Another Anime Expo (AX) has come and gone. I staffed the event for the first time this year at the Art Show, dealing mostly with the Model Contest aspect of the event. This gave me the opportunity to experience a completely different viewpoint to the event. For the past couple of months, I have made many new friends with a good number of AX staffers, so as a result, I picked up a really insightful view of the event. I now have a greater understanding of the sacrifices made by the fans of the event so that they can greatly improve an event that they love and once upon a time, were mere attendees.
I need to keep things fresh in my mind for things I saw that as a previous attendee, and with my experiences from attending other events, I hope to give some insight into making improvements on issues that I saw. I need to vastly improve the model contest. As judge last year, the contest participation increased from about 10 entries to 31, and unfortunately, this year we had a total of 19 entries from 12 individual entrants. Last year we had a good number of figure entries but very few mecha entries. This year we had 2 figure entries, and with the exception of the last minute entry of a iron works key blade, all the other entries were mecha related kits. I knew of three people who had kits with them, but were too busy with other aspects of the event and did not enter their kits.
I created judging sheets using build quality (20 pts), technical (15 pts), aesthetics (10), and presentations (5 pts). We had four judges, all of whom build plastic models judge the event independently, and as we tabulated our results, I’m very pleased to see that the final results were the same across the board. All in all, I am satisfied with the results of the event. I believe that the continuing problem that we have is still advertisement. I did little to no advertisement of my workshop and the results showed. I could kid myself and suggest that my workshops were poorly attended because of the events that I competed against. Perhaps I just need to schedule my workshop to start promptly at 5:00 next year; if I return to give my workshop.
The workshop has had a positive affect on the model contest. As I was able to get participants. I still just need to work on proper advertisements. I will be dealing directly with the model contest sponsors going forward so I will make an effort to get advertisements through those venues, and hopefully draw a bigger crowd. The raffle idea worked out quite well as we got a few more entrants as a result. Again, I believe that gorilla marketing and just spamming the advertisement will result in greater participation.
As this is my first year staffing, I clearly see the differences from when I was a mere attendee. I no longer had the free time to wander around aimlessly, take pictures, check out the various video rooms, or attend various events. I know i was afforded time for attending panels or events that I wanted, but I already have obligations with the workshops that I felt it unfair to take extra time. The one panel I did attend, I was part of the panelist. Another thing that was an issue was that my best friend’s wedding was the Sunday of the event. Because of AX and my obligations, I had to miss several events leading up to the wedding. I was also the best man, so things were a little busy for me outside AX. I don’t foresee another wedding next year, so I should be able to dedicate much more of my personal time to AX for next year. And now that I’m staff, I should be able to add additional support throughout the year.
In addition to the wedding, staffing, model contest, model building workshops, I also had three friends staying with me from out of town. They were staying with me so that kept me from utilizing the hotel rooms granted to staffers. So I didn’t have as much time as I normally would have had to randomly wander around and snap pictures. I hope that my friend will send along his pictures soon so that I can throw them up on my site as well. But here are my pictures regardless: http://www.gamerabaenre.com/ax_2008.htm
The first set of pictures are just random pictures I took of various events and people. The second set of pictures are of the staffers that I worked with most.
The third set are of the gundam bar we built. The first two pictures in the set are of the stools and beer bottles we created two nights before the event. I was fairly impressed with the amount of stuff we were able to do for the bar, and hopefully; this will stand as a good base from which we build a much better bar. And finally, the last set are pictures of the models that were entered in this year’s contest.
Based purely off the raw numbers from the contest judging, best of show went to the Stars and Strips Freedom, Best Character went to the Dragon, Best Mecha went to the 1/144 Serpent Gundam, and Best Mecha Custom went to the GP01 Diorama. This year there was a break down in communications between HLJ and AX; I will try to remedy this and find out the reason for the lack of communications come Otakon as HLJ is always in attendance at that event. All the prizes this year with the exception of the compressor/airbrush set were furnished from my personal collection. If all goes well; I will have a good number of sponsors for next year and hopefully I can further tailor the event for even more models.