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Your Thoughts On CII - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Discussion in 'FanForce Conventions' started by Sturm Antilles, May 3, 2002.

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  1. darthketchup

    darthketchup Jedi Youngling

    May 5, 2002
    Talking to Hayden for 5 minutes backstage before he went out. I worked backstage and got to hang with him for a few minutes. Just long enough for him to sign a few items for me which he did gladly! Nice chap! ;)
  2. zathraaas

    zathraaas Jedi Youngling

    Dec 29, 2001
    Hey! Greencat336! I recognize you! You were the volunteer helping me by capping the Carrie Fisher line on Sunday! (I'm one of the Wotc 'Red shirts' you were referring to.) Thank you sooo much for doing that- you were awesome and I know you helped a lot of folks out by directing them to the right place.

    I've been reading all the posts in various threads and was going to make some comments, and I saw your post so I thought I'd start out by thanking you and all the other fantastic volunteers. You guys were all very critical to this event running as well as it did.

    After experiencing SWC2 from before open to after close, and talking with many folks, I want to address a few things about the event, and also give a behind-the-scenes look for anyone interested. Also, I?m not a Wotc employee, so everything I write here should be considered my own opinion and not a ?company line?. (This will probably be a long post)

    The convention team-
    The senior staff- Only a handful of the 'redshirt'(and blueshirt) staff are actual employees of Wizards of the Coast. The rest, like me, are senior volunteers on the Wotc convention staff. I think we had about 45-50 folks on the staff in Indy. You can get invited to join the senior staff after a number of years of continually putting in 40+ hours of regular volunteer duty at the annual Gencon (and up until this year, Origins) game conventions. The 'Yellowshirt' volunteer associates- these were the guys and gals from Indy Knights and 501st and several other fan groups. We could not have run this without them. I think we'd all agree we could have used about twice as many! The convention center security (dark blue) and our hired security co (green)- these guys were mainly hired for security and to check badges at the entry points. They were not (necessarily) fans, so a lot of them did not have a good understanding of what this event meant to so many attendees and I heard that some of them were rather rude to some folks. I know that some of that was dealt with.

    I know many people had a wonderful time. I also know the event was not without its faults and some fans really didn?t get a fair shake. If you?re just upset about spending hours in lines, you shouldn?t be going to these things. The only way to prevent long lines is to jack the price up to reduce the attendance. However, I?ll be the first to admit that the organization of said lines left a lot to be desired.

    Attendance wise, we had a peak day of about 26,000 and an average of 25,000 each day. Wotc?s GenCon drew over 25,000 last year and went very smoothly. So why did this seem so different? The facility could handle 32,000 people within the areas we were using. So what happened? We certainly knew that some things would be more popular, but we underestimated *how* much more popular. We predicted a more even distribution of fans thru the facility each morning. What we got was a huge pct of the entire attendance trying to get to only 3 or 4 different things- the Sagamore, the store, Carrie, and the Ex hall. In other words, the congestion wasn?t caused by selling too many tickets as so many have suggested; rather it was that everyone was trying to get to the same few places. Clearly queues and signs would have helped immensely in this regard.

    I don?t know who will be doing C3 (since Wotc has sold Gencon, this was their final convention) but whoever does will make sure there are plenty of queue lines set up (with proper signage at their entry points) for all of the biggest attractions. Hopefully they will be able to get some bigger rooms for the most popular events. Some of you wondered why we didn?t use the RCA Dome. I asked that myself and was told that it was not available for our event. Same thing with the 3 other large exhibit halls down the right-hand corridor where the SW in 30 minutes was. I hope the organizers can get these for C3 if it is held here. Indy was sure a great city for this event. Plenty of nearby hotel rooms and shopping. My only complaint was on-site food (or lack thereof). This was still a lot better than do
  3. Tobey-Wan

    Tobey-Wan Jedi Master star 9

    Jun 12, 2001
    A friend of mine made a pic showing his feelings for the celebration.

    I thought I would share it with some of you others who were discouraged by C2.

