It's been a while since I've been able to post anything on here. I have been stuck at my day job, working off the time I took off for AR, so being able to post as often as I'd like to isn't as easy as it probably should be lol. I would like to share my personal experience as Programming Director and part time attendee at our inaugural year's convention, if you don't mind taking time to read the novel that is about to transpire ahead lol.
First and foremost, I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who stuck with us in our inaugural year this year! I was shocked, but in a good way, to see the final attendance tally! We managed to have 5,233 people attend, and it was just so heart warming to have people give us a chance! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who came out and saw what we could do. That number, of course, is the number of passes sold! Unbelievable for a first year convention and it completely blew my expectations!
Thank you once again for your support!
This was, of course, my first time as a staff member at a convention, so I didn't exactly know what to expect. Being on the other side of the coin so to speak is quite an eye opener, and just deepens my respect for everyone else who runs any convention! There is so much hard work that goes into it, and you tend to develop a fun little family atmosphere with your fellow volunteers/staff. It's a lot of fun, and the comraderie is probably one of the things I still miss the most even almost 2 months later. I'm not sure if a lot of you guys know or not, but I live in Kamloops, so I'm about 3 hours away from Vancouver, and am not able to hang out with many of the staff members on a whim so easily. In fact, when I got there on the Thursday just before AR started, it was my first time meeting many of the people involved face to face! Oh, but it was so much fun, and while we had our share of the usual con ups and downs behind the scenes, I wouldn't EVER trade it for the world!
Much of my time was spent running all over the place trying to make sure that things ran as smoothly as possible, and with the exception of some hiccups here and there, I think things pretty much spoke for themselves. I know there was a lot of concern about the curtains separating the panel rooms and such, and believe me, we have taken that into consideration for next year! You live and you learn right? I also heard there was some confusion about the location of the con itself. AR took place on the old side of the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre, also known as the East Side, or more so as "Canada Place." I think many people were getting mixed up due to AE taking place in the West Side of the VCEC, which is the newer side, in 2009. Luckily, it worked out and most people were able to find the venue with little trouble! I remember going outside to meet some of the guests as they were coming in and being amazed at the line ups both outside and inside as well! Plus, having cruise ships dock and tourists everywhere, it was quite a fun and surreal experience!
The first guest I personally greeted was Sarah "Sully" Sullivan from FUNimation, and she is a riot! So much fun to talk to, and so accommodating. Her panels were quite popular and we look forward to working with her and FUNimation in the future for sure! Next, I got to meet Sugar Lyn Beard and escort her to the green room. I couldn't believe I was talking to Sugar and her brother! It was his birthday that day too so it was extra exciting! I also got to meet several other of my idols, as a Sailor Moon fan of course lol. Ron Rubin (Artemis), Vincent Corazza (Tux), Susan Roman (Jupiter), Katie Griffin (Mars) and of course, Terri Hawkes (Moon) were all there! They are all such wonderful people, and I feel so blessed to have been able to meet them in person! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd have that chance, and yet, there they were! lol. I had a chance to take part in an improv game during one of the 404's shows with Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic / That Guy With The Glasses.) We had to tell a continuous story and the one guy would point randomly at us and we'd have to seemlessly pick up from where the other person left off or act out a death. It was down to myself and Doug and I ended up winning! lol. It was amazingly fun and one of those con moments that stick with you forever as a fan! lol. I also got to chat with some amazing people who go to Otafest as well and they seemed to be having fun! I was so happy to hear that! I had the chance to talk with both Doug and Noah Antwiler (Spoony) and it turns out that much of the rumoured animosity between them is definitely false rumours. People online just like to spread so much needless drama without reaching out for more information from the sources lol. Fighting Dreamers Productions, a local cosplay group similar, yet bigger than my own here in Kamloops, also came and put on some great panels! They were all so wonderful and accommodating as well and came up to thank me at the end of the closing ceremonies, and I am so very greatful to them for coming and putting on some great content! That goes for ALL of our panelists actually! Some fantastic content for sure and I really wish I could have seen more, but when you're "behind the scenes" there's A LOT of running around and work to do from like 6 am to 2 am! lol Sometimes 24 hours and you know what, I LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT! Jessica Nigri was another guest I interacted a lot with. She is SOOOOOOO nice as well and she was absolutely enthralled with our attendees and the stuff going on! She's also friends with Leanna Vamp and Nerd Girls. They were going around getting pictures with people and reporting on things! I'm so glad they had fun! Also, a VERY special shout out and THANK YOU to Mark Nguyen and Irulanne who were SPECTACULAR in everything during the con! Irulanne's concert was quite intimate and popular, and her performance of "Carry On" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHRaedEBT3o
from the Sailor Moon English dub was met with a HUGE crowd reaction at the 20th Anniversary panel! She and I opened it with the English Sailor Moon theme! We sang it as a duet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4mrr2GoJtA
and had only practiced it once that morning! YAY for last minute fun right!? lol. Mark was an outstanding host, and I am just eternally greatful to both of them for helping out when things were running a bit behind, etc. Stepping in and helping out like they did was so spectacularily wonderful and very much appreciated!
We had so many guests and I wish I had the chance to meet every single one of them, but I did miss a few myself like Sam Logan and Angela Melick, due to not getting to Artist Alley aside from like one moment on the Sunday I think, close to closing...
We were supposed to have the Sailor Moon Fan Made Movie from Australia for screening, but it did not make it in the mail in time sadly. I felt so bad for everyone looking forward to seeing it ( I was too! ) but there's not much you can do when it's stuck in transit. We even tried working with the director of the movie to download it online, but it was just not to be. Instead, a fellow Sailor Moon fan and friend of mine, Troy, gave us the New York trailer for their Sailor Moon fan made movie, and we showed it at the beginning of the AMV contest, and at the closing ceremonies! I hadn't seen it ahead of time, and it turned out to be quite dark and rather gory which I think shocked people, but it is an artistic take on things, and overall, I am glad to see such a HUGELY renewed interest in Sailor Moon as a whole!
The 20th Anniversary Sailor Moon Celebration Panel, hosted by myself and Irulanne, was also a huge success! We showed various clips, such as the final battle between Sailor Moon and Galaxia in Stars Episode #200, The HORRIBLE SABAN trailer that we ALMOST ended up with prior to the DIC dub: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Hge38AkFg
, 21st Century Koi no Senshi ja Irarenai from the Sailor Moon Musicals, and one of the most epic scenes from the live action series, when Sailor Moon becomes Princess Sailor Moon and goes all bad a** on Queen Beryl and company while fighting over Mamoru! We then had all 6 voice actors present come up on stage and answer questions! One of the most popular parts was where I asked them if they could do a quick battle cry in character as seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA9b0WjnEFQ
with a special one from Vincent Corazza as Sailor Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0S-dKlwmc4
. It was fun, and I really hope everyone had a great time!
So much to talk about but so little time! It's like 2 am here! lol.
Anime Revolution Idol went VERY well and Ally and Sally ended up taking home the Idol 1st Place trophy this year! It was SOOOO close and the competition was very fierce this year, but I think everyone had a lot of fun! Momohime came in 2nd, and she had done a BEAUTIFUL enka song on Saturday's round, and I was SOOOO happy to see someone tackle enka! Such a hard style that one is! She did it exceptionally well though! Laurie came in third, but she also had won the audience choice during our 2nd round on Saturday, and I have had the honour of seeing her perform during all of the Idols I have run myself from AE to Cos & Effect to AR this year! She is always a treat to watch as well! I also threw a few performances of my own in there during judge deliberations to help entertain the crowd (hopefully lol) including Last Angel, which won me Otafest Idol 2011! A HUGE thank you to Irulanne and Shannon for judging all three rounds, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the competition! We had special guest judges each day too! Kirstie Marsden on Friday, who herself is an accomplished voice actress/musical actress/songstress, Yuki and Marc from our Saturday night performing band "11 to Midnight," judged on Saturday's Idol round, and Doug Walker helped as a judge during our Closing Ceremonies for the 3rd round on Sunday! Everyone was marvelous and did a great job!! Thank you for all of your help!
I got to help out with the Cosplay Contest as well, and Sugar was our MC for that! She was absolutely adorable up on stage trying to pronounce Japanese words and messing up but definitely taking it all in stride! She was fantastic and her tenure as a host on THE ZONE for YTV definitely shone through! We had some great groups perform and it was so much fun to watch! My room mate Megan was a judge, and was joined by Jessica Nigri and Ron Rubin as well! Thank you to all of the contestants, and our judges!
I know I'm forgetting to mention other things but it was such a whirlwind experience, and a very positive one at that. I know I sound like a broken record, but I honestly can't put into words how much it meant to me that people came out and gave us a chance. AR was a labour of love, and we are definitely coming back in 2013! Plans are under way right now and we're hoping to "rise from the ashes" of our mistakes and use them to build a better convention for the future! There has been some talk of locking threads and so on in the feedback forums which does have truth to it, but please note that there is a specific feedback form link in said locked threads that allows people to leave feedback for us to streamline it to the proper departments (for example, I'm the Director of Programming, and thus programming related feedback gets forwarded to me and my team for review, etc.) I don't always get to check the forums as much as I'd like to, and feedback can get lost in one big jumble of posts, but through the form, I can get it through email, which I do check at least once or twice a day, and we can go from there! Same with the other directors, etc. In fact, the link to it can be found here: http://www.animerevolution.ca/about/fee ... ggestions/
so if you happened to make it to AR this year and have some feedback for us, I'd love to hear from you! The constructive critiques as well as the good times you had! I really hope that this helps to eleviate any concerns regarding AR not wanting feedback, because we most certainly do want to hear from everyone! This way is a bit different from how other cons have approached it in the past, but as I mentioned earlier, it is to help streamline things and get things to the right departments!
On that note, I'm going to close by once again thanking you all for hanging in there through all of the debating and so on that has happened throughout the year! Every convention has it's share of drama, but in the end, it's all about having fun and working to make sure our attendees had a blast as well! If, for some reason, you came and didn't have a great time, I am very sorry, but thank you for giving us a try! I know we won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I do know that I heard so many positive reviews from people as well and it was so heart warming and helped cement in my mind exactly why we do this! Fandom is unique and shared by so many in different ways, and I think it's important to support all of the conventions as much as we all can. The current situation with Animethon has been a heartbreaking reminder of what can happen, and I sincerely hope that Animethon 20 pulls through and that staff can be found to help nurture such a historic and well loved convention to rise again! I am also rooting for Otafest Aurora to be successful! Congrats to the Otafest Executive committee for your hard work and I really hope your event is a HUGE success! Being so close to Christmas, I'm sure people will be in the festive mood and that can only work in your favour! Plus, I'm REALLY hoping to make it to Otafest 2013 in May as well!
Have a fantastic week everyone! Thank you for reading through my novel above lol. I will keep you posted on AR 2013 news and updates as we move onward!
With much love and sincerity,
-Director of Programming - Anime Revolution 2012/2013-
-Anime Revolution Idol 2012/2013 Coordinator-