Author Topic: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations  (Read 1093 times)

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Offline JeffT

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Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« on: September 03, 2013, 09:11:39 pm »
This thread is for questions and answers for the candidates for the 2014 Director of Relations.

Please remember the following when participating in the Q&A threads. The normal forum code of conduct applies, except:

There is a partial exemption to the rule that forum discussion cannot be about a person. You may incorporate personal comments, including praise or criticism, into your election questions and answers, and ensuing discussion, but only regarding candidates who are running for a position, or about another person if it is directly entangled with an issue germane to the outcome of the election. In so doing, you must still exercise standard courtesy, and refrain from profanity, disruption of the discussion, excessive vitriol, and irrelevant comments. Please keep in mind that there will be an opportunity for spoken comments at the elections meeting.
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2013, 08:16:53 am »
With the con extending to have Friday be the new Day 1 and Labor Day now being a Day 4, what do you hope to do for the Charity Auction on Friday?


How much help will you be asking for your staffers who, in previous years, have had nothing to contribute to their teams until con time?
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Offline @random

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 07:47:00 pm »
  • What changes (if any) would you like to see within the Relations department?
  • Similarly, what changes (if any) would you like to see with regard to how Relations interacts with the other departments?
  • In the above two areas, what do you think has been going particularly well and needs to be maintained or reinforced?
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Offline Cpl. Slicks

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 06:21:07 pm »
 Hi, I’m John Krall, and I am one of the candidates for your Kumoricon 2014 Director of Relations. I’ve actually been told by some people that answering questions on these forums is unnecessary, because it will have no effect on who wins or loses, but I believe that any avenue for bringing in new ideas and gaining a different perspective is well worth the extra time to hop online and read a few` paragraphs. (I also want to apologize for the delay in answering your questions, but I took vacation to Disneyland[YAY!] directly after Con, and have been working 10-12hour days to make up for it since.)
 
Before I get into answering your questions, I’ll start by telling you a little bit about myself.
 
I’m a cancer, and I enjoy candle-lit dinners at my favorite theme park… Okay, maybe that’s not the kind of information you need (but it’s true and I figured I’d throw it out there).  I am a life-long nerd, whose first memories are of Star Trek, Adam West as Batman, and Mickey Mouse. I grew up on Anime without knowing it with StarBlazers and Battle of the Planets, and remember when Anime Expo was ‘it’ as far as anime conventions go. To say that this is my passion is a bit of a soft sell. And on occasions, I watch sports. I will also be quoting or paraphrasing Pete Carroll and Walt Disney ad nausium, I’m afraid.
 
Instead of giving a bulleted blow-by-blow of every position I’ve ever held at every convention I’ve ever been to, I’ll just say that I have worked in every department of a convention, at every level, except registration (and I give those who can do registration all the props in the world. Sitting in one spot for any length of time is not in my psychological make-up). I’ve held Director level positions at both Kumoricon and Sakura-Con, and have been security staff and video room monitor (where I learned I cannot sit in one spot for any length of time at a con, and how I started working security). I was at the helm of Sakura-con when we made the leap from the hotels to the WSCTC, and was one of the driving forces behind that move. I was also a driving force behind both Sakura-con and Kumoricon moving to the automated playback machines in theatre rooms (see again about room monitor).
 
Finally, before moving onto my vision for Relations, and answering your questions, I want to answer one that is inevitably asked: why am I running for this position. The answer is simple: I feel I am the best person for this job. Not that I will do a good job, or that I’d do a better job than my opponent, but that I will be the best. This should be the reason everyone running should have.

 
With Kumoricon expanding to a four-day format, we have an excellent opportunity to look at how we’ve run the event in the past, and where we can expand, improve, and replace (if needed) the way that the institutions within Kumoricon work. For the Relations department specifically, and its sub-departments, this will start with Guests, Sponsorships, and Exhibits.
 
With Guests, I want to look beyond the simple “How many”, and “Who”, and strip things down to basics. I want to look at not just who we look at bringing, but how we find them, why we bring them, and what they bring in return. The first major idea that hit me, upon learning that Kumoricon was expanding to four days was “how can we use Guests to entice people to pay for the extra day?”
 
What I want to look at is having two tiers of Guests of Honor (GoH, from here on):
One to three “Headliner” GoH, who will be at con all weekend long, and will have events and panels planned for them across all four days. Further, there would be several “Fri-Sat” and “Sun-Mon” GoH, who, while they may be at the convention more than those days, will have their schedules tailored to those specific days. Hopefully, this, alongside expanded programming, will give our attendees a reason to spend the extra time and money to come for the full weekend.
 
With Sponsorship, we start with the name: Sponsorships. This department will replace the Industry relations department, and will expand its scope to look at alternate and currently untapped avenues for finding anything from swag to guests, to helping Publicity get the word out. I think this is the area that will lend itself to the most creative improvements, and is one I’m really excited for seeing who wants to jump on board.
 
