Then There’s That

Posted by Ben at 2011-06-12 21:19:18 UTC

I think I should start a blog. Rather, I’ve thought about starting a blog for awhile. Overall, it would be good for me. Not in that I have a lot to say, but in that I should practice having a lot to say. After all, if I don’t practice having things to say, I’ll forget how to say things. Also it would also give me a chance to flex some creative muscles away from Dubious Company. I love the comic dearly, but sometimes a guy just has to write something else. It’s getting to the point where I can pretty much only write scripts. There’s a subtle art to descriptions that I’m rapidly losing thanks to Tria’s amazing arting abilities.

So, I should start a blog, sounds simple right? Kiiind of. The issue was that it was too simple. There are at least a million and one various blogospheres and easy blog start-up websites and programs (I may be exaggerating a bit) and in these situations I have an annoying tendency to over-analyze. You could say I was crippled with choice. You could also say I was crippled with laziness. Meh, a little from one and more of the other, but the effect was the same: sitting around not really writing much.

Recently, however, I had a sudden realization (in the shower, where all my best ideas come). I have a blog, the rant space of DBC basically functions as my blog. The only hold up was that I, in my misguided youth, opted to use this space for comic purposes only. Well, no more. From now on this space will be used for whatever well formulated thoughts come to my mind, as rare as that may be. Which should still be a step up from only updating this section when the stars align and the Earth shifts to the proper coordinates.

However, for those of you who ARE only interested in comic news, I’ll try to give everyone fair warning about WHAT type of rant you’ll be reading. Ideally, they’d all be pretty entertaining, but we’ll see. At any rate, that’s your comic news for this week. Hopefully I’ll have something slightly more entertaining next week to post up.


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Advice From Customer Service

Posted by Ben at 2011-06-01 00:48:37 UTC

Now that I’m a bit better rested, I thought I’d give you all a slightly better breakdown of Anime Central, in as much as my limited perspective allows me. As I previously stated, I was working customer service for the convention, sadly this meant I didn’t get to do most of the fun stuff (other than a bit of running around in the dealer’s hall on the last day (though the reason I missed a lot of events when I was off shift is because of jet lag)). That’s okay though, the whole customer service department is crewed by some of the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve ever met. Seriously, you have to admire a group of people that will gladly take in three completely random strangers, at the last minute, and treat them like family within the day.

Good thing too, the whole point of customer service is to help the con-goers and make sure they walk away from the con happy. The whole situation was actually a bit surreal to me. I work in customer service normally (you know, when I’m not doing the comic) and honestly, I get treated like dirt by most customers. So to suddenly be in a situation where the customers (con-goers) actually wanted my help was like being thrown into weird bizarro-world. Bizarre, but comforting at the same time. Most of the questions were cut and dry directions to panels or questions about when certain events were happening. But it’s always nice to know you made sure someone got into the Masquerade on time, or found the Kenshin photoshoot. Though on that note, I think I’ve got a list of decent guidelines for making our job easier, and your con experience better.

1. Check the customer service desks occasionally. Acen is a chaotic time. You should get a schedule of events and panels and all the staffers and departments are doing their best to keep everything organized and orderly for you. But sometimes silly things happen and we have to reschedule on the fly. Customer Service theoretically has the most updated schedules posted, so whenever you’re in doubt check with us and we’ll tell you when and where.

2. If it’s not from a staffer, it’s suspect information, doubly so if the person is asking for money. Several people came up to me asking where they could get tickets for various events (the Flow Concert, Masquerade, etc.) A couple of people were claiming other con-goers were offering to sell them extra tickets to those events. I know Acen has run the ticketing system in the past, and may move back into it in the future. But Acen 2011 was run on a first come/first serve basis. Anyone offering tickets was scamming you. Again, check customer service.

3. Make your stuff distinctive. Customer Service deals with Lost and Found and this year Anime Central had around 20,000 people attending. Which means we had to deal with 20,000 people worth of lost stuff. If you make your items really obvious, it makes it that much easier for us to help you out. It sounds kind of 5th graderish, but when someone comes up and says “I lost a red DS” and we have 3 red Nintendo DS’s, things get a little complicated. But when someone asks, “Do you have a red DS covered in Hello Kitty stickers and pirate skulls?” we can usually find the item instantly.

