MOTM FL 2014 - Sunday March 23rd, 2014
|Dear MOTM Attendees,
I am using the MOTM FL website to officially issue a formal apology to every one who attended the event on Sunday March 23rd, 2014. I have read each and every comment made by attendees who were upset and those who believe our event was a scam, and I would like to defend myself.
First and foremost, our event WAS NOT A SCAM! MOTM was intended to be a family run operation. My wife and I, just like many other parents, were bummed that our children were unable to attend the official Minecraft Convention - Minecon, back in November of last year, being as though tickets sold out in a matter of seconds. In response, we thought it would be a nice idea to create our own Minecraft gathering on a smaller scale, and with a much more affordable price, in order to give other families the opportunity to be apart of a Minecraft event.
We wanted to operate things a bit more differently than Minecon, whereas we wanted to reward people for their love of Minecraft and video games.
Just like Minecon, we wanted to hold a Costume Contest, however we wanted our reward to be much more bigger than Minecons, so we offered $1000. I thought it would be a nice way to motivate Children to display their artistic side and create something wonderful from their own imagination. We were also scheduled to feature a Costume Contest for Adult Males and Females , however no one ended up signing up for that Costume Contest. Someone brought to my attention that there in fact was an Adult Female dressed in a Costume, however since she never officially signed up for the event via our website before hand, then she was not able to be counted as a participant.
Additionally, we were to hold an In Game and Out Of Game Creation Contest, in which those participating had to bring their own laptops or iPads and display their creation on the floor tables provided to them by us. We sent out emails to all Creation Contest participants, stating that they had until last Wednesday to confirm with us what their project was and how much space was needed, or they could not be apart of the contest being as though their creations would have been a huge display and portion of the show which we would have had to make room for. Out of 20 participants, only 6 wrote back, so we made space for only 6 Laptops and Computers. I have the emails and would be more than happy to share them with you all as proof. On the day of the event, the other participants who did not email us their confirmations, showed up with their computers and of course it was welcomed with open arms, yet it created chaos as our staff was scrambling to find tables and extension chords for them, as by that time, our vendors and activity hosts were already occupying all of the tables provided.
We promised Giveaways of Playstation 4 Consoles, an XBOX One, an Alienware Gaming Desktop and Minecraft Legos. All which I personally purchased and can provide receipts for if any one would like. On the day of the event, I overheard a lot of people saying that there were no signs of the giveaways and that is because they were hidden in the back room to prevent anyone from stealing them.
We advertised a Scavenger Hunt which myself and my staff worked day and night on for the past few weeks. We painted card board boxes so they looked like Minecraft Grass Blocks, and we scattered them individually through out the Mela Room. The purpose of the game was to find the lost Minecraft Diamond, and whoever did find the Diamond, would be rewarded with an XBOX ONE Console. Our intention was to hide cool minecraft gifts and collectibles within the other Grass Blocks, so that way whoever got into the box was rewarded, even if they did not find the Diamond. Upon letting people into the event, every one ran straight for the cardboard boxes, broke them apart and just threw them all over the place in a very nasty manner. We had a Schedule which was posted via our Facebook Page and also emailed to attendees and as advertised the Scavenger Hunt was supposed to take place later on in the day, however attendees took it upon themselves to begin the Hunt without our consent or knowledge.
Now lets get to the day of the actual event. Activity wise, we offered Balloon Twisting & Face Painting based on Minecraft Characters. We also featured a Stilt Walker portraying an Enderman. We had an area designated to the XBOX 360s with the Minecraft game. Unfortunately, our production team which was in charge of overseeing the XBOX 360 section, were unable to get all the tvs and XBOXs going as there were not enough electrical outlets for all the electronics. Our Airbrushing activity which was promised on our website did not end up happening because the Individual Contractor who is not affiliated with MOTM or employed by me, decided to no show. There was a contract in place, and he just decided to no show without a phone call, email or text. It was not because of anything I did, as I was very friendly and welcoming with him in all emails and phone conversations. It was just a careless last minute decision on his end to no call and no show the event. I had several disappointed parents ask me about the Air Brushing and I explained to them what the situation was and they all understood.
We invested a lot of time and effort into the decoration for the event which were all stolen from the event by attendees. We purchased life sized Minecraft Stand Ups and Minecraft Decor to adorn the venue which as I mentioned were ALL Stolen. We created other wooden creations to add on to the look of the event, with our Wooden Horse being stolen. Our Wooden Barn was not stolen, I assume because it was too huge to fit into someones car. We did have exhibits, however they were ALL STOLEN. Our Pokemon Section, where we had games and events set up for Children, was STOLEN. A lot of things were just taken, even before the doors opened for the event, as people snuck inside the venue through the back while we were setting things up.
Now lets talk about Production of the event. As I mentioned, myself, my wife and other Staff members worked hard day and night on producing this event. We sacrificed much loved quality time with our children, we have sacrificed sleep and feeding ourselves to devote our time to the event and the people who spent their hard earned money on the event.
