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Is Acen even considered an anime convention anymore?

#241 User is offline   antisocialist 

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:53 PM

View PostYoungBirdcall, on 24 May 2012 - 09:45 AM, said:

To address the first "highlighted" sentence: it seems a bit ridiculous of you to demand that people go elsewhere for an event that has certainly become a staple of Anime Central. As STVO & others have already pointed out, the Soap Bubble is appreciated & enjoyed by many people, more than just the "kandi kidz" that you seem to revile. As STVO said, if you don't like Soap Bubble, perhaps you could hop on the Blue Line & find something else to do that's more to your liking.


And as I said before. This is an anime convention. A lot of people aren't understanding the word 'anime', nor are you understanding my point that we don't need to have two raves. Two raves are excessive for a con whose upper level management has all the planning ability of a toddler. When they are better able to plan for two raves, or get sufficient space to have 2 nights, then go for it, but never should something that is a staple of an anime con - no matter where you go - be shafted for just another dance.

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To address the second "highlighted" sentence: I have never understood this argument. Soap Bubble (and Hardcore Synergy) were created by anime fans, for anime fans, at an anime convention. I can agree that dancing to loud music is not explicitly anime related, but to say that Soap Bubble is out of place at ACen is a complete joke. This same complaint comes up on the forums every year after ACen, and every single year, it is rightfully ignored, because the Soap Bubble is not the problem, in-and-of itself. I know that you're unhappy that "Kandi Kidz R CATERED TO! AT TEH EXPENSE OF US TRUE ANIMU FANZ!" but please, get over yourself. The Soap Bubble & Hardcore Synergy are not going away, so stop wasting your breath.

Soap Bubble was the original rave. At one point, it may have been FOR anime fans, but it's ultimately a source of revenue to the expense of other events that anime fans particularly enjoy and make more of an effort for, and there are also a lot of people that are NOT anime fans and detest anime fans that are showing up to the raves. It's to the point where Acen cannot have both a masquerade and a rave. Get rid of the Saturday night rave and move it to Friday, you'll still have people coming out. Get rid of the Masquerade, you'll likely have people going over to Gencon or other cons, and Acen will lose out on money.

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And your "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE POTENTIAL LAWSUITS?!?!" argument is so inane that I won't even bother to contradict it. Okay, yes I will: at any large convention (or at any large gathering/event/group of people, for that matter), someone might do something criminal to someone else. This does not mean that the people organizing the convention are (by default) legally responsible or even legally liable for said criminal conduct. In terms of security protocol, MAPS does what it is required to do by law. If I get assaulted at Six Flags Great America, for example, can I then sue them or the company that owns them? Sure. Would I win my lawsuit? Almost certainly not (barring ridiculous circumstances, such as: "Six Flags security guards watched, pointed, and laughed while I was being violently assaulted;" if this were the case, then sure, the park & its owners might be held liable).

Something you don't understand regarding lawsuits - lawyers cost money. They can demand huge returns. Someone could have a decent family lawyer, pay them a fair amount of money, and possibly win their case. Either way it goes, lawyers fees/court costs still can affect the convention. Also, considering the woeful lack of security presence and lack of effectiveness with the IRTs, it's only a matter of time before something to this effect happens, if it hasn't already. See - various women who were groped in front of IRTs and the IRTs did nothing.

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It is not the fault of the Soap Bubble that the Masquerade got cut short. It is the fault of all those panelists whose panels ran over their allotted times. It is the fault of ACen organizers who allowed these panels to run over their allotted times. Most of all, it is the fault of the d-bag who whipped out the fire extinguisher. It is also the fault of the ACen organizer(s) who made the call to cut the Masquerade short. But the Soap Bubble didn't do anything to anyone. I understand that you're bitter (extremely bitter, apparently), but please, direct your derision towards deserving targets.

I am extremely bitter about Masquerade getting shafted over a second rave. It's the principle of the matter - people planned their butt off for these things. Don't get me wrong - I'm even more pissed about the fire alarm and the response of Acen management, but really, is it that surprising that someone would do something as drastic as trigger a fire alarm after Acen systems were DDoSed back in 2008? You plan for things like this.

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Bottom line: get mad at the jerks, not at the dance itself. And before you reply with "But the Soap Bubble attracts the jerks!" let me just note that I'm inclined to agree with making the dances 18-and-older only, if only because they run so late into the night. But let's not kid ourselves into thinking that people would suddenly stop behaving badly if one or more of the dances were to be canceled. That's a ludicrous assumption.

It wouldn't stop people from behaving badly - that's true. However, it wouldn't consist of an entire weekend of asinine behavior if you only have people showing up for one night (the first night) and then going home. Behaving badly is one thing, but the amount of crap that goes on at Acen is absolutely insane, and I lived in Atlanta around the time of Freaknik. Acen is getting close to that point, and that's scary. The rave should be 21+, all should be carded, and a cover of about $25 should be charged. That way, they can get their money from the rave without having the disingenuous numbers from people who pick up the one-day badge just for the rave.

