Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

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Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by Tuberat » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:12 pm

All right, Time for the official wrap up and feedback thread. I only got home a few hours ago and wanted to decompress before I attempted this. I hope I get this up before anyone else starts a thread :D I also hope I didn't forget anything!

Firstly, thank you all for a great and wonderful year! I had a great time, though sales were ....really odd for me (and the lowest I've ever had at AB). I hope you all had a great time and I wish we all had more time to hang. Part of the reason I do the 8-10 setup time every morning is that it's the only time I have to get out and about to talk to the other artists, browse what they have, etc. I hope other artists find that as helpful as well.

We added a few more tables into the alley this year, and attendees now have had a year of experience with us in this location so traffic picked up. I received NO complaints about the location or the traffic, which is an improvement over last year. So i'm assuming that last year was so odd simply because it was a transitionary period. People were using the Sheraton cut through more often this year as well, this means that we had traffic coming in from at least 2 different directions - and I think that helped also.

Our Alley was full - I was very pleased that only 1 Artist failed to show up...(considering what she had to pay for the space and that I know a Representative put pieces of hers into the Art Show, i'm assuming something drastic happened and I hope she's okay...)and the remaining spaces (from that and the cancellations just prior) all sold out very quickly.

The table blocks with the huge interiors were a godsend to me and a few other artists this year. I'm hearing more and more positive things about this.

We need water stations. I'm so...SO...SOOOOO Sorry about the water fountain. I promise it was there last year, but looks like it got taken out/bricked over somewhere between cons. this means water is not quite as easily accessible though there was apparantly water access across from our room. I don't know if I can get us water stations (they cost money) but I will do what I can.


THere were - for me during setup on Thursday - some hiccups with getting the room done. We have to wait till after a certain time to have them start setting up the tables (and i have no idea what that time actually is, which led to me panicking).

THis means that as artists filtered in, we still had a section of Pro Row that wasn't set up. and when they DID set it up, it was wrong. First off, I'd like to thank those of you that this affected and the patience you had in waiting for us to find SOME way to get it fixed. Secondly, this will be brought up to staff to find out what happened.

The people who did it didn't seem inclined to go out of their way to fix it until i explained our issue with cross table spaces (let's face it, they couldn't care how less your or I paid for something...). I pointed out a few of the artists who were already set up and put the vision in their head of a display across two tables like that, shared with someone else who had their own display and what would happen if the tables got bumped or pulled or shifted in any way. The dawning light in their eyes was truly satisfying.


I don't know about you folks, but Check in for AA seemed to go off pretty quickly, though we made multiple announcements on friday about people needing to check in, yet people still didn't know they had to do it until we sent a staffer to their tables.

I'd like to remind everyone that this information IS in the FAQ and that I did send an email reminder with this and other important information about a week or so before con. It is important that we all read this information AND (this is probably where the problem lay) INFORM ANYONE who we've listed as being at our tables that each of these rules applies to them as well, and let them know where to find the rules.

Basically: It doesn't matter if they are an assistant or a fellow artist. ALL members of each table should show up for check in for AA, regardless to how they got table space or why. general rule of thumb: If, at any point, despite what you are planning, a person in your party might be left alone at your table, then they need a secondary badge from us.


we had important announcements as well as a few funny ones. I've got on the list that the funny ones need to be cut down in quantity to keep people from automatically tuning out the important ones. There is also one type of announcement i want to just nip in the bud altogether (the ones in which people are asked to shout to show solidarity or...something? whatever. I did not like those anouncements and asked for them to stop.)

I won't stop the funny ones ENTIRELY, as i know a number of you enjoyed them, but it is important that the important ones don't get tuned out. So i'd like to limit those to times that there is no traffic or possibly the very beginning or ending of the day.

I was also told that people didn't know where the AA info desk was. I found that hilarious since you all checked in there. I have to assume that the person who told us that wasn't actually asking artists. thats all i can think of on that score!

