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alabaster

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So, we have the newbie identified... Is the veteran big show actor still to come? Or is it gonna be posted later today?

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Not sure if I said this earlier, but I fear for what all the HET fangirls are going to do in a couple weeks with all the Hetalia fare going down (Otakon goers advisory). Anyway, I can go to Artscape now this weekend, and hopefully see the schedule when I get back! Have you been to the Artscape?

Also, are there any NEW traffic patterns (inside the BCC) we should know about, or is it the same setup as last Otakon, which I really liked to be honest?

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Let's see...one change is we swapped video one and video gaming. Video One makes use of the existing screen in Hall A, while video gaming swings around to use B & C. Same size, same setup, just that we're using Video Gaming as a bit of a sound buffer between the concerts in Hall D and the movies in Hall A.

We also shifted the panel rooms around a bit:

Panels 1-3 are still in the BCC.

Old Panel 1 is gone, used for something else now.

Old Panel 2 becomes new Panel 1

Old Panel 3 becomes new Panel 2

Old Panel 4 becomes new Panel 3 -- and it ate the video room that used to be next to it, becoming HUGE.

Panels 4, 5, and 6 are all in the Hilton now, where we're using pretty much their entire conference center space. We moved a big video room over there, too, among other things.

Most of the guest stuff is in panels 2,3, 5, and 6.

Luckily, we actually have room signs to help you make sure you're in the right place, and we post schedules at the doors so you can double check. Hopefully you won't get too lost.

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Wow, that's a whole lot of changes for 2010. I thank you for the list, and that expanded panel room is a good move. Moving the gaming hall back to Hall C was a pretty good move too because it felt like too much space in Hall A/B for me...and don't worry, I never get lost at the Otakon, wahahahaha!

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Wow, that's a whole lot of changes for 2010. I thank you for the list, and that expanded panel room is a good move. Moving the gaming hall back to Hall C was a pretty good move too because it felt like too much space in Hall A/B for me...and don't worry, I never get lost at the Otakon, wahahahaha!

You miss the point --

LAST YEAR: Video Gaming in Hall A & Hall B.

THIS YEAR: Video Gaming in Hall B & Hall C.

Halls A & C are both the same size.

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The last of the guests will be announced next week. :ph34r:

So, wait, does that mean the schedule will be delayed? After all, on one thread, it was said that the schedule should be finished by about the end of this week. :mellow:

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The last of the guests will be announced next week. :)

So, wait, does that mean the schedule will be delayed? After all, on one thread, it was said that the schedule should be finished by about the end of this week. :mellow:

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The last of the guests will be announced next week. :)

So, wait, does that mean the schedule will be delayed? After all, on one thread, it was said that the schedule should be finished by about the end of this week. :mellow:

...I have a feeling that it's being announced friday to keep with friday announcement consistency.

After all, ZGL posted that the schedule would be going up within the weekend AFTER I'd asked about this guest... And they're going to announce it, which presumably means they've acquired the guest and already hammered out panel times.

I.E. It should be out today (sunday) based on the info we've received thus far.

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The last of the guests will be announced next week. :)

So, wait, does that mean the schedule will be delayed? After all, on one thread, it was said that the schedule should be finished by about the end of this week. <_<

...I have a feeling that it's being announced friday to keep with friday announcement consistency.

After all, ZGL posted that the schedule would be going up within the weekend AFTER I'd asked about this guest... And they're going to announce it, which presumably means they've acquired the guest and already hammered out panel times.

I.E. It should be out today (sunday) based on the info we've received thus far.

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Topic please, guys. This is not the space to speculate about panels.

Remember I don't control the whole schedule, nor have much control over when it gets released.

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Right, sorry. x.x

Um... OH MY, I CAN'T WAIT TILL FRIDAY WHEN THE NEXT GUEST GETS ANNOUNCED! 8D

...That wasn't very convincing enthusiasm, was it?

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:: considers this :: Wonder if those last 3 Japanese musical guests could be SHIHORI, Hiroki Kikuta, and Hiroaki Yura. It would be kinda cool if they could perform "Shackles of Night" live while the video plays in the background. :)

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We should be announcing the guests on Monday and Tuesday of next week, weds at the latest.

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:: considers this :: Wonder if those last 3 Japanese musical guests could be SHIHORI, Hiroki Kikuta, and Hiroaki Yura. It would be kinda cool if they could perform "Shackles of Night" live while the video plays in the background. :D

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:: considers this :: Wonder if those last 3 Japanese musical guests could be SHIHORI, Hiroki Kikuta, and Hiroaki Yura. It would be kinda cool if they could perform "Shackles of Night" live while the video plays in the background. :)

Why do I get this strange feeling that it will be them? It would be cool to cap off such a big year for musical guests with the last guests being Musical guests.

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^^ :o:D !!! Gosh, maybe I am psychic. I pretty much guessed right on three of this year's musical guests.

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:: considers this :: Wonder if those last 3 Japanese musical guests could be SHIHORI, Hiroki Kikuta, and Hiroaki Yura. It would be kinda cool if they could perform "Shackles of Night" live while the video plays in the background. :D

Why do I get this strange feeling that it will be them? It would be cool to cap off such a big year for musical guests with the last guests being Musical guests.

...Are you guys like, ******* psychic or did you just hack the Otakorp staffers HDD's? XD

Good guess.

Someone posted a link to this page some time ago this year. I ran across it alongside the speculation of them appearing at Otakon. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned here since. I can't say that the place I ran across the link and speculation was the Otakon BBS though.

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Someone posted a link to this page some time ago this year. I ran across it alongside the speculation of them appearing at Otakon. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned here since. I can't say that the place I ran across the link and speculation was the Otakon BBS though.

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Someone posted a link to this page some time ago this year. I ran across it alongside the speculation of them appearing at Otakon. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned here since. I can't say that the place I ran across the link and speculation was the Otakon BBS though.
Now you mention it, I think I do remember reading your earlier speculation somewhere on here. I actually didn't start thinking it could be them til I saw the link rotinoma posted a couple pages back. So you must be super pyschic! :P

Nah, j/k. I don't really think we're pyschic. Just super observant. :ph34r:

Ah! That's it. The blog post links to the album now, but it previously linked to the pre-sale. I thought that post would turn into rabid 'this guest is coming'-ness. It didn't, and the speculation was almost non-existant. I guess I blew that out of proportion a little.

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And there's our last guest announced -- my fellow Doctor Who junkie Stephanie Sheh.

And that's it -- no more guests to be announced.

Now to finalize their itineraries, double-check rooms, plan out driver schedules, arrange dinners, buy bags for guest gifts, get party supplies, pack, review the animation....

...oh yeah, the almost-final version of the animation came today....

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I think I was close enough! XD

Still, 'very' cool to see her coming, NOW I JUST HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT TO HAVE HER SIGN! My Haruhi boxset or my volume 2 for Eureka Seven!

Damn you multiple purchases that would be useful for having the signature of!!!!!!

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I think I was close enough! XD

Still, 'very' cool to see her coming, NOW I JUST HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT TO HAVE HER SIGN! My Haruhi boxset or my volume 2 for Eureka Seven!

Damn you multiple purchases that would be useful for having the signature of!!!!!!

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I think I was close enough! XD

Still, 'very' cool to see her coming, NOW I JUST HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT TO HAVE HER SIGN! My Haruhi boxset or my volume 2 for Eureka Seven!

Damn you multiple purchases that would be useful for having the signature of!!!!!!

oooooooooooh, to have Stephanie Sheh AND Patrick Seitz sign my copy of Eternal Sonata...

All I have to say is that my brother is getting SUCH good Christmas presents this year...

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And there's our last guest announced -- my fellow Doctor Who junkie Stephanie Sheh.

And that's it -- no more guests to be announced.

Now to finalize their itineraries, double-check rooms, plan out driver schedules, arrange dinners, buy bags for guest gifts, get party supplies, pack, review the animation....

...oh yeah, the almost-final version of the animation came today....

And envelopes. Don't forget you need those envelopes.

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I knew it would be someone more oriented with Bandai, I just guessed wrong. It's a good thing I did, though. :lol:

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I knew it would be someone more oriented with Bandai, I just guessed wrong. It's a good thing I did, though. :D

...No, it had nothing to do with Bandai this time. They're happy she's coming of course.

