First off i would like to say im glad that my concerns are being answered in some sense however even with your answers some things dont seem to be adding up quite right.
although i am happy you announced the date early this time around, it may be in the same general time frame which i still somewhat disapprove of but at the very least we have a year to plan and budget things out which is nice.
Sakuramboo wrote:Heyo, gonna field a couple of these questions (sorry if I don't touch on all of them ... trying to avoid the wall of text) and give a little perspective as to what went on this year as far as issues and why we did certain things.
On Date selection, it was several reasons primarily based on what days the rooms we need are available to us at the convention center at the time of booking. Also since we were able to book around the time when most kids are on spring break here we felt it would be a nice treat. Also with our old dates it would put us in conflict with Golden Week in Japan (making it harder on Japanese guest availability) as well as other conventions which hurt guests and venders that have to travel to both.
On Technical Issues, with us starting the convention several hours earlier (remember we would start the show later so kids wouldn't skip school, with spring break we can start much earlier) it means we had less time to set up gear which again was the most complex we have ever attempted (dual screens with camera in main events). As well as the 3 Video rooms, a special events room and several other area which had requested amplified audio to make announcements over the crowd. Every year is a learning experience as we try to juggle new ideas at a increasingly larger show with a all volunteer staff.
On Schedules, things always change. The bigger and more complex the more they change due to people being people. This year we had a last minute canceled guest which played havoc on several fronts gear was out of place as we rescheduled events to fill now large gaping holes in programming. This caused equipment to be out of place and not ready when needed. There was nothing malicious intended just our attempt to provide as much content during the show as we could with the time allotted.
We will take steps next to try and minimize the issues we had this year (we will have additional rooms and more and better equipment) but new problems with arise but on the other hand we will have awesome new events and programming. Nothing will ever be perfect but we will do our best and make decisions that are what we thing are in the best interest of the attendees, the staff, the guests, and the community.
on technical issues, if you start earlier logically you would set up earlier wouldn't you? in a sense maybe you should work with the staffers responsible for the setup of these rooms beforehand so that they know exactly how to set up the equipment if the time was a factor.
on schedule shouldnt you have left things as is ("gaping holes" in place)? i know it would be weird to have holes there but imho it makes more sense to leave them rather than disrupt an already set schedule
i realize nothing can be run perfectly but over the years ive noticed things slipping in certain areas. this year more than any other so far
DarkDaigoro wrote:Indeed, things happen, and I can only apologize for Sunday's Amano line. This was a lack of supervision on my part, as I was either in the front of the lines, or looking for more staffers to help run Amano and Vic's lines, or telling what little staffers I did have what they had to do. I really wish that I could be everywhere at once; that ability would be incredibly convenient for Kon.
To address a few things concerned_citizen brought up: Indeed, cut-offs are usually done after a guest is signing. That is, unless the founders tells us otherwise. But, like you said, this issue was solved.
Secondly, in order for people to get to the bathrooms or the open area or rooms, we need to keep certain areas clear. If a staffer misjudged the amount of space needed to keep said areas clear, then it was simply a mistake. We're only human, just like you guys. As for the issue of people cutting in line, well... Unfortunately, being understaffed happens too. But again, the space issue was solved, albeit a little late.
As for the last part, the decision does come from the guests and/or their managers. Or the Events staffers. Or the founders. Sometimes, there's a combination of two or more.
i understand the reason for needing to move lines and leave walking space as that can be a fire hazard if left unmitigated so i understand the logic behind what security does. thank you for the explanation and dealing with the situation immediately when it arose.
buma wrote:response to some of the questions:
Thursday is our normal set-up day for the convention - all rooms are set up by a small number of volunteers for all events and all rooms over the weekend. Ideally it takes the full day to make sure the rooms are all up and running, but due to trying to expand our offerings at the Kon, we started to place pre-events such as another karaoke prelims and pre-judging for cosplay showcase on this same day: the Thursday before the Kon. This conjunction has always been an issue for our setup, especially as we improve our setups and technology for each room and it has become too much of a conflict and impacts both the setup and pre-events. Unfortunately, for the benefit of the entire Kon, events such as pre-judging and prelims may now have to be integrated back into the normal scheduled time for the Kon proper and leave Thursday strictly for setup alone. Please stay tuned as we look into it for 2013 and beyond.
