My main problems with the venue were the location and the cleanliness of it all. I have no issues with it being in a garage or in a damn hotel as long as it's presentable. What I have an issue with, was with the amount of dust and dirt on the floor. Every single morning before I'd come in to place my small prints back up and finish setting up, I had to dust of the area because it looked like I hadn't cleaned my table in a week. It was so bad my assistant was complaining about their breathing and sinuses by the final day. That's a health hazard that should be taken as seriously as possible.
Also, I feel as if the least they could have done was cleaned up the floor properly or at least carpeted it or something, especially in the entrance. I don't mean like a small rug, I mean like a couple of feet ahead because at on point it rained at night and people were tracking in water. Also, the floor was dusty and dirty. Not so much as sticky or anything like that, but as if no one had swept the place in a while. I bet if they would have spent more time redecorating the place it would've lived up the place a bit.
The staff was the best part out of all of this, imo. Every single person I asked for help or went to with questions was very kind and considerate. There was this one guy who thanked me profusely for still being there on Sunday because the people behind me had left earlier in the day, and the people in front had packed up and left the moment the doors to the convention center had opened. God bless those people, they all looked so tired and drained by the last day, I hope they're okay.
Layout: The layout was pretty confusing tbh. You enter through the entrance on the left and you're almost smacked with a stage, and a lady who is very enthusiastic with the mic to the point that they need to learn volume control. It's all open for the most part so there is no such thing as a sound control lol. There weren't many events to keep people in so you either saw the same people pass by once or pass by three times before never coming back. There was never a steady stream of traffic, everyone either came in at once or it was dead for hours at a time.
Also, it felt as if management somehow along the way they realized that there wasn't much for people to do so they just started to fill in random spots with last-minute voice actors or small events and panels because some of them at the time, was not posted on the NYCC website.
I've heard some people say that it's our fault that we got gypped for not realizing it was a new event, but like, it's not really our fault? We were promised/guaranteed at least 20k people, under a name like ReedPop and we were completely thrown for a loop, rug taken right from under us. There is only so much we can do, and so much money we can make with what we had, which barely felt like 12k. Sunday attendance felt like Thursday attendance, and Saturday attendance felt like a slow Friday attendance. Either way, for someone who had a lot of cost to this event, ($1.5k+) I barely scrapped by with roughly $500. And I think I was one of the lucky ones because I swear to you... I made $2 on Thursday.
Like I'm not out here thinking that we'll be getting the 180k attendees that NYCC had, of course not, but we were expecting 20k bare minimum, some of us hoping that it would somehow get to 25k. And of course, we were sadly mistaken.
((The general consensus, from what I could tell and feel was that 35% did horrible, 35% did bad, 20% did okay, and 10% did well. The mood was just bad and sour. The people that were left just wanted to leave and were tired, more emotionally and mentally, then physically I think. ))
By management, I mean the people in charge of this whole thing. I went to the panel that they had on Sunday evening that was about discussing how the convention went and to hear feedback about the whole thing. From what I saw some people were really pissed, yet very cordial about the whole thing and the panelist looked like anything, but happy about what they were hearing. All in they were saying how this event took them 2 - 3 years to plan and that they believed that this was the best course of action to host it here and at this time. The main lady (I think her name was Mary), blond and on the middle-aged side, said something along the lines that finding a place that could fit all these people, and for parking and was a walking distance from the Javits center was hard to find. Then when asked why not change the date they stated that business wise this was their best course of action.
On one note they were saying how partnering with NYCC was a great thing and they wanted to create an event for the anime fans, yet they also were a separate entity and wanted to separate themselves from NYCC?? Like it was confusing and I had a bit of trouble trying to keep up with it.
Rumors floating around:
(Some of these rumors sound very accurate though)
- The convention was done/prepared only 2 - 4 months before.
- The convention was also done with the intent to hurt the ticket sales for AnimeNYC. Because NYCC is very territorial it doesn't want any other big names like AnimeNYC around (which is run by CrunchyRoll) and is trying to take away their ticket sales.
- Some people straight up didn't even email Mike Negin (the event manager), they went straight to Lance Fensterman (the president of ReedPop) to complain and get some answers because of how fed up they were with things.
- People wondering why the hell they didn't just put us in a different floor of the Javits center that was unoccupied and empty and could have fit all of us.
Long story short, if it's not in the Javits next year, I won't be coming over again. RIP to my broke ass, and lessons have been learned.
Whereas Keystone was like going to a stripclub only have one stripper surrounded by crushed cans of tecate and despair. AFNYCC was like going to the same strip club, only to learn that a Clown convention came through and now everything is covered in silly string and tears. Its louder and brighter but its also still very depressing.
Let's start with the beginning, in the time of the Cetra, when I signed up for the con I was under the assumption a bitch was going to be in the Javits. I've been in the Javits, its pretty rad. But I also know that NYCC will be the 8th ring of Hell so I was steeling my soul for that dick parade. A hoe saw dollar signs in her eyes, I was ready, several of my kin were ready.
No we were not ready, at all.
We find out a scant few months before the con that we were not going to be at the Javits but instead banished to the Shadow Realm of Pier 94. But the adverts to make sure that EVERPONY would know where we were. Oh btw..we're about 15-20 blocks from the Javits and shuttles to transport weary weebkins to us. Everything was going to be OKAYYYYY. She would later learn that everything was not going to be okay.
