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Unread 09-17-2013, 12:24 AM   #1
Ganesh
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Anime USA Official Feedback Thread

We’ve just finished our Journey Back to Edo Japan, and hope you had a fun time at the convention this weekend. We’re in the process of getting some sleep, but we’d love to hear what you thought of the convention this year. Please feel free to give us feedback, both positive and negative. Let us know what you enjoyed, what went well, and what you’d like us to do more of so we can keep bettering our convention. If you liked a particular panel or event, guest or anything else, let us know so we can see about bringing them back! Please also let us know problems you had or issues you noticed, so we can let you know what went wrong and try to fix these things for next year.

There are a few items I’ll respond to right away, since we got a lot of questions about them at the info desk and in feedback panels:

1. As you likely noticed, we had a TON more space this year than we did last year. This was really cool because it allowed us to try new things and expand some areas. It also meant that halls never really got crowded and there were places to hang out, talk with friends, and enjoy seeing all the great costumes. However, it also meant that directions weren’t as easy as ‘walk down this hall and you’re there’ like they used to be, and that the staff was spread pretty thin, because we had so much ground to cover. As a result, some locations got changed early in the weekend as we discovered that you guys weren’t able to find things or there were places more convenient to you to put them. Now that we know what works and what doesn’t, we’ll be able to plan better next year.

2. We know there were some schedule hiccups. Unfortunately Guidebook had some problems, and we weren’t able to update things as efficiently as we had wanted to. I don’t know all the details about this problem at this time, but I do know we’re trying to figure out what went wrong with the company, and will figure out how this issue can be avoided in the future.

I’m happy to try to address any issues and concerns, and will forward questions and problems on to the appropriate Anime USA staffer to follow up if needed. Remember, be civil and give us lots of feedback!

Please also check out our feedback thread on our forums: http://forums.animeusa.org/index.php...810&Itemi d=1
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Unread 09-17-2013, 09:12 AM   #2
ScribblesITM
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2 things I noticed.

1. The schedule being on the shiny paper made several copies blur so reading the little map was .... interesting. 'Does that say cosplay?'. I like the idea of glossy less likely to be destroyed paper, but I think matte doesn't blur might be a better option

2. Online pre-registration. Children's badges not avail for pre-reg. That's the only thing that had me paying day of instead of a 3 day ahead of time.

3. Awesome thing was the being allowed to have my purse in the dealers room. Nothing is more frustrating than the cons where I need to bag check it or get it medical sealed if I don't have room for meds in a pocket.
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Unread 09-17-2013, 10:19 AM   #3
Ganesh
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Thanks for the feedback Scribbles ITM!

1. I’m sorry the printing blurred, hopefully it wasn’t on too many copies. We do opt for the heavy duty paper so people can still use their schedules at the end of the weekend. We’re actually taking a long look at how we do our pocket schedule in the future. As you may have noticed, we had the very tiny font (which blurs more easily) on it this year because we have so much going on at con, we had to cram it all on. My designer and I talking about some options, so we will hopefully have a larger, more readable schedule next year.

2. Prior to this year, child badges were only available at the door. This year, we also sold them at booths at other conventions we attended. My understanding is that next year, they should be available pre-reg—we went from previously selling a handful to running out of the badges, so we’re tweaking how we do them. We’re excited to have so many younger fans!

3. Actually, our secret plan is that if you can have your purse easily in our dealer’s room, you can buy EVERYTHING. We’re glad you like it.
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Unread 09-17-2013, 11:40 AM   #4
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I had an excellent time at AUSA this year. First con in a while where I don't have any complaints, except for the fee that's charged for lost badges. My girlfriend lost hers, and she wound up not even bothering with getting a new one. But, I understand why they charge. But that's about it. Hotel staff and AUSA staff were all very friendly. I definitely think I'll be returning next year. <3
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Unread 09-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #5
laughingdeath
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I had a really good time, overall it was a great con. Decent size, nice hotel, GREAT artist alley and dealers room- unfortunately I only got to visit them once on Friday because at the rave I lost my badge, as posted above, and I guess people are dishonest and kept it instead of turning it in. Sorry, but I'm not paying a second time to go spend money. That really put a damper on the weekend because I couldn't go see a lot of my friends since they were in those areas.

