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Offline JeffT

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Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« on: September 06, 2012, 12:42:55 am »
This thread is for questions and answers for the candidates for the 2013 Director of Programming.
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Offline @random

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 08:46:54 am »
  • What do you see the role(s) of the Director of Programming as being, and what do you believe you bring to the table in this regard?
  • As the Director of Programming, what changes (if any) would you like to institute?
  • Looking at the respective sizes of the staff list sections, it seems as though Programming is one of two mega-departments by comparison to the others. Considering how much our staff levels have grown, do you believe it's appropriate for Programming to be in charge of all of the functions it presently has, or should some of the responsibilities be parceled out?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 08:53:44 am by @random »
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 09:04:13 am »
  • What do you see the role(s) of the Director of Programming as being, and what do you believe you bring to the table in this regard?

To me, the Director of Programming is reponsible for ensuring that there is a variety of stuff for people to do at con, and that things are running smoothly.  Our attendees have paid to be here, and it is our job to make sure that they have fun.  For the last 5 years I have tried to listen to the comments that we've gotten from attendees, and try to incorporate what it is they want to see into the time and space we have available.  My goal is to have a little something for everyone - from Chibi Room for the younger ones, to Sake tasting for the adults.

  • As the Director of Programming, what changes (if any) would you like to institute?

I cannot think of any major changes I want to make to Programming.  There are always a few tweaks that need to be done - how we run the Kumori Ball, for one - but overall I am happy with the content we have.  We have received positive feedback on what we offer, and I would like to see that continue.

  • Looking at the respective sizes of the staff list sections, it seems as though Programming is one of two mega-departments by comparison to the others. Considering how much our staff levels have grown, do you believe it's appropriate for Programming to be in charge of all of the functions it presently has, or should some of the responsibilities be parceled out?

The only responsbility currently under Programming that I feel could be parceled out would be Art Show.  It was originally under Relations, before Programming picked it up to make it active again.  And it makes sense to put it under Relations, as it is a place to buy things.

Other than that... no.  Everything else that is under Programming is what is necessary to make the department run smoothly.  We have made good progress in making Programming run without too many hiccups, and I believe parceling any of it out will reduce the success we've had so far.
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Offline TanisNikana

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 10:30:05 am »
Do you have any ideas to address the usual conflict of megapanels all happening in the same primetime slots, so that attendees will be able to see more than one or two?

Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 10:43:19 am »
Do you have any ideas to address the usual conflict of megapanels all happening in the same primetime slots, so that attendees will be able to see more than one or two?

Actually, I am a huge fan of contra-programming, and here is why:  we only have 2 or 3 big rooms, outside of Main Events, in which to do our primetime programming.  And these rooms only hold 150-300 people.  Imagine if everyone at the convention (we had 4700 people this year alone) wanted to attend the same panel... there is no way everyone will get in.  By having multiple popular panels at the same time, or overlapping, it makes a person decide which is the most important to them, and frees up space in the panel for someone else.

I wish we had more space so that everyone could see what they wanted to see, but the hard facts of the matter is we are constrained the space we do have available.  This is a compromise we have to make.
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Offline Dealrith

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 07:30:48 pm »
What are your thoughts towards using CCTV to broadcast major events to help defuse some of the needs on our limited space?

Have you considered recording some of our larger events to re-show on CCTV or even in the viewing rooms after the fact?
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 08:26:07 pm »
What are your thoughts towards using CCTV to broadcast major events to help defuse some of the needs on our limited space?

Have you considered recording some of our larger events to re-show on CCTV or even in the viewing rooms after the fact?

If it is something that we can work out with the hotel and with our tech expertise, then I am all for CCTV showing our Main Events.  It was something that was mentioned kind of late in the game for this last year, but definitely something to look into.  I disagree with showing it in our viewing rooms (they are not huge, and I am not a fan of removing one type of content to expand another) but CCTV or showing recordings in unused panel space (ie, early morning) is a great idea.
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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 08:42:10 pm »
Tell us about a time about a great success you have had working in this department, or in the one you currently staff for.

Tell us about a time where you did not do as well as you had hoped with something regarding your department, or the one you currently staff for. How do you think you could have handled it better?

If you had no resistance or restrictions, what is something you would like to do with Programming?

What is your definition of a successful Programming directorate?

In my staffing in Operations for the past few years, I've noticed a constant rift of drama between folks in Operations and Programming, and at different levels of staff ranks. How do you intend on working with the incoming new Operations director or ensure that there is none, and if some arises, quelling it immediately?



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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 12:15:38 am »
Tell us about a time about a great success you have had working in this department, or in the one you currently staff for.

A couple of things:

Introducing new content into the convention - Chibi Room, the manga library, and Cosplay Chess.  There may have been a couple of bumps getting started, but I am very happy that they have done so well.  Cosplay Chess has to be my favorite part of the convention each year, and something I really look forward to as a great way to end con.

Recording Main Events/the three screen setup - you have no idea how proud I am that we made this work.  My Main Events staff has been amazing at getting this to work, but we now have 2 years of recordings of Main Events, and the screens that allowed the action to be seen by everyone in the room.