THe Charity Auction where we sold off the 2015 first pick AA table (basically an entire 8 foot table with a guaranteed in, and prime placement) - we made an anouncement once on friday, once on saturday and at least 2x on sunday - but I heard that only one artist showed up for the auction. The table sold for (according to what i hear, i haven't heard anything official yet) $400.oo.


we have never allowed Stickers to be sold in the hynes without certain restrictions. those allowances are usually given if i'm emailed about the situation in advance.

But there is NO EXCUSE for any of you to be selling Stickers when we've never allowed it in the entirely of our time in the Hynes.

It's in the FAQ and has always been in our FAQ. it is not OUR rule, its the MCCA's rule.

if one of you is found violating this rule by the MCCA staff, *WE* will get in trouble. If this happens, we'll have to take more action then just putting up a rule saying no selling stickers.

I had to tell a few of you about this rule and I greatly APPRECIATE your willingness to cooperate. Thank you for making this a little easier on me and the rest of my staff.

IN conclusion of that however:

In the past we've allowed A) the selling of vinyls and B) ordering stickers that can be mailed out (and not handed out on site). In the future, we will be making a completely no sticker OR vinyl policy. There are different kinds of vinyls as well, and neither I, nor another artist, were aware of this and she had the wrong kind. Since its so easy to make this mistake, and because the sticker ordering confuses the issue, we will be shutting this down completely.

Sorry everyone!

Bag Checks:

I only heard one complaint about bag checks being done on artists (and my staff heard 2 more) out of the entire weekend. Hopefully that means that for the most part, it wasn't being done...however, the one *I* heard ....let's just say, waiting till the last day when this has been going on all weekend is boggling my mind. Please, if it's happening, we NEED to know about it with enough time to actually do something about it.

We were aware of the sound problems on the one side of Hall C last year and i KNOW they were working on getting it toned down for this year. That may, or may not have happened....if it did, it didn't make much of a difference because, unfortunatly, that wall was broken. you may not have noticed it, but about 2/3rds of the way up, one of the parts of the walls was seperating from the other part of the walls. this, then, would of course allow more sound to escape into our room. It was to be brought up to the HYnes, but it couldn't have been fixed during con. I am VERY sorry for that and hope it wasn't too bad for you all on that wall.

ODDS and Ends:
I'm not sure if that's it or not.... i feel like there really should be. However, I'm extremely tired, My dinner just arrived and this is already pretty long. Please give us your feedback and experiences. remember not everything can be fixed, or tailored just for you, but we do what we can to alleviate problems and make things as easy on everyone as possible.

Again, thank you for a great year!
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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by skim » Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:34 pm

The only complaint I could think of was the noise from the concert next door, but seeing how it's addressed..

and yes, too many fake announcements. There should be more legit ones than the joke ones, imo.

The space in the islands was amazing. I wish I had brought some shelving to put behind my table.

However, I also know a couple of friends who didn't get into the alley, so I wish there was some way to fit more tables into the alley.
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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by iprika » Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:50 pm

Must say that this trip was definitely worth it for me (came from NC). The staff was amazing and actually, I did enjoy the announcements from the commentator (although I was glad the "Marco? Polo" thing stopped).

Even though I typically sell stickers at conventions, at first I did offer to sell them as mail orders Friday morning. By mid/late Friday afternoon, I did take them down though because in the end, I didn't want to confuse the staff and get in trouble (myself or anyone else) for offering stickers regardless. So no complaints about stickers not being available at this convention. ^^

I absolutley LOVED the amount of space in the islands. Since we had to continually restock, this allow us to work when we were in the alley. Definitely a big plus!

