Daft Ada -> RE: Movie Con V (22/8/2011 6:31:01 PM)
I had intended to write a mini review of Big Screen but I am a little late to the party; we all found the same things difficult so much of what I wanted to write about has been said by others. I thought it would be more useful if I made a few suggestions for MC5 / BS2.
Ticketing, Scheduling and Queing
This was bonkers. Aside from the problems with See Tickets (website crashing, not sending out tickets, issuing tickets to minors for 18 rated films etc) the system was far too complex. It should be much flatter next time with fewer options, with the possible exception of paying a little extra to login in early and get your 1st choice of seat for the Diamond panels. The session selection was also largely guesswork as most of the sessions were "TBC" at the time of booking, and there was very little information available about the sessions which were known.
I suggest the following:
Three ticket versions which include an increasing number of additional sessions which can be used at any time during the event. eg. Bronze / Silver / Gold packages.
Super shiny option which allows you first choice of seating ahead of the main crowd. This must be very restriced and should be offered to previous attendees first.
Allocation of sessions is automatic, with the option to change once advance ticket sales have closed. This is achieved by selecting a "pathway" when you buy your main pass.
eg. If you select the "I want to see new films" pathway then you are automatically allocated the maximum number of screenings. If you select the "I want to meet stars" pathway then you are allocated sessions with cast in attendance etc. Automatic allocation would reduce the number of clashing sessions and hopefully help with scheduling.
Automated kiosks should be provided so that people can customise their schedules, these could be similar to the automated check in systems used at airports. People are assigned to seats on flights (sessions), and then a boarding card (ticket) is printed. A single ticket could be generated for each day showing all sessions, and this could be worn on a lanyard for checking by staff. Each printed ticket contains a barcode which is invalidated when the ticket is reprinted, and this can be scanned if there are any seating disputes.
The schedules between the screens should not overlap and there should be more time to move between sessions. The schedule was wildly optomistic and there were no fixed changeover times, making it almost impossible to create a schedule which did not clash. I had to give away two of my session tickets as it was simply impossible to use them.
The easiest way of resolving the queuing fiasco would be to change to allocated seating for all events, so there would be little advantage to arriving early or loitering in Cineworld between sessions.
Price vs Content
I had a 3 day diamond ticket and was seated in Indigo. Aside from the TV content (and the naked fighting) which I think should be a dedicated session, I was pretty happy with the mixture of content across the three days. Personally I would like to see a little more indie or short film content and maybe a few less blockbusters, especially action films, but I suspect this may be dictated by the studios and distributors. I had not paid for any of the sugar frosting or chocolate sprinkle options so my ticket was not as expensive as some; on reflection it was just about worth what I paid. I didn't feed ripped off, but I don't think I got a bargain either. Those who paid for the extra options would be justified in feeling they were overcharged. Maybe a move to better quality and less quantity for future shows whould help, with a little less padding or showing of trailers which can also be seen before the screenings.
Asking the Storm Troopers to do the security was a master stroke.
The Cineworld staff were excellent and had as much trouble with See Tickets as we did. The O2 staff were a mixed bag, and the guards at Indgo were getting increasingly rude as the weekend wore on. I felt we were a bit of an inconvenience and they would be much happier if we all went home.
It has been suggested that some of us could volunteer to help with future events, but I would warn against this. I have helped to arrange events of this size in the past and invariably people don't show up when they are supposed to, or aren't willing to do the tasks required. I suggest that if we get involved we take over a specific aspect of the event rather than assist with the general operations.
This was one area where Big Screen was a let down for me, and where there is the biggest room for improvement. I wanted to meet other film fans and aside from the queues there was little opportunity to do so. I think there should be a film themed (fancy dress?) party in Indigo on the Saturday evening, and a film pub quiz in one of the restaurants on Friday maybe. These are both areas where volunteer help could be useful and would not require a huge time commitment during the event itself. There should also be somewhere to sit out of the way where you can chat and meet others.
It would be nice to be able to ask direct questions but this also has its problems. (Just ask Chloe and Kermit) Chris was an excellent host and was, for the most part, asking the things I would have asked myself. Maybe we could sumbit our questions via Twitter, and Chris could use a fruit flavoured tablet PC to read them out or to introduce them from the audience. The satellite link up with the Muppets worked really well and it would be great to do more of these and avoid the "sorry i'm not here but" videos.
Sorry this is such a long 1st post. I will finish up by saying I had a really good time and thank you to those of you I met for making me feel welcome. Feel free to pick holes in any of the suggestions above, and I hope to see you all again next year.