So, last month, I went to Staples to buy a carrying case for my laptop. When at the checkout, they asked for my email address, and I gave them maxgoof[at]hotmail.com. They then said that I might be interested to know that Jason Marsden and Bill Farmer were going to be at Ohayocon in January.
Well, I had already gotten Jim Cummings (Pete) and Rob Paulsen (PJ) at Anthrocon, and had been looking for a change to get Jason's autograph, in particular. But to get both Max and Goofy in one fell swoop without leaving town? Yes, that was something I simply could NOT pass up.
Once I found out that they would be doing an autograph session on Friday, January 11th, I made my plans to spend one day at the con, both to get the autographs, and to check out the con. I had heard that a lot of furs go to it, and do fursuiting, so, I figured let's just make a day of it.
I head out the door at 8:15 AM in order to stop at the bank for cash, then to get to the con by 9 AM when registration opened. I figured I would be standing in a long line. The line wasn't that long, and it moved very, very fast. I was wondering why, until I got inside. All I had to do was pay my money and get my pass. Period. No name, no forms, just hand over the bucks and get a blank pass. I was in and out in less than a minute.
Hmmm....either furries are a special kind of stupid, or cons should pay attention to what this con does.
I was out of the line and registration in 15 minutes. No program, no con bag. They had places around the con space with fliers, talking about different panels, plus a QR that allowed you to download an app that had the con schedule on it.
Okay, I've been an advocate of this for years. WAKE UP FURRY CONS!! PUT YOUR SCHEDULE ON AN APP!! They had several places where con attendees could go for questions. Several, and they were VERY helpful. Again, furry cons, pay attention.
Found out, as I already knew, actually, that the autograph session was at 2:30. I had five hours to find stuff to do.
Turns out nothing began until noon, anyway, so I sat down, did some stuff with my cell, and looked over the schedule. Found a panel that ran from noon to 1:30 for amateur voice acting. Okay, so, I only had two hours to wait, then.
Went to the panel and impressed the heck out of the guy giving the panel, so, I send him an email with a link to The Beach Bears Story on YouTube. We'll see what comes of that.
That ended at 1, so, I had an hour and a half. Ran into one fur in the lobby, through the Telegram chat, and then went back.
Oh...word to the wise...if you go, park in the south garage, not the Gooddale garage, or you will be walking FOREVER to get to the con space.
Anyway, the con was not without problems. All of the up escalators broke. All of them. You could go down, but to go up, you either had to climb stairs or take the elevator, and the elevators at the Hyatt did not seem to work, so, I had to climb up stairs. Ugh...
The autograph session was in the back of what can only be described as a dealer's den. I got there right at 2:30....to find that I had to sit in the back of a seating area, awaiting the people who were doing the autographs.
Who arrived 30 minutes late, because of a scheduling conflict.
They had people coming down row by row to tell us that both Jason and Bill would sign any one personal item free, but if you wanted a picture, Bill would be charging $20, and Jason $10 for the pics. No problem. I had brought my own, just in case, but I would have gladly handed over the money, even if I had not.
They get it going, and suddenly there seemed to be a holdup in the line.
That got resolved, and they had people come down row by row again, to tell us, that because of confusion on the con's part, Jason would still be signing any one personal item free, but Bill was charging $20 for an autograph. Any autograph. Okay, no problem again, I came there to get an autograph, came prepared with cash, and doggone it, I was going to get an autograph.
About 30 minutes later, they again came down the rows to tell us that because of a scheduling error, they would have to end the session right at 4 and they would see to it that we could get in the first row on Saturday if we came by con ops after 7 PM.
Um...I....only had a Friday pass....now what?
Fortunately, the person who had been sitting next to me spoke up for me, and said, "What about him? He only has a Friday pass."
I got escorted up to the end of the line. Way to go, Ohayocon. You took what could have been a disaster, and managed it extremely well.
"Ummm....yeah....could you sign it to Max? Because I used the name Max DeGroot as a stage name. Yeah...and....um....that...that comes from Max Goof. It's a long story."
"Oh, really?!" He seemed genuinely interested. Hence, the nice little add on he put there.
Paid my $20 and got to meet Bill Farmer, who seemed very friendly as well (I suspect he has some contractural thing that requires him to charge of autographs, I don't know) He also signed the picture I had brought, and I had to explain the origin of Max DeGroot a bit more to him. He even asked how long I had been doing parodies.
Anyway, got to shake both of their hands, got my autographs, and left happy.
I saw a lot of very clever costumes. Quite a few Belles, Marios, Links, Captain Americas, but some other ones that were well done, and rarely seen: Jane from Tarzan, Newt from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, No Face from Spirited Away, Mary Poppins and Bert in the Jolly Holiday outfits...I could go on.
There were also some that I thought...yyyyyeah, I recognize that character, and honestly....you should be ashamed. But then, I've said that of some fursuiters. But only to myself.
I am definitely planning on coming back next year, and perhaps giving a panel on producing audio stories. We'll see.