was no way to play our audio CD. For whatever reason they did not have the equipment on hand to play the type of media that had been requested, and which we provided the day before. One staff member suggested he could run to his hotel room and grab his personal laptop but unfortunately was shot down by someone else who insisted a laptop was on its way.

We had lunch and returned for the mandatory meeting only to wait for it to never actually happen. We asked close to 5 times if we could rehearse and even telling them we had a digital file we could email fell them on deaf ears as we were told that no, our CD was fine. Eventually a laptop with an optical drive did arrive but at that point the band’s equipment started appearing on stage and we were told it would not be possible at this point to rehearse anymore. Dejected we found a small green room off the side of the backstage area and rehearsed there instead.

Around 3pm we went back to the theater audience as I found the Fanime website had been updated saying that Special seating started at 3:00 pm, general seating at 4:30 pm, and the event was slated to begin at 5:15 pm. Once there, we were told to sit in the order of our performances but no one on the staff actually knew that order. A volunteer from another part of Fanime eventually came over and tried to get the order established but since times were so poorly communicated many performers were missing. We were told then that we would be performance #17 (originally #11) and waited for more information.

As we sat for what seemed like forever in the theatre we noted the time of 5:20 PM and were wondering why no audience members had even been seated yet. During these hours, the band’s equipment had been on stage with no one around it. The band never appeared to do a soundcheck which explains in part why the audio during their performance was unbalanced to the point where the lead singer’s vocals were so distorted that they could not be discerned from the rest of the music.

The band began playing around 6pm and finished a little before 7pm, at which time the actual event began. It was obvious that Wendell, the emcee, was not prepared for the role. We later discovered that he was asked to fill the role last minute. He did his best and I completely empathize with the situation he found himself in. Unfortunately, he was receiving many jeers from the audience and he appeared very uncomfortable. He hadn’t even been given a list of the performers and spent his time masking for the technical difficulties the CS staff were having backstage.

Early on during the performances a volunteer came by and told us privately that we had been bumped to performance #13 (previously #17) as ours did not require video. We were totally fine with the change; at this point only performance #2 had actually been on stage.

Suddenly (less than one performance later) the volunteer reappeared and asked us and performance #12 to go backstage and get ready because we were now in fact #6 and needed to be on deck right then. We were very concerned at this point but we did as told and collected our props. When we arrived backstage Jack rushed up to us and told us we were next (group #12 was just as confused as we were). I know that I was taken aback by this but we went out on stage and tried to do our best. Again, you can see how it turned out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVLxqFGs2yc

When the sound cut out one of our performers (in a silly joking tone) asked - still in character - if they could start the audio again. The CS staff immediately cut the lights and our same performer walked backstage to inquire what was happening with the audio and if they could just restart the CD. At that point in time stage hands came onto stage and started taking away our props. I’ll be honest that I was incredibly angry at this point. All of us in Pizza Time Cosplay were infuriated and of the mind to just leave. We left the theater with our props and returned them to our car.

In fact the only reason why we didn’t go home was that we encountered so many people along the way to our vehicle who told us they enjoyed our performance and were equally upset they didn’t get to see the ending. This helped ease our feelings a bit and we decided to suck it up and watch the remainder of the show. After the final group performed, Wendell came out and announced that “they wanted to make things right and felt a group deserved a do-over”. Everyone in our group started looking at each other, and the crowd started chanting "Hetalia! Hetalia!". Wendell then announced another group’s name - one that performed after our group and apparently also had audio issues. All the other cosplayers around us who were also involved in the show turned, looked toward us and asked if we were getting a do-over as well. We responded that we didn't know and that no one had said a word to us about a do-over. After the Madoka skit was over, Wendell addressed the audience for a final time. Once again the audience was chanting "Hetalia!". Wendell announced that the show was over, thanked everyone for attending and both the judges and the audience left. Several of our members rushed backstage to ask why the other skit had been offered this opportunity and we were not. Jack told us that the other skit asked to repeat theirs and we had not - despite the fact that we had in fact asked before. We pointed this out and pressed him as to why the audio cut out and why the lights were cut to have us literally pulled off stage. His response was that no one knew why the audio failed and that he had us leave the stage due to “panic”. Eventually he also offered us a re-do but by this time it was very late and the audience was gone, the judges were backstage deliberating and we’d only be performing for the other entrants who had stuck around. We declined as by this point it was an impotent gesture.

