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Otakon Staff
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Posts posted by Muramasa

  1. Place I stayed: The Hyatt Regency

    Number of people in room: 2

    Hotel Staff: Very responsive, catered to what few needs I had very quickly.

    Walk to the con center: 2-3 minutes from room

    The bad: No free internet, parking $27/day, no microwave in room, refrigerator already stocked with expensive incidentals that you have to call to have removed.

    The good: Rooms are nice, view is great, directly across the street from the convention center. There is a health club, restaurant/bar on the roof, indoor pool, plentiful staff that are very quick to help you with anything. The walls are thick enough that a couple of people over won't disturb anyone. Due to staying an extra 1-2 hours in the garage they tried to charge me for a second day, but when I asked if they could remove it and explained that I was on a shift and couldn't get back in time they promptly removed it without question.

    Would you stay there again? Definitely. I travel semi-frequently and this was one of the best hotel experiences I've ever had. Comparable to the service at a 5-star hotel.

  2. It may seem silly, but I seriously want to thank anyone that moved out of my way during one of my ''scuse me, 'scuse me, really important, I need to get through' powerwalks across the convention center. Like many other staff members, I was under a lot of stress at times running time-sensitive errands, and the people who did the little things like stepping to the right on the escalators really helped me out.

    I also want to thank the tireless dedication of certain staff members (you know who you are) that made sure other tirelessly dedicated staff members took breaks and ate meals. It's very easy to forget these things when you're surrounded by laptops & notepads in your 13th - 16th hour of work in a day. The irony of me being cranky and saying, "I'm a grown @&$ man, I know my body and I'll eat when I need to" is that I'm actually being cranky and snarky, which happens when I'm very food and/or sleep deprived. <3

  3. Hey guys - thank you so, so much for the kind words, I'm really happy that you enjoyed the set! It's especially nice to hear since this was my first time staffing/working the con so I was not prepared to perform after already working non-stop since Wednesday night, lol. This is seriously my favorite gig every year, I can't really express how overjoyed I am walking out of that room each time. :(

    I'll try to comment some more when I'm a little less tired. I was a little stupid last night and got carried away playing Shining Force EXA until 1am instead of getting a full night of sleep for the first time since Thursday. Gamefly is going to be the death of me, I can see it now. *smacks forehead*

  4. IMO the con itself is supposed to adhere to the mission, but there's nothing requiring every attendee to come dressed as an anime or video game character. Granted, I have more fun when I get several days to be away from being saturated in American culture, but that's just me. :D

  5. if you're on a budget, like me, then you'll keep better track of your money when you use cash. the biggest problem with this is walking around with $200+ would make be feel uncomfortable. plus you know that all the ATM machines are going to run out of money this weekend.

    i guess it depends on how much you plan on buying - if you dont plan on buying much then you dont need to withdraw much money, and just keep the rest on your card. use your card for hefty purchases [hotel, resturant, dvd boxsets]

    This pretty much sums up my method as well. This is a painful lesson if you love drinking and go out to bars often, lol.

  6. It drives me batty when people use "u" instead of "you", "ur" instead of "you're or your" and "tho" instead of "though".

    I also get annoyed when people misspell or mispronounce my last name. The most common misspellings people make is Vail, Vile or Viall. It's Vial, one L and rhymes with style and dial. It's not like Vail, CO. As soon as someone mispronounces it, I am on it heh.

    Don't get me started when people spell my first name with a Y instead of an I...grrrrr.....

    This is my pet peeve as well; There's a bold line between stupidity and laziness. I'll admit that I'm not the greatest practicioner of perfect grammar, but we live in the day and age of computers, and it's my belief that this transition into less effective, more convenient communication (in terms of tone and other non-visual, non-text aspects of language) requires a little more effort than most people give it.

    Yuo? Usually a typo, it happens.

    U? Die in a fire.

    Yoo? Stop reading 4chan, it's making you stupid.

  7. Eh, I wouldn't encourage this -- the best thing to do is to ask the client you're working for and proceed from there. They can dismiss you from your assignment, all the temp company has to do is bring in someone new to fulfill the term contract. You're also reviewed for your professionalism, attendance, etc once your assignment is over and calling out sick a lot is one sure-fire way not to have your assignments upgraded so you can start making $18-25+ an hour. You may also miss out on getting stellar letters of recommendation from people you'd normally never be able to get on the phone. Then again, I'm in downtown DC, so maybe things work a little differently here.

    Not all staffing firms are that inflexible. these firms work with people who are in some form of transition so they're understanding. you can basically look at there policies and determine which ones are flexible or not. I too work and live in DC - there are numerous firms in the city. I worked with one a while back and enjoyed it very much....... and I also enjoyed the money :D

    I only suggested a staffing firm in the worst case senario. you should of course try and hold onto your job - even if management is giving you hell about taking off. but remember that enjoying yourself is important too. I'm assuming that the people in this fourm who post consistantly throughout the year must place otakon as a high priority - if thats the case then make sure you do everything you can to go to this con!

    True, but employers typically look at their policies as well. The more a corporation can rely on your agency, the more they'll pay you (good temps are pretty hard to find). I'm also temping to get a full-time position, so I've been making sure to get the greatest feedback and references possible while building my portfolio. Better to err on the side of caution and be as professional as possible IMO. In my case it's paying off. :-)

  8. I interviewed for a job at the Baltimore Aquarium and the interviewer said that there was only limited availability for time off in the summer months, "and you almost certainly won't be allowed time off for that what-do-you-call-it, Otakon? That convention for the cartoons." ...At the time, there were two or three employees already on the payroll who also requested con weekend off, heh.

    That is really hilarious. I wonder if other baltimore city companies/businesses experience the same thing.

    Was it worth it? Heck yah to me it was No job where some loser boss thinks he owns me & can crush my dreams is worth my time.

    I rather be happy then miserable.

    I agree......

    Well, I say bump your job. no torturous retail/wage job is worth your happiness, especially if you're not doing anything else during the summer. I had a retail job last summer and my ex-manager gave me hell about taking off 3 days for otakon. I basically told her that this is something I've been planning since the beginning of the year and I am going......... I said this nicely of course. Manager wasn't happy but oh well. I quite after otakon cause that job was lame - and wasnt paying enough for me to stress over.

    If you have a strict manager who's making it clear that if you go you'll be fired [and you hate that job anyway], my opinion is to go to otakon anyway but before so, apply for a staffing firm. they pay between $10-$15/hr and treat you like a human being. it's temp. work but mostly administrative and you dont have to have a college degree.

    but 5 weeks should be plenty of time to tell your boss I need this time off. your boss is going to forget if you told them about this several months in advance. send them a memo or sit down and explain things. it should be cool.

    Good point about the temp agency. They're very nice and you are their employee, not their client's, so you have to negotiate your leave with them, not with the client. Once you tell them, they tell the client. That, way, if the client needs the manpower, they can still send an on-call temp to do your duties while you're away.

    Eh, I wouldn't encourage this -- the best thing to do is to ask the client you're working for and proceed from there. They can dismiss you from your assignment, all the temp company has to do is bring in someone new to fulfill the term contract. You're also reviewed for your professionalism, attendance, etc once your assignment is over and calling out sick a lot is one sure-fire way not to have your assignments upgraded so you can start making $18-25+ an hour. You may also miss out on getting stellar letters of recommendation from people you'd normally never be able to get on the phone. Then again, I'm in downtown DC, so maybe things work a little differently here.

    (BTW, I <3 <3 <3 Harrisburg. I DJ at the Spy Club and the Gingerbread Man a couple times a year, usually. :) )

    • Food. I've eaten so much fast food in my life that I really need to start eating better instead of grabbing junk around the con.
    • Some sort of handheld video game system. If I dig through my old boxes I may be able to dust off a gameboy with pokemon... which means I'm overdue for an upgrade.
    • Music. Mandatory.
    • A camera this year! I've never taken pics at Otakon before, not really sure why.
    • Brand new socks. There's nothing in the world quite like them.
    • Movies, for late night viewing.
    • Sunglasses. Summer is bright.
  9. I think that since the rest of Otakon is pointedly catered towards asian culture. the rave and dance should be no exception. We should have DJs that play exclusively asian pop and remixes and the like, the use of a screen blaring anime would be a nice tinge too. I'm sure there is enough in the Japanese dance music pool to bring out authenticism and really satisfied con-goers.

    The problem is that the more the otarave becomes like another U.S. Baltimore dance club, the more non-otaku we'll have registered just to crash the rave and the more otaku alienation we'll have during a weekend that's supposed to be anoverwhelmingly asian culture celebration.

