dejana: (As In Autumn)
[personal profile] dejana
Short report this time, because I spent most of the weekend running a room party and didn't set foot outside my hotel room for 8 hours straight both nights. I'm glad I did it, I've wanted to host a Sailor Moon party for ages, but if I'm going to do it again I need more help and shorter hours. @_@

First of all, the stuff I made for the party! I had a lot of ideas for decorations, but for this year I only had time to finish two.

Front Mural

The party rooms at the Sheraton have big windows facing the pool area. I measured the panes of glass at CONvergence so I could plan a decoration to fill them. I created the design in Photoshop, then projected the image onto a wall and traced it.

Crystal Tokyo needs shading, and I have to figure out some kind of background to go behind their legs, but overall not half bad. ^_^ A lot of people took pictures of/with the design from outside. :D

Outside of this window is a private foyer area set into the floor. I made banners to hang on either side of the little staircase that heads down to the room. Same projection method to create the pattern.

The moons were sponge-painted by my party co-host, Erin. Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of the banners hanging up at the hotel. :(

For next year I want to add a Moon Kingdom mural for the back wall inside the room, and my biggest project, the Time Door to go outside the room party door. The idea of the party is to go back in time from "Crystal Tokyo" (outside, the era we are in now) to the "Silver Millennium" (the Moon Kingdom inside, back to the time when Sailor Moon was big and popular). I didn't have that effect this year since I didn't have time for any decorating on the inside, but there's always next time.

Moving on to the con itself...


Thursday I was at the hotel bright and early to help with Main Programming setup as a personal favor to Erick, the guy in charge of the lights. I both love and hate working with Tech. I have more fun doing tech stuff than anything else, but it makes me feel stupid, which isn't the best way to start your con weekend. I was definitely more productive this time around than I've been in the past, which helped a lot, but it would probably take years before I'd feel like I had any idea what I was doing. I stuck it out until evening when I had to head home to pack up the party supplies.

Some setup pictures:

The head of Tech, in his "utilikilt" - yes, seriously:

"They're always after me Lucky Charms!"

Bwaha. There were stress moments but I'm glad I did it.


Erin came over around 11 and we loaded up the cars with party gear. This party involved an insane amount of supplies. I got a little carried away since I'd never run a room party before, I decided to err on the side of "too much" stuff instead of "not enough," so it took two and a half cars to bring everything. ^_^;; The plan definitely needs some tweaking, but I never needed anything I didn't have. Woo.

We got to the hotel around noon and, happily, were able to check into our room right away. THANK GOD because it took a LOT longer to get set up than I thought it would. I tried to save money this year by waiting until Friday to get the room, but that cannot happen again. It'll be so much easier and less stressful if we can get everything set up on Thursday.

It took us until our 6 PM scheduled start time to get the room ready enough to open.

Offscreen to the right was the desk from which I ran everything. I had my DVD/VCR and netbook hooked up to the projector from there, with the box of DVDs under the desk. (Locked up, and chained to the desk... with SM being out of print, I wasn't taking any chances.) I also had the prizes and things there, which was a bit of a problem, since nobody could get to the desk without blocking the projector. For next year I'll need to build or rig up something to raise the projector above head-level. I want to keep the screen angled toward the door, so there's no other way to do it.

After opening:

People had been waiting to get in :D

In the middle of the above picture you can see the gaming setup, I had my desktop PC running the emulated Super Nintendo games with a pair of vintage controllers hooked up via USB. Once people figured out you could have Mercury kicking Moon's ass, it was really popular. x3 The "old school" comments were depressing though... I'm so old ;_;

Aside from the gaming, I had coloring book pages in the foyer area outside (GREAT idea), episodes on demand (there weren't nearly as many requests as I expected, which was the main reason for the long hours; I'll definitely go shorter next time) and these, also a GREAT idea:

The dot board turned doorway lurkers into residents. :3 I also had some binders of fanfic and manga translations around, and a couple of CCG decks my sister and I had assembled, but I never had time to advertise those activities properly so unfortunately they went unused. It was also tough to keep the schedule boards updated while keeping everything else running (I had one inside and outside the room so people would know what would be showing when).

To keep things on schedule, I filled in the extra time around the hour mark with trivia questions and handed out certificates I'd made to those with the correct answers. One certificate got you a small prize, and with three you could get a large prize. I'd spent a couple of months buying stuff on [ profile] serasell for the prize box, so I had keychains, cards, figures, puzzles, plushies, an extra poster I had lying around and a Cutie Moon Rod I'd bought twice by accident. It turned out I'd also overestimated the knowledge level of the local fans. I had to go really easy on the questions and make up a lot on the fly. ^^;; But I gave away a lot of stuff.

