Yes, I know, I have told people that they should really do no more than one anime convention a year and really, do it every two years, but what can you do when an opportunity arises? I will gladly explain.
I had initially thought about doing SacAnime. This is located in Sacramento, California, about 90 minutes from where I reside. I was debating whether to get a hotel room (fantastic rates, right?) or crash with some relatives that are fairly close to the location of it (CalExpo). SacAnime started out as a small small, but has grown to a medium medium (Anime Expo is a large large, whereas Fanime! is a large medium or small large, depending on how well it gets attended and who they can bring in). When I broached this idea to the daughter, as this would occur over the Labor Day weekend, she counter with KrakenCon, which took me aback, as I was not fully familiar with it, even though it is much closer to me than any of the venues mentioned, being located on Alameda Island in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The reason for this show was simple: she is planning on vending her artwork. Well, more power to her. I am the kind of guy who couldn’t sell Hell in ice water. Wait, let me try that again. I couldn’t sell ice water in Hell (yeah, that makes a bit more sense), so for her to do this is heads and shoulders and sketch pads beyond me. Well, she needs a degree of moral support (and someone to do a food run for her. Can’t let her starve), so I decided that I would try and take this in and be there when she needs it. The wife has a passing tolerance of these shows (or maybe a pissing tolerance; it’s sometimes hard to tell) and she would rather tend to her garden than try and fathom the cosplayers and who they are trying to be.
Maybe it’s just me, trying to get in under the Press Pass, but it seems to always be a full court press when it comes to that from whatever convention organizers are in charge. Here’s the scary thing about KrakenCon: attendance cap.
I have never been to a show with an attendance cap. Perhaps it is the venue itself that is forcing that, but EVERYONE gets a cap: vendors, participants and press. In fact, if you have two or three folks from the same organization, potentially only one gets the nod for Press. But it’s getting that nod that was the workout (or closer to taking on Ronda Rousey in the Octogon. Talk about a body slam).
As soon as I found out that this was a potential go, I got in contact with the website…which initially had no serviceable information. This is something they do twice a year, but they were not ready for anything, causing me to send an avalanche of emails to figure out how to get that coveted Press Pass. You see, this is a ONE DAY event. That seems to be a whole lotta work for something this abbreviated, but, that’s the way it is. It is usually two days long and held in a convention center, but this one is a Very Special Venue that I don’t want to tip too soon.
They eventually got back to me, saying that the site was now open for press. Uh, no, it’s not. I have a ship load of information, but not the means and way to do this. Adding to the consternation, they are using a ticket agency (Everbright) to handle that part of things. Normally, those guys are pretty good; I used them years ago to take in some beer tastings at BevMo, but without the initial approval from the Powers That Be, I’m just staring at things. The tickets cascade seemed to work like this:
On Day One of Registration, those folks who wanted to pony up the $36 could go ahead and do that. Three days later (thanks, Ursula!), the Second Pass for the Press Opportunity opened up. Now, because of the attendance cap, what they did is accept your information and then let it all pool together, looking at whomsoever was interesting enough or worthy enough or not a pain in the stern to have the pass awarded. Unlike Fanime!, which made the decision about two or three days after I sent in all the data, these folks waited about a month or so.
The Third Pass was those folks that had already been vendors. Since they knew the ins and outs of things, they got first crack at things. Fourth Pass was Newbie Vendors. My daughter had me get her up early that day, so when 9 am rolled around, she could launch. She launched at 9:02 and was SHUT OUT! Huh? How fast are some computers out there? Two minutes? Well, she put in a request to have a share vend, and that might work better for her (if she can get it).
Vendor tables are $170 a pop. If you are selling $3 character buttons, that means you need to move 57 buttons, just to cover your nut…uh…basic expenses (later on, I’ll explain how the word ‘nut’ came to mean ‘basic expenses’). If she can share a space, that means $85 and you need only push 29 items. Of course, if you are selling large pieces of artwork, it’s easier to get to breakeven point faster.
For me, I have to plan my agenda pretty tight. 10 am to 5 pm. Seven hours, so that may mean, no actual anime to watch (“Why watch anime at an anime convention?”), but those panels had best be REALLY interesting. It also means no Hot Hentai Nights. I mean, we all gotta be out of there by 6 pm at the latest.
At least these folks were up-front about things in regards to the Press Pass. What I thought was funny is that they wanted pre-coverage, coverage and post-coverage. I do that anyway, although I think I have improved between AX in 2013 and Famine! in 2015. I feel it is vital for you to understand what goes on beforehand and what gyrations I have to contort myself to in order to get there. It is only about 20 to 30 minutes away (a lot depends on traffic. But at least there is free parking at the venue), but you need everything with you as there are NO ATMs. You either bring a raft of cash or get ready to wear out that credit/debit card.
Well, I guess the next thing is to get myself to the website and see what the schedule looks like. After all, it’s only four weeks away.