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Read before you request a guest!

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Revised and updated -- possibly to be revised and updated in 2011 by your new head of Guests, Industry, and Press Relations...

First, the important part: Your requests matter.

Those who've been active on the forum know that we do, in fact, read your requests.

Specifically, I have been the main guy reading them since the forum launched.

What makes that otherwise fun and informative job a real chore is when people make silly, misguided, or otherwise uninformed requests. Please, for my sanity (and those who follow me), read this through before you post your request....

1. There are plenty of guests we probably can't get.

I always say "never say never" because Otakon, more than any other con, has pulled off some really amazing guests. That said, there are a few guests that are nearly impossible to get. You can certainly request them, but here is the stock answer.

Any of these folks are obviously on our wish list, and if we ever got the chance to bring them, we would. No request is necessary because these folks are so huge that only an idiot would drop the ball.

a. We know that Hayao Miyazaki does not care much for public appearances, and is not interested in doing a convention or fan event. He occasionally will do a film festival, but this is a man who didn't show up to collect his Oscar. He's also old, and pretty much the only people who could get him to come would be Disney's John Lasseter. That said, we have met with folks at Studio Ghibli to see what's possible -- which is how we know.

b. Rumiko Takahashi is, like most big-name manga-ka, notoriously busy. She's also appeared very rarely -- San Diego ComicCon 2000 is the biggest appearance IIRC, and that was in Viz's heyday, while InuYasha was going strong and just about to begin airing on Japanese TV. Getting her requires the full participation of her publishers and/or distributors, and that's assuming she wants to come and has the time.

c. Beat Takeshi is another popular request, but the man hosts a weekly show and does roughly one movie a year -- plus he writes poetry, does artwork, and so forth. He's simply intensely busy and -- let's not forget -- he's an internationally famous director, not just the funny guy on MXC.

d. Hideaki Anno is currently very busy working on the new Eva movies, and we do have a good contact there, but Anno is unlikely to come himself. One big problem is that he doesn't really enjoy doing conventions or promotion, and he isn't a particularly social person, preferring to spend time with his wife. We haven't given up, though.

Two guests who are no longer on that list are Satoshi Kon, who sadly passed away in 2010, and X-Japan. We've had X-Japan's Yoshiki twice, and he credits Otakon with reminding him of his fanbase; his second appearance, with Sugizo, was one week before X-Japan's big US debut. While the band has performed *near* other conventions we are the only convention to have hosted an official (if partial) appearance by X-Japan. Yoshiki has recommended other guests to us and it meant a lot to him to come back to Otakon before launching the big US tour, but it's unlikely he, or X-Japan, will be back anytime soon.

Other general notes on musical guests:

1. We typically do not bring repeat musical guests. If they've been to Otakon before, chances are slim.

2. We prefer to be the first convention to bring you an act, so if the musical act has appeared at another convention, the answer's probably no.

3. Acts that are at the top of their game in Japan, or who have aggressive touring schedules in Asia, are unlikely to have much reason, not to mention time, to come to the US.

4. Keep in mind that our biggest success stories have been acts that are on the cusp of hitting it big, or who are launching a comeback of some kind. Those are the acts with the most to gain from a US appearance.

Other notes on overseas guests:

1. Manga-ka are *extremely* hard to get. Many are extremely shy, they have insane work schedules, and their editors are very protective of them.

2. Seiyuu availability is limited by their production schedules. They're working actors, after all.

3. Hong Kong action stars and directors are in fact full-bore movie stars in their own right, with huge followings in their own country. We've had some very lucky catches in the past, but we simply don't have the same sorts of connections in China as we do in Japan. And real movie stars are very expensive to maintain.

4. Because it's so costly to bring overseas guests, we don't do too many repeats. One notable exception is Madhouse's Maruyama, but in most cases we prefer to bring new faces to the US.

Notes on US-based guests:

1. Webcomics and OEL manga artists. Our mission is to bring Asian culture to your attention -- so while we love webcomics and OEL manga folks, it is hard to justify them when they don't really relate directly to our mission, and dozens of them come to Otakon anyway. We will try to promote them, but we have to set the bar pretty high for someone to get the full guest treatment.

2. Dub actors: we generally go for a mix of people who have been to Otakon before, and people who haven't been to Otakon or anywhere else before. If an actor has been to Otakon several years in a row, chances are he or she is due for a year off.

3. Video game guests: we're open but have yet to find the right opportunity and timing. Unfortunately, most of the folks you really *want* to see are too busy, and when they are let off their leash it's usually for a video-game-specific show.

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Just reminding folks about this note; it is still quite valid... And remember, if you haven't seen much guest stuff announced, it is probably in the works. :)

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