Unorganized, Rude, Painful
Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:06 PM
Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:11 PM
Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:40 PM
Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:43 PM
That was the best part of the convention today, not waiting in the room part, the part where the many bronies could at least make it enjoyable enough.
I enjoyed the singing when we were in the waiting rooms this morning at least. Got some good pictures of various cosplay people as well. :b
Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:56 PM
Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:08 AM
Posted 18 August 2012 - 07:29 AM
Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:28 PM
My constructive criticism: the number one failing of Everfree was lack of signage. I couldn't tell where anything was. There were no signs of where events were being held. And for those of us who hadn't picked up our badges, we didn't have a handy-dandy copy of the printed schedule or map (which I presume was included in the show book).
Number two failing was registration. I had an ominous feeling when I saw that there was no scheduled pre-con registration pickup, which is something most fandom conventions do: Sakura-Con is an excellent example of pre-con registration pickup done right. But even though registration was slow, it was absolutely shocking to be shunted off to a room for two hours to wait until we would be allowed to get in the line.
Con staff trying to get people to clear hallways... clear them to where? Clearly the show was trying to stick far too many people in to far too limited of space.
The main room in the Holiday Inn was a nice space, but it being on the 12th floor is problematic. Obviously, the elevators are going to be a bottleneck. If the show goes on next year in Sea-Tac, I hope that it manages to book the Hilton, which is much better equipped for a fan convention.
I bear no ill feelings towards Everfree: in the end, I only lost half a day and the cost of my membership. It probably would have been more bearable if I had come with friends, but I attended by myself, and didn't know anybody at the con, so I felt very isolated.
I admit, I feel disappointed. I was looking forward to it being "The Best Con EVER", but all of my expectations were frustrated. I hope everypony else had a better time than I did.
Posted 19 August 2012 - 07:09 AM
Nobody made it clear where exactly the line started for the VA panel. How about a sign that clearly says where to go to get in line? Lot of miscommunication there. There was a line parallell to the breakfast place then we're told that's not allowed and the lines is somewhere else, a real mess.
And for Ponystock an hour or so delay?
I found it absolutley galling that the volunteers (greenshirts) showed absolutley no concern for the people in line for HOURS. How about a "We're sorry for the delay". NO. It's always "Clear the sidewalks!"
ZERO updates from the greenshirts. How hard is it for one person to gives us "Hey guys it'll be about 30 minutes" or even "I don't know how long it will be but I'll give you a update as soon as possible so hang in there"
Is that not reasonable? When I've been waiting TWO AND A HALF HOURS in a line what I don't want to hear is "HEY GUYS CLEAR A PATH" "HEY GUYS KEEP YOUR BACKS TO THE WALL". I swear you guys care more about not pissing off the hotel than the Bronies.
It's also funny how one greenshirt tries to get us all to sing then a few minutes later another greenshirt tells us to stop singing because it would disrupt singing guests. The phrase " The left doesn't know what the right hand is doing" was never so fitting.
I get that you're volunteers and you guys put a lot of time and effort into it but some of the stuff was completley preventable. Most of my gripes could've been solved with paper a marker and some courtesey and caring from the greenshirts.
I genuinely think a apology is in order.
I had that "They're volunteers they're not getting paid, this is a first year con" mentality but you guys used up all that good will and then some.
Posted 19 August 2012 - 05:32 PM
My fellow bronies. Everyone I talked to rocked, and I don't have a single complaint about you.
I thought the swag with the badge was great, and the Guidebook for my smartphone was neat. I really hope to see that at future cons.
I loved seeing the travelling museum, the craft room, especially on Sunday, and the gallery.
Staff. I came late Friday night so I missed out on the whole morning registration fiasco, but I was surprised to find registration had closed at 9 when the website said open until 10. The real issue was the first staff member I asked about this basically told me to go away until tomorrow and miss out on all the late night events. It wasn't until I asked a second staff member what could be done that I found out nobody needed badges on Friday.
