Artist Alley Thanks and Feedback

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Tuberat
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Post by Tuberat » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:25 am

[color:red]Okay, this is gonna take a bit - its going to be long. my apologies. i hope everyone reads it through anyway.[/color]

Firstly, i'm writing this here in a new thread because i want to make sure everyone sees it. This is my thank you AND my own feedback as well as explanations to stuff that i've been hearing.

Again, i will not close the other thread, but i will link it in.

Earlier Feedback Thread

I can tell you guys already that there will be some changes - not necessarily to the sign up process, though we're looking into ways to make it work better - but changes there shall be, while some others are still being thought about.

that being said


[color:red]My Thank you :)[/color]

I'd like to say thank you for a great artists alley! while there were issues, most were minor and solvable. other issues were not brought to my attention till later, but then again, some of THOSE weren't exactly solvable at that point in time.

There were no complaints from attendees about the artists, although there was one accusation from someone and i can't recall if it was another artist or an attendee - and only two complaints from one artist about another.

I believe that this years newly revamped and implemented check in system went very well and managed to cut down the wait on Thursday and Friday SIGNIFICANTLY. It was certainly easier to find people and keep track of stuff.

I didn't see any unsteady displays - heard no complaints from anybody and in fact a great deal of you actually had your displays checked over with me first and i'm greatly appreciative of the care and concern and respect that all implies!

I'd like to thank you all for putting up with me in the time before the con as well. i tried to keep everyone as informed as possible, both on the website, the forums and through email.

I know that i lost patience a few times with people for being asked the same question over and over, when i thought i had answered it already. I know that sometimes i was so tired that i came across very blunt and abrupt, possibly rude. and a very small handful of times, i got very upset with a few of the emails i received from people who did NOT get in. and that may have affected how i answered things. My apologies.

Thanks for being so patient when we had sign up issues that were unprepared for. we had a new webmaster this year and that meant we had to rebuild the sign up process to a steadier and sturdier system that he understood and that took some time. at the same time, it was decided to integrate the sign up INTO the registration system and the people who do that for us did not understand completely what we wanted or needed. This caused a few problems, but we managed to get them all sorted out and we know how to fix them for next year.

Now, if you like, i'll address some of the concerns both you and i had at con.

[color:red]ANSWERS TO SOME OF YOUR FEEDBACK OR MY OWN AT CON OBSERVATIONS THAT MAY NEED SOME FEEDBACK:[/color]

On thursday night check in - there were many complaints of people not being allowed in at all, or not being checked against the list. You have cited that there needs to be better communications between the AA and the Hynes.

Actually...no. the Hynes may need to LISTEN better. but they may have also gotten confused by the actions of some artists.

i know everyone is willing and eager to get in, but in the email i sent everyone, i explained how to do the reg check in, and how to do AA check in and where to find the check in times and procedures in our FAQ.

That check in time for Thursday said 8PM. not 4pm or 5pm...I myself was willing to do a little leeway on that *IF* i was ready, but it was decided that to help get setup taken care of for the CON, the amount of traffic would be limited and therefore, the schedule would be stuck to (and i can understand why). so the hynes were told, no artists before a certain time. and i got many calls about artists trying to get in before the scheduled time.

with this in mind, it may have produced some confusion on the part of the Hynes staff with so many people trying to get in before the scheduled time, before we handed them a list at 7:30 of the people allowed in . Why they didn't just use the list, i don't know. and its not a communications issue on OUR end. this is something that will have to be passed on higher up to the facilities liaison to figure out what was going on and how it can be fixed.

Sunday Checkout -
AGAIN i have no idea what this was about. I checked with our staff and we had the building till 7pm.. But apparently it wasn't just artists not being allowed in, but people were being herded out before 4...i don't know what happened there, but again, as with the Thursday deal, this will have to go to the higher ups to look into.

