Thursday night we drove down to LA after work. It was, surprisingly, the easiest drive down to LA that we've had in years. Out of the house at 7:30 and in Van Nuys at 1:00 AM.
Friday I took advantage of the hotel internet to do a bit of work and satisfy my telecommute status. K and I also got the Masquerade registration desk set up and running. Jess and Malcolm stopped by to help with the desk. We got 9 entrants registered on Friday. Afterwards, we went to dinner with karisu_sama, didjiman and a few other friends at a little ramen place in a strip mall. It was pretty good.
reddheart and night_x_walker showed up about the time we got back, so we chatted a bit while she changed into something more appropriate. We hit the pirate "Rum" party. The gang seemed to be having a good time, but it just wasn't our scene. I was kind of disappointed that it was pretty much standard pirates rather than more specificially anime-inspired pirates (One Piece comes to mind). So most of us turned in early.
I slept until about noon on Saturday. K had already gone down to the desk to open at 10:00, and got quite a few more masquerade registrations. We kept reg open until 1:45, and then headed over to the contestant meeting. Contestant meeting ran the whole hour (I shouldn't be surprised), and then the crunch time began. K spent time getting entrants paperwork corrected while I got the pizza order in for the judges meeting/dinner. It was a good thing, because it was the last chance to eat for many of us. Judges got together and discussed their goals and plans, K got the database whipped into shape, and I started running paperwork and files to various people as contestant check-in started.
The workmanship team (karisu_sama, Anne Morell and Jess Miller) got moving on their work, and work it was. The masquerade had 27 entries, and nearly every one took workmanship judging. didjiman and his elder child set up official photography, and then they were off.
Tech crew tested all the CDs, and got all but one to work.
House crew (headed by friendlypinet and katt1028) proceeded to shovel as many chairs into the ballroom as they could find, and it was a good thing. It meant the doors didn't open until 7:05, but it meant there was room for nearly everybody who wanted to get in. By this point the "live body count" (i.e. registrations that had been bought and picked up) was at 1200 people. We didn't have that many chairs, but it looks like we had enough.
Presentation judges came in (reddheart, Malcolm Scott and Wayne Kaa), I handed scripts over to friendlypinet (who was, conveniently, also the MC for the show), made sure the tech crew's cue sheets were OK, and let the house crew open the doors. From there it was "runaway train" territory, no turning back.
The show went well. I only saw about half the entries, as I was running back and forth keeping an eye on status, but what I saw was pretty good.
Zelda and her green room crew (it was a pretty tiny green room), the house crew and contestant wranglers there, and the tech crew all did an excellent job. The show flowed nicely and there was enough time for the judges to mark down their notes to work from.
When things ended, we hauled out the judges and got them working on awards. night_x_walker shuffled paper for the presentation judges while I listened in and offered advice when asked. It took a bit longer than ideal, but everyone was concerned that they do a good job. Anime convention masquerade judging has a pretty bad reputation, and we wanted to show that things could be different. Awards were decided, certificates were printed (without running out of black ink), Pocky was sorted (and sorting was eventually abandoned, pocky was just given to each winner if they wanted it), and we handed out the awards.
Then we all (well, most of us) headed up to our room for karisu_sama and didjiman's Lunar New Year's Eve party. Much Chinese take-out and saké was ingested. The last folks left at about 4:00.
Somehow we got up in time for the 10:00 masquerade post-mortem panel (somehow being the operative word, our wake-up call didn't ring). Only about 4 people showed, so there weren't many notes to take. Then we cleared out the room, checked in with a few last people, and found out registration closed after about 1350 registrations (more than doubling last year's numbers).
We returned on Hwy 101 instead of going back across the grapevine (which is awful on any given sunday). Traffic was light, and we made great time. I think that the 101 return is going to be the answer in the future.
hazelchaz has already made noise about asking us to run the masquerade next year. We're waiting to see what feedback comes in, and need to find out whether there's enough vacation (I won't have this telecommute to take advantage of again), but we're thinking about it. We definitely have to look into taking a bit more time, though. This "parachute in, run a department, and then leave right away" is painful.