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Hey, Answerman! [2009-02-06]


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jvowles
Otakon Representative


Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 216
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:43 am Reply with quote
DuelLadyS wrote:
I completely understand the point of the j-rock letter, and wonder if perhaps it was written by a fellow Sakura Con attendee.

For those who have a minute, pop over to sakuracon.org and look at the guests list- so far, we have 4 American guests, 4 bands (not all Japanese even), and NO Japanese industry people.


I suspect that's more a matter of Sakura-con being often scheduled opposite Tokyo Anime Faire; TAF has become an increasingly all-hands-on-deck affair. (In fact, TAF is the main reason I've never been to Sakura-con.)
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jvowles
Otakon Representative


Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 216
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:20 pm Reply with quote
Aresef wrote:
About the J-Rock band question, it bugs me too how a little-known Japanese rock band is shoved to the forefront for no reason. However, cons only have so much money, so they end up turning an anime con into an all-around celebration of Japanese pop culture. If Avex has this band for your con and will bring them to perform super-cheap, you let them. And if Peelander-Z is available, that works too.

Sometimes, however, you have these convenient bands who also happen to have a few anime songs. And then you have JAM Project, SOS Brigade, etc., where the point *is* to make the anime fans happy.

(Because nothing is more awesome than SKILL.)


Yes, we know you were very happy with JAM Project. Smile
Here's my take on it.

The broadening of scope sort of happens to some cons; for Otakon, it was deliberate because we are specifically using pop culture as a gateway to broader understanding. (We've had Hong Kong movies as a major track almost since the beginning.) For others, I think it's just responding to things that seem to work (ie, draw a crowd and get positive feedback).

It's probably a lot of factors mixed for most cons, but I really doubt that it's "only so much money" that causes cons to reach out to bands -- any J-band is going to cost quite a bit more than any other guest.

The main cost of any japanese guest is travel -- flights, hotels, and food traditionally. Even if that's all you pay for, it's still several thousand bucks for each member of a band -- and usually for an equal number of support staff as well. It's a challenge every year for even big cons to afford overseas musical acts.

I've been told point-blank that Otakon's early success in this area shifted expectations for cons, so that every con now feels it has to have a musical guest. Luckily, US-based bands reduce the costs significantly, so if providing entertainment is your goal, it's a much better value for your dollar.

FWIW, I also take issue with the "most cons charge extra". We've never done so, but off-hand I can only think of three instances at other cons where the musical act cost extra. Given the cost, it's probably just trying to recoup the cost of the concert itself -- not adding to the con's coffers.

It is worth reminding people, perhaps, that most cons *barely* break even, and work pretty hard to keep costs low for members -- even as facilities, required labor, airfare, and other costs climb.
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kitsunelady



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:21 pm Reply with quote
Umm...how do you send in a question? >.>; I don't see an email address on the Hey Answerman page...or on the FAQs...or on the Staff page. Or perhaps I am just blind?

Is it just [email protected] ?
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jvowles
Otakon Representative


Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 216
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:46 pm Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
penguintruth wrote:

Uh, yes. They should stop. The space those take up could be used for more viewings or panels. At least some of the webcomic material is vaguely anime-ish and several Japanese live-action movies have manga connections. If a band hasn't at least performed any noteworthy songs for anime, they don't belong there.


These are all sub-fandoms, no matter how much the people who are hardcore J-rock and ball-joint doll fanatics want to deny it in public - most people discover this stuff through anime. How else would you find out about these bands, living in America? Maybe it was a closing theme that lead you to a message board with hardcore jrock fans and you discovered it that way. Maybe you watched a bunch of Death Note on a Sunday and went online and found someone's L Dollfie and wanted to know more. Regardless, they're all related.

Most big conventions have a lot - a LOT - of time to fill and it doesn't hurt anything to have a few concerts and niche hobby panels to satisfy that audience and bring in more people. Being inclusive never hurt a big public event like a convention. Hell, Anime Expo has 4 days to fill up - imagine if they restricted all that time and programming space and money to ONLY topics and events that were absolutely directly related in some kneejerk observable way to anime or manga. That isn't very inclusive, nor is it inviting, nor is it at all a smart way to run a big convention.


And thus, as you and I have discussed, one of the big divides in all of fandom emerges. Fans go one of two ways: the "OMG, this is awesome, you should see it and love it as much as I do" crowd, and the "obviously you're too much of a plebe to understand how awesome it is -- unless it's suddenly become popular in which case I'll bitch about it selling out" crowd.

I want fandom to be inclusive and welcoming -- no matter what the con or the topic. Why on EARTH would you want to get into pointless conflict about something you like, when instead you could share that love with others?

For all that we joke about putting on a "fogey con" one day, who on earth wants to attend a con filled with bitter old farts bitching? It's all in good fun to do so late at night after the con's over, while having a glass of grown-up booze, but it'd be a crappy way to run a convention where you want it to last a bit.

If you *want* to have a purist con, then go ahead and put one on -- god knows there are a ton of cons these days and niches exist -- but you run the risk of being irrelevant in a few years.

At a certain point most folks grow out of the "it's MY treehouse and YOU CAN'T COME IN" mentality --- or so I hope.
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rinmackie



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 916
Location: in a van! down by the river!

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:55 pm Reply with quote
[quoteAt a certain point most folks grow out of the "it's MY treehouse and YOU CAN'T COME IN" mentality --- or so I hope.[/quote]

Unfortunately, you've just summed up the attitude of many anime fans. Personally, I think it's one of the things that's killing the industry. And that's probably all I should say about that.
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jvowles
Otakon Representative


Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 216
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:00 pm Reply with quote
ikillchicken wrote:

I agree that it's a bad idea to exclude sub-fandoms to the extent that only stuff that is directly, inherently related to anime is left. However, there also has to be a limit. If it reaches the point where all these little side shows overwhelm the actual anime, then it's gone too far.


This, this, this.

Otakon is an east asian popular culture celebration, focusing on anime, manga, cinema, music, and games.

I think a con that is ONLY about anime these days is more or less doomed to irrelevancy. Because the original purpose -- discovering and sharing new anime that was hard to find otherwise -- has largely become irrelevant. Those obsessed with seeing the newest stuff saw it online in a crappy fansub five hours after it aired in Japan.

And unlike a decade or two ago, if you want to sit and watch anime or talk about it, you can watch it on TV or on your computer, you can discuss it online, you can find the merchandise in your mall.

Most cons exist for the sense of community, the gathering of like-minded individuals in real life -- which is simply not the same as Online, though many kids with few social skills seem not to have discovered that point quite yet. Video rooms and a few bootleg dealers just don't cut the mustard anymore.

Interactive, creative, and unusual content is what puts butts in seats, spurs discussion, and provides the impetus to actually show up. A live concert or other performance, a live competition, an opportunity to meet or speak with someone you admire in the industry -- these are the highlights of a good convention, because they are things you cannot simply watch online and be happy with.

That's why we focus ever-greater attention on things like that -- experiences that cannot be had elsewhere.
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AnimeAngel00



Joined: 06 Jun 2006
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:35 pm Reply with quote
Mistypearl wrote:
AnimeAngel00 wrote:
That new answer man banner looks nice. What anime/manga is that from?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it was drawn by "Phillip" himself in the likeness of the photo that was put up for inspiration for the banner. It's an original drawing, not any anime or manga.


thanks :3
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LauraOrganaSolo



Joined: 13 May 2006
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:22 pm Reply with quote
ikillchicken wrote:
But seriously, bringing up cliche old elitist mentalities even though he mentioned nothing even vaguely along those lines it's just a half assed straw man argument and only serves to destroy your credibility and the credibility of the legitimate points you follow up with.

It sounds like you're taking my half-assed summation of his convention demands a little too seriously.

