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CreamPye

LFCC 2015 - SOME HONEST FEEDBACK

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My honest feedback:

 

Before the show, everyone online is excited, happy and begging for stuff to be done and very few of these things are dismissed. This adds to the excitement and the fan community fuel the enthusiasm that makes these things worth it - especially for other fans.

 

I have attended a few of the LFCCs historically with my first being the one John Landis came to a few years back and enjoyed it and began coming semi-regularly when I knew I wanted to meet someone. At that time, venues were less crowded, there were less stalls, many guests had open queues and sat idle at times and photos would be taken and you'd have to come back at the end of the day to pick them up or leave an address for them to be posted to you. The convention atmosphere was good because it was like an undiscovered secret and the guests reflected this, with mostly (no disrespect at all intended) one or two semi-major guests and the rest being minor ones. All in demand by someone and worth having, but usual people on convention circuits you'd hear about, except it was great having them in London.

 

The conventions got busier and bigger, the last one I went to was the one with David Hasselhoff which was great fun, more expensive and manageable in terms of queues (except Mike Tyson's who rearranged his timing a few times). Last year, Stan Lee was announced and also that this may be his last European signing.

 

I wanted to go but knew this would be bonkers in terms of turnout. I was pleased for LFCC for going bigger and that it helped get them more coverage and notoriety within the international community and hearing the number of people who came for it, the queues all added to people taking notice. From what I've read here, it was good for some and terrible for many who missed out due to a high profile guest and managing expectation as well as things sold, but I can't comment too much because I wasn't there. Destination Star Trek was great. Very well organised and one of the rare occasions I would actually venture that far out for an event, as I preferred Earl's Court as it's easier to get to. I have never liked Olympia as I remember when LFCC was there previously and the heat.

 

This year, I stopped following the threads and missed all publicity until an email came through about the BTTF stuff and I signed up for a MJF Diamond Pass. It was a huge ask financially and I kept checking the forums to see if it had sold out waiting to kick myself until I finally bit the bullet and went for it. Seeing that Sigourney Weaver was announced and Robert Englund in Make up, plus Richard Dean Anderson and Hayley Atwell, it was clear this was the biggest one SM were putting on and would be demanding for anyone. The Diamond Pass was a brilliant idea for someone like me who would only be focussing on and coming for one or two guests, although I begrudged the price didn't include entry and that by comparison the Sigourney Weaver one was fantastic value with what was included compared to the MJF one which had £5 prop shoots, only one MJF shoot despite him doing 3 different types of photos but at least it had the only way to get his autograph and access to the talks.

 

Knowing I was only going for two guests made things much easier for me. I dreaded the queues and almost pulled out of it all when I read the forums, but thankfully after what I read was a terrible Friday and slightly better Saturday, Sunday was smoother and went fine for me. I would like in future Diamond Passes to hold their value by including entry, having guaranteed on-time entry and the items stated as guaranteed too.

 

The MJF pass gave me everything I wanted when I agreed to go for it knowing it didn't have the clock face and delorean MJF shoots which I felt it should have. I paid a premium for this guest and got access to the lowest photo shoot value with him while those who snapped up the others got theirs, but then I knew that going in, I just felt it would've added value to the pass if SM had done what they did with Sigourney and included all guest photo shoots including with props.

 

I had 2 guests to schedule and did ok. Where they were both concerned, my only gripe was that I didn't get the 'guaranteed' autograph with one despite paying for a Diamond pass but then am happy with what's being offered as a peace meal arrangement. Staff seemed to be hit and miss at the event but the majority I dealt with were fab. Luke and Chris in Photo A with Robert Englund and MJF kept everyone entertained despite a long wait, the MJF auto crew member who was tall with glasses and long hair and boomed to everyone how anyone trying to take a photo would have their camera taken and contents deleted was fabulous in making the rules clear and being friendly while doing it - it was what was needed and helped keep things orderly.

 

I intended to only go to the talks and things included with my Diamond Pass but managed to get VQ tickets for others such as Neve Campbell and Christopher Lloyd who I had met previously at LFCC but wanted to get some BTTF items signed, and pit boss Mary was superb and did her best to help fans especially at the end of the day.

 

Yes it was warm, but having it over 3 levels helped because for me I never went to anywhere except one floor so undoubtedly missed other things at the convention (and dealers) but managed fine. Having all these people and spreading them among different floors worked so much better than having it all on one floor. It also meant most who had paid for the 'headliners' could stay on that floor and those wanting others could go to the appropriate area which helped a lot.

 

Yes the stairwell, especially on Saturday was a danger. Mostly because of selfish visitors ignoring crew instructions and actually pushing. One guy tried to push past a kid and I followed him and gave him an earful. The fans here are great but a few who think they deserve everything ruin it so much for the rest of us. I noticed a lot of people at the convention publicly slagging off SM and saying how badly it's organised every year but they still show up. These are probably long term attendees and fans who miss the secret conventions we used to attend before these things got bigger, but then if they didn't get bigger we would probably have no reason to meet the same people over and over again.

