Author Topic: More panel variety and guests  (Read 977 times)

Offline citrus

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More panel variety and guests
« on: December 10, 2016, 01:11:42 AM »
Can we get more panels that have more variety or guests that aren't so frequent? We have had the Borderlands Panel for a long time now and I feel like it's starting to overstay it's welcome. And I would also love more guests that haven't been to Sacanime or hasn't gone to the convention frequent amount of times. Basically I would love more variety.

Offline fabrickind

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2016, 06:47:20 PM »
What types of panels would you like to see more of? That might be a little more productive than what panels you would like to see less of.

Offline citrus

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2016, 09:12:43 PM »
Good suggestion! I didn't think of that. Well, the panels I would like to see more often would be something that don't have a general theme around it and more of a general panel. Instead of having the same themed panel for 2-3 days straight I want something more general. Like how about more of a general panel rather one that focuses on a specific theme. Instead of a the "SAO panel" or the "Borderlands panel" it would be a panel similar to "the Women of voice acting" or "The Men of Voice acting." Those two panels were more general and focuses on the guests other works instead of just one specific series they worked on. Nothing attached or something that you HAVE to like the series. I would also like to see more separate guest panels that focuses on one guest or just any of their other work or something that involves the guests participation. Like "Chilling With the Voice Actors" panel we use to have. or the seperate late night 18+ panels we have with the guests. I would love to see something more like that.


I also want to say I have no problem with some of the frequent guests that come back often to the convention but after a while. they become so frequent that it no longer feels special to see them. Now if it was a guest that hasn't come back in a long time I would be more then happy to see them.

Offline PaladinCecil79

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 06:29:04 PM »
I completely agree. I felt the schedule for this year's winter didn't need more than one panel of either Borderlands or Attack On Titan and it's important to branch out with different ideas.
I like the idea of having more solo Q&As for the voice actors. It would've been great for both Cherami Leigh and Bryce Papenbrook to have at least one standard Q&A session and since both Cherami and Todd Haberkorn were there this year, they could've done a Fairy Tail panel, or for the next one, have Vic Mignogna and J. Michael Tatum do one of Free!
And although I've never hated the Borderlands series, having a total of five panels of it for two winter conventions is overkill. I don't doubt that at least a few of the people involved in the panel wouldn't mind something different.

Also, for the last two cons, I've been making guest suggestions, both at the forums and the convention for several names and I agree that we need to start seeing newer faces.
I like Vic Mignogna, Ashly Burch and Dameon Clarke a lot, but I also want to see different names like Greg Ayres, or Jerry Jewell, or Tia Ballard. I've been requesting them frequently, and yet the guest department keeps going after familiar names.
What's weird is the suggestion topics I've posted have received over a hundreds views, yet little to no replies. If there really are over 100 people who read both of them, it would've helped a lot if a fair amount of those viewers would respond to say that they agree and/or express excitement over it. If this topic continues to get views, I'd like those who are reading it to speak out about guest suggestions instead of just browsing.
If the staffers and/or guest department are reading the forum topics frequently and saw a lot of people showing support for certain names, it would make a strong difference.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 02:23:54 PM by PaladinCecil79 »

Offline HaibaneXYZ

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2016, 12:44:18 AM »
I'm going to tread this thread very, very carefully because of the strong warning issued by staff:

"Also, after sending notifications for the last show, there was some back biting online about who got selected, and denied. If I find any of that, I will ban you from hosting panels at future shows."

This message didn't go out to the rejected panels, just the accepted ones.  The rejected panels instead received  a "form letter" (more on that later).  I only have a copy of the acceptance message because a friend forwarded it to me.  The friend who forwarded the message was rather concerned and mentioned that "[staff member]'s tone does not seem very welcoming." (more on that later)

Before proceeding further, I would like to mention that I am going to speak in generalities in order to try to remain anonymous, out of fear of staff retribution.

So where to begin.

I have attended SacAnime in the past, spending a lot of money supporting Artist's Alley, and have previously held the convention in very high regard.  Unfortunately the whole Winter 2017 experience has been, regrettably, both very disappointing and humbling. 

I really wanted to become a deeper part of the whole SacAnime experience beyond just an attendee.  I sent multiple e-mails to multiple SacAnime departments.  The only department that ever replied was Artist's Alley.  I do greatly appreciate them taking the time to reply back when they must be swamped with hundreds of messages.  Unfortunately their answer was something along the lines of 'we don't have the answer to that, here, ask this other staffer instead'.  I proceeded to message that other staffer who never replied.

