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CreamPye

LFCC 2015 - SOME HONEST FEEDBACK

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I don't normally do this, but as a project and event manager (and geek) myself, and having read many comments on your FB and site, I feel I have to weigh in...

 

Showmasters truly do deserve recognition, and a huge thank you, for securing so many great names for this single event, and allowing thousands of fans to meet them, make new friends and share the LFCC experience. THANK YOU SM!!

 

However, while I know it can't be easy to handle such a massive volume of people, some basic things should be addressed to ensure the best possible EXPERIENCE for everyone (fans, guests and SM themselves)...

 

1. Don't oversubscribe!! Review total ticket and pass allocations, to ensure that all receive the experience they paid for. I understand that numbers (and / or £££) are needed for the event to be commercially viable, but this must never be given priority.

 

2. Manage flows and queues better. While the queue management outside the venue was as good as can be expected, internally it was the complete opposite. Layout, flow, ticket-type / batch prioritisation and general management could be greatly improved, to avoid the chaos (both in the queues and surrounding areas) I witnessed in almost every one I had the horror of joining.

 

3. Address venue entrance security. Particularly later in the day(s), I'm 100% sure that all people weren't being screened as they entered the venue. Consequently, I'm certain that many who hadn't even bought a ticket were able to just walk in, and wouldn't have been factored into SM's calculations for venue capacity etc. This only compounded the issues.

 

4. Better briefing and communication. I was given contradictory / incorrect info. almost every time I had to ask the staff for ANY piece of information, and was once sent round in circles for half an hour. EVERYONE I spoke to had a similar experience. Fully briefing staff pre-event (and daily, to address any issues from the previous days), and improving internal communication between staff, and to the paying public (through better announcements, better maps, perhaps even a mobile event app) would prevent most of these issues... The following quote from a conversation between two SM staff sums this up really... "Ask him (pointing to a colleague)... That's my 'go-to' quote" (to anyone who asks a question).

 

5. Ensure the air conditioning is working correctly. I'm sure the temperature was at least bordering on a health and safely-violating level in a few areas of the venue.

 

Assuming they have an event wash-up meeting (which I pray to god they do), I think this should include representatives from the paying public, to give unbiased feedback and improve the future experience. I'd be happy to volunteer as one of these...

 

Just to clarify... All-in-all, I got everything I wanted from this event, and WILL come back... But DAMN, it was a hard slog!!!

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just adding a bit to the above when staff are briefed they need to know other things and not just about their own particular area. when we need to know something the first reaction is to ask any blue shirt a question.Allmost none of them were any help as 'don't know' leads to more confusion and more annoyance. some Blue shirts didn't even know basic things like wheres the sales desk is or where to pick up passes. surely this is covered at the pre-event meeting, its a basic requirement of staff or at least it should be

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Most times when I asked directions to an area on the floor I was told "ask a red shirt" or sent the wrong way

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Showmasters have recently announced that they are going to book more halls at the Olympia as they plan to make the event even bigger. This is always good BUT ...

I think this is one of the main points to focus on: expanding all the time without settling. I admit that, over time, SM have taken on board the advice we fans have provided here on the forum and things have improved a lot in recent times. However, I feel - my opinion - that when mistakes are made and SM try to rectify them, then expansions (i.e. more super guests, bigger venue, more attendees, etc.) happen and there is not really time to absorb the shock and settle. What they should do is to keep the layout and the magnitude of the current event and stick with it for one or two years so they can have time to improve things properly - and even the less experienced crew members can familiarise with rules etc. Only when problems and complaints will be reduced to a physiological minimum, they should consider to move up to the next higher stage. In short, there should be more time to learn from mistakes.

At Olympia one of the worst things was the movement of people; the place was clearly overcrowded and SM can be rightly praised to have added the stairs in the middle from ground to level 1. However, as it happened, that was not enough - and certainly, one set of stairs between level 1 and 3 is absolutely inadequate for such an event.

I truly hope SM find a way to improve things both from the logistic and safety points of view.

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Attendees have to take some responsibility for the weekend troubles as well. at one stage they were told numerous times to move away from exits, aisles etc but stood there causing a hazard.

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I've been to events where they have a live Twitter feed and each person in charge of each photo shoot has access to it to post which numbers/group/batch need to queue next, introducing something as simple as this would have saved a whole lot of crush and confusion especially around shoot A and that fella may have kept his voice for a bit longer!!!

