Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Moderators: Spizzy, meauho, Hastur, Starrydance

Would YOU, yes you prefer

Pure FCFS
12
20%
FCFS Jury
24
40%
Lottery
0
No votes
Pure Jury
10
17%
Combination
10
17%
Other
4
7%
 
Total votes : 60

Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby RavenMoon » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:53 pm

I haven't made any secrets how I feel about some of the things popping up in AAs across the country. I definitely advocate the "pre-approval" process for the FCFS/Jury.

Since the AA is still supposed to be accessible to amateur artists, I'm not sure if a full jury, or requiring an application fee is fair to some artists who may be starting out and legitimately have something awesome to offer.

Thoughts on lottery - (I voiced these some years back on the old forums) - if a lottery system were to be implemented, I know we agree that there should be some tracking system in place to prevent multiple entries from a single artist. But another issue, which I'm not sure has been fully considered, is table-sharing. Essentially, each artist applying with intentions of only occupying a half-table, gets two entries (one from themselves, and one from the friend they plan to share with). This could be prevented by allowing artists to apply only for the space they plan to occupy, i.e. allowing half table applications and nixing shared tables, but I'm not sure the headache that creates for staff is worth the effort?

I've read a lot of "if it's that important, you should be looking at Dealer's Room" here on these forums lately. The Dealer's Room waitlist is something like 13 years long right now. I've seen other conventions successfully implement a "pro-row" in the AA, or Artist-sized tables in the DR. This limited number of dedicated tables costs significantly more than standard AA tables (2X-2.5X), but the selection process is much earlier, more stringent, gives higher-volume artists the ability to better plan and prepare, and usually has the benefit of a more prominent location. If nothing else, I'd imagine offering this option would at least give forum mods a more realistic solution to offer to those artists who have expressed concern over timing and uncertainty.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby X-Chan » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:29 pm

I vote FCFS-Jury. Other than the late start I'm quite happy with the process this year. I don't know if it's just me but I have the woooooooorst luck with lottery. I don't always make FCFS either but I just feel better having some control over the chance of getting in.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Ladre » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:43 pm

I also like the FCFS Jury system of this year, assuming some of the wrinkles can be ironed out for future years =) I do not like Lottery.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby lilindar » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:15 pm

I don't like lottery at all. But what I'd really like to see is a mix of jury / and fcfs. Except I'd like to see it implemented a little differently than as things are right now.

Mostly, I'd like to see the jury section be a "pro row" or "small press." Spaces could be sold at 300$ - 500$ but receive priority locations in the AA. Considering the big kerfuffle over fanart that all cons are having with their AAs right now, this section should focus on original art. Any sort of original art, clothing, games, books, whatever. A limit on fanart in this section might be best, but a total ban would probably not work if the rest of the AA is still selling fanart willy nilly.

I'd also like to see the jury process administered at least in part by professional artists. Other cons have done without a professional panel of artists so it can be done, but Dragon Con does do really nicely with their pro artists. These artists could be compensated with a free table at least, maybe more than that, A-kon does have a nice guest section.

And then once you've sorted out your pro row / small press, you've got your regular AA spaces, sold in the same way they're going this year.

In this way, you could assure that you've got a mix of the best artists along side the up and comers.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby ShinobiOnToast » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:30 pm

I'd prefer straight FCFS, but the idea of a professional section is interesting. Personally, I'm an amateur, but I know some people on this forum are anything but, and that would definitely help them out.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby meauho » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:04 pm

The problem I've seen with so-called "professional's areas" are
1. They are usually crafters, and often when a crafter reaches the "professional" level they no-longer qualify for AA and are in direct competition with dealers. To put it another way, it becomes a manufacturer selling instead of an artist or crafter - and they are being charged less than dealers with longer hours and often better placement. There are a lot of dealers who would pay 2x as much for that kind of treatment, and instead watch it go to a competitor for less money.

