Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ravogd

Your convention experiences: Pros and Cons

Recommended Posts

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s pros and cons from LFCC so I thought I’d start a thread to find out how everyone’s weekend went at DST 2018. Here are mine:

PROS

The hall layout was superb, much better than last time. Using hall 5 to organise the queues is a great idea. Registration was really fast. The queues for autographs were not allowed to get out of hand and in my experience seemed to be very well crewed indeed. Plenty of space around the 3 photoshoot areas meant there were never any real bottleneck areas.

The guests were all lovely. I had no negative experiences with any of the ones I met. The panels were also great all weekend.

The red carpet premiere of the DS9 documentary had some cons (see below) but the event itself (and the movie) was brilliant. We were sat in the premium seats right beside Michael Dorn, Chase Masterson, Andrew Robinson, Jeffrey Combs, Casey Biggs and the man himself Ira Stephen Behr, and within the same area as the other VIP’s many of whom had not seen it yet. This meant that it was not only a joy to watch the film, but to see these artists reactions and interactions with one another as they were watching it too was priceless. A totally unique experience. Absolutely amazing.

Meeting @robmoriarty at a couple of photo shoots and the DS9 movie. Great to say hi at last Rob!

CONS

My Partner bought a Captain package. This did not turn out to be quite the package we thought it would be for her. The included autographs, talks and photo shoots were great but we found very little to justify a £500 increase from the Commander package. Ok there are extra talks, photos and autographs and they can be worked out to an exact monetary amount but the biggest disappointment was the “meet and greet”. I feel this is a little misleading in its title. It should be referred to as what it is, an exclusive talk with 3 actors on each day. There is no meeting or greeting occurring and the Saturday one started nearly 30 minutes late which was poor too. She didn’t even want to attend the Sunday one after this experience. Also there is no difference in priority queueing between Commander and Captain. Both merely allow you to join the back of what is usually an already full queue which will be full of VQ people who have not paid extra for any package. Difficult to do I know, but perhaps allowing Commanders to just join the queue and have Captains join the queue at the very least at the sales desk, or right to the front for shorter queues would meet the value of this package IMO. I think next time she will just go with the Commander package and save £500 for other event activities.

Poorly organised queue at the DS9 premiere. As this wasn’t strictly a convention event it’s not the blame of the organisers at all. It was “organised” by NEC staff who had no clue what was going on. Firstly they made everyone queue outside, fair enough, but they had no special assistance entrance or queue which meant people were rushing past my partner in her wheelchair. Then an NEC guy said Premium (£40 more expensive) tickets on the right but once you got in the door they told you that premiums were getting scanned on the left. This took longer for people with premium tickets as they needed to get a wristband to prove premium status and then collect a “goodie” bag. Because the Enterprise stage was the ENTIRE length of the hall away from the door they used to let everyone in, my partner and another girl in a wheelchair ended up sat so much further back as everyone rushed past us in the long, long trek to the stage. Very disappointing but once we were in a red shirt moved us up into the proper premium area and it meant we did end up with the great seats that gave us the great experience above. 

 

In conclusion the pros FAR outweighed the cons. Apart from losing my bag on the Saturday (see my idiot doofus thread) I think this is possibly the best event I have attended. Thank you so much to the great crew and Showmasters and Massive Events for a brilliant weekend.

 

Edited by Ravogd
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All pros for me.  It was a busy weekend for me personally so I could only do the Sunday.  Took a train from London, arrived  10:35. Through the door 10:45.  Realised that I could do the Rapp/Cruz duo photoshoot.   Went online, paid for it through Eventbrite and started queuing with ticket at 10:50 (I saw the queue for on the day photoshoots and saw it was long - but I must stress how quick and easier it is to do it online).  Had photos with most of the Discovery season two cast (Sonequa/Isaac, Wiseman, Latif) - missed out on Doug Jones so hope he returns in 2019 ;).  Saw dealers, displays and museum in between shoots.  Caught the 13:00 train back to London helping me to arrive early enough to complete my other weekend chores and chill.  