Tell us about a time where you did not do as well as you had hoped with something regarding your department, or the one you currently staff for. How do you think you could have handled it better?

The Masquerade/Kumori Ball is still a work in progress.  Each year that we've had it, there's been something that has been a major issue: whether it was the mask issue, the dress code, or more currently, the capacity and line control issues from this year.  I think this is my one problem event, and we are still trying to work out the logistics of it.  But, I have staff that are invested in making this work out, and we will continue to iron out the bumps until it runs as smooth as any of our other content.

What is your definition of a successful Programming directorate?

A successful Programming directorate is one in which the attendees had a good time at con, the staff had a good time and were not burned out, and everyone had fun.

In my staffing in Operations for the past few years, I've noticed a constant rift of drama between folks in Operations and Programming, and at different levels of staff ranks. How do you intend on working with the incoming new Operations director or ensure that there is none, and if some arises, quelling it immediately?

It is unfortunate that there is still the occasional rumblings between Prog and Ops staff:  we are all here for the same purpose - to run a great con.  It's true there has been some past issues, but over the last couple of years TJ and I have worked hard to eliminate the issues and encourage our staff to work together.  There will always be a few that still grumble, but the best that the new Director of Ops and I can do is to lead by example, and encourage others to follow our lead.  Instances of drama need to be dealt with as they arise, and will not be tolerated - we are all adults here, so it's time to act like it.
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Offline staze

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2012, 12:22:21 am »
Since we're (you're =P) now providing video of main events TO main events, I see the potential for using that video for other purposes: Feeding an overflow space for those that can't get into ME for opening, closing, cosplay, etc. Obviously space is always at a premium, so what are your thoughts about this? What about working with the hotel to potentially offer a live feed of these major events via CCTV?
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2012, 05:50:44 pm »
Since we're (you're =P) now providing video of main events TO main events, I see the potential for using that video for other purposes: Feeding an overflow space for those that can't get into ME for opening, closing, cosplay, etc. Obviously space is always at a premium, so what are your thoughts about this? What about working with the hotel to potentially offer a live feed of these major events via CCTV?

It was briefly brought up right before con started, but talking to the hotel and determining if we could have the video feed over CCTV (whether live or recorded) is a great idea, and one I think we should look into for next year.

As for overflow space.. that is a bit tricker.  It works for Opening Ceremonies, and possibly even Closing Ceremonies - there is little else going on in other rooms, so it's doable.  I won't do it for the bigger events throughout the weekend, though, and it's exactly because space is at a premium.  Everyone at con has different interests, and while one person may be all about the Cosplay Contest, another isn't interested - I will not take away space for other content to expand something we are already showing.  It's unfortunate that we cannot fit 3000-4000 people in our Main Events room, but there are people that aren't interested in what is running there, and I won't take away the space to run something that they are intersted in - it's not fair.  We are not a Cosplay con, or an AMV con, or a Rave con, so I will not limit our programming to just those things.
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Offline numair42

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 12:12:24 am »
  • You mentioned that we have a little bit of content for everyone. Is there any content that you feel we have too much of or not enough of?
  • An important part of what a director does is manage a budget. What projects do you see yourself allocating more of your budget to for the 2013 season?
  • In years past we have had mid year mini-cons. This year I don't think there was one, I may have not noticed it if there was. If re-elected, would you make hosting a mini-con more of a priority then it is now? This of course assumes that the rest of the board supports it and there are enough staff to run it.
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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2012, 09:20:28 pm »
Question - Since some staffers twiddle their thumbs, waiting for some directions BEFORE the con takes place, would you search for said staffers and put them to pre-con use? If so, how?
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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 06:43:29 pm »
Do you feel that programming should dictate the deadlines critical to other departments, for example, the publishing deadline?


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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 09:43:46 am »
  • You mentioned that we have a little bit of content for everyone. Is there any content that you feel we have too much of or not enough of?

I would dearly love if we had more cultural content for our attendees.  We are a con that promotes Japanese culture, let's get some panels about said culture :)  Tea ceremony, bonsai, ikebana.. any of these kind of panels would be wonderful, and something I think our attendees would enjoy.

  • An important part of what a director does is manage a budget. What projects do you see yourself allocating more of your budget to for the 2013 season?

That's a tough one.  My goal is to always improve what we offer each year, so some investment is always needed.  We've built LAN up in the last couple of years, and we've invested in Main Events, so I don't think either of those areas will need huge investments as before.  I would like to see us improve Console gaming a bit, and to see our Manga Library grow.  And we have equipment that is wearing itself out - that will be a priority in replacement.

  • In years past we have had mid year mini-cons. This year I don't think there was one, I may have not noticed it if there was. If re-elected, would you make hosting a mini-con more of a priority then it is now? This of course assumes that the rest of the board supports it and there are enough staff to run it.

We haven't had a mini-con in the last couple of years, I believe, and usually it's a matter of finding the space to have it.  I'm not sure I would make it a priority (the actual con itself is my priority), but I'm not against them, either.  For mini-con to happen, we need space, and that usually comes from an anime or gaming club that wants to partner with us (it's the only way we can keep it free to attend.)  For a mid-year dance to happen, that's a bit more complicated: figuring a time that people will be most likely to attend, finding a venue we can afford - a bit trickier, but possible.