The extra five minutes on the half hour was filled with AMVs. I didn't have time to search YouTube before the con, so I only had what I scrounged from the Org, which... wasn't a lot. I downloaded just about everything I could get my hands on from and hardly any of it was usable. Turns out by the time AMVs really started getting good, nobody was using Sailor Moon anymore. I know what my summer project is going to be...

The only picture I got Friday was this guy, who had a last-minute costume but gets bonus points for pretty much living in the party room for all the hours it was open.

We didn't close until 2 AM, so I didn't see much of anyone or anything Friday, but the con was already on shaky legs. Every time I looked out the door there was a group of Security staffers rushing somewhere. It's really tough to have been on staff, and then not be, and to see people you know fighting fires and not be able to help them. You can't really go back to being normal again once you've stood on the other side of that line.


I made a point of getting up early enough to attend the only major event that wasn't happening during party hours: the AMVs. It was pretty full, but there was standing room in the back. Some good stuff in there. I'm still waiting for a couple of my favorites to be made available for download. >( (people! if you're gonna show your work to 4500 people, make sure it's available to them afterwards!) The one I particularly liked ended up winning Best in Show, so that was happy. Got a few pictures while I was out.

Main Programming, when all was said and done:

Very in-character:


Here's the pool area, with the party rooms around the sides:

I had a couple of hours before my only staff responsibilities for this year, the fanfic events, so I went back to the room and got my costume on. I'd always wanted to wear my Princess Pluto cosplay to Detour, but I didn't feel comfortable doing so while working in Ops. Since I wasn't really on staff this year, this was my chance. Even dressing as fast as possible, I just barely made it to the fanfic contest awards panel on time. -_- I'm so slow.

For the first time, all three of the fanfiction contest winners were in attendance! Less things to have to mail out after the con. I had all the winners come up to the microphone to say something about the inspiration behind their stories and read an excerpt of their entries. I thought it went pretty well, but later in another panel I overheard someone make a disappointed comment to a friend "They just talked about the winners." What kind of discussion were they expecting...?

The second-place winner was particularly thrilled with her award. She wanted a picture with me xD She thanked me profusely for running the contest and said it was the only fanfic contest she knew of at any convention. I said there were others, but when I tried to think of examples, Anime North was the only one I could think of that was still running. Now that I look at the AN website, though, I don't see it. Is it still there? Are there any others?

Almost directly after the awards panel was the Iron Pen drabble contest. My sister had arrived, so she watched some of my stuff while I ran back to the room for the box of supplies. In the meantime I also got a few more pictures.

Iron Pen went as well as it usually does, with about as many entries as we usually have (30 this year, to be specific). For next year I need to get some kind of countdown clock and start enforcing the time limit. I've been generous, since there's a gap in the schedule after us, but it's not really fair to keep doing that. I'm still waiting for the webteam to upload the PDFs of the entries, but there were a good half-dozen this year that it was particularly hard to choose between. I wouldn't have time to read them until much later, however, because 6 PM was looming on the horizon again. I dumped off the contest supplies in the party room and went over to Dairy Queen with my sister for something to eat. On the way back we paused to take some pictures of each other. My dress was so wrinkled ;_; since I didn't stay in the hotel Thursday night, I never had time to iron it.

My new pics, anyway:

And at long last, since I never wrote up a report for Ohayocon, my sister as Mei in the costume I made for her:

After that it was party time again. Pretty much a repeat of Friday, except a bunch of cosplayers showed up.

Next year I want to schedule an official photoshoot time as part of the party. I tried to have a karaoke hour, but almost no one came. :( That's something that can be dropped in the future. Also, I want to move the hours earlier, as once 10 PM rolled around everyone was off getting drunk and dancing until they dropped. The sweet spot for the Sailor Moon party looks to be in the 4-10 PM range.

One last picture:

After we finally closed down, I got my costume off and went wandering for a while just to get out of the party room for a bit. I realized although it had been fun and a good experience, I'd given up my entire con to sit in that room. My favorite con. I need to find a better balance between the room party and other things if I want to keep doing it. I did run into a few people and hear about more craziness. The room parties were shut down around 3:30 AM due to alcohol getting out of control. The entire con had the feeling of being off the rails. I was kind of glad I'd been trapped in my comparatively safe and peaceful party room at that point, haha. I saw Erick for the first time since Thursday and he gave me an insider's peek at the finished Main Programming setup. It hit me how lucky I was to be able to be in that room and up in the tech booth, and how special it was to know such awesome people. That a few years ago I was another face in the seats, and now here I was playing with the lights. At my favorite con. How amazing is that.

I still had my last staff responsibility to take care of, so I found a place to hide out and read over the drabble contest entries. I'd planned for Erin to back me up as a judge, but the few I narrowed it down to were all heavily dependent on at least a casual knowledge of the fandom, so I had to go with my own judgment. As it was, the one I was most drawn to was from a fandom I wasn't really solid on, so I decided to find a second opinion the next day.


