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Xchasingtailsx

Troubles at London Film and Comic Con- an open letter:

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Do you think they care? I'm still waiting for a response, explanation even an apology form the organisers. They absolutely raked it in this weekend with little or no concern about their customers, especially us old skool who remember turning up at earls court at their shows in the beginning and it was that empty you could play football in there!

Give them a chance - I'm sure we will hear something but they have to be given time to work it all out.

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Do you think they care? I'm still waiting for a response, explanation even an apology form the organisers. They absolutely raked it in this weekend with little or no concern about their customers, especially us old skool who remember turning up at earls court at their shows in the beginning and it was that empty you could play football in there!

 

But as it has been explained numerous of times, they are closing the show down today, they need to gather feedback from the crews and others involved and have a discussion. Until they have ALL the facts they cannot give a proper statement. Jason will make one once they are able to.

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"General comment - if people have a concern about something like that then please raise it at the earliest opportunity with an appropriate person. Saying about it after the event just means that nothing can be done at the time. That applies to anything in life."

 

Except one of the problems with the weekend was that most of the crew, redshirts and blueshirts, that I asked questions of could not answer them. Pretty basic questions, too - where general areas were, etc. If your experience of crew that they are lovely but cannot cope with anything beyond their immediate task, then it seems pretty pointless reporting anything else, as they aren't in a position to do anything about it.

 

This isn't a criticism of the crew - nobody can know everything. It's just saying "raise it at the earliest opportunity with an appropriate person" means nothing if there are no appropriate people anywhere accessible.

 

May I suggest that there be a separate group of crew, perhaps half-a-dozen wearing hi-viz sashes over their crew shirts (or something), all armed with walkie-talkies, whose sole purpose is to walk around looking for where there are obvious problems, and sort them out, and who are the people to go to in an emergency (ie: someone has fainted, not someone has missed their photo shoot)?

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May I suggest that there be a separate group of crew, perhaps half-a-dozen wearing hi-viz sashes over their crew shirts (or something), all armed with walkie-talkies, whose sole purpose is to walk around looking for where there are obvious problems, and sort them out, and who are the people to go to in an emergency (ie: someone has fainted, not someone has missed their photo shoot)?

 

I too thank that would be a good idea and may solve many of the problems that occurred during this weekend.

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I would gladly volunteer for a role with a radio head set for in return a free selection of photoshoots and a trip to the Green room!

 

As a seasoned Convention attendee (not just Showmasters as I was attending stuff back in the late 80's early 90's long before anyone heard of them) I wouldn't mind being on the other side of the fence for a change to get a perspective of what it might be like

 

Oh and before anyone asks I have two teenage daughters so therefore you cannot scare or intimidate me ;)

 

SiFi

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Afternoon,

 

A lot of emphasis on reading (not all) the comments on this thread (that would take me all evening) are strongly directed at the H+S of the event

 

I, as stated Saturday, did not attend and have no idea what the place was like

 

Does anyone have any photos of the said locked fire exists or photos taken of the crowds inside

 

A picture says a thousand words.

 

I would assume SM would have a H+S policy together with a PLI policy in case of any incident that would involve injury to guests fans and staff either that a disclaimer would have to be clearly marked

 

So far my encounters with SM's events have been a 70/30 good and not so good result

 

SiFi

I can believe the majority of their events are great. This one is an exception perhaps for all I know, but I and others still feel it needs addressing.

 

It is good to know the majority are good though!

Those doors are not normally locked and I have no idea why they were this time. The Earls Court staff were just hovering there and not all that approachable. That's usually the "escape the con for a bit" place, and we couldn't even get into the tiled bit between the inside and outside doors.

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I have epilepsy and at 1 point i felt like i was going to have a panick atack or a fit if i didnt get outside quick. one of the showmaster staff said its ok to just go outside for a minute vie the fire escape door whitch was open but the earls court staff member was very rude and made me go back inside even though he had heard i was in distress. surely when there are so many people and people are in distress they could atleast let them outside for just a minute.

