Geek Conventions 2014: A Look Back at the Lessons That We Can Learn

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2014 was another great year for the world of geek conventions, but not everything had a good ending. We take a look back on how some events managed to shine out from the rest while some made disappointing results and how can aspiring and veteran event organizers can learn from it.

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The Good

To jump-start this feature, let’s take a look at the winners that made an impact to the geek community, may it be from the cosplay scene, anime fans or the gamers.

Long time big events such as Toycon, Best of Anime and Komikon are still making huge waves from both its established community and to the mainstream audience with bigger surprises and activities. Breaking new attendance records and filling the entire venue instantly, where some are now suggesting that these organizers should consider venturing to a bigger venue.

There were new events debuting this year handling by veteran organizers and managed to give a big wow to their target community, one from Cosplay.ph’s Nexcon; where they are exploring the western pop culture fandom, the other was the Esports and Gaming Summit, helmed by Mr. Joebert Yu of Pinoy Gaming Festival fame; that now features all the different communities of gaming, from MMOS, consoles to indies and pro gaming. The outcome of these events proved that these powerhouses can create new events for new audiences, in which in the end left them an open door of an encore for the following year.

Aside from the main events, there were others that are getting good feedbacks, some of these include Kawaii in Manila 2; proving that even a fashion event can attract pop culture enthusiasts, pro gaming is on the rise once again with major tournaments such as the MPGL Season 6 Grand Finals and TNC Grand Finale gathering the much deserved love even on a smaller venue.

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The not so Good

Then of course there are the bad batches; those events that failed to meet the communities’ expectations, which were a letdown especially to those who were really hyped.

A lot of factors can contribute to the fall of a certain convention or expo, these examples could include having poor floor plan and crowd control (Ozine Fest 2014), or some of these can also be caused by a ton of technical difficulties that almost killed the entire fun factor of the events, which could left some of the con-goers to leave the premises early and never came back on the following day (Pinoy Otaku Festival 2014), while there were events that already had a ton of issues even before the event started (TokuCon 2014’s dilemma and event proper) and some that were a lesser version of its former glory (UP AME X) or maybe worse; combining almost all of the factors mentioned above and then using a famous event brand by a new organizer (Pinoy Gaming Festival 2014).

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What can we learn from this

So much time and money were invested on this, and it does not guarantee a success on the spot, so here are the things we can learn from the success and mistakes of these events:

Handling events is no cakewalk – Some newcomers think that organizing an event is as easy as frying an egg in a pan, in which as a result, hosting premature events in a shorter time frame. Organizing one takes a lot of time, some would take them a year to plan everything out and also a large amount of money that would require many deals and sponsorships from business partners. So never rushed on making an event, it takes a hefty amount of preparations and always remember, your first event will not guarantee a success, so be sure to learn a lot from your first and a better second.

The community will make the noise, for better or worse – How you handled your event can make or break your event’s future, especially in the eyes of the community that you are aiming. They are the Motley crew that can be your savior or your worst nightmare, so an organizer should be very mindful what they are doing on the event and also on how they interact with their audience. If they said your event was a blast, then you are doing great, but if they said it was a mistake to attend your event, then you better listen. Don’t bother making too much excuses if your event screwed up as it can only make it worse, saying sorry can be a powerful word.

You can’t please everyone– As mentioned above, the community is the voice, but it does not mean their demands should always be followed. Organizers should always think for the benefits of their events, when a certain portion is not feasible for the event, it does not need to become a priority, it can always be put aside and use it when it is really needed. A good example would be when preparing a cosplay competition, just keep it simple, don’t need to add too many award categories like best creativity, best projection, best make-up etc. so that you can please everyone that they have a lot of options to win, it can badly affect the quality of the competition. Spoon-feeding too much can also lead to the downfall of an event, the organizers can always listen to their fans, but they shouldn’t always follow their demands if it is not reasonable.

Sh*t can and will always happen – No matter what you do or how perfect your plan is, things can surely go sour. No one can expect any sudden circumstances to unfold at any moment, so it is better to prepare ahead and prepare for any backup plans. An organizer should never rely too much on Plan A; always prepare a Plan B, C or D.

Your Focus determines your Reality – Remember that you can’t please everyone, so don’t force yourself to derail from your main attraction. Like for example you have a gaming event, just focus on the gaming aspect, don’t add too much unnecessary fillers to that event, like putting a karaoke contest or putting guest appearances from starlets/celebrities that are not even into gaming or maybe sidelining a business presentation. Your audience are not interested on that, just stick to what they went there for. Pinpointing to your main focus will ensure that your event will stay on its tracks and will not be derailed from what you are originally aiming for.

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What will the Future holds

Many things can happen for next year, this means more events that will be popping out every month, from the mainstream to the niche market, and new organizers will start appearing out of nowhere announcing their events.

Hopefully organizers will start offering unique attractions to their events, not just the same old conventions we get to see every month, as the con-goers will look for something interesting on your events for them to enjoy. And both aspiring and veteran event organizers should plan carefully before launching any events, their reputation is on the line here if ever they screw things up.

So here’s to the year 2015 as we look forward for many great things to happen for geek conventions.

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One Response to "Geek Conventions 2014: A Look Back at the Lessons That We Can Learn"
  1. i am in no way in disagreement with what you said in the article, it would have been helpful though if there’s more meat on the positives… what did BoA, ToyCon et al did right that made them successful year after year. What were the characteristics that has been tested thru time that would serve as guiding light and a lesson to new or veteran organizers why other conventions has attracted many and is deem the “Good”

    Because as much as we want new attractions if they can’t even master the basics, many other events will fall on the “not so good”. I guess i was looking for more insight when i saw the title of this article on a strengths perspective rather than its weaknesses. though i saw there was an attempt to balance b/w the good and the bad, it left a generalize answer rather than an in depth analysis of such lessons on what we can learn.

    ~just my mind writing out loud as i cannot get a decent sleep as the neighbors are still up karaeoking the new year for the past 8 hours or so -_-

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