4. On that note: Don’t send your friends to look for your stuff. For various reasons we can’t show you what’s in the Lost and Found, you have to describe it to us, and we have to make absolutely sure that we’re giving you the right item. No one knows your stuff better than you.

5. The Soap Bubble is part of Anime Central, not Anime Central itself. The late night party at Anime Central is probably one of the best large scale parties in the area. But it’s still just another con event in terms of planning. Don’t show up Saturday night expecting to be able to buy a day pass and then be allowed into the Soap Bubble at the last second. The day pass pays for ALL convention events that day, not just the Soap Bubble, and sadly, fire regulations require that we limit the number of people in the room at one time. We will do everything we can to make sure you have a good time, but we have to treat you just as fairly as we treat the other con-goers. That means you’re at the same level of treatment as the guy who pre-ordered the weekend pass, even if you came JUST for the Soap Bubble.

6. Don’t Sweat it. As said, Anime Central is huge and chaotic. Which means there’s a lot that can go wrong, and often does go wrong. On the plus side, Acen is huge and chaotic, which means there’s always something else going on. One full panel, or cancelled show isn’t the end of the con. I guarantee you there is something equally awesome and fun happening at the same time.

Well, that’s the end of the list. Sorry if it sounded a bit preachy, but I figure it’s good to head off some of the common problems I saw. As for me, I met some awesome people, made a few new friends, hung out with my some of my oldest and best friends. But mostly, I got a plushie narwhal, which makes it the best Acen ever.


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Acen Breakdown

Posted by Ben at 2011-05-24 02:37:22 UTC

So, as word might have gotten out, I was at Acen this weekend. I say “might have” because I tried to keep my presence there low-key. In fact, I wasn’t even planning on mentioning it until Tria made a post about it on our Facebook. As I stated both in the comic’s comments and on Facebook, the reason behind this low-key, hidden attendance is because I couldn’t actually go as a Dubious Company official. Instead I attended as Acen staff. However, due to a bit of a snafu, I wasn’t sure which department I was in until that Wednesday. The unknown staffer issue cascaded into not knowing what my duties would be and not knowing what my schedule would be like, all of which made it that much harder to schedule any kind of Dubious Company meeting. Oh and the Hyatt charges like ten dollars per computer per day for internet, so I was pretty much in a digital communication hole since Thursday. Not to say I didn’t want to meet all you fans, say, “hi” compare notes and generally have a big party, but this Acen just wasn’t the convention for that to happen. Hopefully, if Dubious Company grows enough I can attend as TagalongDT of Dubious Company officially, and we can do a meet and greet. Who knows, maybe we can even do a photo shoot (psst: Tell people about how awesome our comic is so that can happen!)

The convention itself went very well. I’ll admit that I spent most of my time hanging out with some friends from high school. Honestly, that’s the major reason I still go to Acen, it’s an amazing con and all, but flying halfway cross the country for it takes its toll. On that note, I also spent a lot of time sleeping; jet lag is a harsh mistress. And I also spent quite a bit of time being a staffer and helping out the customer service department of Anime Central. All of that left me with pretty much zero time to actually do any typical con stuff. No panels, no masquerade, I didn’t even have time to hit the video game room. But I still think it was a great con. Something about the atmosphere in Acen makes it a fun place to be, even if you don’t have time to do any of the more traditional convention activities. Honestly, I’d have to say it’s because the convention was full of people ready to have a good time, so they are going to have a good time and it’s honestly really hard not to be around that many people having fun and not have fun yourself, even if you’re stuck behind a counter answering questions. Though there is something to be said about that warm, fuzzy, squishy feeling you get for making a con goer’s experience that much better.

At any rate, I’m sorry I don’t have a more, proper, better con break down for you folks. I’ll be the first to admit that Anime Central is an unusual con for me personally (I mostly go to visit old friends, and less for the con itself). More than likely I’ll have to keep staffing Acen, unless it becomes financially viable to attend as Dubious Company, but that doesn’t mean I can’t schedule times to meet you folks unofficially. Next con up to bat Kumoricon in Vancouver, Washington (Trying to get a panel there). Thanks folks and keep reading the comic!


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