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Derwin Mak
11-26-2005, 12:51 PM
I resigned as Costuming Guest of Honour at Con No Baka because the convention's organizers did not provide any of the resources or awards (i.e., ribbons) promised to the cosplayers, and therefore, I could no fulfil my duties. In addition, the convention's organizers absolved themselves of any responsibility for cosplay events and issues so that I, not they, would be blamed for cosplay problems.

There was supposed to have been a "professional photo area" set up. There was none. The plan was that there would be a photographer, he would take photos of people wanting to be judged for cosplay awards, and I would decide who got the prizes, which were memberships at other conventions. But there was no photo area, and there were no registration forms to help me match the costume to the cosplayer's name to the photo. The convention chairman said that he expected one of the convention's photographers to set up the photo area. The photographer said that nobody had told him.

I talked with the photographer, and I said I could possibly salvage this event if we could create some registration forms on-site and print them, and if we could use his personal camera and move a computer and monitor to the proposed photo area site. However, this plan too failed. Four printers were in the con office; all failed because nobody had checked to see if the printers were compatible with the PC's software before the convention. They got a printer driver from someone's home, and one PC was working to one printer, but it was being used for some urgent gaming stuff, so I couldn't use it.

I had been promised hall costume ribbons to hand out to people. I told the photographer that if I could hand these out, I could still make the cosplayers feel good and appreciated. But I found out that the hall costume ribbons were merely plain strips of ribbon, bought at a fabric shop, with a strange symbol handwritten in gold glitter ink on them (symbol resembled a "6"). In addition, only 3 such ribbons had been cut from the roll (and when you put them together, they read "666"). I said that only three lucky cosplayers could receive this ribbon, and they would be greatly disappointed to receive this.

What was especially awful, though, was that the website and the program book were updated in recent weeks to say that I was responsible for organizing all costuming events. Nobody told me that I was suddenly chief of all costuming events, and it was never anything discussed between me and the convention chair. Indeed, he had told me that I would be like a Guest, that I would judge costumes and do panels, but he never mentioned I would have to set up a photo area. I did try to organize some sort of costume contest (not a stage show, but hall costume judging) on site, but as I mention above, all my fall-back plans could not be done due to lack of materials and supplies from the convention organizers. When I walked into the con office, cons staff asked me all sorts of questions about what was being done, why wasn't this-and-that being done, etc. It was never my job, and it was never the photographer's job either. Just posting it on a website several weeks before the convention without telling me DOESN'T MAKE IT REAL.

True, the convention organizer had gotten a few complimentary memberships at other conventions to award as costuming prizes, but it would be impossible to award those given that there was no way any sort of judging could occur. And I had told him far in advance that even people who didn't get the big prizes but had good costumes should get a hall costume ribbon, and he said there would be ribbons, but there weren't, at least not any ribbon anyone would be proud to wear.

The last straw came when someone in the con office told me to stop complaining because gaming is more important that cosplaying. Now I realize why the Gaming Guest of Honour and other Guests of Honour got a badge that read "GUEST", but the Costuming Guest of Honour got a badge that read "Panelist". One of the staff told me that he had received a list of Guest of Honour badges to print, but the Costuming Guest of Honour had been omitted. I didn't think think that was important, and I was happy to wear the regular badge (because a badge is just a trifle anyway), but now I realize that the convention's organizers never cared about costumers anyway.

There was no schedule printed for any events due to the printers failing, so people found out the time and location of their panels by word of mouth, or, if they were lucky, saw a handwritten schedule for the day (but not tomorrow or Sunday) that was posted beside the con office late Friday evening (by then, the day was mostly over anyway). I did manage to do two panels, one about weird sex in anime (I was the ONLY panelist who arrived, so I turned it into a Socratic dialogue with the audience -- they loved it), and one presentation about schoolgirls in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I stayed for those because some American fans from a college in Upstate New York asked me to stay.

I knew that if I stayed at the convention, disappointed cosplayers would blame me for this disaster because the convention organizer was absolving himself for any involvement in cosplay issues. I resigned as Costuming Guest of Honour and left the convention on Saturday morning.

Sincerely,
Derwin Mak

LoneWanderer
11-26-2005, 01:26 PM
*sigh* lol, you see I thought something like that would happen (the disorganization). That was the exact reason why I never bother to waste 45$ on a first time con, that names themselves "con no *baka*" lol

but ya I feel sorry for you that it ended up like this I can only imagine the frustation that you had to go though.

Vicky
11-26-2005, 01:54 PM
I'm with Lone Wanderer on that one. I am so glad I didn't go @_@;

Yuna-X2
11-26-2005, 02:32 PM
Thank goodness AC3 was last weekend. I got my Con-self on last weekend in Ottawa. I agree with everyone else, any con that puts 'baka' in their name makes me ask questions..

Kia
11-26-2005, 02:37 PM
Sad thing is this fiasco of a convention makes even Hobbystar look like saints ... :lost:

And Derwin, thank you for caring about this community enough to TELL US WHY you could not fulfill the job they didn't even tell you that you had. That is MUCH more than the CnB staff have at all since they first started advertising. And thank you for at trying to salvage the situation, but honestly CnB is a lost cause.
:: hugs for Derwin, and I'll see you at Ad Astra ::

Alexia Ishtar
11-26-2005, 02:53 PM
Gaming is more important, pfft, that makes me angry just a 'little' bit. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't waste the $85 to go down and back. ($45 for the con pass and another $40 bus fare)

I also appreciate (even though I didn't go) that you at least explained what happened at least somebody cares about us cosplayers. *hugs for Derwin* You don't need no stinkin' badge:bigtu:

Kohana
11-26-2005, 08:48 PM
Sad thing is this fiasco of a convention makes even Hobbystar look like saints ... :lost:


LOL LOL!!! so true!....

But I went today b/c a friend of mine wanted to go to her 1st con ever....I was just sad for her that is was this one... AN will definitely make up for it... but I had an okay time b/c I spent alot of time in the viewing rooms and some good animes were shown... and the sailor moon musical is quite hilarious....

personally I think CnB will be alot better if it wasnt 3 days long

Eleryth
11-26-2005, 09:38 PM
Thank you for sharing, Derwin. A lot goes on behind the scenes at every convention regarding the costuming panels and contests/masquerades, and people don't usually get to know what the Masq Director (or judges) are up to behind the scenes. Especially when things go wrong.

It's really unfortunate that this new convention didn't live up to what they promised, and it's even worse when they try to look like it was your fault. Major communication problems need to be fixed if they want to try again next year.

I don't know why they didn't just go with a gaming con - I don't think the GTA has one of those yet (not that I know of, anyway).

But again, thank you, Derwin, for caring about the costume community and letting us know what went on.

I hope we see more posts from you on this forum! :)

TribalButterfly
11-26-2005, 10:06 PM
I didn't go either.

I wasn't expecting it to be worth missing what other stuff I'd be doing.
Looks like i was right.

Squall1882
11-26-2005, 10:38 PM
Wow, I was upset having to work kept me from the con... but after reading this maybe it did me a favor!!

archangeli
11-26-2005, 11:04 PM
I arrived fairly late this afternoon, just in time to hear them announce that the con was being shut down after today and that it would not reopen tomorrow. And then to hear that the dealer's room was being shut down ahead of time.

Derwin, thank you for posting this. I'm glad to know what happened on your end of things - or in this case what never happened.

I feel badly for people who attended the con on Saturday and bought full weekend passes. In so many words, this was truly a Baka-Con.

arnoct
11-26-2005, 11:19 PM
I was lucky in the fact that I only went for one specific thing--the improv. When my friend (who was also in the improv) and I got to the con, there seemed to be a definite lack of communication between everyone. It took us about fifteen minutes and at least 5 staff members to figure out that we needed to go to the con office to get our badges. Once we finally got our guest badges, we went to two panels--one was the darkian arts panel (which sadly nobody showed up for,) and the Northern Anime Festival panel, which my friend was in (ditto.) After that, we did the improv, which happily went well, and I think it was a high point for many congoers.

After the improv, Aaron (the con chair) came up to the host of the 404s and basically told him that he has to get out of his room since they were no longer paying for the guests' rooms. I was lucky because I left shortly after that (after a quick stop by the dealer's room, which was actually pretty good,) because I was hungry and we getting ready to leave. We all met upstairs in what I like to call the "NAF Room" (part the NAF board was staying in it,) and the rest I gathered from friends coming upstairs--including guests Les Major and Mandy St. Jean, who had cleaned out their rooms because they expected to soon be kicked out. Apparantly there were a lot of pissed off congoers downstairs, and it was better to stay upstairs and avoid the con alltogether.

Hopefully CNB will quickly explain the situation and why they had to cut it off so early. There will be reprecussions, and I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't around next year--aside from being an annoyance to congoers, they also broke contract with the dealers (and other contracted people) which could open them up for legal problems.

Anyway, sorry this sounded kinda disjointed, I've had a long day. Thanks everyone who came to the improv!

morbid-prince
11-26-2005, 11:29 PM
anyone know how to get their money back??? -__- will never go to this con ever again

Sarcasm-hime
11-26-2005, 11:32 PM
personally I think CnB will be alot better if it wasnt 3 days long

The sad thing is that when Aaron was first announcing his plans to do this, many of us tried to give him advice, like suggesting he start smaller with a 1-day con instead of expecting that thousands of people would show up for an unknown event, or expecting that a large convention would somehow magically run itself with almost no staff or organization, and he brushed us off saying he knew what he was doing.