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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by SailorAstera » Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:52 pm

Things That Were Good
  • The Pro Row experience for me was great. I was on vacation the weekend the regular alley opened so not having to freak out about trying to get reliable net access was a huge relief. I was concerned the additional cost of table (plus my additional cost in covering some expenses for extra help due to being pregnant this year) was going to put me in a big, unrecoverable hole. But instead, my profits were up about 24% and the table felt more busy than ever. Happy to say this was a record breaking con for me, literally the best sales to date both in gross and profit. Can't shake a stick at that!
  • The hours were great for me this year. Did we open later? I like opening at 10-10:30. It just makes the morning much less stressful. They are long days if you aren't used to them (or if you are 5 months pregnant and can't have caffeine), but still manageable with help and/or breaks for sanity.
  • Staff was helpful and efficient in all of my dealings with them. Everyone was friendly, and I love free donuts. Check in was fast and easy.
  • Once I figured out that I could go through the "No Bags" line with my AA stuff and be waived, it was much easier. Harder I think to go through the line WITH bags then asked to be waived. Neat little trick I picked up after the second or third time passing through the Pru side entrance.
  • More people seemed to know where the alley was this year so I think last year was just a fluke in transition. Traffic felt way up and the halls were pretty crowded (though always enough space to move!). I really adore the huge isles. I was against a wall this year so no giant open square for me, but there was still ample space behind the tables for me, my stuff, and other artists who had to pass through.
  • The new room has much better lighting than the ballroom did. It's really nice.
Things That Were Not That Good
  • I agree about the announcements. There were a few too many of the silly, unimportant kind. Started making it rather easy to just tune out when they happened. The first few announcements that were made, people actually quieted down to listen to them, but after that it just all started getting drown out as people ignored them. Would definitely like to hear important announcements with the silly stuff sprinkled in at the end for the lightheartedness.
  • Water fountain (AKA BUBBLER) was missed. Thank you for looking into options! :D
  • I was on the loud wall! When we were setting up and they were doing some sound checks it was kind of horrible and one of my assistants was really worried about headaches. But once they closed up the wall all the way, it was much more tolerable. After having been in the AnimeNEXT art alley (which has almost no separation between main events and alley) it was definitely tolerable with the wall totally closed. There were rehearsals on Friday afternoon before the Friday night concert - those were pretty much the only times when the noise lasted long enough to be slightly annoying. My chest wasn't vibrating, I just had to use a slightly louder than normal speaking voice. I'd say it wasn't ideal, but it definitely could've been much worse. Glad to hear there is potential for improvement!
Over all, it was a fantastic AB for me. This was my first Pro Row and the experience was definitely a huge positive. You really can't beat the comfort of that 8' space when you have huge plushies in mass quantity! :lol: Plus being literally the best con I've had ever to date, I'm a pretty happy preggo lady. Now to put my feet up for a few weeks until PortCon comes, assuming I don't give birth by then. :shock:
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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by Shattered-Earth » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:31 pm

Over all i had a really good time! Sales were great and people were super nice and darling. Did NOT meet the creeper last year who tried to take a photo of me without asking again *shudder*. I didn't mind the joke announcements as much as some people but a lot of them were also not funny because frankly sometimes it was just impossible to hear the words in the first place haha, take of that what you will haha.

I will always always appreciate the announcements about NO CAMERAS though, AB is the con that i have to tell the LEAST amount of people not to take pictures at. Those i let had asked first, it's so refreshing to not have to awkwardly say heeyyy excuse me uhh don't.. do that without asking.. ... seriously, never stop these announcements, same with the 1 hr/30 min/15 min/5 min timers for end of day! It just means a lot to know the staff got your back :) Ya'll are the gold standard now! Edit: Now i'm kind of laughing because I suggested the no camera announcements last year in the feedback thread LOOOL, i feel so special now and as you can tell I was very pleased and just yes <3

And then just in general things, this was a record breaking con for me as well :), though it is only my second year of doing cons and i might still just be on a product selection upswing, it's still very heartening!

And there's just a lot of other small things i liked, the ease of check in and the helpfulness of Nikki herself prior to the con and allaying fear and answering questions 8). The only thing i didn't like was the hours, they're inching too close to otakon hours imo. I like the opening time, 10am or 11am are perfect hours for us to wake up at a reasonable time and get breakfast. Cons who open at 9am, shame on you >_>. The closing time however seemed a bit unnecessary from my admittedly narrow point of view. Closing at 9pm would be better, i mean i'd personally rally for 8pm so we could get a nice dinner after but 9 or even 9:30 would be nicer than 10:30, sales trickled so much in the last hour and a half and those people would have just come earlier if they knew the alley closed earlier i think? Correct me if i'm wrong though, i'd love insight. I just don't like leaving early before the doors are locked to attendees.

