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NEWS: Otakon Discusses Future, Asks for Donations


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Яeverse



Joined: 16 Jun 2014
Posts: 999
Location: Indianapolis
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:29 pm Reply with quote
USA will have enough vaccine to vaccinate 300mln american's by the end of summer. Summer ends Sept 22...also we are still only vaccinating like 1.0mln to 1.2mln people per day, and approved vaccines for people under 18/16 still seem to be in the clinical trials...

Otakon is held early August.

Feels like it would be a race to be able to hold a Convention in the traditional way we think of Conventions being held in August 2021.

Also, I don't know if a reduced size convention can even be profitable...
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Greed1914



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 3703
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:39 pm Reply with quote
One of the reasons I opted to roll over my registration to my local convention instead of requesting a refund was because I figured it would already be hurting for cash. Even with roll over registrations, that is money on hand, but means not getting new registrations the next time.

Even with vaccinations, it will still take time to administer, and that doesn't mean that rushing out to a gathering of thousand of people would be a good idea, especially with new strains popping up.
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Aresef



Joined: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 687
Location: MD
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:42 pm Reply with quote
Яeverse wrote:
USA will have enough vaccine to vaccinate 300mln american's by the end of summer. Summer ends Sept 22...also we are still only vaccinating like 1.0mln to 1.2mln people per day, and approved vaccines for people under 18/16 still seem to be in the clinical trials...

Otakon is held early August.

Feels like it would be a race to be able to hold a Convention in the traditional way we think of Conventions being held in August 2021.

Also, I don't know if a reduced size convention can even be profitable...


If Otakon were in October, it would maybe be more doable, but even then, it would be an ask.

And just because the US plans to get these doses doesn't mean that the logistics are there to get those shots into arms or that enough people will be willing to get the shot for it to matter. And whether DC, the federal government and international governments like Canada and Japan loosen their restrictions is not necessarily tied to vaccinations directly and may lag behind.

Otakon has a place in my heart. All they had to do was ask and I opened up my wallet. I just hope they can weather this.
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ZeetherKID77



Joined: 17 Jun 2007
Posts: 897
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:57 pm Reply with quote
I almost want to pitch a few dollars at them even though I'm not sure I'll ever get to attend. Hope they can make it.
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invalidname
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Joined: 11 Aug 2004
Posts: 2165
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:04 pm Reply with quote
If your employer (I know, if you have a traditional employer, sorry) matches charitable contributions, search the cause directory to see if it has an entry for “Otakorp”, the non-profilt that runs Otakon. I can see them on benevity.org, and my employer does a 1-for-1 charitable match, so that’ll double my donation.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 4875
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:10 pm Reply with quote
The adminstration may be saying spring-summer herd immunity from the vaccines, some in the CDC have been saying the fall for that. With the current vaccine shortages here in the United States and the European Union the fall might be closer to reality. And that is if the vaccines can handle all the rampant variants.

What bothers me more is that talk of permanent closure of the Otakon convention. The Otakon convention shouldn't have taken a financial bath on the 2020 convention cancellation. Sure there would be some loss, but they should have been protected from major loss due to the COVID declarations. There should be some bank to roll-over into 2022 if necessary.
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azabaro
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Joined: 06 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:14 pm Reply with quote
Aresef wrote:
And just because the US plans to get these doses doesn't mean that the logistics are there to get those shots into arms or that enough people will be willing to get the shot for it to matter. And whether DC, the federal government and international governments like Canada and Japan loosen their restrictions is not necessarily tied to vaccinations directly and may lag behind.

Yeah, articles I've seen say we'll have enough vaccine doses to vaccinate 300 million people by the end of summer, but with current vaccines that's 600 million doses...and the same article claims vaccine shipments to states will be increased to 10 million per week. At that rate we're still looking at 60 weeks to get all those vaccine doses to the states. Obviously they're going to have to speed that up, but many states are already running into logistical challenges just scheduling people for vaccinations.

And as you point out, loosened restrictions will (and probably should) trail vaccination. Really, we need to wait until a large number of people are vaccinated, then try reopening a bit at a time, giving any region 3-4 weeks to see if that level of reopening causes any new case surges. So even 100% vaccination by Labor Day would mean we shouldn't expect to be back to normal before late October at best. I just don't see much prospect for conventions this year, save possibly for very tiny ones very late in the year.

Which I suppose means it's time for me to donate to Otakon.
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omoikane



Joined: 03 Oct 2005
Posts: 445
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Aresef wrote:
And just because the US plans to get these doses doesn't mean that the logistics are there to get those shots into arms or that enough people will be willing to get the shot for it to matter. And whether DC, the federal government and international governments like Canada and Japan loosen their restrictions is not necessarily tied to vaccinations directly and may lag behind.

Another factor is age. The FDA authorization for Modena vaccine only allows for people age 18+ and 16+ for the Pfizer/BNT vaccine, because the testing for those people group is slower. By the time 12-17 yos are allowed the vaccines maybe distribution is not a problem anymore, but it won't be soon given how late those studies started.

