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Posts posted by alabaster

  1. On 5/27/2021 at 10:18 AM, Daniel Perales said:

    Well, it's been 8 months since the pre-order date. Did anyone finally get their PS5?

    I want to get the disc version of the console, not interested in the "digital-only" version. Personally, I haven't been lucky to get one, much less able to place an order for it. I manage to at least get as far as having the system on my online "shopping cart" from some of the vendors (Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart), only to lose it once I click "Check-out"  in less than 2 minutes into it.

    Very frustrating, indeed. :(



    Scored one from a friend who camps on the sites hoping.

  2. On 3/8/2021 at 1:58 AM, GasparAKAShiggitay said:

    I don't think I've personally met you, not at least realizing it was you. haha.

    Didn't you make it to Vegas?  Or maybe I ran into you in Panel Ops or something?  


    Honestly, I've met so many folks over the years who knew me from being on stage or from here, the data is often left untagged in the hard drive of my brain. Especially because at con I'm so exhausted.... :)

  3. On 3/3/2021 at 8:21 AM, Daniel Perales said:

    How could I forget Jim "Alabaster" Vowles. I ran into him in one of the New York Comic Cons a few years earlier. I remember telling him "Welcome to my neighborhood!".


    I remember that!  I miss going to NYCC and variations thereof. Nice to have fun at a con with. none of the work. :)

    I've run into quite a few of you here and there over the years.

  4. In 1987 through the mid 90s, the bustling harbor place pavilions were packed every weekend and busy most weekdays. I even worked there over a summer or two. I say 1987 because that was my first real solo trip down there after high school graduation.

    Now, when I say packed, I mean every retail and restaurant space and then some was filled — all the shops, plus carts and temporary setups.

    One major cause of mall death across the board is obscene rent costs and rules that make it nearly impossible for anything but big stores to operate without losing money, in “tourist” areas like Harborplace. but it’s true of most malls and has been for twenty years. Then the market begins to collapse and owners take shortcuts that make the mall less appealing, and as stores disappear the survivors get more pressure....it’s vicious.

    When I went to Sydney, Australia, that harbor has a very similar feel (and the same architects), but the rents are either stabilized or supplemented to ensure business can turn a profit and stay afloat — because it keeps the tourist area vibrant.

  5. Short answer: some of the earlier ones are complicated by copyright issues, which we discovered when we tried to arrange something cool for our 10th.  At least one of the early ones is probably not reprintable at all, if memory serves because it uses a character we don't have rights to. In other cases it's likely that either we don't have access to quality version of art, or don't have the correct agreement in place for reprint -- it was a few years before we got the hang of that stuff.  But I've seen the odd shirt show up on eBay.

  6. 9 hours ago, Aresef said:

    Yeah, I just wish they weren't legally obliged to keep people in the lurch so long.

    Heck, even having a con, what would that look like? Something I asked in the feedback session of the Twitch event that didn't get answered was what kind of restrictions was Otakon prepared to put in place if the con were to have gone on (assuming planning was at that stage at the time the plug was pulled).

    The short answer -- and remembering I do NOT currently speak on behalf of the organization -- is that we've generally followed the recommendations and requirements of the venue, because what choice do we have? And the venue follows city guidance. Everyone does.  Just like we're stuck with the required food vendors and security contractors, and required to scan bags and restrict costumes.  (Further disclaimer: there are a LOT of Ota staff connected with health care, public safety, and government, and we're pretty vocal when such things are discussed. It would be impossible to "go rogue" for something like "do we follow guidance" with this crew.). Masks and sanitizer, of course; but social distancing a convention simply was NEVER going to work, and anyone with any sense saw where this was headed.  All of the con runners have been discussing this since January. 

    If the show is just a glorified flea market, or run small with a really supportive hotel, then you MIGHT have a chance -- but panels and autographs and concerts just ain't gonna work safely while this crap is going on, and personally any guest willing to show up in the current climate is not someone I'd consider safe to be around.  Any show large enough to need a convention center simply cannot survive with a 25% cap on attendance and no content. Remember, it costs a few million dollars to run this event and organization, and the biggest part of that is the facilities and setup costs.  Being forced to run like that, even before bearing the brunt of extra precautions, would bankrupt us.

