In a bit of a departure for my usual “Three Random” posts, I decided to go down the serious route for a spell. Last weekend was the annual FanExpo geek event which so many of us look forward to. My visits to this convention have occurred every year, going back almost to the beginning. Some of the criticism leveled at them has been valid, but other trash talk has become overblown. My ideas for improvement are simple and doable and free of charge here.
1. I mentioned this years ago to a FanExpo staffer, and still stand by this. In order to relieve congestion, they have to book the North building as well. Yes this will cost Hobbystar more money, possibly even raise ticket prices, but the mass of humanity being crushed into the convention is getting worse every year. Move the photo ops, photo ops pick up, and some of the dealers area to the North and problems of long lines of people not getting in will vanish.
2. Close Front Street outside the convention and have a Cosplay parade. DragonCon has done this for years and it looks spectacular. With a parade, can you imagine the Dr Who segment? The Firefly part? The Young Justice contingent? And the media would lap this up.
3. Put a master list in the program, on a display, and on the app, of local restaurants. Break it out into two categories, fast food joints and sit down places. Tourism Toronto would be happy to help create this listing, with Google providing backup research, and the Poynt app also being helpful in this regard.
4. Last year I had no trouble posting to twitter and facebook, or sending texts and receiving calls. Did not matter where I was or when it was. Because of the massive proliferation of smartphones, the online traffic coming in and out slowed to a crawl or vanished entirely. This is not good. FanExpo, you want people to tweet and facebook place your show, it is free publicity. Oprah had one of her life events in that same building just a few months ago, and people tweeted endlessly from it. My guess is that Oprah brought in a signal booster of some kind, allowing for her fans to tweet along merrily. Look into what she did and simply copy it. Trust me, your hashtag will explode if you did this. Heck, FanExpo might even trend. Wouldn’t that be cool?
5. And with this huge influx of smartphones comes the inevitable next trouble. These wonderful devices use up lots of battery juice, meaning recharging becomes a constant irritant. As I mentioned earlier, I tend to carry my blackberry power cord many places, and have become quite proficient at finding outlets. In the main hallway, these precious outlets were very few, which you have no control over, but finding one that worked was difficult, and this you do have control over. If people can get a quick boost, they will be much happier.
6. This one is more of a professional note, from me to FanExpo. Some time ago I applied for a Press Pass for the show. My coverage of geek events was noticeable, my reviews of geek comics was obvious, and my discussions of geek culture was prevalent. Sometime after the notification date, I received a form email denying a Press Pass because of space restrictions. No further explanation was provided. AnimeNorth gives detailed instructions of the hows and whys of their Press Pass system, and since I did not qualify, I did not apply. More guidelines should be posted on your site, to allow people like me some understanding of your system.
And that is my six! But I do have one last suggestion, which is actually for the fans and not FanExpo. One of the issue with the over crowding is due to people not buying tickets beforehand, and then not varying the time they show up. Until noon friday, the place was rather spacious. Some of the insanity would halt if fans took these simple measures.
With these thoughts in my mind, I am still looking forward to next years FanExpo, and hoping some of these improvements are put into place. Because then an awesome geek event would be even more awesome.
P.S. Next years FanExpo will be from Thursday August 22nd to Sunday August 25th, 2013.