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About DeathJester

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  1. Hotels 2018?

    Thanks for the hard work, the only downside of the move to DC was the increase in hotel pricing across the board. Hopefully these negotiations will keep those rates steady for the next few years!
  2. Otakon 2018 Guest Request

    My request every year is always Asian Kung Fu Generation
  3. Suggestion: bring back daily passes

    The first few years of NYCC were focused on giving the attendees great experiences. Companies would give out great swag just for showing up, panels were easy to attend, overcrowding issues would get addressed year to year, etc. Once they hit that critical point where tickets were selling out BEFORE guest and panel announcements then the focus of the organizers switched to squeezing out the most value out of the attendees and exhibitors that fit in the Javitts. As Aux10 said above, the attendee (and their disposable income) became the product. More upcharges for convention exclusives, more upcharges for panels hosted outside the Javitts, more crowding in exhibitor and artist spaces, no transferring badges if you bought one day and it turns out the thing you want to see is announced for another day, very little in terms of line and crowd management, the list of complaints can go on and on. The only reason I have tickets for this year is because my wife ordered them during the pre-sale just in case they announced anything good later which is a backwards way of attending a convention. That is not to say that NYCC has bad content, there are plenty of good things that happen at NYCC to fill out the weekend. My issue with them is that they intentionally sell tickets to you blind and then once the schedule gets announced its a free-for-all of either camping out lines or paying extra to see just a fraction of that content with no improvements in sight. Compare that mentality to Otakon where the majority of the show is presented for the attendees enjoyment all under one membership. You can wait and see what guests or events are happening so you know what kind of value you are getting out of attending the show. Even a show like PAX which is also run by Reed and has similar crowding and sellout issues spends a lot more resources into making sure that all the attendees are having a good time even if you are camped out on a high demand panel line.
  4. Suggestion: bring back daily passes

    Unfortunately, reasons = $$$$$$$$$$$$ Luckily the badges sold relatively slow this year so hopefully they improve the show to enough of a degree to justify paying for more than one day. It has been an extremely attendee unfriendly convention ever since tickets sold out faster than their guest / activity announcements.
  5. Hotels

    That was an issue of those hotels being overbooked in general, not that they refused to honor independent bookings. If anything the direct hotel bookings are given preference since they can not push the blame on the third party convention booking, but in practice it is just first come first served and its up to the hotel manager to offer a make-good package. That is why I always get to hotel check-in early so that I am never at risk for an overbooked hotel. This tends to be a rare case now because group sales and general hotel bookings are now querying the same database- hence why the Marquis is suddenly "unavailable". Anyone that manages to secure both the Marquis direct booking and the Otakon rate will surely cancel the more expensive direct booking.
  6. Suggestion: bring back daily passes

    "In order to attend Otakon you must be a member of Otakorp, Inc. Once a member of Otakorp, Inc., you will also need to register to attend Otakon. This seems complicated but we've set it up so that purchasing a membership automatically sets you up with a convention registration, because only members of Otakorp, Inc. may register to attend Otakon. So you only need to take one step to become a member and register. Since 2006, we've set it up so that each year you are able to renew your membership. This process makes it easy for you to become a member again and register for the convention. Your member ID (and the associated contact information) will stay with you for all the years you attend Otakon. Renewing your membership will register you for that year's Otakon. Being a member will also grant you access to other benefits as we are able to provide them. " - taken from https://www.otakon.com/help/faq/ The Otakon staff can provide more specific examples, but the "other benefits" in the past have been discounts or public outreach at events like Otakon Vegas, Otakon Matsuri, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and special concerts like the Anisong Matsuri. Since Otakorp already does do a mix of ticketed events (Vegas) and free public programming (Matsuri events) I don't see how an auditor can single out Otakon as a taxable event under its current structure.
  7. Hotels

    Actually you can assume because a) the Marquis is already showing as "Unavailable" for next years Otakon's dates and b ) Otakon Staff has already been talking about the hotel situation three weeks ago. The reason hotels give conventions special rates is because they make more money through discounted volume than by charging the higher margin standard rate and having the hotel be half empty. A handful of people booking outside the group rate is not going to make every hotel pull out of providing convention discounts.
  8. Hotels

    Booking hotels early isn't a knock on Otakon's system, it is just a failsafe due to the extremely high demand for rooms at the Marquis. Besides, any hotel rooms available for booking now is not a part of the Otakon block- those rooms are already reserved and it is just a matter of Otakon deciding where to put staff / guests / etc. before opening the block for attendee booking. Obviously we all want the Otakon rate at the Marquis, but given that the rooms are limited some people are okay paying the regular hotel rate just for the guarantee of that sweet air-conditioned tunnel access.
  9. Overheard at Otakon 2017