This post has been edited by antisocialist: 24 May 2012 - 12:54 PM

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#242 User is offline   YoungBirdcall 

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:38 PM

View Postantisocialist, on 24 May 2012 - 12:53 PM, said:

And as I said before. This is an anime convention. A lot of people aren't understanding the word 'anime', nor are you understanding my point that we don't need to have two raves. Two raves are excessive for a con whose upper level management has all the planning ability of a toddler. When they are better able to plan for two raves, or get sufficient space to have 2 nights, then go for it, but never should something that is a staple of an anime con - no matter where you go - be shafted for just another dance.


I understand your point quite clearly. However, your point is merely a personal opinion. Your opinion is that we don't need two raves. My point is that your opinion is irrelevant, because Soap Bubble is not going to be canceled. That's a fact, jack. It brings in too many guests and too much revenue for the convention. And the Masquerade didn't get shafted for "just another dance." It got shafted because it had already started more than two hours late, and then a jerk whipped out a fire extinguisher, so the higher-ups had to make a tough decision. You don't like their decision? That's fine. You're entitled to your opinion. But don't blame the Soap Bubble. The Masquerade and the Soap Bubble are not mutually exclusive.


View Postantisocialist, on 24 May 2012 - 12:53 PM, said:

Soap Bubble was the original rave. At one point, it may have been FOR anime fans, but it's ultimately a source of revenue to the expense of other events that anime fans particularly enjoy and make more of an effort for, and there are also a lot of people that are NOT anime fans and detest anime fans that are showing up to the raves. It's to the point where Acen cannot have both a masquerade and a rave. Get rid of the Saturday night rave and move it to Friday, you'll still have people coming out. Get rid of the Masquerade, you'll likely have people going over to Gencon or other cons, and Acen will lose out on money.


I know that Soap Bubble was the original rave. Your claims that Soap Bubble is "ultimately a source of revenue to the expense of other events that anime fans particularly enjoy and make more of an effort for," and that "it's to the point where ACen cannot have both a masquerade and a rave," are both ridiculous. Soap Bubble does not exist at the expense of the Masquerade or any other event at ACen (this year obviously notwithstanding). I'll say it for a third time: the Masquerade & the Soap Bubble are not mutually exclusive. We can have both of them. We always have, before this year. Anime fans enjoy the Soap Bubble. It was created by them, for them, at their convention. What are you not understanding about this?


View Postantisocialist, on 24 May 2012 - 12:53 PM, said:

Something you don't understand regarding lawsuits - lawyers cost money. They can demand huge returns. Someone could have a decent family lawyer, pay them a fair amount of money, and possibly win their case. Either way it goes, lawyers fees/court costs still can affect the convention. Also, considering the woeful lack of security presence and lack of effectiveness with the IRTs, it's only a matter of time before something to this effect happens, if it hasn't already. See - various women who were groped in front of IRTs and the IRTs did nothing.


I understand that lawyers cost money, but thank you for that enlightening heads-up. Also, thank you for presuming that I am such a blithering idiot as to be unaware that retaining the services of a litigator requires fiscal compensation. I will definitely keep that in mind in the future, when I sue Dominick's Grocery Store because a man assaulted me in their parking lot. I am certain that my lawsuit will prove to be fruitful, since my family has an expensive attorney on permanent retainer, and expensive attorneys who demand huge returns always win their cases, even when said cases don't have a legal leg to stand on. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS, IT IS A FACT.

Your point is that ACen should be concerned with the cost of retaining a lawyer (or lawyers) to combat any lawsuit stemming from criminal conduct at the Soap Bubble, because even if the lawsuit ends up being dismissed, ACen & MAPS will still have to pay their lawyer(s) for the job-well-done, yes? But what if someone onstage at the Masquerade were to be groped by a fellow skit-member who decided that ad-libbing a bit of physical comedy (in the groper's mind it is "physical comedy;" in the grope-ee's mind, it is sexual assault) would help their skit shine? The audience laughs (or maybe they "boo," it's irrelevant) but afterwards, the victim decides to sue ACen & MAPS because they didn't do anything to prevent the situation! Should ACen & MAPS be so wary of such a situation (that hasn't yet arisen in real life) that they cancel the Masquerade? I think not. Obviously, someone could sue ACen for a whole host of reasons. But every organization in the United States is, conceivably, at risk of suffering frivolous lawsuits. This does not mean that ACen should cancel the Soap Bubble.


View Postantisocialist, on 24 May 2012 - 12:53 PM, said:

I am extremely bitter about Masquerade getting shafted over a second rave. It's the principle of the matter - people planned their butt off for these things. Don't get me wrong - I'm even more pissed about the fire alarm and the response of Acen management, but really, is it that surprising that someone would do something as drastic as trigger a fire alarm after Acen systems were DDoSed back in 2008? You plan for things like this.


Again, you should be "pissed" at the appropriate people/events/circumstances. Not at the Soap Bubble itself. That's called scapegoating.


View Postantisocialist, on 24 May 2012 - 12:53 PM, said:

It wouldn't stop people from behaving badly - that's true. However, it wouldn't consist of an entire weekend of asinine behavior if you only have people showing up for one night (the first night) and then going home. Behaving badly is one thing, but the amount of crap that goes on at Acen is absolutely insane, and I lived in Atlanta around the time of Freaknik. Acen is getting close to that point, and that's scary. The rave should be 21+, all should be carded, and a cover of about $25 should be charged. That way, they can get their money from the rave without having the disingenuous numbers from people who pick up the one-day badge just for the rave.


