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One Response to the Open Letter

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One Response to the Open Letter

Postby amasugiru » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:57 pm

There are many cons I have attended that I support and encourage other artists to attend. And I would love to do same with your convention. However, I find it almost impossible to do so based upon my experience last year.

I was one of the artist unfortunately placed in the balcony last year. Our decision to apply for the balcony was based on misleading information. We paid more for a space that saw significantly lower traffic. And it came down to a fellow artist to try and come up with a solution to the situation: a sign composed of our donated artwork which had been nicked from the poster well before the end of the convention.

Now, I can forgive a lack of foresight, especially with a change in staff. It was a lesson learned and applied to this year which I appreciate. However, several of us spoke with you at the end of the convention with some hope that we would receive reparation for our situation. I would think the staff would want to follow through on what was said, especially since the balcony was composed of many seasoned and skilled artists. These are the people you want to return and you want to tell fellow artists.

However, several months had gone by before I emailed your staff. I got an answer that indicated that whoever responded had no idea of the previously mentioned situation. Instead, I was told that the contact list was misplaced due to a server error and there was no back up made.

If you want artists' support than you have to support your artists. I can't bring myself to recommend this con to anyone else until someone from the staff demonstrates a stronger understanding of event planning and public relations. Please take my experience and use it towards making the convention better for all parties involved.


I wanted to bring my response to a larger, public forum to see what kind of responses I can generate from a community composed of both staff and artists. My intentions are to help the convention and staff with my feedback and criticism. If I come off as rude, I apologize ahead of time.If I am alone in my experiences and opinions then hopefully this post will disappear among the post for the upcoming year.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Shenanagan » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:02 am

Hello there! Sorry to hear about your situation! It is unfortunate that the balcony this past year was separate from the main Artist Alley, which I noted caused less traffic to go up there. I was in the main Artist Alley area, and even had some people ask if there were two different Artist Alleys! And it is also sad to hear that people stole artwork from your sign. We should have better convention security monitoring Artist Alley. Perhaps that is something good to bring up in the Dear Animazement section of the forum.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Shenanagan » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:43 am

Also, I just finished reading the Open Letter. Is it just me, or does anyone else think their proposal is totally unfair to us???
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby mystcloud » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:38 pm

Having been on the balcony last year I feel your pain, paying extra for less traffic. At least they are getting rid of the balcony this year so we will all be together which will be better for everyone even if it might mean fewer tables. But as for the open letter, why do you think it is unfair?
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby volley94 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:08 pm

Not to sound like a brat or anything but why didnt you talk to other artists who were on the balcony the year before? it seems they paid more for less traffic also so if you had talked to them you would have known not to do that. and saved your self a lot of hassle.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby mystcloud » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:37 pm

volley, a lot of people who were on the balcony the year before liked it a lot, they were able to spend longer hours at their table and get more wandering foot traffic. Last year the balcony vs mezzanine was a new, totally untested, thing as the artist alley had never been in the mezzanine before, so it was possible people would look for it where it had always been (the balcony area). So in theory there was the potential for greater sales from familiarity. Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way, but I know I (and I'm assuming all the other balcony artists) didn't make the decision to get the balcony without taking into consideration past years. It's unfortunate that it didn't pan out as we'd hoped, but please don't assume that we made uniformed decisions.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Marzipan » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:37 pm

amasugiru wrote:There are many cons I have attended that I support and encourage other artists to attend. And I would love to do same with your convention. However, I find it almost impossible to do so based upon my experience last year.

I was one of the artist unfortunately placed in the balcony last year. Our decision to apply for the balcony was based on misleading information. We paid more for a space that saw significantly lower traffic. And it came down to a fellow artist to try and come up with a solution to the situation: a sign composed of our donated artwork which had been nicked from the poster well before the end of the convention.

Now, I can forgive a lack of foresight, especially with a change in staff. It was a lesson learned and applied to this year which I appreciate. However, several of us spoke with you at the end of the convention with some hope that we would receive reparation for our situation. I would think the staff would want to follow through on what was said, especially since the balcony was composed of many seasoned and skilled artists. These are the people you want to return and you want to tell fellow artists.

However, several months had gone by before I emailed your staff. I got an answer that indicated that whoever responded had no idea of the previously mentioned situation. Instead, I was told that the contact list was misplaced due to a server error and there was no back up made.

If you want artists' support than you have to support your artists. I can't bring myself to recommend this con to anyone else until someone from the staff demonstrates a stronger understanding of event planning and public relations. Please take my experience and use it towards making the convention better for all parties involved.


I wanted to bring my response to a larger, public forum to see what kind of responses I can generate from a community composed of both staff and artists. My intentions are to help the convention and staff with my feedback and criticism. If I come off as rude, I apologize ahead of time.If I am alone in my experiences and opinions then hopefully this post will disappear among the post for the upcoming year.


You really feel that ONE bad experience justifies you not supporting Animazement's Artist Alley in the future? I understand the frustration you are feeling, but sometimes big projects like AA have to be fine tuned and tried out to get the kinks worked out. The best way to do this is trial and error. I know it can be hard on the artists who get the short end of the stick, but you should prepare for the good and the bad, especially when we were forewarned that the alley layout for 2011 would be completely different.

