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Messages - TruePoindexter

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Big Event Showcase / Re: Cosplay Spectacular 2014 Question
« on: March 14, 2014, 11:28:42 AM »
Have there been any announcements regarding who is in charge of running the masquerade this year? I know there was talk of the old team (2012 and prior) coming back, though I don't know if that was ever confirmed. Does anyone have any updates? I know, at least for my group, it is the primary factor in whether or not we participate again this year.

Thanks!

I've been inquiring but I haven't heard anything yet.

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Big Event Showcase / Re: Question about video use in Cosplay Specatcular
« on: February 25, 2014, 05:08:26 PM »
Hey Guys,

I was considering entering the masquerade in 2014 with a skit that utilizes a video in the background. But I can't seem to find anything on youtube with a group actually using a video. Has anyone done it? How does it work out? Is there a video I can watch so I can get a better idea?

Thanks for the help!!

Assuming it's in the same theater as last year the screen was above and to the side of the stage. Last year was riddled with technical difficulties with only a couple of performances successfully making use of the screen so personally I would avoid it.

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Big Event Showcase / Re: Cosplay Spectacular 2014 Question
« on: February 25, 2014, 05:07:04 PM »
The other thing to remember is there is a mandatory practice typically, but it's been to long for me to remember when that was held.

There wasn't one last year but last year also didn't go over well.

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Eric - I don't suppose there's an update on changes to the Cosplay Spectacular?

I will check

Anything?  ;)

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LOTS of stuff going on...but not much I can tell you. When its all nailed down, we'll get it out to you.

3 months later, is there anything you can tell us?

Eric - I don't suppose there's an update on changes to the Cosplay Spectacular?

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Moving past the registration woes - Eric do you think you can shed some light as to what's at least being discussed regarding the Cosplay Spectacular? The ill-will after the event is being left to fester with no response past "we're reading your feedback." I know the staff have jobs and other responsibilities to attend to first but it would help if there was at least an acknowledgement of what happened.

I have been in contact with the current Div Head and she is working hard to make sure that what happened with the Cosplay Spectacular this year will not happen again next year.  She is aware of the disappointment and the anger of all those who participated and watched. There will be changes for next year to make next year's Cosplay Spectacular run smoothly.

Thank you for giving her all your constructive feedback as it will aid in her decision-making process.


Thank you for the update. I hope we'll hear details about what's changing soon (or at least what decisions have been made thus far). It was very unfortunate that the event was more or less a disaster. I've jokingly been telling my wife the only positive was that the building didn't burn down.

I think the feedback has been submitted by everyone multiple times but the largest issue was simply the lack of organization. You can't expect events to start on time or technical needs to be taken care of when simple schedules are unclear. With lots of help from my fellow Pizza Time Cosplay members I've put together an account of our own experiences in the Cosplay Spectacular so hopefully some insights can be gleaned from that: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,18572.msg464893.html#msg464893

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For the record, Fanime sends people to Project Anime. We also have close ties with the convention planning community and will reach out for ideas and the like.

As for CS, unfortunately I am not privy to that discussion. I will try to follow up.

Thanks,
Eric

Thank you - I'll keep an eye out and hope to hear something soon.

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one click, and seeing at SPJA was involved with project-anime.. pretty much, at least for me, negates what Fanime is supposed to stand for.

in the end, it's about how much support Fanime and their registration system have.. both in manpower as well as finances.. those other events have tons of sponsors and financial backing to allow them to do the things they do.. it's not about the wheels at that point.. but the motor.

the motor wasn't strong enough to move the heavy vehicle.

i've been hearing and reading so many different suggestions.. and each one has either been tried in the past before.. is actually still implemented in some way.. or something else completely different. the con environment is dynamic and things change from year to year.. for the better or worse... but it's an ongoing evolution with changes constantly made.

as i've mentioned a few times, the system that Fanime Registration was using this year was actually good.. and allowed for things they weren't able to do before. there's always going to be complaints.. and what they lacked in manpower and implementation of their system caused the problems everyone saw.

as a long-time con veteran who's been there and done that, that's my personal opinion.. they needed more volunteers.. more people... but it's not just that really, there were people who said Fanime should have just grabbed people from other departments.. or shift manpower to support reg.. as if it would easily work that way.. people require training to be able to follow the proper procedures.. to get it done correctly. such flawed logic from people who think they know better.