The real issue I had at this convention was the staff. I think there definitely needs to be a set standard for the things you can harass congoers about. There were a lot of double standards concerning cosplays, and I had to deal with some nasty remarks about my open shirt binding in a crossplay. I wasn't exposed in the slightest and my cosplay was very secure. It made me really uncomfortable and I don't think staff should be acting like that. One of my friends also got harassed because of an outfit that had him more covered than A LOT of other people.

Also, in the art auction, I don't think the staff need to be stalking you as you try to look at the art. I was REALLY uncomfortable in there because the guy was walking RIGHT BEHIND ME the entire time I was in there. Like, don't get me wrong, the art is great and my friend bought a few paintings from there, but they're not Van Goghs and I'm not a criminal so PLEASE teach your staff not to creep on people and invade their personal space. Seriously.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
Ganesh
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Lost badges are always a tricky issue for us. While we understand you’ve paid and had a badge, but there are enough people who try to game the system that way (either by claiming to have lost a badge in order to get a free one or by handing their badge to a friend and claiming they lost it) that we do have to charge a replacement fee. That being said, always make sure to check at the info desk. We get lost badges turned in every year, which I think says pretty awesome about our members.

As far as either of the staff concerns you mentioned, should you have this problem again, or feel uncomfortable, PLEASE ask to see a senior staff member and let us know so we can address the issue. Unfortunately staffers, particularly new staffers, can get overzealous in trying to enforce rules or do their job. I, and my fellow directors, can’t be everywhere at once (much as I make a very valiant attempt all weekend) but it is important for us to stop any issues. If you go to info desk or con ops, they can summon a senior staffer and we’re happy to take care of the problem. Often, staffers aren’t trying to be creepy or annoying, they’re just really worried about doing their job correctly, but it doesn’t come off that way, and we want to make sure you can have fun at AUSA.
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Unread 09-30-2013, 08:30 AM   #7
Sandninjer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganesh View Post
We’ve just finished our Journey Back to Edo Japan, and hope you had a fun time at the convention this weekend. We’re in the process of getting some sleep, but we’d love to hear what you thought of the convention this year. Please feel free to give us feedback, both positive and negative. Let us know what you enjoyed, what went well, and what you’d like us to do more of so we can keep bettering our convention. If you liked a particular panel or event, guest or anything else, let us know so we can see about bringing them back! Please also let us know problems you had or issues you noticed, so we can let you know what went wrong and try to fix these things for next year.

There are a few items I’ll respond to right away, since we got a lot of questions about them at the info desk and in feedback panels:

1. As you likely noticed, we had a TON more space this year than we did last year. This was really cool because it allowed us to try new things and expand some areas. It also meant that halls never really got crowded and there were places to hang out, talk with friends, and enjoy seeing all the great costumes. However, it also meant that directions weren’t as easy as ‘walk down this hall and you’re there’ like they used to be, and that the staff was spread pretty thin, because we had so much ground to cover. As a result, some locations got changed early in the weekend as we discovered that you guys weren’t able to find things or there were places more convenient to you to put them. Now that we know what works and what doesn’t, we’ll be able to plan better next year.

2. We know there were some schedule hiccups. Unfortunately Guidebook had some problems, and we weren’t able to update things as efficiently as we had wanted to. I don’t know all the details about this problem at this time, but I do know we’re trying to figure out what went wrong with the company, and will figure out how this issue can be avoided in the future.

I’m happy to try to address any issues and concerns, and will forward questions and problems on to the appropriate Anime USA staffer to follow up if needed. Remember, be civil and give us lots of feedback!

