I've spoken with several of you in person. I've also spoken with my Section Chief, several officers of ACEN, the con chair, and numerous members of main programming, but I need the rest of you to know that in case you missed it:
We cut the skits from the masquerade this year. All of them. At the show itself.
It was not my call. I know who had to make the hard call. I've spoken with that individual, and I hold no ill will for that individual. That said:
ACEN, we are better than this. We MUST be better than this. This must never happen again. Period. We took the hard work of 71 of our members over the past weeks and months and said "no". This traumatized them, it devastated my staff, and it eviscerated me.
Some background if you missed it:
It was the fire alarm that broke us, but it didn't stand alone. At 5:00, when the main programming room was supposed to become mine so that I could get the participants lined up, the band which preceded me was only doing its sound check due to Main Programming delays. Even so, we were okay -- main programming staff had the scheduling flexibility to allow for that hour. That hour became more. We adapted, and with the help of our member/participants and main programming's staff, we overcame. We were actually going to get some of the lost time back. Then, as Gendo prepared to walk on stage to start the Masquerade (60 seconds!), we got the radio call regarding the fire alarm and instead escorted everyone out of the building.
By the time we were back inside, I'd lost half of my show -- I just didn't know it yet.
I want to thank the Programming staff, including those who work with the DJs for the raves, for the half of my show I was able to put on stage -- for a little while, I was afraid I was going to lose all of it. I want to thank Artie (con chair) and numerous others for finding small ways in which ACEN could express its regret -- 2013 comp badges for my skit folks, early access to the Soap Bubble for all my participants -- and I want to especially thank Registration, who kept Liberty open when it was supposed to be closed so that folks could sign up for those comp badges. It wasn't a fix, but it was at least something.
MAPS, I had the most people in the masquerade feedback panel I've ever seen. They came for the awards I couldn't hand out on stage. However, they also came to offer me support: for that, I want to thank our members as well.
That said: I TOTALLY understand the mindset of the family that told me they weren't coming back next year (I did eventually persuade them to sign up for the comp badges just in case). I totally understand the anger of my staff, those in the masquerade, and the anger of those outside.
More than once, I've heard that ACEN is where folks bring their best stuff (skits & craftsmanship both). The competition is always top-notch, and I'd like to think that most of the time, we do a pretty good job with the show. For 14 years we've built that rep -- and we just tore it to shreds.
I've been promised an extra half hour for next year's show, and I'm going to take it. I'd also like some additional time before the show so that a little schedule slippage before me won't hit the masquerade quite so hard, and I'll work that out with Main Programming. I apologize in advance, but I'm going to be the squeaky wheel this year.
MAPS, I wanted you to know what happened if you'd missed it. It's going to take our event YEARS to recover from this, if it does. We are better than this. We MUST be better than this. This must never happen again.
Masquerade/Costume Events Department Head, 2009 -
PS: This is an open letter. I'm posting this on the forums in the masquerade area, and emailing it to the affected attendees (all skits are pre-reg only, so I have the email address of one person of each skit: my contact). I’m also personally locking the forum thread.
PPS: For those who do not know, MAPS (Midwest Animation Promotion Society) is the governing body of Anime Central. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; if you wish to contact them, please do so – my only request is that all contact be professional and courteous. Thanks.
This post has been edited by sabre: 30 April 2012 - 09:21 PM