This should have been made clear to all the staff and signs put up at the registration point. When I asked the first staff member why he didn't tell me this, he just shrugged and ignored me. Registration staff the next morning were fine, and I'll bring up staff again later.
Event foulups. I was really looking forward to the storyboarding panel, and I know it's not Everfree's fault James Wootton got held up at the border, but it didn't help. It also really didn't help that the PMV Voting event got pushed back over and over again until we were just told it was cancelled and we weren't going to see them, let alone vote on them - that had already been done, thank you very much.
The Marriott. No food, expensive wifi, and the taxes on rooms and parking was extortionate. I've never seen taxes that high, and I hope any future cons wouldn't be held in SeaTac. It was just an extra twist of the knife when I went to check out in an already poor mood. Can I please suggest giving a warning about what the taxes will be next time to avoid sticker shock?
Vendors. Most were awesome, and I have some nice artwork sitting next to me, but unlike the con-goers I found some of the vendors to be fairly unpleasant. A real "buy something and get out" vibe that I didn't understand when trying to talk to them. It's not as if I was holding up a line of people waiting for me to move on.
The lines. It seems like too many badges were sold, and there were a number of events I was unable to attend. I understood missing out on the Mane Six (Minus Two) - everyone's going to want to see that, right? It hurt that I waited so long and watched as the people close in front of me got to go inside, but I accepted it. When it happened again for Ponies Anthology and I got to be right at the front of the "110% chance you're not getting in, go away" section, it dragged up some real ill will. Then lines for Ponystock even late at night, the radio play, it seemed like everything needed a line and the staff just didn't seem to care or sympathize at all, just order us around or out.
Posted 19 August 2012 - 06:20 PM
I arrived around 9:30 AM with my wife and a friend. Upon arrival, we immediately had no idea where registration was, but quickly found correct instructions to head to the Mariott.
Upon arrival at the Mariott, it was a nightmare. There were people lined up in hallways all over the hotel's main walkthroughs and no one, staff or attendee, was able to give us directions to actual registration. After several minutes of this, it became very apparent that absolutely no one had any idea what was going on. My party was directed into the gaming room because the entire livestream room was already occupied with the overflow for registration. None of the staff actually seemed to know what was going on.
When it was finally announced that no one needed a badge for the first day, we decided to try and get one anyway, and had one in very short order as nearly everyone vacated the premesis as quickly as possible. I was informed by one of the staff members working registration that the person in charge of registration had suffered a family medical emergency, and I assume that the lack of communication was very likely exacerbated by a crippled chain of command as a result. If that is true, I wish him or her and family the best and pray that everything is okay.
Badge in hand, I immediately went for the Art of the Song panel, knowing that there wasn't any chance we would make opening ceremonies. In the chaos of attempting to get into the panel, we somehow ended up as one of the first into the room, and had 3rd row seats. While I feel I was fortunate to have gotten in so early, the panel itself never seemed to fill, and based on later panel experiences, I think it was largely due to the disastrous amount of rescheduling with little to no tangible information line; people didn't know the panel was happening. If there was a place members could go to get updated schedules and information, I never noticed it during the entire convention.
Due to a death in the family earlier in the week, we had a memorial to attend and had to cancel our plans to attend the Double Rainboom premiere, which I later learned was cancelled anyway due to the panel guest never arriving. We left for the evening.
We attempted to arrive on time for the Mane Six (-2) panel, only to have the line to enter the panel shut down just a few people in front of us. This was somewhat frustrating for me, as we probably would have been further up in the line with more signage indicating where the line actually was (on the flip side, other people would have been in line too, so I don't actually BLAME that for our missing the panel). With my wife having an emotional breakdown, I slogged my way up to the Livestream room where I found the audio itself wasn't loud enough to hear clearly for the majority of the panel.
The next event I went to after getting lunch was the "Bringing Life to Words" storyboarding panel, which had no line and I was able to get in and out with no fuss. My wife, not wanting to repeat the morning's fiasco, bailed from the panel early to claim a spot in line for "Guys of MLP".
