Events: Anime Next 2006 Report

June 19th, 2006

Back from Anime Next and not too backlogged at work, so I thought I’d do a quick report.

First of all, yay ANext staff, you are da bomb. With the exception of a few complete blights on humanity, the entire staff of ANext is a great group of people.

And yay my wonderful Yuricon staff. I would absolutely NOT be able to do this without you all.

Thursday night all the Yuricon staffers arrived at my home. We all went out for some late-night Indian food. Friday I had to work a half-day, but I told everyone to be ready by noon to leave – and they were.

I am on the staff of Anime Next as a teeny-weeny little piece of the Publicity pie (thank you Shelly for letting me help out)…I was coordinating “Con Row”, which is a thing that has come about largely because of a mailing list where con chairs gather to talk, share ideas and advice, and vent. The ACML, as it’s called, has really helped with cons developing mutual rapport, and as a result, they often offer other cons free tables for promotion. Not all cons do, but it’s an easy way to fill a hole in a DR for smaller cons, or have a row of tables somewhere at larger ones. In this case, we had 5 cons who wanted tables. (7 really, but two never got back to me.) Because I was “in charge” I had arranged ahead of time where and when to get the badges – so the badges thing went easily, and we set up.

Let me digress here for a sec. People who have never done it, seem to think volunteering or staffing cons is simple – and that they’d do it better, but you know…it’s not. It’s hard. I’m a pretty experienced person with volunteering and I’ve helped out at cons doing a gazillion things – and I *still* managed to screw up. LOL When I left for the evening Friday, I took the unclaimed badges with me. Two of the cons showed after I’d left and there was no one to check them in. Obviously, the intelligent thing would have been to leave the badges at Con Ops…but it just slipped my mind. Now, okay, not a big screw-up, but I should have known better. Con Ops just issued badges and when I got in, seven people verbally slapped my wrist, and I took it with good grace, because it was my screw-up, totally. :-) Let this be a lesson to you – even the most experienced person can slip up. That’s why all cons need a little leeway from the attendees. It’ll never be perfect, not as long as humans run things. Next time you go to a con and you’re whining about why things aren’t smoother – now you know why. Because we humans are horribly, painfully fallible. :-)

In any case, in Con Row, Yuricon sat between Connecticon, who are a lovely bunch of people – I even shared my homemade, made with love by my wife, rice balls with them – and I-Con, who seem nice, but we didn’t talk much. Also taking part was Dexcon and Ubercon. Ubercon is a local gaming con which had three lovely young ladies to represent the con, so you know I approved. :-)

Because Con Row at ANext is not in the Dealer’s Room, but outside it, I had to pack and unpack every day, which was a drag, but I lived. :-)

Anime Next is a very general, very young crowd. We never do really well there, so this year we tried something new for ANext – yuri-themed grab bags. I had made a bunch at $1, $2, $5 and $10. By *Friday* at 8PM, they were all gone. Next year I’ll see if I can do more. Basically I was cleaning out my office, which had accumulated an inordinate amount of cool yuri-type stuff I had no use for. The $10 bags were especially good deals, as they had perhaps $30 worth of manga and comics, plus other random stuff. I don’t really get the appeal of grab bags – I want to know what I’m spending my money on, but everyone seemed really happy with what they got.

Because of a snafu, my panels were not listed in the program schedule (not a snafu on my side – I had applied for them months ago, was assured repeatedly that they were happening and sent in descriptions which *did* make it into the program book. I wasn’t the only person this happened to. That panels person will not be returning next year…). So we did tell folks where and when the panel was but not surprisingly, there was a small turnout. However, it was a fine and dandy crowd. Bruce and Serge assisted me with opinions and thoughts about current yuri series, and we morphed at the end of the discussion to talking about Takarazuka, which was fun. (Both Bruce and Serge were with me in Tokyo and both were there to see Elizabeth. So they know how cool it can be.) There’s going to be a TK panel at Otakon this year. I’m going to try and attend.

Before you ask – yes, there’s a Yuri Panel at Otakon. It’s been on the Yuricon Events Page for weeks. lol Friday, August, 4 at 9PM. But really, get in the habit of checking that Events page! I add stuff there *first*. Long before I think to mention it elsewhere.