    I highly doubt that should be a concern. No one in their right mind would pay $50+ for a completely non-headliner lineup. Heck, most people wouldn't pay that much for several headliners unless they were on the top-tier Tiesto/Oakenfold/PvD/ATB level. $50 is a somewhat common fee for large festivals, and many of the DJs on the lineup play all over the place locally at places with a $0-10 cover. ^_^

  10. Anywho, that;s up to the DJ, and I digress. My main concern is visual effects. Perhaps not leave it to the DJ? He/she's got enough on his plate by trying to read the crowd and such. If at all possible, try looking for a skilled video jockey to work with the DJ. And is there any chance we can get more tiles this year? Dancing on carpet sucks ;~;

    This is a really awesome and feasable suggestion. There are a ton of pro VJs in the tri-state (and beyond) area that would be willing to do visuals for this event for free, and would be willing to bring their own equipment. I'm sure a quick google search for 'VJ Forum' would yield some popular discussion boards that Otakon could advertise a VJ slot on. I'm not 100% sure if this could be worked out in time for the '08 con, but it's definitely doable in '09.

  11. I'm not going to comment on breaking because you're dead on; personal responsibility is key. Some contrary thoughts, though -


    First of all, I am a local DJ and I would be willing to volunteer my services for the event, if given at least 2 weeks notice of a decision before the event. I spin predominantly Old School Hip-hop, Funk, House (soulful, deep, tribal, & hard), Breakbeats, and Baltimore club. I'm currently working on 2 new demos and if so desired I can provide links to download them as they are finished.

    This kind of gig is a privilege, not a favor you do for Otakon unless you're up on the headliner level and missing out on a serious paycheck by playing a free event. A lot of well-known local djs would LOVE to be so humble as to 'offer their services' at last second notice for an opening slot at this gig. Putting out criteria to be booked without directly contacting the talent booker, in conjunction with not knowing that the submission date for demos is well past, shows that you're probably not very aware of how getting booked for this gig works. I mean absolutely no offense by this whatsoever, I hope that doesn't sound too harsh.

    Ultimately, the music played is up to the DJs selected by the staff based on feedback from everyone here. Heres a tip for party goers: If people are on the dance floor and it stays packed, the DJ knows they are enjoying it. That is called reading the crowd. If the DJ changes the track and the dance floor dies down, then they know to go back to a track similar to the one that was playing when the dance floor is packed. Simple concept really.

    Reading a crowd well is infinitely more complex than this. This kind of thinking is how some people getting stuck playing anthem tracks or a single subgenre back-to-back and losing their momentum. A track that doesn't work 10 minutes into your set could be a perfect change-up halfway through. Knowing the initial energy of the crowd, the time of day and the daily habits of congoers, who's going on before you and what they play, what's allowed and not allowed in the venue, the full structure of each track you play and tons of other info is crucial for these big room gigs.

    Er... and to get back on topic: More artsy stuff throughout the room besides visuals at the front. Cryogenics and lasers might not be in the budget, but with enough creativity I'm sure something can be thought up. Maybe a large centerpiece in the dancefloor, like a giant (glowing?) tentacle or something?

    If you want to make the best of the DJs presence, let them know what you want to hear BEFORE they start mixing. Better yet ask them if they would play songs from a CD that you provide them before they start mixing (preferably recorded in high quality... bitrate of 192 or higher). I understand the desire to have more japanese music played, and if selected to DJ, I'm open to that. Get me a few songs you want to hear, and I'll defiantely try to put them into a playlist, provided that they work with the vibe of the party.

    Spot on about the bitrate, but unlike hip hop a lot of edm djs get don't take requests. Providing a cd at the show is a terrible idea as it doesn't give them a chance to memorize the song in it's entirety before they go on to play. Hitting them up a week or two before the show with requests is a much better way to get something you love played, but if you're going to make requests be sure to do your homework first and find out if the dj even plays that kind of music. Giving trance to a dnb/jungle dj will not get your song played. You'd be much better off with a trance, tribal or progressive house dj for that sort of thing. Not a lot of people can get into genre-hopping like that.

    Hint: House, Baltimore Club, Techno, Trance, Jungle, and many other electronic forms of music can be mixed very easily together by a mildly decent DJ.