After "Guys of MLP", we headed to the EqD panel, which also went by without any hitches. We then spent the majority of the evening socializing with random other groups, and ended up with a large herd of bronies and pegasisters in Denny's, to the likely chagrin of the non-Brony guests. It became obvious on the way to Denny's that the lines for Ponystock were just as bad as every other event had been, so we decided not to even bother trying to attend, despite it being my 2nd most anticipated event in the entire convention.
This turned out to be the right choice, as I haven't had so much fun at a con in nearly a decade as I had Saturday night just hanging out playing Apples to Apples and shuffling off to Denny's. Prior to that, I was seriously considering not coming back for Sunday.
Our goal in day three was singular: The Crusaders panel. We got in, but not by much. Aside from that and more socializing, Day 3 was fairly uneventful, but we bailed shortly after the Crusaders panel due to some real life responsibilities that cropped up with the friend we were attending with.
In the interim period, I also made some other observations, most notably:
- The gaming room was not large enough. It was packed to capacity at nearly all times, which meant either joining in on an existing game, or not participating.
- The staff seemed extremely uncoordinated and lacking in communication. Some were stressed to a breaking point, others were helpful and friendly, but figuring out how useful a staff member's information would be was a crapshoot.
- Nearly every piece of signage in the entire con was simply telling members NOT to do something. Combined with some of the staff, it lead to an oppessive-feeling atmosphere at times
On the Positive Side:
EVERYONE was friendly and enjoyable to be around, despite the atmosphere being somewhat detrimental to an enjoyable experience.
The panels I attended, once inside, had little to no technical issues and were consistently informative and entertaining - honestly some of the best panels I've attended at any convention.
I'm not going to bother suggesting anything for next year, as the venue is going to be the Hilton, which I have extensive convention experience with. I do believe it will alleviate a massive amount of the issues that occurred with this year's convention through traffic management alone.
All in all, I feel the convention was totally worth my time, especially Saturday night -- the problem, however, is that a significant portion of my enjoyment of the event was not because of the eventat all, but rather when I got together with other people at the event and stopped doing anything con-related. While that's certainly not a bad thing in and of itself, the fact that the convention actively detracted from the experience is not something I want to see moving forward.
Looking forward to next year, despite the issues. I believe Everfree can only go up from here.
Posted 19 August 2012 - 08:16 PM
-The registration fiasco was horrific, plain and simple. I realize that it is the first convention at Everfree, but I think when registration was going wrong that all attention should have been diverted to it. The lack of communication was frustrating in addition to the wait.
-I believe that there were too many badges sold for the venue the convention was being held at. Also, I think that there were some severe miscalculations on how popular some panels would be (suggestion: perhaps a poll weeks before the convention/around the time the schedule comes out on what panels con-goers will definitely go to, maybe go to, etc. Get a general taste on where the majority is going to be, and then assign rooms for panels based on those estimates).
-The two hotels was a little annoying, but I'm glad they had shuttles going for day 2 and 3. I understand the need for space, but I wouldn't suggest doing it again (especially with that hill).
I will say, however, that a lot of this was to be expected from a popular convention. I've been to two other conventions (Sakuracon and Blizzcon) and have learned that if I really REALLY want to see a panel, I need to show up at least a half an hour to an hour early (an hour+ for the popular ones). I'm not sure who here has been to a convention before, but that is usually how it goes. The most dedicated show up early because they want to get good spots for the panel. So in the future, if the panel is really important to you, show up extra early. There will always be some chaos at all conventions, even the well seasoned ones.
