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About DeathJester

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.