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Gripes Got something you want fixed...

#91 User is offline   flyingcabbit 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:19 AM

For the most part, things went rather smoothly, but I just need to add my two cents.

1. Tickets. I'm highly disappointed and frankly a bit ticked that people couldn't pick up tickets for the concerts/masquerade on thursday night. I got my tickets thursday night last year, and it was fantastic. However this year I was told that I had to be in the exhibit hall on friday at 10 to get them, only to have another two hour wait just to get tickets for the M.O.V.E concert. Smaller blocks of tickets at multiple times and correct times would be nice again next year.

2. Professional signage. This convention is over 10 years old, there is no excuse to just have pieces of paper with just hand written on them anymore. Signage should be in the budget and done much better. Especially at the registration lines. You're just making more work for yourselves when you don't have this.

3. The masquerade green room. While the masquerade was great and participating in it was great. It was extremely hard to hear the people on the stage because half of the green room was next to the back speakers which had way to much bass. So can we get someone to recall the numbers for us when we are back there? While this could mostly just be me, being partially deaf.

This post has been edited by flyingcabbit: 12 May 2009 - 10:19 AM

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#92 User is offline   Sakamura 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:42 AM

View Postjenchan, on May 12 2009, 03:47 PM, said:

now may threads do we need for this? Anyway:

CHARGING FOR BATTLETECH was just wrong.
I already paid for the convention, why should I have to pay for this? Needless to say I didn't participate in this.


Are you also suggesting that you shouldn't have to pay for Arcade games too?
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 11:14 AM

View PostAA8, on May 12 2009, 11:09 AM, said:

I went to the guest services desk down the hall from the main ball room and to the IRT staff station between 10-11pm on Saturday night and both had the same answers for me. I even asked if there was anyone else I could talk to about it and was still told that there was nothing anyone could do. :(

So perhaps I just needed to go to a different area or the information just needed to be better communicated?



Yea, that's not good. I will definately bring this up. We should have been able to help you. I am sooooo sorry for that. They should have directed you to us to help you. I fell bad now D:

#94 User is offline   pointlessone 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 11:15 AM

View PostSakamura, on May 12 2009, 12:42 PM, said:

Are you also suggesting that you shouldn't have to pay for Arcade games too?

While we're at it, how about those pesky vendors!? I paid for my badge, everything should be FREEE!!!

So, now that everyone's sarcasm detectors are broken, Battletech was just another arcade game that needed a lot more staffing and room than the games room could provide. Personal staffing for a game company costs money, and they weren't exactly making a ton of money off it.

Let me lay some maths on you.
Six pods operating 7 minute games for five bucks a pop. Assuming perfect conditions of 0 downtime between rounds, that's a total of $30 a round, with 8.5 rounds an hour. $257 an hour at best. That is the absolute peak amount of money they could make per hour. I was in the Battletech room a lot over the convention, and I can tell you there was at least 3-5 minutes gaps between games. That'll take the number of perfectly timed rounds down to 6 an hour, assuming even the fast 3 minutes of downtime to set the new names and check the pods for left items. That'll bring the total income an hour down to $180 an hour. Now, assume most people went for the multiple tickets at once deal. Every four rounds, there was a free round. That removes at least another $30 from the maximum income possible an hour, averaging out to $45 lost every two hours. Now we're down to $157.50 an hour. Now let's pay for staff out of that. I saw at least 8 staff members in that room, working throughout the entire convention. Assuming even 6 active staff at any given time through the entire convention (they stayed open all night, every night) at a decent pay rate of $12 an hour, that's another $72 gone an hour, leaving a scant $85.50 an hour in profits in near perfect settings. I'm pretty sure the Marvel vs Capcom 2 machine was pulling in more than that an hour and wasn't subject to people complaining about it costing too much.

#95 User is offline   AA8 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 11:26 AM

View PostSongstressLenne, on May 12 2009, 12:14 PM, said:

Yea, that's not good. I will definately bring this up. We should have been able to help you. I am sooooo sorry for that. They should have directed you to us to help you. I fell bad now D:


Hey no huge problem for me as luckily my badge turned up within 1.5 hours. (Though in between I wasn't overly happy) I just definitely wanted to make sure people were thinking about it for the future cons!

This post has been edited by AA8: 12 May 2009 - 11:30 AM


#96 User is offline   Cryptoknight 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:28 PM

View Postpointlessone, on May 12 2009, 12:15 PM, said:

While we're at it, how about those pesky vendors!? I paid for my badge, everything should be FREEE!!!


I had run some numbers myself and was trying to figure out how to pay them to just rent a pod out for the con.

I've never gotten to play Battletech for free, and didn't expect to do so at Acen.

Sadly for me, I was so busy keeping TTG running I never got to play.

