Monday, May 5, 2014

Layouts and Displays for ACen

As mentioned in my last post, last night I (finally) started trying to come up with a layout plan for ACen, a process Ron was quickly sucked into. 

Most of the time we go to an event with only vague ideas of how we're going to set up, but for ACen that isn't as viable a plan as it could be. There is nowhere in the vicinity of the venue to park the truck and trailer, so we need to unload, unpack the Things, return the Things to the trailer, send the truck and trailer back home, and do setup without Ron, or with Ron there only while the truck is.

Also, while we'll have help in the form of Wash, Marmaduke, and X2, and possibly Robin while the truck is there, they have less experience helping set up. 

And we also need to put new tags on lots and lots of things. Which would be best to do Thursday, before ACen opens. 

So, going in with a plan is something we should do.

It was not entirely successful last night, in large part because Ron and I were both very very tired. But here's what we've got so far. The first one is mine, the second Ron showed me this morning:

The light blue box is our 10' x 20' space. "Lon's Lair" and "Blonde Swan" are the booths on either side. The front of the booth is down.   

The thick black (or dark grey, when they've been overlaid by the edge of a table) lines are 2' wide x 6' tall gridwall. Heavy green lines are 1' x 5' gridwall. The Quarter-circles are belt displays - two pieces of gridwall supporting quarter-circle hang rails. The right angles of gridwall with a straight line between is where a corner shelf is. Things like tables and the Things outside of our space were objects dropped into the original CAD drawing but not actually used.

The bits of gridwall right on the front line, at each corner, are to hang things on to get attention - last year it was tails and hanging pouches, which I think is probably going to be repeated this year. 

We usually use two belt displays, but we seem to be leaning toward only one for ACen (which we did last year, when we were squooshed into a 10' x 10' space). Yarn usually goes on the corner shelves.

At the moment I'm thinking of a modification to Ron's layout, swapping out the corner shelf for a belt display - I think the belts will be a better attention-getter. And moving gridwall from the Lon's Lair side to in front of Max and The Grinch, for security-ish reasons. 

Other display thinking/shopping I've been doing is for a couple more shower curtains (we got two white fabric ones for ACen last year), to make the sides/back of the gridwall look tidy. We probably won't need them so much for ACen, which has something like 8' tall back and 3' tall side drapes for booths, and considering what I expect our neighbors to have for displays (I expect our sides and theirs to mutually hide one another); but Anime Midwest has no drapes included with booths. Last year I had a horrible time finding inexpensive white or off-white fabric shower curtains, but this year I'm having more success.

Last year the belt display was facing in at one front corner, and I realized that all the belt ends stuffed into the pie piece were both visible and untidy from the front of the booth (usually the right-angle of gridwall faces our back space). Fortunately, I had a spare curtain piece that's usually used on the belt displays, which hid most of the mess, and the tails hid the rest.

Had I been thinking, I'd have used some more of the off-white muslin that I made the belt display curtains out of, and made 2' (or 2' + an inch or two) by 5' curtains. But I didn't think of it until last night. And I've still got probably too much to do. This morning I thought of table runners. 

Unfortunately, most table runners are 16"-18" wide. I did find a couple 26" wide ones on-line, for stupid amounts of money.

I did eventually find party/banquet/wedding supply places, with narrower runners, for stupidly inexpensive prices. So I got ordered some 14" wide ones, and I'll use them in pairs as necessary. Or singly behind 1' wide gridwall, thinking about it. They're something like 108" long, but I can either trim and hem, or fold over, possibly hem, and add grommets for easy hanging. Which would work better than binder clips, come to think of it.

At one point last night I said I wanted more gridwall, which Ron said we could do. On further reflection I think we're good, since there's no room in the trailer for long-term storage of gridwall (transport, yes, but it couldn't live there between events, Ron says). 

Still have to decide if want a second UPS - buying power from the convention center is way too expensive. We haven't run down the UPS in one day yet, but a second one might be a good backup.

1 comment:

  1. Were I an actual vendor, rather than a fan table, I think that the way Wondercon handles load in and load out would be at least a bit more convenient than what you are implying about A-Cen. (I think big-brother San Diego Comic-Con International does similar things, but I've not read its exhibitor package for nearly a year so I don't recall for sure) Part of what they do may be driven by the layout of the Anaheim Convention center exhibition halls and their loading docks.

    The way it works is that the exhibitor brings their vehicle - in your case it would be the truck and trailer - into the loading area. You are met by a Freeman teamster (I don't know if they are with that union, but I think the job description still holds) who will take down your information. You will then offload the inventory - possibly having to palletize it, I've not been there to see the large exhibitors moving in. Freeman will deliver it to you, while your vehicle can be moved to a long-term parking space (if it isn't a commutable vehicle - like your trailer). I think that they provide at least information on where things like trailers and box vans (Budget/Ryder/U-Haul trucks and their like) can be parked for the weekend.

    If you have any packing containers that aren't needed for the display, they will store them - although I suspect you might find it a bit odd to have to put a sticker that reads something like "Empty, Do Not Destroy" onto the Things.

    (If you are really curious, I suspect Ray Van Tilburg or Cathy Wapple could tell you how it works for larger vendors. And I noted that they were repacking their inventory into Rubbermaid totes, not cardboard boxes, so Freeman is used to handling packing that cannot be folded and collapsed.