As for Cosplay and Theater prejudging in the middle of the day and on a Saturday, it was mostly due to the fact that we had a very full schedule. With a lot guests, concerts, and major events occurring during the KK-2012 weekend, we just literally had no time or room for it to occur in another room and our Video department was gracious enough to let us time in the video room to run these two prejudging events. Again, we are looking into making it a better experience for all so please stay tuned.
Also, due to the last minute airline issues that caused Chris Sabat not to be able to attend this year's Kon and him running several long panels as well, there was a lot of 11th hour shuffling around of panels to fill in those gaps to maximize the use of our rooms and of course, that causes issues, too. But of course, it's very difficult to redo a schedule that you spend weeks to make 'perfect' in just a few hours and unfortunately it does cause confusion at times. Please forgive us for the delays.
And lastly, no matter how well one plans, there are always some type of unforeseen changes that throws a monkey wrench into your well-placed plans. When the possibility of having bless4 / AKINO came up, we quickly accommodated it in our schedule to offer the Kon-goer the opportunity to see this group up close and personal at the Kon.
2. Autograph sessions
this is always a tough issue as many decisions need to be made on the spot by the staff present to try and accommodate the most people and still not inconvenience those who are trying to enjoy the rest of the Kon. With such a large number of guests this year, it just comes down to timing, logistics, and a learning curve on our part. With so many guests, and those who are very popular and want to continue giving autographs even beyond their allotted times, it is in a constant state of flux and the variables are ever-changing. We are striving to make the autograph lines flow smoothly and with less confusion, but please bear with us as just the shear numbers can be overwhelming at times.
as stated above, almost all of the sound equipment and setup is done by a small group of core volunteers and it is very hard to expect everything to go correctly. With new pieces of equipment coming into the room, there are always bound to be problems, and unfortunately this year we had a few due to these 'growing pains' and it radiated into delaying the schedule. We are looking into streamlining a lot of the technical issues for KK2013, so thanks for your concern.
As previously mentioned, Kawaii Kon was scheduled in the middle of March for specific reasons: to coincide with spring break, to avoid golden week, and to avoid other competing shows that would limit our vendors and guests. I understand your concerns raised here, but with a little more planning, the obstacles you mention can be overcome: ordering your items earlier, ordering domestic, making said costume or costume parts yourself, and budgeting what you spend are just a few examples.
As for the dates coinciding with spring break being bad, we just have to look at the numbers: Kawaii Kon grew to over 6000 attendees, or more than 16% more attendees than last year. I think that this growth speaks for itself.
As for Kawaii Kon doing something "before it implodes on itself" - I can't ever seeing that happen. Kawaii Kon is run by a dedicated staff of volunteers who are also fans of the genre and of putting on the Kon itself. We are the harshest critics of our own work as we want to build the best anime convention possible. Comments like this help us see where we are lacking and where we need to improve. But you must also understand that as we grow, there are growing pains. Yes, we've been at this for 8 years now, but we have grown each and every year. Sometimes in small steps, and, like in 2012, in very big steps.
7. Room Issues
As to Dealers room being smaller - in actuality, the room is approximately the same size as it was last year, just a different configuration (being a bit longer and narrower as compared to 2011's room downstairs in 316abc). In fact, I believe we actually have more vendor spaces in the room this year than previously, so even more choices for the Kon-goer. Due to the new configuration, it was a bit of a learning curve for us to judge the capacity of the room and when to let folks into Dealers Room, too. Once we got more accustomed to the room however, we did start letting more and more people in so lines were shorter as the weekend went on.
As to rooms moving for 2013 - nothing is set in stone yet, but there are currently no plans for moving Dealers room back downstairs to it's old home, nor moving Artist Alley upstairs to the 4th floor ballrooms. However, that doesn't mean that it can't happen... but currently, there are no plans for it.
just a few things here I want to mention here as I've seen this brought up before. As to the prejudging - remember that even thought the schedule says it runs for 2 hours, you still need to be there at the START of that 2 hour period, not at the 1:50 mark. Although the room is reserved for 2 hours of judging, if everyone who showed up at the beginning gets judged in the first hour, and no one else shows up for 20 minutes, they're going to consider judging closed and the judges move on to something else. Please remember this when entering and it will save you a lot of last-minute rushing around and trying to make special accommodations.