If you want to play free Battletech, we had the board game running in the exhibit hall TTG area.
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:34 PM

View PostAA8, on May 12 2009, 12:26 PM, said:

Hey no huge problem for me as luckily my badge turned up within 1.5 hours. (Though in between I wasn't overly happy) I just definitely wanted to make sure people were thinking about it for the future cons!



I have it on my notepad for things to bring up, I will make sure it is very clear for the next ACen! =3 Again sorry for your hour and a half of panic D:


#98 User is offline   Lenne 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 12:37 PM

View PostCryptoknight, on May 12 2009, 01:28 PM, said:

I had run some numbers myself and was trying to figure out how to pay them to just rent a pod out for the con.

I've never gotten to play Battletech for free, and didn't expect to do so at Acen.

Sadly for me, I was so busy keeping TTG running I never got to play.

If you want to play free Battletech, we had the board game running in the exhibit hall TTG area.


Possibly a good thing because I had a feeling that if you went to play Battletech I'd've been wandering down there to pry you out of the pods so you'd stop playing :P
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#99 User is offline   reptoJane 

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Post icon  Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:06 PM

This was our first time attending ACen, but my husband and I have gone to dozens of Comic and Gaming conventions over the years and have (perhaps) some fresh insights...

1. Registration was fine from what I could see. We were there Friday afternoon (around 4 pm) and again throughout the convention. Lines never seemed overwhelming or chaotic. BUT, I do have a quibble about bag pickup. We preregistered and had our badges mailed to us, so there was only the need to get information. When I went to pick up the program bags, it was NOT made clear to me by the workers that we needed to pick up the bag, the large program AND the small program guide. At Gen Con, for example, when you get your bag, it's got everything inside of it. We ended up having to make THREE trips to the registration hall (once for the bags, once to get the program guide, and yet again to get the small pocket program guide). Yeesh! You would have thought that the two men standing there would have had the foresight to TELL people, "make sure you get all your stuff" or "be sure to pick up all three things." Better yet, while they were standing around chatting, they could have been stuffing bags!

2. The small Pocket program guide is a wonderful thing for getting information about panels, viewing rooms, etc.
Suggestions:
There should have been maps printed in the small program guide as well as the large Program book.
It would be great to have a time organizer as well as the topic organizer (e.g. Sat. at 10 am you can go to "x", "y" "z", etc vs just having a page for ACen Kids, a page for CosPlay meetups, etc)
Sort Exhibitors into categories as well as alphabetically (Cosplay, DVDs, games, plushies, clothing, etc). This would be a big help when you are looking for something specific. Frequently an exhibitor told us "I don't have it, but why don't you go to the booth of this person" and then we'd wander for long periods of time trying to find it.

3. As a newb to Anime conventions, there was a lot of stuff that I would have appreciated more information on:

-Masquerade... read about it online in the forums, but had NO clue what was involved if we merely wanted to watch, not compete. Also, it's downright cruel to expect 5 small children to wait in an endless line without the possibility of "saving a place". I get that you don't want people cutting or cheating, but surely you could provide some exceptions. I was willing to hold everyone's passes to prove that I was getting tickets for them (which would have precluded them getting into the hall or viewing rooms, but would have allowed them to go out to eat or to play outside). I don't see why you can't create limits or controls; e.g. why not have tickets available online? or allow clubs to attain blocks of tickets? Alternatively, you could limit each badge holder to 2 or 4 tickets to the masquerade.
-What is the hallway cosplay competition? I see in the program guide that there is an office for it, but no info on what it is, how it happens, where it happens, etc.
-What is appropriate for children to do/see? Was the masquerade okay for them? The Game Panel room programs? The Concerts?
-What the heck are AMVs?
-HANG BANNERS WITH ROW NUMBERS IN THE DEALERS HALL AND ARTISTS ALLEY. It was impossible to find exhibitors or friends in that cavernous disaster! Should be something you can see from across the hall with no trouble. The ridiculous numbering system on the pillars was not a help.

4. CONFUSION on the part of staff was a big issue with our group (we had 7 adults and 10 kids). We got all sorts of conflicting information from the Information booth staff (told to the adults). We were told different times and places for everything from where to get tickets, to when the closing ceremonies were (we missed them, thank you), to when the dealer's hall was closing. It was *VERY* frustrating and confusing. Several times, when I asked for more information to a question I was told something along the lines of "I'm sorry, this is my first time at ACen". @@ Perhaps it would be better to put at least people who have *experienced* the con behind the information desks...


5. Viewing rooms--
I know that many people watch their anime on YouTube and the like, but we are still discovering anime. We LIKE to go to the viewing rooms and find new shows, discover new categories, etc. We thought that we'd have lots of options for viewing when we went to ACen. The reality was--and wasn't--what we expected.

