Username Post: AnimeCons TV - Why Conventions Fail        (Topic#2924)
Himeno 
Attendee
Posts: 13

Reg: 02-27-10

06-18-13 05:49 AM - Post#12553    

I just watched ep 522 of animecons tv.

In terms of "Mismanagement", as staff for 2 cons, I've had to deal with quite a bit of it. @_@

The smaller, more local, con had quite some success for it's first 2 years, but by the end of the 2nd year and that years mini cons, it had to go into hiatus for lack of staff. During the last event of that year, half way through the day all the volunteers had disappeared leaving the core staff to do everything and by the end of the day, half of them were so pissed off that they didn't want to do work for the con anymore and most of the remaining staff moved on and left the country.
I spent the next few years trying to find enough people to run it again. Twice in that 5 year period, I found other people interested in running something, only for them to disappear once they realized how much work it was or found something more "interesting" to do with their time.
That con had it's 3rd year with new staff a few months ago. But... The first year of the "revival", no one had clear positions with everyone trying to do everything and not listening to the people with experience.
The 2nd year, they were saying "no, won't happen this year", only to turn around and say yes it will - in 3 weeks time.
This year was a complete stuff up with communication where people with 5+ years of con staff experience offered to help and were never replied to.
The first two years this con ran, there were about 600 attendees (with a population of about 450,000 within 2.5 hours drive). Since the revival, they have only gotten about 200 attendees each year and claim that is good.


The other much larger event I staff at...
The con moved venues in 2009 and in doing so grew attendance by 3-4 times. Since then, every other year, they spend far too much that the following year everything is in cost cutting mode to avoid cancelling the event (ie, year 1 spend more then planned, year 2 go "oh crap, cut cut cut", year 3 repeat). And that's when half the staff even bother doing their job.


An easy way to kill a con is for staff not to talk to each other and/or have half the staff not do the work.

Edited by Himeno on 06-18-13 05:54 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Nigoki 
Obsessed with robots
Posts: 1468
Nigoki
Reg: 02-25-09

06-18-13 01:46 PM - Post#12554    
    In response to Himeno

It can be really frustrating when people don't realize how much pre-con work goes on, even for smaller events. Just because the event itself is only one weekend out of the entire year doesn't mean you can coast along.


  • Himeno Said:
An easy way to kill a con is for staff not to talk to each other and/or have half the staff not do the work.


Communication among staff (especially between departments) is something EVERY convention can always improve on. Relying too much on one person/department to carry the weight is a mistake you can't afford to make. Leadership should be willing and able to delegate tasks, and follow up when they're not getting done on time.
-Doug Wilder
Resident Mecha fanboy of AnimeCons TV!


 
Himeno 
Attendee
Posts: 13

Reg: 02-27-10

07-05-13 08:11 AM - Post#12607    
    In response to Nigoki

Yep. I've been having major problems getting the promo team for one of the cons I've staffed for to post information about hotel deals. Thus there have been few bookings and it is now extremely unlikely we'll have enough rooms booked to get anything for free.

So instead of getting free accommodation for some guests, the guest budget now has to cover the hotel bill - all because promo took 2 weeks to do their job.

 
vrmlbasic 
Con Regular
Posts: 75

Reg: 02-23-12

09-07-13 05:48 PM - Post#12768    
    In response to Himeno

Bureaucracy + Non-profit = catastrophe, often cataclysmic. If ever I start to doubt that basic truth an anime con will restore my faith in it.

Too often at anime cons there will be a debacle and the "people on the ground" aren't permitted to adapt to handle it, the staff immediately above those people refuse to adapt and no one will bring the now-mushrooming issue to the attention of a higher-level staffer. It's like the old story of not being able to move the tanks in after D-day because no one wanted to wake a certain someone. Similarly, Patton's quote "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" should be, in spirit, the mantra of every con. Sadly it seems that the opposite is.

There must be something about anime cons that pull in the megalomanaical, the brusque and obdurate, the incompetent, the inflexible and the "ivory towered" dreamers whose ideas never fail to be unworkable.

...and if the con is like Otakon, there's no shortage of individual staffers who embody all of those traits.

 
PatrickD 
Executive Producer
Posts: 5078
PatrickD
Loc: California
Reg: 12-07-06

09-07-13 08:06 PM - Post#12769    
    In response to vrmlbasic

I don't think being non-profit has anything to do with that. You can see that behavior in many for-profit organizations too.
-PatrickD
AnimeCons.com Executive Producer
Co-Founder: Anime Boston and Providence Anime Conference
Host of The Chibi Project & Anime Unscripted™


 
vrmlbasic 
Con Regular
Posts: 75

Reg: 02-23-12

09-08-13 03:28 AM - Post#12775    
    In response to PatrickD

  • PatrickD Said:
I don't think being non-profit has anything to do with that. You can see that behavior in many for-profit organizations too.


Not to the same degree, and not with the same disastrous results, I contend. Perhaps the biggest issue is, as has been mentioned here already, is that anime cons have a history of pushing away the competent people. The dregs, those with some or all of the attributes I mentioned, fill the vacuum left by the "competents". Sometimes I wonder if, talking about Otakon, there are a few competents at Otakon who manage to keep the con sort of going, despite being surrounded by idiots (similar to the scene in Spaceballs), or if there is no competency left there and the power-mad, the jack-booted thug types and the ivory-towered idealists somehow manage to paradoxically keep the con rolling via conflicting incompetence. Both are depressing, but I'd like to choose the former, even though I don't think that it is really true as I've found no incontrovertible evidence to support it.

Otakon has always struck me as a con that is run as though it were one which has 3,000 attendees when it pulls in over 11 times that amount.


 
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