The performance that we had worked hard on, that the crowd enjoyed and was actively calling for completion, was stopped due to panic on the part of the CS coordinator. No one at any point could explain why audio problems plagued the event all night. All that was offered was an apology from Jack at the very end of the event when we basically asked for one. We were all stunned. Being blunt, our day - indeed all of the time we spent preparing for this event - would have been better spent doing anything else. It was clear that the present CS staff did not respect the audience, the performers, or the integrity of the event itself.

It’s been a long and detailed post but what I really want to impress upon everyone (the forum readers, current and future CS staff, and everyone else involved in FanimeCon) is that working on creating a performance is a huge personal investment on the part of the performers. We know that a lot of staff time and energy must go into creating a flawless event as well, but I think in all of the commentary regarding the CS the investment of the performers has been overlooked. The entire week leading up to the performance was hectic as we rushed to put finishing touches on costumes and coordinate around busy work/personal schedules in a group of 6 people to try and practice. We were stressed, nervous, and working feverishly to try to make our performance entertaining and memorable. Being pulled off stage due to someone else’s technical error and being later told that it was the result of “panic” was incredibly disheartening. We could have easily forgiven the technical issues since we understand that these things happen. But the worst part, the nail in the coffin, was watching another skit get a second chance for a similar issue when we were never extended the same offer. Any skit that has an issue should be immediately offered a chance to redo their skit either right away or at the closure of the event. This should not have happened and every effort needs to be taken by future CS staff to ensure it never happens again. Thank you to everyone who stopped us later and told us how much you enjoyed what you got to see of our performance - it meant the world to us!

We plan on performing a revised version at Summer SacAnime (http://www.sacanime.com) and our members will be attending other conventions such as Kintoki Con (http://www.kintoki-con.com/) and Kraken Con (http://www.krakencon.com). We’re also planning (time permitting) to record a staged version of our performance so that everyone can see it in its entirety.

- TruePoindexter of Pizza Time Cosplay

P.S. This has already been submitted verbatim via the feedback form. It has been posted here for the community to read.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Enkai on June 02, 2013, 11:58:18 AM
TruePoindexter, I'm sending virtual hugs your way right now.  I know from experience how much effort goes into a 2.5 minute skit like that, and that level of non-responsiveness needs to be addressed, and soon.  Also, your group's Italy is AMAZING, and I'm seriously in awe at how well he was able to stay in character when things went wrong.  Major props right there.  :D

I was reluctant to type anything since I was not involved in CS this year (only because we decided back in February that we hadn't made enough progress on our very time-intensive costumes to make it worth the stress of getting them done in time).  That being said, seeing what people have said here has led me to gather my thoughts and say what I would like to see in order to regain the trust that's been lost.  While I didn't compete this year, I want to compete in the future, but not if I think that next year will be a repeat of this years' events.  The following is what I have typed into the feedback form.

--
My husband and I have finally started costumes that have been my dream for the better part of a decade.  We were originally planning on debuting them at Cosplay Spectacular this year, but due to not achieving the progress we wanted and acknowledging that convention center construction was going to make the debut difficult, we decided around February to postpone the costume debut till next year.  As I read the horror stories of what went on, I realize that we dodged the hugest bullet imaginable.  Considering the years of dreams and planning going into this particular cosplay project, if I had to endure what this years contestants had to endure, it's quite possible that my disappointment would have been so intense, I would abandon Fanime and never look back (which is saying a lot, since I live so close to the SJCC that Fanime is the easiest convention for me to get to).

The reports I have been hearing are so damning, that a huge amount of trust has been lost, and I'm guessing that I'm not the only person who feels this way.  I have been involved with CS since 2008, competing '08, '09, '10, and '12, and competing in CS is almost always the high point of my convention.  It breaks my heart to admit that if Fanime does not do something to regain that trust, I will not be competing again.  Those dream costumes will be taken elsewhere.

Some suggestions on what to be done: First of all, the CS head needs to appear online and answer questions. Staff people involved with other large Fanime snafus (reg, specifically) have answered some of went wrong, and seeing acknowledgement of the problem helps a lot.  CS staff has been, with one exception, largely absent. The CS head is MIA. He needs to show up; he needs to apologize and acknowledge that mistakes were made, and efforts are being made to correct them.  This needs to happen soon.  Lack of communication has been the most biggest mistake of how CS was run.  Silence does not reassure me that those mistakes are being learned from.

Furthermore, we need to know why the miscommunications happened, why the audio was messed up, why the signup form that has been used in the past wasn't used again, why contestants weren't informed about time and info, why there wasn't much info in the program guide, why things didn't start on time.  We need to know why, because that means we can trust that the problems have been identified and that they are being corrected.

Finally, communication needs to be consistent leading up to next year's CS.  Questions in the forums need to be answered for everybody to see.  Leading into signups, we need to know exactly what to expect, preferably at least a month before signups.  This includes what will be required of judging, what mandatory meetings will be required, and exactly when signups will be open.  We also need to know what will be available to us tech wise: what lighting effects will we be able to instruct the tech team to use for our skit, what's the preferable method of submitting audio, etc.  Signups need to include signups for judging times, like they have in the past.

After signups, exact timing of what to expect needs to be up at least 2 weeks before con so groups can plan how they are going to coordinate, and audience members know what to expect.  What time do we have for rehearsal, what time will the program start, etc.

Communication is really key to helping people regain confidence in Fanime's Cosplay Spectacular, and the level of communication needs to be impeccable leading into 2014 in order for people, myself included, to believe that the amount of effort we put into our productions is worth it.

--

I understand quite well that Fanime staff is very busy right now with making decisions for the next year, so I don't expect a huge amount of detail right at this moment.  Please, please, please, give us some reassurance that the CS issues are being addressed.  It can be brief, just please, give us something.  The silence CS has gotten in relation to other departments is concerning, and I want to know that the problem is not being hid from.  I've always loved CS, and I really don't want to leave it. Competing is stressful enough on its own, that if the event is not well run, I simply won't compete.

I'm still hopeful though.  There's an opportunity to learn here, so this could mean that 2014 Cosplay Spectacular will be nothing but spectacular.  :D We've got some amazing cosplayers here.  That being said, I'm not going to assume that mistakes are being learned from unless there's evidence suggesting they are.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: CeruleanRogue on June 03, 2013, 11:50:41 AM
Just as a quickie from me, I sent Jack a PM through the forums to see how he's doing and if he can pop in and talk to folks.  I know from my own observations that he felt absolutely terrible about how CS went this year.  I spoke with him backstage during judging, and the guy was in tears, he felt so bad.  I'm hoping that the radio silence from him has been due to real life and other post-mortem con commitments, and that he's not too intimidated to come on and talk to folks.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: ewu on June 03, 2013, 12:06:04 PM
The best way that feedback will get to our staff is through the form:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1WUsyOJkzz0qwypoNR5waear2tF119V60FExdi0G44Ig/viewform

We have a staff of over 1000, with over 100 heads, aka those in leadership positions. At most 30 of the 100 read the forums. Using the form will make sure the feedback gets to them. The forum is a horribly disorganized way to provide feedback. Even if I were to put in the 4 or 5 hours that would organize it, it would take an additional 5 to get the feedback to the right people. BUT within those 5 hours, the threads would already get off topic and need another few hours to organize and redistribute.....so use the form:)

Replies to the form will depend on the bandwidth of the particular department head. We all try our best to get back to everyone we can, as soon as we can (I hope I am making MY personal presence known) but some heads may not have the freedom to check and respond as much as I do. I WOULD respond with meaningful responses to each and every one of your inquires, but I would be lying about things I don't know!:) SO, we appreciate your patience!

