Yeep. Anime Central has come and gone, as has other deadlines, and honestly I was super duper busy getting those handled, but now it's done, so it's time for at least a short recap of the show.
Compared to last year, I had little/nothing going on during the show, so ended up spending most of my time at the booth. Heck, I didn't even cosplay except for on Saturday (which yes, I'm now finally going through some of those pictures and maybe I'll post them?), which is really weird for me, because usually Anime Central is one of those big shows I like to bring fancy costumes to.
THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE I'LL HAVE SO MANY SHINIES FOR NEXT YEAR.
*coughs* Ahem! Anyway, onto the very very brief recap/assessment of Anime Central.
...and of course, I forgot to take pictures of my booth or anything like that, so it'll be another dull mostly picture-less post, but hey, this one's not too long. (I honestly did not do much here this year)
+ Check-in was pretty flawless (for the most part). They've finally got it set up where the Artists will just check in at the Exhibitor's booth, get all the badges and paperwork, and then we can head into the hall. Also, they had the swag bags already out and suggested we get them on our way to set up. OMG THANKS! I kind of collect them, so it's a good thing to have them right there for artists at check in.
+ Huge space, lots of artists! I always love how huge and big the alley is, along with how tall/big the actual convention hall is. It helps a lot in me not getting too claustrophobic in the room!
+ Helpful Staff! Exhibit hall staff, and line security people were pretty nice to us, and we just let them know we were needing the handicapped ramp for all our carts (otherwise it'd be hopping down a small set of stairs which is dangerous with all our stuff)
Also, as a side note, a couple of times throughout the day, they actually had specified staff set up to come around and make sure we were doing okay, which was pretty cool.
+ Late Set Up Hours. Due to how the hall and registration was set up, the hours to set up our artist tables ended up being much later than we had originally anticipated - which was great because then my pal who got in much later than usual was also able to at least bring her table supplies over and avoid the rush in the morning.
~ Lack of backspace. It's always been somewhat of a problem, but we had much narrower rows this time around, and I couldn't do the backdrop idea I had in the first place, but we made due. This is why you need to have multiple set ups of your booth - YOU NEVER KNOW.
In addition to lack of backspace - the end tables were kind of shoved up against the row, and they (and the other corner booths) lost quite a bit of real estate there. I felt bad for em, I've been in that sort of position before.
~ No early map. We got our table numbers a decent amount of time before the show, however, there was no accompanying map so we couldn't really tell where we were supposed to be. It was only when a fellow artist group member divined the map out of the guidebook application on their phone we knew where we were. We'd gotten maps earlier in years past, it was more of just a hiccup this year. (I blame the show being 2 weeks earlier than usual).
~ Crowds were up, but down. This isn't something the show really has a handle on, and it's more of just a side mental note, but there was a definite change in the crowd. Oh sure, there were tons of people there, and many pleasant fans, but the market took a change a lot of us weren't expecting. There was a lot less stopping, browsing, and looking than in years past (not just my booth, but many booths). I didn't get nearly as much traffic as I am used to from this particular show, but that's not going to stop me from re-calibrating and trying again!
~ Lack of balance in tables. In years past, there's been a pretty good mix of print vs 3-d artworks, and I almost felt like there were too many print artists this year, and not nearly enough of the 3D kind? I'm obviously a print artist, but I enjoy having a good mix of many kinds of works so then the customers will have a lot of variation to look at and they won't zone out. It'd be the same if they had more of a percentage of 3D overall - attendees eyes kind of just, glaze over if all they see is the same type of products. It's a weird thing, but just more of a thought from my end.
I don't really have a lot to suggest, as mostly everything went smoothly at the show as it usually does. It's a well-oiled machine, and that's honestly one of the reasons I really like it. I also love the crowd, size of show, and all sorts of other things.
It might be time to return to the concept they used a year or two back on "categorizing" the artwork - where you could put down what you had at your booth - and I think they used that to keep the playing field balanced? I don't know how many complaints they got from it, so that might have been part of the problem? (To be fair, I did technically "win" a table at the show this year, so I don't know if they tried to keep the same sign up process as before)
Did I have a good time? Kind of. I was awfully depressed through a lot of the show, I'll admit I wasn't at my 100%, but that wasn't entirely the show's fault. I did miss cosplaying, and it certainly rejuvenated that part of me, but it probably led to part of my being bummed out - that and the change in demographics I wasn't prepared for (I didn't do nearly as well as I had in previous years). Everything else was so smooth, and well-run, I can't really complain otherwise!
Would I go back? In a heartbeat! I love this show with all my heart (it was my first big convention, tbh), and I usually plan on trying to vend at this show if at all possible. HOWEVER! I'm thinking about spending more time actually visiting some of these conventions next year, so there's a good chance I'll actually just attend for once. :P Besides, I could probably use the break!
P.S. They finally released the numbers for attendance, and this year they had 31,113 people this year. HOLEEE CRAAAP you all, that's pretty hefty. It's probably the second largest show I visit all year (and I freakin' VEND at this one!).
...It does mean I'll have to start watching room blocks early now. :P