2. A lot of artists look at it as a better way to share booths - which defeats the purpose.

A-Kon's dealer room is a 13 year wait - but that doesn't mean that all of them are. If you are honestly considering it at A-Kon, then you either need to be thinking about it at every other con - or you're doing it wrong. I would gladly give up my dealer table at A-Kon for the ability to sell my buttons, t-shirts, and stickers (all of which are ours, not purchased and resold) in the AA or outside of the dealer room. Our sales may be lower, but our profit would be higher.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby RavenMoon » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:36 pm

meauho wrote:The problem I've seen with so-called "professional's areas" are
1. They are usually crafters, and often when a crafter reaches the "professional" level they no-longer qualify for AA and are in direct competition with dealers. To put it another way, it becomes a manufacturer selling instead of an artist or crafter - and they are being charged less than dealers with longer hours and often better placement. There are a lot of dealers who would pay 2x as much for that kind of treatment, and instead watch it go to a competitor for less money.

2. A lot of artists look at it as a better way to share booths - which defeats the purpose.

A-Kon's dealer room is a 13 year wait - but that doesn't mean that all of them are. If you are honestly considering it at A-Kon, then you either need to be thinking about it at every other con - or you're doing it wrong. I would gladly give up my dealer table at A-Kon for the ability to sell my buttons, t-shirts, and stickers (all of which are ours, not purchased and resold) in the AA or outside of the dealer room. Our sales may be lower, but our profit would be higher.


Actually, for a 6'x6' booth (a 6x2 table with 4' of space behind), $300 with one badge costs MORE per square foot than a standard 10'x10' dealer booth at most conventions, including AKon.

Anyone who doesn't qualify for the standard AA (i.e. those "crafters" who no longer handcraft their own product), shouldn't qualify to be in pro-row, either.

I know your response wasn't directed at me, but I'm in the DR at several conventions already, although I should still qualify for an AA table by most standards. I have noticed, however, a handful of conventions where I've tried booths in both the DR and the AA (not simultaneously), that the AA is a better fit, where people are looking for/expecting to find hand-made items instead of commercial merchandise. There are reasons artists who *could* be in the DR are in the AA instead, and they're not all specific to "getting a cheap table".
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Shattered-Earth » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:05 pm

Spizzy wrote:
Shattered-Earth wrote: but having the entire alley be lottery would i think annoy artists (look at otakon..>_> lol) AND prevent you guys from being able to jury out rule breakers.



oh we can always jury out rule breakers. always. We'd just pull extra numbers to account for having to vote people off the island. I don't think a stream would work for this because free streams have a maximum viewer list unless you pay for a channel, and steaming it kind of falls under my 'give them an inch and they'll keep asking for more" mentality. We show them the numbers being pulled and then they'll ask to know their number or see other people's numbers so they know we're not conveniently switching people around.

[snip i already totally agree here]


But that brings up the issue of like, do you jury them out immediately and refund their money? Do you take their money anyway without them know they were on the black list? or would you have to a separate "intent to enter lottery" form and then an invoice or a link to a cart after they are juried in or out? It seeeeems complicated, but then again I have no idea what goes on. Perhaps just my bias against lotteries trying to push people away from it XD

And i know the live stream part wasn't aimed at me, but i heard some other cons with lotteries do it in a public space so anyone can drop in and watch, but they wouldn't be responsible for trying to broadcast it to the entire internet :O, just an idea not an argument or anything.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby lilindar » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:24 pm

meauho wrote:The problem I've seen with so-called "professional's areas" are
1. They are usually crafters, and often when a crafter reaches the "professional" level they no-longer qualify for AA and are in direct competition with dealers. To put it another way, it becomes a manufacturer selling instead of an artist or crafter - and they are being charged less than dealers with longer hours and often better placement. There are a lot of dealers who would pay 2x as much for that kind of treatment, and instead watch it go to a competitor for less money.