I have no problem with carding for entry to Soap Bubble and/or Hardcore Synergy. I have no problem with an additional cover charge being applied to those who wish to attend these events. I have no problem with moving both dances to one night. These are constructive solutions. Canceling one or both dances is not a constructive solution.

I want to make it clear that I don't even particularly enjoy Soap Bubble or Hardcore Synergy. But I also don't enjoy scapegoating, nor do I enjoy reading poorly-reasoned and illogical arguments. Canceling the Soap Bubble is not a "magic bullet" that will solve all of ACen's problems. Canceling the Soap Bubble will not prevent con-goers from behaving like louts. Canceling the Soap Bubble will not ensure that the Masquerade is given its rightful place at the forefront of ACen's festivities. The Masquerade and the Soap Bubble are not mutually exclusive (the fourth time's the charm).
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Posted 24 May 2012 - 03:37 PM

View PostYoungBirdcall, on 24 May 2012 - 11:33 AM, said:

This what I don't understand, though. The Masquerade and The Soap Bubble are not, nor have they ever been, mutually-exclusive. We can have both. I don't understand the "Masq vs. Soap Bubble wars" thing at all.


True bro, that might be the case, but that fact doesn't stop people from making it a war. You see it here, people bash the soap bubble, want it gone, and complain about why the masq isn't as important anymore. (i thought that at a time. I came to reason tho. Im not against it so much) It may be illogical, but that war exists.
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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:34 PM

View PostXenoBlade, on 24 May 2012 - 03:37 PM, said:

True bro, that might be the case, but that fact doesn't stop people from making it a war. You see it here, people bash the soap bubble, want it gone, and complain about why the masq isn't as important anymore. (i thought that at a time. I came to reason tho. Im not against it so much) It may be illogical, but that war exists.


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#245 User is offline   Illia Sadri 

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:53 PM

I had a number of disagreements in the direction of the con in my final years as staff, but would have at least been willing to argue ACen as an anime convention at heart up until the time I left. But after hearing of the events in the last year or two, I don't even know if I can defend even a tenuous claim on the matter.

It is one thing to say that programming is too diverse. I mean, American comics, music acts, fashion etc are not inherently bad, particularly as nerd culture has become more intertwined in the last decade or so compared to the old days when there was a far stricter delineation between the science fiction, gaming, and anime conventions. Crossover does not have to be bad or off topic. The unfortunate direction ACen has taken in recent years; however, is one that has become so focused only in drawing ever greater crowds that they couldn't readily plan for that they have abandoned core events and dismissed its roots to hone their interest almost entirely on events that would draw people who would otherwise not be caught dead at this kind of event. Thus you have concerts and the dances, which were incredibly well promoted and brought a clientele that has changed the focus of the convention entirely. To cater to them, the convention made the choice to marginalize other segments.

I am not saying dances are wrong or bad. Having DJs from around the world is not a bad thing. But the worry is when everything else is being sidelined to fit in another dance, or another concert. Having worked on the schedule for the vast majority of my tenure as staff, programming diversity is not a negative factor. But when one staple starts to take precedence over everything else to the point that quality degrades, then the quality of the convention will suffer.

What convention cancels their masquerade over a fire alarm after several music acts and fashion designers were permitted to run over without repercussion? It's an event where most of the effort is from the fans who put countless hours into costumes and rehearsing and writing skits. The staff facilitate the fans doing their thing. I saw the video on youtube where the masquerade heads are left to announce the cancellation with tears in their eyes as the decision makers stood silent without a word of apology to the people who planned their convention around the event. Whoever made that call deserves any shame directed at them because it was such an incomprehensible decision that likely lost the trust of a good number of people. Never would I have expected that event to be so easily discarded.

This is the same year that ended up with no AMV contest after years of it being marginalized and placed in ever smaller, remote locations. There was a time when ACen was one of the cons AMV editors flocked to along with Otakon and AWA. Much like the masquerade, it was an event that didn't require a huge investment to keep going as it relied dominantly on fan created content to keep a large number of people entertained for a weekend. Most cons have a showing in a main programming room and once upon a time ACen even did that. There were years they only had their room with about 200 seating as the only viewing option. Again, trust gets lost because nobody has any faith that the con cares enough about their event to even attempt to make it successful.

Last, but not least, is Anime Hell and Midnight Madness being booted from main programming to make room from a dance that I heard from several people who still attend the con never really filled up. More than any event to be cancelled, this is a travesty as it was started by one of the founders of the con, has been there since the beginning and is something that defined ACen. Not once did it not fail to fill a room beyond capacity and all of programming dreaded having to contend with the lines that would form around each programming room as it set up. And for every event that would get gripes from year to year, those were two that always seemed immune to any negativity from even the most bitter fanboy. More than any of the others, those two segments were a big part of ACen's identity.