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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2012, 09:55:25 am »
Question - Since some staffers twiddle their thumbs, waiting for some directions BEFORE the con takes place, would you search for said staffers and put them to pre-con use? If so, how?

The majority of the work in Programming is at-con for most of the Programming staff.  The before-con work is done primarily by coordinators and managers.  What little before-con stuff we do have (mid-year events, for example) I look for volunteers at general meetings.

Do you feel that programming should dictate the deadlines critical to other departments, for example, the publishing deadline?

Per your example, Publicity is the department that sets the deadlines.  I will ask, and have asked, to have that deadline as late as possible in order to make sure the schedule and such is as fixed as possible, but that is ultimately not my call.  But as those deadlines affect my deadlines (final date I can accept stuff for scheduling) I would appreciate input.

Programming stuff that was not complete at the publishing deadline gets inserted other ways: we have had a viewing schedule separate from the pocket guide for the last couple of years because I still needed information.  I cannot submit information that I don't have.
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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2012, 05:49:52 pm »
These positions are picked by the board, who do you like/suggest for them

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2012, 10:11:53 pm »
These positions are picked by the board, who do you like/suggest for them

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Jaz, you ask the tough questions  :P  There have been some great suggestions for the positions, but until the person actually submits a letter of interest for it, it's difficult to say who will be considered.  There are some people I would love to see in the positions, and I have/will talk to them about it, but posting here seems like playing favorites ;)
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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2012, 06:40:55 pm »
Since this applies to Programming too, I should ask here as well.

If I remember correctly, viewing permissions were originally dealt with by Programming here at Kumoricon since Programming puts together the viewing rooms. The task was given to Relations at some point since it is something applicable to the department. Which department do you believe should go about getting viewing permissions for anime?

Just to give an idea what this would mean, if Programming is taking care of the permissions, it would ultimately cut out the "middle man" in the process, since Programming gives Relations a list just to have Relations give Programming a list back. If Relations is taking care of the permissions, it keeps all contacts going through one person/department (which is something we want, so multiple people from the convention aren't contacting the same person). It may also be good to keep in mind that this could have some gray area to it, such as Programming taking care of the majority of permissions, but Relations dealing with the contacts they would already be working with, like FUNimation.
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2012, 08:16:27 pm »
Since this applies to Programming too, I should ask here as well.

If I remember correctly, viewing permissions were originally dealt with by Programming here at Kumoricon since Programming puts together the viewing rooms. The task was given to Relations at some point since it is something applicable to the department. Which department do you believe should go about getting viewing permissions for anime?

Just to give an idea what this would mean, if Programming is taking care of the permissions, it would ultimately cut out the "middle man" in the process, since Programming gives Relations a list just to have Relations give Programming a list back. If Relations is taking care of the permissions, it keeps all contacts going through one person/department (which is something we want, so multiple people from the convention aren't contacting the same person). It may also be good to keep in mind that this could have some gray area to it, such as Programming taking care of the majority of permissions, but Relations dealing with the contacts they would already be working with, like FUNimation.

I can see pros and cons to both.  Yes, I would like if we handled the permissions, as it would eliminate the middle man, and I have offered to do so in the past.  On the other hand, I can see the advantage of having the one point of contact, to make things simpler for the industry contact.  I think this boils down to something to worked out between Programming and Relations later, after staff has been signed up.  If Relations is understaffed, then maybe it will help them to offload the contact for permissions.  But if they have someone dedicated to the contact, then it's one less thing for Programming to wrangle.
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Offline Snorlax

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2012, 03:38:17 am »
Quote
What do you see the role(s) of the Director of Programming as being, and what do you believe you bring to the table in this regard?

The Director of Programming is primarily responsible for guiding, selecting, and soliciting the actual content of our convention.  The vision of the Programming Director largely determines what our attendees can see and do at Kumoricon.  Consequently, that vision must also coincide with what our attendees, and especially potential attendees, want to see and do at Kumoricon.

The Programming Director’s vision must also be in line with the Board’s overall vision for Kumoricon, and must create a plan that is both viable and feasible, and that will give us the best balance in content.

If a Programming Director’s vision ever becomes stagnate or loses focus on any of those parts, it directly impairs Kumoricon’s ability to excite, attract, and retain our attendees, so this vision is a critical part of being the Director of Programming.
Another important aspect of being any Director is the ability to not only effectively direct and facilitate the work of their staff, but also the responsibility to respect, train, nurture, and support them in that work with the goal of improving both their capabilities the convention so that we have an even stronger staff pool going forward.

I believe that the best three things I can offer as a Director of Programming is the ability to communicate effectively with both my staff and other departments, a willingness and eagerness to work with others, and a fresh and energetic vision of Programming that is different from the past five years.

As the Facilities Liaison for the past two years I have been in close communication with not only both the Hilton and the Red Lion, but also the other directorates.  In the process I not only improved my communication skills, but I also established a good rapport with many staffers in multiple departments to the extent that I feel I can communicate freely and effectively with anyone.

