Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

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MerchMaven
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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by MerchMaven » Wed May 01, 2019 4:06 pm

DocWatson wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:55 pm
* The appropriate staff is probably already aware of this general situation, but when I attempted to buy a con T-shirt at the merch table on Saturday evening, all sizes but small were sold out. My friend told me that a merch table staff member had told him that one of the con hotels had bought (IIRC) 200 T-shirts for their own staff, apparently without prior arrangement. While I'm certain the merch division head (or whatever the person's appropriate title is) was overjoyed to have made the sale, I'd still like a(n extra large) T-shirt, please, and for this not to occur next year (again: please). Would it be possible to sell them through this Web site?
I apologize for the delay in responding. I have been dealing with a vicious case of con crud that started on Saturday of con and knocked me on my butt for a week.

I am the merch manager for AB. I handle the ordering and am also available at the booth during the con. I do not know who your friend spoke to, but I can assure you, no single group or entity, including the Sheraton, got or purchased 200 shirts from us. You're right. I would have been overjoyed to make that sale, and I definitely would've remembered it.

While the Sheraton did purchase some shirts for their front line staff, shirts also went to our guests and the Anime Boston volunteers. However, the vast majority of our shirts were purchased by our attendees. I am sorry you didn't get one. As I am the one in charge, I dreaded every conversation with people who were disappointed that they couldn't purchase one this year, and I had a few.

Every year, I have to make an educated guess when ordering. That guess is based on previous years sales, our estimated attendance, the possible popularity of the art, and the needs of other departments in the con. Last year, I over estimated, and had shirts left over. While that's ideal from an attendee standpoint, it's not ideal from the con's. Our budget is very tightly controlled, and shirts that don't sell are a net loss. Few people want them the following year, and selling them at a loss is hard.

So my goal is to sell out, and how I do my ordering reflects that. Obviously, I'd like to sell out at closing on Sunday, and be able to help every single person up until that time. But sometimes, that's not possible.

The shirts will not be reordered, the cost per item is too high for a small order. I have managed to keep the cost of the shirts static for the last few years by maximizing the purchase and including the staff shirts in the same print order. Web ordering is, likewise, not going to happen at this time. It's just too much to ask for my small volunteer staff of five people.

Again, I truly am sorry that you were not able to get a shirt this year. Nothing makes me happier then to see one of our shirts on an attendee years later, either at our own con or elsewhere. It's a tangible connection to a year you did attend, and I never want that to be denied to someone.
Kerry Walker
Anime Boston Merch Manager, 2006-2019
Anime Boston Security, 2004-2006

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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by supersaiyaman4ever » Wed May 01, 2019 5:33 pm

I'm an AA artist and I don't know if this is the proper place to put things

1)The AA staff doesn't do any walk bys or check ins to make sure that people aren't selling stickers/tape/ect They also did nothing than their speaker announcements to keep people from taking pictures. It was still a huge problem!! They never came and checked me or my tablemates at all, I put in most requests thru staffers walking by but I don't think they ever delivered my messages.

2) I wish there were hight restrictions on the table displays. I always thought there was a 5ft one but it hasn't been put into effect for the past few years. PLEASE PLEASE CAN WE GET HEIGHT RESTRICTIONS!! If they want to take up all that air space let them move to the exhibit hall!

3) even tho the never leave their table the AA staff is very helpful with info

This was a good year! But I just wish there was some sort of accountability in the AA. Thank you.

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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by h2omelon » Wed May 01, 2019 8:35 pm

Positive:
*The line was SO fast. Real props to the people who organized that. It improves every year.

*Cosplay repair was awesome! And clearly very necessary. Saw tons of people using it. Thanks for including stuff like hot glue, hair dryers etc

*Artist’s alley was pretty good! I had fun seeing new work, but feel like I missed out on some regulars whose work I really love. I think the alternative to who can refresh the fastest is a good idea. I would suggest doing like 1/2 random 1/2 speed or like 1/3 random 1/3 juried etc ..maybe a portion that has priority toward artists from the area (makes it easier for them to transport stock! Support your local artists!)


Negative:
*No badge discount for masquerade/artists alley/panelists? These people provide a significant chunk of the entertainment. It might also freshen the pool of applicants a little

*Still so crowded. Not much that can be done with the event space. Good steps in making food available in the con center though.

*I don’t think I have to explain why showing an AMV that depicts the American bombing of a Japanese city set to some American pop is a bad idea.. in front of hundreds of people, for a Japanese media-focused (and family-friendly!) event. Real people died in WWII, including people that might have relatives included in the audience.
If this seems extreme, think about an AMV about Pearl Harbor. That would absolutely not have gone over well with the audience. Remember, it’s not just a drama show, it is a fairly recent, real tragedy.