 

this is a complaint of the earls court staff not the showmaster volunteers.

Edited by stargate geek emily

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well i thought id share my experience..

set off from preston at 5.45am,started queing at just before 9am...got in just after 12pm,as i got to the paying desk..i could have just walked in unchecked,nobody took my ticket or even checked it! i only realised this after i got in and had watched the doors for a few mins,then i realised i could have done it..3 hours ago!!

too many people in the venue!!

 

set up id say on paper for a less busy event would have worked better,what did SM expect??

 

VQ tickets..a let down,i managed to blag my way into most stars with a ticket of much higher number than what was on the boards.

Did the boards change in time correctly?? carrie fisher seemed to be on 100-150 for like 3 hours!!

 

The people i met were all chatty and good experiences..billy dee event spoke for like 2 seconds!!

milo ventimiglia was brilliant,femi taylor also.

 

one thing i did notice that realy did get on my goatie was the amount of comic/super hero fans just hanging around where the movie/tv stars were and people queing for them...for what seemed no reason at all!! (lack of areas to chill but jesus..the wrong place on sat)

 

I have noticed over the last few years in genral at these type of events is that they are growing regardless to who is on as they are mixed about with movie/tv/sport/comic/gaming/authors/magna etc etc..isnt it time to segragate these events..tv/movie/sport #1 event and the rest another event or even draw the venue up so you have one thing at one end another bunch at the other and stalls etc in the middle..or use both halls at earls court..they would have been filled this weekend.

 

I only go to events for movie/tv/sport..so anything else there is of no intrest what so ever,the more ppl i talk to it seems the same thing or vice versa with comic stuff etc etc so for me the devide needs to be there in such big events,it would have cut alot of the hussle and bustle and B.O out lol

 

we came out after 3 hours to what was as just a bigger que as when i went in,must have been at least 700 people who i could see were not going to be getting in at all!

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I'm of the view that complaints are easy to ignore and the show organisers are neither stupid nor want to do us harm. I'm also of the view that this was a troubled event to say the least and none of us want to repeat the experience next time out so I'm going to try and offer suggestions, not just complaint.

 

I had an ok experience and attended Saturday only. I think the only reason I had an ok experience was that I wasn't trying to do anything Stan Lee related and have no interest in photo shoots. This year it was an all day task to get 7 autos (only one from a "big name" - John Hurt) and look at the dealer stalls. I also had a prepaid early bird ticket (for the first time ever) I'm normally a pay on the door type. So very glad I didn't try that this year.

 

1. The current ticket system does not work for an event this size.

 

The way tickets are sold means that there's an advantage to buying in advance and getting an early bird ticket BUT we all know the real rate limiting factor to how well your day goes is the numbers on your VQ tickets. So many people knew that this year and there were so many guests that the early bird prepaid line stretched right around the building by 8.30 and was well and truly folded and doubled back by 9am. You've created a need to be in the hall early, not just at the event in good time. That's a system that rewards "ungentlemanly" conduct towards others.

 

I hadn't foreseen that. I've been to loads of these events before and 2 years ago the line was very manageable at 8.15am. I'd expected it to be longer this year but not that long.

 

I hate to suggest this, I really do, I'm too laid back to be organised and I tend to believe things will work out just fine whatever time I turn up during the day, but I think the event needs to move to a limited number of tickets that are only available in advance.

 

I also think you're going to have to figure out a way of distributing the VQ tickets online too. You hurt no-one by getting to a point late in the day where the lines go to open queue but you frustrate people who are 1000th in the prepaid early bird queue at 8.15am when they think they've done as much as possible to be organised.

 

2. The venue is poorly designed for the event.

 

A rival company uses Excel. A trip there is very pleasant compared to Earl's court. There is a shedload of room in the hallway outside the halls where A LOT of people can gather for cosplay photos and on a nice day so much room outside that everyone can find somewhere cool to stand and people watch while waiting for VQ tickets or to hang with their friends and take photos to their hearts content - and no main roads 100 yards from the front door.

