WOW. What a
whirlwind weekend I just had. For those keeping score, this past weekend I
attended, vended, and performed at Youmacon.
For those of
you long time readers, you’ll remember the last year I went to Youmacon I did
not vend, and I had a rather disappointing experience. But like I do for all conventions,
I like to give them a “probation year” to see if it was just a fluke that one
may have been other hang ups as they’re still figuring out registration and
similar background things, most of my experience is from the Artist Alley and
Masquerade participant point of view. So I’m back and ready to report on my
I will also
apologize right now, because I forgot my camera one day, and then I was running
around like a crazy person so I forgot to take pictures. I’m working on fixing
this. I will see what I can dig out of whatever I DID take…
amount of events were taking place in the COBO this year (from vendors, to
panels, to game rooms and what have you), so there was a lot more traffic in
the convention center this time compared to the prior year. Even just walking
through the hallways past all the people waiting for registration I had an
honest to goodness “this is a legit convention” vibe to it. I’m used to going
to huge events like ACEN and GenCon, so to get that feel from Youma after all
these years, it was a good start.
went pretty smoothly and they had a TON of booths. In fact, they had so many,
they found they had extra space, and a friend of mine (Rajamitsu) was able to
get a table in at the last minute and came up to vend! We went and got our
stuff from the car (from the very convenient rooftop parking) and set up pretty
quickly. The aisles were huge, the space behind the booths were plentiful, and
the tables were 8 FEET LONG. I could not have asked for a better set up!
however, was originally placed back in the boonies but thankfully was able to
move her table after the 4:00 cut off, so we got her into a better location to
get her some more traffic, which I think helped out. Traffic on Friday was slow
as usual, with a lot of browsing but that’s normal! Saturday I had a lot of
masquerade stuff to do, and a bunch of it ended up running late so I didn’t
spend as much time at the booth as I had wanted, but apparently sales went
was dead from the Masquerade so I sat at the table in plainclothes, and tear
down and clean up was pretty painless.
had a great time and I certainly am going to try to vend there again next year!
The staff really did a good job this year, at least in regards to the Alley and
Dealer hall, so I commend you guys for making it a good experience!
I did have
some general complaints about the alley, but they were all things that the
convention really had no control over:
Artists Taking Other Artists Chairs
Okay. Time for me to have a little chat with the artists here. I always
consider one of life’s big rules is that “if it is not yours, do not take it”.
Within 20 minutes of finding the table, setting our programs on the chair, and
then retrieving our booth from the car, our one chair was stolen. Seriously
guys, if it’s not yours DON’T TAKE IT. I know you’re stressed and trying to get
your booth set up, but had it not occurred to you that the other tables, oh I
don’t know, belonged to other artists
Like rational humans, I went and asked the head of the alley what to do, and
she pointed us to a place to get chairs in the back. See? A solution without
stealing from others.
Artists Moving Before Moving Time
There were only one or two of you, but I feel the need to shake a finger at
you. I know that being in the boonies with a bunch of empty tables sucks. I won’t
argue with you one bit. If you asked, you’d find out that after 4 pm you could
go and register to sit at a different empty table. Just because you didn’t get
the perfect spot does not give you the authority to just pick up and move. You
start this, and then you take somebody’s spot, and then fighting starts, and
then NOBODY gets to move EVER, and then you’ll be stuck in your bad spot
forever. If we all follow the rules, the staff will be more encouraged
to help us because we are polite and respectful of
truthfully, it was Friday
. Nobody buys
anything on Friday. They’re browsing. You’re not really going to be losing ANY
SALES by waiting until 4. The hall was open till 7:30 anyway! That’s way later
than normal alleys.
Now if they could move the moving time up to like... say.... "when the platinum badges are allowed in" or "when hall opens for regular attendees" that might be helpful if there's a ton of open spots still...
Artists Checking In, then Never Appearing
There appeared to be a bit of a problem in the alley (and not just with near
me) where artists would check in with the AA head, and then just… never appear.
But because they had checked in, the table was claimed and could not be moved
into. There were about 4-5 booths in the front islands that were just… vacant.
Now, I hope
that the people who were supposed to be my neighbors are okay. I’m going with
the benefit of the doubt that some personal emergency showed up and that’s why
they never came all weekend (we were having flat tire issues at Crash Bang).
However, from a business standpoint this was very rude and made it hard to get
some customers. They’d see the space and just pass over the next one. I put one
of my tarps on it, to at least give the illusion of a booth so it wasn’t so…
empty looking. I guess I’m just wondering if there’s a way to send a runner, or
get a hotline or FB message or SOMETHING to let the staff know the table will
those who are also long time readers, last year I participated in the
Masquerade and had an AWFUL time. I was pretty graphic about my thoughts too.
But, in the essence of an olive branch, I decided to try again, and I was with a
group and we were going to perform, so I wasn’t too worried about getting
judged (even though it was craftsmanship). We had been running late due to traffic
(our group leader, Luna, got caught in construction accidents), so they were
taking the people after us in efforts to stay on time. Which was a great move on the staff’s part
. When she arrived, we
got dressed, and headed inside. (We also did hallway masquerade, and we did
that judging the day before, we entered Peter and Alice).
going to do our skit run through, but first was the craftsmanship judging. From
the first moment it was a TOTALLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE from last year. The judges
approached us, and because we were in the master’s category, they went straight
for my seams. They were asking general questions like “Tell us about how you
made your costume” and followed up my dialogue with, “And what was this painted
with? What type of materials did you use?” They seemed really interested in the
of the costumes.
And honestly, this was the same for the Hallway Judges too. They were superb
did our run through, and then went and had a photoshoot. After some rest, we
went to the greenroom and waited. There were only a handful of performances
this year, but they were well done. Everything prerecorded, and there was a lot
of dancing/song based skits rather than just straight up dialogue.
the awards, and I was wondering if I’d have déjà vu from last year.
WINNER was complimented on their craftsmanship, silhouettes, seams, bias tape,
you name it. Not one iota about “oh they were in character”. It was all
craftsmanship base, and I honestly could not find ONE complaint about any of
the winners. Heck, I even enjoyed the halftime show this year – he had some
good material! I laughed!
Oh, and we
got Best Masters in Hallway and Best in Show for performance and craftsmanship.
And yes, the trophy is still 6 feet tall.
So now, I'm off to finish those outstanding commissions and get down to the comicking business. I have a Tangering #3 to pen, and more Sky's End to make before Anime Crossroads! I should be updating more often now that Youmacon is over. :)