I'm just going to point you to what I said I said after that =>

"Alienating large sub-groups of anime fans is a good way to ensure a convention never recoups its losses," and

Zac's post following mine =>

"Anime Expo has 4 days to fill up - imagine if they restricted all that time and programming space and money to ONLY topics and events that were absolutely directly related in some kneejerk observable way to anime or manga. That isn't very inclusive, nor is it inviting, nor is it at all a smart way to run a big convention."

Your statement about "going too far," do you have any examples of this that you'd like to offer? I'm not being facetious or snarky, I mean that as a serious question. My beef with people in this thread could be summed up into two points:

A. J Rock concerts are bad for anime conventions because they cause bad management and invite the attendance of annoying teenyboppers.
--Poor management will occur with or without concerts and is due to the behavior of individuals in management positions as well as individuals breaking rules (e.g. Otakon 2008's art room fiasco)

B. J Rock fans should go away and find their own conventions/concerts to go to.
--J Rock fans were SOL on this issue until J Rock Revolution brought a handful of bands over and set them up on tour with American bands. Other than that handful of bands though, ALL J ROCK FANS HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IS ANIME CONVENTIONS.

I'm not saying this because I'm a teenager with only an allowance or as a full-time student with no income, I'm saying this as someone who busted my ass working overtime for a long time to pay for three people to go to Japan and attend a Tokyo Dome finale for one of my favorite artists. Most fans don't get to experience that -- unless Japanese musicians are invited to anime conventions.

I typed most of this up at 8am this morning so I didn't get to see jvowles (much-appreciated) posts till just now but I sure am glad to see it. I only hope the ZOMG J ROCK GTFO nay-sayers read it.
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aim_krazy



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:26 am Reply with quote
Hi everyone. I'm this week's...uh, Questionfan #1. ( ^^; ) I asked how to create manga when you're artistically-impaired.

First, I want to thank Mr. Brian for posting my question. I never expected to have my question answered (although I was praying really hard, hehe).

His advice -- like most people's advice I've read here -- was a bit helpful. Although I have to defend myself on something. I think my question made some people think I'm anime-obsessed or naive.

Truth is, I'm not just into anime; I'm interested in writing for all types of media. My main writing interests are novels and short stories (and I like different genres like comedy, romance, horror, etc.), but I'd like to try manga someday (as well as song lyrics, screenplays, etc).

Second, I already know that successful writers have to create interesting stories (unless you know a celebrity or have some other connections. *cough*Ann M. Martin*cough*) More importantly, unique stories tend to be remembered and sell best...so I try my hardest to be original and not rip off other people's ideas. So no, I'm not writing stories just for success or because "anime/manga/fantasy/whatever is cool". I write about whatever impassions me. =)

I also know how to be resourceful and (1) use reference books/websites; (2) use my favorite reading books as "guides" if I get stuck somewhere (not plagiarism, just motivation if I have writer's block); (3) ask people (including "strangers" on forums) to provide constructive criticism when I do finish a story; and (4) use Google and find various self-publishing sites (like Lulu.com) if I have no other options.

That's one reason why I came to this forum: I want to make manga but I can't draw, so I needed to ask for advice. Perhaps I asked for advice too prematurely (since I'm not ready to work with an artist yet), but I wanted to know what my options are ahead of time. I did the same thing with my website when I needed to recruit lyric translators (while I was still building my site, I asked people if they could translate lyrics now, or if they had "free time" on certain dates)...but I guess I have to do something completely different now.

Third:
@Lys and Psycho101: Thanks for the encouragement. (^^) And thanks for the advice, Psycho 101!!

@ex_mutants: Thanks for the websites! I'll definitely give them a try!!

Chesis wrote:
Manga collaborations - hooo boy. Some of the horror stories and drama I've witnessed with kids (and adults) like this.

Nine times out of ten, these are complete amateurs who don't know the first thing about *writing,* much less writing for comics, and only have "really cool ideas" for a comic or manga. They go look for an artist prematurely with totally unreasonable expectations - more or less expecting the artist to take orders like an automaton and do all the heavy lifting, and believe me, it's MUCH more labor intensive actually creating the graphics than writing the stories. Things can go sour real quick.