Big Props - this was not an AA only problem. while walking through the hallways with my boss, a girl swung her weapon prop off her shoulder and smacked him on the shoulder. if he hadn't been so tall, it would have smacked him in the face.

Despite being mortified, she was still not paying attention to what she was doing when she entered the AA the day after and had to be talked to about it. She was not the only one we did so with.

it may not be feasible, but it may be worth looking into some sort of warning/strike policy. x amount of incidents and you lose your weapon/prop. But i can't promise anything. with such a big convention, it may produce more trouble than its worth, and i welcome any ideas you guys have as alternatives. as some say, the pics would be lame if we made them check their props in at the door.

Photography
as we said, photography that is not for or by the artists is expressly forbidden and is also posted in the program book. it is there because we both hoped people would listen and because when we stopped them, they couldn't say we'd just 'made it up on the spot'.

we COULD put it on a sign, along with all the rest of the rules, and be completely ignored. i watched that very fact as the opening hours for Friday HAD been attached to the sign RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR and we still had to tell people to leave because we weren't open yet and answer their question of "when does this open". It's pretty much guaranteed that enough people don't read as to cause us all sorts of problems.

Traffic Congestion.

Sadly, this is going to happen. we did have wide rows 8-9 feet planned, but we also had like 17,ooo people (Not confirmed!!!) at the con. even without the backups for pictures, popular artists, or just plain idiots or ditherers, congestion will happen. and we did try to disperse people a few times. not get them out of the alley, but just to move a long a little more.

solutions for this MAY include
  • [li]widening the traffic rows and shortening artist rows[/li][li]measuring each row at con to make sure it was done properly[/li][li]eliminating tables to make more room[/li][li]sending out congestion patrols[/li][li]some combination of the above.[/li]



Badge Checks
apparently, there are some misconceptions of why you have a separate AA badge. There were complaints both at con and in the previous thread about the badge check.

the first correction is that that wasn't security. it was us. i asked my staff to trade off pulling a few random checks each day of the con.

why?

[color:red]Because of squatters[/color]. and we caught more than one. to put it bluntly - do you really think its fair to yourself or others that people who did not pay what you did just sat down with their stuff and started to sell it? I'm sure you don't.

And yes, you may have been there all weekend BUT:
there are over 400 people in the alley ( i know i made that many badges PRE CON. that's not counting AT con). some of them are new faces. And some of MY staff aren't as familiar with all of your faces as i am starting to become. and not ALL of the faces that have become familiar over the years get a chance to return every year.

to which, the only resort is to check for official badges and if yours is not readily visible, you WILL be asked to show it.

this is why some of you were NOT bothered and some of you WERE bothered, or even bothered more than once. If your badge was visible, there was no issue, we noted it and moved on. you belonged there.

i hope that clears the confusion on the badge.

People Limits:

We have people limits at each table. we laxed on a few of them because i know sometimes the one person you had signed up for you won't be available to help and you might need another person.

but the limits were put into place because of abuses from previous years (try putting ten people behind a 4 foot space all at once and tell me how that works)

after the complaints this year, the limits already in place will become VERY strict. If artists cannot respect each other enough not to (personally or by allowing their friends) block the space behind the tables and cause issues and traffic hazards, then we'll just have to be more strict about it.

RULE CREATION: Every rule that comes about in the AA is because someone in the AA was disrespectful and completely uncaring of their fellow artists. i'm not blaming, or pointing but the easiest way to fix the problem, is to make sure it can't be a problem.

DOUBLE TABLES: if you want a table in the AA, you will not be allowed one in the Dealers room and vice versa. you get ONE table, NOT both. we found this out RIGHT before con, and the decision was made to let it slide since it was so close. but then it was discovered that the table in question was selling exactly the same thing in both locations. and yes, there were complaints from other artists. since space in both the AA and the dealers room are in high demand, it is not fair to allow this to happen.

i wrote this up earlier tonight and then read a bit from the other post before doing this one - from what i can tell, i am thinking of one set of people, and some of you are thinking of another set of people. again, you NEED to tell me of issues at CON or i can't handle them at all.