I don't know what % of people at a con are under 18yo but it's not a small group of people.
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DerekL1963
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Joined: 14 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:20 pm Reply with quote
I'm part of a (not anime) group that's put on an annual fundraiser for the club for nearly forty years... Thirty odd years ago, we made the decision to prioritize putting aside enough seed money to hold the event twice, plus an operating reserve... (It's outdoors at a time of the year when the weather can be dicey and we can't really move the date.)

And people have spent decades b*tching and moaning about the money we have in the bank and the often penny-pinching ways of the old heads in the club. (We were all around in the early days and know why this policy exists in the first place... and how a couple of years we've barely broken even on the event due to weather.)

The 2020 event was cancelled, and at the business meeting next week everyone pretty much expects the 2021 event to be formally cancelled. (I saw "formally", because in truth the Organizing Board has been slow-walking preps, all but certain this was coming.)

If COVID hadn't also shut down the events the fundraiser was meant to fund, we'd be in a world of hurt. Even as it is, the timing of the income event vs. the timing of restarting of the expense events is going to take some thinking and planning.

NOTE: I understand how big events work, and I am not in any way saying or even implying Otakon screwed up. (Our situation is kind of unique.) I'm just venting because I'm getting so tired of all the goings-on and the multiple failures that have brought us to this condition. I want to be working my ass off for the event. I want to be with my friends, old and new.
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Posts Sometimes



Joined: 27 Jul 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:49 pm Reply with quote
Even if it'll be safe enough to hold a convention by early August (and that's an optimistic thing to expect with the current vaccination stuggles), there's no way Otakon would bring in as much money as usual this year anyway. Even after COVID is under control, it'll take time for the economy to get back to normal. There's going to be some amount of people who just won't be able to afford to go even if the con is held, but Otakon's expenses would still be about the same. That can't be good for Otakon's long-term outlook.
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AJ (LordNikon)



Joined: 14 Apr 2009
Posts: 401
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:48 pm Reply with quote
@DerekL1963

You point is correct. I am an old timer, maybe older than you by few decades, but I spent time living in America on and off for past seven decades and use to do much in local anime and sci-fi cons in the 1980s. This was how we did it. We always had double or triple funds we need to ensure we cover emerges, plus seed following year. By time I was relocated back home to Japan in 1990s (my grand kids stayed in America, in Central Maryland), new generation came in angry we were cheap with funds. The idea of "rainy day funds" seemed insane to them. After I left one of the cons I chaired on went broke in two years due to orgy of spending.

I use to love Otakon, but would NEVER go to one today. It has become too big and lost its soul. Katsukon is now just as bad. If go to a con today in America, it wold be Nekocon.
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Aresef



Joined: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 687
Location: MD
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:08 pm Reply with quote
omoikane wrote:
Another factor is age. The FDA authorization for Modena vaccine only allows for people age 18+ and 16+ for the Pfizer/BNT vaccine, because the testing for those people group is slower. By the time 12-17 yos are allowed the vaccines maybe distribution is not a problem anymore, but it won't be soon given how late those studies started.

I don't know what % of people at a con are under 18yo but it's not a small group of people.


This is a very very important point.
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 2543
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:17 pm Reply with quote
Otakon has been my main anime convention since 2005. This is very sad
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Psycho 101
Oscar the Grouch
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Joined: 14 Aug 2006
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Location: Inn of the Last Home
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:44 pm Reply with quote
My question is what happened to the proceeds from 2019? I get that the proceeds for each year help set up for the next subsequent year. Well, there was no 2020 con. So shouldn't they still have the funds from 2019 that they would've used for 2020 to use now for 2021? Or for 2022? Where did those proceeds from 2019 go?

On the one hand I think for a while now Otakon has become too big for itself and far too snobbish with how it treats domestic guests as opposed to foreign guests. I have heard far too many bad stories from friends who are volunteers or staff. I also know the customer service quality has steadily dropped in recent years as well. On the other hand, minus a few missed years I've gone every year since 2002 as I live in MD. So this would sadden me. I like the dichotomy between going to a large convention like this and a smaller one like Nekocon in VA.
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Aresef



Joined: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 687
Location: MD
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:57 pm Reply with quote
Psycho 101 wrote:
My question is what happened to the proceeds from 2019? I get that the proceeds for each year help set up for the next subsequent year. Well, there was no 2020 con. So shouldn't they still have the funds from 2019 that they would've used for 2020 to use now for 2021? Or for 2022? Where did those proceeds from 2019 go?


If you look up their form 990s (available up through 2019), it’s clear what happened. Vegas happened. The 2015 dive happened. The move happened—and attendance had not yet taken full advantage of the new square footage. It’s entirely possible that if the world had ended in, say, 2022 instead of 2020, Otakon very well might not be in this position at this point in the recovery. Who knows? But if Otakorp ended 2019 in the black, it would only have gained back several years of red ink.

I can’t speak for Otakorp, but people who can have said there are costs Otakorp owes whether there is a convention or not—legal, accounting, storage etc. And they have to plan for the 2021 con without the cash flow they would normally be getting from registration and exhibitors at this point.

Now, I gave. And I gave without hesitation. And Otakon does have a panel every year about the state of the nonprofit. But I think I do want to know more, to the extent possible, about how bad things are, what could have been done to avoid this and what Otakorp is doing to right the fiscal ship. If that means a few lean cons, so be it.
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