Why go to a convention, what is a fan-run convention, why should I stay at the hotel, and how can I help? What should I wear and bring?
Why should I want to go to a convention?
There are many reasons people enjoy going to an Anime convention such as A-Kon. If you like to watch Anime movies, television shows, read manga or comics, or play games, you would probably have a great time at A-Kon. According to our survey, most people who come to A-Kon like to meet the creators of their favorite Anime item, but other reasons include meeting other fans, shopping in the dealers room or art show, meeting writers & artists, taking workshops and more.
What does it mean that Project: A-Kon® is a “fan-run” convention?
There are many types of conventions (Anime, Star Trek, media, literary, relaxacon’s, etc.), but generally they fall into two categories: Professional – one run by a business as a business (such as Creation Con, Slanted Fedora). These usually have a few, big-name (and expensive) guests other cons cannot afford, are run in multiple cities, but have very limited programming, hours, dealers, etc. They are generally also run as a business for a profit. They tend to be rather cold, and impersonal. They rarely have an Art Show, Gaming Rooms, KonSuite, 24hr Video Rooms, or any events that do not give them a chance to make a big profit. While some on staff may be science fiction fans, all staff members are paid employees. Fan-Run conventions are those run by fan clubs or other groups of fans (such as Phoenix Entertainment). Many have very few guests (or ones from their local area) but have a lot of programming, parties, a wide variety of events, and other pluses. They are usually run with the goal of breaking even or making a small profit instead of a big one. Every bit of money made usually goes back into the convention (such is the case with A-Kon) and few staff members, (if any!) Including the chair people, are paid.
Project: A-Kon® is in the process of evolving into a strange mix of these two (I’m starting to think of it as Semipro). Though it will always have the strongest fan-run influence, rising costs of airfare, hotels and guests have made it necessary to find ways of funding such as sponsors and somewhat increase our profit margin. We will always maintain our philosophy of creating first and foremost a fun event for fans by fans, but it is now impossible for the convention chair people to pay for the convention (or many of it’s costs) from their personal bank accounts and allow the convention to follow it’s natural growth and development. We were faced with holding the development back and keeping A-Kon very small, or letting it lose to grow into what has been evolving as it’s fans and attendees have wanted over the past few years. We decided to give you, the fans, what you want – a great, multimedia show with great guests but still all the fun of it’s smaller days. We are working hard to keep the con friendly and fun and not charge and arm and a leg, yet not go broke in the process. We think we have been succeeding in this so far and promise you we will continue to do everything possible to insure we do. Of course, we do expect some “growth pangs” over the next few years and there are always problems that crop up from time to time. We hope you’ll stay with us as we feel our way.
Why should I stay at the host hotel if I live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area? Why is the hotel so expensive? Are there other hotels I can stay at?
There are several reasons you may want to stay at our host hotel even if you live within 100 miles of it. First of all, A-Kon’s programming runs around the clock, 24 hours a day. You may want to do something until the wee hours of the morning (or at the wee hours!) And not want to drive Home. Or you may want to party with friends and drink in which case you should not drive Home! Splitting a hotel room with friends is a great way to increase your enjoyment of the convention and can be a great vacation for you!
Also, staying at our host hotel really helps the convention. Many conventions have deals with the hotel to fill x number of sleeping rooms. If they make this total, they may receive a discount on the convention space rental, which allows them to pass cost savings on to you in terms of membership fees. A-Kon® always strives to negotiate the lowest possible room price with it’s host hotel. You should bear in mind, however, that due to A-Kon®’s size and requirements for all the space we need for the great programming we offer, we cannot use bargain basement hotels. The hotels that have enough convention meeting room space for us generally have rates near or above $100 per night. We will get this as low as possible and will try to make some arrangement with lower-priced hotels in the area with shuttle service between them as well. Please try to stay at one of these hotels to help us out! And remember, you can have multiple people in your room to help split costs! This can be a great way to afford the host hotel with the convenience of not having to drive, wait for the shuttle, or walk to the convention location and have time to visit with your friends too!
How can I help?
First of all, you can support us as early as possible by pre-registering for our upcoming convention. The advance sales help us better determine our budget and have funds available as early as possible to help get lower airfares, increase our advertising, print more flyers, etc.
You can also make your hotel reservation as early as possible preferably in our host hotel, or one of our secondary hotels. This helps us figure out as early as possible if we will meet our room block commitments with the hotel and perhaps, negotiate better some other points with them.
You might like to work on staff. There is no pay, but we do offer as many perks as we can to those who help us out!
You can distribute flyers or other advertising material in your area. Just E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know the number of flyers per month you think you can distribute. Be sure to look for places like comic book or sci-fi stores, book stores, coffee shops, and other areas near you that might let you put them out. Some colleges and schools will also let you put out flyers.
What should I wear or bring?
Dress is casual (jeans & tee shirt for example) or you might want to wear a costume. We give prizes for the best costumes worn to the convention! Remember all costumes should cover the vital areas and not be considered inappropriate for children to see! There should be no exposed nipples or other private parts. If in doubt, bring a cloak, other covering, or alternate costume you can change into. We also suggest you wear comfortable shoes! Nonfunctional weapons may be worn or carried as part of your costume (such things as knives, swords, etc.) but will need to be checked by security before it may be carried throughout the convention and may be subject to other restrictions depending on the item. Be prepared to leave it in your room or car if needed.
We suggest you bring any items you’d like our guests to autograph for you (books, photos, etc.), as well as a bag to carry your purchases. You might also want to bring a camera or a video camera (though some events may be restricted from filming depending on arrangements with our guests). If you are a gamer, bring your favorite characters, dice, decks, etc. Many hotels may not allow you to bring in outside food or drink – you might want to check with them first.Survival Tips for Con Going