  4. Katy_Christensen

    Katy_Christensen Jedi Youngling star 2

    Feb 28, 2002
    DARTHKETCHUP!!!!!! You don't know how frigin lucky you are! I've been following Hayden for 3 years and have never got a chance to talk to him. Oh well, at least he knows I'm alive :) :) :) [face_love] [face_love] [face_love]
  5. Padawan92

    Padawan92 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jan 22, 2001
    Good: Meeting the coolest fans in the world :D and getting to see the celebs. Plus the weather was great if you had to wait outside in lines!
    Bad: LINES! plus I lost 7 autograph tickets! NEEDED MORE GEORGE ACTION FIGURES!
  6. DarkJediPrincess

    DarkJediPrincess Jedi Youngling star 1

    Feb 4, 2002
    Might I inquire what method was used to determine attendance?

    I'm having extreme difficulties reconcilling your Saturday figure with my impression of a sardine in a can on Saturday.

  7. Ep3Jedi

    Ep3Jedi Jedi Youngling

    Mar 10, 2002

    I received a cheesy form letter from Wizards of the Coast when I sent my feedback to them. (See "How to make C2 Better as a Fan Thread). I specifically asked WoC for a personal reply, so it's ironic to see that they sent form letters to everyone who complained. I also asked them to forward my comments to Lucasfilm, who I also hold partially responsible.

    The people who sponsored this event are supposedly "experts" in the media and entertainment fields, and they have no execuses for the poor planning, inflated prices for EVERYTHING, and lack of accessibility for the fans (and SW Fan Club members). I did enjoy the few things I was able to do over the three days, but for what I paid, it was not worth it.

    I didn't have unrealistic expectations, but I did expect a more professional atmosphere and better access (large enough facilities) for the events. Lucasfilm, Wizards of the Coast, and C2 Autographs owe a MAJOR APOLOGY to everyone who attended and should offer a free rebate, movie tickets or something to compensate us.

    There is nothing worse than asking your fans to pay big bucks to celebrate your entertainment franchise and then taking advantage of them.

    For everyone who is saying how great Celebration II honest. The experience of Star Wars activities and special guests was great, but that was A "GUARANTEED" GIVEN for the event. The overselling of tickets, poor and over-priced convention food, lack of figure selling rules, fan club snub, ridiculous ticket system, scandalously priced autographs, etc. -- these things were not expected by the fans and are inexecusable.

    The accountable parties (WoC, Lucasfilm, C2, etc.) need to communicate with everyone who attended and not just let this "blow over" and say "oh well." The event took advantage of fans and was an insult for the prices paid and effort to get (and stay) there. Period.
  8. zathraaas

    zathraaas Jedi Youngling

    Dec 29, 2001
    <Might I inquire what method was used to determine attendance?

    I'm having extreme difficulties reconcilling your Saturday figure with my impression of a sardine in a can on Saturday.


    Daily "attendance" is based on #of 3-day passes sold plus #of that day's passes sold. So each day has a different "attendance" figure. The highest day was a little over 26,000. Trust me, 26000 people is a LOT. This was more than double the 10-12000 at C1.
    The "turnstile count" which some events use, would be the sum of each day's attendance. This figure for C2 was a little under 75,000.
  9. Darth Maul 1277

    Darth Maul 1277 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jan 16, 2000
    I'm really sorry if this comes off rude because it is not meant to be that way at all. Man oh man I can't believe some of you people. I would have given anything to be able to go to Denver but there was no way I could have made it there. When I found out it was going to be in Indy I was so excited only to be severly disappointed that my wife and I wouldnt be able to go. Then in mMarch it looked like we actually would be able to make it I was on cloud nine for a month. Once the badges showed up I wore mine all weekend. then come april something else came up that would have precluded us going. By some small miracle we were able to make it. we got into town around 12:30-1:00 on Friday got checked into the hotel and made our way to the Celebraton. we were able to walk right in a side door and go and look around. Our 1st thing was the main hall where i thought the celebration store would be. Turned out I was wrong and it was down the hall so we went there and tried to find the line for the store. It turned out that the real long line was for the concert and there were only a few people in line in the Program/Action figure line. My wife and I were both able to get a program each and 2 figures (that was what were were allotted and for $75 a piece for badges we were going to get our maximum allotted figures). We were then able to get into the store where we were in line for about half an hour and got our shirts. we were also able to get ot the autograph pull nad get our pictures sat. afternoon (granted they said they would be ready first thing sturday morning but with all those people I didnt think a few hrs was too much to ask). we only mad it to one presentation but what a presentaion. we saw Temura Morrison, Daniel Logan, Nick Gillard and Hayden Christenson. I was telling my wife on the way there my weekend would be perfect if I could just meet anthony Daniels and shake his hand. well I got to do that and I was so excited I was actually shaking. On top of that when i went back inot the exhibit hall i foud the old Disney movie Song of the South on DVD. Yeah it's a bootleg but if you want to see it tell me another way to find it??? So My weekend was pretty much perfect. Did I get to do EVERYTHING I wanted No. I couldn't get there til Friday afternoon after workin 10 hrs overnight. I had to leave by 11 on Sunday. I didnt get to see the concert missed all of the Ric McCallum spectaculars, only saw 1 presentation, missed all the fan films, no free book give away. But am I complaining HELL NO this was probabally a once in a lifetime event for me and Im ECSTATIC that i got to do all the stuff I did. For those who didn't have fun at the Celebration I'm sorry. For those of you who missed out on much of the stuff you wanted to see/do At least you were able to go. I know a TON of people who were dying to go and couldn't. Maybe I'm so happy because up until a week before the Celebration I didnt see how I was going to be able to make it and someone must have been looking down on me and I was able to go but I can't see the point about complaining about something as special as this
  10. MOJEDI