If there are any other issues i haven't explained or expressed knowledge about, please let me know. please leave names and finger pointing out of public forums and PT me separately.
Nikki O'Shea Bean
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Post by Kogarashi » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:05 am

Nikki, I want to thank you for such a smoothly-run Alley this year. I don't think I got that across in the other thread, but you and your staff did awesomely.

It does look like Hynes security (or some of them, at least) didn't bother checking the list once early setup opened. It was about 9pm when my partner and I tried heading up, and she only made it through when I noticed the list and directly asked the one security guard to check it for her name. The other guard was the one who didn't even bother and just looked for "Artists Alley" on the badges. I'm just glad one of the two guards was willing to listen.

I think I was partially privy to the one accusation you mentioned, and I believe it was reguar attendees, not other artists. They actually approached my partner and I first (I guess because we had a lull in our table traffic?), and I directed them to you. I will admit to being curious what came of it, but don't honestly expect an answer. :)

As for large props, I think a strikes system, at least in the Alley, might work. If they have to be reminded three times to watch the prop, then it gets checked at the Info desk?

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Post by Tuberat » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:23 am

not bad ideas for the strike policy. i may need a bigger box behind the desk though! :-P

if you want to PT about the accusation, i'd like to know what you heard.
Nikki O'Shea Bean
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Post by Tuberat » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:24 am

also, thank you!

in fact, i've recieved quite a few thank yous from people over the last few weeks and at con and i want to tell EVERYONE thank you for that :)

i try my best to make sure we all have a smooth and fun AA, and i'm glad to know that i've managed it to your satisfactions! :)
Nikki O'Shea Bean
http://www.dragonpressgraphics.com
http://www.bardscomic.com

Artists Alley Manager 2008-2017
Artists Alley Co-Manager 2005-07
Attendee 2004
Artists Alley Accidental Volunteer 2003

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Post by Cowboy » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:39 am

Actually, Nikki I think next year if I get into the alley again, fingers crossed, I should get you a gift card. You did a spectacular job!

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Post by Codax » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:52 am

Hiyas Nikki,

Alison and I wanted to thank you so much for making this a really enjoyable weekend for the both of us. This was the most smooth I've ever seen any Artist Alley run, and you know we've been doing this for almost 10 years now (OMG).

I was delightfully suprised at the lack of squatters (I always have to clean up after them). Thanks you, we'll definately be back next year!

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Post by FluffC » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:15 pm

I feel bad that the other thread is full of so many negative things... but most of those things have absolutely nothing to do with you or staff, so... XD;

Yes, I just wanted to say that I thought AA actually was very enjoyable. I was nervous that I would have trouble with things, but I really didn't.
Also my assistant wants to add that she thinks the majority of people were surprisingly very polite and pleasant... which is a lot coming from her, because she doesn't think much of anime or anime fans... o.o`;; ... she's a cranky traditional artist type... very critical XD;;

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Post by yuureikun » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:44 pm

First of all, I want to say thank you for putting everything together. I go to 6 conventions during the Spring-Fall and honestly AB is one of the smoothest ones. Great job, Nikki; thanks for all the work you do.

Just bringing some information over from the other thread, tables 94 and 95 were not the infamous artists -- their style was different. But they did seem to work together. I'm not sure if you have a rule (like Otakon does) about those who collaborate being considered one artist, but if not, it might be something to look into. A maximum of 1 table per collaborative artist group, unless it's actually a studio.

My biggest problem was that I was sick all weekend. But obviously that's nothing anyone can control. It just made the days drag by and all I wanted to do on Sunday was get home (stupid drivers on Easter Sunday -- it took an extra hour to get home because of all the accidents on I-90).