I think a lot of us have been watching for the fallout and knowing what would happen, because good cons take a LOT of work and manpower, and arrogance alone cannot replace those elements. :P

And Derwin, kudos for choosing to cut your losses and get the hell out of Dodge. I'm actually surprised you didn't do it earlier; you're clearly a more patient person than I when it comes to putting up with stupidity. ^_^;

Schubuttercup
11-26-2005, 11:36 PM
OMFG this was horrible! I have never been to such a worse display of organization, events and everything! Then again, I guess I'm not that much surprised. I was waiting for it to happen since they were promising all this stuff which is impossible for a new con. I don't think they'll be back and even if they are and they promise to be better, I still will not attend. It was not worth the time or effort to get there. Truthfully, they can keep my money, it might be tainted so I don't want it back. >_< to them. I hate to single anyone out, but so far there has only been one first time con that is three days to succeed, so it possible e.e;

dani
11-26-2005, 11:45 PM
We love you, Derwin. Thanks for TRYING so hard and putting extra effort on this lost cause.

Lady_Sodina
11-26-2005, 11:51 PM
To be honest, I'm like Arnoct. I really mainly wanted to see the 404s (and they didn't disappoint me, I was so happy JUST because of them *^^* Definately made my weekend) so I only was going to go for one day, I'm SO HAPPY I didn't go for the full weekend like I had initially planned on!! *phew* It would've been better if it was just one day, I feel so bad for those who paid for the full weekend >< I feel even WORSE for the dealers though!! Dear god that must have been a lot to take down ><

Edit: *hugglez Derwin for all you had to go through*

dani
11-27-2005, 12:04 AM
As a dealer, I was "lucky": had some GOLD caliber friends around to help me take down and pack all my goodies in no time flat, have my own dolly to take my stuff to the loading dock, and my house is somewhat close-by so after two strips in my small car I was done around 10:30pm.
My booth neighbour (who had six tables) had to go get their van to HAMILTON! so I don't think they are home yet.

To make things muddier: many dealers paid part of their booths with gift certificates, and when it was announced that the con was cut short, some atendees got gift certificates as compensation, in fact using dealers money to compensate atendees. Since the possibility of a refund for dealers is still up in the air, some dealers have been forced to stop honoring the certificates (to cut their losses), and from what I've seen the certificate holders have been very understanding of the situation.

heki-chan
11-27-2005, 12:07 AM
Con no Baka is a rip off, and attempted to dig out of the grave via lame lies.

I was a dealer at this con, and I'm pretty ticked.

Lega contracts were disregarded, business ethics out the window; we were lied to multiple times unti a few of us bluntly called them out on it.
Direct quotes, because you know what? People deserve the truth.

CnB: We found out about the con-closure 2 minutes before you (the dealers) found out
Dealer: ??? Then why did a customer come to me saying that they were given gift certificates as a refund from the con? {*cough* this takes more than 2 minutes to disperse *cough*) We're not honouring those gift certificates because it's your liability, not ours.
CnB: Dealers who do not honour GC's are being unethical
Dealer: NO. You using OUR money aka GC's to partially refund the con-goers is unethical. It's our cash, and you haven't even compensate us yet
CnB: ....sorry. what I had intended was to provide morelast minute customers for you dealers [AKA: I lied to you guys initially about the finding out 2mins before you did, cuz i spent time handing out your GCs to people =P ]
Dealer: It doesn't work that way. If you want to partially refund people, use your own funds. We wil NOT honour those GCs.

...

CnB: You know what in the end, my losses are so much more than yours.
Dealer: Why are you even saying that? I don't care about your bottomline, you are a business entity, there were legal contracts signed, so really your bottomline does not affect this situation that we are facing.

...

CnB: The MOST refund I can give you is 25%
Dealer: Okay. THats fair according to the total hours.


In case that didn't make sense:
The con chair decided to give partial refunds to weekend membership purchases by giving them the DEALERS' GIFT CERTIFICATES (meant for prizes at the con); meanwhile we were not told Sunday was to be cancelled.

WTF??? The gift certificates = dealer's cash. So the con is making the DEALERS pay for their mistakes???

Con-chair's answer: we thought it would bring the dealers more customers last minute

^dot dot dot.
No, you're just using OUR money to cover YOUR ass.


=========

You know what? I wouldn't be half as pissed if I wasn't blatently lied to.
Also how we were sent vague/repetitive messages via security.
"you will get a refund, but you will need to contact the con chair, but dont go talk to him cuz we don't know where he is exactly"

(Security volunteers: thank you for staying professional under the strained atmosphere.)

A lot of people were cheated time and money.
THe Dealers, see above.
The con-goers, their time and money. Countless people were stranded at the hotel, and (i'm not 100% sure about this) apparently were charged more for hotelrooms later on.

THe level of unprofessionalism and lack of basic ethics was mindblowing.
I suppose Con no Baka the first, is also the last. =P

Sarcasm-hime
11-27-2005, 12:18 AM
Now I feel kind of bad that I wasn't more strenuous in my predictions of doom for CnB. Coz it was clear right from the start that it would most likely fail spectacularly, and many people here did point out the major flaws, but perhaps if we'd been more vocal about it recently fewer innocent people would have been swindled. :P

Schubuttercup
11-27-2005, 12:23 AM
OMG! Heki! I feel so sorry for you! -offers huggles- The Dealers suffered so!

heki-chan
11-27-2005, 12:24 AM
Now I feel kind of bad that I wasn't more strenuous in my predictions of doom for CnB. Coz it was clear right from the start that it would most likely fail spectacularly, and many people here did point out the major flaws, but perhaps if we'd been more vocal about it recently fewer innocent people would have been swindled. :P

I don't think many of us had imagined it would be THIS bad, lol!
Personally, I knew it wasn't going to be AMAZING, but never would have thought they'd shutdown mid-way and rip people off. >_>

Dark-Fang
11-27-2005, 12:37 AM
I don't think many of us had imagined it would be THIS bad, lol!
Personally, I knew it wasn't going to be AMAZING, but never would have thought they'd shutdown mid-way and rip people off. >_>
I went and I am quite happy. Not with the disorganization or the half assed panneling.....
I went to cosplay - I was recognized
I attended a martial arts demonstration - I was taught a few moves and I got to chat with a master of several styles of Kung-Fu

BUT the dance....

Whomever did this dance if they are on here I want them to PM me an appology... I was waiting a half hour for it to start and the lack of water inside the dance room was appauling... I overheated so badly I was almost certain I would faint....

But yeah crappy con no set video rooms or anything it was sickening in some areas how disorganized and sad it was...

One point I would like to add Several minutes before the announcement was made about the closing (we're talking 15-20 min) I was handed a GC for a dealer and it looked like a photocoppied cheque...

If you happen to be the dealer that was selling the manga for 8 dollars. *huggles* Thank you so much you made my con MUCH more Pleasant!

I felt so bad for this dealer I offered to help pack up with them, They were really a great bunch of guys...

heki-chan
11-27-2005, 12:47 AM
Yeah, I had fun because of my super awesome awesome friends *lovelove* ^_^ The con itself was.......yeah.
Also, I thought the photographer (Albert?) did a fantastic job (thank you!)



One point I would like to add Several minutes before the announcement was made about the closing (we're talking 15-20 min) I was handed a GC for a dealer and it looked like a photocoppied cheque...



:eeek: ^ That says it all.

Dark-Fang
11-27-2005, 12:55 AM
Yeah, I had fun because of my super awesome awesome friends *lovelove* ^_^ The con itself was.......yeah.
Also, I thought the photographer (Albert?) did a fantastic job (thank you!)




:eeek: ^ That says it all.
I still have it with me I never attempted to use it... You probably saw me I was the Sanji with the fake cigarette and army bag... The reason I didn't attempt to use it was because I thought it was another flyer thing that is handed out at a standard con to everyone...^^;; and I only found out after that the company the cheque had on it was selling manga there...

Another Dream
11-27-2005, 01:10 AM
I was the dealer at the show from Hamilton. I finally arrived home after 11 tonight. I was so exhausted, tearing my booth down, I was almost in tears. My hubby had to drive almost an hour EACH WAY to get our cube van that we rented for the show JUST so we could leave the hotel.

The NERVE of the convention organizer for trying to hand out the gift certificates we gave them as payment to attendees!!! I almost blew a gasket when my customers told me they were given them as refund for their memberships. That was so unfair!! I told a few customers to go get cash back, and I know some were given the refund, I hope everyone was. I've been promised a refund, but I don't expect to see one any time soon. There have been wayy too many promises broken by this team before the con even began, sigh...
Let me also say that those who helped with the con who are also familiar faces with Anime North had NOTHING to do with the failure of this show. The brothers, Donald and Dave went out of their way to make things right, even though the odds were stacked up totally against them. Cudos to them for dealing with the onslaught of anger the way they did.

BUT, one very positive note. This experience has showed me that yet again, the community of people who attend anime conventions are truly the best. I've been to all sorts of conventions and the ones I enjoy the most are anime ones. and it's the people that make it that way. When I had to tell my customers that I couldn't honour their coupons anymore, I felt terrible, but everyone was so kind and understanding.