The one thing these three have in common is that they are all run by fans for fans, which is what the convention was meant to be.

So I suppose my question to the current convention staff is this: is getting growth from an unhealthy focus on music worth sacrificing everything that fans product for your show? Is it worth the extra tickets sold because you can tout the largest all ages rave dance in the Chicago land area when the glass dome of the Hyatt gets cracked and each year becomes a test of how much more rowdy it could get. The reputation of the convention is that of a party con with little else tied to it. The reputation has been well developed because of the things that I mention in terms of shifting priorities to the detriment of every other kind of event. The problem with ACen isn't the dances or fashion shows or concerts but that they allowed those things to run roughshod over every other programming segment that was also well loved.

If the convention is truly so blind that it can no longer acknowledge that there is such a thing as going too far in a certain direction then they don't deserve to be called an anime con. Just rebrand as ravecon and at least be honest about it.
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#246 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:03 AM

If people really wanted to make a statement to the powers that be about the nature of the con, they could do the one thing I can think of that would probably get their attention. Draw back the anime/manga panels at this particular con and move them to others. Sure it is kind of a mini revolt of sorts, but it you want to take a stand for what you believe..you gotta do something to get noticed. If ACen suddenly had a dearth of anime/manga content it so relies upon to maintain it's "Anime Con" claim, they would have to do something or they would have to come up with some solution internally.

Now I'm not here to start some revolution or flame war here. What I stated is what I believe to be a sensible response.

Personally, I'd rather ACen/MAPS focus more on the quality of the con as opposed to trying to figure out ways to shoehorn more bodies into the rosemont facilities, even if it meant sacrificing attendance.

This post has been edited by rondo: 06 February 2013 - 09:11 AM


#247 User is offline   sisterdiscord 

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:58 AM

Hold the phone, guys.

I've been pretty quiet on the forums this year because I've been focused on cleaning up our volunteers processes, and my role now doesn't interact so much with live events and programming, however...the calls you're talking about are calls that I made as con chair, or participated in, during Artie's first year taking over, because we were and are a team working together on these things. I stand by every call we've made- we do our best given the information available. Sometimes it works..sometimes not. But we aren't looking at this to maximize the number of attendees we get, or to shave out anime programming for other things.

There's no star chamber - no SEELE making decisions in a vacuum. Every decision you see has a backstory and a reason. Not always a great back story, and not always a reason everybody can agree with, but there's always, always more to it than you're seeing. That isn't to say that it's all a big seekrit: Take Anime Hell as an example: We probably talked about that for six months internally and agreed to try it in Rosemont for three main reasons: 1) Attendance had been down for Madness a couple years and it wasn't filling Main. 2) We had lost some large function spaces across the street and were tight on space, and putting Madness in a room that would already be set for it allowed us to not lose FOUR HOURS of time in our two biggest function spaces to set-changes by the hotel. (Assume it takes an hour to pull or place chairs in a room that size. It can take longer, but four hours is a good minimum.) and finally, 3) Save significant tech costs in having to tech out two rooms for dance.

We discussed this, we talked about all the things you're talking about here, and came to the decision that the ability to run extra events, keep our costs down, and see if Madness really did need the biggest room we've got.. those questions warranted trying it. We've learned a few things from that, both good and bad, and have been re-examining the decision this year.

AMV: I'll suck this one up and claim it. We lost a very good department manager because of decisions and mistakes I made in 2011, again working in good faith and trying to maximize the use of our spaces while keeping costs low. Best intentions all around, but it didn't work out, we dropped some balls, and there wasn't enough time to do it RIGHT last year. We are working to remedy that this year because we're fans too. We look at it and say "This is wrong, we should fix it". Look at the panels last year. We were significantly more tied in to anime and manga than in the last few years, with less general fandom stuff. Look at the musical guest this year: Kalafina has a high degree of relevance given the theme work they've done, in addition to their massive pile of other credits.

If you want to know why something happens, feel free to ask. Sometimes I can explain. Sometimes there's confidential stuff that I can't explain, like "We were in negotiation with a guest who needed X guaranteed, and to do that we had to do Y, and that caused Z to fall off the schedule." So I can't promise an answer, but if it's general 'how do the train wrecks happen' kind of questions, the only way we fix those things is by talking about them.

With that, I'll say thanks for your input. We were already having a conversation about how to better handle Madness, AMV, Dances, and the rest of the stuff that has to be juggled, and are putting the finishing touches on the plan for 2013 and beyond. When it's done, it won't be a secret. We are listening. We are working, constantly, to try and do better where we fall down, and as always I appreciate your love, passion, and patience with us. We love you back. This is your show. :)/>/>
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#248 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:15 PM

Always helps when you can get a blue response.

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

View Postrondo, on 06 February 2013 - 12:15 PM, said:

Always helps when you can get a blue response.


Whaat, my response wasn't blue at all. I was VERY careful about using blue language. :)
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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:34 PM

Welp, I still don't...get the dances, but any gloom and doom I felt yesterday is pretty much gone! Thanks for the in-depth response.
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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

View PostBard-kun, on 06 February 2013 - 12:34 PM, said:

Welp, I still don't...get the dances, but any gloom and doom I felt yesterday is pretty much gone! Thanks for the in-depth response.