I can see your side of it, but all I really take from this post is "my AA experience was terrible and I have no faith in AZ to make it better next year, so I'm going to do nothing to help it improve beyond voicing my opinion and hope they take it to heart." I took this open letter as a sign that they are going to try to improve. They are already making AA in one location and working hard to get us into an even better location. If you, as an artist, want this convention to improve, then can't you give it more than some negative feedback? What was good about AA? Did you have a terrible experience the entire time? There had to be something about it that you could tolerate.

There's nothing wrong with constructive criticism, as long as it is something that can be fixed. There's not much to be done about theft if you put something on a wall and leave it there. I wish I could say that there was, but there are bad people everywhere. I know you were doing it to draw more business to your table, but you should have kept in mind the possibility that it would be taken. Is it fair? No, and it's terrible that people sink so low, but it is a sad reality.

As far as someone on the staff telling you something, I have learned this from personal experience in other dealings in life. Get it in writing. Providing written documentation of whatever it is you need is helpful to jogging someone's memory. I don't know who you talked to, but I have found that both Bobs who are on AZ staff are incredibly helpful with things. I would try to talk it out with one of them and see if there is anything that can be done for you if it is in their power to do so.

I hope my response to you does not come across as uncaring or rude, but I love Animazement and I want it to grow and be successful. I want to encourage you to take that experience and do whatever you can to support the alley, so it can grow and make the changes it needs to make. It's like a new employee. It will make mistakes before it can figure out how to do things smoothly, and whenever there are new factors to challenge them, it must be reevaluated and trained again. Change is good, but without support, I don't know how AA can hope to change for the better. =/
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Shenanagan » Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:28 pm

mystcloud wrote:Having been on the balcony last year I feel your pain, paying extra for less traffic. At least they are getting rid of the balcony this year so we will all be together which will be better for everyone even if it might mean fewer tables. But as for the open letter, why do you think it is unfair?


In response to this, the irony is that while they're saying they want Artist Alley to grow, they're trying to shrink it down to one room, have fewer tables available for people to apply, and have them at a possibly much higher cost than they are now. It is also a strange thing for them to say that there hasn't been much interest in applying to Artist Alley recently, when there have been so many people trying to apply for a table and didn't get one (because again, they shrank the amount of tables available). This is mostly due to the new application system, which was pretty unfair in and of itself. :\
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Shenanagan » Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:33 pm

And in response to Marzipan, I had a great time at Artist Alley, despite the recent changes. I do hope that the AZ staff read these opinions as an opportunity to improve the system so that everyone can enjoy being at Artist Alley next year :)
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby mystcloud » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:09 pm

Shenanagan wrote:
mystcloud wrote:Having been on the balcony last year I feel your pain, paying extra for less traffic. At least they are getting rid of the balcony this year so we will all be together which will be better for everyone even if it might mean fewer tables. But as for the open letter, why do you think it is unfair?


In response to this, the irony is that while they're saying they want Artist Alley to grow, they're trying to shrink it down to one room, have fewer tables available for people to apply, and have them at a possibly much higher cost than they are now. It is also a strange thing for them to say that there hasn't been much interest in applying to Artist Alley recently, when there have been so many people trying to apply for a table and didn't get one (because again, they shrank the amount of tables available). This is mostly due to the new application system, which was pretty unfair in and of itself. :\


I think you're misreading, the room they want to get is much bigger, that's why they would need a ton of people and the cost is too much for them to do it with the current amount of applicants. My understanding after reading the letter is it's so huge that even if they let all the people that DO apply in we still wouldn't fill it enough to make the cost reasonable. That's why they need to drum up more interest. Also, as for the juried system, all systems are unfair, it's really just a pick your poison type thing. no matter what they go with someone will be unhappy, whether if it's because it's first come first serve and the server crashes because of the sudden traffic increase, a lottery system where there's nothing you can do to help your chances or a juried show where some people, for a great many different reasons, get turned down.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Shenanagan » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:21 am

mystcloud wrote:I think you're misreading, the room they want to get is much bigger, that's why they would need a ton of people and the cost is too much for them to do it with the current amount of applicants. My understanding after reading the letter is it's so huge that even if they let all the people that DO apply in we still wouldn't fill it enough to make the cost reasonable. That's why they need to drum up more interest. Also, as for the juried system, all systems are unfair, it's really just a pick your poison type thing. no matter what they go with someone will be unhappy, whether if it's because it's first come first serve and the server crashes because of the sudden traffic increase, a lottery system where there's nothing you can do to help your chances or a juried show where some people, for a great many different reasons, get turned down.


That is true, but perhaps in order to fill this new room better they could do a different application system that would accept more people, despite the quality of work they have to offer? That would be within their interest if they're concerned with using the room to its maximum potential.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby BobGuy » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:19 am

My Artist Alley partner is getting an official moderator account later today, and she will be able to go into better detail about this. She'll also be nicer than me. But, for now, my thoughts:

amasugiru wrote:However, several of us spoke with you at the end of the convention with some hope that we would receive reparation for our situation. I would think the staff would want to follow through on what was said...