    But it's not just us -- NO event I'm aware of could take a 75% cut in revenue and survive; most would be fatally crippled, because nearly all of us run on thin margins and are supported primarily by membership or ticket revenue.  (Dr Matt the Minion could break it down for you, but the raw costs of running events like ours are staggering if you're not used to seeing them.)


  7. Actually... it's probably worth looking into. Depending on the year and the concert and the specific terms involved, we might be able to do it. It would be a private screening for members only, and thus *may* be covered (for some of the shows) under existing usage rights -- but it would probably require a little digging to make sure we don't trip any surprises.  I think we have even done it before, but each agreement may be different on those rights.

  8. 22 hours ago, Aresef said:

    Indeed. I was only $15, so I'm peeved, but still just out $15. Other people were taken for way, way more and it sure seems like that money's long since been spent. On what? Anybody's guess.

    Oh, I think it was probably spent on developing the game, because there were some prototypes and some functionality on display at the time.   At a guess -- and it's purely a guess, I have no insider knowledge about it -- I think they may have lost a key partner on the dev side OR just underestimated what it would really take, and people only work for you for so long on promises and fun.  

  9. On 9/16/2019 at 1:59 PM, Konacha said:

    Yeah, I admit that I could have choose those words "under the rug" a bit better, more like "pretend it didn't exist". Since all we heard from Otakon years ago was that it was handed to the lawyers, the licensed was pulled and that was it. I was hoping for some official statement on something other than what we got. When I heard the quote "handed to the lawyers (I believe this came from an old feedback panel)" I was hoping that we get at least a statement about what happened. I just felt like everything was quiet and that was it. As I said, if another game was announced, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't back it just because of how bad a taste the old one left in my mouth.

    *Nods*  Just to clarify, there really isn't any new information, so the old statement stands.   As I understand it, It's on Studio Nasu and Kickstarter, legally and ethically, to deal with any remaining fallout.  That's just a risk of crowdfunding, really.

  10. 23 hours ago, Konacha said:

    As someone who lost $200 from the game back when it was done (and I only paid that much money because Otakon was supporting it). I would first like to have my money back before any other project was announced as this would be a kick in the teeth for me. Or at least have the people who backed the game have our original ideas and tiers done. Having another game would feel as if Otakon is trying to sweep it under the rug, which they seem to have done already.

    I feel ya.  But I don't think any of that money is coming back.  That's the risk of kickstarter and other crowdfunding. You don't know if the projects will come to pass, and you may not see your investment pay off. That's simply how it works.  The money was spent, and the project failed to produce. We said what we could legally at the time and the statements are on record. There was no sweeping under the rug.

    Let me clarify something here to the best of my understanding, and with the disclaimer that I'm NOT making a statement on behalf of the corporation here -- this is my personal recollection and most of it's been public for a while.

    Otakorp, the organization, provided some seed money (I don't recall the exact amount, but it was thousands of dollars) and licensed our mascot characters and some concepts to the team making the game.  We didn't own the process or have access to the kickstarter process other than as a participant -- that was all the studio making the game. And the folks behind that had a long association with the community and nobody had a reason to doubt their intentions.

    You may notice that my avatar here is "Evil Doctor V" from the concept art.  Fred "Piro" from Megatokyo did some of the concept art and was one of many creative types (including voice actors) who committed to or helped build the prototype.  (My inclusion as a boss was going to be a surprise until our lawyer pointed out that they had to get me to sign off on using my likeness, so the first I heard of it was when I was asked to approve and sign off on the art.)  Since other folks paid to be included,  once the KS launched, I forked over the appropriate donation for that tier (I want to say $400 or $600), since it only seemed fair.   At least I got this out of it, which is a lot more than most folks got.

    Disclaimer:  I have known Fred for like 15-20 years and I certainly could have paid a lot less to be captured in his style.  

    Further disclaimer: Most folks in the industry understand that projects don't always pan out and I think they've written it off long ago. For Otakorp a lot of the value came from the announcement buzz -- but the negative impact of its failure was no picnic.  But for the staff who chipped in, that's money lost just like it is for any members who supported it.  