    Not true at all in terms of fluidity. Funky house and funky breaks? Sure -- But there's typically a ~50 bpm difference between house and dnb (depending on how hard the dj likes to ride the pitch for their genre). Given that most turntables and cdjs only pitch up to 8-10% +/-, you can't just throw the 2 genres together that easily. And using the pitch control on newer models of cdjs when using the wide pitch option at something like 25% (or more) is just going to sound like butt as the cdj processes the signal -- and without the pitch control at that pitch you're working well towards the direction of chipmunk noises or low rumbles & crashes.

    I'm sorry to blow up your spot like this, but when people come to edm events thinking these sorts of things it can lead to some serious letdowns when they don't get what they want, and this crowd deserves better than that; they're giving up a lot of money for an incredible, rare experience. I'll admit that different genres of music & culture cultivate different followings of mentality, but this is definitely not a crowd that's an exception.

    I don't want to sound entirely negative here; It's great that you're getting on the board, looking for feedback, looking for requests and advertising yourself to the community. That's awesome. Very few of the performing djs take it to that level because their interest in the gig is that of a dj playing a gig, rather than that of a dj trying to get involved with a big project and a great community. Lots of respect to you for that, and again, I hope I'm not being offensive or sounding egotistical. Just trying to look out for the good of the community. :)

  12. Really though I don't think this will have an effect on Otakon's turnout. They're 2 completely different events with two completely different agendas. People save up all year and prepare for Otakon. You can catch at least half the people on VFest's bill individually year-round. No contest.

  13. VFest has pretty much the biggest of... everything. If there's a name on the flyer you don't know, it just means that there are styles of music you're not into. $90-100/day is a steal for the amount of talent crammed in; This year's dance tent has an INSANE lineup. Bringing any one of these guys to town individually is a big deal. I heard Pendulum was going to do their live show, but I guess that fell through. Rabbit in the Moon (Hey! That's a japanese reference) does a pretty spectacular live show and is very crowd-involved -- at one point Bunny (the lead singer) gets inside of a giant bubble and gets tossed around in the crowd while he sings, among a ton of other costumes/themes. Moby I doubt I have to explain. A lot of people here would probably LOVE Armin Van Buuren, Underworld, Steve Lawler, DJ Dan, Donald Glaude, Rabbit in the Moon and/or Richie Hawtin. If you guys get time I'd definitely suggest looking them up.


  14. Interesting. When I first heard about this I was pretty taken back, but I think I'll give it a shot.

    Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros. are set to team up for a series of live-action motion pictures based on anime artist, Katsuhiro Otomo's masterpiece, Akira . According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gary Whitta has been hired to write the adaptation, which DiCaprio will produce through his Appian Way production company. The films are being fast tracked for release in summer 2009. Each feature will be comprised of three of the books in Otomo's series.

    Akira set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war Tokyo in 2019 where a teen biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers. The gang's leader must find a way to stop the ensuing swathe of destruction. The anime classic originated in 1988 as manga and then was made into an animated film by Katsuhiro Otoma, which is considered by many fans of Japanese animation to be among the finest works in the genre.

    Warner Bros has the rights to Akira up until several years ago when they allowed the rights to lapse. They regained them after a spirited bidding war. Warner's executives are describing the double-bill as Blade Runner meets City Of God.

    Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way has not yet announced when production for Akira is scheduled to begin.

    Variety reports that Warner Bros. will transform Katsuhiro Otomo
  15. saxophones do not belong in raid music.

    Considering how much electronic music samples live instruments, I find this complaint dubious at best.

    so let's say you were in a rave circle that sampled heavy house and beat music. No problems there, you get your glowsticking on and everyone is cheering. Then suddenly the DJ's switch sets and a different DJ comes on stage who plays saxophone music. Would you say the mood was broken? or that the music was changed from house/trance/techno to Jazz? because that's what happened last year.

    Jazzy house was around long before a lot of current subgenres of edm. Honestly a lot of people get tired of hearing music that has been synthesized to death -- hard house, techno, tech house, etc. aren't for everyone, honestly I *love* jazzy and funky house, and there are a lot of events that cater to it. Jazzy house has huge roots in rave, and definitely is still one of the primary genres.

    That being said, at an event where different styles of music are being showcased and the slots/rooms are limited, these things happen. Variety is the spice of life anyway -- give funk a chance in '08! ;)

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