Saturday went along as Saturdays do. It was alternately fun and annoying, part sales, part promotion and part anger therapy. I had an extremely large number of people ask me about Yaoi-con, or if we sold yaoi, which I found bizarre. The funniest thing to me was the girl dressed as Sailor Neptune who saw our sign, turned quickly and sharply away as if we might bite her and ignored us while I kept calling after her that Neptune was gay and she has a girlfriend. It’s *always* women cosplaying Neptune who react that way – never any of the other Senshi. Ever. Just Neptunes. Why is that, I wonder?

Saturday night I had a Fanfiction writing workshop to do. I told the staff to go, but they stayed anyway, so were forced to hear me wax opinionated and pompous on the fine (coughcough) art of writing Fanfic. Considering it hadn’t made it onto the schedule and wasn’t on the sign, we had a lovely crowd – about 10 people who got there early and stayed for every last second. Freaks. LOL

Sunday’s always a short day. Thank the gods. Because when you’re selling, the day goes like this:

“How much is this?”

“We’re doing a special sale today! It’s only x dollars.”

“Oh, I have no money.”

Repeat for 5 hours. And then have those same people have friends run up and say, “I found a xx character purse!” and they all run off to not buy that too and annoy the vendor. Many of the dealers in the DR are my friends at this point and I always make a point, if I can find anything to get, to buy *something* on Sunday, because that’s the day when I know I want to throttle the masses myself.

I spend a fairly significant amount of time at cons teaching people really basic social skills and telling people to stop blocking doors (I don’t know why people constantly need to stand in front of doors. I know I do it too, so it must be something really lizard brain.. LOL) Let me stress several things to you all:

1) When someone says “Hello”, you respond with “Hello.”

2) When someone says “How are you?” the ONLY proper response in a general social setting is “Fine, thank you. How are you?” Sighing, groaning, making faces or complaining about your ankle, knee, back, head, stomach, exhaustion, colostomy, whatever, is NOT appropriate. Ever.

And here is my bonus lesson taken from years and years of working freak-show retail at anime cons and RenFaires and the like:

1) The person behind the table is NOT your friend. They are only your friend when you give them money. They do not care why you don’t like Shiori. Really. They will listen with a smile because they hope you might buy something. If you have no intention of buying something, don’t require them to care about your theories, or your gender issues or your difficult upbringing. Most other vendors will keep smiling and nodding because they do this for a living and can’t afford to offend. I will tell you to shut up and go away because I have a day job and you are not paying me $250/hour to listen. (If you WANT to give me $250/hour to listen, I will. I still won’t care, but I can fake it beautifully.)

So take pity on the other vendors and just don’t. Ask the price, ask about other items, etc…don’t opine.

But for a Sunday the day went well, I think. We made a few sales, nothing world shaking (yes, yes, pun intended), but a few folks seemed very happy to buy what they got. My favorite sale of the day was one girl who wanted to get something so badly that she dug the change out of her purse to buy a postcard. That dollar in change was the best dollar I got all weekend. :-)

But the best part, not surprisingly, was my staff. Serge, Donna, Kelli and Bruce – with a surprise appearance by the First Lady – really helped out alot and improved both my mood and my snappy comebacks. :-) So many thanks to them. And special kudos to Donna for all the fun craptastic movies from the Donna collection.

Next up is Connecticon – Sean and I will be up there on Saturday July 8th – in Con Row! Yuri panel is slated for 7:30 PM Saturday. (It should be on the schedule this time. lol)

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4 Responses

  1. Sakura Kiss says:

    You seem to like Yuri, it’s hard to find an avid Yuri fan. Do you know of an anime called Revolutionary Girl Utena? It’s one of my favorites that involves a Yuri relationship. Nice blog by the way. :)

  2. Hi there –

    If you’re looking for fans of Yuri, you should join us at the Yuricon Mailing List:

    Revolutionary Girl Utena is a pretty old Yuri series now. :-) I reviewed a while back on Okazu:

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Erica. This is Tintin P. I dunno if you remember me but I met you briefly at onnafest last October. Just wanted to say hi (my girflriend pointed out your blog) and sorry I missed you at AnimeNext. I had an Artist Alley table there. Maybe next time!


  4. Anonymous says:

    And I shared your frustrations with sales: I got the people who asked me the price and walked away saying she had no money when I told them. Also, I’m pretty miffed that some artists who were packing up were selling their prints for $3. When I offered to trade a print, she asked to see my prints, loked through them, then walked away saying she needed bus money home. Then again, I was lucky to get even so much as a response from most of the lookers. Blagh.

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