There are basically two ways you get guests, and they often overlap. There are the guests suggested or facilitated by industry partners (like the Hetalia folks Funimation's bringing) and the guests we get through personal connections. Or to simplify, it's "people I already know and can contact directly" versus "people I go through an industry partner to reach". One side involves a third party, which changes the equation a bit.

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So, like many of you, I've spent a lot of time this weekend prepping.

Here's what I did this weekend:

- bought various party supplies, beverages, and snacks

- bought more humidifiers

- bought more makeup mirrors

- bought folders and office supplies

Repacked stuff at the storage room. Wondered how the heck we'll get all that stuff up to the con.

I thought I'd share my to-do list.

- prep badges for industry and guests

- send out and print out itineraries for guests

- call interpreter scheduler and firm that up

- touch base with assistant and musical guests coordinators

- contact hotel and authorize pre-charges

- finalize guest dinner arrangements

- finalize industry reception details

- assemble guest gift bags

- review guest & staff assignments

- review airport pickup and van detail schedule

- brief Yoshiki & Sugizo's handler

- confirm certain staffers' availability

- download our animation and burn to DVD

- STUFF I still need to buy:

- tickets for autographings

- gift bags for guest welcome bags

- personal gifts for some folks

- fresh fruit, juice, and perishables

- Personal stuff:

- laundry

- cat litter change

- empty fridge

- see if I can refill my prescripts prior to con

- test an ipod out cable on my iPad.

...all by tuesday night, while also getting my real (paid) day job's work done.

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This will most likely be my last entry in this particular guest journal for this year. It's a long one.

But first, I want to thank everyone for sharing in this experiment. I hope it's been insightful.

One of my goals in taking up leadership in Guests, Industry, and Press Relations was to be as transparent as I could, without giving too much away. Guests in particular tends to be a closed and secretive area, for plenty of very good reasons, but I felt it was important to give you what I could -- both to help build up excitement and to help explain what I do and why it's pretty tough stuff.

My overall goal for this year, aside from delivering an array of interesting guests and continuing to offer the most diverse guests I can, has been to train a replacement.

I very much enjoy doing the guest and industry and press work -- the schmoozing and the parties are great, the travel is fun, and the people are generally good and interesting. The challenges I've talked about all year are intellectually stimulating, and I like being a problem solver. I've even been able to produce three short animations, and appeared in one!

As a team, I think we've improved our industry and press relations, our relationships with other conventions, and our reputation amongst potential and former guests. We've continued to innovate and to push boundaries. We've built a core staff that is, bar none, the best in the industry (at least partly because I keep stealing or sharing people from other conventions!) and I could not be prouder of what we've done and where we are as a team.

I've been on staff since 2002. Here's what I've been up to:

2002: joined staff, became involved in our internet stuff and helped drive guests around.

2003: helped with mount pre-reg (mailed registrations in those days!), worked on web stuff, drove guests, won a staff award, appeared in TMR's video diaries

2004: Travel logistics, website, tormented folks about L'Arc, lots of other stuff; board of directors

2005: Vice Con Chair & VP of Otakorp; first Japan and Anime Expo trips

2006: Con Chair & President

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010: Relations Chief

2008, 2009, 2010: Opening Animation

2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010: Japan & Anime Expo trips

I have accomplished a lot, personally, and Otakon's Relations Section has evolved significantly under my watch. It may sound like I'm boasting but I'm not, really -- this is about explaining what I've done til now and what I have left to do. There are a few guests I really want to get. There are a few other goals that I haven't shared.

But the fact is I'm 40 and this eats up *all* my time. I simply cannot keep doing this job at this level of effort. I'm about an inch from being burnt out on the con, and I don't want that.

So next year, you'll have a new head of Relations to torment (most likely my assistant Jeff Lee), and my involvement will be significantly less. I won't leave things high and dry -- I will still help out and I will still be involved -- I just need to NOT spend 20-60 hours a week year round being responsible for everything.

For most of this decade, Otakon has been a big part of who I am and what I do. It won't ever stop being a big part -- too many friends, too many memories, too much at stake. But for my own health and sanity, I need to let someone else step up. And for the con's benefit, too -- right now if I got hit by a bus, a LOT of info and connections would be lost.

