RoFCon 2018 Review!!

RoFCon / “Litcon / Lil Mag / Hulk Smash / After 5” 2018 Review

TL;DR 8.2/10 I can’t speak much for RoFCon in terms of growth from previous years, nor can I speak in terms of an actual, conventional convention. When it comes down to it, RoFCon was a seriously small event, with limited photo areas, limited con space, and what seemed at first to be limited appeal. However, though I was only able to go for two days, I was extremely surprised by the things RoFCon did right, which was promote that sense of overwhelming closeness and friendship between not just anime fans, but also those interested in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Writing, and even Disney as well. My misconceptions about an event of its size were politely destroyed, as each fault became more and more negligible as time went on, especially after 5 o’ clock. Here are my thoughts:

I’ll go ahead and mention all the negatives first

• Con Size: Felt like, and probably contained less than 1000/1500 attendees combined over the two night, three-day combo at RoFCon. While I have no qualms with small conventions, this bleeds into other important aspects, such as dealer’s room and artist’s alley size, which I’ll get to later

• Signage/Branding?: When I arrived at the Holiday Inn, I had absolutely no idea that I was at a convention at all. There were no signs posted anywhere about RoFCon, no straggler weebs walking outside, nothing. Even walking into the con, I didn’t really realize I was at a con. After doing an awkward walk through the hotel (taking between 30 minutes to an hour) I eventually figured out where everything was. There were schedules posted throughout the convention space, but no sign whatsoever of a general map. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I saw the signature banner for RoFCon all weekend long. That was definitely a missed opportunity

• Artist’s Alley: Extremely small, and poorly positioned. Walking up a flight of stairs to end up on the 3rd floor was confusing enough, not to mention the spontaneous heatwave brought on by the location itself. But don’t worry though! If you take five giant steps, then you’ll be right back in the hotel rooming quarters! Selection was scarce at best here, even though it looked like people were doing their best

• Elevator Speed: There were only around six floors at this hotel, but you would have thought that someone was pressing every button every time when going down the elevators. I couldn’t fathom what on earth would be making elevators take as long as they did here, especially given the relatively small amount of attendees, the number of which was staying in the hotel, even smaller than that

• Dealer’s Room: Extremely small, and poorly positioned (look familiar?). Situated pretty far away from all of the main convention attractions, and many of the vendors weren’t budget friendly. Some people were already spending close to $50 for a very small convention for the weekend, and having vendors with extremely high priced items wasn’t such a good fit. From candy, to keychains, to full tang battle ready swords and anime figurines, I observed more than one vendor upcharging at least 250% retail price on their items (Sn: Very small amount of Eva gear)

• Badge Policing: If you’re going to charge a weekend price for a badge, please be sure to enforce badge checks at the different events and attractions the con has to offer. From personal experience, the only thing I would have ever needed a badge for that weekend was the dealer’s room. This got better Saturday evening, but the police patrolled the parking lot much better than the con ended up checking for badges

• Food Options: Don’t want to move your car to lose your parking spot? You’ve activated RoFCon’s trap card! Pay waaaaay too much for average food at the bar, or settle for an ATM fee to partake in the cash only refreshments at the concession stand! There’s nothing within reasonable walking distance of the convention, so don’t even try that one. Even driving, your options for eating out are extremely limited (aka 90% of you probably went to Taco Bell lol)

• Limited Photo Locations: Had to throw this in there, since photography is a primary reason I attend most conventions. Additionally, most of the weekend was strong, direct sunlight, so for the earlier part in the day, outside wasn’t really a feasible option in. However, as the day moved on, some of the diffused lighting and shadier locations were pretty excellent to use. Deep inside I wished the pool was open

So where in the hell does an 8.2 come from, and in only two days to boot?!? Read on!

• Reasonable Expectations: If you came to RoFCon expecting it to be anything like a Katsucon of the Virginia Beach area, then you were bound to be disappointed before you even set foot in the con. However, what I came to RoFCon for was to have a good time with friends in the area, and to relax as much as possible pending a seriously depressing event in my life. That’s exactly what happened. Whenever you add the ‘feels like a vacation’ element to a convention, it automatically gets high marks from me (ie ColossalCon East 2017)

• The Guests?: While there weren’t many huge names involved in attending RoFCon, what I saw this convention do that few others have done in my opinion, is give some shine to those who are up and coming, in particular, to novelists, indie publishers, and companies just getting off the ground. They held their own panels, promoted their work, and I think they each deserved the spot they received on the guest list. Far too often, those that put their full force behind their passion in the fine arts get ignored, so it was great to see those with that level of dedication celebrated for a change

• Video Games: Small as it might have been, rocking out at umpteen hours in the night (going so hard that you break drumsticks) was probably one of my favorite memories of the entire convention. It helped that I was with particularly awesome bandmates

• Drunk Disney Karaoke: Let’s put it this way. I arrived around 15 minutes late, and the room was packed to capacity. Not only was it lit, it was hella lit, and even hearing about it, I am super jealous and know that it deserves a spot here on my review

• Party / Drink Availability: Those that read my new format reviews know that this is definitely a factor in my conventions, and let me just say. Spent money at the bar with cool themed drinks (Hulk Smash anyone?), and spread the love of Fireball, Sailor Jerry’s, Amaretto and more with many attendees (because eff da police lol). This was certainly a con to turn up at. And while it was disappointing that there wasn’t a rave proper here, I had a great time partying in the lobby (Maaaan I wish someone had a video of us all singing Fighting Dreamers). The food gods rained snacks down from above, and it was just all in all a great time

• Staff: Hotel staff was legit, and con staff was extra nice and polite. I observed them tackling problems firsthand with the utmost sense of urgency, and even when they were not able to be helpful, they were definitely putting their best feet forward

• Dat Camaraderie: This is the major win for this convention. Meeting photographers and cosplayers here for the first time and talking shop, finally saying hello to Instagram followers irl, chilling by the bar, life talks after midnight, Rockband 4, NOT sleeping, bellowing out Naruto songs, and planning for future shoots. It all happened here. There was a huge sense of community among not just the cosplayers, but the guests (musical and non), the general attendees and even the staff. It felt like a convention in the literal definition sense, not the ‘explode into a big popularity contest for cosplay’ sense. It is probably this reason alone that I am willing to say that I’ll be coming back next year without a second thought. Outside of one incident I can think of, the party atmosphere that erupted at the con produced zero negativity, especially from my eyes. I didn’t experience drama of any kind, or witness any growing hostilities. Big win

To sum up, RoFCon was a unique convention experience for me, especially since it was the first year I’ve ever attended. By no means can I give it props as an actual anime convention, and it’s hard to justify the weekend price given the amount of programming available with the limited size of the areas in which to spend additional money, yet even so, it surprised me greatly. With the right expectations, and the right friends around you, whether you choose to partake in alcohol or not, you can have a truly excellent time here, and this is coming from someone who basically was only able to spend 2 out of the 3 days of the con to enjoy it. Sure, you might have to wait until Golden Hour for the true lights to come on, but don’t miss out on what could be an awesome experience. Does size matter? Probably. But I think everyone knows there’s a certain magic in knowing how to use what you have to create the right experience. RoFCon did that. Catch me there next year, 8.2/10

#DarkfoxPhotography #Travel #Rofcon2018 #cosplay #portraiture #adventure #virginiabeach #virginia #amazing #teentitans #photographerlife #greatness

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