Honestly? Dances are a part of every con I've ever been to in the fandom arena, from gaming to geek, to comic book to pony, with the exception of the big *.world type shows. I think it's just part of the culture because it's all about letting people who enjoy the medium or genre get together, mingle, and meet one another and have a good time. For us, our mascots are a play on the Blues Brothers, and music has been a part of our convention culture for a long, long time. That has morphed over the years, but the Soap Bubble, and later the Underground Groove/Hardcore Synergy, and later the Crystal Ball, they're just a part of who we are just as Anime Hell is. Just as AMV is. Panels. Guests we've seen so many times they feel like family. Attendees I see out in the city and recognize even without their favorite cosplay.

A case can be made that the dances aren't anime, I agree. But they are very much pure Chicago, and that too is a part of who we are. You can make the decision to be a pure show, or an inclusive show, or fall somewhere in between, and I think we're solidly in the middle. Our core is anime, manga, Asian cinema, music, and culture. As a part of exploring that, we do bring in the dance, costume, gaming, and other areas that anime have crept into and influenced. Then there's a little bit of "Let's make sure there's enough things to do to keep everybody busy and having a great time for three days" (this is where I categories things like the board games library- not anime, but definitely a way for anime fans to gather and get to know one another.

This is an aside, but I swear there's a relevant point at the end:
I remember being the nerdy kid at my school who didn't like the stuff the other kids liked. I wasn't into sports, I was into these cartoons that came on late at night, and into playing D&D at the library on Saturdays, and all manner of other weird things. I drew. I decorated my favorite trenchcoat with Sharpie markers. I wore odd clothes. And I remember how it felt to be the weird one. Wasn't always fun. When I was 16, I joined a summer program called Governor's Scholars, and I met other schools' out-caste: nerds, geeks, and weirdos a lot like me. We all bonded over the love of the things we loved to do, and the sheer gladness at not being different for once. It was an amazingly affirming experience for a shy backward kid from the middle of nowhere. Ultimately, (me getting to the point finally!) my great hope is that ACen can provide that same venue where you can share the things you love with people who also love them, meet some new friends, and learn to like some new stuff while you're at it. Learn something about the culture. See a sword demo. Shop. And maybe game. And maybe paint yourself with blacklight paint and go dance your butt off for a few hours....or just draw on your clothes with a Sharpie.

It's a celebration, and if people want to join in, in the spirit of that, I say game on.
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#252 User is offline   Bard-kun 

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:59 PM

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Very well said.

You make me realize that in my whinging about the dances I forgot what I considered ACen's biggest draw in this thread: the inclusiveness, the sense of community. We're all in this together, even if we're heading to different panels or waiting in line for different things or toting totally disparate stacks of merch home. I shouldn't be trying to exclude people who like the dances just because I prefer swapping con stories with strangers in the Atrium or playing cards over beers at a room party all night. If ya'll are trying to give good representation to anime geeks of every stripe, and good representation to the spirit of Chicago, then I'm with ya--let's see how it goes. This con has been there for me since I was a nervous high school freshman, it's helped me come into my own in geekdom and in the rest of my life, I should want as many people enjoying it as possible.

Who knows, maybe I'll even check out one of the dances this year! ...if I can, y'know, find any clothes that don't make me look like a square. >_>

This post has been edited by Bard-kun: 06 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

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#253 User is offline   WatchJessieGo 

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:11 PM

I've been to one con rave/dance and never did it again because I didn't like it (too crazy for me, I just prefer plain, old "hanging out"), but I don't care if it's a big part of a con. In fact, all the cons I've been to have been big on raves. I also don't care if an anime con is entirely about anime. We're there because we share a mutual interest in anime and it's a great way to meet some great people, but that doesn't mean we can't express and explore other interests in our time together.

Personally, I'm really looking forward to my first ACen, whether it's heavy on the "A" or not.
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#254 User is offline   Illia Sadri 

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:24 AM

I hate to tell you Rosa, but considering you don't have rules for an AMV contest at this point anywhere on the website or mentioned in the forums, the chance of this event making a comeback in 2013 is pretty slim. Usually the deadline would be right around this time. The convention lost all reputation with editors long ago and the reality is that the longer it goes the less likely it is for the convention to even have a relevant contest. And it wasn't just 2011's bad decision because the decline of AMVs was a long process because it was simply not on the radar. I'm amazed those guys didn't walk sooner considering the treatment they were given despite every one of them giving their all. You lost not one person, but an entire department. They love AMVs and ran even the most remote and poorly outfitted room the con could throw at them to the best of their ability. That was the case for years as ACen chose to marginalize an event that was considered high profile at every other convention.

2011 was just another blow to something that had been taking place for years before that. Please don't pretend that it was a one year situation. It was an issue I repeatedly lodged as the contest stopped getting main programming and later even consideration for even the larger panel rooms to be told it didn't matter. It did NOT Matter. The truth was that ACen did not consider it important enough to save at that time. For years the talk has always been on the dances and growing the con and the con simply showed they were willing to sacrifice multiple events for an audience that would otherwise never attend this kind of convention.