    MOJEDI Jedi Youngling

    Jan 1, 2002
    The Ugly
    Too much discussion on this. Let's focus on some of the positive.

    The Good -- improvements over Denver:

    Having it in the Midwest -- Indy was a great place to have C2. Hotel rates were reasonable, and we could WALK to the con. Remember the line just to park your vehicle in Denver? Indy, as a city, is navigable; imagine having this in LA or Chicago. Good restaurants downtown.

    The big screens were great. Something to look forward to next time. Right, the room could have been bigger; we already know this.

    A+ for the program. The timeline was excellent. Good that they sold them at tables too.

    Came in a tube. Great idea. Did not have to worry about dings. It would have been nicer, however, if it would have been the same size as the C1 poster, for display purposes.

    Great group of people. A+.
  11. DerthNader

    DerthNader Jedi Knight star 5

    Feb 25, 2001
    Ummm, most of the people here have been emphasizing the positive over the negative. It's really only a very few that are brave enough to say that their experiences at the Star Wars CON II (notice the emphasize on Con, for that is what it was) were not wonderful.

    I tend to notice that those who say they had a great time actually got to see pretty much what they wanted, and actually got to take something home from the CON store. Would you have felt the same way if you only attended three events in the course of two days, and spent more time being hemmed in by people and trying to find an event that didn't require getting a ticket? Well, that was my experience, and I doubt you would feel so chirpy if you had to suffer through that!!!!!!
  12. smanigal

    smanigal Jedi Youngling

    Feb 21, 2002
    I think that C2 was a blast----and yes, I was PREPARED for long lines---I did miss a few things that I really wanted to see (Trilogy in 30 minutes and the Fetts) but I have NO REGRETS about the convention!! I met wonderful people--a shout out to Brian and Darth Dimius!! My main complaint was the "fan club" lounge---this was no doubt blatant FALSE ADVERTISING----there was NOTHING THERE----Steve Sansweet was there but I think only to help Wizards save face----he was great---signed autographs and posed for photos---but there wasnt even VENDING machines---the empty coolers were a SLAP IN THE FACE----That is my main complaint----I got to the concert--opening ceremony and in the store to get my jacket, poster, shirts and my allotment of Jorg each day----It was wonderful and I am already saving for C3~~~~~

    remember----anger is the path to the Darkside!!!!!
  13. Punisher

    Punisher Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 20, 1998
    Hmmm.... long lines are one thing, but a complete lack of order and communication between the different "forces" (security, WOC, volunteers, C2 Ventures, LFL, etc) at work here is quite another thing! I spent a lot of time in line being asked by the "official" people what line was I in and they had no clue what was going on!

    I got to see a lot, but due to the lower attendance in Denver, I got to see a lot more at C1 (and my pictures came out, not a C2), but I think that the "perks" of being a fan club member was a heaping load!