Thanks,
Eric

Just as a quickie from me, I sent Jack a PM through the forums to see how he's doing and if he can pop in and talk to folks.  I know from my own observations that he felt absolutely terrible about how CS went this year.  I spoke with him backstage during judging, and the guy was in tears, he felt so bad.  I'm hoping that the radio silence from him has been due to real life and other post-mortem con commitments, and that he's not too intimidated to come on and talk to folks.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Dany on June 03, 2013, 01:59:53 PM
Just as a quickie from me, I sent Jack a PM through the forums to see how he's doing and if he can pop in and talk to folks.  I know from my own observations that he felt absolutely terrible about how CS went this year.  I spoke with him backstage during judging, and the guy was in tears, he felt so bad.  I'm hoping that the radio silence from him has been due to real life and other post-mortem con commitments, and that he's not too intimidated to come on and talk to folks.

Anyone who stayed long enough to see him come out to announce Best in Show could tell that he was NOT a happy person at all. I am not sure he even WANTED to come onstage, to be truly honest. I don't want to speak for the guy, but his face spoke volumes.

Here's is my overall feeling: Yes, the CS had some serious issues going on this year. I think that Jack, and the department as a whole learned a lot...the hard way. This caused a lot of grief and lost a lot of trust, as the existence of this thread will tell you.

However, this is not the Titanic..this is a stage show and there has been a process in the past that worked. I think that if Jack revisits how things were before he took on this role, investigated the issues that happened this year, and worked hard with his staff, he could make a huge turnaround for the event

I'm deeply concerned after this year, but I am willing to give him one more opportunity before writing things off completely.
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: 01 on June 03, 2013, 06:26:53 PM
Um...the stage ninjas were nice :D after the show was over I got a hug from one of the stage ninjas,  she said I did great and that made me happy. ^-^
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Enkai on June 03, 2013, 08:32:53 PM

Replies to the form will depend on the bandwidth of the particular department head. We all try our best to get back to everyone we can, as soon as we can (I hope I am making MY personal presence known) but some heads may not have the freedom to check and respond as much as I do. I WOULD respond with meaningful responses to each and every one of your inquires, but I would be lying about things I don't know!:) SO, we appreciate your patience!


We know you're here.  ;)  Thanks for all the hard work you've put into managing the craziness BTW.

I don't envy Jack's position, but it can be recovered from (just hurts like hell in the process, if it's anything like some of my own personal dramas and mistakes).  It's not the fall, it's the standing up again. [/cliche metaphor]. 
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: angeljibrille on June 06, 2013, 10:44:39 AM
Hi everyone~

My team and I ran the FanimeCon Masquerade from 2004 - 2012, before taking this year off due to some RL family issues. I told Fanime that our team would be willing to come back, but there are others applying as well, and they are having us interview for the job. I had several people write to me asking me to come back. Feel free to share any similar sentiments via PM so I can send it to Fanime for when we interview.

If you have general questions, just PM me here.

Thank you for your support!
Marisa, Casey, and the Cosplay Team
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Kertus on June 06, 2013, 10:30:15 PM
Hi everyone~

My team and I ran the FanimeCon Masquerade from 2004 - 2012, before taking this year off due to some RL family issues. I told Fanime that our team would be willing to come back, but there are others applying as well, and they are having us interview for the job. I had several people write to me asking me to come back. Feel free to share any similar sentiments via PM so I can send it to Fanime for when we interview.

If you have general questions, just PM me here.

Thank you for your support!
Marisa, Casey, and the Cosplay Team


  « Last Edit: Today at 05:53:57 PM by ewu »

So now we're editing other people's posts? How nice indeed
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: angeljibrille on June 06, 2013, 10:54:50 PM
So now we're editing other people's posts? How nice indeed

It's OK! He wrote me via PM about it, and I agreed to the change. I was unable to change it myself because I was travelling and only had access to my cell phone.

ewu is a great guy :) no worries.

~M
Title: Re: Cosplay feedback (will not effectively reach staff if you don't use form)
Post by: Mach5Motorsport on June 10, 2013, 04:24:51 PM
Hey all. Dieter....... For the record, I ran hosted Fanime DerCosplay for five years and hosted the following, which was 2006.   Not an easy event to coordinate and lots of things can happen. I heard about things for 2013...I am sorry to learn of all the difficulty that happened this year.