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I totally agree this weekend was a shambles as far as showmasters are concerned. And I've yet to see any type of coment or apology from them. Very poor

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I totally agree this weekend was a shambles as far as showmasters are concerned. And I've yet to see any type of coment or apology from them. Very poor

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This event should not be any bigger until the queues outside are handled better and circulation inside improved. Changes to stairwells and doors opening onto them need to be resolved as its only an accident waiting to happen. Also for the love of god turn on the air conditioning. I could see both guests and attendees suffering.

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As far as I am aware the air conditioning was on, it only appeared to be somewhat effective on level 3 though.

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Showmasters did amazing? Did you see how many people were there?

 

If u have thousands of people there will always be ques. It was chaos as expected but it was always organised chaos

 

I was also impressed with how pro active Showmasters were. They actually used here brains and changed to help us all in places

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As 1of2 said, it was definitely on - you could clearly feel it in some spots despite it being very hot generally on level 1. Level 3 was quieter as I guess with the lower ceilings the aircon was more effective. There is absolutely no truth whatsoever that the aircon was off.

Edited by hanoigrillo
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Simple things that Showmasters have been told countless times would help MASSIVELY!

 

All the maps needs YOU ARE HERE on them! Even on day 3 it was still not done on them all, I think I saw it on 2 maps scribbled on. Why not all?

 

Also put up signs HIGHER! why put up virtual line and other important information at head height or lower. Once someone is in front of it that 500 people behind cannot read it. It is not rocket science, a 10 foot poke with the info on will be seen from far away.

 

Also Write the info LARGE AND BOLD. So people can see it from a hundred metres away. Again not rocket science, but many photo areas had staff holding up boards to many hundreds of people with tiny writing you cannot see from 6 foot away, never mind at the back of the crowds.

 

Them simple things were mentioned last year, but not implimented. Thus causing chaos. Its not hard to impliment them.

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The photo B,C,D areas were way to small for the amount of people waiting and why was they SO close to the stalls? It ended up being a mass of people (people waiting for photos and people browsing).

 

The Blue shirts were telling people to go away and come back in X number of minutes but the problem was it was taking about 20 minutes just to get through the stalls and back to the area. So people had nowhere to go!

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I enjoyed my Sunday very much, and meeting Chris Lloyd was a wonderful experience

 

HOWEVER

 

IMHO I think they way this event is organised is poor, especially for the calibre of guests being booked. I think that the way SM starts to present itself from a commerical stand point needs to change, like using social media to post updates etc as the forum isn't seen by all, and things like schedules and line ups need to be fine tuned further in advanced.

 

My concern as a fan of the product is that SM is, due to the fact there nothing in the UK like this, all it takes is a slightly more professional approach to organisation, to know SM off the top spot. As someone has previously stated, it's not the time to get complacent.

Edited by reelbigmartin
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I had an absolutely amazing time and considering the vast amount of people attending I think it went really well - I even had time to get an extra auto before I left which I was really pleased about. The only thing I found worrying was the change to photo shoot times, I went to Reeve Carneys 2nd shoot on Saturday afternoon to find it had been pushed back by Christopher Lloyd - the staff I asked were really helpful and told me to go straight to Neve Campbell's photo and say I have a clash and be back in time for the photo with Reeve. I did this fine but when I got back to Reeves shoot he was just about to leave and I managed to get my photo by the skin of my teeth! This was before his shoot was even supposed to start from what I had been told.

 

I checked twitter and couldn't find any notification of the change in times OR on the photo shoot white board either before hand - Had I have missed this photo I would have been massively disappointed.

 

Apart from this I thought everything was fab! Big praise for the crew member controlling the crowds at MJF's photo shoot on Saturday; he did an amazing job! :D

Edited by TeamQuil
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I think asking for crew members to know every single thing about the event is a LOT to ask! There's only so much we can remember, and the primary things we need to remember is what's happening in our assigned area so we can help everyone out who needs our help there. Luckily I attended the day before so I knew where to direct people to some places for when I crewed the day after, however crew members who work all weekend don't have the time to even go around themselves to find where everything is. Everyone is provided a map and schedule beforehand, and things do change on the day that can't be helped but then that's up to you to organise your time around the changes. You're given a schedule to work around in advance, that's up to you as a person then to organise your time around it. You can't always blame the crowds for not getting somewhere because maybe you didn't give yourself enough time to get there. You have to consider the extra time it will take, even when you know there will be a crazy crowd, give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes to get there. Not everyone can do that if you have a busy schedule but then again that's your schedule and you've decided to go to all these photoshoots, autos etc. I feel Showmasters are getting the blame for some things that aren't even their problem, especially when it's something that could be done yourself.

