Author Topic: Mira's musings and holier than thou pronouncements ;)  (Read 2346 times)

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Offline mira

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Mira's musings and holier than thou pronouncements ;)
« on: September 15, 2004, 03:06:02 pm »
I enjoyed Kumoricon.  I could wax on about all the ways that I enjoyed it but that would take a long time.  I'm pretty long winded to start with. ;) So I'll go with what I think should be changed.

The only suggestions I'd make are as follows: Sailor Moon PJ party again (but longer) it was fun!  More to do. I am sure there could have been more panels to flesh things out.  Maybe I should host one or two next year? ;) On the second day of the con things definitely lulled mid afternoon.  Too bad the Cosplay organizers didn't use that time to sort out their plans.  

Oh, and that brings me to my one big gripe.  The cosplay rehearsal that turned into a three hour sitting marathon for most participants?  That was rediculous.  Perhaps if the organizer had been at the cosplay related events on time and then stuck around things would have ran more smoothly? I don't know.  I don't want to be harsh.  I have no idea what she was up to but a lot of cooling of heels was done with the explaination "we don't know where she is". If she was doing something important she could have at least let those working with her in on the news. And if they already knew where she was and such they shouldn't make her the fall guy for the snafus.

 Everyone involved in the Cosplay event was nice as nice could be but the utter lack of organization should be addressed.  Nice only gets you so far when you haven't eaten since lunch and you are stuck in a tight itchy costume for many hours.  Not fun at all guys.

All in all the cosplay event had some flaws that should have been easy to anticipate. (make participation in the prep meeting mandatory? Collect music in the prep meeting? Plan how the event will run and post the specifics BEFORE the con?) I hope there is more planning in the future.  Not everyone enjoyed the "last minute" feel of the event.  Not being able to announce winners as promised made it all seem pointless and anticlimax.  "We waited around for this?"

The hotel could have been better.  I felt like they were trying to gouge us for every cent we had.  The food was expensive, the rooms weren't that inexpensive and there weren't a lot of food options nearby.  Upon check out the clerk says "Why didn't you get the weekend special?" It seems I could have had the breakfast buffet and parking included for a far smaller sum then I ended up paying once you added it all up.  I could have saved about $150 bux to be exact.

 Next year if we are at the same location could you guys work out a price reduction on THAT package?  Showing up to find I had to pay 21 bucks to park each day and 10 bucks for a lousy bowl of cereal really blew.  Of course, it didn't blow as much as having the damn clerk smirk at me as if to say "We screwed you good and hard didn't we?"  Not a nice place to stay despite the glossy finish to the marble floors.  Not to mention the fact that the security acted like they'd like to eat us and shat us out far far away from their precious hotel.

Ok, that's about all I have to say.  For the most part the convention was a pleasure and well worth my drive up from Seattle.  As you guys grow hopefully you can get a handle on managing the larger events more "proactively" beyond security and crowd control (which I thought was AMAZINGLY GOOD btw).

Thanks for reading my 2 cents.
Mira

Offline ndarkeral

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Re: Mira's musings and holier than thou pronouncements ;)
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2004, 03:38:50 pm »
Quote from: "mira"


 I hope there is more planning in the future.  Not everyone enjoyed the "last minute" feel of the event.


Were you at Sakura this year? More specifically, in the COSPLAY there this year?

Offline SailorNaboo

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Re: Mira's musings and holier than thou pronouncements ;)
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2004, 04:22:19 pm »
Quote from: "mira"
I enjoyed Kumoricon.  I could wax on about all the ways that I enjoyed it but that would take a long time.  I'm pretty long winded to start with. ;) So I'll go with what I think should be changed.

Oh, and that brings me to my one big gripe.  The cosplay rehearsal that turned into a three hour sitting marathon for most participants?  That was rediculous.  Perhaps if the organizer had been at the cosplay related events on time and then stuck around things would have ran more smoothly?  