    Especially when I pull up the page for Awesomecon and one of their headlining guest images is Yaya Han cosplaying as Chun Li. There is so much cross pollination of interests at major conventions that "Comic Con" to the mainstream is just a catch-all that can also mean anime con just as much as it can mean gaming con or sci-fi con. Usually when people mix up anime cons and comic cons its more out of ignorance then any kind of put down on anime.
  10. Suggestion: bring back daily passes

    If you have to use quotation marks to describe the structure of the membership, then no it will not fly. Any auditor would look at "Non-member visitors" and see that Otakon was selling tickets and immediately write a bill for the unreported taxable income. Even though most people treat the badge as a ticket to Otakon, the literature on the website is very clear in telling you that you have paid for an annual membership. "To clarify: Otakon is the largest annual meeting of Otakorp, Inc. All Otakorp members are invited to attend and participate in our annual meeting. When you pay money to attend Otakon (either through this website or at a booth at Otakon), you are actually paying to become a member of Otakorp for this year. We aren't selling you some unwanted extra membership as part of this process. The Otakorp membership is actually what gets you into Otakon. Membership in Otakorp is non-refundable and non-transferable." Otakon Vegas sells single day tickets, but that is because that event was set up from the start to be an entertainment event put forth by Otakorp. As Matt said up above, to do the same for Otakon would require many of the underlying venue, performer, and security contracts to be rewritten since it would no longer be a private meeting for the members of Otakorp, Inc.
  11. Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    With the autograph situation we have to juggle a number of different limitations: 1) Guest's time is limited so there is only a set number of attendees that these autograph sessions can serve- we'll call this the supply. 2) Attendees want to meet the guests and will line up regardless of instruction or warning- we'll call this the demand. 3) Otakorp has limited resources to manage the lines in terms of volunteers, space, etc. - we'll call this the cost. 4) Otakorp needs to meet the needs of all three because without return guests there is no con, without return attendees there is no money, and excessive costs is not good for running this whole operation. So any kind of "fix" needs to address all three things. The supply is pretty much set by the guest, but even if the guest goes overtime to allow more attendees to get signatures they will have to eventually leave to make space for the next session. Demand is set by the attendees, so telling them to not line up until a certain time does nothing to reduce the demand nor increase their enjoyment of the convention. So really the only thing in Otakon's control is the management of the lines and the policies around the autographing session. So that is why my suggestion had a low cost version (having limited lines with an cap so that you can meet at least some of the early demand) and a high cost version (having unlimited lines, but provide updates and activities to keep attendees happy). It while it may seem like a waste of resources to invest in a dedicated queue area, there are two reason that I brought it up. First, the WEWCC is huge for Otakon's current attendance so giving a dedicated space is not a big issue compared to Baltimore. And second, one of the things PAX does very well is have a dedicated team of volunteers bring games to all the panel room lines as well as tweet out live line updates to let you know what events still have space on their queues. It makes the attendee experience so much better to know what you are able to get into, and even if you line up early then you are not bored because you feel like you are still a part of the convention when games and interactions get brought to you. When attendees have a good experience, the word of mouth brings more people into the con.
  12. Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I hate to add to the discussion when I also have not waited in a crowded autograph line in years but it seems like this is a hot topic on how to address it for next year. Autograph lines get chaotic once you know that demand will outpace the guest's time and no one enjoys getting cut off, especially if you were waved away earlier in the day. I just want to understand the current situation and see if I can put my two cents in for 2018. I do agree that maintaining an "extended" wait area full time for autographs is not the best use of time or resources for the Otakon staff. No one looks forward to sitting on line at a con so dedicating volunteer and space resources to watch over multiple long queues is not going to make Otakon a better experience. However we do need to address people who may have come to Otakon solely to meet their favorite guests. From the way it sounds now, the system is that an autograph line does not open until a posted time which meant that attendees were attempting to form "pre-lines" which all fall apart once the real line opens and people flood in (Please correct me if this is not the case). So maybe the way to handle this is a compromise where you have a limited area where you can queue as early as you choose for any of the autograph sessions, but it gets capped anywhere between 25-50 people. This will give the Otakon staffers a good sense of the demand for each session; so if guest XYZ is signing at 3pm and the first 50 came at 10:05am, then they will know to put more volunteers to watch over that session. This will give the diehard fans their sense of security