 

Showmasters did amazing this weekend. I got stressed on Saturday, as everyone does but you get everything in the end as long as you're on time for it, and that's up to you to do, not Showmasters. Autographs will always be busy with VQ tickets, but again that's your choice to get there early enough to get it.

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I put this in a separate thread but I'll paste it here anyway:

 

Well that was fun! Left Reading little later than planned, but as my train took about 1hr 45mins had time to put on my makeup. I arrived at Kensington station and went into the loo to change (I already had my tights on, so just need to put shorts, boots and top on) Got in and although it was busy managed to move fairly easily. Started on the ground floor mthen went up to the cosplay zone. I was going to register for the cosplay masquerade but felt my routine wasn't good enough (shame as I mixed some music last night - oh well another time)

 

I found the SyFy fancam and decided to wait for it. Just as I got to the front Nick Park arrived to do a stint and I had to wait. Then the people in front of me went in and then the Aliens, Preditor and marines group went in front of me! Just as I was about to go in, Nick Park came back and was doing all kind of stunts! I went in and said 'How do I follow that?!' Decided just to do a star jump(ish) and actually wasn't bad, got a round of applause too! Have a look here http://www.syfyfanca...s/4oull5yyvlb1/

 

Then wandered around and ended up on the famous 3rd floor! So cool and uncrowded so stopped for a drink and for the girlfriend to go change. Then wandered around again, making our way down to 2nd, then finally back down to ground floor to leave shortly before 6pm. Not too crowded on the overground and only had to wait 5mins for our connecting train.

 

Took lots of pics (well the girlfriend did!) and they are on my site here http://taniatwinkle.co.uk/photos/If you're in any of them please send me a email or message and I'll send you a copy. (I have copy protection on the site) All I ask is a little mention or thankyou. I wasn't too hot to be honest, although when we were on the ground floor I could feel a bead of sweat running down my nose! For such a big con it wasn't that packed you couldn't move. My girlfriend is only 5' 3" and could always find me and vice versa.

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Sorry but the map and schedule were not accurate, so you can hardly go off them :-) I wish it was as simple as that.

 

I asked many many blue shirts questions, nearly all could not answer anything as they were never told much. Even simple things like where is the nearest exit. I do not blame them in any way, they should have been briefed better and given accurate map and schedules in their hands.

 

A few I chatted with had printed the stuff off the forum just like I had days before, so they were not accurate either haha

 

I even had a few red shirts not able to answer what I thought were simple things. Like where is Sigourney Weaver signing. I was sent to 3 places. I wasted over an hour of my precious day.

 

I had myself an hour to get to one photo shoot, plenty of time as it was important to me. but as I was trapped on the top floor for over 45 minutes it was a close call.

 

In the end simple things can help most of these major problems. Signs, info and accuracy passed down to staff are in my opinion simple to deal with.

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I'm no expert but I think with the main guests they should just have a main hall for the photo shoots and the guests signings in one place which I would imagine save on confussion and stress

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Actually I thought Showmasters and the Crew (volunteers remember) did pretty well. The Diamond pass arrangements need a bit more tweaking and describing in words of one syllable but I am sure they will be reviewing now. Things unavoidably get rescheduled because even the guests are people and might need a pee or something at a time that is not on the schedule. Showmasters do always say, and I seem to remember reading something just before the Con, that if you have queries try people in blue shirts, but people in red shirts are the most experienced Crew (volunteers remember) and/or the main desk. There are improvements that can be made because people are not perfect. I was sweaty, freaked out by the crowds and miserable, and I wasn't getting any direct abuse, so I personally would cut the Crew (volunteers remember) a bit of slack.Based on my observations from all 3 days, some things like photo shoots and talks would go a lot more smoothly if people actually did what they were asked e.g. come back at quarter past......person stays put and still tries to push in etc.

 

However, I have a major set of issues about the management of the venue, e.g. the inexplicable complete closure of one of the biggest staircases; the closure of both sets of toilets on the ground floor at the same time, the random designation of lifts as being 'up only' etc.. the random holding of a lift completely empty...apparently for a VIP....only for said VIP to arrive in the other lift with security and <god forbid> other members of the public; The designation of the biggest and most robust staircases (I'm not talking about the little one Showmasters built..I get the reason for that one) as either 'up' or 'down' only at random times of the day.....at least an hour of one was when there was actually no-one using it at all........I could go on and I will be writing to Olympia because I think that was appalling.