Quote
Looking at the respective sizes of the staff list sections, it seems as though Programming is one of two mega-departments by comparison to the others. Considering how much our staff levels have grown, do you believe it's appropriate for Programming to be in charge of all of the functions it presently has, or should some of the responsibilities be parceled out?

In general, I think that the things that Programming is responsible for (Main Events, Panels, Gaming, Karaoke, etc.) are exactly the things that Programming needs to be responsible for right now, no matter how big that happens to make the department.

There are two exceptions to this.  The first is Art Show, which, while awesome, I personally feel may be better categorized as an extension of Artists Alley in Relations.  The second is Programming’s involvement with outside events and other conventions.  As things currently stand, I think that Programming takes too much of a leading role at these outreach events, and instead should be involved in a supporting role whenever practical.

That said, working with other departments is always key.  The Board should act as an open and communicative group which brainstorms and problem solves together.  I also think that there are things that can be done within Programming to make its responsibilities much more manageable.

Finally, I think that the most important change I can make in Programming is to retrofit its operational and command infrastructure so that it is trained and ready to face the future.  Nearly every other department has undergone a similarly radical organizational change in recent years, and if Programming is going to continue to work efficiently as our convention grows, it is going to need one too.

Quote
Do you have any ideas to address the usual conflict of megapanels all happening in the same prime time slots, so that attendees will be able to see more than one or two?

I recognize that not being able to attend every event you want can be frustrating, but counterprogramming is necessary to successful programming.  We use counterprogramming because we can only fit so many people into one space—it is simply not possible for everyone to attend all of our “mega-panels”.  We counterprogram certain events so that attendees have to choose between the two, thus enabling us to run both events in the space we have available.

That said, counterprogramming shouldn’t just be about size, it should also be about audience demographics.  Ideally, we will counterprogram two panels that both interest large groups of people, but not the same group of people.

Quote
What are your thoughts towards using CCTV to broadcast major events to help defuse some of the needs on our limited space?

Quote
Have you considered recording some of our larger events to re-show on CCTV or even in the viewing rooms after the fact?

Quote
Since we're (you're =P) now providing video of main events TO main events, I see the potential for using that video for other purposes: Feeding an overflow space for those that can't get into ME for opening, closing, cosplay, etc. Obviously space is always at a premium, so what are your thoughts about this? What about working with the hotel to potentially offer a live feed of these major events via CCTV?

This is a great idea, and something that the Board has been working on for the past year.  Publicity has been taking the lead on organizing CCTV, and it is my hope that Programming will provide them with all of the logistical support they need to successfully integrate our content into CCTV programming next year.

Quote
Tell us about a time about a great success you have had working in this department, or in the one you currently staff for.

I would have to say my biggest success was the creation and expansion of Tabletop Gaming.  In 2007 Tabletop Gaming was little more than a collection of independent panels that happened to be held in one of the smallest rooms (the Ash Room) at the Hilton Vancouver WA.  It had no dedicated staff, but the little content provided seemed to be overwhelmingly popular.  The next year, I talked to the newly elected Director of Programming about making Tabletop Gaming its own sub-department, she agreed to let me give it a try, and Tabletop Gaming was born.  The results were extraordinary.  In its first year, with only myself and a friend as dedicated staff, Tabletop Gaming managed to fill not a just a room, but also a large portion of the hallway at the DoubleTree with both content and gamers, and things continued to grow from there.  Today, Tabletop Gaming makes up 8.6% of our total staff, and runs Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Pokemon tournaments around the clock, hosts and in-room vendor, partners with GameStorm to provide our attendees with access to their renowned Board Game Library, is establishing its own collection of anime themed games, and much, much more.

Quote
Tell us about a time where you did not do as well as you had hoped with something regarding your department, or the one you currently staff for. How do you think you could have handled it better?

The biggest mistake I have ever made at Kumoricon, during my first year as Facilities Liaison, was thinking that I could do everything, particularly the pre-con work, by myself.  It was something that I had become accustomed to doing while running Tabletop Gaming, and unfortunately it was a behavior that carried over into my new job.  While I was still able to perform my duties as Facilities Liaison that first year, I regret not being able to perform them as well as I could have.  When I was appointed at the beginning of the 2012 con year I was also put on probation Board.  That was a wake-up call—I knew I needed to change the way I thought about being a Director.  It was hard to admit that to myself, but once I did, I came back re-energized and negotiated one of the best set of contracts we have ever had.  Upon reflection, I believe “doing everything myself” was a strategy that may have worked when we were smaller, and had less responsibilities, but that Kumoricon is now too big for such an approach to be practical.  In 2011, had I had the foresight to hire staff, I would have been exceptionally better off if I had been able to delegate some of my responsibilities to them.

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If you had no resistance or restrictions, what is something you would like to do with Programming?

I’d love to see Kumoricon host an annual academic conference on anime and manga.  Grand ambitions aside, we used to have a few panels like this back in 2005, and I dearly want to see them return.

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What is your definition of a successful Programming directorate?