So even though I'm not REALLY going anywhere, things will be changing -- how much I'm not sure. And I wanted to let the diehards on the boards know what I leaked to staff the other night. I really hope you'll be as supportive of Jeff (or whoever they appoint to succeed me) as you have been of me.

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We will, Jim. You've been too good to us to not respect your wishes.

Make sure to take it easy, too. It looks like you need it after all of the times you've been through~ :D

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Does this mean you won't be a fairy tale at-con next year? ;___;

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We'll be disappointed to see you take a step back - your year as con chair is tied with my first year as my favorite year yet for the overall convention, and the guests in the last few years since you took over Guest Relations have been great. I'm sure whoever takes your place, your assistant or otherwise, will do a good job, but it's still a shame to see you take a step back from it. Thank you for your efforts over the years!

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I understand your view on this. I have to be very careful in how I use my fannish energy always to avoid burnout. Whatever you do for Otakon 2011, I hope you enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed being Relations Section Chief. It sounds like you really loved what you were doing.

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I'll still be helping out with Relations, guys. :D

Hey, Jim. Thanks for all your efforts in pulling together the most impressive guest list for this years con. And thanks for answering by (probibly)annoying questions. Hope to see you at wrap-up. Any way to see the opening animation? I missed it. Again. chuck

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I'm glad you're still hanging around with us. It's smart to step back a little to avoid burnout, and I know how close to that you've been.

Rest assured, everyone, Jim's assistant is a very capable man. And while I can't say I won't miss Jim being the backbone of Relations, he leaves his position in very good hands. I will happily support you and Jeff in the coming year, so please count on me.

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Apparently everyone assumes that I'll be the secret power behind the throne for years to come. (My title is Grand Vizier, after all...)

The tough balancing act for me, going forward, will be to give Jeff Lee space to put his own stamp on things, while still being available to help and support.

I know I have a strong personality, and I'm used to being in authority -- it'll actually be nice to step back from that level of responsibility for a while. Kinda like going back to being a player after having DM'd for more than 15 years. I quite enjoy both, but gosh it's nice to have a break!

One potentially tricky aspect (that I'm not too worried about in reality) is that while "Otakorp, Inc." has established business relations and partners with Funimation & Madhouse & Sony, etc., especially on the Japanese side, it's as much about building personal trust between me and Maruyama, or Yaz, or Kawamura, or Suwa. Personal relationships and trust are key for the J-side of the house. Luckily Jeff has been VERY involved on the ground for several years and he is not an unknown to our partners. That's a big part of why he was on the TAF trip this year, and it'll make it easier for him going forward that he's not some stranger that works for us, but instead someone who is connected through a web of trust.

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Jim, I'd like to thank you for all of your hard work throughout the years. Although I have actually never made it to a concert and rarely had a chance to see any of the guests in the seven years I've been at Otakon, it always makes me happy just to know that if I actually had the time I would be able to meet people I would otherwise never be able to meet. Sadly, vending (or this year, helping in Artist Alley and TWO vendors), plus lines for food, lines for excessively slow elevators and lines for the bathroom all severely eat into my free time, which means I don't always have a long enough break to both stand in line for a panel and attend the panel itself. Everything you've done over the years from guests to web to registration and everything in between has helped make the con better and more interesting.

Also if this Jeff is the same Jeff I think it is, I expect good things.

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The Wrap Meeting is where our staff compare notes on how we did, stuff we saw that worked well or needs work, and of course the feedback from users. It's the start of our yearly "do it better next time" process, by which I mean it's when we start brainstorming and arguing about stuff that should change.

We really do honestly look at every comment. With some perennial complaints (screen height in the smaller rooms), there isn't much we can actually do, but we make sure we have exhausted the options each time. We try to identify any real issues where staffers screwed up and try to fix those -- however a significant number of those wind up being ...I guess "a matter of perception" is the best phrase there. Some of the complaints are laughable (people complain that they got yelled at for violating policy -- well DUH) and others are perplexing. Some are mean spirited. Most are reasonably constructive and we do our best to consider any suggestions for improvement.