BIG QUIBBLE--
--you couldn't see the subtitles unless you were in the first two rows of seats. The viewing rooms were frequently crowded... so viewing was either like being a tennis match where you had to weave back and forth to try to see each line of text or you were forced to stand in the back of the room for the whole 2 hours. ARRRGGGHH! This could have been so easily solved! A couple of books under the projector would have lifted the image up a couple of feet above the heads of most--and this was easily doable since the images did not even come close to taking up the whole screen.
--what, ONLY 6 rooms???!!!!


Minor quibbles:
--when the sound was so soft that you could barely hear the music.
--when the screen froze and the DVD had to be advanced to the next episode. WAAAAH! (It happened 3x that we were present for)
--we would have liked repeats of categories; some shows we discovered after the series started, others we missed because we were at a panel, in another viewing room, etc.
--having only the center aisle to navigate... would have liked side aisles as well so that when you were had to enter or leave a room you were less likely to have to crawl across other viewers.


BIG positives--
Blocking of titles into similar groupings
The knowledge of the door proctors. They were invaluable in suggesting things that were appropriate or were similar to something we were viewing that we really enjoyed. They also told us where to find the DVDs to buy. Of the whole convention, this knowledge gleaning was probably the best thing after plain ol' people watching.
Having rooms themed (ie. Mecha, Shoujo, etc)

6. Children at ACen...
I was lead to believe that ACen was family friendly... uhhh... was it?
Problems:
no changing tables/family bathrooms in the hotel (yes, there were diapers being changed in the halls at times, but wth? There was no other place to do it!!!)
Subtitles for anime that was kid appropriate (thinking Mecha, shonen, stuff here). Even smart kids can have trouble keeping up with subtitles if they are under the age of 10.
No organization or clear leadership in the kid's room. When kids were present, it would have been nice to know who was in charge (no one was wearing IDs, for example). I know my girls would have loved doing some of the crafts, but no one ever asked them if they wanted to do them. It wasn't until the second day that we even realized that the people sitting at the table were not just parents watching their children but workers, lol!
video gaming; most kids have consoles at home. I didn't pay $$ for them to play golf on the Wii, yet of course, the big kids were attracted to it like magnets to iron.
mini day care--many cons have a place where you can leave the kids for an hour or so to allow you to wander the dealer's hall, for example.
longer hours would have been nice... at least until 8 pm.
kids under the age of 16 or so seemed like they either weren't welcome or were an afterthought. The demographics of the con seemed mostly in the young twenties... is that because of anime or cosplaying or something else entirely?

Strengths:
There *was* a kids room.
Pillow pit... GREAT idea for making the room comfy and kid friendly
rear view projector
great movie choices... there were times we couldn't drag the little ones out of here!
very sweet workers who were kind and thoughtful
yummy cookies
cool crafts

Final thoughts:
-The cosplay was fantastic. Leave lots of time to wander around looking at people's outfits.
-Gamers are generally more helpful and friendlier than cosplayers (sorry!)
-Rosemont is a horrid convention center and the hotel is a pain to walk to. What is with the d*mn habitrail on the roofs, btw? After wandering around through that 2x, we avoided it like the plague.
-The Hyatt Int'l is a bizarre hotel with a poor floor plan and questionable maintenance: why was the basement escalator broken for the entire con? why did the informal food court area have to take up the entire side of the hallway impeding traffic flow and forcing hordes through the elevator core? what was with all the police officers everywhere--is ACen that dangerous???
-The proctors at the viewing rooms are a great font of knowledge to be tapped.
-The artists alley was really impressive.
-Shop early to get the best selection... we missed out on things because they were sold out by Sunday.
-Avoid the elevators unless you have no other option.
-Water coolers in many places were a wonderful, thoughtful addition.
-Get more info up on the website, earlier!!! PLEASE!!! We would have been sooo happy to get info on the panels and anime viewing rooms earlier than the day we arrived!
Doh!

#100 User is offline   Valencia Crowe 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:10 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 03:06 PM, said:

This was our first time attending ACen, but my husband and I have gone to dozens of Comic and Gaming conventions over the years and have (perhaps) some fresh insights...

1. Registration was fine from what I could see. We were there Friday afternoon (around 4 pm) and again throughout the convention. Lines never seemed overwhelming or chaotic. BUT, I do have a quibble about bag pickup. We preregistered and had our badges mailed to us, so there was only the need to get information. When I went to pick up the program bags, it was NOT made clear to me by the workers that we needed to pick up the bag, the large program AND the small program guide. At Gen Con, for example, when you get your bag, it's got everything inside of it. We ended up having to make THREE trips to the registration hall (once for the bags, once to get the program guide, and yet again to get the small pocket program guide). Yeesh! You would have thought that the two men standing there would have had the foresight to TELL people, "make sure you get all your stuff" or "be sure to pick up all three things." Better yet, while they were standing around chatting, they could have been stuffing bags!