For Exhibits, I really want to see about maximizing our space, as well as giving both our vendors and our attendees the best possible experience. I’m already researching on finding better lighting alternatives, and to see about how to get cooler air all the way to the back of the hall. There are some other ideas that I’m looking into about the disposition of the department itself, but they will need to be talked over with the other directors first.
 
At the heart, I want to see innovation, expansion, and improvement in all areas. I want to see an expansion of the relations staff, and an improvement in how they go about their jobs, and the results of their work. I will consider this year a success if, beyond having an amazing stable of fresh and interesting GoH, and a top-notch Exhibits hall and Artist Alley, a swag bag fill to burst, and incredible prize support, and a record-setting Charity Auction, I also have several people who have worked with me, and learned what it means to run this department, be nominated and willing to run against me, not due to animosity, but to make sure that I continue to stay to the path of innovation and improvement, and because they also are the best person for the job.  Each Executive needs to earn their place every year.

Now, to your questions.
 
With the con extending to have Friday being the new Day 1 and Labor Day now being a Day 4, what do you hope to do for the Charity Auction on Friday?


 First, and foremost, I want to hear your ideas, as well as any ideas other staffers have for improving and expanding the Charity Auction. I’m not arrogant enough to say that I have all the answers, and that all the ideas need to be top-down. Others have been more intimately involved with this over the years than I have, and they will know better what needs to be done. So, if you have an idea, get the thought together, and show me how it will make things better, and give me “Yes, If” options for making it feasible.
 
How much help will you be asking for your staffers who, in previous years, have had nothing to contribute to their teams until con time?
 
Simply put: as much as they are willing to give. Once again, this is where your ideas come into play, as far as specifics go. I’m planning to have regular department-wide meetings outside of the traditional break-outs, if only so it will give me an excuse to ride my motorcycle down to the Portland area (which is beautiful during the spring and summer. We’ll see how exciting it is during the winter months), and more pragmatically, to help build the cohesion of my team.
 
 
What changes (if any) would you like to see within the Relations department?
 
I hope what I wrote as my vision for the department answers this question. If there is something specific that you would like to know, or that you would like to propose, I want to hear it.
 
Similarly, what changes (if any) would you like to see with regard to how Relations interacts with the other departments?

Interact more, sooner, and with better results.
 
I use the analogy of a convention being a restaurant: The Chair and other officers are the Host and the support staff. The entire board is the collective head chef. Ops set the table. Publicity gets the word out. Programming prepares what the attendees are served. Relations, goes out and finds the ingredients. The sooner I can hand off ingredients to Programming, the sooner they can get the menu ready, and the sooner Publicity can get the word out. Based on what I’ve observed, I need to give Programming and Publicity more time than a “Mystery Box Challenge” to accomplish this.
 
In the above two areas, what do you think has been going particularly well and needs to be maintained or reinforced?
 
We are not a perfect event, and never will be (the day we are, I will die happy). Everything we do, even things established two, three, or five Directors ago, needs to be looked at, and seen where it can be improved. Even if something has been going particularly well, we will still look at it, so everything is on the table.
 
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 06:24:06 pm by Cpl. Slicks »

Offline kalira

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 10:57:23 am »
Looking over the list of guests that the convention has had over the last few years you can see a ton of repeat guests that keep returning.  In most cases at least 3 guests each year are repeats and in some years there are as many as 6.  What are the candidates plans to keep everything fresh so when coming to Kumoricon 2014 and beyond we have some new fresh guests.  (note, this list was pulled off the internet but looking over and as memory serves this is pretty accurate, though there may be some missing guest info in some years)


September 2–4, 2006
A-Key-Kyo, Bakazoku, Greg Dean, Liz Dean, Tiffany Grant, Piano Squall, and Kirk Thornton.
 
September 1–3, 2007
A-Key-Kyo, Mohammad "Hawk" Haque, Ananth Panagariya, Sean Schemmel, The Slants, and Kirk Thornton.
 
August 30 – September 1, 2008
Greg Dean, Liz Dean, Richard Epcar, Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Carl Gustav Horn, The Slants, Ellyn Stern, Kirk Thornton, and Tommy Yune.
 
September 5–7, 2009
Svetlana Chmakova, Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Carl Gustav Horn, Last Stop Tokyo, Cynthia Martinez, Soul Candy, Jason Thompson, Kirk Thornton, Toshifumi Yoshida,[14] and The Anime Hunters.
 
September 4–6, 2010
Tiffany Grant, Todd Haberkorn, Carl Gustav Horn, Kevin McKeever, Soul Candy, and Sonny Strait.
 
September 3–5, 2011
The Anime Hunters, Chris Cason, Todd Haberkorn, Slightly Anime, and David Vincent.
 
September 1–3, 2012
The Slants, Sonny Strait, Lauren Landa, Carl Horn, Sarah Sullivan
 
August 31–September 2, 2013
Anina Bennett, Terry Blas, Ron Chan, Paul Guinan, Todd Haberkorn, Cassandra Lee Morris, Ninja of the Night, Chris Sabat, Jason Thompson, and David Vincent.