Brian's advice is exactly right. You gotta learn to write first, learn how to pace a story, how to break up dialogue - you don't need much artistic talent to mark out panels and figure out what goes where.

I know that artwork (more specifically, good artwork) takes a loooong time to do. One of my friends is an artist (but it's hard to catch her these days due to artwork/job/family issues, so I know we can't collaborate). I've heard stories from her and I've seen her draw from scratch before, so I know it can take days or weeks to finish one "simple-looking" picture.

That said, you bring up some interesting points...so I guess what I need to ask now is:

1) When you say "look[ing] for an artist prematurely with totally unreasonable expectations", what do you mean exactly? Have you, for instance, seen writers impose short deadlines on an artist (which, considering the workload AND the fact that the artist is helping you, is a stupid and insensitive thing to do)? I'd like to know what I should and shouldn't do/ask for/say when recruiting an artist.

2) Is "pacing a story" and "breaking up dialogue" similar to writing in script form, like this?:
Samantha (frustrated look): Not now, Tony! I'm busy!! (walks to fridge, pulls out milk)
...
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ikillchicken
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 6855
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:24 am Reply with quote
LauraOrganaSolo wrote:
ikillchicken wrote:
But seriously, bringing up cliche old elitist mentalities even though he mentioned nothing even vaguely along those lines it's just a half assed straw man argument and only serves to destroy your credibility and the credibility of the legitimate points you follow up with.

It sounds like you're taking my half-assed summation of his convention demands a little too seriously.


Yeah, I'm actually reading the things you say and questioning them if I see flaws. You ought to be prepared for that before you start posting.

Quote:
Your statement about "going too far," do you have any examples of this that you'd like to offer? I'm not being facetious or snarky, I mean that as a serious question.


No not really. Firstly though, I would say it's more about the volume than the actual subject matter though. Any obscure sub fandom is fine with me as long as it's in an appropriate dose. Also, because it is sub fandoms we're talking about here, I can't really picture a scenario where any one thing would exceed the limit on it's own.

The problem to me is when cons become so bogged down with sub fandoms that the primary focus on anime becomes lost. At that point it really has ceased to be an anime convention and you know, that's okay. However, if that is the case then don't try to pass it off as one. Call it a Japan Convention or something. Then people with an interest in a range of Japanese stuff can attend. Those of us who really just limit their interest to anime though may choose not to. I think jvowles may be right when he says that true anime conventions are perhaps dead. If that's the reality of it then fine. I just don't much care for these new things, whatever you want to call them, are passing themselves off as them.

Quote:
B. J Rock fans should go away and find their own conventions/concerts to go to.
--J Rock fans were SOL on this issue until J Rock Revolution brought a handful of bands over and set them up on tour with American bands. Other than that handful of bands though, ALL J ROCK FANS HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IS ANIME CONVENTIONS.


Point A seems fair enough. This however, while unfortunate, is ultimately irrelevant. Just because cons of their own aren't possible doesn't mean they then belong at anime conventions.
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Nei



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:21 am Reply with quote
It's ironic that there's an "anime-only" con idea vs an "anime + j-pop culture" con idea because the reason most folks in the fandom are into Japanese culture -- pop or otherwise -- is because of anime. To paraphrase historian David McCullough and police brutality victim Rodney King, anime fandom is an expansive field. Can't we all just get along?

The j-rock concerts have never bothered me, nor have they impacted my enjoyment of a con. Probably because I just don't go and leave more hardcore fans of it than me to enjoy themselves.

And honestly, only AX and Otakon can afford big names, bands or guests. The next tier of cons bring over the smaller bands and sometimes are able to secure an industry guest. From what I've heard, both kinds of Japanese guests require major money and jumping through major hoops, only to get stuff like having fans face away from the stage (CLAMP at AX) or not having interpreters to help you actually talk to the guest while getting an autograph. The rest of the cons can't even touch it.