If your panelists feel taken care of, if the attendees had a good time, if your staff know they were instrumental to the convention’s success, and if the Board is pleased with your performance, then I would say you had a successful year.

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In my staffing in Operations for the past few years, I've noticed a constant rift of drama between folks in Operations and Programming, and at different levels of staff ranks. How do you intend on working with the incoming new Operations director or ensure that there is none, and if some arises, quelling it immediately?

I think that having a new director in both Programming and Operations will go a long way to healing this rift.  That said, a good start has already been made, and the rift is not nearly as bad as I remember it once being, but it isn’t going to go away over night.  Personally, I find much of the behavior that is the result of this rift to be professionally unacceptable, and I plan on working closely with the new Director of Operations to combat it wherever and whenever I can.

Ultimately, any meaningful change in the relationship between Programming and Operations is going to come from the top and work its way down.  There has to be a change in our respective mentalities (a change which I have already seen the beginnings of in Operations this past year) which can only come from a relationship built on solid communication, honesty, trust, and respect.  Both Operations and Programming care deeply about making Kumoricon the best that it can be, and if we recognize that common ground and build new relationships based upon these principles moving forward.

For my part, I feel it is important that every member of Operations, from its Director to a first year Yojimbo, should feel comfortable talking to the Director of Programming.  As Facilities Liaison I made myself available to our entire staff as an approachable point of contact with the hotels, and I plan on maintaining that open door policy if elected as the Director of Programming.
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Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2012, 04:26:44 pm »
A few more questions:

For the first time in three years, Kumoricon experienced a growth in attendance, and a record one at that. What is your opinion of growth of the convention, and what more likely would you give an aye vote to if the convention outgrows Vancouver: Staying in Vancouver and instituting an attendance cap, or moving to a venue that would work well with growth?

Give us your schedule of major milestones for Programming in 2013 (Viewing permissions into Relations, Accepting Fan Panels, Approving and informing attendees of panels, layout of the conventions, manager hires, and anything else I have missed)

If you had to vote for one of your opponents, who would it be and why?





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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2012, 04:51:29 pm »
Oh yeah! One more question!

What is your opinion of the proxy balloting system for elections?


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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2012, 09:28:38 pm »
For the first time in three years, Kumoricon experienced a growth in attendance, and a record one at that. What is your opinion of growth of the convention, and what more likely would you give an aye vote to if the convention outgrows Vancouver: Staying in Vancouver and instituting an attendance cap, or moving to a venue that would work well with growth?

That's not a question with an easy answer, but it is one that we need to be thinking about.  The growth we had in attendance was great to see this year, and shows us that we need to seriously consider our future alternatives.  But it's not as simple as voting for a cap and staying in Vancouver, or jumping to another venue.  The options need to be researched, the costs evaluated, and our staffing levels need to be considered.  Jumping to a larger venue with our current staff levels will be problematic - look at the issues that cropped up this year.  Evaluating our options, and making a plan that works within our budget and staff levels is what is going to make future conventions - and growth - successful.

Give us your schedule of major milestones for Programming in 2013 (Viewing permissions into Relations, Accepting Fan Panels, Approving and informing attendees of panels, layout of the conventions, manager hires, and anything else I have missed)

As with most things, the sooner things can happen the better, especially in regards to manager hires.. but I think that hiring the best person for the job vs filling the position by an arbitrary date is for the best. 

Fan panels are accepted as soon as the panel forms come in, although the actual approval of the panels does not happen until I know how much room I have available for them, ideally in July, but dependent on when guest information is received from Relations.

Usually, June or July was plenty of time in order to obtain viewing permissions through Relations, but with the difficulty that we've had the last couple of years that date should probably be pushed earlier.

Since this is the third consecutive year we will be in the space, I doubt there will be much change in the current layout, but it is usually discussed by the Board at the Exec retreat, and finalized when we know what it is we are we're doing.  As for the actual layout of the individual rooms (where the stage will be in a given room, or how many chairs it will have) it is not final until the schedule is final, which does not happen until all the pertinent information (guest panels, fan panels, etc) is complete - I can't give information that I don't have.  So, no milestone, just an ongoing process.

If you had to vote for one of your opponents, who would it be and why?

While dissecting the pros and cons of every candidate is something that happens every election, they are not necessary in this discussion.  My choice and my reasons are my own, and while I have no problem discussing them with people one on one, I don't feel that they are appropriate in this thread.

What is your opinion of the proxy balloting system for elections?

I like that we have proxy ballots, for those that are unable to attend, but I'm not fond of our current system.  I agree with limiting the number of proxies that can be held by one person, but I would prefer that we allow email of proxy notification and not require the signed form - it can be a burden for the staffer that was planning on attending, but at the last minute couldn't attend but cannot get the physical form to another staffer in time.  I would like the Board to reevaluate how the proxy can be accepted, which would allow more staff to participate.