Really though that's a minor blip in an awesome everything else XD, keep up the awesome work and thanks for doing it all for us!

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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by hop-is-my-hero » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:43 pm

I agree that the lighthearted bits should be added to the regular announcements.
and water would be epic! perhaps in the middle of the islands? as there is so much room in them? Or in the hallway with the bathrooms as there was a lot of attendees chilling in that hallway thing.
I wish I had noticed that the cut through would have made my load in so much easier!! My load out was thus awesome.
attendance was much better this year!

The line for main events was a bit trying at times, but really, not much I think can fix that.
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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by Tuberat » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:29 pm

Quick note about 2 things:

1 - WATER:
like i said, the water stations will cost us. unlike the ballrooms, this room doesn't get covered in that way because it counts as exhibit space, which is why it's union run as well. so i don't know how hard it is going to be to get ANY water coolers in there, much less 10 or more...(which, seriously, would probably be ideal) so its something that's going to have to get looked into so we can figure out what CAN be done.

Also, someone mentioned some stuff in the AANI thread about the problems they had getting access to the water coolers in the panel rooms - it would be a good idea to post that here so i can point staff to it. thanks!

2 - HOURS:
This is something I've explained many times over the years. Basically there are several factors involved in our decisions to open when we do and close when we do. Please bear with, this is going ot be long.

firstly, some people like the long hours. some people love short hours. some people want us to open later, and close later, while others want us to open early and close early. WHO do we accommodate? there are two roads we can take. there is the one we do already which gives everyone as many options as possible for what they want to do, or the second, where we can open later and close earlier and have short hours....but what are those hours? noon to 6?

if we were still in a hallway, like ALL Alley's for older conventions started as, You could choose your own hours, but then you wouldn't even have the option of leaving your stuff in a locked room. the locking of the room is a convenience - an AWESOME convenience (i'm sure not missing having to pack up and set up again every day...) but it's still just that. And a LOT of those people who did the hallways? When not told they had to be there at a specific time or even close at a specific time? They got there earlier and stayed later than our current hours. I know one guy who tried to stay open all night our first year in the hynes in the hallway by sending his table mate back to the hotel and switching on and off with her.

Technically, you're still able to choose your own hours in the room too, you just have to decide if you want to leave all of your stuff behind or pack it up like the old days, but the hours are picked with accommodating as many DIFFERENT personal schedules as possible AND with the intent that most people bring assistants so you can walk away and take that break. and most people do. Assistants are highly recommended and yes, i know its hard to get assistants some times. I've been doing this show without assistants for the last ...well....for the entire time AB has been around actually. And I have to walk away from my table to deal with anything that crops up. And i stay the long hours. Yeah, i agree, i'm wiped by end of con, but I've made some really good last minute sales. And I know other people have too.

Other reasons to open earlier or stay open later - its a VERY good idea to still be open when the Dealers room is closed. has anyone else noticed the influx of people when that happens? A lot of us have noticed that sudden influx in the past, this year was no exception. And if we're open before other events are, people will kill time in the AA, and some of them will impulse buy. Impulse buys can be important.

I don't know how many of you know, but the con program book tried to list our open time for Sunday at 9am. AGAIN. And i told hynes no, no one is getting in until 10am because that's what i told you guys and you should have the chance to get there before we open the doors. There was a LINE of people waiting to get in. we were turning people away at 9am. there was a rush at the door when it opened. thankfully, there was not as much stampeding as there were with donuts or we'd probably have been crippled or something :P but there were people trying to get in...

lastly, our hours haven't changed in about 4 or 5 years? I'd have to do the math to figure out the exact years, but the first year in the ballrooms, we had slightly later opening hours....and found out that the rooms were being unlocked at 8am every morning without staff on hand ANYWAY. We asked them not to do that, and the next morning found the rooms wide open again.

