Best Drama and Judges' Choice
Fan Music Video Contest
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 it's ninth year ConnectiCon continued to experience significant growth, hosting just over 8,000 attendees at the Connecticut Convention Center. The increased attendance allowed the large venue to feel more appropriate for the size of the convention, and though programming was just as extensive as it had been in the past, the hustle and bustle added positive energy and created the impression that more was going on. The convention also happened to occur in conjunction with the annual Hartford Riverfest, and ConnectiCon attendees enjoyed prime viewing for the Saturday night fireworks display on the river. Major events included Anime Unscripted, Agents of Improv, an excellent and diverse FMV contest, and Mookie's popular "Death Match." The con continued its expansion of multi-genre panels, however it has still been unable to successfully diversify its guest list as major guests continued to be almost exclusively web comic artists and anime voice actors. This year's stars included Jon St. John, Christopher Smith, and Christina Vee, who are great fun but mostly play to a certain demographic. The convention also suffered from what seems to be a distinct lack of staff members; its website was not updated from 2010 until very shortly before the convention itself and its program guide listed many staff positions as "N/A." As a result, many con staff appeared overworked and frazzled.
Sketch and I arrived Thursday evening and grabbed some dinner with our roommates. Friday morning Bry-Chan, Sketch and I changed into our Vocaloid outfits and headed down to Masquerade HQ to collect event flyers we passed out event to attendees. There was an excellent Assassin’s Creed cosplayer in the reg line who did not speak, but instead threw a handful of coins at my feet, which was clever (and yes, I picked them up and kept them). Duties done, we wandered the con and got lots of photo requests; Vocaloid fans were especially excited to see an actual male cosplaying as Kaito. Sketch and I changed into more comfortable outfits to perform in Anime Unscripted. This year, voice actors Christina Vee and Jon St. John joined us onstage for Unscripted, and the show went pretty well, though it wasn’t our best. That evening we went to the FMV Contest, where my Lord of the Rings video, “Dance With The Devil,” was competing in the drama category. It was an interesting contest; I especially liked the entry "A Psychedelic Lovers' Dream," which paired Yoshitaka Amano’s artwork with music from The Beatles.
Saturday morning I attended Mookie’s Death Match in main events. Sketch was competing as Flynn Rider, and Mookie did a fantastic job of rousing up the crowd. He even borrowed a mutilated, yet still somehow adorable, teddy bear from one of his zombie minions which the crowd loved. All the screaming and chanting for favorites, however, was almost unbearable after about twenty minutes of it; I was relieved when Sketch lost the second round to the overwhelming popularity of Black Butler. That afternoon we joined the rest of our Persona 4 group for a photoshoot with Christa in the private club at the hotel which the staff was kind enough to allow us to use.
That evening I was one of the performance judges and had a blast reviewing the show with Katy and Jess, who were on the same wavelength as me regarding the rankings and we kept a running list of our choices for everything so it made for a really quick and easy final vote. The show itself was all over the place; some skits were really well thought out and enjoyable, while others rambled on way over their time limits and had to be disqualified and a couple of others were alarmingly inappropriate, going so far as to make blatant references to masturbation. The breakout performance of the night was a solo act where the girl had made the gutsy choice to perform an original slam poem she had written and memorized. I have never heard of that being done at a con, but she was absolutely fantastic at it and received not just one, but TWO standing ovations, once when she finished her poem and again when we awarded her Fan Favorite. The FMV awards also went to deserving people, and I was happy to see the editor who made the Amano video get a nod. I was also pleasantly surprised to win both Best Drama and Judge’s Choice for my Lord of the Rings video; the content is a little passé so although I thought it might get a technical award, I never expected to do that well in the audience vote column. Thank you to everyone who voted!
However, the masquerade as a whole dragged on WAY too long; it was scheduled to end at 10PM and didn’t get out until past 11:30. A lot of this can be contributed to the storyline the emcees tried to act out between each skit which was too long, too complex, and distracted from the show itself. The emcee only has to introduce the acts and make the audience laugh; Halden hit this note perfectly as Spock attempting to learn stand-up comedy, spitting out a one-liner between acts and punctuating the punch line by chiming an orchestra triangle. He easily would have worked as the only host. The longer material is good to have on hand, but it’s only necessary to use as a time-killer when the judges are taking too long to decide the awards, something we had finished before the FMVs even began. Unfortunately, not only was the filler employed, but there were no apparent attempts to trim down the content even after the show was hitting the 1 hour 30 minutes over mark, at which point someone on staff should have stepped in and cut things out to push the event along. By the time we got out of there, we had to literally run to get food, and were only able to eat because we begged the waitress to take our orders in the thirty seconds before the clock struck midnight. Sunday morning Sketch, Katy, Ryan and I got into our Glee outfits and walked around the con together, occasionally performing to the Warblers soundtrack Katy had on a CD. It was a blast and we made a couple of new friends; overall great weekend!