That is what needs to be addressed, because what happened to the AMV contest is indicative of what has been the convention norm for years. The focus of the convention has drastically shifted. If an event is not high on the appeal list of those in major positions, it has been considered disposable. Dances and concerts get people in and thus were good regardless of the long term ramifications of these kinds of decisions. Again, I saw the mentality first hand. For years the joke has been that ACen is party-con and rave-con, which used to be the same disparaging comments lodged toward Reactor. And looking at the run of events harmed or eliminated to achieve this goal, it the description wrong?

You can say things are going to change, but what is being shown? You have a major band, which is a boon to the con, and a much needed venue upgrade, but no system in place to purchase the tickets a couple months out. A programming DH dismissing calls for Hell/Madness to be returned to main as little more than 'too bad the dance is in there and it ain't gonna change.' The cosplay community still considers it as the only convention to cancel the masquerade. There's nothing else on the website at the same time Otakon has their announcements filtering in. Rather than saying something is going to be better, it may be best to just fix it than make promises that are likely to fail.

After the text messages and facebook comments after last year many friends said they were done unless things change. Living 1000 miles away now, I won't be there, but please don't let down the people who still want to believe the con can be anything more than a ballroom rave.

I have always respected you as a person, Rosa, but there is no excusing a number of the bad decisions made by the convention for several years. It's dishonest and ACen collectively sticking their heads in sand concerning the legitimate issues is detrimental to actually making the convention better for the attendees.
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#255 User is offline   Bloo09 

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:13 PM

" A programming DH dismissing calls for Hell/Madness to be returned to main as little more than 'too bad the dance is in there and it ain't gonna change.'"
That has now been brought to the convention's upper management and is going to be discussed in our upcoming manager's meeting. There is a dance in the main room, and moving things would be complicated, but everything can be considered and we're always willing to weigh our options :)

This year Masquerade and my department Panels are working together to show our appreciation to the cosplay/masquerade community by introducing the Costudio. Workshops and space for folks to come together and share their knowledge and love for cosplaying.

Last year we increased our Panel rooms from around 9 to around 15. And we were a LOT more strict on the content of panels to ensure they are related (including a small number of video game and web comic panels). This year we've dropped smaller rooms in alt hotels and added on 500-1500 person rooms to make sure more attendees can enjoy our content. It is also a strong goal of my department to ensure we have quality programming during the dances so those who don't wish to go have something fun to do instead :)

As always we're happy to get your feedback and work to make this a convention for everyone to enjoy!
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#256 User is offline   garefowl 

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:27 AM

I understand the need for accommodation and change. I realize that the upper management and those in charge most likely have their reasoning for moving AnimeHell to a small room, be it for the better of the con or not. However, in the end, I do not understand why the dance on Friday requires a giant ballroom. I thought it was always meant to be the "smaller dance"; is there really a demand or necessity for two large dances? That's the thing that upsets me the most--AnimeHell is only one event that occurs ONCE during the convention. It's a large and fun event that always, and I mean ALWAYS, brings out a room-filling crowd. Again, it only happens ONCE throughout the weekend, and yet a dance is being placed in a larger room when... well, there will be another dance the next night following it. It doesn't seem fair, and I am positive that those attending AnimeHell feel the exact same way. So you're telling me that the number of people that attended AnimeHell last year (don't we have a general headcount on a typical attendance to Hell?), as well as those that will attend this year, whom I'm sure will grumble their dislike for the smaller vacancy, are not apart of the people you're trying to shape this convention toward?

In contrast, if you were to switch the placement of the two events (dance + Hell) and found that the dance-goers were unhappy with the smaller room, then at least they'd have the bigger and better dance on Saturday to look forward to instead. It's not the same for those sticking it with AnimeHell or any other event within the convention. That's why it seems as though the dances are getting priority and that's the only thing that truly bothers me about this whole ordeal.

This post has been edited by garefowl: 08 February 2013 - 02:07 AM

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#257 User is offline   Bloo09 

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:22 AM

you make a very good point Garefowl and our programming management will consider it when we discuss this topic at our upcoming managers meeting. I'll make sure we discuss the points you've listed. As always we appreciate and consider everyone's feedback.
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#258 User is offline   garefowl 

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:43 PM

Thank you. I'm not trying to be difficult with this, as I'm sure those in charge are more than tired of having to discuss this area of the convention. Still, I would like to add onto what I've previously stated:

Someone up above listed a couple of the reasons for AnimeHell's move in favor of the dance. One being that the attendance for Midnight Madness, which takes place directly after Hell, was too low to warrant the large ballroom in the end. Now while I can agree that a large amount of people leave the ballroom once Hell is finished, having seen the disperse in action myself many a year, I can't imagine that the remaining number of those seated for Madness is much lower than what the Friday dance manages to pull in during 12 AM. In a thread very similar to the topic being addressed here and now, a member mentioned how the Friday dance held in the big ballroom last year, the one which pushed AnimeHell elsewhere, didn't have a tremendous amount of people at all--nothing compared to AnimeHell at least. So I'm sorry, but I can't take the "attendance and demand is in favor of the dance VS AnimeHell" seriously. Again, I realize that an impressive amount of people may leave after Hell, but I doubt its numbers are much of a difference compared to the Friday night's dance numbers during similar hours.

Another thing they mentioned were that the tech costs were lower to make the room changes. I'm not going to delve too deeply into this matter because I simply am not familiar enough with the field, but I have a hard time seeing where and how AnimeHell takes up a gargantuan amount of tech costs in comparison to a dance (which has music, lights, DJs, screens, etc. etc.) To reiterate, I could be wrong due to my lack of knowledge, but either way I'm having a hard time buying it completely.

In the end, thank you for at least hearing me out and (hopefully) taking my concerns seriously.
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#259 User is offline   Illia Sadri 

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:08 AM

View PostBloo09, on 07 February 2013 - 08:13 PM, said:

" A programming DH dismissing calls for Hell/Madness to be returned to main as little more than 'too bad the dance is in there and it ain't gonna change.'"
That has now been brought to the convention's upper management and is going to be discussed in our upcoming manager's meeting. There is a dance in the main room, and moving things would be complicated, but everything can be considered and we're always willing to weigh our options :)/>

This year Masquerade and my department Panels are working together to show our appreciation to the cosplay/masquerade community by introducing the Costudio. Workshops and space for folks to come together and share their knowledge and love for cosplaying.


*facepalms*

Shouldn't that have been considered in the summer/autumn period after a major criticism was the rave culture getting out of hand and forcing out other events? That was an issue that was mentioned over and over again. The great thing about the attendees is they'll give you honest feedback on the con, but it requires listening and acting promptly to address those issues, particularly when they have merit.

I truly hope ACen make things right by the cosplay community. It was easily ACen's lowest moment when they cancelled it and it will take a bit of earning the trust of those folk again.
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#260 User is offline   Bloo09 

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

That was addressed by shifting around other larger events to give them something big other than a rave and panels to attend during the summer. This situation is about the size of a panel room, which is close to a 2000 person room, the 2nd largest room the con has, and moving it to the largest which is a little over 2500. Yes that is 500-750 more people that will see the panels which would be awesome. We did see the need for more large event rooms which we rented in the convention center (the Hyatt can't spawn more big rooms :-( ) unfortunately that closes around 8pm so we can't move the panels over there.

We've gotten extremely good feedback on the costudio so far, we're very excited to be hosting it :-)
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#261 User is offline   sisterdiscord 

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:23 AM

View PostIllia Sadri, on 09 February 2013 - 02:08 AM, said:

*facepalms*

Shouldn't that have been considered in the summer/autumn period after a major criticism was the rave culture getting out of hand and forcing out other events? That was an issue that was mentioned over and over again. The great thing about the attendees is they'll give you honest feedback on the con, but it requires listening and acting promptly to address those issues, particularly when they have merit.

I truly hope ACen make things right by the cosplay community. It was easily ACen's lowest moment when they cancelled it and it will take a bit of earning the trust of those folk again.


I'll take this one. A lot goes into making the schedule, and planning out even one single change or tweak where it will impact 4500 seated attendees and hours of other events that need to be shifted.

Immediately after the con, as in Monday in April the morning after the show when we all crawled out of our beds, A bunch of us sat down in a room at the Hyatt and discussed the masquerade, what went wrong, and how to make it better. We also talked about several of the other changes and efforts, what worked, what didn't, and what we need to fix. AH/MM was a part of that conversation. I don't have the notes right by me, but we took away a list of actions. We got together with the BOD. We worked on facilities plans. We negotiated additional supplemental venue contracts, renegotiated others. We drafted a schedule framework by August, and then waited to finalize our contracts and settle things out. We booked the Akoo. While none of these things are directly about either Masq or AH/MM, they are all about clearing up the logjam in the main programming room, because our constant problem of main running over is caused in part by placing too many events there. We needed to balance having enough gap time so that if something goes wrong it doesn't push the entire schedule over the edge. I know you remember that juggling act, Lynn. :)

We're now in early Feb, and the programming schedule is filling out efficiently, and we're at the point where we can rationally talk about the venues we know we have space in, and what big things go in which big places to make that work. It doesn't mean we weren't thinking about these problems from Friday night last April right on thru til now, it means that until certain things were set up, the last of which came together in January, making those decisions would have been gambling or guessing at large function spaces, and this stuff is too important to us and to the attendees and to the presenters for a guess to be acceptable anymore. It takes time, and hundreds of hours, and a dozen meetings, even more conference calls, contracts, and so forth. That isn't a complaint, I just want to make it clear that every decision on this scale has to be reviewed and considered, and none of them can be made in a vacuum.

Thanks for the feedback.
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#262 User is offline   basili1250 

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:40 AM

::reads entire thread::

::shrug:: When things suck, they suck. What matters more than things sucking is what people do about to address, correct, or at least alleviate the situation.

Everything I've heard about what's being added or amended sounds pretty kick butt. I can't wait for the CoStudio. I think that's one of my favorite things EVER that I've seen brought up and is going to be made a reality at a con. I can't wait to check it out or volunteer to assist others or even bring some materials/tools for people to use.