All in all the cosplay event had some flaws that should have been easy to anticipate. (make participation in the prep meeting mandatory? Collect music in the prep meeting? Plan how the event will run and post the specifics BEFORE the con?) I hope there is more planning in the future.  Not everyone enjoyed the "last minute" feel of the event.  


Several things happened and I do get the blame for many of them.  I should have anticipated elevator issues when coming downstairs from the 14th floor and I stopped at the infodesk to pick up last minute forms which I found in many different places other than the cosplay clipboard.  The infodesk was understaffed and I can't really blame them for some of the forms being someplace else.  I had instructions written up for them, but even the instructuions were often misplaced at times.  I don't hold anything againt the infodesk people.  That was the hardest job at the con (except perhaps the person that had to tell people that we were full!)

The next item was that I made a big error and judgement.  When I went through all of the forms turned in at the cosplay Premeeting,  there were only 5 skits registered to be in the contest.  At that time, you are absolutely correct.  That should have been all that acts. I just didn't want to set the precedent of having mostly walk ons and hardly any skits and I bend over backwards far too much to get more skits to enter. I really should have only extended the deadline by an hour or two and had a new premeeting at that time.  (Hindsight)

There was a scheduling issue.  We were supposed to have access to the stage for our walkthrough at 4:00 and didn't end up allowed on until after 5.  When I asked, I kept being told that access to the stage would be "soon," so I didn't make other plans.  If I had any idea that "soon" wasn't really the case, I would have put together some chairs to outline the area that the stage takes up and started rehersal off stage.  That way, the people from the Portland Costumer's guild could have started their judging in advance as scheduled.   Had I not made that decision, as people arrived, they would have recieved their cosplay badge with their act number on it as they walked in the door.  

Some of the how to can't be done in advance even if you try.  Sometimes one doesn't know exactly what stage setup you will get until it's done.  Sometimes it's one set of stairs, sometimes two.  Sometimes there are wing curtains, sometimes not.

As for the music, I've heard too many horror stories of music getting misplaced, scratched or broken.  Had we had access to the stage, the music would have been handed over as the act did their walkthrough to limit the amount of time the music was out of the owner's hands.

Once we were able to get stage access, I should have taken over from Andi (from the Portland Costumer's Guild) and continued the rehersal, freeing them to begin judging, but I took advantage of the time to work out some issues with the half time show which ended up with me having to run up to my room...and that ended up taking longer than expected.   One of the issues that no one knew about until after the Cosplay that happened at about this time,  I ended up slicing my finger deeply open with a cutting wheel and soaked 3 balls of cotton before I could slow the bleeding down.  I didn't have bandaids in the room, so I put one last cottonball on it and wrapped it as tight as possible with transparent duct tape.  Luckily, I wrapped it so tightly that it held together so it didn't need stitches.  I didn't take the time to get it looked at until after midnight.   At that time, only some of the halftime act people knew where I went, and they certainly weren't expecting me to take so long.

(Having had to stand outside in the rain for hours more than 2 hours waiting to be in cosplay at Sakura in 2001, and then having to stand single file against the wall in silence at Sakura for 3+ hours the next two years, I do have the opinion of at least you got to talk and sit and move around, but please don't think I'm diminishing your complaints.)

From the cosplay point of view, you are correct.  The forms will be on the website at least 4 months before the convention and preregistration will be highly encouraged.  If there still are open slots at the con, there will not be any more entries after the pre-meeting no matter what the percentage of walkons to skits there are.  If the stage is not available at the scheduled rehersal time, rehersal will start anyway in a similarly sized space and judging will begin at that time.  One of the changes made  last year that should have helped the timing was having some of the construction judges watch the presentation to see how the costume looked and moved on stage and have the others do the up close costume judging right after the act left the stage, but the costume judges wanted to all see both parts.  It's a change I felt strongly about implemementing,  but I have too much respect for the Portland Costumer's Guild to question their decision on that.