You guys are what make me want to come back again and again. I'm thankful for how nice everyone was to me even when I was so upset for being kicked out.
SO, even though it was a crappy weekend, there was a little sunshine behind the con no baka clouds!

joanne

ps_ Missed you Derwin! Matt and I will see you soon!

Derwin Mak
11-27-2005, 01:38 AM
Wow, I didn't realize it could degenerate so far, especially in the dealers' room! Dani, Heki-chan, you have my sympathy for being forced to evacuate the dealers' room on such short notice. That is truly awful for the dealers.

The con chair gave me two reasons for the disorganization: first, it's the first year; secondly, the panels programmer person fell ill last week. Neither reason, however, explains why nobody on the convention committee thought about the cosplay content (like the photo area and the hall costume ribbons); or why reasonable offers of help and advice from the cosplay community were rejected; or why people discovered they had previously-unknown duties by reading about them on the website or the program book or by hearing about it at the convention (I wasn't the only one who experienced this.).

It's not inexperience that makes a person completely ignore or forget an entire track of events or refuse advice and help from experienced persons. And the regrettably-ill panels programmer had no involvement in cosplay areas anyway.

I've gone to possibly over 100 conventions (I've lost count) since 1979, and Con No Baka was the worst. It was the only one to actually end early, and even the poorly-attended Primedia conventions lasted until late Sunday afternoon. I've also gone to fan-run conventions that lost much money, started everything late, had guests fail to show up, were attended by 100 people or less, etc. Yet these were still more enjoyable that Con No Baka because you felt that the con chair and staff genuinely cared about the fans, and events and activities did occur. For these conventions, we guests stuck around to the end, even if it meant doing panels in front of 3 people. We felt some loyalty and obligation to the convention.

***
I think the difference between those conventions and Con No Baka is that I got the impression that many of the promises made by Con No Baka were never intended to be kept. The hall costume ribbons and the photo area, for example. I asked about those in the weeks before the convention and got assurances that all would happen and arrive. Of course, they didn't.

Whatever the reasons or excuses, Con No Baka the Last has ended. Some of you may want to read the convention chairman's letter to the convention, which is in the convention program book, p. 3:

"When Con-No-Baka (our new Anime & Gaming convention) was first announced, there where [sic] some negative feedback and it was widely regarded as a "bad move" by some of the people in the online community. While I can understand the meaning of their words, I still have to follow my vision. Creating a new convention out of nothing is a monumental task. It requires months of preparation, the pruning of what will not work from what will work, the taking of opportunities, the ability to connect all the dots, and the willingness to have an open mind to all possibilities. In the creation of Con-no-Baka, our goal was to highlight not only what we enjoy about entertainment created thousands if not tens of thousands of miles away, but celebrate the communities of fans and artists who share a common love of animiation, games and other aspects of fandom right here. We are happy to open up our convention to fans new and old, to broaden everyone's experience with the rich tapestry of local fandom that all of us can enjoy.

"A lofty and ambitious goal? Absolutely!"
***

Derwin

Derwin Mak
11-27-2005, 01:52 AM
Hi, Joanne: I'm glad you and Matt safely packed up your dealers table and got back to Hamilton. My sympathy to you too and to all dealers there.

The dealers' room was actually better than I expected, but now I hear it closed prematurely and chaotically. I can only imagine the hassle of needing to pack and leave a day early with mere hours of warning.

Well, here's looking forward to Ad Astra, Anime North, and Toronto Trek next year. At least those conventions don't make cynical promises they know they can't keep.

When I get some time later, I'll post a photo of the spectacularly-lame Con No Baka hall costume award ribbon.

Derwin.

dani
11-27-2005, 01:57 AM
Talking about photos... did someone take a pic of the craptastic "backdrop setup"? It looks like they couldn't find an ironed bed sheet (in a hotel???) so they had to use a worn one.

dani
11-27-2005, 01:59 AM
I was the dealer at the show from Hamilton.
Many thanks for your help and companionship this weekend. I couldn't have asked for better neighbours.

Vicky
11-27-2005, 02:46 AM
*raises hand* i totally expected it to be a disaster.
i'd have been surprised if it went well, honestly.

and am i the only damn person on this forum who LIKES CNX?! hehe ;)

LoneWanderer
11-27-2005, 02:47 AM
Wow I when I first posted this morning I didn't know it was gonna be this bad, so I withheld a few hmm insulting-ish comments, but from the way things look it I guess I might as well have said it.

Dani+heki-chan: you guys rock! and I feel sorry for what happened to you and the other dealers giving out dealer's GC as refund is really striking it low
Derwin: ya of all the few con I've been to I guess AN is still the best one around here?

This morning's orgininal comment:
re-reading... hmm an anime/gaming con that doesn't care about cosplayers is well as the name suggested an "idiot's con"?

Well, now that I've read the comments above it seems like more or less they didn't care about any con-goers at all...

This is a truly sad moment in the history of anime conventions...
(lol and I thought dtac and mtac were not good this makes all those hobbystar ones look good now lol)

this Con no baka = what a "con"!!!

Kohana
11-27-2005, 08:15 AM
hey Heki-chan: if it makes feel any better I REALLY the Bleach cellphone accessory I got from your table!...and now all my friends want one!...so hopefully after this experience you dont give up on this dealer thing! :D

But I did over hear hotel staff kicking CnB out of the one area in the hotel to set up for some Christmas party or whatever...But I didnt see what happened after because I went to go watch Fruits Basket....(which I missed >_>...moo)

w00tastic
11-27-2005, 09:21 AM
Wow, I'm actually quite happy I did not go. My friends and I were considering flying out to attend and I had my speculations about it so I told them to hold off until next year. And am I ever glad I did hold off.

I feel so bad for all of you!
Dealers: Thats horrible to hear what happend. Truely very disorganized not to mention being shoved out a day ahead of schedule and being left to fend for yourselves. Thats just wrong. And then what Chair did? I'm sorry but you dont cover your own mistakes by making the dealers pay for it!
Con attenders: Wow, I feel so bad for you guys spending all that money (weekend passes) and not getting the full con experience not to mention with all the chaos going on Id say you would be pretty peeved.

Though, Its good to see that theres still some pride left in the people on the con commitee who actually TRIED to fix things up and left when they thought the time was right. I'm very sorry to hear about you CnB problems and I would be VERY surprised if they ever come back for another try.

Another Dream
11-27-2005, 10:01 AM
Many thanks for your help and companionship this weekend. I couldn't have asked for better neighbours.

awww, shucks!:D
Ditto!

Angathol
11-27-2005, 11:26 AM
Wow. I only wanted to go for a day, just to meet up with friends again, but now I'm grateful I didn't. O_o I would have expected a better con. Oh dear... just six more months until Anime North.

Heki and the other dealers have my sympathy, as well as the GOHs.

TheWestWind
11-27-2005, 12:01 PM
I went to the con(Hanatarou from Bleach, and Chuunin Exam Sasuke). I have to say that I didn't have a bad time. Sure, it was disorganized and it was a rip-off, and I can understand why the dealers are so pissed(I wanted to buy more... and it was closed!). But putting everthing like that aside I had a fun time. I guess it was because it was my first time renting a hotel for a con and my friends were great!

I dunno, I guess I'm the weird one... I was looking for the best in the situation...

lainey
11-27-2005, 12:16 PM
Like mentioned previously, it was bad as it was without being shut down. But being a small con for the first time, it was understandable. The whole closing early thing was just completely unacceptable and definitely crossed the line.

Definitely too many broken promises. I was already weary when on their website they said that they were going to print out 3000 program booklets. Were they REALLY expecting that many attendees??

I feel very sorry for the dealers and am very glad that I didn't have a table this time. I was speaking with one of the dealers and she was quite upset but was being a good sport about it in the least (props to you!).
Them passing out the gift certificates annoyed me as well once I realized what they were doing. I just trashed the one I randomly got for Dani's store. I should have asked for more and threw them all away and save the dealers some headache lol

Nevertheless I had a lot of fun seeing people again, and actually there were quite a bit of cosplayers there (more than I imagined in fact!), and they were all awesome :)

I must say that the photography area was quite crappy (yes Dani...iron anyone?!) and I was expecting something much nicer. Their setup was quite sad since I have better stuff at home...but whatever -_-

Fortunately the whole day wasn't ruined as I had a blast with my friends. Truly we had to make our own fun (this was indeed, Con No Baka's philosophy for the con)...but the game tournaments were probably the only thing I found good about the con in the least :)

So rather than just dwelling on it since we can rant on it forever...lets look on the positive side and look forward to and give respect to the favourite cons such as Ad Astra Astra, AN, Toronto Trek and CN :)

Ochika
11-27-2005, 01:24 PM
Amy the Yu typing:
I was one of the dealers and I never saw our GCs at all til the very end. Did anyone get it? It was for Golden Coast Enterprises with the uh...cute eggs on it. >_>;;

dani
11-27-2005, 01:29 PM
Here is a photo with the super-duper backdrop provided: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=537166

Lainey (and anyone else who got a gift certificate for any vendor): Thanks for disposing of that certificate. Can you describe in more detail how was it handed to you? I forsee the saga of the GC isn't over yet. People received them in good faith and many will honestly try to use them with the vendors. Nobody enjoys having a GC rejected so it will be an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved.

Knowing EXACTLY the criteria usesd by the con to hand out the GC at different stages of the weekend will help us piece together their intentions.

Thanks!