You didn't assume that you would need all 3? If you didn't need one or two of them, then they would not have been out there. Yes, it would have been nice for ALL of the stuff to be in there, but most people would assume that you needed all 3 since they were out there.

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 03:06 PM, said:

no changing tables/family bathrooms in the hotel (yes, there were diapers being changed in the halls at times, but wth? There was no other place to do it!!!)

That is not ACen's fault. Talk to the hotel and the convention center about that.

Edit: Added more.

This post has been edited by Valencia Crowe: 12 May 2009 - 02:14 PM

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#101 User is offline   reptoJane 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:28 PM

View PostValencia Crowe, on May 12 2009, 03:10 PM, said:

You didn't assume that you would need all 3? If you didn't need one or two of them, then they would not have been out there. Yes, it would have been nice for ALL of the stuff to be in there, but most people would assume that you needed all 3 since they were out there.


That is not ACen's fault. Talk to the hotel and the convention center about that.

Edit: Added more.



No. The first go through I thought the bags had everything. Some people don't like getting all the junk mail, hence the booklets on the table for those who like to edit their carbon footbprint. Also, you've never been to a con when they've had tables full of stuff at registration that were merely ads or swag? I figured the small books were for experienced ACen folks and the big books were for newbies, or were the "full" info. books. My goal was not to spend time in the registration hall. In hindsight I guess we could have stopped and spent 30 minutes looking at the handouts, but we wanted to get out to the fun stuff! Remember, I was at this thing with *10* kids between the ages of 1 and 12. If you were that age would you have wanted to sit in a sterile check-in hall or would you prefer to be out in all the action? ;-)

Re. the changing tables: We did complain to hotel management. But it would also be the appropriate for the Con management to ask for such a service for future conventions. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Finally: no Evaluation sheets at the end of the con? Most cons I've been to have a suggestion/evaluation sheet available at the end for people to fill out. There are many, many good ideas that come from participants...
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#102 User is offline   TheRabbi 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:33 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 03:28 PM, said:

No. The first go through I thought the bags had everything. Some people don't like getting all the junk mail, hence the booklets on the table for those who like to edit their carbon footbprint. Also, you've never been to a con when they've had tables full of stuff at registration that were merely ads or swag? I figured the small books were for experienced ACen folks and the big books were for newbies, or were the "full" info. books. My goal was not to spend time in the registration hall. In hindsight I guess we could have stopped and spent 30 minutes looking at the handouts, but we wanted to get out to the fun stuff! Remember, I was at this thing with *10* kids between the ages of 1 and 12. If you were that age would you have wanted to sit in a sterile check-in hall or would you prefer to be out in all the action? ;-)

Re. the changing tables: We did complain to hotel management. But it would also be the appropriate for the Con management to ask for such a service for future conventions. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Finally: no Evaluation sheets at the end of the con? Most cons I've been to have a suggestion/evaluation sheet available at the end for people to fill out. There are many, many good ideas that come from participants...


It's true. We should have these in the bags all ready to go - and probably will next year.

As for evaluation sheets, we have a feedback panel that's generally well-attended, but next year perhaps we'll put eval sheets in the bags and ask people to drop them off at Customer Service, for those who can't make the panel.

Thanks for all your good suggestions!

Regarding your thoughts on the hotel and the police: Perhaps it's just because I'm familiar with the layout, but I think the Hyatt actually has a fairly good layout for a convention-hosting hotel. At any rate, it and the Rosemont Convention Center are the biggest venues in the area for ACen besides going downtown, which has its own problems. (Namely: it's a giant jump in price, which would be passed along to you in our badge prices, and which we can't afford yet anyway; there are no hotels with good transportation to McCormick Place; and it's harder to get downtown and maneuver and such.) The police come every year to give us a hand and ensure that all the laws are being kept. With 16,000 people in one place, it's nice to have them there, even if only as a deterrent. They help us eject people off the property when we need to - though we don't need to all that often - and can be first responders in case of an emergency - all Rosemont police officers are also EMTs - as well as make arrests when it's called for (underage drinking, etc.). They come of their own accord, but we like having them there, and they don't mind being there, especially when it was as quiet as it was this past year. Just the fact that you question if ACen is that dangerous shows us that we are doing a good job of keeping up the "Nothing Bad Happens In Disneyland" mentality of moving problems off to the side and dealing with them quietly.
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#103 User is offline   Oreo_Otaku 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 02:38 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 03:06 PM, said:

This was our first time attending ACen, but my husband and I have gone to dozens of Comic and Gaming conventions over the years and have (perhaps) some fresh insights...

