The Metro Toronto Convention Centre just sent me a feedback survey regarding Fan Expo and how things were run this year. They’re gonna get an EARFUL.
I highly encourage anyone in the retailers or small press sections who get surveys to fill them out, and let them know exactly what they’re doing wrong. It’s the only way some of this garbage is going to change. With these surveys, and the new owners of Hobbystar showing they are receptive to suggestions, things can actually change.
My paper focuses on how Hobbystar runs the convention as a business, and how it’s business practices can positively or negatively affect the experiences of the attendees, guests, and vendors. I’m examining their pricing, how they handle conflict, their code of conduct and adherence, management structure and responsibilities, and various other problems that arose over the last ten years.
I’m writing a paper about the business management and ethics of Hobbystar for the various conventions they run. If you’ve got a story, I would like to hear it. Drop me an ask! The paper is due soon, and I’m likely missing points to get a larger picture.
Is anyone else kind of uncomfortable with this? I was planning on sitting out fan expo this year anyway, since they’re asking an utterly ridiculous $130 for the convention this year. But this is doing nothing to convince me to go, in fact if this becomes a regular feature, I may just steer clear forever. In my experience, sports fans tend to be really rude, even cruel to comic book/science fiction/etc fans. I don’t think putting them together is going to end well.
I’m writing an essay for my arts management course on the business (mis)management practices of Hobbystar. It’s rather unbelievable what they’ve gotten away with in the last eight years. The corporate structure relies on the material labour of fans, and treats everything as a commodity. I’ve seen many sides to this company, from the position of attendee, to artist, to knowing the guest perspective through authors and other friends who were guests. There is a tiered system of guest relations, and if you’re not on the top tier, expect nothing from guest relations besides a curt look. Add to this the sheer volume of people with stories of harassment from staff, including harassing emails and name-calling from James Armstrong and issues with Aman Gupta (who has “left the company” under undisclosed circumstances), and it adds to fishy ethics.
Did you know, in 2009, the price of a three-day weekend ticket was $49? In 2010, three days cost $59 and saw people locked out while they sold more day passes; 2011 saw $79. In 2012 four days was $95, and only looks to increase over $100 this year. In four years, the ticket prices have doubled. Add to this the increased number of guests, for which people will shell out $20-40 on average for an autograph, unless they’re special ticketed events, for which expect to pay over $100 easily. From a business standpoint, despite the number of people coming in the door, in this financial climate, this means that fans will have less to spend in the Dealers Room, which is the only other feature of Fan Expo besides the guests. This also means that those who paid for booths (which have increased in fees an average of $20 every year for the last five years) may not get the chance to make up their booth costs because people are reluctant to spend when they have already spent enough getting in.
I had already pre-paid last year for this year’s booth, and I’d lose that money if I didn’t go. My partner and I are going to look very carefully at every aspect of what happens this year before deciding to return at all. We’re leaning toward “probably not.” Right now, this business is my only source of income, so I have to be smart about it. I despise what is happening to this convention, moreso after digging into its history.
First of all, the Gordon Rose drinking game is far worse when he knows about it, and goes out of his way to say “I love my job” five times in rapid succession. By the end of the Masquerade (verdict: meh), I was rather drunk. Still sad I couldn’t get out to see fun people; such is the way with busy conventions and commitments flipping everywhere at the same time. :(
On the business end of things, HOLY CRAP. Most successful con ever for me, by a great deal. Back again next year, hopefully with more help and free time. I’ll need it for what I’m planning. If anyone is looking for something cool to be etched in glass, I’m your girl.
The bronies were out in force this weekend. Emmy and her group were pony-fabulous, and I loved the chance to get photos with them as Rarity. Best thing: “Oh look! A bird! I want to eat it!!!” Oh Pinkie Pie, you so crazy.
Finally, to the Torontostuck people: you are awesome. Seriously. This has got to be one of the friendliest and most fun fandoms out there, and I love being a part of it. I can’t believe how welcoming you all are. To boot, we call each other on our bullshit, which keeps things a bit more honest, too. Let’s keep that up, guys. Two wise prophets had some advice I think is apropos: Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
I need to find a way to send this to Christian
What is the plural of Snowman, because we have two. Now I’m extra sad I didn’t do Slick, because TWO. Look at how class Maddy and Elemental are.
Yep. Aaaaaaaall class.
This sort of thing got left all over the place, and at our table, sparked a singalong to Regina Spektor’s “Blue Lips”.
It was of course left by this gorgeous lady- Sage as 50’sstuck Mindfang.
Hey Mister Headstrong, all that swag just can’t contain itself.
We all look wonderful. This was a fun evening.