Anyway, we start hashing them out now and generally by the time we budget (October) we try to have prepared info on anything that's going to cost money to fix. The big issues this year are emergency management training (evac plan) and some space reallocation to consider -- both will require a bit of time to work through.

Because our organization's board is elected each year and serve one-year terms, and because the incoming board appoints the convention's leadership roles, very little actually gets done until after elections, at least in terms of corrective action (other than stuff that can be done right away) or new initiatives. While section chiefs and department heads tend to be pretty stable, there's always a chance the incoming board may choose someone else.

The other reason not much gets done between Otakon and our elections is that people are kind of burnt out. Many of us have put other real life issues on hold, and this break gives us time to catch up. So while we'll work on stuff that's time-sensitive or otherwise critical (usually money stuff), for most of us it's about decompressing and catching up on sleep.

Oh, glorious sleep. Going to bed at a decent hour is a real luxury. And video games! I had time to finish the Ratchet & Clank game I started months ago, and to get started with the one I got for Christmas but hadn't opened.

For me, the period after the con is largely consumed with doing paperwork for the money I spend in June & July. That's about $5500 in cash, plus about $125k on credit cards -- over $50k in hotel expenses, plus all the airfare bookings and travel expenses. One year I had over sixty-five pages of photocopied receipts (an average of 4 receipts per page). In the thick of things, receipts get lost or hurried scrawls become meaningless. "Akira - ssoo pc..." later reveals its true meaning ("Akira - $500 petty cash"). My section has about 7 credit cards and a big wad of cash, and we still wind up having to reimburse individual staffers for incidental expenses. It's a LOT of tracking. Fortunately my crew are, by and large, quite responsible and trustworthy. But many of our expenses for guests are at-con and it still takes forever to track and document, and it's all due by the end of August. There's a few invoices to sort out, too, for Sony.

The pleasure comes from watching the largely positive coverage and con reviews and reports. This year's was extra special because many of our musical acts blogged and tweeted about us and individual staffers got some well-deserved shout-outs.

Following the meeting, I had many of my staffers (and some others who I usually hang with after meetings) over for a cookout. About 30 people showed up and by some miracle we talked relatively little con business. We did talk SOME, however. But this was about building camaraderie and friendship. Consequently we stayed up until about 3am playing poker and talking about how awesome the Justice League Unlimited cartoon was.

It was also a bit of a farewell, since this year's Con Chair Sean "Hellbuny" left for Japan earlier this week. This was a bit of a last hurrah for him, as he is moving to Japan to join his fiance, Alice (our president for 2010) there. Alice was able to participate virtually via skype in both the meeting and the party.

I'm glad I'm able to step back a bit from the work, but the friendships are a big part of why most of us stay on staff. We sometimes get so caught up in the business and hard work of making Otakon happen that we neglect the down time.

So this week I've got the last of the paperwork to sort out, and some followup with industry and guests and press associates and friends. Sadly, added to the list now is some sort of fitting expression of our collective grief over Satoshi Kon's death. It's an unfortunate reality, but I fear the memorial page may become a staple in our con book. And I feel so bad for my friends at Madhouse who knew Kon well. I only met him a handful of times but he was one of my favorite directors, and one of my dream guests for Otakon.

And then, when our elections are held next month, I'll be there to vote, but not run.

One suggestion that came my way was that I might consider MC-ing some of our guest panels. I'm mulling that one over. We'll see what the next guy asks of me....

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A lot of that update seemed very solemn to me for some strange reason. I don't know, maybe I'm just reading too much into it. :mellow:

Either way, it's good to see that you're all getting some needed downtime for a little while, even if there are stacks upon stacks of paperwork that need to be done. ^_^

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Looking over the threads as I clean up 2010's postings and de-clutter, I see this thread remains fairly well-read. I'm going to keep it open, and I think I'll add to it soon.

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Any new update? Love to hear some 2011 news!

Meeting with the team periodically to talk about options. Have helped nab one guest (just need to finalize the deal), working on reasonably big J_guest, have had a near miss on the music front.

It'll be up to Jeff whether he wants to do this sort of thing himself, or at all, or whether he wants me to continue to torment you.

Honestly it's a bit of a relief not to have it all on my shoulders. I've been able to get some stuff done around the house, and I'll be doing some travelling (NOT on behalf of the con for a change).

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