1. Registration was fine from what I could see. We were there Friday afternoon (around 4 pm) and again throughout the convention. Lines never seemed overwhelming or chaotic. BUT, I do have a quibble about bag pickup. We preregistered and had our badges mailed to us, so there was only the need to get information. When I went to pick up the program bags, it was NOT made clear to me by the workers that we needed to pick up the bag, the large program AND the small program guide. At Gen Con, for example, when you get your bag, it's got everything inside of it. We ended up having to make THREE trips to the registration hall (once for the bags, once to get the program guide, and yet again to get the small pocket program guide). Yeesh! You would have thought that the two men standing there would have had the foresight to TELL people, "make sure you get all your stuff" or "be sure to pick up all three things." Better yet, while they were standing around chatting, they could have been stuffing bags!

Sorry to hear that. In years past the bags were stuffed beforehand.
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#104 User is offline   Sakamura 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 03:07 PM

View PostTheRabbi, on May 12 2009, 09:33 PM, said:

IRegarding your thoughts on the hotel and the police: Perhaps it's just because I'm familiar with the layout, but I think the Hyatt actually has a fairly good layout for a convention-hosting hotel. At any rate, it and the Rosemont Convention Center are the biggest venues in the area for ACen besides going downtown, which has its own problems. (Namely: it's a giant jump in price, which would be passed along to you in our badge prices, and which we can't afford yet anyway; there are no hotels with good transportation to McCormick Place.


There are other venues downtown other than McCormick Place. You have Navy Pier(Same handlers as McCormick), several hotels in the loop, more hotels in the South Loop, UIC and surrounding venues in the west loop, and you also have CTA as your primary source of transportation.

"there are no hotels with good transportation to McCormick Place"

Good transportation or free transportation?
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#105 User is offline   Alkaren Hyralt 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 03:43 PM

View PostSakamura, on May 12 2009, 04:07 PM, said:

There are other venues downtown other than McCormick Place. You have Navy Pier(Same handlers as McCormick), several hotels in the loop, more hotels in the South Loop, UIC and surrounding venues in the west loop, and you also have CTA as your primary source of transportation.

"there are no hotels with good transportation to McCormick Place"

Good transportation or free transportation?



Yes there are other hotels. However, as of right now our current venue is the best one. Unless attendees would like to start paying something like 100$ for a weekend badge.
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#106 User is offline   Sakamura 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 03:52 PM

View PostAlkaren Hyralt, on May 12 2009, 09:43 PM, said:

Yes there are other hotels. However, as of right now our current venue is the best one. Unless attendees would like to start paying something like 100$ for a weekend badge.


<_< Some of them are willing to pay $20-$100 for an early access pass to all events.

You never know until you pitch the idea.
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#107 User is offline   reptoJane 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 03:57 PM

View PostAlkaren Hyralt, on May 12 2009, 04:43 PM, said:

Yes there are other hotels. However, as of right now our current venue is the best one. Unless attendees would like to start paying something like 100$ for a weekend badge.



Another possibility is the Tinley Park Convention Center... don't know if it's big enough, but they are hosting more and more events. I'm sure they don't have the horrid prices that you see downtown. FYI: another reason why downtown isn't so great... they charge mongo huge bucks to all the vendors for set-up and take-down and vendors are NOT allowed to do it themselves.

Please, I hope my earlier postings weren't meant as a take-down. We had a lot of fun at ACen. We just noticed some things that could be improved (some very easily) and wanted to share our thoughts as complete newbies to the con. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think you often get the perspective of someone who is very experienced in regard to conventions, yet completely new to animation conventions or ACen.

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#108 User is offline   ThatOneChick 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 03:59 PM

Hey guys, there seem to be a lot of questions about the Hallway Contest (Cosplay), so I shall address those.

First off, I'm Jessie, I run the event. You probably saw me in costume threatening everyone with a bokkan.

The Hallway Competition is pretty much like the Masquerade, but you don't have to go on stage or perform a skit. You show up to the room, fill out a sheet and talk to the judges. It's usually pretty fast and saves you a lot of time to do more things at the con.

If you entered the Masq in a costume you were NOT allowed to compete in the Hallway with the same costume. The girl that came on stage and competed in the Masq did not enter in that costume, she had entered in a separate one.

Next year the contest will be slightly different and have more structure. Awards will be separated by days and will have tiers such as Journeyman and Master. Also, I'd like to add a Childrens' category, American category and "closet cosplay" Category which will be mostly cased on how well you portray the character.