Despite not hearing back from anyone, I pressed on.  Prior to submitting any panels I took the time to do my homework and read through the SA forums section on "Panels and Workshops".  I based my panel submission(s) on what others requested.  I also messaged a friend who has attended far, far more SA conventions than me and ran my idea(s) past them.  Their response: "Really excited you are doing [this/these] panel(s). SacAnime's panel lineup's been pretty stale tbh, so I think a lot of people would appreciate having something refreshing and not another version of the same MLP/Hetalia/Homestuck panels."

I'm not sure how others ramp up for their panels, but the panel submission process took me a lot of time to do.  I wrote outline(s) and carefully worded summary(ies) that would be printed in the program book.  Due to the number(s) of panel(s) being applied for, it took a significant amount of time to do all of this.  Also, based on what Fanime's forums recommended, I started planning video(s) to promote this/these panel(s) online.  Needless to say, there was a lot of preparation and increasing anticipation.

Days of waiting stretched into weeks and then into months.  I started to get concerned.  Thank the SacAnime Artist Alley Facebook page.  Someone asked a question as to when panels would be approved and from the AA staff's response I discovered that the wait would be much longer.  However, at least having a date to look ahead to eliminated all the wondering.

The answer was that panels would be accepted about 2 weeks before the convention. 

Much to my surprise I got a form rejection about 4 weeks in advance. 

The rejection was well, a rejection, written for anyone and everyone.  It was written in a neutral tone.  It was a huge disappointment and deeply humbling.  Given all the heart and time that some people invest into the panel process, it would been nice to at least have gotten a semi-personalized 'no thank you' and a reason for rejection rather than 'pick one from this list'.  What was worse though, was at the end of the message, it said: "If you have any questions, feel free to contact me."  I had one simple question so I sent it.  There has been no response.

Why ask your rejections for questions if you aren't going to answer them?  It only adds insult to injury.

Thankfully the friend who had gotten an acceptance was able to answer my question through deductive reasoning.

Needless to say (excluding Artist's Alley) SacAnime makes me feel very marginalized.  Other than a short message chain with Artist's Alley, none of my e-mails sent were ever acknowledged.  All the effort poured into the panel submission process was answered with nothing more than a form letter.  Were there 100s of panels that got denied, necessitating this kind of response?  When I am hiring someone I always try to respect the other party and send them a semi personal message declining them if they don't fit the position.  And to just leave them wondering is even more brutal.  They are people after all, not cogs in a machine.

Is everyone who attempts to interact with SacAnime being treated this way?  I sincerely hope my experience is an isolated case, but fear that it may not be.  My friend who got the acceptance said something along the lines of, 'does staff even appreciate all the effort we panelists put into the process?'.  I can't answer that.

What I can answer is that panels have not changed much.  Picking up my Summer 2015 guide, Homestuck and Hetalia are there.  And here they are on the schedule again for Winter 2017.  I'm not 'back biting' these panels, just stating a fact.

Unfortunately, staff is creating a prescient.  By repeating the same panels, and summarily rejecting new ones, fewer and fewer are going to put forth the energy to try something new.  Why try if the answer is going to be the same? 

The most disparaging part of this whole experience is how staff can't be bothered to answer an email, or a question, even when they directly solicit questions.  It would go a long way in terms of goodwill if staff could show at least some respect to those people on the other end and reply.  Some individuals invest a lot into SacAnime in terms of time, money, and heart, and get nothing but silence in return.  In contrast, the Anime Expo staff, who manage a convention with over 110,000+ attendees, has taken the time to answer my questions (albeit its a wait) in the past.

I'll still attend SacAnime come January, but with a much different perspective.  And far as my attempting to panel again, let alone volunteer for SacAnime, doubtful.

In closing I would like to thank those who has taken the time to read this.  I debated writing it for over a week.  It has gone through multiple drafts and I hope my experience can be respected enough to not be squelched.  Whether or not staff ever reads this, writing it alone has helped me move on.  Hopefully through the six degrees of separation this will trickle its way up to someone, somewhere, and maybe it will help make a change at SacAnime for the better.

Respectfully,
A Person

Offline fabrickind

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2016, 12:04:02 PM »
Despite my pushing back at citrus a little earlier in the thread (you probably don't realize that I'm also on the Fanime forums, since I have a different name over there :P), I agree with a lot of what is being said in here.

I actually really liked the lack of fan-run fandom-specific panels last time, first of all. I know that these tend to be popular, especially with a younger crowd, but I know that a lot of cons are trying to move away from these and toward a more mature programming track, which I applaud. I didn't, however, like the lack of other programming to fill that place -- yes, panels are based on what fans submit, so if there's a lack of submissions there's a lack of panels, but I feel like this con can do more to encourage other types of panel submissions. Maybe arrange panel topics and get people to submit themselves as speakers for the panels (GaymerX does this), or have suggested panel topics or different programming tracks (I know that a few cons have different tracks, and I know that Sakuracon gives priority to panels filling certain topical requirements).