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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by H. Guderian » Wed May 01, 2019 10:17 pm

Panelists get a reimbursement after the fact. iirc people could apply for a panel and never show to provide their service, but still reap the benefit of free/discounted entry. Not sure about the other fields.

As for the Lack of Variety of panels, the process to submit panels allows for low risk. If you cosplay, you can and will enjoy the con. If you're a researcher, you can submit a panel - but the more in-depth and the further from 101/Intro you get, the fewer attend. I buy books for Panel research in the summer and read them through the fall/winter as a joyful hobby. But if I make an unappealing pitch I just lost what I enjoy doing at the con the most. Once I submitted a risky panel and have no idea why it didn't make the cut, but others did. If you only submit one panel, well researched with weeks or months of effort, you may never know why or how close you were to getting in. Was it the topic? The length? The depth? Too much media? Not enough media? Did you do terrible at presenting the year before?


So just by the nature of the process, 101/Intro Panels are the safest kind of submission allowed by the process. Since most panels are 1 hour long, how many staff members that vote on them need to watch a 1-hour prerecorded video to ensure it is a good panel? Can you judge a panel without the audience?

So there's no way to know why you got in, or why you didn't, at any time. The uncertainty helps sustain "Safe" submissions.

Also yeah I hosted 4 panels on that Sheraton 5th floor. its a nightmare.
But!! There was hope! I was on the 1st floor at one point and a hotel staffer pulled away exactly 10 people to use a Service Elevator. I suggested it elsewhere, but maybe if 5th floor Sheraton panels could be scheduled at the same time. So then you could have a hotel staffer ready to take take down a load or two of people off that 5th floor. I saw with my own eyes that they did it to go Up. I can't recall the number of people unwilling to visit the Foundation block of Panels due to the infamy the 5th floor generates.

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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by animosc » Thu May 02, 2019 2:25 am

MerchMaven wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 4:06 pm
Web ordering is, likewise, not going to happen at this time. It's just too much to ask for my small volunteer staff of five people.
Has AB ever considered doing web orders during the registration process, then pick-up at the con? (I have no idea about the logistics of this. It's just a suggestion/question.)

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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by Gauron » Mon May 06, 2019 1:42 pm

Like always, had an overall great time this year, just one real complaint: the panelist "compensation" policy.

It's barely a thing. It's honestly ridiculous a con this size has a reimbursement only policy. Effectively anyone that has a panel accepted has to pay to present which isn't fair to them & honestly a hassle on the back-end as well. Although I hate saying this it's something that needs to be mentioned: most cons (more specifically, fan-ran nonprofit nerd cons) give their panelists comped badges upfront & primarily have reimbursements for those that already registered by the time they heard back on acceptances. By doing this you foster a better relationship with any given panelist & encourages people to come back year after year to provide more great quality panels. Additionally, by having a reimbursement only policy you tend to scare away the more seasoned panelists who are more likely to provide the type of panels that can pull in nice size crowds since no one who's been doing this for any amount of time appreciates receiving 0 comp upfront for potentially hours of programming & even some out of pocket expenses related to that particular presentation. Basically, the least you can do is cover their badge for them.

In general, since I've also not only staffed conventions but have worked in Live Programming/Panels dept., it's actually infinitely easier for the Panel staff to comp badges upfront (at least for returning/seasoned panelists) as it means less paperwork on the back-end & things to have to keep track of. The amount of work necessary for doing reimbursements can be quite tedious & create situations where panelists either never receive their reimbursement or it takes several months to do so. If you comp their badges upfront (limit it to maybe 3-5 for groups), that's less work on the back-end, the panelist is happy, your panel dept. is receiving less angry emails about "where's my reimbursement?!" & it just works out for everybody in the long run. Another potential thing you can do is reimburse at the con, so come Sunday panelists can head in & pick up their check, but it's still not nearly as streamlined & efficient as just comping the badge upfront.

I understand the mentality some cons have that "well, if we comp the badge upfront the panelist may take the badge & skip on their panel," but that's literally a very small number way less than the amount of panelists that report in dutifully for their panels. Essentially you're punishing the vast majority of panelists for the potential bad actions of a few. In that case, all you need to do is blacklist the person that skips so they can never present again. Maybe even have con Security be on the lookout for them so they can pull their badge & march them to Reg to pay for a regular one, but still no need to have a reimbursement only policy.