FanimeCon staff learning how other conventions do things does not invalidate the "By fans for fans" premise. It just means that they want to get better. I don't know what personal problems you have with that specific advocacy group but it makes for a poor reason to dismiss a conference specifically about running conventions. Plus FanimeCon attended this very conference last year so obviously an association with the SPJA is not an issue for the staff here.

Further I think you're misunderstanding the point of the suggestion - it's to explore other options and learn how others do it. The point still stands that other conventions do not have this registration issue and are also staffed by volunteers. Something can be learned from how other conventions/conferences handle this and it's obvious that there is a fundamental flaw with Fanime's approach. Eric's comments indicate they understand this and are looking into it which is to be applauded.

I don't disagree that many of the suggestions here are not ideal or pragmatic. However emotions are high and you can't fault people for voicing their opinions. It should be noted that if things ran smoothly to begin with we would not be in the situation we're in now. This is especially important to keep in mind as last year's registration suffered as well making things all the worse.

Finally I don't believe in letting people off the hook from criticism just because they're volunteers and they're "doing their best." People spend real money and substantial amounts of time attending these kinds of events. FanimeCon is not about profit but the fact is that hundreds of thousands of dollars are being thrown around on all sides. Some estimates I've heard indicate that FanimeCon generates almost $5 million dollars worth of business in San Jose (though frankly I think these estimates are exaggerated). This makes it a serious financial venture and not something that can be written off just because it's run by volunteers. Fanime is by fans for fans but that doesn't preclude them from delivering on the experience paid for.

Moving past the registration woes - Eric do you think you can shed some light as to what's at least being discussed regarding the Cosplay Spectacular? The ill-will after the event is being left to fester with no response past "we're reading your feedback." I know the staff have jobs and other responsibilities to attend to first but it would help if there was at least an acknowledgement of what happened. 

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I know that numerous people have left feedback regarding it and we have not had any response from Fanime Con staff.
I'm pretty sure staff is not going to personally respond to ever single form turned in. They will post a general "thank you, we will work on it" mass statement on the website or email. So don't hold your breath on ever receiving a personal response.
I don't think anyone is expecting a personal reply - just an admission that the Cosplay Spectacular was not a successful event and some commentary on how they are going to address it. The response would not even have to be detailed - just some descriptions of how they understand the problem and a general overview of an approach to resolution. Other problem areas (registration, Black and White ball, Artist Alley) have all had at least some response along these lines. With the Cosplay Spectacular a failure and no commentary from staff past "we're reading your feedback" it implies that in fact the FanimeCon staff do not feel there was something wrong with the event.

Thank you for the post.  Have you spoken with staff members/planners from other conventions who don't seem to have a problem with Registration?  Why recreate the wheel?
certain wheels work better with different vehicles.. ;)
They also still spin the same. The fact that events with dramatically larger attendance numbers (many being comic/anime conventions) do not have this issue indicates that the approach used here is flawed. Extending the analogy further Fanime's registration pickup is a wheel that turned out to be an ellipse. Looking at how other events handle the same problem is a logical starting point. There is even a conference specifically for organizers of these kinds of events to meet and discuss approaches to these kinds of problems: http://www.project-anime.org/

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So glad everything was consolidated into a single thread! It's a bit of a jumbled mess right now, because of how many threads there were, but now we can get on with post-con discussion.

I'm just going to copy/paste what I put in the official form:

*sigh* thanks for posting to the form too. Staff will read the forums, but likely sometime in June and July. We will be having intensive meetings these next few weeks to post-mortem the con. That is why the form is important. It will be directed to the appropriate persons in the short timeline that we have to make decisions that will critically affect 2014.

Thanks!

Is there any ETA on a response about the Cosplay Spectacular? I've shared my own personal account of the event here: http://forums.fanime.com/index.php/topic,18572.msg464893.html#msg464893

I know that numerous people have left feedback regarding it and we have not had any response from Fanime Con staff.

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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 and our members will be attending other conventions such as Kintoki Con and Kraken Con. 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.

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Not all the Department heads read the forums, so when people feel as if the con is trying to avoid listening to their feedback it's the reverse.

I don't think anyone expects them to read it all day but periodic checks should be expected by everyone involved.

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