Best way to make a better Kon experience? Volunteer. Work for the Kon to help make it better. It's easy to go about and say "this was bad" or "this didn't work the way it should" but it's another thing entirely to say "Let me help you make the Kon better".
Thank you for your concerns, however. We always strive to do better each and every year.
1. Okay first off i believe you've mixed up the showcase and the theatre, although i did leave a large wall of text so its somewhat understandable. second, regardless of thursday being the general setup day it still confuses me that things were not prepared properly, intuitively wouldn't you set up those rooms that were set to be used before any others? also how does the setup for the special events room take all day? i can understand main events which has a somewhat elaborate stage setup in comparison but i've seen more complex setups done within a couple hours.
in regards to moving pre judging for theatre and karaoke to friday how would that work with the schedule seemingly being already full according to many of the responses i've gotten? this doesn't really add up in my mind.
Lastly i can understand changing thing because a new guest was announced late in the game but as i said in response to an earlier post i dont see the reasoning behind shuffling the schedule because events were cancelled due to unfortunate circumstances.
2. i understand the ideas here but every year there are long lines for autographs and almost every year its the same story. im happy the problems were more or less dealt with however, when its only friday and a guest has two more sessions i dont see why they need to stay too far beyond their allotted time. i understand if a kon goer has much to do as i usually run a tight schedule during the convention but there are multiple opportunities for that reason.
3. its good to know you're working on the issue. has the AV crew always been volunteers? honestly with the amount of money you get from admission and sponsorships i thought they were a hired company.
4. i understand coinciding with brake however i just brought up those reasons as they are valid concerns among the kon community i have spoken with and as mentioned by another poster those were the exact reasons why it wasn't done other years. the only thing i dont quite understand is avoiding golden week, wouldn't this bee the best opportunity to get guests to come to kon? i know it would probably be considered work for them but most animation studios/ manga printers such as Jump have a break during that timespan and what better to entice a guest than with a trip to hawaii to relax see the sites and meet adoring fans.
also in response to your second comment, i say this a person who volunteers for upwards of 10 events per year ranging form very small to larger than kon which are completely volunteer run a couple of which take place in the convention center. Even with the most dedicated volunteers, enough problems like what occurred this year as well as a seemingly shaky hierarchy by my observation can turn the dedication upside down and that is what concerns me most. Growing or not ive seen larger events with greater logistical planning involved run better and the'yve only been running for 4-5 years and with a much more limited staff than the numbers given here on a good year these events can expect around half of your total manpower spanning over 4-5 days.
7. just a little suggestion here, why not take over one of the kamehameha rooms? you could probably stand to combine several rooms into one there. i believe the convention center has mobile dividers of some kind so that there can be a defined line. for example you could put artist alley, dealers room, and tabletop here in one place (even ani maid cafe if they are coming back). this would aleviate some of the congestion as it would be a bigger space even with multiple events running in the same room. im not sure but it may actually be more economical cost wise as well though im not familiar with the convention center's pricing.
9. as with satomihidee i dont necessarily agree with this answer, you have addressed this in some sense so i thank you for that. However as in that kind of situation i fail to see why someone would be disallowed entry because of it especially when the pool of contestants has been as small as it has been the past two years. i understand if there are too many entrants as stated in the rule where it is first some first serve and the showcase has a limited time slot to run.
as for volunteering as stated earlier I volunteer for multiple events throughout the year and incidentally have traveled to the mainland in the past to help with various events mind you they were not anime conventions. There are higher issues stopping me from doing this with these concerns being the tip if the proverbial iceberg. i could delve into it but i believe it not to be in the spirit of this thread.
Thank you again for actually reading through my posts and giving your answers. i'd like to see more staff members and higher ups acknowledging all of the responses not only mine in this thread. these posts if all go well will hopefully improve things in the future.