William Chow's Personal Web Page

The year is 2004.

Below I have some of the photos of great times that were had. Feel free to click on the thumbnail to enlarge it.

Anime Evolution 2004 Convention Page

This year is the first year that I was part of an executive body running the operations of a convention. It was a lot of work, but with a lot of time put into the preparation of the convention, it sure makes the running of one much easier.

I am in the unique position of seeing a convention but also have some direct interaction with the convention and actually have a voice in the convention that actually has some kind of effect.

Now instead of my usual convention rant about how much I managed to see or how much I managed to haul in, I am able to talk about something different. Since I am kinda behind the scenes anyway, I think I don't really need to see anything video wise, and the panels are usually not very informative. I had a great chance to get close to and get autographs but unfortunately, I didn't think to have any of the materials around to sign. So, barring all that, what about things to buy? Well, since this is a local convention, anything I don't buy at the con, I can always go to their store and buy it there. It is not like I had to travel 1000's of miles into the United States to buy things that are not available in Canada.

So this convention report will be about running the convention from my perpective.


Way Before The Con

In the beginning, I wanted to run a video games room. But unlike Anime Evolution 2003, there was chronic shortages of volunteers in key positions all over the place. So I stepped up the plate to fix the problem with the volunteers. Well, I tied with another person named Yvonne, for the position. This turned out to be a blessing, since the position could easily be divided into two positions.

Like any organization there is always problems with the hieracary and/or structure. The committee was getting bogged down. My department was not really affected since I most of the things I have to do is during the convention as opposed to before, so I really didn't care about the internal politics. Our elected chairperson Ben, had micromanaged and had his hands into too many departments rather than allocating the job out to each of the department heads. He was replaced by Chad who was the vice-chairperson. Again, I was a part of the bog down, but that was democracy for you.

I developed a receipt system to assign and to keep track of the volunteers. It solved a lot of the problems such as, volunteers showing up to their posts, supervisors signing them off, specific instructions to the volunteer can be written down, room numbers can be written down, volunteers can count their hours, easy accounting for after the convention, and food and drink can be allocated fairly.


A Little Before Con

The time a week or so before the convention is the time last minute things get done. Fortunately, for me, I had already had most of the things I needed made and printed done. I had made a pre-booking schedule for the volunteers so they can pick the blocks of time they can work. It makes them a little more likely to show up for their shifts and actually enjoy the convention as well as showing up for hours they can work, as opposed to hours they have to work. Only problem here was that most of the volunteers left it till the very last moment to decide what times they wanted. This of course, created some work for me but nothing that couldn't be handled. It was a good thing to plan ahead.

The other chaotic thing I had to do was prepare up the video games room. I didn't have enough time to prepare everything the exact way I wanted but it was close. Next year, I will have to administrate less and provide more events.


Thursday, August 18, 2004 : Day 0

Well, today was a fun filled day of filling a 3 tonne van will all the contents of my store (literally) into it and truck it up the hill. It was the Para Para Paradise arcade machine, some 8 televisions with the video game consoles to match them, the 2200 mangas that came on a palette from Viz Comics, plus convention stationary and other goods.

I get up the hill in good time actually a bit early. I started to unload the truck by myself, and then around 7:00pm, a posse of volunteers showed up to help. Actually, the exact time I scheduled them to show up. In a matter of two or three trips up the frieght elevator, the entire truck was unloaded into the room at SFU.


Mistake number one, I should have been present to sort out what goes where. There were things like food and drink and mangas and posters and stationary all destined for Con ops or registration that was not needed in the room. Like wise, there were things in Con Ops that were not suppose to be there like TVs and patch cables that were suppose to be in the games room. Next year, I will need to take care of that.

When I finally reported to my volunteer post, lots of volunteers were ready and eager to help set up. However, due to other problems in the other departments mainly to do with SFU room bookings, they were not ready for the volunteers. Not my fault, I had the supplied the staff, they just couldn't find an efficent use for them.


Improvement number two, I should also be present during the setup of the games. I like to thank Colin for assembling the Para Para Paradise arcade machine correctly. Although some of the screws were in the wrong place, but it worked and stayed in one piece. But easily there could have been an issue there. Also, the X-boxs should have been networked together so that Halo would have worked better. But these are all things, I should have been around to resolve, but I was upstairs allocating volunteers around, which for the most part, Jim could have done, since they were all there to help him move stuff around. In the end, registration used them for bag stuffing and dealers room used them for setting up.