Please also check out our feedback thread on our forums: http://forums.animeusa.org/index.php...810&Itemi d=1
Hey, Ganesh. I'm glad someone from the AUSA staff reached out and asked for some feedback. I'll provide both my positive and negative thoughts.

This was my first Anime Con and both my wife and I had a great time. There were a lot of stalls and a bunch of seminars. Even the hotel staff themselves were extremely friendly and accommodating. My only regret is that I hadn't planned on staying the whole weekend. I arrived late Friday night from Delaware and left Saturday around 6:30 PM because I had made other plans with famiy. I didn't know what to expect coming into it. I actually thought people were just going to be dressed up standing in 1 hall staring at each other.

My only negative feedback is that AUSA didn't put out any schedule until the last minute. The reason I couldn't stay the whole weekend is due to prior plans I had made with family nearby simply because I had no idea that there was going to be so much going on. By the time you guys put out your schedule it was already too late. For such a huge event, I just don't understand how everything still isn't finalized until just 1 week prior? My wife and I could have spent the entire weekend there and been able to enjoy so much more and while I was extremely frustrated about this, it was still a memorable time.

Will I return again? Probably not, unless the schedule is actually posted further in advance and not last minute. Really wasn't fair to those of us who know/knew nothing about how anime cons work.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 08:18 AM   #8
DespairedPheonix
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Unfortunately most Anime conventions don't post their schedules until last minute. :/
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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:39 AM   #9
Sandninjer
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That's odd. Out of curiosity, why is it that way? I think even having some kind of guide for beginners on what to expact/prepare for is very important. I tried desperately for 2 months to try to get an idea of what was going to be happening at AUSA but wasn't able to find any info any where. In fact, that's the reason why I even joined the forum here really.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 03:20 PM   #10
DespairedPheonix
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I wish I knew, I'd like them to put schedules out in advance also. The only things that really get released are the guests. Panels and everything else I suppose are put together last minute >_<
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Unread 10-03-2013, 10:43 AM   #11
laughingdeath
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First in response to Ganesh:

I checked EVERY desk I could for my badge thanks. Nobody had turned any badges at all in at that point. I even checked with the hotel desk.

And I'm saying that you need to have SET RULES about what's acceptable and what isn't. Draw a freaking diagram if you have to. Don't just say "Anything you can wear to a beach is acceptable," because that's based on the staffers' individual opinion on what's acceptable. Draw a picture. Tell them directly what has to be covered because if one person gets harrassed and then say but so and so said it was okay that's crap. All the staff should have the same view of what is and isn't fit to be walking around in before the convention starts. There's way too much miscommunication going on.

And in response to everybody else:

Keep in mind the con is essentially run by volunteers. I'm not involved in any of that stuff but I would throw out a guess that a lot of the people organizing everything aren't exactly professionals in the business. By fans for fans or whatever. And the panels are also run by people that just say hey I want to run x panel. It's not exactly a for profit company. They probably have like.. legit jobs they have to deal with too. Also some of those people running panels might have plans change last minute or stuff happen and they can't make it to the con. So stuff ends up changing on the schedule that's out of the con's hands. Know what I mean?
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Unread 10-08-2013, 01:56 PM   #12
Ganesh
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We do have a set policy on costumes as stated in the program book and on the website:

Costumers, remember that no costume is NO costume, and there are public nudity laws, if it is not legal on a conservative public beach then it is not going to work here either. Please wear appropriate (or at least enough) clothing in the common areas.