(Oh, and I won't slice my finger open again like that no matter what position I hold at the con next year!)
Sakura Cosplay  2005, Kumori 2004, 2003
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Offline mira

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Re: Mira's musings and holier than thou pronouncements ;)
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2004, 06:24:58 pm »
Quote from: "SailorNaboo"

Several things happened and I do get the blame for many of them.  
(Oh, and I won't slice my finger open again like that no matter what position I hold at the con next year!)



 Well of course you couldn't possibly plan that.  I'm sorry about your finger.  I apologize for being too critical.  I went out to dinner tonite and actually thought about what I said and thought "oops".  So even without knowing about your finger I realized I'd been too casual in my gripe. It's very easy to judge these things whilst sitting on your butt in a chair.  Thus the "holier than thou pronouncements."  A lot can go on behind the scenes.  Some you can fix and anticipate others you can't.  The finger is definitely one you couldn't.  

All I really had to go on was what I experienced and what people were saying.  The rumor mill was that the organizer was gone for a long time during both the pre-meet and the rehearsal and that was the reason for the hold up.  *shrug* Maybe it would have been easier to be understanding had I known the circumstances.  But with that said, I should have been more understanding in the first place and not so flippantly and carelessly pointed the finger at you.

It sounds like you see a lot of things that you would do differently next year.  I think having info in advance would be very helpful.  And I would suggest maybe more communication to the participants about why things aren't moving along as scheduled (?).  In the end that's all I really wanted to do - be helpful.  But the urge to vent over the stress of the whole thing got the better of me.   Please forgive my rudeness I honestly didn't mean anything personal. Though, I'm a big girl and I shouldn't have been so careless.  Gomen. :oops:

mira

Offline SailorNaboo

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Mira's musings and holier than thou pronouncements ;)
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2004, 07:56:12 pm »
In my opinion, you have no reason to to feel bad at all.  You said what you were thinking and what you heard and what you felt.

Kumoricon staff already has a reputation of being approachable and I am proud of that.  You are completely correct about more communication about what was actually happening making things even for the contestants.  I did make some bad decisions to get more people into the contest and I should have made an announcement right then and there why things were taking longer.

You know why I also don't blame you at all for your post?  In "real life" sometimes you have to vent and yell and scream before someone even notices you exist, let alone pays attention to you and admits responsibility and then even starts up with the plans to fix it for next year (and you WILL see follow though on that no matter who is in the position).  Every Kumoricon staff member that I have gotten to know well is attendee oriented.  It's rare to find a place where one doesn't have to open up the window and yell, "I'm as mad as H%$l and I'm not going to take it any more!" to be noticed.  (Quote from the movie Network which kind of lets on that I'm older than I look). We actually do care about making an event people want to attend year after year.  We want to make the con we'd love to go to if we weren't so busy running it!

Honestly, if the costume judging hadn't taken as long as it did, between the start of the contest, until the Presentation awards, I think we had one of the better cosplay contests anywhere.

(Note:
Most people who had their costumes judged said that after their costume was looked at, they felt it was worth the wait --or almost worth the wait :) because the judges took the time to really look at all the costumes and give them tips.  They didn't see a costume that they knew had no chance for an award and just wave them away.  Next year the judging in advance will make it go faster because the judges feel the deadline of the contest starting soon-- and save most of the tips for a post cosplay meeting where they can answer questions for the costumers.)

We had great contestants, Link's music is the only technical glitch I can think of, none of the skits went overtime (I did pause my timer for audience reactions of over 5 seconds), and so far I haven't seen anyone even question the winner selection (other than Link, but once we let people know Link was in a higher Class and not competing against most of the other costumers, people seemed feel better).  Most cons have an intermission while the judges are deciding.  They'll do announcements or maybe show some AMVs, but last year I decided to try something different with Baka Zoku and FILK AERITH and it worked so well, other cons started putting more into their Cosplay Intermissions as well.  

