Fanime's staff: pleasantly mediocre

We're not in the habit of praising Fanime's staff. (Or, really, any con staff.) But this once, we'll give them some credit.

Fanime, I think, is the last decently-run con in California. I go there, I have fun, and nobody gets in the way. They've set up something that works, and had the sense to not mess it up. That's rare. The staff aren't very competent, but by now we're just happy they're not morons

It sounds, I know, as though I damn with faint praise. But here I am, on the last day of the con, and I've had a lot of fun every single day. I actually have a lot of respect for a staff that can do that. They're not perfect (for example, we could have used more support from the press staff,) but at least they're not actively out to get us.

It sounds, I know, as though I damn with faint praise. But here I am, on the last day of the con, and I've had a lot of fun every single day. I actually have a lot of respect for a staff that can do that. They're not perfect (for example, we could have used more support from the press staff,) but at least they're not actively out to get us.

Fanime's got good line control. It sounds like a little thing, but think about how much time we spend in line. Bad line control means attendees get wheeled out with heatstroke. It's a perfect example of the staff doing something that needs to be done -- and not interfering more than they have to

Even more than line control, Fanime works to keep lines from forming in the first place. Venues are large and easy to enter and exit. The registration desk is efficient. (Most people we talked to didn't have any wait at all to pick up their badge.) And when in doubt, Fanime hires professionals. It's a good choice.

Fanime's got an active nightlife. The programming runs all night, the convention center stays open, and you can usually find some friendly people to talk to. (And of course there are room parties.) Video programming runs all night, as do the game rooms and karaoke room. It's a staff-intensive thing to do, but they stay out of the way and let us relax. It almost feels like an SF con, and that's very impressive indeed

Fanime's made some effort to work with the local community. The restaurants in the area expect us -- they stock up on junk food, maybe stay open a bit later. The effort also shows with the local police force, who do traffic control at crucial times, and patrol the convention center late at night

There's nothing special about the programming. We haven't invented any new ways to have fun. Fanime just lets the attendees mix together and connect with each other. There's a swap meet, there's an open stage on the concourse, there are people to meet and places to see.

Fanime's always been disorganized, but in this case I think it helps them. They deal with the big issues, keep everyone safe, and let the fans have fun. I think this year they've really lived up to their motto: "By fans, for fans."

—jeff & chris