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Offline Yanagiba

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2012, 03:04:01 am »
This bit is for Koop in particular. I know you have experience on the board and that you have worked in Programming in the Tabletop Gaming section, but one of my main concerns is with your knowledge regarding the other sections of Programming since you do not have much experience with them. For example, there is a wide variety of tech that Programming works with at con (as well as at outreach events), some of which is particularly sensitive and can be broken easily if used improperly. I don't necessarily expect anyone to be fully versed in every aspect of Programming since the spectrum of knowledge is rather broad, but I do expect at least basic knowledge in every aspect from the director so you can step in to solve whatever problem may occur. How do you plan to accomodate any lack of knowledge regarding Programming you may have?

This part goes to all candidates. As I just stated, there is a decent amount of tech at con that can easily be broken if used incorrectly (projectors, microphones, etc.). What kind of plans do you have to make sure that staff, and not necessarily just Programming staff, have an understanding of the tech?
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2012, 08:30:50 am »
This part goes to all candidates. As I just stated, there is a decent amount of tech at con that can easily be broken if used incorrectly (projectors, microphones, etc.). What kind of plans do you have to make sure that staff, and not necessarily just Programming staff, have an understanding of the tech?

In the past, we have had training at general meetings, outreach events, and at con... it's not been consistent how we do it, and we need to figure out how to make it better.  Before the convention is great, but not everyone makes all the staff meetings.  At con can be hectic, but at least the people are there.  This is an issue I would discuss with my staff to determine when the best time to do this would be, because it depends on the people themselves.

As for who... that's a hard one for me.  Part of me agrees that yes, people should know how to deal with the tech so it's used responsibly.  On the other hand, that lends itself to someone thinking "Oh, I know how to turn this off/disconnect this, and will be helpful and take this back to Programming", which has been a problem in the past, when equipment was taken from panel rooms and mysteriously appeared somewhere else.

I guess it would boil down to.. who wants to learn it, and who should learn it.  Once we determine that, then we go from there with the training.
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Offline superjaz

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2012, 10:12:55 am »
The Programming Director’s vision must also be in line with the Board’s overall vision for Kumoricon, and must create a plan that is both viable and feasible, and that will give us the best balance in content.

That really doesn't sound like a problem as Programming Director would have a say in the vision since its a board vision which they are a member of, and should have some influnce on.  But thinking about it, isn't it more like the board as a whole does their best to interpet and provide the attendees vision of what Kumoricon should be? (As said pondering)

The second is Programming’s involvement with outside events and other conventions.  As things currently stand, I think that Programming takes too much of a leading role at these outreach events, and instead should be involved in a supporting role whenever practical.


what department should have a leading role at these outreach events?



Just an staff 3 cents on proxy, they are one of the  perks a staff get and there are many reasons a staffer can't make the elections (I was litterally giving birth during last years elections)
 There are also many factors picking the date/location, if you feel future proxy voting shouldnt be allowed, what steps would you suggest to ensure the highest amount of staff can make it to elections?
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Offline Snorlax

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2012, 02:16:10 am »
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Is there any content that you feel we have too much of or not enough of?

As long as our attendees show a sustained interest, I don’t think that there is such a thing as “too much” content.  The challenge is to get a variety of content spread out over the entire weekend so that attendees have multiple chances to go to the types of content they want to see.

I would like to see, and if elected I would actively seek out, more cultural and academic programming.  I think these as areas where Programming can not only attract new attendees to Kumoricon, but also recapture some of our older attendees who feel the Kumoricon has less and less to offer them each year.

I also believe that we should take a serious look at more programming for non-Japanese fandoms.

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An important part of what a director does is manage a budget. What projects do you see yourself allocating more of your budget to for the 2013 season?

There are a few areas of the Programming and Capital Expenses budget that I would like to review.  I think that we need to reevaluate how we are spending money on Main Events, and make sure that we own (or can afford to rent) the most basic necessities before we even consider spending money on extremely specialize items.  I also think we need to review the quality and lifespan of our small tech equipment to see what still meets our needs and what needs to be replaced.  I would also want to talk to the managers of the various departments in Programming to make sure they think that they have everything they need to provide content to our attendees of an acceptable quality.

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In years past we have had mid year mini-cons. This year I don't think there was one, I may have not noticed it if there was. If re-elected, would you make hosting a mini-con more of a priority then it is now? This of course assumes that the rest of the board supports it and there are enough staff to run it.

If elected, I would definitely make hosting a mini-con more of a priority than it is now.  I think that mini-cons are a great way to build interest in and enthusiasm for Kumoricon throughout the year.

That said, a mini-con requites the support of the entire Board to succeed, so it wouldn’t just be my call.  But if the Board, and their staff, get behind it, then I think we can put on a mini-con that will pierce the heavens!

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Since some staffers twiddle their thumbs, waiting for some directions BEFORE the con takes place, would you search for said staffers and put them to pre-con use? If so, how?

Outside of our Managers and Coordinators, most of Programming’s work is at con.  There are certainly opportunities to be involved throughout the year with Outreach events, such as Oregon Asian Celebration (in Eugene), OryCon, GameStorm, and various Uwajimaya events.  Often, solicitations for help for these events occur during our General Meetings, and occasionally over the staff-list.  That said, if you want to be involved throughout the year with Kumoricon I encourage you to contact your Director and ask them if there is anything you can help with.

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Do you feel that programming should dictate the deadlines critical to other departments, for example, the publishing deadline?