 

I don't like it when people talk about how much money Jason and SM make at these events because it's like choosing to pay an entry fee and go to someone's house then just bad mouth them throughout. I know SM is a business and respect that. If I feel they are ripping me off, I simply won't pay it, its that simple. It's my choice. But hearing from people in the queue who much Jason is minting because Shatner got through X number of autographs and charged this much plus percentage or stuff about the Hoff really takes away from the magic of this fan-community and makes it about the business side.

 

It's like movies. Just watch and enjoy them and take what you want. Don't even start going into what each actor is paid and what cost what because then your audience are just a demographic to make money off and not valued at all. The worst is it's not SM doing this, but other fans who want more and are becoming disillusioned with what has been a fantastic service for years. I've never bought into the Gold Pass thing and couldn't see value in it - but then I'm not the person who's attended every LFCC since the beginning and am a semi-regular attendee who tries to see who's coming and who I want and if it's worth me paying the entry fee and giving my time to attend. Gold Pass holders seem to be people who collect autographs and photos and come for the whole weekend - and respect to them, but they need to be catered to as seems fit and if you're not happy with it, don't pay and let your money do the talking.

 

I weighed up ten times if I'd go for the Sigourney Weaver diamond pass, but given it was something I never wanted until it was on offer and the cost of it, added to how much I was already paying I chose to not go for it. I did have a look at other fans' autos and photos and appreciated them, but it just wasn't what I personally wanted for that guest. I was very pleased they got her and with others listening, there's hope for more big guests in the future.

 

People travel from the UK to SDCC and now they don't have to. We have our own comic con that's great and has a greater chance of meeting guests and this time people travelled from the US to come to ours. Wow. Some of those who came were vocal at the event saying 'the heat in the venue is unbearable, how can they herd people like this it's very disrespectful' but would always end with 'this is definitely world class in terms of line up though'.

 

I always make a point to thank those who crew that do a good job because I appreciate them making things better for us. This includes Mary at Christopher Lloyd's on Sunday, Luke and Chris at photo A, the husband and wife team that were at the Diamond Booth on Saturday and said it was her first day. Absolutely no complaints from these specific crew members at all and I appreciate them.

 

Yes, I paid a lot of money for my pass but I feel now it was worth it. If it did go to Excel or O2, it wouldn't be feasible for me to travel so far out so I hope it stays in Olympia but learns the lessons of this year. The event being spread across floors was brilliant.

 

What I want improved is:

 

- Diamond Passes to continue for high profile guests but include entry and include any additional shoots like the Sigourney Weaver pass which seemed amazing value. I would have liked my MJF one to include either the Delorean or clock shoot with him too.

 

- Entry to be made smoother for those who have such passes and Gold Passes because they pay a high price outlay and need to get things done, which is what they are paying for. Also more organised entry for everyone else as it seems unfair some queued up for hours to only miss their 0930 photo shoots or 11 am ones. This ruins events for many and they don't come back.

 

- Interaction with guests. We used to be able to chat with them at auto signings but the high profile ones have such rules and demand, this is taken away from us. It's a shame because it's what causes repeat customers too. I read about what others say about a guest and want to meet them too, and those that went mechanically through people because they had to, are avoided in future. I remember John Landis getting up and taking photos of Star Trek Cosplayers at LFCC a few years ago and emailing them to himself. I loved that. He chatted to visitors as many do, but I'd request SM to allow 2 mins per visitor for those that pay a premium to meet them when signing. You'll lose maybe 50 or more tickets but those visitors will be ambassadors for life for the experience you've given them and would come every year.

 

- Signage. I'm with most on this that there was little signage on who would be where at the show itself. Previously you've given out free programmes that are a few pages long and have a map and who's attending. This time the programme was £5 and so only those who paid got the map, unless they had their phones at the ready.

 

-Climate. There's little you can do about this except manage the crowds which is when it gets hot. Saturday was roasting in areas, Sunday was much more bearable. I'm not going to make any comments about Air-con because what do I know if it was on or off, I just know when I was hot and when I wasn't. Saturday I stayed an hour and a half and Sunday all day.

 

- Talks. Consider sending a link to those who attended to re-watch a stream of these. It would be appreciated. I loved Michael and Claudia's 'disagreement' about BTTF's premiere and it made so many of us laugh. Let's see it again!

 

Finally, I too want to say despite the queues, the heat, the hours and hours of standing and waiting for things, thank you. I only attended for 2 guests and got them and more. You did deliver a fantastic event that made many fans' dreams come true and that's what it's about. There are definitely things that can be improved and I know you will listen because I've been going to your events for a while and can see the changes you implement for the better. Thank you for this one, it was an unofficial BTTF 30 Years event that was better than the Secret Cinema event last year (this year?) and reminded many of us why we loved this film to start with.

 

I hope you're all getting some much deserved rest, are reading the criticisms while remembering all the compliments and knowing you really did deliver an event that other conventions and sponsors will have taken note of in a positive way. Thanks for being London's Premiere Comic Con and having us with you on the journey. I genuinely wish you the best and hope these events get bigger and better and keep improving every time. The fact you have this forum is great so we can all share our views and experiences.

 

Thanks to QS for all the pre-show help to everyone and to all crew at the show. Thanks for helping us return to the future and so much more.