I achieved all that because:

1. The schedules were published early

2. Eventbrite photoshoots tickets still available up to point of scheduled shoot time

3. Lots of space...lots and lots of it

4. Everything ran on time

I'll definitely go to the 2019 show - haven't met George Take yet but hope to see the new season two cast members there too.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only con for me was the screening room.  I think the concept is great but the sound was so quiet you couldn't hear it unless you were in the front row, especially with the sound from one of the stalls and the stage.

The rest of the event I really enjoyed and as I wasn't able to stay for Sunday only missed one autograph.

The other thing to highlight was how uncomfortable the chairs were at the DS9 premiere, after an hour I was very uncomfortable and kept changing position and couldn't sit still.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Not_Pennys_Ship said:

All pros for me.  It was a busy weekend for me personally so I could only do the Sunday.  Took a train from London, arrived  10:35. Through the door 10:45.  Realised that I could do the Rapp/Cruz duo photoshoot.   Went online, paid for it through Eventbrite and started queuing with ticket at 10:50 (I saw the queue for on the day photoshoots and saw it was long - but I must stress how quick and easier it is to do it online).  Had photos with most of the Discovery season two cast (Sonequa/Isaac, Wiseman, Latif) - missed out on Doug Jones so hope he returns in 2019 ;).  Saw dealers, displays and museum in between shoots.  Caught the 13:00 train back to London helping me to arrive early enough to complete my other weekend chores and chill.  

I achieved all that because:

1. The schedules were published early

2. Eventbrite photoshoots tickets still available up to point of scheduled shoot time

3. Lots of space...lots and lots of it

4. Everything ran on time

I'll definitely go to the 2019 show - haven't met George Take yet but hope to see the new season two cast members there too.

Yes, these two points I heartily agree with and can't believe I forgot to put in my Pro's. Thanks SHowmasters for getting this done so early. It REALLY helped us plan as with my partner's wheelchair it isn't possible to dash between activities. The ticket sales still being available was great too. I bought a Fred Haise one last minute when I had a last minute opening up of enough money for it so to be able to do it quickly without having to queue at the sales desk was brilliant. Thank you.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pros: First convention (not just Trek but full stop) I've ever attended and probably one of the most amazing weekends of my life. I think what made it so great was everyone working there was a fan, so all the crew shared the enthusiasm for Star Trek that we all feel. Everyone was really helpful, the guests were lively and (mostly) very friendly and approachable. I am rather socially awkward and this made it much easier for me. Autograph queues were well managed and I got most of the guests I really wanted(I was a commander so didn't have to VQ, so can't comment on that aspect). Really enjoyed the talks. Also pleased that there was a balance of guests from different shows and I hope this continues - Discovery clearly has its fans but wouldn't want to see it become Destination: Discovery to the exclusion of other Treks.

Cons: Really not many, at least to do with the event itself (the NEC get a black mark for the repeated bag checks on Friday though. Goodness, four times before I got in). A couple of minor points though, really suggestions for next time more than anything. Spent quite a while queueing for autograph tokens, and with no cashpoints at the NEC I'd imagine many people did. It should really be possible to buy them online in advance and maybe then get them in your pack when you register? Would save everyone a lot of time. Secondly, for the same reason, have more card machines at the official merchanise table. Only other thing I'd say is if Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonis come back another year and do a talk, give them a larger stage! My word that one was packed!

But I had a great time, thanks to everyone involved. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last weekend was a HUGE improvement on 2016. Firstly the variety of guests was much more varied and interesting than before. Actors are great, but having Ira and other behind the scenes crew and experts made for a much richer, insightful experience. Queuing was better organised, with signage more clearly telling people where to go. Having registration inside the hall avoided the chaos in the corridors I saw in 2016. The museum, gallery and mirror universe displays were much larger and properly displayed in an appropriate setting this time. The gaming zone surpassed my expectations. I thought we'd get only a few really old PC games, but the new playstation VR Bridge Crew game was there, as were some trek themed pinball machines. Lots more stalls and organisations present too. Some freeby photo op backgrounds and props were a nice and generous touch.

My only two gripes would be 1, audio was still not as good as it could have been. Guests coudn't hear sometimes and when I attempted to listen to an Excelsior stage talk, I couldn't hear a thing and had to leave. The rogue stall blasting loud music almost created the same 2016 problems with echoy background noise drowning out talks -though not to the same extent thankfully.

2, I paid for the DS9 documentary. For the very expensive price a Q&A should  have been included as well, plus cushions on the seats. 2 hours sitting on a hard surface was painful!

I remember when this was announced the organisers promised they would learn the lessons of 2016. And, to be fair, I think they mostly delivered on that.

Edited by Four Lights

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also had an absolute blast of a weekend and want to thank everyone involved for doing such a fantastic job!! Especially the volunteers deserve a big hand, they always go underappreciated even though they make so much of the event possible in the first place. Big props to y'all, if any of you are reading this.

I'll list my pros and cons as well. Sorry if some of this gets nitpicky, I cannot stress enough that I had an awesome time, I just also like putting down as much of my thoughts as possible just in case it helps stuff being even better next time. 

Disclaimer/context if need be, my husband and I both had Lieutenant packages.

 

PRO

  • Registration - Quick and painless! My husband and I were in the big rush on Friday right as registration opened, and even with a massive queue it took max. 20-30 minutes from entering the queue to getting our badges and everything sorted. Having a seperate area for registration was a fantastic idea, considering the amount of people coming in, so props for that.
  • Hall & Layout - I was worried that finding stuff would be tough, but it really wasn't. The layout was largely very intuitive and really quite attendee-friendly. Tiny quibble: Only some of the photoshoot sets were on the map, some were not (like Klingon Bridge and Quark's Bar). You'd think they'd be easy to find considering they are close to the hall entrance, but with how big everything is and how full of people, it was really easy not to see the forest for the trees. I might just be really blind though. That aside, everything was easy to find, from the stages to the bathrooms, and there was enough room overall! Also, not as cold as I had feared. It might be simply a giant cargo hall, but heating + all the people ended up making it quite cozy in terms of temperature.
  • Panels & Activities  - I really like the variety of panels on offer and was sad I couldn't possibly make them all. That's a good sign, because it means the schedule had a lot of fun stuff avaible! We sampled a bit of everything; some talks, some fan-run panels, some retro gaming, some stalls. It really seemed like a good variety to me, there was something to do for everyone.
  • Guests - The VIPs were all absolutely lovely to see, and nobody was unfriendly or unapproachable. Of course they're all different personalities, and they are still there as a job first and foremost, but if you don't expect everyone to leap out of their chairs in joy, you get positively surprised. There was more chatting at the autographs than I expected, and everyone was an absolute pleasure to say hello to. It's very nice when you're not made to feel like you are merely a customer, and that was clearly communicated all weekend. Special shoutouts to Aron Eisenberg, Fred Haise, Rene Auberjonois, Andrew Robinson, Armin Shimmerman, Nana Visitor and Jeffrey Combs for going above and beyond what we expected, and for being absolute sweethearts, but I was really delighted with everyone I saw.
  • Autographs & Virtual Queue - This went way more smoothly and intuitively than I expected. Virtual queueing is extremely handy and really saves a lot of trouble and foot pain, and the volunteers at the queues and tables were all very helpful at all times. It took the edge off of the nerves I was feeling when meeting some of the special guests, thank you very much for that.
  • Volunteers - I know I mentioned them already but they deserve an extra shoutout! Big bonus thanks to the people at the photoshoot queues and the audio/panel tech in particular, they had some of the toughest jobs this weekend and were under constant pressure from everything going on. They generally handled themselves like pros and did what they could, and it helped so much.
  • ESA - Having the European Space Agency at the convention as much as this was wonderful. Super educational booth and panels. I hope to see them again in the future, they added a lot to the event and made it more than "just" about the shows. Please consider inviting more guests from the science and space exploration fields, I personally feel they really elevate the event and the message of Star Trek.
  • What We Left Behind Premiere - Last but most certainly not least was the premiere of the DS9 documentary. An amazing film and a fantastic experience of having it at the convention, it became easily one of my highlights of the whole weekend. I appreciate that was made possible.

 

 

CON

  • Hall acoustics - This was easily one of my biggest gripes. I understand a giant cargo hall isn't favorable for acoustics whatsoever, and all things considered the staff did what they could, but I really hope there's still room for improvements. The Enterprise stage was largely good, the Voyager stage was a mixed bag but mostly okay, but I couldn't attend any panels at the Excelsior stage at all because it was borderline impossible to understand anything. The lack of curtains around the latter two stages was a big issue, especially on the Excelsior stage, since that one was also close to all the food stalls and some vendors. I'm not a native speaker, so that likely adds to the problem, but I only understood every second or third word at the Excelsior stage. It was just simply stressful to listen after a while, and thus I had to skip out on later panels. Doubly disappointing since both the makeup artist panel and some ESA panels were held there. I really hope this can be improved.
  • What We Left Behind Premiere - As others have said, this was a fantastic event, but very rough on the edges. Seat cushions would have been very appreciated; the seats were fully okay for a 45 minute panel, but not for a 2 hour film. Queueing was very confusing and hall staff very visibly confused by it all. Figuring out where to sit was a bit of a mess. I understand this event was an extra thing to handle, but I hope this sorta thing can become smoother in the future.
  • Paid talk prices - Entirely just my impression, but I feel the paid talks were a bit steeply priced, considering they were about the same length as the non-paid ones and didn't really do anything different besides the special guests. Seeing them is always marvelous, but I still felt some of the pricing was prohibitive.
  • Food court prices - Not a massive deal since the NEC had a lot of food options avaible (my personal tip: The pasty shop, very tasty and filling for a bargain price), but the food court in the hall was really overpriced, sorry to say. 8£ for a small portion of fish and chips without any sides was just kinda out there. I expect higher prices for the convenience of eating on site, but even with that it wasn't worth it I feel. I imagine the stall owners determine the prices, not DST, but it's still a bummer.

 

SUGGESTIONS

I fully understand if these aren't doable, but I figured I might as well bring them up. It's a great event already, in any case.

  • More options for packages - I overall really enjoyed the value of my Lieutenant package, but I doubt I would upgrade it to anything higher with the current package deals. I think they'd be tons better with just a tad more options to choose from. I'd love having some photos included for autographs, for instance - The queue at the official autograph photo table was ridiculous, so if you'd get a certain amount of photos allocated and you could pick which guests you want in advance, that'd be fantastic for a package deal. Same with having some say in whose autographs/talks you get allocated, I personally didn't wanna spring for a bigger package because I was worried I'd be assigned things I really didn't wanna see. I understand there is only so much leeway in how the packages can be done, but any sort of further compromise would be fantastic. Especially getting some photos for autographs in advance would be really sweet.
  • More options for online payment - Paypal or other such options would be very appreciated, credit cards can be tough for people outside the country.

 

 

Thank you so much again for putting on a great weekend, I look forward to whenever I can make it again!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Late posting this as been busy the past few months since DST last year with various commitments, mainly with ice hockey & family (my brother is in the circus)

No cons at all for me.   Was worried I’d struggle because of my autism,  but I didn’t at all.    All the volunteers were great,  the guests were fantastic.  Obviously a special thank you to Jeri Ryan as she’s why I went.  So incredibly lovely with me & hasn’t aged a bit.  The Discovery cast were an absolute pleasure to interact with at the panels, autograph tables & photoshoots along with Alice Krige, Gates McFadden, Martha Hackett

the panels I attended were all great and was fantastic to ask Jeri a couple of questions.  The convention was very easy to get around & was places where I could go when things got to much.

 

my first DST was fantastic and it won’t be my last.  Unlikely to be back this year,  but I’m already planning for 2020

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×