For the guest-run panels, I never attend these, so I can't really speak to their quality, but I can imagine that a guest would get tired of running the same panel topic over and over, especially if there are multiples of that panel at the same con. I don't know who sets these topics though -- the guests themselves, the programming director, or the guest relations people. It's nice to have multiple panels in case a fan misses one, but there's also no incentive for fans to attend the panels when they know it'll just be run again, and I can imagine that this is tiring to both guests and fans to have a lack of variety. Certainly, as a panelist, I get tired of running the same panels too many times in a row, and always try to rotate my topics and/or bring in new topics (often submitting one old panel and one new panel), so I can only imagine how it is for a guest that may be attending far more cons in a year than I am!

(For the inevitable "why don't you attend guest panels, fabrickind?" question, it's usually because the topics are too specific.I don't like SAO. I can't play Borderlands. I might like a VA's work or a series they have worked on, but it's not usually the ones where there's a cohort of VAs that are all put on a panel together. I tend to have niche tastes, though, so I don't ask that my specific tastes are catered to -- instead I ask for more general panel topics that people who may not be fans of one particular series can enjoy. Then again, I personally still wouldn't be likely to attend this unless it's a really good panel setup or really good guest, since I don't tend to care much about behind-the-scenes type things, but I know that others would enjoy this more.)

(Also, SacAnime gets some really kick-ass guests...if you are interested in English-language VAs from currently popular series. If you are not interested in that type of guest, the lineup is a bit lacking. Its not just the specific guests that lack variety, but the type of guest, as well.)

Something I would be interested to see is more comedy-type panels involving the guests. The CONfessionals filming seems like it might be interesting. Some improv panels (such as doing a live "redubbing" of clips of an unknown series, or switching roles in a series they acted in, etc.) might be fun. Getting guests in on "convention war stories" type panels might be fun (or other things related to nerd culture broadly). Of course, it would depend on the type of image the guest wants to portray and is comfortable with, but there can be some late-night as well as family-friendly options. I'd certainly prefer this to fan-run Q&A comedy and/or fanservice panels for specific series.

Also, HaibaneXYZ, if you see this, check your PMs. Not sure if you have it set to notify you by email.

Offline citrus

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 03:55:05 PM »
Despite my pushing back at citrus a little earlier in the thread (you probably don't realize that I'm also on the Fanime forums, since I have a different name over there :P), I agree with a lot of what is being said in here.

I actually really liked the lack of fan-run fandom-specific panels last time, first of all. I know that these tend to be popular, especially with a younger crowd, but I know that a lot of cons are trying to move away from these and toward a more mature programming track, which I applaud. I didn't, however, like the lack of other programming to fill that place -- yes, panels are based on what fans submit, so if there's a lack of submissions there's a lack of panels, but I feel like this con can do more to encourage other types of panel submissions. Maybe arrange panel topics and get people to submit themselves as speakers for the panels (GaymerX does this), or have suggested panel topics or different programming tracks (I know that a few cons have different tracks, and I know that Sakuracon gives priority to panels filling certain topical requirements).

For the guest-run panels, I never attend these, so I can't really speak to their quality, but I can imagine that a guest would get tired of running the same panel topic over and over, especially if there are multiples of that panel at the same con. I don't know who sets these topics though -- the guests themselves, the programming director, or the guest relations people. It's nice to have multiple panels in case a fan misses one, but there's also no incentive for fans to attend the panels when they know it'll just be run again, and I can imagine that this is tiring to both guests and fans to have a lack of variety. Certainly, as a panelist, I get tired of running the same panels too many times in a row, and always try to rotate my topics and/or bring in new topics (often submitting one old panel and one new panel), so I can only imagine how it is for a guest that may be attending far more cons in a year than I am!

(For the inevitable "why don't you attend guest panels, fabrickind?" question, it's usually because the topics are too specific.I don't like SAO. I can't play Borderlands. I might like a VA's work or a series they have worked on, but it's not usually the ones where there's a cohort of VAs that are all put on a panel together. I tend to have niche tastes, though, so I don't ask that my specific tastes are catered to -- instead I ask for more general panel topics that people who may not be fans of one particular series can enjoy. Then again, I personally still wouldn't be likely to attend this unless it's a really good panel setup or really good guest, since I don't tend to care much about behind-the-scenes type things, but I know that others would enjoy this more.)