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One more point, I think if Olympia can be stuck to as a venue for a few years and spread out across floors, then hopefully with many more successful events there may be a Showmasters Arena some day which exclusively also hosts their own events? I honestly think a purpose built venue for conventions by SM for their own events would be huge and doable. This would also have its own benefits as on site catering and parking which would cause additional revenue streams, plus catering well to those who come to the convention to sign. I also forgot to mention Sherilyn Fenn did not seem happy about how she was being treated by crew, especially when she got her food late on Sunday. She made a comment about MJF getting everything and I tried to pacify her as I was right in front of her by saying it was just great she came and this was her first con here and hopefully she'll come back again and she melted.

 

I hope I was just there when things went a bit funny, because if guests complain about their treatment or venue heat (another gripe of hers and a few others near her) then this would definitely put many guests off attending in future.

 

Again, well done. My criticisms are minor and I'm a happy camper who got what he wanted. And did I mention? Mary. Legend.

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AIR CON

No idea about the comments that the problem was because there were too many doors/windows open (lol, huh?), this isn't directed at SM obviously but something really needs to be done about it if you're going to cram that many people into that space.

 

This actually is common knowledge, but see this under point 1. Basically what happens when you leave doors or windows open, warm air from outside keeps coming in, as the pressure of warm air is higher. Also one of the main reasons air conditioning works is by lowering the humidity, which gives the impression of a lower temperature. This also is best achieved by not letting any humid air in from outside.

Edited by robertderidder

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I used the main staircase on a number of occasions on Saturday and Sunday and couldn't believe the amount of people stopping on the stairs to start taking photos of the ground floor when there were hundreds of people behind them waiting. I was stuck behind one woman who took about ten photos from different angles while the queue was backing up. This doesn't help when you're rushing to get somewhere after you've been sent to the wrong place (twice) by the crew.

 

In photo area A, the crowd was huge and wouldn't back away as people were scared of missing the message calling their batch up. It was very noisy and the crew member was difficult to hear. Surely a PA system would help people to get the right info instead of a small white board. At one point it was so congested you couldn't move anywhere, and Colin Baker was stood in the middle of the crowd looking around as if he didn't know what to do. What sort of impression is this having on the guests, not just the paying public.

 

`Maybe instead of paying for hotels for the crew volunteers, that money could be used to employ temporary event staff who have a couple of days training before the event starts. LFCC is so big now that the organisers should want the best possible team.

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I've put my complaint in an email but I'm too tired to even bore everyone with the many paragraphs on here. Needless to say, my Diamond pass experience was woeful. I thought I was getting something special but it was memorable in completely the wrong way.

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The silent auction - it ended, then became a non-silent auction -

 

I made bids on the paper throughtout the day, went to collect if i had won any and when i arrived they were auctioning out items to people around the table -

 

What the point of calling it a silent auction / having the day to right down bids if this happens

Edited by shawlax
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I also managed to get everything I needed from the event, but wow was it a struggle!

 

I love what Showmasters do and enjoy the events, but you really need to improve the way you do things. I've seen changes over the last few years and most of these are positive, but I don't think you're keeping pace with the scale of the event.

 

I know these have been mentioned already, but here's my own feedback. Perhaps duplication will help you understand the areas of priority.

 

1. The layout of the Olympia was horrible, just plain horrible.

  • why on Earth did you place photo bays opposite stalls and signing areas? Seriously, there's nothing like enough room for that sort of planning.
  • autographs queues overlapped with walkways, which in turn overlapped with people waiting to queue for photos. Combined with thousands of people trying to get around the venue it was just pure chaos.
  • It's vital that you section off larger zones for Photo booths. Not just the ducktape queues lines on the floor, but an additional zone for people to wait in away from the rest. You need queue polls or ropes to keep zones separated.
  • For instance, the upper floor level 3 was just about the perfect layout. A nice and simple L shaped signing zone with lots of queue and walking space. Just about perfect. Compared to the car crash that was Photo A's zone, lessons need to be learned from this.

2. Guests were frequently late for photo sessions leading to large delays and screwing up everyone's carefully laid plans.

  • the layout whereby guests have to travel from level 3, down 3 flights of stairs and then clear across the event floor to reach Photo A, B, C & D didn't help with delays. They're clearly too far apart.
  • There's no information about who is running late or for how long.
  • The only way to figure out who the queue is for is to ask the people waiting in it and hope they're correct themselves.

3. Photo sessions

  • pretty much the riot I'm used to, but even with this experience, still very frustrating especially as it's the same problems from year after year.
  • The boards are not kept up to date with correct information.
  • there's a skills gap between the crew. Some crew are amazing like Luke at Photo A and the big lad at Photo B (didn't get his name), and Phil at Photo C on Sunday. They were loud and clear. They gave excellent information about batches to come forward etc... Other crew were too quiet and didn't control the queues. They were unclear who should come forward, failed to check if the people in the queues were there at the correct times etc...
  • as is mentioned every single year, you need to make it clearer where the various types of queues are. This isn't difficult.

4. Real-time information required.

  • I'm sorry, but updating a forum that's often inaccessible for some reason "Sorry you are not authorised to access this community", is not a good source for updates about changes on the day. Facebook is slightly better, but not always reliable either. You either need large screens with important information that can be updated from a centralised source or a simple mobile app or even just simply over the loudspeaker system. End of story. You need to provide real time information to the tens of thousands of guests in the arena those are the easiest ways.