 

I bear cosplayers no ill will, you make the event more colourful and add to the atmosphere. I like you being there but with nowhere easy to gather either inside or outside the venue for photos it must have been limited fun for you - especially the girls who had Mario kart costumes. how the hell did you move at all on saturday?

 

The down side of Excel is that there is a lot less queuing room outside the halls to get in.

 

Maybe you could hire two or three halls,

One for guests and autographs and photo shoots where no-one is trying to cross the hall and the queues have a bit of space to breathe.

One for dealers and stands

Maybe even one for your associated events, like cosplay and YA lit conferences.

 

Every one of your halls could also do with one empty corner where people can gather and sit down when they're determined to and not be in the way. I personally learned a lot about YA literature because I was determined to sit down and that was the only bit of floor I could find where I wasn't in the way or surrounded by others.

 

3. Your volunteers are generally nice people but even nice people get cranky when things get out of control and they don't know how to fix them.

 

My biggest problem on Saturday was Summer Glau's signing queue. I got VQ ticket 398 and she was my third stop. I got to the guardian of her tickets about 4 or 5 mins after getting into the hall. I was in the early bird prepaid entry queue a short way before it doubled back on itself (Just before it reached right around the venue)

 

398 isn't awful. I figured I'd get my auto mid afternoon and that was a fairly good guess.

I kept a close watch on the queue though. She had an early photo shoot (or something ) and didn't start signing until about 10.30 At first the queue was going slowly and predictably. I'm cool with that. She was paying a lot of attention to people meeting her and nice guests tend to sign slowly sometimes. Fair enough. No complaints from me about guests being too nice. Then I took my eye off her queuet for what can't have been too long and it had suddenly jumped up to 400 and she was going for lunch at about 1. When she returned at about 3.00 (from somewhere) the tickets wereup to 500 and 45 mins before this a long queue had started forming.

 

Your guests are generally nice people too, but we get worried when we start to see something going wrong and the longer her queue got the more people joined it because we all know that once a queue gets out of hand your volunteers are going to start doing random things like closing it and we want in before that happens. Then we were in the way of the Jason queue or something and the whole section of the hall was filled with loads of people all standing still while herds of people tried to get from one side of us to the other.

 

I guess my suggestion here is that your volunteers need at least enough training to know that jumping VQs forward by big numbers catches us out and causes problems. You also need enough authority and reinforcements to reduce the queues when necessary. I had ticket 398 and loads of people around me were below 300. I would have hated it if you'd decided to reduce the number from 500 to 300 and then go back up in small numbers but you would have solved the problem that way.

 

If you want to get really adventurous you need to go higher tech though. You could do with a big "train departures board" that's visible from most of the hall that can update your VQ numbers. It would have saved me taking up space in your queuing areas as I periodically trekked back and forwards to see if it was my turn.

 

4. Gold. silver, platinum, ruby and unobtainium tickets

 

Just to say please don't try to solve the problems with extra special tickets. I understand why you have them, I understand you like money and some people like to be special, I even understand most of the people who like to be special are nice. Just saying these events are best when they remember they're about fandom and community. I guess you wouldn't be running them if you didn't share those values. Try and hang on to them and ensure everyone has a good experience. Too many tickets that guarantee you get what you want suggests you don't have much faith that everyone should if possible. You don't need special tickets if the event works.

 

 

Anyway, that's my attempt at thinking about solutions rather than focusing on complaint.

 

Without a few new ideas we'll happily play our part in breaking the system even more. If we don't trust the system by the next big event then queuing will start at 6am, be out of hand by 7 and awful by 8.

 

I really don't want to have to queue at 3am in 2 years time.

 

Craig

Edited by Wiskel
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I save up for months for a Gold Pass for LFACC - its my one treat for the year. Its not a matter of feeling special. As a person who gets very stressed over little things, the pass means as less stress as possible and long may it continue. We are fans as well.