First year conventions are also notorious for being rocky. We were all guinea pigs this year, but I'm sure the Everfree staff is looking at what went wrong this first year and already planning on how to make it better next year. Things were definitely nowhere near perfect, but it was damn good for a first year convention. Aside from some lack of communication (and this was mixed, in some lines I had a staff member apologizing for delays, and in some lines I didn't hear a peep), and some amateur miscalculations on popularity I think this convention was AMAZING. I really enjoyed myself, and so did my sisters. The heads of Everfree really outdid themselves with the sheer number of VAs they got was awesome, and I was impressed in how many panels they had that I was really interested in (I actually missed out on a lot because of time conflicts!).
My expectations will be a bit higher next year, but I am definitely coming back!
Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:00 PM
I am not sure if my disappointment is not so much the con itself, but my own perspective. I'll put this out here now: I'm in my late twenties, female, and a diehard gen-1 fan, because that's simply what I grew up with. No, I imagine the show has not aged well at all (read: I'm too scared to watch it for fear my brain will explode from the awful cheesiness that was the 1980's), but my massive collection of gen-1 Ponies will always have special place in my heart. I was part of an active online community the late 90s and did write fanfiction...but in retrospect it was probably quite terrible, winning an award for a contest or not.
I am very much a fan of the show foremost, enjoy collecting and seeing the fan art and custom creations. I have read a couple stories, listened to a little music, but I will admit I have not been highly involved in the fan community, more of an observer. Much of this con seemed to be centered around the fan experience. I have no idea what the other fan cons have been like, so I don't know if this is the norm, but it wasn't anything I could relate to, and had a less than stellar experience as a result. I admit this could be a more exclusive problem due to my perspective, but I have to question the accessibility to fans outside the 15-20 yr old male demographic that seemed to make up most of the folks I encountered.
I don't wish to go into too much detail as then it could just become a laundry list of things that I disliked, but to echo another poster--I only started enjoying myself once I was able to connect with some friends that came from out of state to visit, and spent time together outside of the con. We agreed at Denny's that experience had become something akin to the Grand Galloping Gala--it was all we ever dreamed, but it ended up not really being what we expected at all. We even went back to their hotel and watched that episode, and generally felt happier than we did at the con.
So, I suppose I am wishing to find out publicly if I am the odd man out here, or if others felt similarly alienated. I plan on addressing some other issues privately, though I will say one thing here: please have a separate room for the VIPs to congregate in next year, rather than commandeering the ladies' restroom. I don't have small children, so I didn't have any serious bathroom emergencies to deal with, but I am a chick, and we tend to have to relieve ourselves more often than you fellas. Especially if you're drinking water like no tomorrow because it's 90+ degrees outside. Thanks.
Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:24 PM
Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:35 PM
Complaints about rude vendors? Don't give them your money! Sure, a lot of us were stressed and exhausted and maybe just having a bad day, but really, we were trying to sell our stuff to you. The very least I can do for someone interested in what I am selling is to give a warm greeting and be ready and willing to help you.
It's perfectly acceptable for you not to buy something from someone if they aren't being polite. Heck, most everyone should have had business cards out, so grab one and email them feedback! I know I for one want to know if I did something untoward. Things can only improve when provided with constructive feedback, and that's true with the convention as a whole as well as the individual vendors.
Posted 19 August 2012 - 10:13 PM
The only real suggestion I would have is to give updates if things run behind (and I also understand it sounds like they were understaffed) - have someone let us know "they're having sound issues, it'll be about 15 minutes" or "the VA's aren't quite ready, we'll let you know when it's almost time".
The other suggestions would be about lines and such, but knowing it's at the Hilton next year and they're used to and made for hosting conventions, hopefully a lot of the "too many people/not enough room" issues will be resolved just by moving.
Also, I'm not sure which vendors other people went to, but I didn't come across any that seemed rude - they were all nice to me even if I didn't buy anything (and believe me they tried to get me to buy and if I had gobs of money I would have - but I was on a budget..)
Posted 20 August 2012 - 12:13 AM
If I were to give constructive criticism, there were times that I wished there was a member of staff who wandered up and down the long lines just answering questions. And if they didn't know the answer to something, they'd find out. Like, that's all they were expected to do- become experts in everything they could and answer questions. It would have helped a lot of us out a LOT at times when we weren't sure if we were in the right line, or what's going on at the front of the line, or if the event was being delayed and we still had a chance to get in, or whatever.
My biggest gripe other than the mess that registration was on Friday morning would be that so much of the biggest events were happening on the 12th floor of the Holiday Inn. I heard we almost "broke" the elevators on Friday, and caused a serious safety hazard for everyone in the hotel, not just the Con attendees. Not to mention what a pain it was waiting for the elevator, being sorted on them five by five (which made the line move all that much slower), or taking all 12 flights of stairs. I understand there was little to nothing that could have been done about that, but... it was a pain.
But seriously, I really did enjoy myself, and I think the staff did an awesome job for a first year Con. I'm sure lessons have been learned and next year will be even more awesome! Though I'm having a hard time imagining it could be. ..Other than I guess Ashleigh showing up, too!
By the way, if anyone noticed a short girl with super long brown hair (past her knees), that was me.
Posted 20 August 2012 - 09:29 AM
I think a better solution would have been pre printed blanks for attendees and vendors with the badges being the same size as normal badge sleeves used at multiple conventions, and then the use of a dymo label printer and clear labels. That combined with either an excel spreadsheet or access database + form would have alleviated a lot of problems with first day badge pick up. Without needing to use a central database tied to the computers you could have broken the 3 stations that I saw into something like A-J, K-P, etc.
Also a separate location for specialty badges such as staff and vendors, etc to be picked up from. Perhaps preprint all the staff and vendor badges, with them available for staff in operations, and vendors from the person in the dealer's den (I have no idea how they were fully handled and if this was the case please disregard this portion of the suggestion)
I viewed the con through 2 sets of eyes. As an attendee where what I did see was a lot of rockiness that first year cons do experience (as well as long running cons) but for the most part the event ran smoothly for the most part, and as a person who has helped run a con for 16 years where I noticed a serious lack of communication along a structured chain of command, as well as spot cracks in the chain of command and lack of training in things such as crowd control.
My biggest complaint was for Saturday night. I stayed late to attend the PMV Contest as music videos are one of the things I really enjoy at cons, having run Sakura-Con's contest from 2005-2012. With the confusion for over an hour before announcing that there would be no showing, it seemed that the communication I mentioned earlier was at some of its lowest. I would like to thank the AV Tech who did his best entertain the room by playing requests from the audience. I felt really bad for him being in the position where all eyes were on him in a situation that was out of his control.
For the future, perhaps secure a copy of whatever media format the PMV contest is to be shown in and keep it in a location in the operations office for the hotel (if multiple are used next year) that the showing will be in, in a well known to the staff location.
Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:03 AM
For next year's con, having more staff at the registration tables would have really helped. Splitting into multiple lines (say, by the first letter of each registrant's last name) would make it easy to have lots of us pick up badges in parallel. Otakon was the only other con I've been to, but they had a handful of separate lines. They couldn't do that this year because the hallway was simply too narrow for a wider table. Some of those line divider things (like you see at banks) to make a nice tight orderly line in a registration room would also help, and could be used for the longer lines throughout the convention.
Signage is crucial too, but that's already been mentioned.
The fact that the Summit room was on the 12th floor was also a huge problem. The elevators were an enormous bottleneck, and there wasn't really a good place for us to line up, especially when we swapped everyone out between panels. The Emerald Ballroom at the Hilton has enough doors and enough space that we should be able to avoid issues with lines and just let people filter in for big panels.
In fact, now that I've looked over the floorplans for the Hilton convention space, most of the bigger issues will already be solved by the better layout for a con like this. If the staff takes the lessons learned this year to heart, next year with the new space will be worlds better.
It would also be helpful to reach out to the organizers of Bronycon, Canterlot Gardens, and all the other cons going on to discuss what pitfalls they've run into and share possible solutions - that way all the cons can improve.
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