Any other questions or concerns regarding the Hallway may be directed at me. I will be posting the winners later today. Thank you.
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#109 User is offline   Sakamura 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:01 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 09:57 PM, said:

FYI: another reason why downtown isn't so great... they charge mongo huge bucks to all the vendors for set-up and take-down and vendors are NOT allowed to do it themselves.
Jane


Oh really, Hotels or the Convention Centers McCormick/Navy Pier?
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#110 User is offline   Valencia Crowe 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:03 PM

View PostThatOneChick, on May 12 2009, 04:59 PM, said:

Next year the contest will be slightly different and have more structure. Awards will be separated by days and will have tiers such as Journeyman and Master. Also, I'd like to add a Childrens' category, American category and "closet cosplay" Category which will be mostly cased on how well you portray the character.

I love this idea! I have plenty of "closet cosplays" that I would love to show off. :)
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#111 User is offline   Lenne 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:23 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 04:57 PM, said:

Another possibility is the Tinley Park Convention Center... don't know if it's big enough, but they are hosting more and more events. I'm sure they don't have the horrid prices that you see downtown. FYI: another reason why downtown isn't so great... they charge mongo huge bucks to all the vendors for set-up and take-down and vendors are NOT allowed to do it themselves.

Please, I hope my earlier postings weren't meant as a take-down. We had a lot of fun at ACen. We just noticed some things that could be improved (some very easily) and wanted to share our thoughts as complete newbies to the con. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think you often get the perspective of someone who is very experienced in regard to conventions, yet completely new to animation conventions or ACen.

Jane


The Tinley Park Convention Center is only about 40,000 square feet, from what I can tell poking about on google.

The two halls we used this year at the RCC were a combined 247,500 square feet.

As you can see, there's absolutely no way the TPCC would work. It's far too small.

The Hyatt and RCC are also located very conveniently for anyone who has to travel to get to ACen, so yeah.
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#112 User is offline   TheRabbi 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:53 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 04:57 PM, said:

Another possibility is the Tinley Park Convention Center... don't know if it's big enough, but they are hosting more and more events. I'm sure they don't have the horrid prices that you see downtown. FYI: another reason why downtown isn't so great... they charge mongo huge bucks to all the vendors for set-up and take-down and vendors are NOT allowed to do it themselves.

Please, I hope my earlier postings weren't meant as a take-down. We had a lot of fun at ACen. We just noticed some things that could be improved (some very easily) and wanted to share our thoughts as complete newbies to the con. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think you often get the perspective of someone who is very experienced in regard to conventions, yet completely new to animation conventions or ACen.

Jane

Hey, if you have experience setting up conventions and - especially - dealing with convention sites, come work for us! We could use another person on our Hotel and Convention Site Relations staff, as I believe the current head of that office is taking a few years off.

And don't be afraid to leave suggestions. If we didn't want 'em, we wouldn't have forums for 'em. We do the con for you, and just a little bit for us; what is at the con should be ultimately directed by you, and constrained only by what we can achieve/afford/acquire.
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:16 PM

Just some small suggestions as I'm sure a lot have already been covered:

1. Signage -I know a lot of people have suggested that they be professionally printed. I believe Kinkos, or even Office Max has a program of some sort where if you print out a certain number of signs then you get a discount on it. Also you could have printed out general signs that could easily be reused for several years and stored some place safe, like a U-Store it type of place. There are several in the Rosemont area so it wouldn't be a drive to get them.

2. Lines -Is there anyway that Lines for tickets can be made more distiquisable? Like having a roped off section that says, 'Line starts here'? It would do a world of good for those who, like my father, have trouble with directions and don't quite get where a line starts and ends.

3. Tickets -Some small suggestions on how to handle the tickets a bit better. First off, for those of us that purchased our badges early and are having them mailed, have an option that allows for downloading of select tickets (I.E. Concert, Masquade, Groove, etc) this way people can print the item at home, saving Staff and Con-goers aggrivation. Secondly, is there any possibly in the future of having it where the person that paid for the badges can get the tickets for those in their party? I know that it would have helped me loads if I could have picked up my dad's ticket for the Masquade. I understand reasons why this might not be feasable, but if there is anyway to do it it would be nice.

4. Lockers/bag checks -This would be fantastic, as most already pointed out. It would have been very helpful at the Masquade since people had props that couldn't be let in.
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#114 User is offline   sammy-45 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:32 PM

I would like to say that last year we managed to get one of the 2 program books done one time to get in the bags before the con. Unfortunately that was not the case this year.

We are already working on the program book for next year, we even have a thread for it. Any suggestions that you have are more then welcome.

I also agree that the people at the info desks need to know more about whats going on, and how to find things. So that is something that will defiantly be improved.

And I love the fact that you are new to anime and had such great ideas.