TheWestWind
11-27-2005, 01:38 PM
heeey.... that's a pic of me, lol.... I was like 'ooooh, look a pic of the backdrop, haha....' Then I open it and I'm like 'heeeey, it's me, lol'... But yeah, for *some* pics the backdrop was cool.... but it really doesn't look pro...

Vicky
11-27-2005, 02:20 PM
is that backdrop supposed to look like an iron's worst nightmare? :s

kels
11-27-2005, 02:27 PM
mm.. i think it wouldve been alot better if it were just one day.. but yeah

to me, it wasnt bad at all, since i paid for NOTHING (except for the poutine from harveys) the entire day. >got in free because of panels~<

but yeah.. i feel bad for people who DID have to pay to get in, and especially the dealers... this was totally messed

arnoct
11-27-2005, 02:49 PM
Same. Got in free because of improv, or else I'd be pretty pissed (even a PARTIAL refund would have been better than vendor GCs.)

Vessa-Sushi
11-27-2005, 02:55 PM
Hello all! The mighty loud Vessa is here, and you can read my AWESOME two cents, because you know you all want to *laughs*.

Dealers: I loved the dealers room. Sorry, I found AN to be waaay overcrowded, and hard to find some things. At CnB, it was small, and there weren't so many people crowded the booths. I found things I didn't find before (probably because of the mass amount of people in the dealers room at AN), and was content. I wish I had been up there for the breakdown of the room, as I would have offered my help (I've done breakdowns and setups for dealers before, found it quite enjoyable for some reason).
I hope this experience won't scare you off completely in case they do another CnB..though it would be understandable.

I have more, but not for this thread. That, and I just got home and my brain can't function for long periods of time right now.

~Vessa

VulpineMedia
11-27-2005, 04:00 PM
I have to say that your panel on schoolgirls was very informative and I wish I had taped it for my documentary. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t give you a guest pass. You deserved it more than myself, I’m just some guy with a camera and nothing better to do :0)


Seriously though, I hope your next convention appearance goes over well. Let us know what conventions you’re doing because we’d love to do an interview. We didn’t put up with the stupidity. We pulled convention coverage on Saturday just before they closed down.

Matt Langdon
Vulpine Media Inc
http://www.animethedocumentary.com

Kaijugal
11-27-2005, 04:09 PM
I hate to single anyone out, but so far there has only been one first time con that is three days to succeed, so it possible e.e;

^_^ *snerk* Yes in ALL OF CONVENTION history, there has "only been one".

:rolleyes:

I agree however. I'm a big fan of Ad Astra as well. ^_^

To be honest there have been many successful, and it is possible.

Derwin Mak
11-27-2005, 07:08 PM
Vulpine Media wrote:

"have to say that your panel on schoolgirls was very informative and I wish I had taped it for my documentary...

Seriously though, I hope your next convention appearance goes over well. Let us know what conventions you’re doing because we’d love to do an interview. We didn’t put up with the stupidity. We pulled convention coverage on Saturday just before they closed down."

Thanks for your comments, and I'm glad you found (even if by accident) my illustrated presentation about schoolgirls in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

My next convention appearances will be Ad Astra (Toronto, March 31 - April 2, 2006), Eeriecon (Niagara Falls, NY, April 21-23, 2006), Anime North (Toronto, May 26-28, 2006), and Gaylaxicon (Toronto, June 16-17, 2006), and Toronto Trek (Toronto, July 7-9, 2006).

Ad Astra and Eeriecon are primarily literary SF conventions (although Ad Astra is increasing its media and costuming content as time goes on). My roles there are primarily as author guest/panelist and anime correspondent, but I still enter the masquerade and do panels about costuming if they ask me. I don't know yet what my involvement in Gaylaxicon will be, but I'm glad they'll have me as a writer guest or panelist even though my writing career is founded on stories about schoolgirls, cheerleaders, and Hooters Girls :) Maybe they'll let me do some costuming panels there... :)

In addition, I'll be joining fellow authors Suzanne Church and Eric Choi for a book signing of our sci-fi anthology Northwest Passages at Chapters of Waterloo, Ontario, on Saturday, January 28, 2006.

Feel free to contact me via private e-mail at dmakTO@rogers.com if you want to connect with me.

What type of documentary footage did you get at Con No Baka? Scenes of empty rooms wouldn't be too interesting.

Derwin.

http://www.derwinmaksf.com

Anime Dave
11-27-2005, 07:21 PM
To Derwin and all,

I was a last-minute addition to the staff, replacing the person handling panels – who had fell ill two weeks ago. The printers crapped out before I could get a full schedule of events, but I was able to get a simple spreadsheet printout of panels and panelists beforehand. With that and a notebook (the paper kind) I was able to cobble some sort of full list of who was doing what. I also transcribed by hand the Friday panel schedule so that I had something when signing in panelists. (And someone else here mentioned that there was a hand-printed listing of Friday's events posted outside the con office. I'd just like to mention that this is the first I heard about that.)

I should point out that I was the first person that Aaron approached to handle panels this past winter. However, I felt that I had too much on my plate at the time that I would not be able to give this the time and energy that I knew it deserved. I did give Aaron what I felt the person who was going to handle panels needed to do a decent job.

Truth be told, I was rather disappointed in how things turned out overall. And as others have said, I’m kicking myself for not being more vocal once I heard about this and the plans that were being bantered around. (“You’re planning to do what, when, how big? No, trust me, you need to scale down.”)

Look, when AN started in 1997, it was a one-day event – not even 14 hours long – that was held at the same place that UTARPA (the U of T anime club) was holding it’s monthly showings at the time. When TT – or “Toronto Trek Celebrations” (TTC, get it?) – started out two decades ago it was a relaxacon-style event formed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Star Trek.

I agree with most folks here, that it would have worked better as a one- or two-day event, and at a smaller hotel. And the hotel that I heard made mention most often while talking with my friends this weekend was the Days Inn (formerly the Ramada) on Wilson Ave. by Jane St. That’s the hotel that Ad Astra was at this past spring, and in fact was the first ever hotel that AN was at – when it became a three-day con for the first time.

Personally, I felt that the idea of an anime relaxacon – which is what I was first told it would be more like – six months out from Anime North was great, but that care needed to be taken in handling it. I just feel that it was a case where people bit off more then they could chew, and sadly, this was the result.

Now, there are a few responses on this thread that I want to address, from my standpoint.

Derwin:

As to the staff member who gave you the ‘gaming is more important then cosplay’ comment? It is possible that this person had just had to deal with one of the gaming people, who on Friday afternoon came into the office and did what he usually does what he feels he needs to do in order to get what he needs done done – that is, to shout veRY LOUDLY AND COMPLAIN THAT THIS IS ‘THE MOST DISORGANIZED EVENT’ THAT HE HAS EVER ATTENDED. People who don’t know him fall all over themselves in order to placate him; people who do know him often treat him like the ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’ – in other words, we tend to ignore him.

As to the hand-printed schedule for Friday only, that I will admit to – but only while I was at the panelist sign-in desk. I only had enough time to transcribe Friday’s schedule before I had to race down to the desk in order to deal with those panelists that had panels that night.

Eleryth:

Yes, there is a gaming convention in Toronto. It is called Pandamonium, and has been around for nearly 25 years. In fact, that was where I was first ever involved with a con, as I ran game events there for years before Anime North.

Heki-chan:

Was your table over by the far wall and either near or next to Amy Yu’s? That was where I was when the ka-ka finally hit the fan Saturday night. Within less then a minute I had someone from one of those tables laying into me, asking what if ever about refunds for dealers and what about contractual obligations on the part of the con.

To whomever that was, if they are reading this thread, I do not blame you in the least.

Why? Simple.

At TT, it is pounded into the head of every concom member that when they are wearing that concom shirt and/or have that yellow concom ribbon hanging from their badge, then they are fair game. That is, fair game to be singled out by an attendee who has an issue with the con, whether it is in that concom member’s department or not. That is also why we implore all of concom to try and familiarize themselves with as much of the rest of the convention as possible.

At that moment, I had no idea what was going to be happening in regards to refunds, to either dealers or attendees. In fact, by that time this was the standard conversation I was having in the hallway:

Other Staff: You need to get to the con office.
Me: Yes, I know about the situation.
Other Staff: No, it’s changed. You need to get there now!

And in fact, if I were in your position, I’d be feeling the same way.

Kohana:

What was happening downstairs was that another group had booked out those rooms in the middle of the hotel for their Christmas party. (In fact, that’s the biggest problem with booking a convention at a hotel – Christmas parties in November & December and proms & weddings in June.)

arnoct
11-27-2005, 08:02 PM
Dave--

What was the official stance from the higherups on the issue? I remember as I was leaving (I was lucky, I was planning on leaving right as everything went down,) I walked past the con office and saw "MEETING IN PROGRESS DO NOT DISTURB". Were you at that meeting? What was discussed? I ask because it's clear that the CNB executive haven't exactly gone into disaster recovery mode; did they just decide to screw it and tell everyone to leave, and now pretend it didn't happen?