    And I don't speak for everyone on this, but I suspect that we're a little hesitant to get involved in another game project.

    Still, we're up on MOST conventions in terms of video game credibility:  Otacon, of MGS fame, is named after our event and many MGS materials credit us with allowing them to use the name -- and we always credit Dr Hal Emerich as our scientific adviser in our program book.

  11. On 9/3/2019 at 5:26 PM, rotinoma said:


    • Shunji Inoue - Lantis guy, LAZY keyboardisT

    He’s been to otakon a lot, and is a friend. But he rarely performs these days because he essentially runs lantis and typically accompanies JAM project... (not as keyboardist, though).

    the Lazy reunion may have changed his mind.

  12. For context: Grandrodeo and Garnidella have both been attempted before.  I feel like we may have come close with M-flo a while ago, but I know we had Taku this past year.

    Scheduling is always a challenge, especially for folks who work the lucrative summer festivals in Japan.


  13. On 8/15/2019 at 3:21 PM, Krabstarr said:

    This stopped happening in the past couple years, but in the years prior to that, there would be a page on the website with information on Premieres and Special Screenings. It would be really nice if that would come back. I asked on social media this year if it would be back and got a "maybe" gif response, but nothing happened.
    Can we please get the Premieres and Special Screenings page back on the website to make these events more visible?

    I'm sure the web team will make note.  

  14. 18 hours ago, Zeeba Neighba said:

    Good points, all.  But what about my recommendation of a separate entrance line for autograph seekers so we could get to the autograph area without having to deal with the massive mob entering the dealers' room?

    I'll preface this with a big fat disclaimer:  not my job, not my call to make. 

    That said:  The issue is likely access control.  The initial rush of people to the dealer hall is probably the single biggest logistical line management issue in the whole convention. The autograph area is in the dealer hall.  Anything that puts people in that space before it's open properly and the pent-up line of people is processed is ripe for massive abuse and confusion.  You'd have folks standing in the autograph line only to break out and hit the dealer hall, and thus skip the huge long Friday morning line there. It's much the same reason why certain escalators are one-way during key traffic points.

    OR you'd have to assign more staff to make sure nobody popped out from Autographs to go to the other areas.

    But I agree, it would be ideal if we had a way to make autographs its own space more easily. But as the guy who ran guests for many years when we were in Baltimore and stuck with a terribly limited space and virtually no lining area at all, this is a big big improvement. 

  15. As you said, wires got crossed. Sometimes it isn't clear until just a hair too late that that's happened.  With 200+ events on the schedule, it's almost inevitable.

    Privately, I'm going to suggest that Ellyn use a less generic name for her panel to avoid similar mishaps, much like Richard does with his outtakes panel.

  16. On 8/8/2019 at 9:56 PM, ashlynx said:

    -pre-convention communication. I feel like Twitter, Facebook, anywhere fell on deaf ears. I really needed to know who was going to be at artist alley, so I could plan accordingly, but that info got updated HELLA late, practically the day of.

    -the lack of water at the con itself. I've been to other cons where they kept water stations everywhere and kept those suckers filled. I understand this is a way bigger con, but I'd expect at least in all the panel and video rooms, and several for artist and dealer's, there'd be massive amounts of water coolers. At least all the ones I used were filled.

    -I really wish I had known about some of the premieres happening. I literally only found out about Promare during the GKids panel, and I had no idea on City Hunter or Uta Prince. Maybe just advertise these on facebook and twitter and such the week before the con? I mean, if you said something back in february, no chance I'd remember it come July.

    -gawd, the DC traffic! wtf?!

    Hmm. May want to tweak your settings and put Otakon in the "always show" camp.  I was seeing social media posts from Otakon nearly every day, and the info was on the website, IIRC.   A few of the things were confirmed quite late in the day, though. I think the Promare announcement got something like 30k views just on FB.

    Unlike the BCC some years, the water in WWDCC is potable, and I kept refilling my bottle all day. It's something I do at every con -- I refill whenever I see water.  I didn't have much trouble finding a place to do that, but I know we buy less bottled water than we used to because the water fountains by all the bathrooms work just fine. (As do the bathrooms, and there are more of those, too...)  I'd have to check but I think we reduced the number of water stations based on usage patterns; I know we *talked* about that at one point, but I'm not sure we did it.

