End of Year Rant 2018

I haven’t done one of these in a while. In fact I haven’t done a new sermon about anything in quite a while.

These rants are usually about topics that don’t tend to warrant a whole write up on their own or I haven’t been able to flesh it out in such a way. And because it’s been a while I thought there’d be quite the backlog of things to bitch and moan about but I’m a little surprised.

It’s not exactly the best way to end the year but I wanted to get this out of the way now and have something more relatively positive later to round out the year.

Here we go…

Oz Comic-Con… one year on
It’s just over 12 months since we first found out Oz Comic-Con was pulling out of Adelaide and Perth and I must say it’s still a tad difficult to process and let go for me. Mind you I am sort of buoyed by the fact that I’m not the only one still so passive aggressive about it all especially when OzCC pops up as punchline around here.

And as I said back in April, that time of year now feels very empty around these parts.

But it is what it is and unfortunately, there’s no changing it, no change of heart from ReedPop. Back in 2017 I did a post-mortem about that decision, which I still stand by but there are a few other things I wish to add and clarify…

When The Hub Creations first launched Oz Comic-Con in Adelaide back in 2012, it was meant to be a nationwide series of events having a presence in major capital cities. When ReedPop swooped in to buy it out, they planned from the get go to pull out of the smaller cities and concentrate on the larger ones, they even implied as much in interviews. As part of their business plan for growth, wanted a presence in Australia without the hassle of building things from the ground up and introducing their own event.

So they bought one along with all its resources ready-made from The Hub (ironic when you know the background of some of these people).

Yes it was always a business decision to shrink their efforts but it was not actually based on failing sales in those cities but more to do with ReedPop having a presence worldwide, with recent expansions in Asia and new events Africa. Perth and Adelaide fans got stooged because of a large US company co-opted our home grown event as part of their worldwide reach.

And on the subject of large foreign companies…

Large corporations that are only concerned with the bottom line DO NOT DESERVE YOUR SYMPATHY!

You can’t shame people by using the folks who work down the line as “human shields” to fend off criticism of the poor decisions being made higher up (most of us are able to differentiate between the two by the way and reserve our anger for those in charge). You cannot bring “feelings” into a situation where a large, faceless corporation whose only concern is money and not the customer base and community they are servicing.

It’s always very obvious the “brand loyalty” comes from people who are still benefiting from being “nice”.

The big irony is that Oz Comic-Con’s departure did encourage a bunch of Adelaidians to cross the border for their convention fix earlier in the year… at Supanova.

Speaking of interstate…
By most accounts, Brisbane Oz Comic-Con 2018 was a disappointment from an attendance perspective and potentially under-performed. I saw the photos and Insta stories of how quiet it was and marvelled at how sparse it was. Many compared peak time at the Brissie event with “late afternoon at an Adelaide con”.

Motherfucking ouch.

Despite this I highly doubt ReedPop will pull the pin on the Brisbane show because as I said above, pulling out of Adelaide and Perth was never about the performance of those shows but about reducing their efforts as a global company having some sort of presence in Australia.

And that’s the really disappointing thing about the entire fiasco, because so many are putting their arguments into the “you need to support them” guilt trip basket when in reality they don’t need it.

For all the talk about ReedPop focusing more on the “community” it just ends up sounding shallow when their outlook is global. In of itself that’s not a bad thing but then the point of view is that huge then the smaller “communities” do end up by the way side.

Sydney, on the other hand, did much better according to those who were there and compared to previous years apparently. But we won’t ever know how well because ReedPop still haven’t updated their event stats for their Aussie shows (as of this write-up, their website still display attendance numbers from 2016, which I think speaks volumes about what this new arrangement was all about).

Band-aid solutions
As I wrote in my post-show write-up, Press Play was a lot of fun as well as being a successful and well run evening. Apart from it being held on a Thursday night in Adelaide there is very little I can fault about the event itself.

Having said that, I’m forever going to be salty about WHY the event exists in the first place even though I predicted this very thing just over a year ago. It is interesting though to find out more about the background of it and it makes the decisions being made even worse…

Over the last few months more and more people have been hearing that Press Play was “years in the making” and while I was initially dismissive of this it turns out that this was technically true. ReedPop had indeed been working on Press Play for a while but it was originally meant to be an “After Dark” show held on the Saturday night of an Oz Comic-Con, directly organised by the con, instead of locals in their respective cities putting on a show. It was NEVER meant to be a stand-alone event.