Set up went very smoothly for me. I got to Hynes around 7pm, got my badge faster than I could have imagined -- there was literally no line. (If you can, pass on praise to those who thought up the bar code idea because they are geniuses.) Then, when security told me I could enter the Hynes at 7:30 (5 minutes after I spoke with him), I got my stuff from my car, went in the front entrance and had absolutely no problems with being allowed in, using the elevator, or the large rolling tool chest in which I keep my wires, keychains, cashbox, etc.

The day-to-day was fine too. I was sick -- again my main problem -- so I didn't get to the AA any earlier than when attendees were allowed in, but everything went smoothly. Sunday was slower because of the holiday, but next year I don't think it falls on anything (and congoers just spent their money on Saturday mostly).

Clean up was the fastest I have ever done it because I felt like crap and wanted to get home. Very smooth process, no problems using the elevators.

And the signup system went very smoothly as well. No problems or concerns (other than that I forgot to put the date of signups in my calendar and only got a table by luck and chance). Additionally, I was really appreciative of the pre-con help with switching tables.

Like I said, the biggest problem was that I was sick. Other than some congestion in the far right aisle (which I commented on in the previous thread), I had a great convention experience. Being sick could have been so much worse if there were problems that added stress, but it was a very good time.

The only suggestion I might make is maybe shortening hours at night. Once many of the main events started the alley really died. I could have used the extra sleep and didn't want to pack up everything or risk things being stolen. Longer hours don't necessarily mean more sales. Compulsive purchasing rules the alley and people are aware of the closing hours. Very few sales will be missed by the alley closing earlier -- there will just be more sales during the hours it is open. (I suggest it be open for an hour or so after the dealer's room closes. There IS a traffic surge at that time, but it doesn't last more than 90 minutes.)

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Post by egyptianruin » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:02 pm

Thank you Nikki for all your hard work. You made my first Anime Boston experience the best con experience I have had in a long while.
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Post by yuureikun » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:31 pm

Spoke before I checked -- it falls on Good Friday, Easter, and Passover again. Nothing we can do about it, but still it's a hassle. I wish they did memorial day instead like last year.

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Post by TwinEnigma » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:47 pm

Thank you, Nikki, for another great Artist Alley this year! :)

Aside from the stuff mentioned in your post and the other thread, it was very well set-up and run. Most of the problems really seemed to involve the Hynes security and cosplayer traffic.

I know I did have a friend sitting with me who needed an AA badge. He was looking a bit ill, so I let him sit with me and do some work for me since my assistant went AWOL, but as soon as I could, I got him over to get a badge.

Are we doing the same Artist-pre-reg thing next year as we did this year? I'm curious about that, since it changes when I pre-reg, and it was kinda wibbly wobbly this year for execution on the part of the payment service.

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Post by Hats » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:28 pm

Thank you Nikki for all your hard work as always. I'll also second the fact that the hynes security disregarded the list of artists as we checked in well after 7:30. However, everything went super smoothly after we were able to get in. I loved the increased space behind the tables this year. It made it much easier for us and other artists to get in and out of our rows without falling over supplies. I speak for myself and two assistants, we had a great time this year and hope to return. :)

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Post by stray-x » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:08 pm

Thank you Nikki for another wonderful year! I had a great time in the Artist Alley! My tablemates and the staff were super friendly. I can't wait for next year!

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Post by Nova-Clover » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:14 am

Nikki:

I'd like to thank you for the effort and work it takes you to organize all this. You did an amazing job!! Thanks for putting up with people like me before the con and making everything go so smoothly during the con (no complaints on my part... my first time was good but I can do WAY better so maybe I'll be back next year)

Thank you, thank you so much!!

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Post by 021210 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:13 pm

First of all, thank you Nikki for running such a great AA!

The table breaks were wonderful, and aside from people lining up in front of our table to look at the table next to ours (which isn't anything to do with AB staff, we just got stuck next to an awesome prop artist..) everything went pretty smoothly. I do think having a traffic congestion patrol go out (maybe when you guys do badge checks??) would be awesome.

