answers to some of the comments about the event
Posted 04 September 2007 - 07:55 PM
We are sorry if you had any bad experiences over the weekend or did not get everything you wanted at the event.
As with every show we will be having a de-brief with the senior volunteer crew and and heads of each department to discuss what did and didn't work, and we will look at what needs changing and how to evolve and grow with the needs of the event and the attendees. This show was a lot like Collectormania 4 with the LOTR guests; we learned a lot from that event and changed quite a few ways we run things, and we promise
we will be doing the same thing with this event and will make sure we get the problems ironed out for next year.
We do feel that considering the amount of extra people attending this year the event held up pretty well but we know lots can be done to improve your experience, and you can be reassured that what we really want is to run fun events for people to enjoy. We will learn from this weekend's event and improve it for future shows. For instance we will now be re-inventing how we manage the lines so we can accommodate larger amounts of people and the bigger guests that we are now able to bring to the events.
Now let me answer some of your specific questions and explain what and why things happened:
1 - the venue (Earls Court 1 upstairs).
This was not our first choice of venue but as we had to change the date we had no other option. When we checked out the area for the first time without the walls up we felt that the lighting was fine for what we needed. On the set up day the lights were only on half strength and it was quite dark, but as we had seen the lights on full beforehand we felt it would be fine on once we opened and they were on full strength. When we opened on Saturday and we were all surprised that the lighting was quite dim in several places and soon worked out that it was because of the false walls around the balcony edge stopping the light from travelling through from the central hall.
We will not be using this hall again! We will be back in Earls Court 2 next year.
2 - queuing and admission into the show.
If the show had a similar amount of attendance as last year as anticipated and the entrance was as big as the Earls Court 2 entrance, then we would have opened it the way it should have happened and the same way as last year (both pre-paid and pay on day entering the building at the same time). But the attendance was not the same as last year, there were far more who decided to go for early entry this year rather than for standard entry.
First thing in the morning our security and door crew had a meeting to discuss the number of people waiting to get in and felt that there were potential health and safety problems and we needed to be safe rather than sorry. It was decided that the escalators at the entrance were too narrow to allow that many people into the venue at once and we could not allow both pre-paid and on the day early attendees to enter at the same time. This could have lead to a bottleneck in the downstairs foyer which could have become dangerous and lead to a crush. It was advised by the security team that we change the way we let people into the building and we accepted this as the safe and correct option. Despite any criticism we feel this was the right thing to do and stand by it. This was implemented on Saturday and there were no incidences or accidents of any kind reported, so we felt it was a successful strategy for the large amount of people attending the show.
At the end of the day we discussed it again with security and the stewards and it was felt that in fact the escalators could handle the crowds well and the fact that the number of people paying of entry programmes on the day helped regulate the flow of people coming in to the foyer. And so it was decided that we would go back to the original way of admitting the public, with both pre-paid and pay on the day let in at the same time.
So now you know what we know. However, as we are returning to EC2 next time this should not be an issue and any other problems with admission will be resolved for future events.
3 - No chill space for the public to hang out.
There were several spaces planned where fans could just chill, similar to what we do at Empire Days and what we did At Collectormania Glasgow where we opened up some seating.
However this plan had to be abandoned on Friday when we redesigned the hall to accomodate the new Heroes guests and the spaces for the crowds waiting to see them. As we had started to get coverage on national tv thanks to Hayden and the other guests mentioning it to nearly everybody they talked to we realised we may have a problem with the amount of people potentially attending the show and had to find space to accommodate them. It was decided to open up the aisles to safely hold the volume of attendees and make it easer to get from A to B, which it did do but unfortunately at the loss of these fan areas.
We want you to have a good time at the events we run and know that this type of space is important to the people attending. We do intend to have them at future events and are sorry we had to take them away for this show.
4 - The photo shoot with Adrian and Milo.
This was a very last minute decision to hold it, but we thought it was best to hold a photo shoot for several reasons. Firstly, a great many people had asked for one and we wanted to give their fans the opportunity to have their photo taken with them.
And secondly, by having a seperate photo session we were able to make the autograph session move quicker and allow more fans to meet them.
People insisting on trying to get a posed photo at the table can slow the line down to more than half its potential speed meaning that less than half of the fans would not even get the chance to meet the guest. Just think of the amount of time it takes for the guest to get up and lean over the table, the fan/s to arrange themselves around him, then getting their cameras ready, take off the lens cap, wait for the flash to warm up, etc. Then the first shot not working porperly so having to go through it all again for a second shot. Whereas with the photo session the camera is ready, the guests are already posed, and the photo is taken by a professional photographer who will make sure a good shot is taken first time. It may seem like a small thing, but it is far less stressful for the guest not having to sit and stand constantly and just imagine if you were at the end of that slow moving queue and still never got the chance to meet the guest just because fans further down the queue were holding things up with an impromptue photo session of their own.
So it was decided that a proper photo session would be in the best interests for everybody. We built another photo shoot area so we could run two shoots at the same time and decided on a group shoot (it would have been impossible to run two seperate photo sessions in the time frame and felt it was unfair to have photos with one guest and not the other), and we convinced everybody to set the price at £30 instead of the £40 it would normally have been for the two of them. And it seemed that it was all working well.
But unfortunately we had not realised that with all the last minute planning we had not talked to the photo lab to see if the extra volume of photos would be processed in time, and only when we got the first batch to them did they start to red light the problem. We had already paid extra to the lab to stay open on the Sunday for us, which they did and were very helpful throughout, but the extra load meant that they would not have them ready by the close of the event. We also had a back up photo lab on standby (something we had learnt from a previous Collectormania) in case of problems with the first lab, but as we did not need it all weekend and there were no problems at all with photo development we did not talk to them about staying open late. So unfortunately by the time we realised the first photo lab could not cope with the volume the second lab had already closed for the day.
And so we took the decision not to try to rush through the development the photos that day and risk causing more problems by compromising the quality of the photos, but instead to post them out to the customers the next week. This was the best way we could see to resolve an unforseen problem. We are already building a web page to put up thumbnails of the processed photos so you can spot yourself and tell us what number you are and what address to send them to. This should be up and running very soon and we aim to start posting out photographs by the end of this week.
Finally, we know that there were complications with this event, but most of the problems we encountered will be addressed before the next event. Most of them were related to the pure volume of people and we know to make more allowances for this next time. The other element was the hall, but this has already been rectified and we will be in the hall we were in last time, EC2.
We are VERY SORRY if something we did spoilt your day. It's never our intention to spoil your time with us, and we always try our best to run safe and fun events with the biggest names in TV and FILM. We realise that with more public attendance we need more co-ordination and a bigger crew, and with the things we have taken on board we will make the London Film and Comic Con the best event of its kind for everyone.
Thank you all so much for supporting us, without you we would not be doing these events and we always know that you are our bosses. We do take on board your views and thoughts, and appreciate your imput on this event.
Jason, Stuart, Mark, Andrea, Davey, and the Showmasters team.
PS. This is a forum and people are allowed to speak their mind within reason. It is helpful for us to know what worked and what didn't.
But please keep it nice between you. You are all fans and are passionate about your hobbies, and you all had different experiences at the events. It does help us to make the show better if we know of the negative as well as the positive experiences.
And the best way to deal with the odd person who only want to stir up trouble is for everybody not to bite and just ignore them. These small handful of people just come on here to cause upset and try to damage our shows, and by stiring up arguements they force other forum users to become defensive and argue back. These trolls sabotage the actual reason for having the forum, which is to provide a place where fans can give their opinions, be they good or bad. So don't let them win by getting into a flame war, just be cool and ignore them.
To those of you who did have a problem, maybe reading what we have written above has answered your questions. We do hope so. But remember you can also email us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will be more than happy to answer you directly about any issues you may have.
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:01 PM
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:05 PM
We all know how high you aim with your standards for the shows, and wanting them to be the best in the country, so hopefully they'll continue to grow in the future and be successful
Just please consider my bank account.
Long signatures mean you're going to Hell.
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:25 PM
Just please consider my bank account.
I'm very scared about C12...
lol, but SM, I have no probs with you, and you've now proved to your critics that you are all decent people who will actually listen to our concerns, rather than 'other' show holders. I had probs with the hall, but that wasn't your fault, and all the other stuff arose from that.
Second *star* to the right, and straight on till morning!!Facebook: monkeyfunkster ........ SArmy member 486!!
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:25 PM
I'll be back next year at our old venue
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:26 PM
I agree that there were things that just went wrong, but am in no way angry. I spoke to some Showmasters people (I dont know who you were though!) and you were so stressed out, I just wanted to give you a hug and tell you it would be fine, just breathe!
I really did have a great time, and I am eagerly awaiting my Adrian&Milo photograph!
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:29 PM
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:30 PM
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:53 PM
Thank you, it wasn't perfect but we will get it right for next time.
Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:55 PM
Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:04 PM
Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:07 PM
I have complaints about many things but i rarely voice them on forums or directly as complaints unless I am really annoyed with something, as i have already stated I felt unwelcome and rushed at this event and felt that SM just wanted to get as many people through as possible.
You have now done what almost no other companies do, you have admitted your faults and addressed them, I expected you to turn tail and make more and more excuses, (which is what i thought when i read the 1st line of this thread it looks like your blaming all the noobs for the fault, but this is not the case) as a con virgin I tried to respect the rules, I didnt stand round waiting retarded for my number to come up to have my Hayden auto, I cecked back every half hour or so then immediately left to browse vendors or whatever so its not all noobs causing the issues some of us try to respect you veterans.
Thankyou for explain the reasons and admitting to your mistakes it is clear to me now that you do care about this community.
After reading this explanation and i guess apology. I now have trust for SM and have booked 2 Gold Programmes for the Eclipse event.
Edit: one thing i would still like to know. Did you feel you had to apologise to the guests (mainly Heroes guests) in any way, i.e . were they expecting so many photos? were they OK with being walked through the hall like royalty. they didn't seem to happy, I hope they were OK with what was asked of them by SM or were they just tired from touring. I hope its the latter because a bat experience at an event like this may prevent them and their co-start attenting future events.
Edited by Deap, 04 September 2007 - 09:12 PM.
Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:09 PM
The venue wasn't the best, but didn't bother me that much.
I’m extremely glad you opened both the doors together for the early birds on the Sunday; I got up at 5am (I didn't even know there was a 5am!) to arrive in the queue to buy tickets on the day just after 7am, doors opening at 10am .... I would have been very pee'd off if that didn't happen.
Got to see all the Heroes guests which was my main priority and all were superb.
All the crew were fantastic in difficult conditions, my hat goes off to them.
I’m now looking forward to C12 (more horror guests please) .... do you have any concerns with the Heroes guests at this event, with it being open to all the public and all , I know they are not probably as high profile as the 4 you've just had, but still it is Heroes?
greatest show ever ~ LFCC12 Gillian Anderson + Jeri Ryan !!!
Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:16 PM
great show look forward to the next thanks showmasters
Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:19 PM
It appears that basically the free advertising that you recieved, created a much larger than anticipated turnout of attendees.
Yes, the hall was not good, and am glad to see that LFCC makes it's return to EC2 next year. If you do plan on having several big guests at next years one, could you please make sure that all cloakrooms are opened, or at least could be opened, depending on demand?
Another user does indeed raise an interesting question, I take it plans are likely to be put in place for the Heroes guests at C12?
As the event or events get bigger, and we get to meet bigger guests, Queues are just something that people may have to get used to though.
Was fantastic to meet the Heroes guests and Madds Mikkelson , any chance of him coming to another event in the future please?
Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:48 PM
I'm not completely sure to understand what exactly changed with the entry admissions. I mean what is the normal rule ? Prepaid early bird then early bird on the day or both at the same time ? I ask this question because I know another event uses the first rule and I thought it was the same with you but apparently I was wrong. In this particular case, we had this strange situation that it was not an advantage to buy an early bird ticket before the event except if you were arriving very early in Earl's court. Of course I understand this has to be done again with the huge amount of attendees and that no system would please everyone.
Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:59 PM
Posted 04 September 2007 - 10:24 PM
see you at the next show.
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