2. A lot of artists look at it as a better way to share booths - which defeats the purpose.


At the cons where I've seen small press or pro row successfully implemented (Sakura Con, San Diego Comic Con, Dragon Con, Calgary Expo, Ohayocon, soon also Anime Boston) I actually haven't seen these "crafters"?? XD I guess these shows I'm listing may filter out the crafters. Some of them also have rules about not sharing a table, only the artist (or artist group) who applied may sell at the table they've registered for. Some of these shows specifically require you to submit a hard copy or photographs of your published material. No published material (indie or licensed) no entrance.

I'm also not sure what your qualifiers are for "crafter?" If an artist designs a plushy, a shirt, a book, a game, whatever ... and then they go through kickstarter or fund their project with their own independent wealth and the end result is that they pay a company to produce their plushy, shirt, book, or game ... I would consider that a professional artist selling their own wares at a con? I think they deserve to be anywhere they feel like being. AA, small press, or DR, they could qualify for any of them. It's their choice where they feel like ending up.

I guess it's a question of what comes first, the pro artists looking for table space - or the table space allocated specifically for pro artists.

I think if you create the space aimed at professional artists, you will get professional artists applying. If someone applies who you don't think qualifies, turn down their ap and tell them to apply to either the DR or AA.

Speaking personally, I do consider myself a professional artist, my entire living is derived from my illustrations AND I am not starving. I know a lot of people like me, as well. I don't really want to be in the DR. I guess I could go there if I had no choice and if they had space available, but I have no desire. I definitely sell best when I'm sitting next to a big group of other high quality artists who are promoting the projects they're a part of.

I can also say with certainty that when I first started doing cons and I had no professional credentials, I definitely sold better when an artist alley was composed of higher quality work. I also had a better chance of meeting the right people who helped me along from being a little girl drawing stuff to being an artist producing a variety of awesome products.

In the past, webcomics have been the major "small press" attraction. But in the couple years I've been doing this, I think I've seen webcomics being just the first of many groups to move from freelancing with a company to creator owned / creator produced content. Gaming is going this direction, novels have sort of exploded, especially with Amazon's kindle promotion. Shirts are there. Higher fashion is getting there.

My ideal show is one that takes this creator owned / creator produced content and really holds it up as the middle ground between artist alley and dealer room. Western Comic Cons and Fantasy/Sci Fi shows have been doing it for years, Anime shows are just getting into it.

As a professional artist, my favorite shows are the ones where I pay double what I do for an AA table and then the con puts me in a section dedicated to other professional artists and as a group, the highest quality work is put nearest the front of the AA to act as a crowd draw for the rest of the AA. I want to deal as little as possible with the drama of sign ups. I don't want my typing to be the thing that gives me a space. I want the quality of my work to be the deciding factor.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Starrydance » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:19 pm

If there is a lottery/paid jury no there will be no prepay of that to the table.

Why? Because that fee would go to the staff/money for fun things for the Alley.

We literally can not do a more complicated system and not get "paid" for it.

Yes, such a system would deter "just starting out" folks, but there are 10+ more Anime Cons in Texas throughout the year that arent this packed full of people that are desperate to go. We gotta draw the line somewhere.

Having a small fee (above and beyond paying for the process itself) would also deter folks from just "SURE WHATEVER!" signing up.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Starrydance » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:20 pm

It also might occur that parts of the alley will be Pure Jury / Lottery / FCFS. More work, yes, but if the Artist Alley IS going to edge more and more towards Dealers Room Light / WITH ARTISTS! Then thats the way its gonna be.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Kiriska » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:28 pm

We should make this topic an actual poll, maybe.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Starrydance » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:49 pm

.......

Well that would have been smart.
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Starrydance » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:51 pm

Done, you have three votes, and can change them. Sorry for the derp there!
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Re: Thoughts on "Next Year" Signups.

Postby Spizzy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:55 pm

it may discourage discussion but I guess if there's anything people will let us know, it's in what way they want to get a table. we need an 'other (explain)' option
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