Pardon me while I get a little defensive. We did follow through. There is much, much that goes on behind the scenes. We took the complaints seriously, we took the advice seriously, I won't go into great detail, but there was some serious talks between everyone involved. I'm really not even feeling defensive for myself, just my partner. She hasn't stopped working on this problem. I don't know you who spoke to in an email that didn't know what was going on. More likely, we just didn't have an answer at the time. Again, for this, I'll leave this one to my partner. She knows more about this than I do.


Shenanagan wrote:That is true, but perhaps in order to fill this new room better they could do a different application system that would accept more people, despite the quality of work they have to offer? That would be within their interest if they're concerned with using the room to its maximum potential.


I'd like to take this time to speak my mind. This isn't entirely directed towards you, Shenanagan, you just got my brain moving.

First of all, as someone already pointed out, the bigger room is in no way trying to screw the artists over. In fact, at this time, it is the ONLY way we can possibly grow. As it has been established earlier, we're losing the balcony. We're losing tables. We're shrinking. AA Staff doesn't want this, but we're just not a big enough part of Animazement to get a bigger area at this time. It's a shame we're losing the 20 tables on the balcony, but it obviously proved to be a problem having two locations. Even after people knew there was more artists up there, it still didn't get traffic. As one guest put it: "I know it's up there, but I just don't want to walk up the stairs."

Secondly, the "juried" applications. I feel a lot of people were more upset over this than they should be.
1) Most of the people who weren't making the cut, were people who simply weren't following the rules. As in, even if it was first come first serve, and they came first... they still wouldn't have gotten a table.
2) I tried really hard to stress this last year, and I will stress it again. And I'll continue to stress it until everyone gets this. The juried system actually helps out the "lower quality" artists. Yes, we want high quality artists, we want skilled artists, we also want to give a chance to those who are just starting out. Give a chance to artists who might be have "less skill", but "more heart". And really, shouldn't this also push some experienced artists to try harder? We had some artists who claimed they deserved a table simply because "they had done AZ for the past 6 years." So? Show me us want it, not just that you earned it.
3) This is the big one. We went through 3 or 4 waves of payments last year. Why? Because a lot of artists, when they got the "you got a table, now go pay" email, they didn't. I know we had problems with some people getting our emails, and this year hopefully that problem won't exist. But some people got the email, and still didn't pay. Without naming names, one girl who had spent months complaining about the new system but also really really wanting a table, didn't pay for her table when we accepted it. She was in the first wave of accepted artists, she didn't pay. Roughly 35% of the artists that get accepted didn't end up paying. So, in terms of filling up a big room, I'd worry less about the jury system and worry more about people actually wanting to come when they apply.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Shenanagan » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:27 am

Hello Bob! And no worries, I'm glad that this is being clarified. It is a shame that people didn't go up to the Balcony Artist Alley just because they didn't want to go up the stairs :\ So having us all together again would be a good idea.

And we do want the alley to grow as well, perhaps we are just misunderstanding how the staff intends to do it. Unfortunately we're not always aware of the issues you guys face during the application and emailing process.

But in regards to the emails, oftentimes they end up in our Spam folder for some reason, and unless we check it, we'll never know if we received it or not! Here's hoping that doesn't become an issue for this year's batch of applicants!
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby BobGuy » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:47 pm

Shenanagan wrote:And we do want the alley to grow as well, perhaps we are just misunderstanding how the staff intends to do it. Unfortunately we're not always aware of the issues you guys face during the application and emailing process.

But in regards to the emails, oftentimes they end up in our Spam folder for some reason, and unless we check it, we'll never know if we received it or not! Here's hoping that doesn't become an issue for this year's batch of applicants!


It's understandable, the behind the scenes is, well, behind the scenes. I can say, at this point, getting the large room is our only option to grow. That's why we sent out the open letter.

As for the spam folder, we have no control over that. The only surefire method to avoid this problem, is for all of the artists to add our email address to their contacts. If we're in your contacts, we won't go to spam. Sadly, we really can't do anything else about that problem.
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Marzipan » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:44 pm

Thank you for your response Bobguy! I hope you know that there are still some artists out there who appreciate all the hard work you put in behind the scenes as AZ grows and changes. I know I speak for all of us (a grand total of three lawl) at Pwi! Studios when I say we will do everything we can to help. We don't want AA to go away! I look forward to the details your partner will post. ^.^
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby Shenanagan » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:52 pm

In that case, I'll make double sure that the Artist Alley email is in my contacts!

I agree with Marzipan, having the privilege to be in AA for a few years, I definitely want it to continue being a part of Animazement!
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Re: One Response to the Open Letter

Postby BobGuy » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:51 pm

FYI, as an update, the issues with the balcony dealio is being taken care of. We thought it had already been dealt with, but apparently it hadn't. As such, that should be cleared up very soon.

Also, as a reminder, 4 days 'til applications go up (Jan 8th)! Get your portfolio's ready!
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