As some of you may have seen from my blog and Twitter posts, AVOX was an event that I was incredibly excited about. Now along the way, AVOX had a lot of issues that were confusing and a bit stressful to try and figure out but at the end of the day, they were still showing the ability to provide what they initially promised, a chance to easily meet over 100 voice actors in a weekend. Sadly that is no longer the case as 27 days before their event this July they decided to move their event to spring 2023. While I have high hopes for AVOX, after a decision like this I just have a hard time seeing how they are on a road that ends anywhere near success, and here is a story of what all happened with this event.
One of the first issues with AVOX came when they tried to innovate a crowd control method for their event using colors. Four sections and four colors and each color group would rotate every two hours and only do events available to that color group at that time slot. While it meant that no color group can just pick and choose what they wanted all day it did mean that every group could do a little bit of everything. An interesting idea but for me, I wanted a ton of autographs so I splurged on VIP passes to avoid having to rotate. The problem here is you had to initially choose your color group before finding out what they all meant. When the choice first became available I would have chosen blue if I had to; however, once they provided a schedule of events I would have changed my mind and picked yellow instead. It was a frustrating call to have fans pick a color group before providing enough information for fans to make an informed decision. Yes, they did say they would provide an option to change your group in June but then why not offer fans a chance to wait to make their choice then. Now I actually think this idea is interesting but the lack of clarity hinders any benefit that can be gained from this.
Another issue sadly comes with the guest list itself. Now the guest list was always impressive, the problem is it wasn’t completely accurate. When the guest list initially showed up it included Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal; however, Tara confirmed on her Twitter that they weren’t going. It’s a very egregious error to include guests on your page that were not even going to attend and normally I would find this too severe to overlook but due to the number of actors that confirmed they were going it still seemed that the initial promise was possible. Then you have another problem of the event not notifying fans when guests were unable to attend so it forced fans to be diligent and just keep an eye on the website and hope that it was updated with the correct information. Some of this was rather heartbreaking as Tara Platt in particular was someone I was hoping to see. My wife and I actually went to a convention in early 2020 in hopes of seeing her and we made this trip part of our honeymoon, but life happened and she had to cancel and understandably so, but to have another opportunity to meet her only to find out the information I got was wrong from the start was a lot to bear even if I was able to move past it.
The next concern comes with the autographs themselves. AVOX implemented a system where fans had to pre-purchase autographs before lining up to the actors and offered autographs online via TIXR, but they had to be asked before it was clear it was mandatory. Now while many fans took an issue with this I actually didn’t have a problem with it, until I tried to order autographs. Turns out there was a limit to how many tickets you can order and that limit includes your admission ticket to AVOX itself. So I was initially only able to order eight tickets and it took a lot of conversing with AVOX to find a way to be able to order any more than that but it was so frustrating to not be able to order all the autographs I wanted. It defeats the purpose of offering 100+ voice actors to meet when your system of purchasing autographs might not even let you order more than eight.
Of course, the final issue is the one that came yesterday where they out of nowhere decided to postpone the event to spring 2023. This decision was made 27 days before the convention was supposed to happen and it came so suddenly that the event was being promoted online by Los Angeles Comic-Con about a week before the decision was made. To make matters worse the only public announcement made by either AVOX or LA Comic-con was made via Instagram in a story, no post as of the time of this blog entry has been made addressing the new date. So for fans who had to book flights and hotels to attend they are left scrambling to figure out what to do with their travel plans, as for me I’ll likely still go and attend Anime Expo. I need a vacation anyway but now my group and I are left with a broken trip that we thought about as a sort of light at the end of the tunnel during the lockdowns caused by the pandemic and now we’re figuring out what all we want to do with our time in Los Angeles.
Overall AVOX was a lengthy series of confusion and misinformation; however, I personally tolerated all of that because they still offered something amazing in spite of all of this. I no longer feel like that is the case. How can you be excited about an event that explains everything poorly? Or one that doesn’t provide the correct information? Or even worse hypes itself up to cancel right before it even starts? I fear the answer for most people is you can’t. I personally can’t keep making travel plans all the way to Los Angeles chasing an event that does all of this to me. This is why I requested a full refund of all of my purchases. The tickets I bought for myself, my wife, and my friends and all of the autographs I ordered. Needless to say, this news has been rather frustrating and disappointing.
In spite of how angry I am over the situation, I am not spiteful about it. I understand that there is a lot that goes into making a convention, but at the same time, I also have seen the results of bad decisions for events like these. I still hope that AVOX happens and I still hope they succeed; however, after the events that have transpired, I honestly have no expectation of that happening anymore. I feel AVOX’s reputation will now be defined by how poorly they tried to execute their ideas only to pull the plug at the last minute and this is something that I’ve seen destroy conventions entirely. If AVOX is to succeed I think it needs to be rebranded, a new name, and rebuilt from the ground up in order to circumvent the reputation they have built.
So there you have it. AVOX was an event that I was so excited about. Spent years waiting to attend only to have it taken away at the last minute after I spent so much time effort and money to attend. I tolerated confusion and misinformation from this event that I otherwise wouldn’t have because the promise of what they had to offer was amazing, but this is too much. If AVOX does actually happen next spring I wish them the best of luck but my support will be emotional only. I’m not going to make any effort to attend because I’m not going to spend my time and money chasing an event that may happen and continue to skip over events that are happening in the process.