I think trying to make small changes over time is a lot better than doing nothing period. If con-goers want to drop because of a bad experience or two then I respect and understand that, we've all been there.

I just care too much about the community and my passion as a whole more so than any trifle craptacular occurrence. I also don't like quitting when encounter hurdles that are surmountable, but that's just me :)
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#263 User is offline   masterblaster 

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

View Post❤Mokyu❤, on 03 May 2012 - 02:40 PM, said:

I've never been to either of the dances, but people are saying Hardcore Synergy plays anime music?

This doesn't sound like fun anime music to me.

I think the other users meant straight up anime music, like AMKE plays (or PLAYED - haven't been to their dance in a few years). Like, theme songs and stuff. A dance that doesn't involve the DJ screaming "put your f***ing hands up."

Something a little less "hardcore" and much more lighthearted. Maybe that way it wouldn't appeal so much to stoners and losers looking to grope a bunch of 14-year-old girls?

The undercurrent of violence in this clip is frightening.

I don't know who that mook yelling on the stage is but whatever he's doing doesn't seem to be serving any purpose besides getting the meatheads and drunks riled up for some good old ultraviolence. I see no PLUR in any of this.

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:03 PM

Something to consider for alternitives to the dances at night for people who want something fun to do that fits in with ACen's view.

1. ACen's GOT TALENT, or ANIME BANDS: I got this idea after seeing a few skits and reading a few older comments to a thread about the fact that there's a lot of singing acts in more the masqurade. What this would entail is basically musical acts that want to preform songs from a show (anime, jrpg, visual novel game, possibly orignal stuff, etc) and the audience can vote on who's the Best, if you will. They win some sort of small prize, either maybe some discout to a local shop, maybe something to the new place they have across the way at Rosmont, or a movie co gift set. Something fun for people to go see and enjoy that doesn't include dancing.

2. Slumber Party Event: What eoes this mean, well what it sounds like. One big slumber party. Basically people can come in their PJs (no boxers or just undies people please) and sit down to watch a cool anime, play some games, and just have a fun time that revolves around anime or Japanese culture.

3. Host Club experince/Maid Cafe: Basically what it sounds like. Volenteers or Cosplayers, basically act as Butlers or Maids or other form of character and sit and talk to the fans. This can also have a story to it and the customers can play in. Much like a dinner theater event. I know there are probably some actors and actresses that come to ACen that this could be a good chance for pratice and fun too.

4. Japanese Game show: Event is basically based on the Japanese game shows only it wouldn't involve insane and dangerous stunts. The idea is for it to be amusing and fans can win small prizes. Again nothing like money but something like a gift certificat to one of the local shops or maybe something online, like Right stuf or Funimation can supply a prize or two. Maybe a discount at their booth, or one of the vendors could.

As for the AMV's I was rather sad to hear about that. I was hoping to see more since I just really started to get into them as a whole.
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#265 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:09 PM

View Postmasterblaster, on 22 February 2013 - 04:54 PM, said:

The undercurrent of violence in this clip is frightening.

I don't know who that mook yelling on the stage is but whatever he's doing doesn't seem to be serving any purpose besides getting the meatheads and drunks riled up for some good old ultraviolence. I see no PLUR in any of this.


I really don't see what you are talking about. Only a few people were even dancing or doing those finger lights stuff. I don't really care for the dude using an f-bomb every other word, but his "riling up" didn't really seem to be working. Everyone was just standing around all civilized looking.

I've been to Christian concerts that had more dancing/body surfing/yelling than in that clip.


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#266 User is offline   Bloo09 

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:01 PM

Thank you for the great suggestions Dark Spellmaster. We've actually got a few of those ideas in the works for this year already (I'm not saying which though). But we are focusing on having good content for those who don't attend the dances.
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#267 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:38 AM

View PostBloo09, on 22 February 2013 - 07:01 PM, said:

Thank you for the great suggestions Dark Spellmaster. We've actually got a few of those ideas in the works for this year already (I'm not saying which though). But we are focusing on having good content for those who don't attend the dances.



Good to know, I'll keep my eye out for those things. As much as I like the idea of dancing, I tend to prefer winding the night down with actvities that are less hazardes then bopping around and winding up accidently knocking into someone because I'm too tired or something.
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#268 User is offline   Green Dragon 

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:41 PM

Meant to post this here (stupid tabs) but an idea to improve the con:

Combine the two dances into one. There is absolutely no need to for Hardcore Synergy AND Soap Bubble. Make it one dance, continue to call it the Soap Bubble, and make sure not to step on the toes of the Anime Hell or Masquerade.
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#269 User is offline   Bard-kun 

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:47 PM

I'm not really a fan of having two dances either, but aren't the dances too different (appealing to different crowds, etc) to be merged?
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#270 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:29 PM

View PostBard-kun, on 26 March 2013 - 12:47 PM, said:

I'm not really a fan of having two dances either, but aren't the dances too different (appealing to different crowds, etc) to be merged?


I believe this to be the case.

And as I will always stress, stick to the schedule! Timing is so important, it needs to be adhered to as much as possible. Nothing does derailing quite having times off.

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