I, too, also noticed a certain table having a booth in the AA and the dealers room (I actually noticed this on Friday since said table was only 4 or 5 tables away from me), and I was very annoyed with that. I'm glad something is being done about it, because that's not only unfair to those of us who are losing sales, but also that someone else could have really used that space. I mentioned this to them personally and they didn't seem to care that much, and just wanted to make as much profit as they could. :/

How about instead of having a warning/strike system, you just leave the big props outside the AA/the info desk? It's already congested enough as it is, so maybe just implementing a rule where you can't take your large prop into the AA would be more efficient? As I mentioned, we were right next to a popular prop artist, and one of their biggest sellers got destroyed over the weekend because people weren't careful.

I have nothing to say about check-in/out since my partner did all of that XD But once again, thank you Nikki. <3

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Post by fongmingyun » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:15 am

Time and time again, Anime Boston is the single best run, most friendly artist alley that I or any of my friends ( http://boiledfishstudios.deviantart.com ) have been to. And seriously, we've been to a lot - California, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and none compare to Boston.

Thank you so much. We got our badges and set up in under and hour. We pulled off a table switch effortlessly. And I love the encouragement of community fostered by Asmadi's Conventional Combat game and the Artist Trading Card system.

I have no complaints and, were I not moving across the country, I'd certainly return next year.

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Post by okapirose » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:53 pm

Late big thank you to such a wonderfully run AA! Definaitly the much better run of the alleys we've been in :D Most of the issues we did have have already been stated (the security check points were our only real problem) but here are a few possible resolutions to what you said:

Maybe the signs posted outside AA aren't big enough? Maybe aquiring an A frame sign with the rules bulleted in large colorful print? Bright colors attract people, if its small and in B&W in a semi-decently lighted area, its obviously not going to get any attention. As for regulating those who aren't artists coming in before doors open, badge checks just outside the door are probably best. No AA badge, no entry.

Is it just me or does that area between the left wall where the art gallery is and the row opposite always seem to have a lot of space between the artists against the wall and the row opposite? Maybe adjusting that would help with the congestion? Maybe someone going up and down the busier rows and making sure people are stopping at tables and not just holding up traffic? Also, if that other set of doors at the left end of the alley aren't open, opening that up would lessen the traffic during con-goer hours (closing them 15 minutes before closing time?). Means another guard or two but it'll keep traffic moving instead of everyone getting redirected out the same doors.

Also if you've heard Don Higgins who runs the Another Anime Con alley, he does annoucements at 1 hr, 1/2 hr, 15 and 5 minutes up to closing time. Obviously maybe a megaphone would help in such a large alley, and also close the doors to any new comers into the alley 10-15 minutes before closing to keep traffic from becoming a problem at the last minute.

There was one thing I don't think has been mentioned. I don't know how well it can be regulated by you or staff but maybe just something to bring to the attention of everyone.

People photographing tables/art on the table. I've noticed more people doing it. Its one thing to get wide shots of the whole alley to show how big/busy etc it is, but when people come up to the table, take a shot of something and then move on, its sort of disturbing and annoying. Worse yet, when its busy and/or noisy and you're stuck behind the table, grabbing them to confront them politley about what they just did is very hard.

Maybe banning photography of any sort except by the artists in AA?

Anyway, blabbered enough, fingers crossed for an even better year in 2011 :D

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Post by Tuberat » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:34 am

[quote=captainrose]Late big thank you to such a wonderfully run AA! Definaitly the much better run of the alleys we've been in :D [/quote]

Thank you very much! :D


[quote=captainrose]
Maybe the signs posted outside AA aren't big enough? Maybe aquiring an A frame sign with the rules bulleted in large colorful print? Bright colors attract people, if its small and in B&W in a semi-decently lighted area, its obviously not going to get any attention. [/quote]

That depends on budgeting issues - i don't make the signs - i have to order them.