While I do feel kind of bad for the con execs--from what I can gather it wasn't their choice to shut the con down--I can't say I didn't see it coming. They wanted a three-day convention in the winter for their first year. If there's anything NAF has taught me in the last two years it's that three-day cons are for when you can guarantee attendance in the thousands, not in the hundreds. We had about half the attendance CNB did for our one-day con last july in a space that was far cheaper and more forgiving than a hotel, and even then there were thoughts that we may have bitten off more than we could chew. (NAF, however, from what I could gather--I'm not on the board anymore--was a relative financial success and we were able to pull enough numbers to cover all our costs.)

koipond
11-27-2005, 08:15 PM
Ugh. I followed this thread all the way from the CnB boards, I'm one of the gaming guests.

Ugh. What happened to you is horrible, and I'm posting here just so you don't think that all the gamers were being mean and imposing. All of us in the game room had to deal with the joy of being put back in the exact opposite direction of anything but two of the viewing rooms that had nothing going on. Then we had to deal with the fact that we got the room taken out from under us, because the Hotel had double booked the room and they told us, thankfully, 1 hour or so ahead of time that we may have to get out, and then with like 10 minutes left they told us we had to go. We had just finished packing up when the crew showed up to change over the rooms.

We had no signage, no visibility, no schedule, nothing too.

Heck, all the game masters ended up playing each other's games since we really had like 8 - 10 people show up to play games who weren't part of the group of people running stuff. Heck, we only had "Guest" badges because I grabbed their program, opened it up and showed them that I was in it.

Honestly ...

Anime Dave
11-27-2005, 08:43 PM
Arnoct,

No, I was not in that meeting that you mentioned, and thus can not tell you what was discussed. As for your suggestion of what the execs are doing now about it, I don't think that is the case - and I am not saying that you are wrong for suggesting it.

I think that right now, a lot of us - staff and exec alike - are currently still in shock as to what happened.

However, I can tell you this right now. As I said earlier, I was only getting updates on how bad things were getting every 20-30 minutes, as I was traveling between the panel rooms and the main office every 20-30 minutes!

In fact, it was stressing me out so much that a friend of mine was willing to take me into the bar and buy me a drink. :drink: And even though I normally don't drink, aside from maybe the odd family Christmas party, I was ready to take him up on his offer.

Kaijugal
11-27-2005, 09:36 PM
Ugh. I followed this thread all the way from the CnB boards, I'm one of the gaming guests.

Ugh. What happened to you is horrible, and I'm posting here just so you don't think that all the gamers were being mean and imposing.

(..edit for brevity...full post above, #51..)

We had no signage, no visibility, no schedule, nothing too.

Heck, all the game masters ended up playing each other's games since we really had like 8 - 10 people show up to play games who weren't part of the group of people running stuff. Heck, we only had "Guest" badges because I grabbed their program, opened it up and showed them that I was in it.

Honestly ...

Koipond.

Thank you for logging on and giving a POV from the gamers perspective.

Kohana
11-27-2005, 10:09 PM
Kohana:

What was happening downstairs was that another group had booked out those rooms in the middle of the hotel for their Christmas party. (In fact, that’s the biggest problem with booking a convention at a hotel – Christmas parties in November & December and proms & weddings in June.)


Ahhh I see... but was it that the hotel double booked or they were just being anal? b/c it seems pretty weird that they would do that...

heki-chan
11-27-2005, 10:45 PM
Dave:

Yes, that was our table. :)
I think a lot of the anger within the dearlers/artists could have been avoided if the initial announcement wasn't plainly "The con is cancelled for tomorrow, so pack up all your stuff and get out before midnight."
It would've avoided our "WTF" reactions, at the very least.

I don't blame the volunteers/staff at all, as they were just the messengers of bad news. That said, I feel that the con chair should've taken 10-15 minutes to directly address the problem instead of sending in volunteer security/staff members every half hour to give some vague announcement. It would have been a whole lot more efficient and less aggravating for both sides. :)

novaraven1
11-27-2005, 10:58 PM
CNB was an experience to say the least. I expected stuff to be bad and half assed and I was not dissapointed. I was a little perplexed several times, especially in regards to the photo area. It was pretty ghetto. ^^; But eventually everyone had a good time.

The photo guys rock for pulling it together! Derwin is always so cool even when we're freaking over stupid costume and posing details. And thankfully I gave a friend my own camera to use while we were posing so we have copies. I only wish I had more batteries so I could have stayed and got other cosplayers pics too cause there were some really kick ass costumes there!

Every time I went to the con office to ask a question everything was apparently "fine" and "will be set up/found/running, in a few minutes". Everyone was always so friendly I didn't mind having to wait for stuff. And I can only assume that when I asked if I could help with something that they turned me away because they didn't want anyone else to keep track of. First con I've ever been to that didn't want another volunteer. XX

I was in the artist alley with my friend and we had a pretty good time over all. Didn't sell much, but then, I personally never do.(I do like one new painting a year) We were all in shock that it closed, and closed so fast!

And I thank heavens that I didn't manage to book a con block room so I didn't get kicked out of my hotel room/have the price jacked on the last day.

It was kinda sad leaving, my parents didn't pick me up at the hotel till late sunday afternoon, 3 or 4, so we were sitting around watching FMA on a portable DVD player to kill time. People were coming up to us and asking where the rest of the con was! A group of cosplayers in costume, about 6 of them came from niagra for the day and they looked so sad! They said they were going to china town to shop instead. We must have informed nearly twenty people that the con was cancelled before we got our ride. Some of them really wanted to come to a first time con and could only get the Sunday off work.

dani
11-27-2005, 11:26 PM
True. It's very insulting to people planning to go there just for sunday that the cancellation news aren't in the website. YET!!

Iczer eh
11-27-2005, 11:29 PM
Randomly answering questions:

Anime North did not lose money in it's first years. We started modestly and had a financial cushion that was used over the next few years to expand our guest lineup and venue size until the huge growth curve kicked in.

The other group had booked that room before Con no Baka and CnB had never planned to hold events in that room Saturday evening. It was not a mistake or misunderstanding and had no effect on CnB.

I placed the Do Not Disturb sign on the office door when I went downstairs to find out what was happening and discovered the office staff were too shellshocked to do anything about the random people waltzing in and out of the office to interrupt for trivial nonsense or eavesdrop on things that were none of their business while the hotel rep was trying to explain the situation with the contract to the con chair. You can't handle legal business properly with that going on and that contributed greatly to the confusion about guest rooms and reimbursments. There certainly wasn't any malicious intent behind info not getting out in a speedy, accurate way.

I was also the one walking the floor rounding up staff and chasing them back to the office to get the correct info so they could plan accordingly. I then had to go back upstairs and spend the next three hours packing up supplies upstairs and having them moved out before midnight.

My one and only job on the weekend was staff lounge/green room, meaning I had to make sure all the staff/volunteers/guests/panelists were fed and had a quiet place to retreat to when the insanity became too stressful and that included walking rounds to chase upset, exhausted people upstairs to yell or cry in private and not at the congoers.

What people don't realize and won't believe is how close this came to being a success instead of such a fiasco. The one issue that was insurmountable was scope. No matter how many people begged Aaron to book either a smaller hotel or fewer rooms at the DBT, he dreamed big.

For heaven's sake, there were over 500 paid attendance. In November. Despite the frustrations and confusion, they were having fun. The halls were filled with great costumes and that bouncing silly enthusiasm that makes me forgive anime congoers for the annoying stupidity of the few that try to ruin things :thumbsup:. That proves to me there's a market for a con this time of year.

In a smaller venue that attendance would certainly have covered the bills. A simpler schedule, with only 3-4 video rooms and 1-2 panel tracks and a few gaming tables, would have meant the tech headaches could have been solved by the handful of staff that did turned up instead of expensive rooms sitting unused. On a smaller scale, problems can be adressed more quickly and overcome instead of overlooked because they pile up on each other.

The result would have been remembered as a chaotic first time con that people left with mostly good memories while the staff had a long list of lessons leaned for future events.

As it was, I had a great weekend personally, meeting people I rarely see. There were also some good ideas from CnB, in terms of events and contests and prize ideas that we may adopt for AN next year.

LoneWanderer
11-27-2005, 11:42 PM
well I guess In the end

At least this will provide a lesson on all future new con

having a dream is ok as long as you stay realistic
and don't bite off more than you can chew

Derwin Mak
11-28-2005, 12:04 AM
I've posted a photo of the Con No Baka hall costume award ribbon on my cosplay.com photo gallery:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=537815

When I was masquerade director of Anime North, I introduced those gaudy red-and-white award ribbons and the printed hall costume award ribbons. At Con No Baka, I had three of these purplish home-made pieces of ribbon to hand out. How did I sink so low?

Derwin.

LoneWanderer
11-28-2005, 12:22 AM
I've posted a photo of the Con No Baka hall costume award ribbon on my cosplay.com photo gallery:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=537815

When I was masquerade director of Anime North, I introduced those gaudy red-and-white award ribbons and the printed hall costume award ribbons. At Con No Baka, I had three of these purplish home-made pieces of ribbon to hand out. How did I sink so low?

Derwin.

ewwwww thats nasty.......
omg (I forgot who) but whoever said this makes hobbystar looks like saints is right

even at CNA they had these big red ribbons to hand out that people would want to wear

Anime Dave
11-28-2005, 02:03 AM
Heki-chan,

Thank you for your understanding. :)

I had a chance to speak with Amy about it later in the evening, and she explained how hectic things were for you guys at the time. (In fact, I think that I might have spoken briefly with either you or someone else from the table later on in the front lobby, and I did not sense any lingering feelings of resentment towards me.)