As for seeing the same ol' English VA's, there's a small pool of them to begin with. Only certain VAs will even bother with cons, no matter the size. Then some will only do larger cons, or only do (the same) couple a year. Again, with hundreds of cons running every year, that leaves an even smaller pool of actors and other pros most cons can even ask.

Nei
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LauraOrganaSolo



Joined: 13 May 2006
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:10 am Reply with quote
ikillchicken wrote:
LauraOrganaSolo wrote:
ikillchicken wrote:
But seriously, bringing up cliche old elitist mentalities even though he mentioned nothing even vaguely along those lines it's just a half assed straw man argument and only serves to destroy your credibility and the credibility of the legitimate points you follow up with.

It sounds like you're taking my half-assed summation of his convention demands a little too seriously.

Yeah, I'm actually reading the things you say and questioning them if I see flaws. You ought to be prepared for that before you start posting.

This isn't debate club or a philosophy class. If you get off on nitpicking facetiousness and sarcasm and don't want to address the actual arguments or issues at hand then I guess you go ahead and knock yourself out then.

Quote:
Your statement about "going too far," do you have any examples of this that you'd like to offer? I'm not being facetious or snarky, I mean that as a serious question.

The problem to me is when cons become so bogged down with sub fandoms that the primary focus on anime becomes lost. At that point it really has ceased to be an anime convention and you know, that's okay... If that's the reality of it then fine. I just don't much care for these new things, whatever you want to call them, are passing themselves off as them.[/quote]
So long story short, you don't like anime conventions anymore. Sucks to be you I guess, but that's what happens when time passes and technology changes the way things are distributed and thoughts are communicated. It's not the fault of concerts though.

Quote:
This however, while unfortunate, is ultimately irrelevant. Just because cons of their own aren't possible doesn't mean they then belong at anime conventions.

Refer to jvowels' posts.

I'm pretty sure conventions aren't going to just suddenly stop having concerts just because apparently it isn't anime enough for a very small minority of fans. So it's not irrelevant at all, really -- concerts are going to continue to occur at conventions. I'm not sorry.
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 5864
Location: Penguinopolis

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:16 am Reply with quote
You're right, we should be more inclusive at anime cons. Hey, why not have American comic book stuff there, too? Why not have booths for cartoons that are anime-inspired, like Teen Titans and Avatar? Why not a big Dungeons and Dragons tournament?

I'm aware that a lot of these J-Pop/J-Rock groups appeal to the same group who are interested in manga and anime, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. They should at least be limited to those who've performed songs for anime.

I'd also appreciate if knobs like Piano Squall would not be considered honored guests.
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Zac
ANN Executive Editor


Joined: 05 Jan 2002
Posts: 6807
Location: Snake Mountain Cocktail Lounge

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:18 am Reply with quote
LauraOrganaSolo wrote:

So long story short, you don't like anime conventions anymore. Sucks to be you I guess, but that's what happens when time passes and technology changes the way things are distributed and thoughts are communicated. It's not the fault of concerts though.


Interestingly, there is a convention that has embraced all the sub-fandoms and includes anime only as an additional component, not as a focus - PMX. They tend to center their programming on music, with a strong emphasis on general Asian entertainment. Last time I went they had entertainers from the Philippines, artists and musicians from all over Japan, China, Korea, all of it.

Anime was a part of it, but not the main draw. Though they did use anime imagery on most of their marketing material.

Notably, the con has seen limited success, although they continue to grow and are still doing yearly shows. As an example of a convention that doesn't focus on anime and embraces nearly every subfandom as being 'just as important', PMX is the only show you can point to, and they've had mixed results so far.
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mtotherow3



Joined: 09 Nov 2007
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:29 am Reply with quote
For this week's Answerfans: I've got it. Gurren Lagann. Here's how you'd do it: It'd be a DS game, done in stages. First stage, you draw circles to get pumped and get the Lagann pumped. Then, the POV changes, and suddenly you just go to a giant Street Fighter Style style fighting game. If you start losing, you can scream into the DS microphone to "ROW ROW FIGHT DA POWAH" for a one time power boost. TELL ME THIS IDEA ISN'T PERFECT.
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