5. Moving around the venue

  • I have to say that queuing for ten minutes just to use a stairway was a new experience. Opening the other stair cases and operating one-way systems was the correct solution. Also kudos for building the stairway from the main floor.
  • You should leave the corners mostly empty as these are serious choke points.
  • As always, you don't leave enough space between the trading stalls. When people are shopping on either side, it only leaves enough room for single-file movement. If someone decides to stop for no apparent reason (which happens constantly), then we all jam up.
  • I shudder to think what would've happened if there'd been a genuine fire alarm. I honestly think lives would have been lost in a crush similar to Hillsborough.

6. Autographs.

  • These were generally quite well run except for the total lack of information that was available.
  • A small information card with black ink on a blue background and pretty much below head height, is not a sufficient way to communicate information. It leads to disorganisation as people try to move forward to read this and then take the opportunity to cut the queue.
  • The best autograph queues you've ever managed was at Destination Star Trek in 2012. You zoned the guests off with temporary walls with very clear and concise information at the entry. Part of the way in you had clear payment stands. This was just about the perfect way to manage it.

7. Gold passes

  • Poorly done on the opening day. You waited until the doors opened before giving out the passes. I know this meant that people at the back of the queue wouldn't have gotten in until around half an hour after the even started, meaning thousands of standard passes were in before them. It seemed obvious that a group should be working the queue and attaching the gold passes long before the doors open? You seemed to do this on the Saturday and Sunday, but I feel like that was a poor oversight for the opening day.
  • Thank you for allowing us to combine vouchers for photos, that was helpful.

I hope this feedback helps a little. Overall I absolutely loved the weekend.

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I went on the Saturday, i agree it was chaotic but i'm glad i went and i had a good day regardless. I can get over the fact that it was hot (i mean, there was a glass roof), i can get over it being oversubscribed (i managed to get my hayley atwell auto and photo - that's all i went for), i can even get over the completely rude member of staff at photoshoot A on Saturday morning who talked to people like crap because they dared ask her where their photoshoot had been moved to but if you want honest feedback for the next LFCC then movement around the venue is a major thing - queuing to get onto the staircase then having to move like cattle down the stairs (which i know was unavoidable) isn't just annoying - i'm pretty sure it's a safety and fire hazard. (i'm aware that couldn't be accounted for prior to the event but moving forward if olympia is used again and the event is made bigger it needs addressed)

 

Also, the problem with photoshoots and the utter chaos that was queuing for them - it's pretty offensive coming on her and hearing people say it's ALL the attendees fault and that we're all idiots for going to the shoot area before being called. take some responsibility - communication is key, signage was minimal and there was no queueing systems for the busier shoots and it shouldn't have been left to one guy to try and manage hundreds of people - also, i've never been to comic con or an event like this before, neither have alot of the people there so forgive some of us for not actually knowing how long it takes to go through one batch - as far as i knew my batch number meant i wouldnt be in photoshoot session 1 so i turned up 5 minutes before photoshoot 2 because i didn't have a clue how long it would take to get to me. I wasn't aware i should feel like my presence annoyed someone.

I agree staff did a great job - i work in customer service and i know how annoying people can be when they are getting pissy but i also had the issue where i went to FOUR different members of staff to find out which stairs actually went up at the start of the day (because i could only find the down ones) and was sent all over the place before a helpful girl by the help desk pointed me in the right direction. I get that they can't know everything but something as simple as which corner of the venue the main staircase is wasn't much to ask.

 

No one is saying the queueing issued at the photoshoot were all the attendees fault. All I've seen so far comes down to what I phrased as "some people are too worried to move, that is not helping." I have personally seen batch 4 and 5 Sigourney shoots waiting in the area from 9.10 AM onwards when it was clear from the start that they had no chance of being in the first shoot, and were repeatedly told so. Poor Luke lost his voice for a reason. ;)

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Such a big event is hard to organize and show masters does a good job, but with the new size of the event and the new location there are many things that have to be improved.

I had the following three major problems:

1.) On Saturday at about 12:30 pm I needed about 30 minutes to leave the third floor. At the only stairs down as well as in front of the lifts there were massive queues to get down. That is not only inconvenient for the attendants but also very dangerous in case of an emergency.

2.) The locations of the photo areas B/C/D were not very well chosen. The waiting areas outside were too small for the amount of people and way too close to the stalls. I would recommend to put all photo areas on the first floor and - in exchange - put dealers down on the ground floor alongside the walls.

That would also help people who have clashes and need to change between the photo areas quickly.

Also I understand there was a lot of confusion about the entry to the BTTF talk. There were no signs up at all to say that standard ticket holders had to queue outside to get in - I only vaguely recalled seeing something on here about it so checked earlier in the day - but I don't recall it being put on the FB or twitter, and not everyone uses social media. You obviously have someone capable of making good posters, so how difficult would it have been to have a nice big sign up explaining what to do. It would have saved the angry people who had queued for the best part of an hour at the entrance only to be told they had to go around outside and found themselves at the back.

 

3.) Yes, I just had the MJF-Talk on Saturday. I came 30 minutes earlier and joined the queue in front of the hall. As I wondered that there were not so many people and no batches were called, I went to the staff at the door to ask them how the entrance was going to be handled. They told me I had to go to the back entrance. Surprise, surprise! At this point I had 15 minutes left until the beginning of the talk and didn't really know the way to the other entrance. I finally entered the hall with the last attendants and just in time - very exhausted.

