Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Post NYCC/NYAF 2011 with Peter Tatara Part 3

Please read Part 2 of the interview before reading Part 3

Facing the Concerns

On October 13, 2011, it was the first Thursday opening for NYCC and NYAF. Although most of the exhibitors were set up, the show floor was not accessible until 4pm to non-exhibitors. Unfortunately, there was not a separate press time, meaning prior to 4pm. As a result, the press, professionals and VIP holders shared the day with 10,000 four-day pass holders. In previous years, on a Friday, the convention was opened in the morn for press, professionals, and VIPs; while the fans were allowed to enter the show floor at 1pm. This year all Friday hours were open to everyone. Thursday night was “preview night and time for press and pros to walk on the show floor without the crush of the full weight of the convention,” said Tatara. “Looking to next year, it's too early to say. We'll be announcing details about what we're doing on Thursday as we get into 2012, but I can say we're looking at doing more.”

Now Friday came and the crowd grew. Then Saturday came, and it was full force. Sunday was not as bad as Saturday, but the crowd included children due to the Kids Day events. Overall, throughout the course of the weekend, the crowd flow was better than last year. However, there were times where better crowd control was needed, namely in tight spaces created by the corner of the Capcom booth and the food counter near the entrance, and the hallway where the Speed Dating exit was. Unfortunately, these caused issues for other attendees and the workers of the convention center, who were trying to pass through rolling garbage bins. What can ReedPop do to improve the flow of the crowd in tight spaces? “Looking at your specific examples, these are all things we need to work on,” said Tatara. “We were able to move fans about largely better than last year, but there are still specific pieces and places that we need to concentrate on in 2012 -- meaning more staffing, more communication, and possibly shifting around event placement.”

Speaking of crowds, the Sunrise panel was packed out. There might have been a possibility of underestimation about the popularity of the panel, and probably for some others too. Since, technically, one cannot predict the attendance, how did ReedPop figure out what rooms the anime and manga panels should be held in? However, it is not just the anime and manga panels, but all panels in general. In regards to the anime and manga panels, as stated earlier, to incorporate it with the other panels, it was moved to Hall A. According to Tatara, “they were easier to find, and it meant that non-anime fans would also be discovering them more.” However, the fact was that there were not enough rooms for all the content that was being submitted, meaning “we were unable to provide the size and number of rooms a lot of panelists requested.” There were 300+ panels, but the “caliber of content that is coming in keeps getting bigger.”

Even though the quality and interest in the content continued to grow, the panels were planned early, prior to the opening of the show. Similar to the arrangement for the exhibitors, ReedPop placed their biggest panels several months in advance. Once that was completed, the other panels were placed accordingly to prevent conflicts with guests and other activities being held. “It's a game of chess...We do our best to accommodate room size requests, but there are physical limitations with what the Javits can offer, so there were a lot of panels -- anime and comic -- that could and should have been in bigger rooms, and we're trying to find solutions for this in 2012.”
© 2011 Linda Thai

Stay tune for Part 4 of the Peter Tatara interview.

Photography by Linda Thai

For more pictures, check out the Something Deeper: Anime, Manga and Comics Page on Facebook

No comments: