Username Post: Common mistakes for first-year conventions
Executive Producer

Age: 45
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06
12-29-06 04:22 PM - Post#137    

I thought it might be helpful for some people who have been to or staffed a bunch of conventions to start making a list of common mistakes seen at first year events. Who knows, maybe it will drag some fun stories out of people.

I've been to somewhere on the order of 40 conventions now. (I need to sit down and count again.) A fair share of them have been first-year I've seen a few of these first-hand. Others have been mistakes I've noticed in the past several years of running this web site:

* Don't over-estimate your attendance.
I've seen more than a handful of conventions say that they'll have X thousand people in their first year...when the convention is in the middle of nowhere. First year attendance really depends on the location and how much publicity the convention does before the event, so it is entirely possible that a first year convention could get, oh, let's say 4,110 people (as in the case of Anime Boston 2003)...but that's more of the exception than the norm. From what I've seen, most first years are 200 to 500 people. Unless you're in a region with a lot of people 25 and under that currently doesn't have an anime con within 4 hours, don't budget for more than that...unless pre-registration numbers start to contradict it.

* Don't copy/paste content from other conventions.
Plagarism is bad. Period. I don't think I even need to explain this one.

* Don't announce guests before they've said they're coming.
There have been a few times a guest has e-mailed me asking me to remove them from a guest listing on this site because the convention posted them on the web site before waiting for a confirmation. Um... Oops! IMHO, it's best to keep the names of your invited guests under wraps until you know for sure if they can come or not.

* Don't announce dates or a location before you sign the contract.
If I had a dollar for every time I saw a convention's web site that said "We will be held MARCH 6-8, location TBA"...well, I'd have enough money for lunch at Denny's. Probably 75% of the time the dates end up changing when the location is announced. You'd just better hope your attendees notice the date change. You're better off seeing what dates work for the hotel(s) before asking the world to set that weekend aside.

* Don't spam other cons' forums.
It's okay to put your con's web site in your signature and participate in discussions on another convention's forum...but to go into the middle of their general discussion area and post a blatant ad for your con? That's bad form. It won't win you any friends. ...and I've seen it done. If a convention has a dedicated forum for talk about other conventions, it may be okay there.

I'm sure I'll think up more stuff, but I'll let someone else have a turn now.
-PatrickD Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™

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