Anime Crossroads, a brand-new anime convention in Indianapolis, was held over the weekend of November 20-22, 2009 at the Marriott on the east side of Indianapolis. We had agreed to help with the dealers' room, so we went to the hotel Thursday evening to attend the final staff meeting and help set up. Several of the dealers started setting up that night, so we ended up staying fairly late before heading home for the night.
Friday morning we headed over to the hotel to be there as soon as the dealers' room re-opened for dealer setup. We had a few minor glitches, which is to be expected in a first-year event, but we were able to catch and save on them as they came up, and worked out plans for ways to prevent repetitions.
When the dealers' room opened to the general membership, I took a place by the entrance door to check badges. That location also gave me a good overview of the central atrium where the Artists' Alley tables were located. There was an open space between them and the dealers' room door, and midway through the day a group of young women costumed as action girls (whether from any particular series, I could not determine) set up to do a series of dance routines to very bouncy J-pop.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered one very important way in which anime conventions differ from the typical science fiction convention. Instead of a con suite with pop and snack foods provided for all con members, they were selling pop and snack foods in the anime library. This caught me quite by surprise, but I resolved to bring more food and drinks from home on subsequent days so we wouldn't starve.
When the dealers' room closed for the evening, a bunch of the dealers had to do stuff before they could get their tables closed up for the night and leave. As a result it was almost an hour before we were able to get home and have supper.
The next morning we returned bright and early to open the dealers' room for dealers to open their tables, only to discover that no one from the senior staff was there to unlock the door. So we sat around for a while and talked with one of the artists in the Artists' Alley. Apparently the J-pop dancers are representing a company that has developed a new kind of voice synthesizer.
After a while some of the dealers showed up and we still didn't have anyone to open the dealers' room. We finally ended up calling the front desk to get someone in to open the door so they could get their tables ready for the day.
Traffic through the dealers' room was much heavier on Saturday, so there was no time for any writing or reading. In fact, part of the time we were busy enough that we had three people watching the door and still had some unbadged people slipping through.
The J-pop dancers were back again, and this time they let other people dance with them part of the time. Sometimes there were so many people joining in the dance that they formed a line stretching clear across the arium. We had to keep reminding the audience to move forward so there would be a clear path to the dealers' room.
However, as the afternoon gave way to evening, traffic in the dealers' room dwindled away to nothing. As a result, the executive staff decided to close the dealers' room an hour early. This time the dealers had their tables in god order and got them covered reasonably quickly. When we got home, we got supper and even had a little time to do other things before we needed to turn in for the night.
On Sunday we returned for the last day of the convention only to discover that the dealers' room had been unlocked but no one had been stationed at the door to control access. Worse, when we got inside, one dealer had a shelving unit knocked over and couldn't find two items of merchandise. So we ended up spending a fair amount of time with the executive-level staff, sorting things out and trying to convey the absolut importance of maintaining security over the dealers' room at all times.
By the time we got that sorted out, it was time to open for the day, so I took my place at the entrance. Things were slower, but we still had a surprising number of people arriving for the first time and buying a one-day badge. Although some conventions are reluctant to issue day badges and take the position that anyone who wants to attend badly enough can just pay full price, our experience here suggests that a lot of people were willing to take a chance on a con they'd discovered late because they were able to buy a reduced-price day badge.
By mid-afternoon things were slowing down, and by the time the dealers' room closed, we had only a few shoppers to be scooted out the door. Then it was just a matter of getting all the dealers loaded out, a process that actually went more quickly than I'd expected. I sat at the door and made sure that only dealers and staff came in during load-out.
After all the dealers were loaded out, we headed over to the dead dog party. I was rather surprised how little pizza was ordered, since we had a bunch of hungry teenagers who'd been working hard to help various departments load out. Fortunately everyone was polite and rationed themselves, but anyone who had spent extra time helping a department that was running late would've come in to empty boxes and been sorely disappointed.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012