This does get communicated to our staffers. My point was that if a staffer is unsure/behaving in a creepy manner/whatever, please elevate it so we can address the issue with the staffer and ensure that you and our other members don't have any further problems.
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Unread 10-09-2013, 03:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laughingdeath View Post
Keep in mind the con is essentially run by volunteers. I'm not involved in any of that stuff but I would throw out a guess that a lot of the people organizing everything aren't exactly professionals in the business. By fans for fans or whatever. And the panels are also run by people that just say hey I want to run x panel. It's not exactly a for profit company. They probably have like.. legit jobs they have to deal with too. Also some of those people running panels might have plans change last minute or stuff happen and they can't make it to the con. So stuff ends up changing on the schedule that's out of the con's hands. Know what I mean?
While I understand that it's an event (as most of the cons are) essentially run by volunteers, at the end of the day, if there's time invested in setting up such a huge, public event, then coming from an absolute business perspective (and professionally ethical), the necessary accomodations should be made to organize such an event. While an outstanding job was done on getting the rooms set up and scheduled for such and such seminars, what good is it when those people who have no idea what they're getting into aren't prepared for it? That's a HUGE oversight and it cut my weekend down more than half of what it could have been had I clearly known what to expect. I'm sure I wasn't the only one either.

For example, the delayed release of the AUSA Online Guide. Even though I was able to view the spreadsheet itself, had the guide been posted more than just one week before the con, there could have some available time to successfully troubleshoot the issue (the online guide never appeared in the GuideBook app as it was mentioned on their Facebook page). An agenda is never something you wait make official until last minute in ANY thing, be it a meeting, a party, a class or, especially, a convention.

So I understand all this about volunteers and them not getting paid for it and what not, but my argument is that if you're going to set something so big up, at least do the due diligence in creating a guide for newcomers. That's just baseline professionalism and will still credit the organization with some [more] awesome feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganesh View Post
We do have a set policy on costumes as stated in the program book and on the website:

Costumers, remember that no costume is NO costume, and there are public nudity laws, if it is not legal on a conservative public beach then it is not going to work here either. Please wear appropriate (or at least enough) clothing in the common areas.

This does get communicated to our staffers. My point was that if a staffer is unsure/behaving in a creepy manner/whatever, please elevate it so we can address the issue with the staffer and ensure that you and our other members don't have any further problems.
I think Death's argument is to be more specific. Not everyone wants to resort to having to report staffers as it causes an inconvenience up front and a not-so pleasurable experience. It's best avoided completely if possible. Different people have differen interpretations of what's considered conservative on the beach and what isn't. That's essentially saying one could come to the con in a Victoria's Secret thong.
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Last edited by Sandninjer : 10-09-2013 at 03:22 PM.
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Unread 10-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #14
Ganesh
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Sandninjer—you mentioned before that this was your first anime convention. Unfortunately, I think your expectations as to what is normal at an anime convention may be a little too high. Everyone on our staff is a volunteer, from the guy checking badges at a door to the senior people who run the parent non-profit (like me). I can only think of one anime convention that has released their schedule more than a week in advance and that's in more than 12 years and countless conventions. We put out the schedule the weekend before, which is standard. The vast majority of our programming comes from the fans, and as such, rather than release a schedule with a ton of errors on it (because fans doing panels cancel, or need to switch times, or whatever) we try to balance providing info in advance and providing accurate information. Certainly professional conferences and such provide schedules earlier, but that simply isn't the case with anime conventions (or many fan conventions). When your job is to do a presentation and you're getting paid for it, it is a radically different situation than when you show up and give a panel because you're passionate about the topic.

Similarly, as everyone is a volunteer, we do screen people and provide basic training, but these aren't people with weeks of intensive background judging appropriate costumes. We have a policy, and rely on common sense on the part of our volunteers AND our attendees (to follow the rules and realize if you're wearing something questionable, you might have something said by our staff). I had said that if someone ever disagreed with what a public safety staffer said, they should feel free to elevate it and we'd look into the matter. I know not everyone might feel comfortable doing that, but I'm not sure what other solution would be acceptable. We're happy to take suggestions, but expecting every staffer to make the correct call every time isn't a realistic option.

Again, I realize this was your first con and you might not have known what to expect, and we're always happy to take feedback. However, at the end of the day, we're a fan run event, and don't function the same way as a professional conference.
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