The fanfiction panel, my only regular panel, was Sunday afternoon. I had planned to make it an open roundtable discussion, but got railroaded over by a last-minute addition to the panel who got there first and wanted to do a formal presentation. I was too tired to put up much of a fight, and I've really only been organizing the panel for the past couple years because nobody else was and I wanted to make sure we had one, so I rolled with it and let her take most of the reins. It turned out all right, I put in a lot of comments and helped keep things on track. I've given her the green light to organize the panel herself next year if she wants to.

After the panel I had just enough time for one run through the dealer's room. I bought a couple of small things, and would've escaped with my budget intact were it not for a guy at the end of the row with a box full of Sailor Moon artbooks. They were REALLY expensive, but Volume 1 was affordable enough, and the other copies I have of that one are boots. He let me open the package to make sure it had the rice paper sheet. From everything I could recall off the top of my head, it was the real deal, so I treated myself and bought it.

When the dealer's room closed, Erin and I went over to Burger King to grab some food before Closing Ceremonies. I went through the drabble contest entries one more time and was still drawn to the one from the night before, a Revolutionary Girl Utena piece. I figured if I could get Jo's opinion as someone who knows the fandom, I could confidently announce that one as the winner. Erin headed home and I headed back up to Main Programming for Closing Ceremonies. I didn't see Jo, but fortunately Kale turned out to be an Utena fan, and he read the entry and really liked it. So that was our winner. The writer wasn't at Closing, so hopefully they'll respond to my email so I can send them the prize.

When the curtain rang down I helped take all our hard work from Thursday apart again. It was the same weird mix of joy and despair. I started trying to think when I had no business doing so, and it almost got me into trouble a couple of times, but it ultimately turned out all right. Ricky (? I'm so godawful at names) asked me if I'd man a video camera in Main Programming again next year. Doing that in 2009 was the most fun I've ever had on staff, EVER, so of course I told him if I could work it out with the room party and whatever else I'm doing I would love to. There were a few things like this that led me to believe I may not, in fact, suck as much as I've always thought I did. And I went to the staff dinner, where Christopher Ayres sat next to me, and then the next thing I knew Nabeshin and his entourage were also sitting at my table. OMGAWESOME. Anime Detour staffers tend to become friends with the guests, but I've never had much opportunity or been brave enough to talk to them, so it was great to really meet Chris and get to chat with him. Turns out he likes Detour and Anime Boston for many of the same similarities as I do. :)

When we got back to the hotel, I helped with teardown a bit more until Voices For came in to do a private concert. That was awesome, but I had to duck out partway through to pack up my room party. Happily I had extended my reservation until Monday, but I had a lot to take down. I had planned to make a run out to my house with some of the supplies that night but I really, really didn't want to, so I busted out my car-Tetris skills which turned out to be UBER 1337. Moreso than I expected. I was up until 4 AM, and it took me an extra hour the next morning to finish up, but I managed to fit two cars' worth of stuff into my one car. Everything fit except the props bag, which the front desk was willing to hold for me for a few hours. w00t.


I slept a few hours and got up around 9 to finish packing the car before helping the remaining staffers get the convention out of the hotel. I spent most of that task at the storage locker with Kale, Patrick, Cheri and Dan (holy crap I remembered his name), waiting for the truck to arrive and then unloading it. Happy day, we had everything out of the hotel by the noon deadline. Then I went home, got everything out my car and piled it in the garage, went back to the hotel to pick up the props bag, and went to Kale's for the after-party. Finally had a chance to talk to Dave, who had come back for the con but I'd only ran into briefly a couple of times. Saw a preview copy of a documentary about cons that had its good moments but made me think maybe I can do better. >_>

Lots of discussion of what did and didn't go well. There were problems, but I think they can be straightened out. Amazingly, despite the chaos from the staff viewpoint, the comments I've been seeing from attendees are largely positive. Most of the griping I've seen is about Main Programming and the dealer's room being too small, which staff is already well aware of. It seems Detour is maintaining its tradition of MiB-level disaster concealment. "There's always [shit happening]... the only way these people go about their happy [con] is they do not know about it."

I was at Kale's until late, then got home only to end up starring in the Saga of the Bogus Cleaning Charge, which has yet to be resolved. Somehow I always seem to have bad luck with anime conventions in Sheraton hotels. -_-

The con, however, went well on the whole. And I think... I've decided to be back on staff officially next year. The year off did some good, and a lot of the stuff that had been bothering me personally doesn't matter as much anymore. I like being part of Detour. If I can balance everything I want to do, I'm gonna do it. ^_^
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dejana: (Default)
Dejana Talis

About Me

I'm a techie, a geek, a fangirl, and an aspiring writer. I've been in internet fandom since 1996. I welcome new LJ friends, but please allow me some time to get to know you before I friend you back.

I have a tendency to attempt a little of everything, whether or not I have time for it. See my userinfo for more about me and what I do.

July 2015

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