This year we took it to the next level with FILK AERITH opening the halftime show, Baka Zoku is always fun (and I'm not just saying that because I was in the skit this year), and then FILK AERITH's encore with a Cloud ending up dancing with her was also great.  This year I made the decision to add Anime Improv (something that hasn't been done during a cosplay intermission before) and from the audience response, it was a huge hit.  (another last minute thing, I thought Joe from Baka Zoku was hosting and he thought My Husband and I were, so I hosted the improv with a grand total of 30 seconds of prep and I've only acted in improv two times with the 404s, I've never hosted it!)

Between the two panel judge system, the use of International Costumers Standard level designations, and the entertainment during intermission, there are cosplayers from all over the country looking at how our cosplay went (many are planning on buying the Obsessed with Anime DVD as soon as it comes out).

Now the goal for next year, to make the time before the show as painless as possible!
Sakura Cosplay  2005, Kumori 2004, 2003
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Offline mira

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Mira's musings and holier than thou pronouncements ;)
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2004, 08:50:44 am »
Sailor Naboo,

Thank you for being so gracious.  I stand by my apology for being critical.  I personally take a much more live and let live approach for the most part.  I think my frustration was a little different than the average attendee and prompted a less tolerant atitude than I generally possess.

My perspective is that I am a mom that was feeling protective of my daughter and her friend's discomfort.  They skipped breakfast to rush to the cosplay pre-meet and it ran over long. Then they decided to just grab a quick snack so they could get to an event they wanted to attend.  Then they didn't want lunch and went to the rehearsal without eating figuring they could catch a quick dinner before the event.  We've never done cosplay before and believed the schedule.  From what I'm hearing that was a big mistake on our part (I've since heard the some Sakura con horror stories).  

Then there was a snafu with the music not matching their entry number and I took on their worry and asked if I could help out up front.  At that point adding a new helper to the mix would have confused things more so I just waited and made sure the music was sorted out.  Later my daughter (she won for "Best Leg Wraps" pretty fun-thanks guys I just have the mad first aid skilz) came to me in a panic because she needed to put her wraps on. They were uncomfortable and we thought she'd go through rehearsal without them and put them on during the break that didn't come. We went off to do it (she said she was told it was OK by one of the staff) and when we came back they almost wouldn't let her back into her seat to participate.  I had to insist.  Both the girls were upset that they didn't get to do their make up as they had planned (of course, I know that they are young and fresh and don't NEED all that stuff but in their minds it was a BIG deal).

The mommy in me was put out that they were left hungry, nervous and confused by the entire thing.  My daughter's friend especially had a huge case of nerves.  We have been encouraging her since well before last years Sakura con to dress up and she did but was feeling shy.  I was surprised and delighted that she wanted to be a walk on in the Cosplay show. Before rehearsal I thought she was going to make herself sick (not eating was definitely related to this).  She hid it beautifully and did well in the walk on.  

My daughter is usually very outgoing and comfortable on stage.  She's the Ino that basically melted on stage during the improve.  I know that spending her afternoon/early evening on pins and needles (this was her first cosplay too) was probably a factor. Ouch, I felt so bad for her. She was in tears after this.  She does drama camp every summer and has done Improv dozens of times before.  But we all choke sometime or another I guess.  The crowd was wonderful and gave her lots of hugs the rest of the night.  Really a nice group of people.


We've never done a cosplay before and thus have nothing to compare things to.  Couple this with my "momma bear" instincts and you come out with some less than understanding comments about the cosplay competition.  They are 12 and 13 respectively so I just couldn't help but feel protective and upset.  And the irony isn't lost on me that my daughter won a prize and I still came away with some gripes.  So again, please forgive my less than thoughtful first remarks.  Thank you for understanding and being so gracious.  

Next year I know we will be there and in the cosplay competition.  I would love to be a helper and ASSIST instead of playing armchair quarterback.  I'm not picky I could do just about anything.   I left my contact info with the Kumori-con info desk (I'm the one with the buggymira address). Too often people gripe and don't want to help.  I am not one of those.  I hope you will accept my offer.   :)

mira