knowing that they will definitely get into the session but the cap means that there will be less of a logistical burden of watching over 10+ lines with hundreds of people on each. For everyone else that comes after the line hits the 50 cap, they can be waved off until the autograph stage line is open and it is treated as a standby line which goes after the first 50 until the session is over. It will be hard for attendees to justify grousing over not having a spot guaranteed when 50 other people managed to get there before them. Again, because I have not been around the Autograph area in ages I do not know what the capacity or demand is for these sessions, so feel free to correct my figures if they do not match up with the numbers that line up for autographs. The other option is to actually double down on the queue aspect and have all the autograph lines be in a dedicated room with lots of staffers, but then have group games being projected on a wall / big screen to pass the time and make the waiting experience enjoyable for whoever decides that an autograph is worth forgoing the rest of the convention. The wifi in the convention center worked great so you can have a game of anime-themed jackbox running during the queue hours. The screen can also be used to make announcements or to shift lines as the autograph sessions get cleared through the day. Maybe have a dedicated screen that announce the line status- green for sessions that have plenty of space left, yellow for lines that are nearing a cap and are at risk for not getting the autograph, and red for lines that have clearly hit their cap. Attendees would then be able to tell at a glance "the voice actor guest is still green and starts in 30 minutes let me line up" and "oh no the music guest is red and doesn't start for another 2 hours anyway, let me just enjoy the rest of the con." There will be the people who continue line up on a red line with nothing but hope, but at least the staffers have already communicated with the screens that you are probably not getting in and maybe they will have a good time just sitting with the other like-minded fans.
  13. Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    As someone who has dealt with corporate insurance packages, a "recommendation" is code for "you have to implement this or else your premiums will skyrocket". Otakon nor the WEWCC want to be held responsible if anything were to happen at the con and following the "recommendation" is the only way to deflect that liability. That is why more and more public events in general are doing this because the third party security firms are already going to be on site and paid for regardless.
  14. Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    The GOOD: - I want to start off addressing a lot of the posters above complaining about the bag check: Otakon announced a few weeks ago that they had to implement them due to venue requirements. With that in mind, I think it was handled perfectly. If you have ever been to a major convention like NYCC or PAX that conducts slow, thorough bag checks then you would know that you can be stuck outside in the morning rush for well over an hour. The fact that the venue security was chill and waved everyone in as quickly as possible IS A GOOD THING. - Size of the convention center is the most obvious upgrade. Panels especially benefited from this because I no longer had to line up 30-60 minutes to secure a spot for any popular panel topics. I believe only a few panels actually hit their seating capacity, so if you just showed up on time you had an extremely good chance of getting into your panels of choice. - Wider spacing of booths in the dealers room and artists alley meant there was no bottlenecks as we were shopping around. - Keep inviting Tokyo Attack to the Videogame Room because their arcade collection is great. - Good variety of sit-down restaurants in the area. Over the weekend we ate dim sum, fusion southern, ethiopian, and of course cheeky nandos. - Convention Wi-fi was amazing for an open network. I did not have to rely on cell data to keep guidebook updated and could upload photos with ease. The coverage was so good that I was able to stream videos during downtime between activities. - Good separation between panels / video rooms meant that there was not too many instances of noise from one room bleeding into another. The BAD: - While I was not personally at any of the panels going on during the concert, I heard reports of that noise carrying through the convention center pretty badly. - Lots of cancelled panels and video programming. The panels I can understand since I feel like Otakon took on a lot more submissions this year and its on the panelist themselves to show up, but why did so much of the video programming disappear? - Confusing layout just due to the size of the venue and the Marriott. Maybe do something like add an "M" to any rooms that are in the Marriott? So you would have Video 1,2,3 for the main con and Video 4M,5M for the Marriott. - Lack of a nearby fast food court. The convention food is, as expected, overpriced and not great. The food trucks parked outside almost fill that gap, but then you are stuck eating outside. - Console game selection in the Videogame room was pretty barebones. If the convention is going to grow, there will need to be more stations for the popular games and a wider variety of retro stuff. - Due to the heavy promotion of the Anisong Matsuri, whoever was the Sunday musical guest was greatly overshadowed (as evidenced by the fact that I do not know who was even playing). The Ugly: - PLEASE OPEN A THIRD ENTRANCE ON THE NORTH SIDE. The main entrance and the Marriott connector are both on the south side of the venue. - Not an Otakon problem but that flood was pretty ugly.