    I can't say that I take pity on the parties involved when it is said that they were unprepared for the response. How many SW conventions are there? ;)
    I went to the Dark Horse and ILM shows, the Archives and there wasn't any crowd at all (much of the room was empty at many of the "smaller" shows), everyone was in the licensee and dealer hall, the shop, or trying to see the actors. The same thing happened at C1 and I expect it will happen at C3!
  14. Kenneth-Morgan

    Kenneth-Morgan Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jul 6, 2000

    The Good included Anthony Daniels (he should host C3 and do commentary on any DVD release of the OT, whenever that is), meeting my fellow fans, the "Spider-Man" commercial, the exhibits, "The STAR WARS Trilogy in 30 Minutes", the location (Indianapolis seems like a pretty good place), the vendor who sold me the "Space:1999-Season One" soundtrack, the Q&A with Kevin Rubio (I was the one who asked him about Tom Servo), the concert, the costume finals, and whatever else I've forgotten to mention.

    The Bad included the long lines (one day, someone has got to write a paper detailing the psychological relationship between being a STAR WARS fan and standing in long lines), the lack of organization of said lines, the poorly printed maps, the overwhelmed in-house food service, the inadequate lounge, and having to miss some things due to the need to get in line for other things.

    The Ugly, in my opinion, only included that one area of the place between the smaller food court and the Jedi Training area. That area was heavily crammed with people all the time, it seems. I felt terribly claustrophobic and am surprised no one was hurt.

    On the whole, I had a very good time. Hopefully, C3 will be a big improvement on both C1 and C2.
  15. MrsStrahd

    MrsStrahd Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 4, 2002
    The Good: Would you believe it? I actually enjoyed the lines! We went in a group, so whenever a couple of us wanted to wander and meet people, we'd just save each other's places. It was a terrific place to people-watch, meet, and make new friends. And I am certainly glad that none of the people I met in line had a bad attitude about it. It seems that most of the people we met learned from TPM how to make waiting in line fun.

    The Bad: cramped conditions for the costume contestants, and my choice of shoes for my costume. Boots with 3 inch heels may look great, but my feet were killing me. Apparently someone brought a cold virus to the Celebration, because the baby and I both came home sick. Finally, finding out on Friday about the sudden passing of a friend and fellow fan back home was the absolute pits. Interestingly enough, though, I think I enjoyed the Celebration more because of that. I kept thinking, "He'd want us to enjoy ourselves, so that's what I'm going to do, regardless." Also it made every other complaint seem trivial by comparison.

    The Ugly: The blisters I got after a whole weekend on my feet.
  16. skywalker8

    skywalker8 Jedi Youngling

    Sep 12, 1998
    The Ugly:

    The Episode II guests were there to do press stuff most of the time. They had tight schedules of doing press junkets, and only did one or two shows a day.
    I felt a little cheated by this. Sometimes you had to wait in line a long time to get into a show. If they did more shows, this wouldn't have been necessary. Plus, the shows could then have been longer - 1 hour was too short, especially when Anthony Daniels has to take 15 minutes of it for stupid jokes and self-promotion. (the jokes, by the way, were the same for each show)
  17. MOJEDI

    MOJEDI Jedi Youngling

    Jan 1, 2002
    In reply to DerthNader: well, no, I'm not chirpy.

    We stood in line 3 hours Friday just to get in, 1+ hours for the Store; got in line and saw the Opening Ceremonies on Friday.

    Stood in line 7 hours Saturday to get Carrie's autograph.

    Stood in line Sunday all morning for Carrie in the Sagamore room.

    That was it. Didn't get concert tickets, didn't see Rick's Spectacular, or the Trilogy in 30 Minutes either. Didn't even get into the Archive room. We were as frustrated as much as everyone else, and felt that we actually saw very little.

    Oh yes. And we did manage to have a great time in spite of it all.
  18. Iwakura

    Iwakura Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 2, 2001
    Ok...finally time to post my reaction to C:II, even though it's been almost 2 weeks now, heh.

    I had an awesome time. It was so great being surrounded by fans to talk to, check out their costumes, etc. I would do it all over again in a minute, and I am in agreeance with MiraxH who said it was the best weekend. :)

    I can't say that I'm surprised to see fellow attendees complaining, as I did my fair share of complaining during the course of C:II also. However, I am surprised that some people have said they had a terrible time and what have you. The comment that those who are saying they had a great time must have gotten to see everything they wanted and buy everything they wanted kind of bothers me too. In example I will list off everything that I had planned on seeing that I wasn't able to in chronological order: Welcoming Ceremony, McCallum/Christensen, Edgerton/Morrison/Logan, Gillard/Christensen, Lando/Lobot Reunion, From Concept to Costume, Attack of the Fetts, Warwick Davis, and the Costume Contest. Granted I didn't expect that I was going to get to do every one of those things, none-the-less I had planned on doing the majority of it. I did get most of what I wanted from the C:II store...stood in line for (I think) an hour or so on Friday morning. Now, right after I got out of the store I had noticed a few people sitting in front of the concert ticket booth and got a sinking feeling in my I reluctantly asked if they were already lining up for concert tickets and got the answer I there is where I remained for the next 4 hours. That 4 hours was the worst of it right there, but after I got my ticket and promptly exited the ICC to take a breather from it all I was fine.