Offline kalira

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 10:58:24 am »
I had that last post all highlighted and the formatting did not take :(

Offline GenkiIchigo

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 11:35:31 am »
In years past, I have noticed that questions that have been asked in this, particular elections thread, have been largely overlooked and left unanswered by some candidates. With that in mind, how important does each candidate feel that answering questions and dealing with Relations issues that arise on the forums, and in other places online, is? If you don't feel that it is important to answer questions regarding elections before the day of the meeting, or if you do not feel that you should be answering questions related to Relations, here, would you please explain why? Not everyone can make it to the meeting, after all, and this may be the only way for some to ask their questions, beforehand.

Personally, I feel that communication skills, and the willingness to communicate things in a timely manner, be it in person, over the phone, online, etc., is very important when considering candidates for a position such as this.


Thank you!

(Edited, because formatting on the forum is really wacky before you actually post something.)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 11:37:52 am by GenkiIchigo »

Offline Cpl. Slicks

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 07:56:02 pm »
 Looking over the list of guests that the convention has had over the last few years you can see a ton of repeat guests that keep returning.  In most cases at least 3 guests each year are repeats and in some years there are as many as 6.  What are the candidates plans to keep everything fresh so when coming to Kumoricon 2014 and beyond we have some new fresh guests.
 
There are several reasons guests are asked to return. Some, such as Carl Horn and the Slants, live locally, and as such, they are inexpensive for the con, while yielding high dividends in the way of content and sponsorship. Others, like Kirk Thorton, have roots in Oregon, and are incredibly popular with the attendees of Kumoricon specifically, where he might not be as big a draw at other conventions. And others (Todd Haberkorn,) attendees literally cannot get enough of. Lastly, some may be personal friends of the director or other staffers, and are called on to attend when panic mode sets in.
 
To get more to the point of what I plan on doing:  the big thing is I will not be the sole decider on what guests we bring. This will be a team effort, and I plan to draw on the ideas of the executives, the general staff, and the attendees. I have my favorites, I know who they are, and I know that I am not the only person who goes to this convention. Based on this data, Relations as a department will come up with a primary list, based on who is available, and frankly, “gettable”.  We will also have a list of back-up guests. Currently, barring any announcements from the sitting director, I would expect maybe three guests to be repeats, out of the 7-9 I have targeted. (This doesn’t include some of the local guests, who have a standing “welcome back”, or companies that have been listed as GoH in previous years.)
 
Furthermore, I’m not limiting us to the traditional “Voice actor/web comic/ artist” categories. If there is a guest that might be relevant, and is available and popular, I’m not afraid to take a risk outside of strictly anime/manga. Growth and improvement won’t come from looking at the same things in the same ways.
 
 
 
In years past, I have noticed that questions that have been asked in this, particular elections thread, have been largely overlooked and left unanswered by some candidates. With that in mind, how important does each candidate feel that answering questions and dealing with Relations issues that arise on the forums, and in other places online, is? If you don't feel that it is important to answer questions regarding elections before the day of the meeting, or if you do not feel that you should be answering questions related to Relations, here, would you please explain why?
 
I think that anyone who doesn’t feel it important to answer these questions simply won’t. I know I was guilty of this in the past (I got better). For myself, now, I am not as well known to the newer staff, and this is just one more avenue for the staff to get to know me, and hear my message of innovation and improvement. It also gives me the ability to focus and reinforce, in my own mind, exactly what I want to say, and where I want to see the department, and the convention, go. For some, this is their only means of communication with staff and other attendees until con. To write them off lessens the con as a whole.
 
If I could sit down with each staffer, and all 6000+ attendees, to find out what they want to see out of the department, I might be tempted to do so. I think that may prove enlightening to me, and to those I talk to. This isn’t logistically possible (yet), so every avenue to communicate helps. For instance, I have been closely following the guest request thread, and noticed some, on the surface, fairly outrageous requests. I could have dismissed them out of hand, but it did get me thinking “we could invite some of these, if they were relevant”, which led me to “how can I make these people relevant?” and “If they aren’t, who is similar that is?” hopefully, this rabbit-trailing will lead us to some new and unique guests that will give a distinctly Kumoricon flair, thereby improving on the previous person’s concern.
 
So, yeah, back to the point, it’s very important to me to pay attention to these boards, as well as any other avenues of communication.
 

Offline TalaRedWolf33

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2014 Director of Relations
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 08:17:09 pm »
I'm wondering, since I believe that Relations works with the artists alley and vendors, what will you do to better it compared to this year?
I don't mean placement, I mean content. There was a severe lack of things in AA this year, like plushies and toys and the like, but an over abundance of artwork that has, in all honesty, gotten old. Not that the artists have gotten bad or anything at all like that, its just the same stuff over and over. One artist that I love to buy buttons from, had all of the exact same things as last year and the year before, so there was nothing new to buy.
(I'm sorry, i know i got off topic).
Anyways, what will you do to better the alley and the vendors?