The hynes has gotten better at this, but me and the rest of my staff still live in a panic that the rooms will be open without anyone standing guard at all. Since we now have to be there from 8am in the morning till whenever we can get someone to show up with a key at night, we're stuck there ourselves.

When this happened, we then tried earlier opening hours the following year, since we'd be there and open anyway. that was a big mistake. We finally settled on the 8-10 , 2 hour set up time and the 1hour closing time (since we don't really need time to pack up every night and i figured everyone would want to just book it. well, most people would. we actually had to kick an artist out who delayed our closing by 1 1/2 hours one year.... which just goes to show Again how we all view our hours differently.)

anyway, so the year after that was the year we settled on our current hours. we did attempt a later close time on Saturday, and earlier open time on Sunday once, to allow for staying open as long as possible on the busiest day, or to increase the amount of hours you'd be able to sell on the shortest day, but that did not work and we cut those the following year, and the hours have not been changed since. i only mention all this because someone said in one of the threads around here or the AANI that they thought we were opening later or closing later than we used to. That's not true.

But again, I'd like to point out to our individual perceptions of time. For each of us it passes differently. faster or slower or just wonky in general. And some folks want more hours than we are already giving and some of you want less and some of you are happy the way it is. Again, we expect and recommend people to bring in help so that they can get that break they need so that the long hours don't get to you. I now you feel like if you're not there right at that possible moment, you'll potentially lose out on a sale (BELIEVE me, i feel that way all the time) but I know plenty of artists who walk away and let their assistants handle it and it works out just fine for them. and my table partner, (my first dedicated AB table partner ever!) went to 2 hockey games during the weekend and still wound up selling her stuff and making orders. The people who said they'd be back to custom order her bags - most of them actually DID come back. I know this doesn't usually happen, so it boggles me. And it may take a while to get an assistant trained up right...but...its' better than no assistant, right? when you just need to and take that 2 hour power nap, or get out to that panel you really want to see?

I DID however just think of something i'm gonna probably want to run by people in a separate thread using a poll or something, something that maybe could give us all a little break...after i talk to my boss about it. i think i read about something similar somewhere else and have been wondering if it would work for us. I'll have to get back to you all on that.

Anyway, I hope this explains the reasoning behind the schedule we've kept. I know that i go to cons with the same open hours at AB and we close 4 1/2 hours earlier and i'm sitting there WISHING we'd stayed open later, even though I know its going to wipe me and i know other people who believe the same. It might be worth it to get a poll together just to see how many people like our hours and don't, and what they think the alternate hours SHOULD thats something I can pull together too...
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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by Shattered-Earth » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:53 pm

I appreciate the obvious care and devotion you have to the alley it's obvious you've thought about the hours a lot and I hope i don't come across as flippant because I'm a relative newbie to AB! I know there are people who want longer hours as well, they believe they are getting sales at those hours that they wouldn't be if the hours were shorter so it's definitely not an easy thing to change. I just wanted to leave what me and some of my friends thought, the ones i spoke to at the alley and ones that do other cons etc. Maybe a poll would be useful but I totally understand if the easiest and safest thing is not to mess with something that works too, I understand the reasoning and I am spoiled by starting the AA game so late and being used to the awesomeness that is locked rooms XD.

I do agree on staying open longer than dealer's, i believe they closed at 7pm this year? I felt like the rush after it lasted around an hour or two which is why i suggested 9, i'm a believer of criss crossing hours with dealer's in general but i know it's not possible at AB / east coast cons. For example i've been to conventions where dealer's opened 30 minutes earlier than AA but then closed a few hours earlier, that way artists had time to see dealer's without risking AA sales but that's asking for far too much of change here, just thought it was an interesting aside to mention about our relationship to dealers :)

In any case thanks for responding with such detail, I do really hope i didn't come across as too demanding, i'm glad you guys are accepting of on going feedback even for things that you guys like already ahh :D

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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by snapesgirl34 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:52 am

Awww, I like the announcements, I thought they were really funny and entertaining. :( And they cheered me up and made the day seem less long. They were my favorite part, besides from donuts. Also the announcer guy himself was awesome.