As for bag check see the ideas for 2010 thread- it is already being talked about.
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#115 User is offline   KnitChick 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:58 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 04:57 PM, said:

Please, I hope my earlier postings weren't meant as a take-down. We had a lot of fun at ACen. We just noticed some things that could be improved (some very easily) and wanted to share our thoughts as complete newbies to the con. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think you often get the perspective of someone who is very experienced in regard to conventions, yet completely new to animation conventions or ACen.

Jane


No, please, feel free to throw out ideas! I already sent a link to your post to my friend who was in Children's Programming this year (if you were there at all Friday, she was the Hogwarts student :) borrowing my Gryffindor robe), so she can see it and share it with her DH.

Fresh ideas are ALWAYS welcome!

Also as for the program books, we did set an absolute RECORD in bag stuffing this year, BUT the program books hadn't gotten finished printing as of when we did it so they were not in the bags. I'm surprised, though, that gofers weren't set to this task. But the hope is the books will be done before bag stuffing next year and we'll set another new record (and my table will be pwning all again! :-P )


View PostThatOneChick, on May 12 2009, 04:59 PM, said:

Next year the contest will be slightly different and have more structure. Awards will be separated by days and will have tiers such as Journeyman and Master. Also, I'd like to add a Childrens' category, American category and "closet cosplay" Category which will be mostly cased on how well you portray the character.


REALLY?!!?!?!?! PLEASE! I have done few anime cosplays as yet because my skill level is not up to it, and right now I'm super duper into Torchwood so it would be really cool to be able to enter an American sci-fi cosplay.


View PostSakamura, on May 12 2009, 05:01 PM, said:

Oh really, Hotels or the Convention Centers McCormick/Navy Pier?


Oh McCormick place is crazy. It may seem strict the way the Rosemont Convention Center insists on nothing can be set up without being done by their union people, McCormick is worse from what I hear!

The transportation to/from/around McCormick is really poor. I don't like going to cons and events there because you can't get to any reasonably priced food beyond McDonalds (which I cannot have for medical reasons) without DRIVING and paying again. Parking is more expensive, and yeah there are CTA shuttles for certain events but they are only weekend shuttles, from Millennium Park parking which is even MORE expensive than McCormicks.

Let me put it this way, the convention I'm going to this summer at McCormick is the American Library Association. I paid $95 and that's the student early bird rate and the CHEAPEST rate. Granted it's a longer and larger con but it's REALLY expensive and it's at least partly because of location.



I'm really surprised Production wasn't utilized for sign printing. I know I heard lots of calls to them when I was on radio. Maybe more needs to be planned in advance and printed early, maybe some things on nice vinyl signs that we can reuse year to year? Then just last minute stuff can go through Production.



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#116 User is offline   IllinoisGirl 

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Post icon  Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:37 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 03:06 PM, said:

6. Children at ACen...
I was lead to believe that ACen was family friendly... uhhh... was it?
Problems:
no changing tables/family bathrooms in the hotel (yes, there were diapers being changed in the halls at times, but wth? There was no other place to do it!!!)
Subtitles for anime that was kid appropriate (thinking Mecha, shonen, stuff here). Even smart kids can have trouble keeping up with subtitles if they are under the age of 10.
No organization or clear leadership in the kid's room. When kids were present, it would have been nice to know who was in charge (no one was wearing IDs, for example). I know my girls would have loved doing some of the crafts, but no one ever asked them if they wanted to do them. It wasn't until the second day that we even realized that the people sitting at the table were not just parents watching their children but workers, lol!
video gaming; most kids have consoles at home. I didn't pay $$ for them to play golf on the Wii, yet of course, the big kids were attracted to it like magnets to iron.
mini day care--many cons have a place where you can leave the kids for an hour or so to allow you to wander the dealer's hall, for example.
longer hours would have been nice... at least until 8 pm.
kids under the age of 16 or so seemed like they either weren't welcome or were an afterthought. The demographics of the con seemed mostly in the young twenties... is that because of anime or cosplaying or something else entirely?

Strengths:
There *was* a kids room.
Pillow pit... GREAT idea for making the room comfy and kid friendly
rear view projector
great movie choices... there were times we couldn't drag the little ones out of here!
very sweet workers who were kind and thoughtful
yummy cookies
cool crafts



One idea that the children's programming DH was thinking of is a Dance (my note I would like to see it geared to the older children. Please we have a thread and let us know what you want us to do for 2010. We had our best year and we want 2010 to be the best year ever.

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This post has been edited by IllinoisGirl: 12 May 2009 - 08:42 PM


#117 User is offline   reptoJane 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:12 PM

View PostThatOneChick, on May 12 2009, 04:59 PM, said:

Hey guys, there seem to be a lot of questions about the Hallway Contest (Cosplay), so I shall address those.