As far as I could see there was no poster and no information at all (e. g. with the ticket) that standard ticket holders had to go to the back entrance. I wonder how other people got to know that? Where could I have obtained the information???

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I'm a little surprised at the level of negative feedback this year. While the event wasn't perfect it was clear to me that Showmasters have taken on board the feedback from last year and made many changes for the better which made LFCC on the whole a lot more pleasant than last year.

 

I only attended Saturday so while I can't compare to the other days I was extremely impressed with how well managed the queues outside were. I arrived at about 7:20 and almost immediately spotted a member of the venue staff that I asked if the queue in front of me was for standard entry which he correctly replied that it was. Already an improvement on the earls court staff! At 9 0'clock the queue started moving and to my surprise I was in the venue by about 9:10.

 

The venue itself is so much nicer and spacious than Earls Court 2. It was also nice not to have the yellow lighting in all of my pictures! Yes some areas were overcrowded and it did get uncomfortably hot at times in the busier areas but this is to be expected somewhat at this time of year. Next year I will be sure to bring a mini fan with me! :smile:

 

While I do feel more signs are needed especially to point out where guests are along with stairs and lifts. (It took me a while to find where Bill Paxton was hidden away and where the lifts to level 3 were) There were many signs with the floor plan and schedule on them which I saw hardly any of last year. Although I do agree a 'you are here' marker would also be helpful.

 

One criticism I do have is that there was not enough time scheduled for seven batches of photos with Hayley Atwell. I believe both of her slots were only half an hour which would never be enough time for 700 photos. The slots should have been at least 45 minutes each if not more and I'm sure they would have been much more relaxed that way for all involved. Well done to the crew that handled Hayley's photo-shoot in the afternoon so well when many attendees simply would not listen to there instructions nor would they move out of the way to let the people who's batch had been called get through!

 

I feel the positives far outweigh the negatives this year and with a few more tweaks here and there (which I think will already be in progress starting with all the halls in Olympia being used next year) the event next year will be even better. Well done Showmasters and crew!

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I also managed to get everything I needed from the event, but wow was it a struggle!

 

I love what Showmasters do and enjoy the events, but you really need to improve the way you do things. I've seen changes over the last few years and most of these are positive, but I don't think you're keeping pace with the scale of the event.

 

I know these have been mentioned already, but here's my own feedback. Perhaps duplication will help you understand the areas of priority.

 

1. The layout of the Olympia was horrible, just plain horrible.

  • why on Earth did you place photo bays opposite stalls and signing areas? Seriously, there's nothing like enough room for that sort of planning.
  • autographs queues overlapped with walkways, which in turn overlapped with people waiting to queue for photos. Combined with thousands of people trying to get around the venue it was just pure chaos.
  • It's vital that you section off larger zones for Photo booths. Not just the ducktape queues lines on the floor, but an additional zone for people to wait in away from the rest. You need queue polls or ropes to keep zones separated.
  • For instance, the upper floor level 3 was just about the perfect layout. A nice and simple L shaped signing zone with lots of queue and walking space. Just about perfect. Compared to the car crash that was Photo A's zone, lessons need to be learned from this.

2. Guests were frequently late for photo sessions leading to large delays and screwing up everyone's carefully laid plans.

  • the layout whereby guests have to travel from level 3, down 3 flights of stairs and then clear across the event floor to reach Photo A, B, C & D didn't help with delays. They're clearly too far apart.
  • There's no information about who is running late or for how long.
  • The only way to figure out who the queue is for is to ask the people waiting in it and hope they're correct themselves.

3. Photo sessions

  • pretty much the riot I'm used to, but even with this experience, still very frustrating especially as it's the same problems from year after year.
  • The boards are not kept up to date with correct information.
  • there's a skills gap between the crew. Some crew are amazing like Luke at Photo A and the big lad at Photo B (didn't get his name), and Phil at Photo C on Sunday. They were loud and clear. They gave excellent information about batches to come forward etc... Other crew were too quiet and didn't control the queues. They were unclear who should come forward, failed to check if the people in the queues were there at the correct times etc...
  • as is mentioned every single year, you need to make it clearer where the various types of queues are. This isn't difficult.

4. Real-time information required.

  • I'm sorry, but updating a forum that's often inaccessible for some reason "Sorry you are not authorised to access this community", is not a good source for updates about changes on the day. Facebook is slightly better, but not always reliable either. You either need large screens with important information that can be updated from a centralised source or a simple mobile app or even just simply over the loudspeaker system. End of story. You need to provide real time information to the tens of thousands of guests in the arena those are the easiest ways.

5. Moving around the venue

  • I have to say that queuing for ten minutes just to use a stairway was a new experience. Opening the other stair cases and operating one-way systems was the correct solution. Also kudos for building the stairway from the main floor.
  • You should leave the corners mostly empty as these are serious choke points.
  • As always, you don't leave enough space between the trading stalls. When people are shopping on either side, it only leaves enough room for single-file movement. If someone decides to stop for no apparent reason (which happens constantly), then we all jam up.
  • I shudder to think what would've happened if there'd been a genuine fire alarm. I honestly think lives would have been lost in a crush similar to Hillsborough.