AA went very smoothly this year, and I loved all the space, don't really have any complaints except the lack of water blubbers, which was already mentioned. I also love how easy it is to get to the new room, made transporting our stuff so much quicker and easier. We also didn't have any issues with security this year, which was a nice surprise (we've always had trouble in the past with the Hynes security staff not knowing what's supposed to be going on, or having mixed information, or confusing us with dealers, etc). I guess Nikki must have straightened them out, lol!

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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by Kikai » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:30 am

Okay, I know I say this every year, but I gotta do it again!

I attend 15-20 cons a year, this is sort of my living and I have to say that I look forward to AB THE MOST of any con in my year. And this is no exaggeration when I say that AB is the most smooth and well run con that I go to. There is always SOMETHING that goes wrong at other cons, but this year (and the two years prior I've sold here) I literally get in, set up, sell, and get out with no hiccups. You should feel incredibly proud about how great you organize this AA, because whenever I make complaints or suggestions in feedback threads at other cons I always say, "I suggest looking at about Anime Boston does it"!

My only complaint was not really your fault, but the two tables to the side of my constantly had more than two people behind their tables. I loved being in the island with all that space to spread out, but people were piling up their stuff right behind my chair and I had to keep asking them to move it! They would have regular con goers that were friends come behind their table and sit there and hang out, which makes me a little uncomfortable. I didn't like leaving my stuff out around non-AA people. (sorry!) One of my bags of prints was stepped on and then sat on! D:

Hours: I love long hours because it means I can sell more! But this year I was completely by myself and I went 12+ hours without eating or peeing on Friday. Eek! I have one tiny suggestion -- is there any way that we can open at 11 on Saturday? Saturday will be busy no matter what, and the Staples doesn't open until 10, and even though I try and bring more prints because I always sell out of some, I still find myself selling out and having to go make emergency prints on Saturday morning...

Thanks for another great year!

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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by pulsedemon » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:42 pm

We can make sure there are water stations in there in the future. It was basically just there in the past and it wasn't a thing I remember having to deal with, so it'll be a definite thing next year.
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Re: Official Feedback and Wrap up thread for AA

Post by blix » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:08 pm

YEAAAAAAH AB THIS YEAR WAS GREAT!!! I still think AB is one of the best run anime cons I've ever seen or attended!

I'm still so grateful you offer pro row! I just want to keep having it forever. ;__; Damn that 8 feet of space. <3 It's the best.

I guess I have three suggestions.

I'd really like to see more hours to set up on Thursday. Anything you can manage at all would be great, one more hour, two more hours, anything would be great if we could just start on that a little earlier.

That noise coming from that divider wall. 8( I know there isn't much that can be done, but I was wondering if it would be possible to request maybe space rotation through that noise zone? I've sat in the noise zone two years in a row now, I'm not horrified by it I plan to keep coming back no matter what, but not gonna lie, Friday night the noise combined with my preexisting lack of sleep to result in me being on the verge of throwing up, so I had to leave early Friday or else I'd have stayed the full hours. The space is still good, I'm still so grateful to be able to have come two years in a row!! I just wish, maybe, I've had two turns in the noise zone, can I take a turn out of it? 8( Can we just all take turns dealing with it?

And it was unfortunate that some of the pro row 8 foot tables were - actually - not 8 foot tables. XD They were funky split up tables. But I know you didn't mean for that to happen, no one wanted funky split up tables. I know working with union labor to get a thing done can be full of issues. I just hope another attempt can be made for next year to get those 8 foot tables.

Thanks very much to Nikki for putting on another good show! And to all other volunteers, I know I'm not acquainted with everyone involved. >< But AB is really a great show, I love it, and I want to keep coming to it for as long as I can be allowed to get a table. ;_; Thank you for having me two years now.

AND THANK YOU FOR HAVING THE MOST FUNCTIONAL REGISTRATION SYSTEM I'VE EVER SEEN!!!!! Wow that email barcode scanning badge printing MAGIC system was incredible!!! GOOD JOB AB!!! YOU DID IT GOOD!