In general, I can't see any con saying they "care about their fan panelists, a group that provides a bulk of the con's programming" but can't do something as simple as giving them their badges upfront free of charge. It's a simple fix but would go a long way to ensuring satisfaction for panelists & less irate emails for panel staff.
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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by Gauron » Mon May 06, 2019 2:08 pm

As a 'short' follow-up: want to give mad shout-outs to the Reg dept. Besides a con of this size having the fastest Reg lines I've ever seen, they also helped me received a refund for my badge in record time. Some backstory:

I was a panelist this year like I've been since 2014, but this was the first time I ever had to pay for my badge & only found out AFTER paying for it my vendor had a badge for me the whole time (*deep sigh* never thought to ask b/c usually I'm covered by getting a comped badge upfront via panel's, which isn't the norm but I lucked out & was able to do that). When I went to the Panel dept., although polite, I kept getting the runaround when to expect the reimbursement. However, due to the fact that my particularly unique issue was also technically a Reg issue, I also mentioned the same plight to them via webform/email & pretty much w/in a week I received a refund. Meanwhile, still haven't heard anything from Panel Dept. Quite frankly, Panel's usually responds in pretty decent time whenever I've sent emails in the past, but they were way off their usual responsiveness this year.

Actually, another short backstory piece: since I usually was able to get a comped badge from the Panel's dept, despite that not being the policy, when I messaged them to ask would that be the case this year I never received a response & obviously it turned out I had to pay. Like, I don't know what changes were happening on the back-end, but if I at least got a response in a timely manner I could have double checked w/ my vendor to see if I could get a badge that way. Instead I wound up getting blind-sided at the con & was admittedly too frustrated to think to check w/ my vendor first. Plus, since by the time of the con it's near impossible to get in touch with anyone from Panel's w/o having a badge to go into the con, so it's not like I could ask directly then either.

Anyway, you know, problems that could have been completely avoided with prompter response time & comping panelist's badges upfront.
~~
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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by lordofvt » Mon May 06, 2019 6:36 pm

Gauron wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:08 pm
As a 'short' follow-up: want to give mad shout-outs to the Reg dept. Besides a con of this size having the fastest Reg lines I've ever seen, they also helped me received a refund for my badge in record time. Some backstory:

I was a panelist this year like I've been since 2014, but this was the first time I ever had to pay for my badge & only found out AFTER paying for it my vendor had a badge for me the whole time (*deep sigh* never thought to ask b/c usually I'm covered by getting a comped badge upfront via panel's, which isn't the norm but I lucked out & was able to do that). When I went to the Panel dept., although polite, I kept getting the runaround when to expect the reimbursement. However, due to the fact that my particularly unique issue was also technically a Reg issue, I also mentioned the same plight to them via webform/email & pretty much w/in a week I received a refund. Meanwhile, still haven't heard anything from Panel Dept. Quite frankly, Panel's usually responds in pretty decent time whenever I've sent emails in the past, but they were way off their usual responsiveness this year.

Actually, another short backstory piece: since I usually was able to get a comped badge from the Panel's dept, despite that not being the policy, when I messaged them to ask would that be the case this year I never received a response & obviously it turned out I had to pay. Like, I don't know what changes were happening on the back-end, but if I at least got a response in a timely manner I could have double checked w/ my vendor to see if I could get a badge that way. Instead I wound up getting blind-sided at the con & was admittedly too frustrated to think to check w/ my vendor first. Plus, since by the time of the con it's near impossible to get in touch with anyone from Panel's w/o having a badge to go into the con, so it's not like I could ask directly then either.

Anyway, you know, problems that could have been completely avoided with prompter response time & comping panelist's badges upfront.
Hi There!

After you came to ask about the status of your refund I did go down to reg and figure out how we can get you a check ASAP. I got how much you paid and did get a check written out for you and got it back to Prog Ops in about an hour. I thought an email or something got sent to you ASAP that it was available for being picked up. I'm sorry that this didn't get to you. It's in the group of other checks that didn't get picked up and are being sent out this week.

I am investigating what we can do to change to comping panelists before the con. While there is a risk of some people getting a badge and then not doing their panel, this is probably a very small risk. And there may be ways to dissuade this sort of behavior. Should find some change for next year.
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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by tetsujin » Wed May 08, 2019 4:06 pm

Gauron wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 1:42 pm
Like always, had an overall great time this year, just one real complaint: the panelist "compensation" policy.

It's barely a thing. It's honestly ridiculous a con this size has a reimbursement only policy. Effectively anyone that has a panel accepted has to pay to present which isn't fair to them & honestly a hassle on the back-end as well. Although I hate saying this it's something that needs to be mentioned: most cons (more specifically, fan-ran nonprofit nerd cons) give their panelists comped badges upfront & primarily have reimbursements for those that already registered by the time they heard back on acceptances.
On that note: My panels tend toward the technical side of things and in the past I've tried to get co-panelists whose technical skills make them worth having as panelists, but who, otherwise, would not be inclined to attend an anime convention. Actually this applies to almost everyone I've ever had in mind helping at one of my panels. This would be difficult even if these co-panelists were to receive delayed compensation for their badges, but as it stands only the lead of a panel gets their badge comp'ed - so pulling in these people is all but impossible unless I pay their way in myself.

I can understand that there are reasons for limiting who gets comp'ed and when and how. And I can understand there's a basic value proposition here, that what I have in mind, and the number of audience I'm able to pull in, may simply not merit that kind of additional cost from the con's point of view. But from my point of view it tends to be a bit frustrating and limiting.

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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by Gauron » Wed May 08, 2019 4:14 pm

lordofvt wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:36 pm
Gauron wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:08 pm
As a 'short' follow-up...
Hi There!

After you came to ask about the status of your refund I did go down to reg and figure out how we can get you a check ASAP. I got how much you paid and did get a check written out for you and got it back to Prog Ops in about an hour. I thought an email or something got sent to you ASAP that it was available for being picked up. I'm sorry that this didn't get to you. It's in the group of other checks that didn't get picked up and are being sent out this week.

I am investigating what we can do to change to comping panelists before the con. While there is a risk of some people getting a badge and then not doing their panel, this is probably a very small risk. And there may be ways to dissuade this sort of behavior. Should find some change for next year.
Thanks for the response! I checked my email, including my Spam folder, & I don't see anything from Programming/Panels nor did it seem like a check was cut when I checked in earlier in the day Sunday of the con. Regardless, since I was able to get my money refunded via the Reg dept., there's no need to send me a check anymore, assuming it wasn't sent yet. Not trying to game the con for more money, just needed the money back sooner vs. later due to it being rent money ^.^;

That being said, as far as panelist compensation, between banning people from doing panels &/or outright banning them from the con, there are definitely ways to deal with people who decide to take advantage of having a free badge & deterring ppl from doing so altogether, but by far this will be very few vs. the majority who will show up & present their panel as expected (as stated above). As a brief aside, I've been doing panels at various cons for 7 years now & have personally presented close to 50 panels, never mind also staffing cons, if you have additional questions regarding potentially reformatting panelist compensation I'll gladly assist to the best of my abilities. I've seen lots of different compensation policies over the years but generally a lot tend to have an ability to attain a comped badge upfront after presenting X amount of panels/hours.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw this out here so I'm not clogging up the feedback thread w/ panelist compensation policy talk ^.^;
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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by XanSpiraken » Mon May 13, 2019 10:29 am

Excellent con this year. The attendees we're calm and collected this year, I Really enjoyed the city Hunter Shinjuku Private Eye Premire and the concert. I also loved the concert on Sunday. The panels this year were all intriguing and had some great topics. I am excited for next year and can't wait to share my review of the con.

One issue though was that I am still waiting on my reimbursement checks for running panels. I was there late Sunday and they told me, the checks for my wife and myself had not been cut yet. I will probably email panel ops later today to find out if they have been mailed. I know that it is a minor issue but I hope that this issue gets streamlined in the upcoming years. Perhaps payment by venmo or PayPal

Other than that, it was a great con. Hope to see everyone next year
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Re: Anime Boston 2019 Feedback Thread!

Post by asunnydisposish » Wed May 15, 2019 1:24 am

I'm an AA artist as well, so most of my comments are about Artist Alley.

Badge pick-up was super convenient and fast. I do a lot of conventions every year since I do the AA circuit full-time, and AB has one of the easiest badge pick-up systems I've seen.

The AA did feel super crowded at times and it was hard to walk around, but that was a good thing for those of us tabling! The flow of traffic in the room was great and there wasn't any real "bad spot" or "dead zones" from what I could see. Attendees were very enthusiastic to spend and excited about art.

I really have to commend Kathy for being a wonderful AA head. She was always so prompt to answer all my questions and check in was a breeze. She's done a really great job transitioning to a lottery, even though AA changes usually have a few bumps along the way.

The only real complaint I had was how loud the music got. It was a little hard to converse with customers at times and I have a mild sensory sensitivity to loud noises. I do understand that space at the convention center is limited so it might be hard to put the concerts somewhere else though. In the end, it's not a dealbreaker for me - but if there is another spot in the convention center that concerts could be moved to, I know it would be a big relief for both artists and attendees in the AA.

As some people have suggested, I would love to have operating hours printed on the back of the badges (AA hours, Vendor Hall hours, etc.) It would also be interesting to consider a partial jury/partial lottery in the future years. It seems like a lot of attendees were concerned about quality of art this year and a partial jury might help in the future.

This was my second year attending and I had a blast. A big thank you to all the staff and their hard work for putting this event together. I hope I can return again next year!

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