I’ll admit, I’m not a huge Rooster Teeth fan. I really enjoy Red Vs Blue, but that’s about as far as my relationship with RT goes. When my boyfriend got fangirl levels of excited about Rooster Teeth holding their own show, I was intrigued.
The inaugural Australian event was held over two days at the Australian Technology Centre in Redfern, Sydney. It’s an odd choice for something this size (pretty small) with this many people (several thousands). The moment I walked into the hall, I was drowning in sweat. The main hallway wasn’t air-conditioned and the portable air-conditioners, bless their robotic hearts, weren’t doing a great job. With Sydney’s weather being hot, wet and humid lately, and the convention being held smack-bang in the middle of Australian summer, it’s enough to spoil a day. It made the day a little unbearable, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, which is the important thing.
The allure for punters who came far and wide was to meet their idols and the Rooster Teeth gang were more than accommodating to their legion of fans. Waiting in line for a signing with Gus, the people I befriended were telling me about the Rooster Teeth fandom and what Rooster Teeth meant to them; and surprisingly, they weren’t all dedicated to everything Rooster Teeth had created. Some were just there because of the podcasts, others were die-hard RWBY fans, but they were all there for the same reason.
The problem is, I’m not sure it was worth it. The line to get into the convention went from the doors to the main hall, down the hallway, through two streets and met Redfern train station; that’s no short (Ha!) feat. If you weren’t a VIP, it meant waiting for hours (some people started lining up at 7-8am) and missing out on meeting your idols because you were playing the queuing game. And that game continued inside. The VIP tickets were mismanaged and it was a common and loud complaint. Regular day pass and weekend ticket holders saw VIP ticket holders cutting in hour long lines and passing their tickets off to their friends to skip the line. There was no order to how the VIPs accessed the major line up and the lines were incredibly short. Numerous signings and panels were cut off at what seemed to be a very low number. People were often told “This is where the line cuts off, if you line up after here, there’s no guarantee you’ll get in.”
This was a problem in the main hall, too. Guardians (volunteers) weren’t clearing the main seating which meant if you found a good spot, you were able to camp there for the whole day. There was allocated seating for VIP ticket holders which never filled up and were refused to general admission ticket holders. Anyone who didn’t get a spot was shunned to the side to sit on uncomfortable concrete or stand.
These sound like rookie errors, but Rooster Teeth had the organisational minds from Supanova behind it, and to be fair, there’s only so much you can get away with on the “it’s our first year” excuse. Behind all the smiling, happy fans, were a lot of disgruntled punters who were undeniably frustrated about the lack of food available (three food trucks and a Fallout booth thing), the lack of things to do outside of panels and autographs and the general lack of management.
— Lindsay Jones (@IAmLindsayJones) January 23, 2016
However, these observations come from an outsider’s perspective. I was trying to remain as objective as I could to an event I’d barely heard of before this week. Talking about RTX with my friends, it was an entirely different situation. My friend Asta and her friend SmilesAreBetter Cosplay were captured doing their make up by Lindsay Jones, who voices the characters they were cosplaying. Asta couldn’t stop grinning about the fact she was tweeted internationally by one of her idols.
My boyfriend got to meet Matt Hullan who voices “Sarge” from Red Vs Blue who signed this enormous, heavy bust that J carried around. (Yeah, he always looks like that)
These are memories that my friends will cherish for a long time and honestly, that’s the point of these things. We can talk day and night about how it was poorly managed and in a bad location, but none of that matters when people who genuinely enjoy this company meet the people they have enjoyed for weeks or months or years. As a cosplayer and an avid convention attendee, I’ve experienced my fair share of not great stuff, but it’s all made better by the fact I got to meet Nathan Fillion that one time. Or that I was on a panel at PAX AUS. Or that one time I MET NATHAN FILLION.
I’m sure RTX can only go onwards and upwards from here, but the damage may be done. My sentiments have been echoed throughout the community. The people that this convention target will head back in droves, but if Rooster Teeth want to attract more people to their brand, they’ll have to work harder and smarter to ensure that this year was just teething problems and next year they’ll be biting.
(THAT SOUNDED BETTER IN MY HEAD, OKAY?!)