Friday, August 19, 2004 : Day 1

Today is the official day. I arrived a touch late, to find a classroom filled with volunteers. I was very surprised everyone had arrived and were for the most part, ON TIME. I quickly got into mode and briefed the troops. Almost all the other departments were not ready to take volunteers. Registration was not quite set up so I sent them their 10 volunteers they booked for and of course, they were put to controlling lines.

A combination of a great team of registration staff with some good volunteers, the Friday line was gone before noon rolled around. An enormous improvement over last years horrible 5:00pm chaos! Congratulations to the staff and volunteers!

Stupid move number three, Heiu, who was in charge of the dealers room, disappeared off the SFU hill at around 10:00am to go pick Vince up. What the hell was that? That lazy bum couldn't take a bus? The goof ball isn't even staff or volunteer staff, although, he did help out a bit here and there. If the person was like Rune Sasaki or something, I would understand but this is just a friend you made a decision in poor judgement with allocation of time. You simply can't be in an important situation as setting up the dealers room and not be there because you are acting as someone's taxi cab. I blame Vince for being so stupid to force Hieu to give him ride (take the bus you idiot), and I blame Hieu for not thinking of his convention responsibilities. In the meantime, dealers were arriving looking to set up, dealers rooms were not unlocked, nobody in dealers room knew what to do. Volunteers were arriving for their pre-booked shifts, but they ended up standing around when they could be helping vendors unload and set up. This was bad. This was not a cool move.


Otherwise, Friday ran very smoothly. I was able to get the volunteers to their positions. Now, what to do when they got their was another story. Some positions such as dealer's room, the most they need to know is "Stand a this door, check the badges before they come in". Pretty simple. But some other jobs like Video Rooms, needed a list of instructions. Not all the volunteers were briefed about WHAT to exactly do at all the posts. The supervisor is suppose to do the briefing but of course, things get busy and they forget to do so.


Improvement number four, I recommend next year, that the volunteers need to certified to do certain positions. Just like plumbers or Microsoft employees, they need a certification ticket in a particular job before they can left to perform a job. So, before they can watch a video room, they need to be video room certified. This can be done in the volunteer orientation before the con or during the con by following someone else who is going to be briefed on the job. So, in the example of video rooms, they will be told, "play videoes all the way to the end including credits", show them how to turn on subtitles on a DVD, tell them to check badges of people coming into the video room, return the videos to con ops, and etc.. etc... After they heard the lecture, they get some kinda stamp or signature or mark to note they are qualified to do video rooms.


Improvement number five, I recommend next year, that the volunteers running info booth need to be qualified and know the area of SFU campus. There were too many volunteers that showed up at that position that didn't have a clue where anything was. Also as an added plus, there should be a roving mobile info booth. Probably in the form of a guy on roller blades wearing a bright orange staff security vest or something like that or what they have at Metrotown. This will help the populace get to where they need to get to.


Improvement number six, almost on the same topic, better maps and better signage. I did do a bit of signage for the video games room in Maggie Benson. It helped a little. Again, the SFU staff did take some of the signs down and some of the signs just fell down. However, I did send volunteers twice or three times a day to go and refresh the signs that fell down or those that were ripped down.

On the same topic, I know there were signs made but the problem again like improvement number 5, too many of the volunteers did not know their way out of a paper bag. So no point having them put up signs. Thus, we need the roving information booth guy to help position signs and help people with their questions.

On the subject of the maps, they were ok, but a lot of people had trouble putting all the maps into perspective. Things like how to get to SFU, and parking and what the campus as a whole looks like not just the areas we were using. Also, they were confused on how the maps supplied related to each other. Maybe a larger "Overview" map, with blow ups of the areas that we were using might be the trick. As well, room numbers were missing from the maps so that made it hard to match the programming schedule with the room numbers on the map.

SFU is a big campus. You can get lost pretty easy if you don't have a good map...


Saturday, August 20, 2004 : Day 2


Saturday ran pretty flawless. Today, Cosplay was in full action and people were really getting into it. Including this pair doing some Yaoi/Yuri action for Prince of Tennis.

The only highlight from the evening was a fire alarm going off at around 2:00am in the morning. I guess that added some excitement into what would have been a rather eventless evening...



Sunday, August 21, 2004 : Day 3


The cosplay runway show was cancelled due to unperdictable weather, however, that didn't stop a gathering of cosplayers outside by the Koi pond outside of the dealers room. They started doing mock combats unfortunately, the combats stopped becoming mock. Hieu comes out from the dealers room. However, instead of dispersing and controlling the crowd, he started provoking them. Again, this was an uncontrolled event, that was handled improperly by staff. This was a security issue and should have been left to security to handle.

Improvement number seven, there needed to be a dealer's laison. While Hieu was running around on Friday playing taxi cab, cosplaying as a chicken with his head cut off, and being a fight referee, he obviously had too much time on his hands that he felt he could waste it. Unfortunately, many of the dealers had issues, (little ones I would admit), but they had things that they need assistance with. Nobody, came to them to ask them if they were doing ok, or if they had a question or if they had to do something. I was wandering the dealer's room on Saturday, asking each of the dealers if they needed anything. Food, water, power, change, volunteers, or anything. Sure a couple were thirsty, some had problems with the internet connection and one of them just needed a break so he could go out and have a smoke. Where was Hieu and his helpers? Probably outside provoking the next anime WWF Royale Rumble....


Pictures around the Convention

some of the fun to be had in con ops.

The dealer's room where Shana and gamedeals.ca were.

The many people pouring over Shana's SMUT.

The ever popular Super Eurobeat Dance Game - Para Para Paradise. Enjoyed by many players, and being free, many others tried it out.

By far the most popular games were Smash Brothers for the N64, Halo and Soul Calibur for the X-box, and Karaoke Revolution 2 for the Playstation 2.

So after a day of con-ing, what better way to beat up and shoot up your friends? Either that, or scare them all way by showing them how tone deaf you are.


Nathanial (standing in the back) with his Cosplay winning entry as the King Of Fighters team. He has cute Yuri.

Stan (right side), and the rest of his Monster attack team with all the rubber monsters that attacked Tokyo, and more....

Daisuke doing translations for voice actress Run Sasaki.


This year, the big topic was Naruto and Full Metal Alchemist. So much so, all their costumes blended together and I didn't notice any of them because they all look so homogeneous. Oh well... However, there were some original ideas and some good costume work. Here are my hits/misses for the costume contest.

I had to double take on this Naruto Sexy Ninjitsu costume because I saw her from behind at first. From that angle, it looked like she was wearing nothing.

I saw this Yugioh Black Magician Girl on Friday running down the hallway. One of the first costumes that stuck out in the crowd.

As mentioned earlier, having too many of one costume type obscures and confuses the viewers. However, by putting them all together like this, it quickly shows who made good Sakura costumes and who should probably loose a few more pounds before wearing a Sakura costume.

Ok, I am throwing this Mai into the disturbing category. Since there were no guys in Sailor Moon uniforms with hairy legs, I guess this was about as bad as it got.

Now, that we had a bad Mai, we needed a good Mai.

Chad was screaming over the radio for a camera on Sunday to catch this one.

Ok, this wasn't the first Mario and Luigi team I saw but a female team.. Now that was a bit different.

I think I saw these two down in Seattle at Sakura Con. Maybe...

But I am thinking this wasn't the pair of Chi's I caught a picture the black one. Good pair though...

After The Con

As per usual, it is almost a customary Canadian thing to do, is to have our Staff and Volunteer party after the convention to tie up all the loose ends. This year we let a few weeks pass, and on 9/10/2004, we had our party. Lots of food as long as you got there early as usual, nobody ever RSVPs. I ended getting stuck with veggie burger patties. A suggestion for next year, screw the veggie crap. Holy cow. The only thing I could taste in the veggie burger was the ketcup, the mustard and the pickles I put in. Everything else had no taste including the bread.

Anyway, all things aside, today is not about me. It was about all the staff and volunteers that helped out. Without them behind the scenes putting everything together, this would not have run as smoothly as it did. I hope to see many of them next year. 

Next Year

Probably still too early to think about next year but I don't want to have an executive position during the convention. I think the most involved I will get internally will be vice chair person, but that would be it.

However, next year, I would like to organize many smaller events. Of course, I will gladly do the video games room again. New additions like Dance Dance Revolution and big screen Halo 2 are going to be a must.

With a new twist, I volunteer to be the parade master for a Sunday cosplay event. Pose theme ideas: Power Rangers, Sailor Moon, Vanna White, the locomotion, the can can, Charlie's Angels, Star Wars (National Lampoon's Vacation), 3 Musketteers, crouching tiger hidden dragon, national anthem, Kill Bill (sword line), School of Rock (air guitar), Master and Slave, Scoobie Doo 2 (back to back pairs), Statue of Liberty, Hail Mary, Saturday Night Fever (John Travolta), baseball,

On Saturday or Friday sometime, I am willing to run an anime game show, "Name That Song" kinda thing.