Besides, I understand that there was probably more then a little pent up frustration that needed to be released, and I just happened to be the first viable target in range. :o

shiro_hikaru
11-28-2005, 04:13 AM
I suppose Con no Baka the first, is also the last. =P
What kind of scares me is if what if someone eventually after all the losses paid for, retried to start the con or even try and disguise it under a different name.

Maybe I just don't have enough faith in human rationality or I'm crazy

Amy the Yu
11-28-2005, 04:23 AM
For heaven's sake, there were over 500 paid attendanceI would normally say that that's a really good turn out...if the dealers didn't receive emails from Aaron claiming:
"The approximate attendance at the convention will be 2000."

This was an outright lie. No one can refute that, even if you count the staff, security, dealers/artists and even hotel staff as "attendees".

I personally came out relatively unscathed despite it all. Me and my friend who shared a dealers table got out more on luck than anything else. We both made enough to barely cover the cost of our table.

We never relied on the number Aaron supplied. That's the only thing I will give credit to for it not turning into a horrendous loss of money. The two of us and Heki-chan were preparing for a turn out of approximately 500, and were still greatly disappointed and left unsatisfied.

The only good that came out of it was that the attendees were all very understanding and supportive.

Aside from my friends being there ready to restrain me in necessary, the only thing that kept me calm was the relief I felt that my life seems to be all happy sunshine and lollipops compared to how this con went down in such glorious flames.

Kaijugal
11-28-2005, 08:53 AM
ewwwww thats nasty.......
omg (I forgot who) but whoever said this makes hobbystar looks like saints is right

even at CNA they had these big red ribbons to hand out that people would want to wear

Well Thanks. I'm glad you don't think my Masquerade event at CNA sucks completely. There are nice ribbons because somebody involved actually cares. :eeek: :eeek: :eeek:

If you have any issues with the way the masquerade events at CNA are run you are welcome to PM me.

Jo_Canadian
11-28-2005, 10:08 AM
derwin i have a question, say you want the picture that was taken of you for your own personal collection, is there anyway to go about getting it?

Kaijugal
11-28-2005, 11:11 AM
derwin i have a question, say you want the picture that was taken of you for your own personal collection, is there anyway to go about getting it?


Picture taken by whom? Ian Stuart? You could probably just ask him. He's available via Anime North as he's thier official con photographer.

Vicky
11-28-2005, 12:58 PM
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

THAT RIBBON!!! hahahahahahaha!!
omg *wipes away tear*

WOW

Anime Dave
11-28-2005, 01:33 PM
I would normally say that that's a really good turn out...if the dealers didn't receive emails from Aaron claiming:
"The approximate attendance at the convention will be 2000."

This was an outright lie. No one can refute that, even if you count the staff, security, dealers/artists and even hotel staff as "attendees".

I personally came out relatively unscathed despite it all. Me and my friend who shared a dealers table got out more on luck than anything else. We both made enough to barely cover the cost of our table.

We never relied on the number Aaron supplied. That's the only thing I will give credit to for it not turning into a horrendous loss of money. The two of us and Heki-chan were preparing for a turn out of approximately 500, and were still greatly disappointed and left unsatisfied.

The only good that came out of it was that the attendees were all very understanding and supportive.

Aside from my friends being there ready to restrain me in necessary, the only thing that kept me calm was the relief I felt that my life seems to be all happy sunshine and lollipops compared to how this con went down in such glorious flames.

Well, glad to hear that you and Heki-chan decided to be realistic about it.

And Amy, I've seen you unrestrained, I've heard how really unrestrained you can be... CnB staff should be thankful that you had your friends there. ;)

mokulen22
11-28-2005, 02:08 PM
OMG that ribbon..*dies laughing* what do you think that red swirly thiny is supposed to mean? The red swirl of achievement?

K-Kun
11-28-2005, 05:47 PM
"The approximate attendance at the convention will be 2000."

This was an outright lie. No one can refute that, even if you count the staff, security, dealers/artists and even hotel staff as "attendees".

I think i might add that even if you included the guests in the hotel that had nothing to do with the convention at all. There still wouldnt be even close to 2000 people.

Amy the Yu
11-28-2005, 06:40 PM
OMG that ribbon..*dies laughing* what do you think that red swirly thiny is supposed to mean? The red swirl of achievement?666 for the 3 ribbons to show how we sold our souls to the devil for our hobby. Maybe all those people who look at us funny when we're in costume were giving those looks for more reason than just seeing people randomly in costume. XD

Otaking97
11-28-2005, 08:34 PM
It was mentioned to me a few months back that maybe I should of signed up to assist/run some/most of the costuming events at CnB.

All I can say is that "I'M GLAD I DIDN'T" Thank you.

The photo guys at the 'photo area' were really cool! They were getting a bit hectic around 8pm but were staying cool and level.

Hey! At least the raffel was fun! The gaming (video game) area was nice too!

TribalButterfly
11-29-2005, 10:26 AM
Is anyone else thinking what I'M thinking???

That in the end, "Con No Baka" turned out to actually be the PERFECT name for this con???

And we were thinking, "Why on earth would anyone name their con this???"

Answer: Because it was organized by a bunch of ideots.
(I wasn't there, but that seems to have been the case, no?)

Danners
11-29-2005, 11:21 AM
Now I feel kind of bad that I wasn't more strenuous in my predictions of doom for CnB. Coz it was clear right from the start that it would most likely fail spectacularly, and many people here did point out the major flaws, but perhaps if we'd been more vocal about it recently fewer innocent people would have been swindled. :P

This comment hit me in a weird way.

The con closed due to lack of attendance. Plain and simple. It was in the contract that the con organizers made with the hotel. I find it silly that they would sign a contract like that, but nonetheless it was done.

Now, everyone's problem with the con was there was disorganization, lack of volunteers to help out, and lack of attendance. Sooo, if people were optimistic about the con, got involved in helping it instead of berrating it, many of the problems people had with the con would have been solved.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this con was perfect by any stretch of the means and I agree that it was most unfortunate that dealers and people who attended the con got gipped. I feel like I dodged a bullet 'cause I was almost a dealer at the con as well.

However, there were many things they did well. Firstly, their traditional gaming section was better than Hobbystar's GX. GX had GARY GYGAX for crying out loud and I don't think I saw more than 10 people in the gaming room. However CnB had easily 30 people without any special guests. CnB's video gaming area was really neat too. My problem with AN's video gaming areas usually consists of one room with DDR and that's it. Not my type of game.

Either way, I still had fun at CnB in a weird way. I was there with a bunch of friends and we got to hang out, take some pics, pose for pics, play some games, and all the other typical fun con stuff.

Will I attend CnB if there's ever a 2nd? If they fix up many of their issues (like going down to a 1 or 2 day con, smaller location, lowered cost, etc...) I'd probably consider it. Then again, I'm a stupid optimist :P

Vessa-Sushi
11-29-2005, 11:38 AM
Hear hear!

The gaming part of CnB was actually pretty nifty. I was involved in the LARP, and it was fun ^^ It seemed lots of people were hanging out at the DDR, Smash Brothers Melee, and the other game that was playing up outside the dealers & dance room area.

Anime Hell was also good, and I know there was quite a few of us watching the Live Action Sailor Moon Musical (for those who saw that, Iwas the one who mentioned about the actresses looking kinda fat in those sailor suits :P), and watching that Shinesman thing in the other room (Red! Moss Green! Sepia! Salmon Pink! GRAAAAY!)

Aside from those things (and the panels I was on, which I enjoyed a lot ^^) I spent my time hanging with friends and such.

Does that mean I was happy with the con? No, not really. To play the broken record with everyone else, organization was the pits. Also, too many rooms with too little (to nothing) happening in them.

Also, was there any staff left on Sunday? As my group was leaving, I went back into the hotel for one last washroom break, and on the way out I saw some lost looking congoers (two people in costume, one girl with her mom), and I had to break it to them that the con closed down. The two in costume didn't say anything (I wasn't directly talking to them), but the mother and daughter were slightly unhappy. All the front desk had said was that "the con had lack of attendance". Luckily, the girl and her mom lived not too far away, and didn't travel far to come.

I guess the point of that was...if all the staff had gone by Sunday morning (we left at 10:30ish), someone should've stayed to inform those who arrived on Sunday what happened, and apologized.

I have more somewhere, but I need to get off the line (go dailup go!).

~Vessa

Danners
11-29-2005, 11:46 AM
I've posted a photo of the Con No Baka hall costume award ribbon on my cosplay.com photo gallery:

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=537815

When I was masquerade director of Anime North, I introduced those gaudy red-and-white award ribbons and the printed hall costume award ribbons. At Con No Baka, I had three of these purplish home-made pieces of ribbon to hand out. How did I sink so low?

Derwin.

Um....that ribbon looks like it may have been part of the bedsheet photo wall...wow...

Kaijugal
11-29-2005, 03:41 PM
^_^ The CnB ribbon shall live in infamy. ^_^:thumbsup:

Thanks for posting it Derwin. :)

Cheers!

Amy the Yu
11-29-2005, 05:00 PM
I feel worst for the people who showed up on Sunday without knowing that there was no con anymore. Those who made CnB their first convention experience are a close 2nd on my sympathy scale.