6. Autographs.

  • These were generally quite well run except for the total lack of information that was available.
  • A small information card with black ink on a blue background and pretty much below head height, is not a sufficient way to communicate information. It leads to disorganisation as people try to move forward to read this and then take the opportunity to cut the queue.
  • The best autograph queues you've ever managed was at Destination Star Trek in 2012. You zoned the guests off with temporary walls with very clear and concise information at the entry. Part of the way in you had clear payment stands. This was just about the perfect way to manage it.

7. Gold passes

  • Poorly done on the opening day. You waited until the doors opened before giving out the passes. I know this meant that people at the back of the queue wouldn't have gotten in until around half an hour after the even started, meaning thousands of standard passes were in before them. It seemed obvious that a group should be working the queue and attaching the gold passes long before the doors open? You seemed to do this on the Saturday and Sunday, but I feel like that was a poor oversight for the opening day.
  • Thank you for allowing us to combine vouchers for photos, that was helpful.

I hope this feedback helps a little. Overall I absolutely loved the weekend.

I agree with VERYTHING you have said.

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one more thing. i was at one of my photo shoots on sunday and i handed over my gold photo shoot vouchers and the staff member looked at me and said in the most threatening voice "where did you get this" I showed them my gold pass wrist band and they just scoffed at me and said Fine in a not very nice voice. I think next year it might be better to give people vouchers like the ones used for refunds rather than the red paper ones used this weekend just gone.

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1 - I would give each crew member, no matter what section or what colour shirt they are a DETAILED floor plan, with placement of each guest, all exits and stairs - it happened FAR too often that you would ask someone and you would get - they either didn't know, or it wasn't their section.

 

2 - Autograph Q's - I saw it and had it myself where the staff were rude, let friends in first, didn't check numbers or take VQ's off people - i think it is something that needs to be taken more serious and run more smoothly.

 

3 - Outside Q - they were just ridiculous, more so on the Sunday, people were pushing in from every angle, you had massive wide area to then filter through to a small door, there was no one checking outside to keep things in order, the staff were ignoring what was going out on the walkie- talkies - it felt like cattle going to slaughter.

 

4 - Newbies/Volunteers - i understand that, a lot of the time people do not have any convention experience ext, but when they wear a showmarsters T-shirt, they represent them as a company, so rudeness, then reflects bad on the company, and FAR too many were rude, or disinterested, ready to dismiss you off to someone else instead of helping or listening.

 

5 - The layout - oh my god them stairs, i do not know HOW that was not a health and safety breach, it felt like you were taking your life on chance going up or down them.

 

6 - Larger photo-shoot areas - more so with the bigger guests, but the amount of LARGE disorderly crowds that gathered around the photo-shoot areas, blocking the walking ways got crazy almost every shoot, photo-shoots, either need bigger space from the stalls or separate rooms.

 

7 - Air conditioning, i spent FAR too much time on the 3rd floor because the heat in other places, at times, was unbearable.

 

8 - Diamond passes - although i LOVE the idea of these, i think they are wonderful for the people who get them, i think their idea needs some work, Christopher Lloyd on Saturday barely did signing because all he got through was Diamond and RE, didn't even manage to get through these, i think they may need to be scaled down, somewhat.

 

9- The BTTF talk - The sound in the hall needs some serious improvement, it was terrible, and a entering scheme really needs to be worked out better, because for a while you let people in anywhere, then sent them all the way around the building, if this is the case, then i feel regular announcements of warning should be put out at LEAST one hour before the talk.

 

It feels like the shows are getting bigger and bigger and its brilliant - but the company still have a "small company" mind frame.

 

Other than that, it was a fabulous weekend, i thankfully got everything and everyone i wanted. A lot of the staff were great - again a shout out to 3rd floor red shirts, the guy working photoshoot D Q on saturday and red s*** doing tomb shoot on sunday! The guests were fabulous, the stalls were wonderful, all in all it was a great weekend. I would do it again, but i do think there is room for improvement!

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I don't want to moan but do have, what I hope will be noted as ideas/feedback for improvement for future cons.

 

1) I don't know what the capacity was meant to be but judging by the crowds, I hope that future cons will take into consideration the amount of people a venue holds has to include the amount of stalls, displays etc. Had it been a gig, I'm sure the capicity would be fine but the amount of people inside has to include the fact that there is all this other stuff plus people will be rapidly moving from place to place.

 

2) Volunteers were great this year but perhaps many, many more floor maps. I was fine once I'd found them but it took ages and a lot of stress trying to do so.

 

3) My main bugbear was the length of time it took to enter in relation to photoshoots. Friday I queued for hours and wasn't miles away from the entrance. My first photoshoot was 13:30. I got in at 14:10. I think perhaps (and I'm sure this used to be the case) give people an hour at LEAST to get in and find their bearings before the shoots start.

 

4) The batches. Still don't get it. The older tickets kinda meant 1-200...you're in the first shoot 201 + you're in late. This year it was anything goes. I'd pre-bought a Bill Paxton online and my friend bought one on the day. he managed to get his photo done half an hour before me. He laughed, I did also but still find this a little strange. The earliest bought should have superceeded I thought? Needs work on the batches.