(Also, SacAnime gets some really kick-ass guests...if you are interested in English-language VAs from currently popular series. If you are not interested in that type of guest, the lineup is a bit lacking. Its not just the specific guests that lack variety, but the type of guest, as well.)

Something I would be interested to see is more comedy-type panels involving the guests. The CONfessionals filming seems like it might be interesting. Some improv panels (such as doing a live "redubbing" of clips of an unknown series, or switching roles in a series they acted in, etc.) might be fun. Getting guests in on "convention war stories" type panels might be fun (or other things related to nerd culture broadly). Of course, it would depend on the type of image the guest wants to portray and is comfortable with, but there can be some late-night as well as family-friendly options. I'd certainly prefer this to fan-run Q&A comedy and/or fanservice panels for specific series.

Also, HaibaneXYZ, if you see this, check your PMs. Not sure if you have it set to notify you by email.

I think I'm starting to connect the dots now... Are you Nina Star 9 from the Fanime forums? If so um... hi! If you are indeed that person you may very well know that I usually tend be very disgruntled and not very pleasant person to deal with during the Fanime forums... when I'm at the Sacanime forums I'm a very different person. I'm much more happy  and reasonable person for many reasons. I could go on and on why Sacanime is way better then Fanime but that be like be very unproductive. (Besides once and a while I'll hear the staff once and a while make fun of Fanime anyways)

Although I do have to say I do appreciate your input and many other people here giving their input. If there's one thing that Sacanime is absolutely GREAT at is bringing in big name guests both from the nerd and anime culture. Their organization is not really the best but at the same time I find it to be an acceptable level. And the only thing I can find anything remotely a weakness is that they tend to bring the same guest and same panel WAY too many times. But even despite this I still do enjoy some of the same repeat panels sometimes. I say that their only weakness so far is too many repeat guests and to many of the same panels. But... other then that the convention is great most of the time! I guess the only thing that I can find that is starting to become a weakness is that Sacanime's communication. They use to respond to Attendees questions on forums all the time. But now that's starting to fall.

Offline fabrickind

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2016, 05:32:59 PM »
Oh no! My secret identity! :P

Yeah, that's me. I've been on the Fanime forums for nearly 13 years now (wow), so I have a much older username over there than I do here. My style is pretty similar across sites, though, so once you know that I'm a member there I think it's pretty obvious who I am. You do tend to be very disgruntled over there, but much more sensible over here, so I appreciate that! (I'm also constantly pushing back against cons that I see room for improvement in, though, because I want these cons to do well! I totally understand the impulse, I'm just not as disgruntled about it. Fanimecon is a mess, honestly, but I still keep going back, because the good outweighs the bad for me.)

I agree that SacAnime is pretty good, but that there are things left to be desired when it comes to organization. I'd also like to see some improvements made, so I like to make suggestions where I can. Obviously, since I'm not staff or otherwise connected with the con in any way, I can't enact any changes or speak to why changes are made or not made, and I can't tailor my suggestions to what is feasible for the con, but I certainly can speak up about what has been going well and what has not.

SacAnime used to have decent communication on the forums, but it's pretty dead around here these days, and it seems like emails aren't answered in a timely fashion, either (at least, mine wasn't the last time I had to send someone an email). Questions about rules and other things that should be answered before the con are often answered months /after/ the con. I appreciate that everyone is volunteering their time, but it seems like there should be at least a couple of PR people assigned to look at the forums even once a week or two weeks to see if there is anything that needs to be addressed and then forward it to the right people if they can't answer it themselves. I know that there are things (like this thread!) that should be addressed, but may never be, which is unfortunate. Well, still better than some other cons' communication skills, I'll give them that!

Offline PaladinCecil79

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Re: More panel variety and guests
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2016, 10:55:30 PM »
When it comes to guest panels, I'll usually attend ones that involve voice actors that are standard Q&As or based on a certain series, even if the series doesn't interest me that much. I just like the opportunity to ask them about different things. But I agree that we don't need to keep seeing the same ones. If they're going to be repetitive with VA panels, it'd be better for them to be mostly standard Q&As instead of a specific theme.
Although many of the themed ones allow off-topic questions, you're usually going to get more variety with them at regular Q&A sessions.
Since Cherami Leigh is one of the bigger names attending, it wouldn't have hurt to give her one or two like that instead of putting her in just those involving Borderlands and Sword Art Online.
There are a lot of people who would like to hear her (along with Bryce Papenbrook or Dameon Clarke) talk and get asked more about her own work and will get very little of it at best if she's always a panel with 4 or 5 other names.