The remaining 2 hours that we got in the dealers' room once the news was announced, I spent much of the time telling convention newbies that this isn't how they usually go and recommending that they go to Anime North to give it another go.
Now, everyone's problem with the con was there was disorganization, lack of volunteers to help out, and lack of attendance. Sooo, if people were optimistic about the con, got involved in helping it instead of berrating it, many of the problems people had with the con would have been solved.Some of us actually found it all very ironic cause a lot of people who were originally going to completely bail ended up going.

Personally, I was completely against the convention when it was first announced and I wound up dragging a friend in with me to get a table in the dealers' room.

A lot of people I knew who weren't planning on going ended up deciding to go so we could at least hang out and such. Most of us wound up signing on for panels and staff as well.

Kaijugal
11-29-2005, 05:11 PM
Sooo, if people were optimistic about the con, got involved in helping it instead of berrating it, many of the problems people had with the con would have been solved.

My problem with AN's video gaming areas usually consists of one room with DDR and that's it. Not my type of game.


So why not follow your own advice and get involved to change/improve things and help include things that you do like and would appeal to other likeminded individuals? Anime North's door is always open to people who are willing to step up to the plate and do the work to improve it's events.

Otaking97
11-29-2005, 05:32 PM
I figure the main reason why CnB did not want any more people helping out is that they would then not get their registration money. They were hitting rock bottom on income already so why give more people free entry just to sit on panels with no audience? That is likely why they refused anyone else offering to help during the con.

Vessa-Sushi
11-29-2005, 06:44 PM
I was on panels...I didn't think we got money back unless we worked over 5 hours or something.

In any case, matters little to me personally. And I feel bad for the guy who was in charge of the panels...I swear his brain was going to ooze out his ears at some points x.x

~Vessa

Anime Dave
11-29-2005, 08:29 PM
I was on panels...I didn't think we got money back unless we worked over 5 hours or something.

In any case, matters little to me personally. And I feel bad for the guy who was in charge of the panels...I swear his brain was going to ooze out his ears at some points x.x

~Vessa

As I've said earlier, I only stepped in to handle panels on Friday when I showed up at the con and found that Fingers was ill and that Aaron was going to be handling those - as well as everything else he was handling.

I tried all day Saturday to find out what the panelist reimbusement was going to be, but everything was so hectic. :lost: (And I didn't even bother trying to ask about it on Friday night, as I was just trying to get my bearings with panels for that day.)

Saturday evening I finally found out that the reimbursment for panelists was to be 5 manga :eeek: for those who did four or more hours of panels. And to the one panelist who waved his reimbursement - 'taking one for the team' as he said - and the other who was fine with things even after I found out about the snafu I made regarding the art books that were mixed in, I give you both a big THANK YOU! :bigtu:

And to be honest, by the end of Saturday I was ready to cry for you guys - especially for one guy who was looking forward to his reimbursement in cash so he could go to the dealers room. But without tooting my own horn here, I think that I was able to salvage something out of all this.

Truth be told, this was chaotic, to say the least. There were times in the past several years where I've helped with panels - nearly 6 with TT and at least 2-3 with AN - that I thought that things were ready to fall apart at the seams. However, I have to give credit to all those panelists who came out and did what they said they'd do - even after we found out about the con closing down. You guys are real troopers in my eyes. :thumbsup:

white-cross
11-29-2005, 09:07 PM
To those who attended and the dealers that were there: i feel sorry for you guys. having to live through that much have been painful not to mention annoying because of the disorganization and the other things that happened with the dealers room and all.

I heard about it from my friends and judging from what i read from the responses in the forum, i honestly feel bad for you guys. I didnt even know about this convention until a few weeks ago and i couldnt go because of the short notice and the fact it was the week of my high school mid-term reports. Judging from the responses, i'm somewhat glad my friends here in the durham region didnt go. i was kind of iffy about the name too...why name is baka of all things...oh well. i feel for those who went especially the dealers. i guess this is why i only go to AN and CNA...

Jo_Canadian
11-29-2005, 11:00 PM
i just noticed something, the ribbon they were giving away was the same stuff i was taping to peoples weapons to show that they were peace bonded......oye those poor bastards

Amy the Yu
11-30-2005, 03:18 PM
I'm finding it kind of annoying that so many people who didn't go to the con are now saying "thank God I didn't go, it was such a disaster and would have been a total waste of my time" and shit. Most people I knew who went enjoyed it and actually was amused by the implosion.

I talked to a lot of people who came by my table in the Dealers' Room and aside from those who bought a weekend pass on Saturday, everyone else seemed to have rather enjoyed the convention.

I did know some people who was completely disappointed, but they were all either people who went solo (without friends in tow) or dealers/artists who lost money.
I figure the main reason why CnB did not want any more people helping out is that they would then not get their registration money. They were hitting rock bottom on income already so why give more people free entry just to sit on panels with no audience? That is likely why they refused anyone else offering to help during the con.I can see them turning down people who wanted to join staff (who just get in for free), but volunteers and panelists have to pay their registration to start off with. With how the con came to a close, the volunteers and panelists didn't get their money reimbursed anyway.

archangeli
11-30-2005, 10:31 PM
A lot of people I knew who weren't planning on going ended up deciding to go so we could at least hang out and such.

*raises hand* I had absolutely no interest in CnB until about 10 days before it when I got hit by a sudden urge to make a quickie cosplay and hang out with some friends. :jjacks:

I'm finding it kind of annoying that so many people who didn't go to the con are now saying "thank God I didn't go, it was such a disaster and would have been a total waste of my time" and shit. Most people I knew who went enjoyed it and actually was amused by the implosion.

I talked to a lot of people who came by my table in the Dealers' Room and aside from those who bought a weekend pass on Saturday, everyone else seemed to have rather enjoyed the convention.


This is quite true, for the little while that I was there I was having a good time. It was nice to wander in the dealer's room, chat with some friends I haven't seen since AN and TT and just relax a bit at Dani's table in the dealer's room.

I personally wasn't there for panels, anime or gaming - just to socialize, and in that regard the con was great. I noticed immediately it was strange that there was a hand-written schedule up by the "photography area," and that attendance was a bit low, but I didn't realize how bad it was until the "we are closing" annoucement was made. Dani and I had speculated that attendance was in the high hundreds (we were wrong LOL).

To paraphrase what Kaijugal has said, a convention experience is what you make out of it. I went to CnB with an open mind and nearly no expectations so personally I had a pretty decent time. However, a dealer that had to truck all their stuff in and out and suffer financial losses would have a very different opinion, as would a volunteer or staffer who didn't receive any compensation for their work.

dani
11-30-2005, 11:03 PM
Two friends can have a FABOULOUS time chatting during a bus ride, but the fact that they are enjoying their time together isn't necesarlity a merit of the transit system.

I think in the end this will go in history as a very graphical manual on "How NOT to do" many aspects of a con. In out community we have LOADS of experienced people who for some reason are bursting at the seams trying to put their experience to work and keep busy doing what they love. Volunteering to work and learn with them is the best recipe to build the next generation of con staff.

Amy the Yu
12-01-2005, 12:23 AM
Two friends can have a FABOULOUS time chatting during a bus ride, but the fact that they are enjoying their time together isn't necesarlity a merit of the transit system.True, but many people view cons as social events.

I did manage to make several friends due to the horrible organization and utter chaos. Probably wouldn't have happened if the con ran without a hitch. Trying to figure out what the heck was going on seemed to have been a good reason to talk to complete strangers. XD

I guess crappy convention = good conversation starter. XD

Brita_Lee
12-01-2005, 01:10 AM
I was supposed to run a panel on Sunday. Heh. So much for that eh? ^^'

But overall, I had a fun time. My main thing to do at cons is socialise, buy stuff, and socialise some more. Its all for fun. Though I'm not praising the con in any way, cause way too many people were screwed over.

Chanilye
12-01-2005, 11:01 AM
I think I've been spoiled by some of the conventions we have here in Toronto...

There's nothing wrong with having a "relaxacon", a convention that's more for socializing instead of big guests and big events. I'd attend one...but not if it was costing me the same or almost the same as a convention that did offer lots of guests, events, programming, etc. If Con No Baka had charged about half as much I would have considered buying a membership on my own. (I attended but just to do one panel). I don't need to spend $45 to make my own fun.

As someone who works with another convention in Toronto, I worry that something like this will make people distrustful of Toronto conventions and less likely to try something new. I worry that people will be afraid to volunteer or sign up to do panels at other events because they got burned by Con No Baka.

I'm sure there are lessons to learn from what happened, I just feel bad that they came at the expense of so many people.

Derwin Mak
12-01-2005, 01:08 PM
I've been hearing that some people are saying that they will never go to a first-time, fan-run convention after Con No Baka. Please, folks, don't be discouraged with Toronto fandom or your own local fandom.

Remember Anime North 1997, the first Anime North ever, at the Michener Institute? That was a lot of fun in all areas, i.e., videos, cosplaying, gaming, model building, panels. Toronto Trek Celebration in 1986, a relaxicon, and the first full-scale Toronto Trek, number 2 in 1988, were successful fan-run conventions.

I've gone to at least 100 sci-fi, comic book, costuming, anime, Star Trek, Doctor Who and all sorts of conventions of since 1979 (I've lost count), and Con No Baka was the only one that ended early or jettisoned entire activity and event tracks. It was 1 out of 100, which means the other 99+ were better. Not all were excellent, and they range from dull to wonderful, but only Con No Baka failed as miserably as at did. Con No Baka is definitely in the minority.

