Blog History

California Soul - A History of the California Conventions Blog 

By Matthew Miranda, Founder & Editor in Chief

Prior to FanimeCon 2007, I was just attending small Sacramento conventions; there are a handful of us that remember the day that SacAnime was at Sunrise Mall. Most of the people I knew around this age wanted to go to FanimeCon and I remember that I was in a club that was trying to organize a FanimeCon trip in the latter years of my time at high school. Some of my memories from this period was me recording attendees singing "The Coconut Song" through Sunrise Mall and having a Starbucks drink with the name "K-san" on it after the character from Gravitation.

The outlier to this experience was the first time I went to Anime Expo in 2002 back when the convention was in Long Beach and only had 15,000 people attending versus the 40,000+ today. My only souvenirs that are still with me ten years later is the program guide and the two badges that I recently found, scanned, and shared on the internet. I wished I could go back to AX 2002 with all the knowledge that I have right now about anime conventions.

I actually came upon plans to go to FanimeCon 2007 during a visit to Consumes River College. The nature of the visited was related to Student Counil, but I came upon a group that was crafting such a plan and I inquired. Soon enough, I was paying for my room and a badge to head on down to San Jose in May of that year.

I created "Miranda's FanimeCon Blog" because I wanted to share my experiences and stories that would come out of that convention. Initially, the URL was "fanimecon2007.blogspot.com" but after realizing that I would return next year the URL was shortened to "fanimecon.blogspot.com."

Shortly after FanimeCon, I had this idea to expand convention blogging to two separate sites - one that covered conventions in the Sacramento area and one that covered conventions in the Bay Area. My first con covered under "Miranda's Sac-Anime/Sac-Con Blog" was SacCon in June, followed by SacAnime Summer a month later.

In 2008 I would upgrade both the domains - "sac-coventionsblog.net" and "fanimeconblog.net" were now the URLs of the two websites. I would also acquire the services of Vistaprint in order to print out business cards as promotional material. I also obtained my first press badge at SacAnime Summer.

A collection of business cards that I used with the help of Vistaprint.
In March 2009, I had to shut down the FanimeCon Blog due to copyright issues. The convention staff notified me that the majority of FanimeCon attendees where seeing my blog as the official blog when I was just a fan blog. With over a month before that year's FanimeCon, I quickly decided to merge both of the blogs into one blog - the California Conventions Blog. This way, I could keep covering the conventions that I always attend while expanding to new conventions.

California Conventions Blog banner for Anime Los Angeles 2010
One of the banners depicting the Sacramento Train Depot during off time
One of the other banners depicting the Sacramento Waterfront during off time
California Conventions Blog banner for Pre-FanimeCon 2010
2010 provided some new experiences for the blog as I covered my first SoCal convention, Anime Los Angeles 6, which I hoped to be the first of many visits to Southern California conventions; that was followed by a visit to Anime Expo, my first visit to that convention in over eight years and first under the California Conventions Blog. 2010 also marks the induction of staff members Ryan Silva, Lucas Chang, Tom Gifford, Zanney Sperber, and Avianna Tiscareno as main correspondents, columnists, convention specialists, floor photographers, and floor videographers. Anime Vegas is the first press convention under the new expanded staff and my first since 2008.

California Conventions Blog banner for Post-FanimeCon 2010
California Conventions Blog banner for Anime Expo 2010
California Conventions Blog banner for Anime Vegas 2010
California Conventions Blog banner for Anime Los Angeles 2011
FanimeCon 2011 marked the 5th year of the California Conventions Blog, the con where this blog started. 2011 also introduced Lead Artist Jackie Doncaster, who joins Aubrie Hollands (Lead Studio Photographer), Robbie Pleasant (Convention Specialist), Ray Ancheta (Convention Specialist), and Sierra Lamont (Translator) as new members in the calendar year. That year was primed to be the busiest of all time which included blog staples and new conventions such as Anaheim Comic Con, Kintoki-Con, Anime Destiny, and Decepti-Kon, just to name a few. The number of conventions visited by this website grew five fold, from three in 2007 to fifteen that year. This was also the year that a huge migration of our photo and video services took place. Prior to this point, most of the names of our photo and video services had some sort of relation to me; with the hiring of new staff members and the rename of the blog, a migration to new accounts that reflect the new culture of the blog was needed.

A screen capture of the profile for the California Conventions Blog on the Anaheim Comic Con website.
2012 proved to be a challenging year for the blog as towards the end of the year a shake-up occured within the SoCal Division (now the Southern Division) and saw the departure of many members who had wonderful moments on this blog. Despite all that, reporting continued at a regular level as we always have plus the introduction of coverage of fighting game tournaments in the Sacramento region.

The watermark used for Anime Expo 2013 photos.
2013 would be a rebound year with the return of Anime Expo coverage as well as old and new staff members. The newly-minted Northern Division stretched to Oregon as Ryan Silva returned with Nate Natividad joining the Northern Division, while the Southern Division saw its rebuild around its head Lucas Chang with his sister Jade, Talyssa "Tally" Krajenbrink, and Jaden Grant. Except for Robbie who went to San Diego Comic-Con, both divisions were present at that year's Anime Expo making it the most expansive and in-depth coverage in the history of the blog. The year of the rebound continued into 2014 as the blog covered Otakon Vegas, a return to Las Vegas in over three and a half years.

2015 saw expansion into Arizona with Taiyou Con.

Another realignment of the divisions came around in 2016, with three divisions now in place: Northern California, Southern California, and the newly-minted "Pacific Northwest" Division which seperates Oregon and potentially Washington state into its own division. Nate, Tally, and Ryan are placed as the "Head of Staff" for each division.
 
Despite the name "California Conventions Blog," there is always room for out-of-state anime convention coverage wherever we show up. If anything, it'll be an indication that we're from California. We have all the typical big-name cons in mind like Sakura-Con, Anime Central, Otakon, Anime Weekend Atlanta, A-Kon, and Anime Boston; but we know a number of small cons who would love someone who are much dedicated in anime convention coverage. No matter what, we'll always keep covering even if we stop cosplaying...until we get too old for this kind of thing.