No one Director should dictate anything to other Directors.  Our Board should come together, communicate their needs, and develop a timeline that everyone can agree on and stick to.

In the case of publishing deadlines, there is an extent to which those deadlines are set by our printing company, rather than by Publicity.  I am well aware of the pains departments like Publicity and Operations go through to get things done last minute because of how difficult it is to balance our internal deadlines.  This is somewhere I think Programming can take a leading role in developing a better way to go about setting deadlines, by working closely with other departments and communicating our needs while also being receptive to theirs throughout the year.

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If I remember correctly, viewing permissions were originally dealt with by Programming here at Kumoricon since Programming puts together the viewing rooms. The task was given to Relations at some point since it is something applicable to the department. Which department do you believe should go about getting viewing permissions for anime?

Having one point of contact with our industry partners is not only extremely important, it is a professional reality.  So, for me, it makes sense for Relations to continue to be the direct point of contact with industry, including when it comes to obtaining viewing permissions.

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Just to give an idea what this would mean, if Programming is taking care of the permissions, it would ultimately cut out the "middle man" in the process, since Programming gives Relations a list just to have Relations give Programming a list back. If Relations is taking care of the permissions, it keeps all contacts going through one person/department (which is something we want, so multiple people from the convention aren't contacting the same person). It may also be good to keep in mind that this could have some gray area to it, such as Programming taking care of the majority of permissions, but Relations dealing with the contacts they would already be working with, like FUNimation.

The way most companies work, a different contact than the convention contact handles permissions, so there are already middle-men in place before Programming and Relations even enter the picture.  I do think that middle-men generally make communication harder, but the professionalism displayed by having one point of contact is more important.

That said, there are some companies that we only talk to because we are requesting viewing permission from them.  I think these companies could possibly be approached by Programming instead of Relations, but in order to do so Relations and Programming would have to be in constant communication to make sure there hasn’t been any doubling of effort that might confuse or annoy the contact.

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For the first time in three years, Kumoricon experienced a growth in attendance, and a record one at that. What is your opinion of growth of the convention, and what more likely would you give an aye vote to if the convention outgrows Vancouver: Staying in Vancouver and instituting an attendance cap, or moving to a venue that would work well with growth?

A growing convention is a healthy convention.  I strongly believe that purposefully halting our growth because we no longer fit into a space is not only the wrong decision, but also discourages our attendees.  If people want to come to Kumoricon it is our job to facilitate that.  I love our Vancouver location.  The hotels are both easy to work with and their staff is amazing.  But the moment we become too big for Vancouver is the moment we need to leave and find a larger venue.  

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Give us your schedule of major milestones for Programming in 2013 (Viewing permissions into Relations, Accepting Fan Panels, Approving and informing attendees of panels, layout of the conventions, manager hires, and anything else I have missed)

Layouts the Hilton Red Lion: November.  These layouts, called BEOs, are just drafts and can be altered up to and including the convention itself to varying degrees, so there is no reason to sit on the information until August just because there might be a few minor changes.

Fan Panels: I would like to start accepting these as I can, hopefully in November as well.  The sooner we get submission the sooner we can get to work.  I think that approval for all panels should be finished by June at the latest, and I would work on system that allows us to accept, wait list, and reject panels as they are submitted.

Assistant, Manager, and Coordinator Hire: Ideally this would be wrapped up by December, if not earlier, but if there aren’t any qualified individuals, there are times this deadline will not be met.  That said, Programming has a lot of great staff, and I definitely hope they will come back again next year!

Schedule to Publicity and Operations: Again, June at the latest.  Publicity needs time to put the program book and pocket guide together, and Operations needs the schedule to efficiently schedule their Yojimbo.

Fan Contest Entries: I believe that the current system of accepting submissions up to and at con has been working well, but I would want to talk to the various fan contest coordinators to review these deadlines.

Viewing Permissions: I would want to get these to Relations in February or April.  In general, we already know what will be coming out and when, so the release of new titles shouldn’t be a problem, and if there is an anime the we later realize we need permissions for, then we can always ask Relations to make a follow-up request.

Gaming Tournaments: I would like to see the list of both Tabletop and Video Gaming Tournaments go up on the website sooner, probably around May, so that we can generate excitement about them and hopefully attract more attendees.

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If you had to vote for one of your opponents, who would it be and why?

If I had to vote for one of my opponents, I would vote for Jaki.  She is a skilled problem solver at con, has five years of experience in the position, and does a good job at training her staff for high level positions.

EDIT: formatting
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 02:36:51 pm by Snorlax »
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Offline Tank

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2012, 01:17:54 pm »
Directed at all running:

What leadership experience do you have outside of con?
What is a leadership example you have that you are proud of?
What about a leadership mistake you have made.  How did you fix it? Are you happy with the outcome? What would you do differently given another opportunity?

These questions are important to me as prog is one of the largest sub-divisions of con and therefore strong leadership skills and history will make the prog director more capable when it comes to running prog.
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Offline Snorlax

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2012, 08:58:37 pm »
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What is your opinion of the proxy balloting system for elections?