For months, maybe years, we'll hear about how the convention chair ignored advice from experienced convention organizers, rejected offers of help and asssistance from people, continued with grandiose ambitions without any planning, etc. Every convention has its organizational problems (I've worked on many myself, so I know), but only Con No Baka had them as bad as it did. Again, Con No Baka is a lonely minority out of all conventions, at least in the Toronto area.

Remember, fan-run conventions provide certain things that professional conventions usually don't: a lot more panel discussions, guests who are not major celebs but might still be interesting (I'll always remember meeting the Vatican's astronomer at a Worldcon), events where the fans can participate (panels, "dating games spoofs", plays, games, dances, etc.), fanzine reading rooms, the room parties, the ice-cream socials of some U.S. Worldcons, awards ceremonies like the Hugos, and much more. None of these are revenue generators and can be ignored by professional conventions. So please come out and support Toronto and your local fandom.

***
I was astounded to read that some of Con No Baka's guests were evicted out of their hotel rooms as the convention collapsed. I was Costuming Guest of Honour, and I paid for my own hotel room. The convention did not pick up my costs. I didn't know the other guests were getting their rooms paid by the convention. I guess it's warranted for guests who came from far away, but one would think that they would need "subsidized housing" even more.

In any case, I didn't mind paying for my own hotel room because I went there for the good of fandom (but alas, left for my own sanity and self-preservation).

Derwin.

Lanisatu
12-01-2005, 04:44 PM
I went to Con no Baka to run gaming events, so I got a free "game master" pass. I also wanted to buy some manga, and watch some anime.

I was supposed to run an original anime game on Friday and Saturday. I was told the events and their location would be listed in the program. I never saw any programs -- that listed anything about events/ showings and their locations. That's why I didn't go to any anime showings.

I was late, Friday. It took me about an hour to find out where I was supposed to run my event. I ended up with no players for my game :(
I was in International C with the RPG's and board games. One of the guys there ran around the con trying to promote my event: anime charades, my anime mix game, and origami frogs. While I noticed some cosplayers enter the room, I didn't have anything to indicate I was the one running the anime games. And I couldn't be sure that was why they had come into the room.

I did teach Eugene (head of gaming) and a few others how to make origami frogs on Friday night, but that was about it. Later, I joined a game being played in the room.

Saturday, my event was supposed to start at 1pm. Again, I had no players. I joined an RPG with some guys from TRPA. Kaliko, from the ANJ club I belong to, was supposed to meet me so we could jointly run an event at 3pm. She never found me. At the time, I thought she just hadn't shown up. I found out later that she couldn't find me (I'm not sure how that happened, as I'd helped post signs on Friday pointing to that room). I heard she started the Scavenger Bingo we were supposed to run together at 1pm -- the same time when she knew I was supposed to be running my anime game.

I'm not happy with the way things turned out. Broken promises, bad organization... the whole bit. I did write in my LJ about it on Sunday here: livejournal.com/users/lanisatu/131783.html (http://www.livejournal.com/users/lanisatu/131783.html)
(I was pretty frustrated at the time, but I do my best to maintain some level of coherency and try not to blindly accuse people)

Re: Coupons/ Gift Certificates
I, and the other people I was playing the RPG with on Saturday, each received one for a dealer that sold items for RPG's and such that said "$10 off minimum purchase of $20"
I was not told why we were getting them. I thought it might have had something to do with us being moved from International C to the Terrace, but I didn't know. Eugene (head of gaming) handed them out.


The other group had booked that room before Con no Baka and CnB had never planned to hold events in that room Saturday evening. It was not a mistake or misunderstanding and had no effect on CnB.
In International C, none of us seemed to know anything about having to be moved until someone announced we had to move because the hotel had another function scheduled there. Someone yelled out: "Does Eugene know about this?" (I have no idea if he did). Being moved wasn't so bad, since there weren't a ton of us there, but it seemed strange. And I wouldn't say there was no effect. Being moved is an effect in itself. It was somewhat inconvenient. But not earth-shattering.

A while after moving to the Terrace, we got the gift certificates. Later, Aaron came in and told us the hotel had cancelled Sunday (he looked upset about it). We were told the Dealers' room would close at 8pm, and gaming would run to 12am. It wasn't much later that a staff member came in and told us the dealers were starting to pack up because they were upset (which is completely understandable). So we broke our game to go see if there was anything else we wanted to buy.

I didn't find anything else I was really looking for. And manga seemed to be one of the things being packed up the fastest. I couldn't find the dealer I had the coupon for -- but I haven't played RPG's much, so that's okay.

I left the Dealers' room around 7pm, when it was announced that the room would be closing in 30 minutes, and they stopped letting in anyone but dealers.

While I did meet new people and played games, it was very disappointing that I never got to lead my game that I had developed; although I'm sure it could have gone over well if I'd had multiple players.

I still can't figure out how Kaliko couldn't find me. I was one of the very few women in that room. I wasn't that hard to spot. I was in that room for four hours. Plus there was a sign by the info desk pointing towards International C (I put it there). I would have expected that "board games" being listed on the sign would have been indication enough; but for some reason she decided to set up in an abandoned room near the video games upstairs. *sigh*

I don't know if I'll ever try to run games at a convention again. It's too early to say. Besides, I tend to get an AA table at ANorth each year. That doesn't really give me time to do much else. I guess I won't be going to anything but ANorth and CNAX for a while. Oh well.

--Emily

archangeli
12-01-2005, 11:21 PM
I was astounded to read that some of Con No Baka's guests were evicted out of their hotel rooms as the convention collapsed. I was Costuming Guest of Honour, and I paid for my own hotel room. The convention did not pick up my costs. I didn't know the other guests were getting their rooms paid by the convention. I guess it's warranted for guests who came from far away, but one would think that they would need "subsidized housing" even more.


I don't think the convention was picking up hotel tabs, it's just that attendees of CnB were eligible for the discounted convention rate instead of the usual hotel price. I assume this discounted rate is proportional to the fees that the convention is paying the hotel for space use.

When the convention collapsed, the hotel wasn't going to make money, so the "convention discounted rate" no longer applied.

I find this unbelievable since people usually book their rooms in advance. Ugh....

Chibik3r0
12-01-2005, 11:29 PM
I don't think the convention was picking up hotel tabs, it's just that attendees of CnB were eligible for the discounted convention rate instead of the usual hotel price. I assume this discounted rate is proportional to the fees that the convention is paying the hotel for space use.

When the convention collapsed, the hotel wasn't going to make money, so the "convention discounted rate" no longer applied.

I find this unbelievable since people usually book their rooms in advance. Ugh....

Not sure if anyone had to deal with this, but what would the ultimatum be if there was one? Pay the difference for the hotel rate compared to the con rate or get out of the room immediately? That could really screw over some people.

dani
12-02-2005, 12:26 AM
The contract is a package deal: a number of rooms at a discounted rate + use of the meeting rooms and halls at a certain fee.
If there is low attendance, the minimum number of rooms isn't met so the con itself is in the hook for the extra rooms to reach the minimum, otherwise the whole deal (discounted rooms + low fee for other facilities) falls down.
The later happened, obviously. In order to keep the con alive on sunday, he'd had to pay for who knows how many rooms from his own pocket.

The bigger they are, the more noise they make when they fall...

Vessa-Sushi
12-02-2005, 08:07 AM
Here is something...when we woke up sunday morning, there was a paper in our room by the door. It was our bill for the weekend. It was around 350something I think, and it still said CON up beside discount or rate or something...so....did we get the discount or not? I don't think my room is too concerned in any case, but I find it wierd that people are saying the hotel cancelled the con discount, yet I still think our room got it...

As for the person who said they might not run a games event again...why not? Don't let this ruin it for you ^^ Honestly, take this and make something from it. You said your friend couldn't find you? Know now that you should have a backup plan in place, like cell phones or a meetup point -outside- the place you are set up in (maybe at the front doors in the lobby at a certain time or something.) Don't let it get to you ^^ Find the positive in this mess of negatives :)

~Vessa

dampflames
12-02-2005, 02:36 PM
I actually got my money for a weekend pass refunded.. in real money.
I came for Saturday and stayed over at the hotel with my friends even though it was cancelled... I live in Kitchener, and one of my friends was able to get a really cheap ride for us home on Sunday.
I was in the dealer's room when they made the first announcement that the con was closing, and the dealer's room would be closed at 8. I happened to be with a friend who had spent almost all her money already, so right away we went down to the table where the man who was registering people to get our money back.
I think we must have been the first people to ask, because he looked really lost, but he did know it had been cancelled.. at first he offered gift certificates, and I don't really remember exactly who said what, but it might have been me that said I preferred to have money..
And he gave us $15 each back.
Not much later I went back with another friend so she could get her refund and she got $20, and I asked why I only received 15.. and he said something about thinking I had stayed Friday to Sunday I guess? Not really sure, I didn't really pay attention, and I got another $5..
So I got $20 refunded for my $45 weekend pass..

Kaijugal
12-02-2005, 04:34 PM
I don't think the convention was picking up hotel tabs, ....

He meant that some of the GOH's (Guests of Honour), had thier rooms paid for by the convention...at least initially.

heki-chan
12-06-2005, 02:22 AM
As there are multiple threads regarding the crash and burn of CnB, I'm going to go ahead and lock this one.

~heki