Anime Unscripted: Cast
The Dating Game: Jack Harkness
Death Match: Jack Harkness
Anime Unscripted: Cast
Anime Unscripted Performance:
Majodere, Shiva, PatrickD, Sketch
ConnectiCon is a medium-sized multi-genre convention held annually in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. Unlike other major New England conventions which focus almost exclusively on Japanese anime and manga, ConnectiCon also caters to fans of science fiction, fantasy, comics, webcomics, and Western animation. For its eighth year, ConnectiCon continued to build on its multi-fandom theme, and benefited greatly from expanded programing and a more well-organized staff. Major events included a Sherlock Holmes-themed masquerade, cosplay chess, Anime Unscripted, Anime Dating Game, FMV contest, and Mookie's beloved Death Match. Despite ConnectiCon's move away from being an anime-specific convention, non-webcomic guests remained mostly anime-related and featured Pokémon voice actors Bill Rodgers and Michele Knotz. Overall, the staff was more knowledgeable regarding the locations and times of events and more professional than several yelling staffers from the previous year. However, the convention still mishandled several issues, including an unadvertised registration glitch and a masquerade that is often more about the staff wanting to perform their own skits than giving the attendees their moment to shine. The event also suffers from the spread-out nature of its venue which makes it feel as if there is very little going on at any one time. This leaves attendees often at a loss of things to do as many events are not well-advertised. ConnectiCon, despite its size, has not yet hit its stride, but hopefully the con will continue to improve as it grows.
Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown
The weekend did not get off to a good start when we arrived at the Hartford Convention Center Thursday night to pick up our badges; while Sketch was able to get his without issue, they were unable to find Shiva's pre-registration, even though she had her confirmation e-mail on hand. Come to find out, PayPal hadn’t processed a whole bunch of ConnectiCon registration payments between certain dates and therefore, Shiva's registration never went through even though she received confirmation from ConnectiCon's system that it had. The registration staff were all familiar with this issue, and yet no effort had been made to proactively mention it. It would have been nice if ConnectiCon had made an announcement or sent out an e-mail that they had problems with registration, including the range of dates it occurred, so those affected could have tried to resolve the issue ahead of time.
Instead, not only were the registration staff unsympathetic, but the only option they gave Shiva was to return the next day, wait in the day-of-convention registration line, and register for the full badge price of $60 when she had originally registered for $30. They refused to honor the original registration fee even though she had a receipt of her registration, refused to expedite having to stand in line due to their own system problem, and were not even nice about it. Suffice to say, we were furious with the convention before it had even started, and Shiva was beyond pissed that she now had to fork over money she had not budgeted for just to get in the front door. Not helping to improve our moods was the fact we had been unable to get a hotel room for the full weekend, and instead of being able to settle into a hotel room Thursday night, and would have to just dump our things, check out the next day, and move to another room for the rest of the convention. Despite all this, we tried to put our reservations aside and get a good night's sleep.
On Friday we spent the early morning packing up our things and moving to the next hotel; as much as it was a pain in the neck we were glad to finally settle in for the weekend. Sketch got into Jack Harkness and Shiva changed into Lebreau from Final Fantasy XIII, and we spent the morning helping out the cosplay events staff pass out flyers for the dating game. We then checked out Artist Alley and the Dealer’s Room and visited Mookie and Alyssa. That afternoon, we performed in Anime Unscripted with some of our favorite voice actors, Bill Rogers and Michelle Knotz. It was one of our better shows, a result we strongly attributed to our easy rapport with Bill and Michelle. Some of the highlights of the show included "Questions Only," "Press Conference," and "Two Line Vocabulary."
After the show we filmed several humorous segments for AnimeCons.TV which PatrickD would edit together into a 1950s-style instructional video about how not to be "That Guy." This segment featured cosplay photography etiquette at a convention and the format was modeled after the old-school "Goofus and Gallant" comic strips. It was a lot of fun to do, and hopefully some of our viewers find it helpful. That afternoon,Bill Rogers was making jokes about punching people in the face, and after taking photos with a few of us, PatrickD registered the website BillRogersPunchedMeInTheFace.com and we spent several hours taking photos of Bill humorously pretending to punch cosplayers in the face and posting them to the site. That evening Shiva changed into her new Amy Pond costume from Doctor Who and we watched the FMV contest before hitting up the dating game where Sketch was helping out as Jack. Finally we grabbed dinner and drinks for the night with the crew.
Saturday morning Sketch wore Jack once more while Shiva gave her Padme Lake Dress from Star Wars she was working on for Dragon*Con a trial run even though it remained unfinished. Majodere helped us attempt several strategies for the hairstyle and it was useful finding out what worked and what didn’t. That morning we were enjoying wandering the con floor when the police blocked off our hallway and frisked us all for weapons before letting us out into the lobby without explanation. The hallway we had been in remained closed off; we came to find out via friends on staff that a real ammunition round had been found on the floor and security was required to assume that a con attendee had brought a live weapon into the building. In actuality, someone had been wearing holsters as part of a costume with spent rounds inside and one had fallen out. It was poor judgment to use real bullets, even if the rounds were spent, though we were also surprised that in the era of mass shootings, a suspected guest with a live weapon did not prompt security to evacuate the building.
After that debacle, we headed over to Bill and Michelle’s panel; during the Q&A, Bill's wife dared Shiva to ask him to punch her in the face. She waited until all the legitimate questions were over before raising her hand and asking “I was just wondering if you could punch me in the face?” Bill and Michelle started dying laughing and we took several photos after the panel let out of everyone getting punched in the face. That afternoon Sketch performed in the Death Match while Shiva did several photoshoots for friends who were competing in the masquerade that evening. Sketch helped out with the masquerade while Shiva did some work backstage and also filmed our friends' groups for them. We stuck around to see the FMV contest winners before heading out to City Steam for dinner; all of our friends and the voice actors were there and we had a rollicking good time partying late into the night.
Sunday morning we wore our Jack Harkness and Amy Pond costumes again for a Doctor Who shoot with Ryan, ParicktD, and Gale. After the shoot we changed into our Sunnydale High School dodgeball uniforms and packed up the car before hitting up the Cosplay Chess match and filming several segments for AnimeCons.TV. That afternoon we settled into the game room with friends for a few rounds of Couples Scattegories before heading off to lunch at City Steam. PatrickD was at another table with Bill and Michele, and our tables started a prank war, sending things back and forth and asking the wait staff for favors. We were afraid we were driving the wait staff nuts, but they must have enjoyed it since they were laughing the whole time and they gave us ALL free cake and ice cream at the end of our meal, which they said was a "mistake in the kitchen." Their extra tip certainly was not a mistake. Great weekend, all around!