The Hallway Competition is pretty much like the Masquerade, but you don't have to go on stage or perform a skit. <snip>

Next year the contest will be slightly different and have more structure. Awards will be separated by days and will have tiers such as Journeyman and Master. Also, I'd like to add a Childrens' category, American category and "closet cosplay" Category which will be mostly cased on how well you portray the character.

Any other questions or concerns regarding the Hallway may be directed at me. I will be posting the winners later today. Thank you.



The costumes were incredible at ACen! We were so impressed at the quality and the sheer volume of people who took the time to dress up, let alone the diversity of themes and costumes. I especially liked the groups of characters from a single show who took the time to do multiple, matching characters (ie. Sailor Scouts, Bleach, Trinity Blood).

And like the Torchwood fan who posted earlier, having an American theme would be cool. (p.s. I looooove Torchwood and Dr. Who) So would a kids category. My 5 yr old was the little Yachiru wandering around the con. It would have been fun to enter her into a competition (she's a total ham, to boot!).

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#118 User is offline   Alysia 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:24 PM

View PostKnitChick, on May 12 2009, 08:58 PM, said:

I'm really surprised Production wasn't utilized for sign printing. I know I heard lots of calls to them when I was on radio. Maybe more needs to be planned in advance and printed early, maybe some things on nice vinyl signs that we can reuse year to year? Then just last minute stuff can go through Production.



We did. What needs to happen is for everyone who was making handwritten signs to reevaluate their sign requests for next year and make sure they are getting them to us. We printed signs for everything that was requested precon, and we were sitting there with Bertha waiting for more sign requests at con. We printed several.

I suspect that the signs everyone is talking about were last minute things done by staff who needed emergency signs and didn't realize we could do it or didn't have time to go through us.

We also need to figure out what happened to our acrylic sign holders, as many appeared to be missing.

#119 User is offline   ThatOneChick 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:05 PM

For those asking about the Hallway, I posted a new thread in both Gatherings and Masquerade
http://www.acen.org/...showtopic=30166
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#120 User is offline   Unka Josh 

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:58 PM

View PostreptoJane, on May 12 2009, 03:06 PM, said:

5. Viewing rooms--
I know that many people watch their anime on YouTube and the like, but we are still discovering anime. We LIKE to go to the viewing rooms and find new shows, discover new categories, etc. We thought that we'd have lots of options for viewing when we went to ACen. The reality was--and wasn't--what we expected.

BIG QUIBBLE--
--you couldn't see the subtitles unless you were in the first two rows of seats. The viewing rooms were frequently crowded... so viewing was either like being a tennis match where you had to weave back and forth to try to see each line of text or you were forced to stand in the back of the room for the whole 2 hours. ARRRGGGHH! This could have been so easily solved! A couple of books under the projector would have lifted the image up a couple of feet above the heads of most--and this was easily doable since the images did not even come close to taking up the whole screen.
--what, ONLY 6 rooms???!!!!


You raise a good point about the subtitles-- there were some technical complications that I won't bore you with, but I talked to the tech people, and this won't be a problem next year.

Six rooms is actually one more than we've had in previous years. I might try to run more rooms if we had space, but we really don't.

Quote

Minor quibbles:
--when the sound was so soft that you could barely hear the music.
--when the screen froze and the DVD had to be advanced to the next episode. WAAAAH! (It happened 3x that we were present for)
--we would have liked repeats of categories; some shows we discovered after the series started, others we missed because we were at a panel, in another viewing room, etc.
--having only the center aisle to navigate... would have liked side aisles as well so that when you were had to enter or leave a room you were less likely to have to crawl across other viewers.


Let us know if there are sound problems-- they're pretty easy to fix. Sorry about the technical issues-- we try to catch bad players and/or discs, but sometimes they slip past us.

Repeats: Actually, we had a "Reruns by request" block, where we played shows that people missed. I'll try to publicize it more next year.

Cetner Aisle: You raise a good point. The hotel does the layout of the room as far as chairs are concerned... Problem is, if I make more aisles, I'll need to remove chairs. In other words, fewer people will be able to use the rooms. I'm not sure what the best compromise is...

Quote

BIG positives--
Blocking of titles into similar groupings
The knowledge of the door proctors. They were invaluable in suggesting things that were appropriate or were similar to something we were viewing that we really enjoyed. They also told us where to find the DVDs to buy. Of the whole convention, this knowledge gleaning was probably the best thing after plain ol' people watching.
Having rooms themed (ie. Mecha, Shoujo, etc)


Thanks!

Quote

-Get more info up on the website, earlier!!! PLEASE!!! We would have been sooo happy to get info on the panels and anime viewing rooms earlier than the day we arrived!


Uh... I posted the video schedule on this site a few weeks before the convention, actually. I guess we need to make it easier to find. (The premieres won't ever be posted in advance, though-- I often find out what I'm premiering when the industry people give it to me at the convention.)
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