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Sunday - My first and last LFCC, firstly the venue is really poorly sign posted, especially when you get there to see where the correct car parks are, not show masters fault but an issue for us who do not drive in London much.

Got there around 8.15 after trying to find my way in, found some of my mates in the non ticket queue, who had been there for a while. I walked round the massive early bird queue and stood in line, when I got in my mates who had no tickets said they had been in some time. Hey how's that, I had the early bird and they had no tickets. Went straight in to the comic hall to get a Stan Lee VT autograph ticket and by 9.20ish no more tickets and mine was 850 something. Maybe if those who couldn't be bothered to buy advance tickets , we're let in after us then would have has half a chance to get to see Stan. Around 10am I asked the guy standing outside Stan's signing bit, what time he thought I would get to see Stan on a 850+ ticket he said there was no chance of me seeing him! I also had a pre paid photo ticket again 850 something, showed him that and basically said I may as well just go home now and not waste my time, as I wasn't going to get anything full stop.

Went back to the main hall and spoke with the lady in charge there, she said if I had a per paid photo ticket then 100% I would get a photo. What if I had just gone as I was told told, some serious staffing issues there I recon. She did say my photo would be in the last later slot, but I had to meet my mate again and they actually got to number then. Poor Stan looked very tired. And not surprising with over 900 photos in a couple of hours. They did say to go back at 2pm for autographs, but said my number wouldn't come round, infact Stan was too tired to do any more and that's fair enough given the last three days.

I really left this con with a bad taste in my mouth and will not return. The whole thing by the sounds of it was a shambles. This event needs to look at Memorabillia and Expo and see how it's done

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I have no problem with people choosing to buy expensive tickets - my point is purely that if an event runs well they shouldn't be needed.

 

My apologies if I phrased it badly. "Special" probably wasn't a good choice of word.

 

There's a big difference between an expensive ticket being a more pleasant way to spend the day and it being the only way to get what you want. I'd hate showmasters to think that was the way to solve this year's problems

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What happened to the Facts not drama thread with 7 pages of complaints yesterday? has it been deleted?

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Dear SM apologists, please note: I was wearing a low factor sun cream due to the fact I have never burnt before in my life yet I burnt on Saturday. I had three one litre bottles of water with me despite the fact I very rarely drink but I guzzled them in the queue, as well as offering them to others who had no water. I brought a massive packed lunch but still became exhausted. I also DID NOT HAVE THE OPTION TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE, I had no other option but to queue on the day! I got the earliest coach possible from my station at 3:45am and arrived at Earl's Court at 8:30am. I cannot afford an £80 round trip train fare.

How is it my fault when I came pretty damn well prepared for a hot day?

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I save up for months for a Gold Pass for LFACC - its my one treat for the year. Its not a matter of feeling special. As a person who gets very stressed over little things, the pass means as less stress as possible and long may it continue. We are fans as well.

 

I have found many of those who have them, also have many more photos to get to them than the average con goer, so for them this pass is extremely helpful in getting everything done in a timely fashion!

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Dear SM apologists, please note: I was wearing a low factor sun cream due to the fact I have never burnt before in my life yet I burnt on Saturday. I had three one litre bottles of water with me despite the fact I very rarely drink but I guzzled them in the queue, as well as offering them to others who had no water. I brought a massive packed lunch but still became exhausted. I also DID NOT HAVE THE OPTION TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE, I had no other option but to queue on the day! I got the earliest coach possible from my station at 3:45am and arrived at Earl's Court at 8:30am. I cannot afford an £80 round trip train fare.

How is it my fault when I came pretty damn well prepared for a hot day?

Please don't call me that, I don't appreciate it. Even so, SM do not control the weather, they do not control the number of people who turn up to pay on the day, they do not control what time people turn up! Perhaps they do control how long people wait, but they can not let people in, if people do not leave.

Edited by MrsEllacott

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Dear SM apologists, please note: I was wearing a low factor sun cream due to the fact I have never burnt before in my life yet I burnt on Saturday. I had three one litre bottles of water with me despite the fact I very rarely drink but I guzzled them in the queue, as well as offering them to others who had no water. I brought a massive packed lunch but still became exhausted. I also DID NOT HAVE THE OPTION TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE, I had no other option but to queue on the day! I got the earliest coach possible from my station at 3:45am and arrived at Earl's Court at 8:30am. I cannot afford an £80 round trip train fare.

How is it my fault when I came pretty damn well prepared for a hot day?

 

Please don't call me that, I don't appreciate it. Even so, SM do not control the weather, they do not control the number of people who turn up to pay on the day, they do not control what time people turn up! Perhaps they do control how long people wait, but they can not let people in, if people do not leave.

Agreed, I bet they would not like me calling them a SM basher, if they let more people in then people would complain, as someone who arrived at 7.30am and got everything done (one of the first 10 people to meet Milo Ventimiglia for an autograph) I had a lovely time (he remembered me in the photoshoot) I can't complain. By calling me an apologist you are essentially aiming at people like me who enjoyed the event. Personally as you said you only had a low factor sun cream, you can't particularly blame SM for that decision, or the bottled water as other people should have brought it. I agree it was packed but I personally enjoyed the event as I got to have a wonderful Experiance and I have been attending since LFCC 2012 and look forward to the next event (GIVE US MORE HEROES GUESTS :D also Milo Ventimiglia is more than welcome again) (Man Crush :D)

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Perhaps its a little overkill but we always print off guest lists, talks, schedules, prices, times etc. And on this occasion and all previous, Showmasters did and usually always do put all of this info up on this Forum including the building layouts, the queueing system for each type of ticket holder (admittedly that was a little hap-hazard even for us early bird holders). My younger daughter and I got in with not to much trouble, but my eldest and her friends did not have early birds queued for some time then gave up. I have attended their Conventions for several years now with my family and friends, Saturday was the only time I felt like I wouldn't do it again. In my experience there is always more then sufficient info on the Forum. We went on the Sunday without early birds and it was a completely different experience from the day before, we had minimum wait did not feel too flustered, saw who we needed to see with exception of Stan and are now awaiting the Winter Con. We have been to another Convention (not showmasters) and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. This was probably an experiment Showmasters wont try again.

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With regards to the comments about Showmasters not being able to control the number of people who turn up, note that such events as this are getting more popular, more mainstream.

Attendance to all these events, not just the ones Showmasters put on, have been increasing for years. When I first started going to such events it was small scale to how it is today. Ultimatly Collectormania had to move out of the Centre MK shopping centre because it out grew the venue - not a bad thing, just a sign of how these events have grown.

Over time they have attracted an more diverse group of attendee that when I first started to go, more females,young, old and family. (It was rare to see someone of a penionable age to be an attendee, if at all, when I first started to go).

The queue on Saturday is more than likely no longer going to be an exception, as these events grow in popularity. Showmasters know that, so they can do things.

As people have suggested previously make such events advance ticket only, or have a bigger venue (like Collectormaina moving from the Centre MK shopping centre to Stadium MK football stadium), if tickets are going to be available on the door, better queue management.

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I think next year will be smaller than this year, remember a lot of new people attended this years for Stan Lee

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Good video of the queue lengths (not mine)

 

thanks for posting..i should beable to find myself somewhere with a lost look on my face hahah x

I see me! I look well impressed. I joined when it was half this size- it was 4 hours then... I say that queue looks more like 14 hours lol!

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I know people are saying the fire doors were chained. Have any pictures been posted of this? Just asking as I've seen on facebook people saying the police turned up sunday to tell showmasters to turn the air con lol. Just wonder if it was another rumour as I seen a few stupid ones posted over the weekend..

Edited by jediwarrior

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