 

5) I too noticed that people (me included) were just getting waved in without a ticket check. Not saying that people snuck in per see but it did seem way too packed and wondered what happened to the calculation of space per person etc.

 

I expect queues, did get sunburnt (my own fault as I'd left a hat in the hotel). Luckily I managed to just leave when I'd missed my photoshoot, go to the hotel and put some shorts on (a must for LFCC in the Summer) and get back in time for the others.

 

I think if there had been more time for everyone queing to get in, look around and not stress or push and shove so much; it would have saved a lot of griping.

 

I know others have concerns regarding clashes, (I'd have been angry if I'd have been told to come back on another day or refused a shoot I'd pre-payed for) and other bits. I've had issues regarding volunteers before but as stressed as they were, all the ones I had dealt with were good. Especially Abbie (?) the lady in red at the info desk...three years running she has helped me with tickets..so bless her.

I did find the crowds a bit off-putting with regards to a future Summer attendance but perhaps with some input/assurances from SM; might be what people are looking for?

 

 

 

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Want to agree with Agent Bristow - appreciate not everyone had a perfect day, but personally felt many of last year's problems had been sorted. Once the doors were opened the queues to get in moved quickly and smoothly, so the new e-ticketing seemed to work. Yes, it was crowded inside at times, but I never found it anywhere near as bad as last year. Want to say a big thanks to the SM crew member looking after photo area A on Saturday afternoon. Goodness knows how many people were queuing for Hayley Atwell's second shoot of the day, but he handled it all with humour and common sense. Also thanks to all the other crew members who patiently gave me directions every time I forgot which photo area was where!

 

Two areas of improvement for next year: signposting how to get around; there were usually multiple routes to get to places, and probably some of the delays people experienced could have been avoided if everyone had known where everything was, where the various stairs were, where the walkway from photo areas A to E was Etc. Secondly, some of the venue/3rd party staff were out of their depth and felt like they'd just been pulled in at random off the street. One of them (young guy top of the stairs, Saturday afternoon) used the c word towards a woman who he thought was walking in the wrong direction, within earshot of many people including children. Given that (presumably) these are the staff who are actually being paid to be there, both attendees and Showmasters have a right to expect professionalism and courtesy. I'm guessing these guys aren't directly hired by SM, but if it hasn't already been feedback to whoever is responsible for them it should be.

 

Overall, having been unsure whether to attend this year, will certainly be back in 2016. Felt this year like some thought had gone into addressing last year's mistakes, and it was run much more professionally :)

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Firstly, lots of things worked well and the crew despite being very busy at times were excellent. Photoshoot collection is a dream compared to other events and the ability to order tickets online now during the weekend are both excellent improvements and use of technology.

 

I would be interested to know why all the photoshoot areas weren't in one location. Prior to the event when it was announced there would be multiple halls myself and others raised this concern, yet in some sort of Krypton Factor obstacle challenge we were made to have to traverse two halls to get from A to E for example and even three floors to get from B to F. With the short time slots of some guests this was impossible even with a gold pass and I missed two shoots due to the crowds and heat in the venue. Staff were greatcin advising I would be o.k. getting these the next day but the Herculean effort I made trying to get there almost finished me off and was certainly a big downside for tge weekend.

 

A large area for Cos Play guests to have shoots woukd be great, often narrow walkways were made almost impossible to pass due to people stopping to take photos, the venue really missed the large space from previous years at the end of the hall for this.

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The silent auction - it ended, then became a non-silent auction -

 

I made bids on the paper throughtout the day, went to collect if i had won any and when i arrived they were auctioning out items to people around the table -

 

What the point of calling it a silent auction / having the day to right down bids if this happens

Completely agree. I checked mine at 2:50 on the Sunday came out of the talk to be told by the person running the auction she'd bidded on it and beaten me by £1. I didn't even get to see the auction list and she had to ask me how much about it.

1. Silent bus is a silent bid - don't open it up

2. If you're running the silent bid you shouldn't be permitted to bid on the item. That's an unfair advantage. Especially given I had a lengthy chat with the person saying I'd check as I go into my talk so they knew I had no way to compete once I'd entered the talk.

 

Not sour grapes for not winning. Just think it's an unfair advantage they have.

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I am just home from my flight so I can't give a lengthy feedback (just yet ;-) ) but I will wanna mention that I have the highest of praises for several staff members throughout the event. Especially ( think it was Luke? ) at photo A, the lovely lady at photo E (I think you had red hair, I thought you were lovely) and the photo C people. I've been with you the most and it was always fast but never rushed. Thank you for that.

 

More later...

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167qwwl.jpg

 

I had a great time, was a bit bewildered as never been to a con before. But highlights would be seeing all the other cosplayers outfits, Ray Park cutting in front of me to use the SyFy fancam - twice! finding the now famous 3rd floor and managinf to cool down, grab a bite to eat and drink and not letting my geek needs take over in buying something from the traders - was very tempted to buy 2 wigs for £25! I didn't find it too packed to be honest and I was very hot on the ground floor but my makeup stayed set so can't have been that bad!

 

Managed to get a train back to Clapham fair quickly and got back to Reading quite fast too (bought a cheap day return so couldn't use the fast trains - but they're not that faster anyway tbh!)

 

I'll go again but only on the Sunday as I'll probably be working the Saturday anyway. This year I worked 7pm to 11:30pm at the local Uni student union, Friday, 3:30am to 12pm Saturday for the Next sale and then slept until 9pm Saturday night, I got up 7:30am Sunday feeling like a kid in a candy store!

 

I have been reading all the posts on here and on Facebook and my view is there's as many bad experiences as there are good. You can't please all the people all the time and I know that as I work for an event security company!

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There are so many things that could be improved which are so obvious to many people, except for Showmasters apparently. Please take into account Xenomorph's points cause he nails it. The queuing was awful, why don't you just use fences to separate people like you do outside? The little pieces of tape on the floor aren't gonna stop people from pushing forward and they're not even visible.

 

Has anybody ever thought of giving crew members megaphones so they don't have to shout their vocal chords to shreds? It would also improve the range and audibility of their voices, that's what they're invented for after all.

 

And for the love of god, can't you guys just let gold passes join at the back of autograph queues whenever they show up instead of shouting that every single gold pass can join the front. This makes them keep popping up and pushing regular queuers further and further back until they just don't have a chance to get an autograph anymore. Guests like Lloyd or Englund barely signed for VQ holders just because diamond and gold passes kept sneaking to the front. Really frustrating for people who can't afford diamond or gold passes.

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I just have one thing to complaine about. The "guards" outside, keeping an eye on the guests quing. We came there a bit before 6am, and it was raining. We got a Spot after the pizza express door. And me and my friend stod under a tree, so we wouldnt get wet. One of the guards told us to cramp Together so that new arrivals had to take the long way around. And I refused to moves, cause I really dont feel like being soking wet, when I get in. I told her that people can go infront of me and que up, I dont min. And then the bad attitude shows up, she starts giving me an attitude cause I didnt wanna moves.

 

For 1: I PAY to stand there in the rain, waiting to get in.

And 2: SHE GETS PAID TO STAND THERE. Now I dont know if this crew is a part of SM, or part of the venue. Me paying to stand there, probably pays her salary. Good thing to think about before you get all "nice"

 

And some cover for the rain and Sun could be something to think about in the future :P some party tents covering the areas with fences. :)

 

Inside I got all i came for, and it was great Meeting all these stars. :D

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I have said this before on another post that was deleted...I am amazed that I had the photoshoots I did and am really thrilled by them, but found the overall day really stressful (the most stressful LFACC &I think I have attended everyone). I am also mega endlessly grateful for the help I received getting to my Bill Paxton photoshoot and I hope my ideas are useful and as Xeno said, maybe duplication helps so will state them again:

 

 

1) Queue to get in. There needs to be 100s of people walking down the queue scanning tickets and then stamping hands. This can be started before the doors open, and then everyone just files in! No big queues at beg of day and everyone is happy about starting their day as quickly as possible.

 

2) Less people or a bigger venue. I know I keep saying it, but I would be absolutely gutted if I couldn't get a ticket, but it was just too crazy.

 

3) All photoshoots on one floor, autographs on another, stalls on another, all talks on another, this way if you have multiple talks/shoots you can get from one to another easily.

 

4) Photoshoots should have batch times. Such as for MJF - 12.05 Diamond Passes12.30 - Gold Passes. 12.45 - Batch 1 Standard Tickets etc etc. This means 100s of people don't arrive together.

 

 

Having had a few days to reflect - I dont think I would want to be endlessly rushing around all the time next year...I want to enjoy thre event a bit more....but at the same time I don't see how I could do less! Decisions decisions :)

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I rarely post but I felt I had to put this.. where a lot of the comments I can't/won't address I thought I would say this. In comment :

 

 

Quote

 

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.

 

Also in the previous post

 

1) Queue to get in. There needs to be 100s of people walking down the queue scanning tickets and then stamping hands. This can be started before the doors open, and then everyone just files in! No big queues at beg of day and everyone is happy about starting their day as quickly as possible.

 

 

Well I was on the door on Sunday and everyone who came through the front door was scanned before they could come in. Even people who turned up at 5pm or 6 or even 30 mins to the end was scanned. Also anyone leaving to come back in was stamped and we let no one in who hadn't been, regardless. There were a few people who came to try and sneak in and were always turned away.

 

We also had main security on the doors with us too. Also please remember that when we first open the doors it's like being at a football match for example when people are pushing and shoving us (I've lost count of all the bruises from impatient attendees trying to push through)

 

Right or wrong, whichever/whatever your thoughts are, a little more thought should be taken towards crew, we are after all only human.

 

Oh nearly forgot...

 

Also the bit about it going towards her salary. We're volunteers, so your money doesn't go towards paying our salary, and to put these on we're there usually, at least an hour and a half before it starts. We don't make you stand there in the rain for example so if you don't like it then just don't come because you know what it's going to be like. :smile:

Edited by Decant

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Decant - I wasn't saying people weren't scanned. I was saying that there should be 100s of staff members with scanners walking down the queue scanning every ticket and then stamping their hand to show they have been scanned. That way we could all just file straight through the door. The three people I saw scanning were inside the door, meaning a massive queue outside. My idea was to prevent delays on entry. I was not saying staff hadn't scanned tickets!

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