    I would really liked to have seen everything that I wanted, but I didn't...and that's that. I don't feel that I got ripped off in any way because of it. I didn't even get one single autograph (except SuperGenius, which was great). To get that concert ticket I had to sacrifice doing quite a few other things...but again...that's that...I chose to stand in that line. For the most part, everyone wanted to see/do/buy the same things...the actors and those directly effecting the films, the concert, get stuff from the C:II store, and the welcoming ceremony.

    The things I did get to see I cherish--the concert, fan film awards, and Carrie Fisher (along w/ Lorne Peterson, Don Bies and the real!) on Sunday. I got to do one thing per day and spent a total of 8 hours of standing in line for all of them combined, but by no means will I say I had some sort of awful time at C:II because of it. I had a great time and can't wait for C:III

    DARTHNEGLEY Jedi Youngling

    May 6, 2002
    I would have to say the good and the bad would have to go to the Classy Chassy Go-Go for all of the good and bad girls (especially the bad ones). And the ugly would definiltely go to the waiting lines. Had a great time dough.
  20. R2-B9

    R2-B9 Jedi Master star 3

    Nov 11, 2001
    I've worked fan-run conventions for 15 years, and I'd say the biggest killer of this convention wasn't the lines or crowds.. As a yellow-shirt volunteer, I saw no lines of communication--it was every man for himself, and contradiction was the order of the day. Communication failed in several key areas: Useful maps, visible directional signage, and information dispersal. If these areas had been up to par, it would have run more smoothly.

    Friday, early, was the best time to be there. No question about that.

    Everyone else has keyed on the other downfalls of the convention, so I won't rehash. Except one thing...

    WHO THE F^#& had the bright idea to shut down the escalators?????? I don't care if it was so some pansy Jedi wouldn't catch their robes in it and die... THAT WAS JUST WRONG! Safety my arse! Put up a sign for those too stupid to figure it out for themselves, "If your costume drags the floor, either hike it up to ride, or stay off the escalators!"

    Otherwise, it was a true thrill being with tens of thousands of (even if surly) Star Wars fans.. I won't ever forget how much fun it was meeting all that I did. The stars were nice, the junk for sale, whatever, but it was the fans that made the Convention a great event for me.

    That, and the look on the face of the guy at the Hasbro archive booth as he turned around when I said, "And this is how I treat Star Wars Collectibles!!" as I ripped open my Jorg Sacul figure on his countertop! Priceless!!

  21. AlderaanOnline

    AlderaanOnline Jedi Youngling star 1

    Feb 15, 2002
    Well, R2-B9, here's the answer to the escalator question. This is what was told to me by one of the red-shirts who seemed to be pretty informed.

    He said the escalators were shut down because if they became overburdened by too many people, due to a safety/breaker mechanism, power would not only be cut off ot the escalators but also to much of the surrounding area of the convention center. Not something they wanted to happen.

    So apparently, to paraphrase R2-B9, it WAS a "F^#&ing bright idea".
  22. R2-B9

    R2-B9 Jedi Master star 3

    Nov 11, 2001
    I don't buy it. That convention center (and ostensibly, the escalator) is made for masses of people to use. I'm going to give them a call (the main office of the Indiana Convention Center) and see if I can get the low-down. Not doubting your word on what the Redshirt said, but it just seems a preposterous reason.

  23. skywalker8

    skywalker8 Jedi Youngling

    Sep 12, 1998
    What was the problem with the escalators being turned off? If anything, it made people move upstairs faster... When escalators are turned on, a lot of people just stand there and rest while they are going up or down. So I was glad that they were turned off.
    Plus, there were elavators for the people who had elaborate costumes and those who were disabled, obese or injured... which was only a small percentage of the visitors.
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