The system needs some work.  All of our staff have the right to participate in elections, and I believe they should exercise that right to participate.  But proxy voting is not staff participation.  It is letting another staff member participate up to three times.

I think we should take serious look at implementing some sort of absentee voting.  That way our staff can still participate directly in the elections process without problems that proxy voting enables.

Quote
This bit is for Koop in particular. I know you have experience on the board and that you have worked in Programming in the Tabletop Gaming section, but one of my main concerns is with your knowledge regarding the other sections of Programming since you do not have much experience with them. For example, there is a wide variety of tech that Programming works with at con (as well as at outreach events), some of which is particularly sensitive and can be broken easily if used improperly. I don't necessarily expect anyone to be fully versed in every aspect of Programming since the spectrum of knowledge is rather broad, but I do expect at least basic knowledge in every aspect from the director so you can step in to solve whatever problem may occur. How do you plan to accomodate any lack of knowledge regarding Programming you may have?

I would like to start by saying that my familiarity with Programming goes beyond my years in Tabletop.  I started my staffing career in Video Gaming, and have also had the opportunity to familiarize myself with other aspects of Programming both through observation and hands-on experience at mini-events over the years.  My work as Facilities Liaison in particular has made me aware of some of the special power needs we have in both Video Gaming and Main Events.

In general, I feel comfortable with my knowledge of microphones, projectors, projector screens, TVs, gaming consoles, and I also feel confident in the Programming staff’s ability to do their jobs.  That said, if elected, one of the first thing I plan on doing is sitting down with all of Programming’s Managers and Coordinators to talk to them about their jobs, especially if their jobs involve the substantial investment we have made in tech buys that I would be responsible for, so that I have a clear understanding of Programming’s sub-departments and their tech needs.  Simply put, I am willing to learn from my staff, and I see that as one of the critical qualities required of any leader.

Quote
This part goes to all candidates. As I just stated, there is a decent amount of tech at con that can easily be broken if used incorrectly (projectors, microphones, etc.). What kind of plans do you have to make sure that staff, and not necessarily just Programming staff, have an understanding of the tech?

I would want to check with my Mangers first, but I think that setting a mandatory training session for certain sub-departments, and anyone else who may have an interest, is a good idea.  These training sessions would be held throughout the year at General Meetings and on Day Zero, and staff would only need to attend one of the meetings to qualify for handling our tech.  Another good way to receive tech training is through outreach events.

I would also want to hold a quick training for our panelists on day zero to familiarize them with the tech they have requested.  Panelist interact with out tech just as much as our staff do, and should have at least a basic understanding of the equipment they will be using.
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2012, 09:22:15 pm »
What leadership experience do you have outside of con?

Outside of con, my experience is work related.  My job as a project engineer, designing and managing residential subdivision construction projects, taught me how to juggle multiple projects with deadlines that often overlapped, in addition to dealing with clients, contractors, and jurisdictional agencies.

What is a leadership example you have that you are proud of?

The thing I'm most proud of is my department.  Over the last five years, there's been some ups and downs, but I believe that I have built a good, strong team of managers, coordinators, and staff, and that is why Programming has run as smoothly as it has the last few years.  Many of my managers and coordinators have been with me since I started, and most have been around at least 3 years or more.  That longevity is why Programming has been successful, and is what will allow us to continue to grow and expand.

What about a leadership mistake you have made.  How did you fix it? Are you happy with the outcome? What would you do differently given another opportunity?

I think the mistakes that disappoint me the most are when I have chosen the wrong person for the job.  Whether it was a bad choice in skill sets, or a personality that didn't fit the job, hiring the wrong person can be a detriment to the department.  Usually, I have worked around the issue by reassigning their duties (or trying to find a better fit for them), or having other staffers assist in picking up the slack; the problem staffer is either nudged toward a position better suited to them, or not rehired.  For the most part, we've made it work.  If I could do it differently, I would try and get a better understanding of a potential staffers' expectations and skills, but sometimes you just don't know until they are in the job.
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Offline Snorlax

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Director of Programming
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2012, 09:57:10 pm »
Quote
what department should have a leading role at these outreach events?

I think that Publicity should be taking the lead at most outreach events.  There are a few exceptions, such as GameStorm, which is essentially a programming exchange between our convention and theirs.

Quote
What leadership experience do you have outside of con?

Over the years I have been involved with various community projects in leadership positions and I was also the Editor in Chief of my high school’s Arts and Literature magazine.
I’m also currently a student at PSU, and usually find myself taking the lead in group projects.

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What is a leadership example you have that you are proud of?

This question is a bit hard to answer as being a leader is a part of simply doing the job of a Director.  I am certainly proud of my performance this past year as Facilities Liaison, especially when leading the Board to a successful signing of our venue contract for next year.

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What about a leadership mistake you have made.  How did you fix it? Are you happy with the outcome? What would you do differently given another opportunity?

I mentioned this earlier, but I believe it applies here as well.  I have, in the past, had a tendency to try and do everything myself.  This was a failure of leadership on my part.  Had I chosen to exercise good leadership skills I would have realized that I should be delegating responsibility to my subordinates.
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