Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wait for it....wait for it......

Apparently Doujicon was a bit dodgy.


Nothing underhanded went of course, more so no one really went. Attendance was low, even though it was meant to be a good location. 131 people turned up - i'm not sure if that includes creators with tables.

Originally I was going to let loose with the snark.

How I would improve Doujicon?
Get rid of the pointless english letters in the title. Spell it out in Kanji. The title should be even MORE meaningless - that'll get the hardcore fans in!
The octopus as mascot isn't working. So replace him with something else - then have a vote to get the kids really involved on how to make it less lamer! I nominate a camel dressed as Snake Plissken!
Flyers and posters aren't antiquated enough in this Facebook world! Use town criers and morse code! Get someone to write and preform an opera!
(End Snark)

But while the title and mascot and promotion aren't working, to me there's a fundamental issue.

The same weekend there was AVCon in Adelaide, a anime/manga convention. About 1500 people turned up. I didn't go because i didn't know about it until after the fact.

Now on an Adelaide vs Melbourne scale; AvCon was 1000% better.

Its apples and oranges. They are two different events.

Avi thinks he's selling oranges but he's got apples. He really wants to sell oranges but its all apples.

The audience for Avcon is anime and manga fans.
The audience for Doujicon is people who like homemade comics (including manga).

Every uni has a Anime appreciation club, there's been magazines on J-Pop Culture, whole companies exist to sell manga and anime. The audience is big.

The audience for homemade/self published manga is a niche in a niche. All Avi had to do was figure out how many Oztaku's he had sold in Melbourne. That's the audience for Doujicon. Even though it had some really good work in it, its harsh to say, but Oztaku didn't have the readership nationwide to sustain itself. How can the same type of work sustain a convention?

Now here's a generalisation; Australian manga buyers are very picky. They want original manga - some of them go to the extent that they buy the japanese version without being able to read it or they'll go to the effort to learn japanese because the translated stuff is a slap against humanity. When fans complain about dubbed anime there is little chance they will stoop to buying a self-published manga comic by a non-japanese.

It's a shame when you consider the world's largest comic convention is Comiket, and its primarly self-published comics. Half a million people. Twice a year.

So there is a choice - either a long campaign to convince local manga fans that true manga fans like self-published work not that corporate owned kids stuff - just like Japan.
Open the audience up to people who like originality and creativity; not just manga but all comics and zines and give it a new name and new direction (and trash the stupid childish mascot).


Douglas... said...

I think a much improved and more targeted advertising and promotional campaign would be a massive help.

I never understood the point (or the joke?) of the octopus thing. I never quite understood the changing the octopus into different themes each year either. Especially at this early point when you're trying to establish your show.

Employing the help of a professional/semi professional designer/illustrator to help with the marketing and re-branding to start with would go a long way. Your promotion is what gets people's interest peaked and draws them to the event. Your promotional material and branding of your event is your front line that introduces people immediately to it's pretty integral to success.

A shitty, badly designed confusing poster and or promotional campaign just reinforces an impression of amateur night and a niche event for even more niche attendees. Not conducive at all to people wanting to come along which i'd argue is the most important aspect of the show.

Mark Selan said...

I think the mascot/poster thing gives the semblance of doing something in terms of promotion. It shows that the organisers are organising something, but its the easy bit. Its not hitting the streets, its not talking to the right people.
While being a grumpy monday morning quaterback makes me forget we are dealing with kids here as organisers and putting on an event like this is a big job if done properly is hard work.
But then again you probably had over 100 people turn up to the Jukebox Jam gallery opening night. The Instantaneous shows get around 70-110 in adelaide on a tuesday night so something isn't working if numbers are going down.

Bobby.N said...

From what I've seen as an exhibitor in the last 2 Doujicons, the event seems run 'on-the-fly'. It needs simplification and focus.

I know Avi does a lot of work to get it done & I commend his efforts & don't want Doujicon to die at all. No, no, no - on the contrary... but the organization on the day always smacks of a 'clubhouse' or 'party' at someone's big house, rather than a convention.

I think Avi needs to find help from someone to handle the pragmatic/disciplined side of cold organisation. Hey, we all want to have fun, but there are a few creators trying to sell their more considered works, and you just feel out of place in that small & loud 'manga/metal/goth' party.

My sister, who's come to visit me at many conventions, rang me to drop in, and I said, "please don't" - because I was a little embarrassed of it all.

I did however, have the BEST time I've ever had (personally) at a convention simply because the professionalism & numbers weren't there & I enjoyed hanging out with all my comic-making friends as a more intimate time. I could grab about 5-6 creators and go to the nearby pub for a 2hr chat because it was so quiet on the Sunday... without really effecting sales! It felt like a 2-day comic-meetup with our small mob there.... but that was a 'personal' enjoyment for me.

For my work itself (and sales), it was a let down. It was a GREAT get-together with my buddies though