No one will ever admit it but it’s painfully obvious from the timeline of events ReedPop were going to pull out completely from Adelaide and Perth and that included those respective legs of the National Championships of Cosplay (I mean if they expect punters to cross the border to attend their events then why not the contestants right?)

When it got out that Oz Comic-Con was not returning to these cities, they were caught with their pants down because they were hoping to do it quietly (again made clear by their tone-deaf Facebook announcement) and they didn’t have plans in place to keep holding those cosplay heats like they alluded to but ended up having to anyway because of all the backlash.

They had to come up with something and that’s how Press Play went from Saturday night convention show to it’s own thing. And despite the marvellous job organisers did to put together Press Play you can still detect that last-minute rush to get stuff done, which fortunately was not a detriment to the event and more a testament to the folks on the ground cleaning up messes from on higher up.

So when an Adelaide cosplayer won the National final in Sydney, it sent a shockwave up the line to those calling the shots. What a big middle finger to all those “professionals” looking after “the bottom line”. That someone from a town they abandoned was going to represent our country in the US in 2019.

It’s interesting that after all the hush hush earlier in the year, you now suddenly hear half-truth whispers that Press Play was always in the works.

Drama Class
I always rolled my eyes when folks declared the Adelaide cosplay community to be “full of drama” and I always called bullshit on it because, relatively speaking, we’re rather tame compared to our east coast counterparts it seems.

It’s both refreshing and somewhat scary to find out that the stories I’ve heard and experiences I’ve had over the last 12 years have really not changed in all this time thanks to people who got to experience this bullshit for the first time this year.

I had a few friends retell the moment they stepped into the foyer of a Sydney convention and noticed all the cosplayers standing around grouped in their respective cliques, staring each other down with visible disdain, getting snippy about who was seen talking to who. Most of them would remain in the foyer the entire day waiting for photographers or any punter with a camera instead of experience the convention itself.

The one bit of scuttlebutt that really blew my mind, only because it was still happening, it’s alleged that a few big name cosplayers have been privately messaging lesser-known folks to try and dissuade them from wearing the costumes the “unknowns” had planned because they themselves were going to wear it to that event or because they are “known” for that particular character and have an inflated sense of entitlement.

And I can believe it too, it’s happened before but I am amazed that some fuck-knuckles are still trying to pull off this stunt a decade later.

Tantrums and Tiaras
No matter how much I clarify, soften, sugar coat, or just outright omit large portions of my feedback and criticisms, I’m always going to rub someone the wrong way. I don’t set out to do that nor do I wear that as a badge of honour (I find that sort of attitude distasteful).

My post-event write-ups are meant to offer a perspective on the inner workings on such large events, as well as feedback to organisers on the “customer experience” that can often be overlooked with so many moving parts going on at once. Both of these together help to offer reassurance or even a sounding board for others (both attendee and organiser) who also had issues and frustrations of their own with the event but may feel too intimidated to speak up.

It’s all good, I’ve got your back!

It’s just unfortunate that I can give a mostly positive impression about my experiences, pointing out how many of the people I interacted with were able to pull up the socks and go above and beyond to get things done, but still be made to look like the bad guy because I don’t play the brown-nosing game like so many others.

My feedback is not meant to be a condemnation of anything but simply lessons for next time. When people react negatively to my feedback it’s always unfortunate. When they retaliate by trying to prove me wrong (ie by trying to do better the next time) all I can say is, “Well yeah that’s the fucking point!”

Sometimes you just have to take this shit in your stride, so I’ll simply present to you some wonderful words of wisdom from the awesome Mark Hamill

I tend to leave these huge rants to the middle and end of year mainly so most of the annoying chaff can fall by the wayside with the benefit of time. I’ve even deliberately left out stuff this time because it starts to lose all impact when I have to repeat myself over and over. In all honestly, the only reason I have enough to do this twice a year is because people continue to be shit and fuck it up for everyone else.

I wanted to get this out of the way before a finished off 2018 with something, hopefully, more positive.

Here endeth the Sermon

If you enjoyed that nonsense as well as my other work then please consider contributing to my tip jar at http://ko-fi.com/oldtrenchy so I can spend more time churning out more of these word spews.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *