UPDATE: The president of the Mizuumi-con sponsoring organization “Patrick “Enzan” Lloyd” replied below, and apparently the empty tables were the result of no-shows.
Mizuumi-Con is special for me because it is where this crazy trip called “creativity” began. I first attended Mizuumi-Con back in 2009, where I attended two panels. The first was with Kevin M. Connolly, who discussed voice acting. The second was Chris Holm’s panel which talked about ‘inspiring artists.’ Kevin provided insight on doing voiceovers, and the message of Chris’ panel was…well, “get off your ass and do something.”
A few days later, I was flipping through old notes, trying to figure out what old ideas might be worth dusting off. A few weeks later, I would meet with Chris and a couple of other guys to form what would eventually become First Storm Manga.
This would actually be my second Mizuumi-Con behind the First Storm Manga table in the dealer/artist area. Unlike other cons, Mizuumi puts both artists and dealers in the same space. Last year, it was a madhouse; the space was packed to the gills with artists, dealers, and more importantly, customers. In an effort to ease the congestion, and I presume, get more dealers and artists involved, it was decided that a second room, dubbed the “Annex,” would contain the spillover.
It was a good idea on paper, but a few things kept it from working as well as it should have:
- Distance – The two artist/dealer areas were at opposite ends of the OLLU campus from each other, so if you wanted to check both of them out, it was a decent hike.
- Layout – The layout of the tables at the Annex was awful. They had the tables start at the walls and go in towards the middle of the room. This is great if you get a good spot in the middle of the room, but sucks if you are by the wall. Even if you are an attendee, having to constantly double-back is annoying and it didn’t take very many people to make things crowded.
- Planning – In the main artist/dealer area we had at least a dozen tables that went unused.
- Organization – Some of those people in the Annex could have been moved over to those empty tables but nobody in charge figured it out.
I went by the Annex a few times to say hi to friends and check up on them. It was crowded, hot and quite a few of my artist friends did not do as well sales-wise as they would have liked to. In contrast, the artists I knew that were in the original location did fairly well and things never got too hot or too crowded there.
Despite the Annex goof-up, I had fun talking to people about First Storm Manga and our own upcoming September event, the Mezasu mini-con. Mizuumi appeared to draw a good crowd and it looked like folks were having a good time. Mizuumi is a fun one-day event, and I try to encourage folks new to the anime scene to attend it as a starting point. I look forward to coming back next year; hopefully they will have worked out the kinks in the artist/dealer area.
A final note: If it sounds like I’m harping about the artist/dealer room thing it’s because I personally know just over half a dozen people that had tables there and I feel bad for the ones that got shafted. Hopefully things will be better next time.