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I've seen a few posts that mentioned the diamond passes, and that on a whole they didn't feel as exclusive. I bought two diamond passes this year, I missed Robert Englund's talk, (due to my friend not having a pass - not clashes) and I forgot about the DeLorean shoot (which I ended up paying for, again down to me, due to me not realising). But even not getting those two things, I felt I'd got my monies worth, sure I'd like more! Wouldn't we all! But on to the exclusiveness, I think we have to remember that a fair few thousand people went to this years LFCC, and out of those a few hundred had diamond passes for each guest. I think the top # pass for Englund (that I saw) was 700ish, 700 out of what? Circa 20,000? That seems quite exclusive to me. But I'm sure Showmasters are looking at all the feedback, I have to say they do seem to act quite quickly on the feedback, well from my experience anyway.

 

Diamond passes where, as I understand it, put in place to bring in the bigger stars and let's face it, MJF and Sigourney Weaver are pretty much up there. I kinda only wish I'd have been able to buy a MJF and Bill Paxton diamond pass! Again, all this is my opinion as I had a great time!

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Now that the event no longer takes place in just one large area, there is little need to have the photo areas separated the way they were this year. It would make FAR more sense to have all the photo areas on one dedicated floor (say, the 3rd floor, which was beautifully cool and would doubtless be appreciated by the guests as well as those queuing for their photos).

 

The majority of the signings could also be consolidated onto one floor with perhaps just the Biggest names hidden away so - perish the thought - sneaky photos by the unpaying, underserving majority still can't be taken :D .

 

The superstage was great - and another beautifully cool room. But who had the great idea of putting the Gold Pass room in there? It was ridiculous to have to empty the area for the Supa!Sekrit BTTF talk. In fact I was far too incapable of leaving on Sunday and it was only due to the kindness and understanding of crew members that I was allowed to stay there. I was told this was down to Michael J. Fox not wanting any unpaid people to hear what was going on, but Gold Pass members had paid to have ongoing access to that room - some of us NEEDED it - and "it's only for half an hour" wasn't feasible for some who bought the pass because of disability and needed the room for that reason.

 

I did have wonderful interaction with crew members and I give my absolute gratitude and love to all of the ones who dealt with me. Lang may yer lum reek! :D

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First of all: yes, there are post show meetings. There's even meetings each evening.

 

Some things I can help with/trying to help with:

 

The aircon was on. I was working the talks yesterday, there were definitely a few spots in there where it was almost freezing. I don't know where this myth comes from after every show that the aircon was off, sometimes even added with "Jason shut it off on purpose". Maybe Jason has shares in Coca Cola or gets the money the stalls make on drinks, what do I know?

 

Which schedule was not accurate? Stuart and I tried to communicate most of the changes and I was told Twitter updates where being sent too. All maps I saw had been changed, my apologies if some where missed. The "scribbling on" part was a last minute thing because two things were really moved the very last minute. You're not going to be able to print large maps at such short notice. The info about the Sigourney signing area I had updated Saturday morning before the show opened. Sorry if someone still couldn't find the area.

 

It's really asking a bit much to expect crew members to know everything. They are familiar with their area and are told how to handle questions they can't answer, which would be directing the person to someone who does know. Crew goes in through a completely other entrance, so yeah, if they were working the signing area for example they wouldn't know where the attendee exit is unless they attended themselves the day before. I was working the super stage yesterday and had an attendee get mad at me because he was looking for a dealer that had a very particular display which was supposedly somewhere on the ground floor.

 

The thing with the batches... unfortunately the number of attendees with an underlying fear to miss something seems to get bigger and bigger. That's why people hang a round the photos/signings area unnecessarily and that's causing crowding in places that shouldn't be crowded. I saw more than one forum member who posted he has higher numbered batches standing around the signing area all shoot 1 when we told them from the start they'd definitely be shoot 2... I think any idea on how to stop that would be vastly appreciated. The "explaining" route doesn't seem to work. We can't physically remove them ourselves. If it gets really bad we can call venue security, but that's about it.

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I put everything in another thread, but a further problem I had was that I left the back to the future talk at 15:55 to get to Neve Campbells photoshoot at 16:10. Got there at 16:05 to find they were already on batch 3! What the hell was going on there? If the talk ran late we would have likely missed completely...makes me incredibly nervous about booking talks and photoshoots in the future. If I book these I expect to get the item I paid for or a refund....

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