The warning signs were everywhere, NYCCxAX digivolved to AFNYCCxAX+ 2 Fast 2 Furious and they were still looking for artists/vendors to fill the space. Mostly because people dropped out or RPop could not get people inside. I received an email stating '20k people want to see MEEE!' So i hoped it would be okay for all of us.
Take my hand tiny dancers.
1-I got the AA map, it was a hot mess, the AA was in a little nook in the back, it will not make sense in real life. You go in and you're looking around at this place that's curtained off like a fucking Cloister of Trials. You won't get lost but you wont be eager to look around either. Once again AB was behind CD and one of my besties was a guest and they shoved her to the LAST table in the back???????
2-The Pier was one room, obviously a pier but none of this was going to be explained because we thought we were going to a CON. This felt like a fucking flea market, aesthetically the pier looked like Midgar which was fine. At least to me but imma be the realest, this is Reed Pop, these bitches aren't broke. There's virtually no reason in this world or even in the Astral Plane for us to be shoved into the pier. Virtually anywhere closer would be preferable or BEING IN THE FUCKING JAVITS?! From what i gather NYCC gets hella crowded which is legit. But i refuse to believe there was no other place closer they could've shoved us in. We were literally in Weeb Jail 2k18.
3-About the pier looking like Midgar well no one actively wants to GO to Midgar (not even Midgar wants to go to Midgar) which means the Pier itself looks fucking unwelcoming af, Barring the ads on the front when you see it there's no real feeling of being welcomed. Its like come inside To Uncle Dougie's Naked People Puzzle Basement also here's Wonderwall.
4-No one and I mean NO one that came to AF said they knew where we were, there was nothing at NYCC that indicated we existed. I've talked to several people to confirm this. The cost of getting a badge at NYCC could have EASILY allowed those same badges to get into AF. In fact I heard some were allowed in without paying for an AF badge so then....BITCH WHY????????????????
5-And why would they come? All the best anime panels are at NYCC and NYCC is charging the sponsors TWICE to obtain a space at AF. All the events that could've drove people to AF that would've helped our presence stand out was absent. We were given scraps. And honestly if i was the sponsors I wouldn't give my 100% to AF either. We're talking Good Smile, Crunchy Roll, Viz, Funi...I honestly think they showed up out of pity.
6-You know what happens when people don't know where you are and finally learn where you are? They spent all there money at NYCC AA/DR and came to us with a roll of quarters and six Chiclets . But you know what could POSSIBLY help with that? Working ATMs, you know what DIDN'T work? ATMs.
7-Oh! Wait, we had an attendance cap, remember that 20k? Kefka_laugh.mp3 well at MOST we had about 7k From what I gathered we MIGHT PUSHED TO 10k), the attendance cap at the pier was 4+k which...is fine. If AF was a small baby con doing its baby best with its baby feet then yes 7k would be fantastic. But this was REED POP, they're not newborn baby con runners, they big boys with big old donkey dicks. there's NO REASON for this, its almost like RP didn't expect 20k so they said they did but then said 'lol k, see you at the club.' I confirm with a RPop rep about the 20k marketing ad I was emailed and he looked at me like I spoke French backwards and confirmed at they were going to EXPECT 12K. It sounds like the marketing dept was wilding out.
8- BTW Thursday and Friday were practically dead, we got a surge of people after the VLD panels and God bless you thirsty hoes coming to my table because you saved a life. But Saturday and Sunday were the busiest and by the busiest, I mean the amount of people that showed up was like a slow Friday at Otakon.
9-Bootleggers. Fucking Bootleg So many. Colorworld had I believe...4 booths? Oh and let me tell you friends. About the fucking placement, some artists were...'transferred' to AFest for suspicious reasons that i don't have any information about. But there were several artists in the AA/DR that straight left or raised holy hell to the AA head about their situation. Which is the most legit.
10- Finally, mood. I've been to many cons my sweet babies, I've done my time, I've been to Green Hill Zone 20 times. The mood in AF was dour, if it makes sensed a weird energy in the air there, it wasn't hostile but almost a bit shameful. Reading online comments about how we were 'lesser artists' or 'rejects' was pretty fucking terrible. At least at Keystone there was a sense of brother/sisterhood, AF was like everyone felt the same depressing sense that RPop didn't give a shit about us. The staff of AF were amazing, they did everything they could for us, they were helpful and polite because they were trying. I can't say anymore good things about them and the union staff that helped my broken potato ass in the pier.
In short Reed Pop did EVERYONE DIRTY. I felt that they didn't fucking care and left the AF staff do all the work and get all the blame which pisses me off to no end. We were not rejects, we showed up to promote our work and sell our fine dwarven crafts. Reed Pop's job was to ensure that we at LEAST get noticed, to provide some level of support and promotion. An
d they failed us.
The staff, the vendors, the artists...ya'll did the thing the best you could. I wanted to make sure at my table that I made customers happy, all of us artists that I could see tried their damnest. And I want to thank all of you for keeping a brave and strong face through it all.
There's actually a bit more for me to say but I'm going to wait to see how developments play out. I'm happy to say I was able to make some scratch at this con but I feel that everyone would've done better if we weren't treated like the shameful weeb nerds at one of the biggest conventions of the year.
But at least I got to go to NYC again. I loved that city so much.
Now the final question is would you recommend AFNYCCxAX Mysterious Tokyo Funky Night Game Information High Madoka Rebellion for 2019. More so yes if you're local, definitely no for new blood AA but you HAVE to be local or local adjacent. Its not worth shit on a hot stick for anyone from the West Coast or International atm.