  17. On 8/8/2019 at 10:29 PM, Zeeba Neighba said:

    Seconded.  I was so looking forward to getting my first ever autograph from a Japanese seiyuu and it didn't pan out.  Perhaps Otakon could only afford to have Inoue in town for just that one day, but IMO, her schedule was far too tightly compressed.  I just wish they hadn't scheduled her autograph session to start so soon after the dealers' room first opened, considering how ridiculously long the lines are just to get into that place on the first day.  Maybe Otakon should should have separate entrance lines just for the autograph sessions.

    Inoue-san is one of the busier actresses, and while she enjoys our show, she had to be back at work on Monday to record [REDACTED].  That's been the case with many of our high profile seiyu, and a reason why east coast cons have more challenges with seiyu in general -- that extra 5-6 hours of travel time makes a big difference. 

    At any rate, it's not a case of not being able to afford her, it's working around her schedule, which unfortunately typically means compressing ours.

  18. On 7/30/2019 at 11:39 AM, RFS said:


    The administrative logistics of Otakon has always been pretty bad and this year was no different (and in some ways was worse). We were turned away from stairs for seemingly no good reason. After trying to find the AMV room, a friend and I wound up on an elevator to the correct floor only to be turned away. The guy turning us away said this space was for VIP's. That's fine. But why not shut down the elevator or, I don't know, have proper signage? I saw door keepers holding loud conversations IN the panel rooms which is super distracting. Actually a lot of people thought having conversations in the back of the room was appropriate (spoiler alert: it isn't).

    Suggestions for the Otakon Staff:

    • Proper signage. Do a walk through of the space and get a sense of where good signage would be helpful.
    • The black lanyards I got from picking up my badge were really sharp. Did anyone else think this?
    • Tell the door keepers to not talk. I get that their job is boring but it's very distracting for people who are trying to listen to the panelists.
    • Teasing the AMV Finalists with an AMV entry that you aren't going to show is worthless. Either show it or don't include a title card and don't mention it at all.
    • Do not have building staff or Otakon staff stand in the way of traffic, especially the escalators.
    • Open both doors to allow proper traffic flow.
      • Let people leave before allowing people in.
    • Please bring back Typing of the Dead to the game room


    Many of the issues you raise are, unfortunately, pretty intractable. Communicating to 800 of our staff is a big enough challenge , but there are limits in communicating to dozens of building security through proper channels. Frankly, they’ve been massively better here than in Baltimore, but not all of them get the message.  

    We keep adding more signs in key locations, and there are quite a few of them now, as well as roving info desks and several static ones.  Between them, guidebook app, the program book, and the built in signage, there is only so much we can do to help you navigate.

     It also isn’t really possible to shut down elevators or limit their access, but for other closures we would need to have more specifics about where you were denied access, or where staff (ours or the convention center red coats) blocked escalators or entry points.  Chances are there were reasons, but maybe they weren’t communicated well. Or maybe you just didn’t hear.  As for the door control, in most cases the doors are limited specifically to ensure we track entry and exit and avoid overcrowding.  Specific issues would help a lot, because there are a few hundred panels over the course of the con.

    I am perplexed by the issue you reported with AMV theater.  Are you maybe referring to the third floor area where concerts are held, which did have limited access during key periods?  Do you have a room number? Was it a back hallway or something?  There were very few areas that were limited to “VIP” or to guests.


    Will there be any autograph sessions for Chris and Sean?


    Was wondering the same thing.

    Alabaster - Able to shed any light on this? And or what the description of "Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F OFFICIAL" is on the schedule?



    They'll be signing exclusively at the Funimation booth, as they are entirely sponsored by Funimation.  We'll try to post any other info we have.


    As for DBZ:  If we got a description, it should be posted into the schedule.  That's the big show-based panel and you can expect them to be at that.

    Apologies, folks, it's been a roller coaster as usual and i've spent most of my waking hours at work or doing Otakon stuff, so I've left you high and dry once the guests were announced.



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