[quote=captainrose]
As for regulating those who aren't artists coming in before doors open, badge checks just outside the door are probably best. No AA badge, no entry.
[/quote]

We have people checking....the question is - which doors open are you talking about? Most of everyones problem, i thought, was because of the Hynes list - BEFORE artists had gotten AA badges and only had Con badges - in which the hynes were SUPPOSED to be checking Con Badges against a list WE gave them, but didn't.

other than that, we caught people attempting to get into the Alley before posted times and sent them back out. i had heard no complaints about anybody getting past us. though it has been a while since i read the rest of this thread so maybe i just don't remember.

[quote=captainrose]
Is it just me or does that area between the left wall where the art gallery is and the row opposite always seem to have a lot of space between the artists against the wall and the row opposite? Maybe adjusting that would help with the congestion?
[/quote]

It is.
and it has already been adjusted. (check the faq section around the questions of "Why did the price go up/ why did table size limits change" and it makes mention of the adjustments...) the problem was the floor outlets. we were trying to keep the table areas over the floor outlets because we didn't want attendees tripping over wires reaching out past the tables to grab the outlets. but this traffic issue is more pressing. we can't completely alleviate the problem, but we hope it will have gotten better in some of hte key bottle neck areas. We won't know for sure, till we get to test it.

[quote=captainrose]
Maybe someone going up and down the busier rows and making sure people are stopping at tables and not just holding up traffic?[/quote]

one of the worst places was right at the info desk....even with us right there, people weren't listening, but yeah, i agree. not a bad idea.


[quote=captainrose]
Also, if that other set of doors at the left end of the alley aren't open, opening that up would lessen the traffic during con-goer hours (closing them 15 minutes before closing time?). Means another guard or two but it'll keep traffic moving instead of everyone getting redirected out the same doors.
[/quote]

Yeah, those doors are open as soon as the Room is open to all. i HAD found those doors closed several times when they shouldn't have been, and we regularly had someone go and re-open them cause it does make it much easier.


[quote=captainrose]
Also if you've heard Don Higgins who runs the Another Anime Con alley, he does annoucements at 1 hr, 1/2 hr, 15 and 5 minutes up to closing time. Obviously maybe a megaphone would help in such a large alley, and also close the doors to any new comers into the alley 10-15 minutes before closing to keep traffic from becoming a problem at the last minute. [/quote]

I go to AAC every year. I HAVE heard him, rest assured, and yes, the smaller alley vs our larger alley DOES make a difference. WE DO make announcements starting at the very least at the half hour mark, but it IS difficult without a megaphone...THough Ezra has a nice strong, clear voice. if anyone can do it without a megaphone, he can!

[quote=captainrose]
People photographing tables/art on the table. I've noticed more people doing it. Its one thing to get wide shots of the whole alley to show how big/busy etc it is, but when people come up to the table, take a shot of something and then move on, its sort of disturbing and annoying. Worse yet, when its busy and/or noisy and you're stuck behind the table, grabbing them to confront them politley about what they just did is very hard.

Maybe banning photography of any sort except by the artists in AA?[/quote]

Photography is already banned except for two instances - one, artists photographing folks, two people photographing artists who are in costume with permission. and ALL the rules are in the program book as of last year. and we've stopped many people with cameras who look quite complexed about the whole issue when we tell them, "Don't without permission" it's just not possible to stop everyone. i mean, its not just cameras anymore. its peoples phones, and iTouches and Game systems like the DSi - we do what we can....ad we'll continue to try.
[quote=captainrose]
Anyway, blabbered enough, fingers crossed for an even better year in 2011 :D[/quote]

thanks for the feedback - much appreciated :D
Nikki O'Shea Bean
http://www.dragonpressgraphics.com
http://www.bardscomic.com

Artists Alley Manager 2008-2017
Artists Alley Co-Manager 2005-07
Attendee 2004
Artists Alley Accidental Volunteer 2003

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