I hired an awesome host in So Cal Val who did an absolutely wonderful job at the event. Keep in mind, I had to produce and write a script for her from the ground up, so that way she knows whats going on. I will be posting her script, and you can even ask her and she will tell you that she studied up appropriately for the script and the event. I hired an awesome DJ in DJ Andrew Michael, who was more than helpful in lending his DJ equipment for the event, since the venue owner who had promised us his equipment in the contract, never provided any of his equipment at all. I hired an awesome band in Error 404 who did an Amazing job at performing Minecraft cover songs, yet they were ridiculed and a lot of people complained about them.
I threw in every element possible to make sure the event was enjoyable for every one, but apparently it was not and for this every one is calling my event a scam? I looked up the definition of Scam, and by no means did I commit fraud or scam. I was present throughout the ENTIRE event. I DID NOT HIDE FROM ANY ONE. No Matter how upset they were, No Matter How Red They Were, No Matter How Tall they were and No Matter How Muscular they were, I confronted every disappointed person, face to face and more than sympathized with them. I offered my most sincere apologies and asked how I could make it up to them. I gave every one my phone number and email address so they can call me to follow up. By the end of ALL my conversations with every one, they were all calm and understanding. They were still upset about the convention, but much more calm than when they initially began to talk to me. They all even shook my hand and thanked me for being honest and taking the time to talk to them.
There were a lot of people who were upset, BUT there were also a lot of people who were content and personally expressed their content to me. Others were upset about the event, saw everything I was going through and came to console me. They were all strangers whom I had never before met in my life, yet they came to console me. I received a ton of hugs from people whom I did not even know and one person gave me a wonderful yet short and sweet message which was - Thanks for trying. AND TRY IS WHAT I DID.
I TRIED MY BEST TO PUT ON A MINECRAFT EVENT FOR EVERY ONE. I hired entertainment( Host, DJ, Band, Balloon Twisting, Face Painting and a Stilt Walker), I had activities and exhibits which again I emphasize WERE STOLEN. The owner of the venue had his cameras rolling, so I will get the tape from him and show you guys exactly what had happened.
I will absolutely positively accept blame for the Doors opening 20 minutes late as opposed to the opening time of 12. Our moving truck which was housing all of the equipment and materials for the show, broke down on the highway on the morning of March 23rd, which left me and a few others to rent another truck on the day of the event, move all the stuff to the new truck, pick up the food and beverages from Sams Club right across the street from Mela Room(which by the way was not prepared for pick up as we had ordered it the night before) and that caused us to be late and subsequently open the doors late, which of course kept us behind on schedule. It was just a series of unfortunate events. It happens to every body, I’m no different.
Then when the show actually began, the DJ introduced the host, the host introduced the band, the band performed and the Host continued onto the Costume Contest. I know people were upset about doors opening late and upon entry, they did not even give me or the event a chance. Rather than pay attention to what was going on on the stage, a lot of people chose to come to me to vent and voice their frustration, rather than watch the show where the host was making announcements and welcoming every one to the event.
Me being tied up with upset attendees caused the production of the show to suffer. I was supposed to be next to the DJ and Host at all times to make sure, SoCal Val stays on script, Andrew Michael plays his music according to segments and to keep them both on track, however I could not because I thought it would be much more fair and appropriate to show face and talk to each upset parent one by one. How could the show go on flawlessly with out me?
The costume contest was beautiful as well. Contrary to popular belief, the Contest WAS NOT RIGGED. The Winner of the competition WAS NOT A PART OF MY STAFF. People saw him running around the back with his Creeper Costume, before doors were open, BUT that was only because his costume was so big that it didn’t fit through the front doors. Plus his parents came in a huge U-Haul truck to transport the costume. He had no choice but to come in through the back. I would like to thank Don Brunning who is the father of Noah who won the contest, for kind of defending me through out this whole ordeal. I had contacted Mr Brunning on the evening of Sunday March 23rd to advise him that the check I gave him would not go through since a lot of people were requesting refunds, however did not hear back from him, So I tried again on Monday March 24th and we were able to coordinate how to go about giving his son the money for the contest. I did have his cash prize on hand during the event, however did not feel comfortable taking out so much money in front of a livid audience who had already been stealing. Mr Brunnings son was in fact Rewarded with the $1000 Prize via paypal, after the check I had originally given him had bounced due to all the refund requests.
We did in fact Giveaway ONE PS4 Console and that person was EXTREMELY HAPPY, but the rest were not given away because of how chaotic the event had become. People were stealing things, shoving others, becoming confrontational and at that point, it just did not seem safe to continue operating the event, for the safety of the Children in attendance. The band which I hired, noticed just how hostile the environment was, and they quickly packed there things into their car for fear that event attendees would attempt to steal their equipment.
There was no more scavenger hunt because every one had destroyed our boxes where we were to hide the diamond and other cool prizes. Parents were not allowing me to monitor the stage and my host, so things on stage didn’t proceed smoothly. If you all remember, after all the Costume Contestants had already gone on stage, their was a HUGE intermission with music, where every one was wondering what’s next and when is the winner going to be announced. This was not my fault. According to our script, We were to announce the winner right after the Contestants each showed off their costumes, however myself, SoCal Val and another judge were never able to select the winner on time, because of all the parents who needed my attention, which I gave them very kindly.
I made this convention for all of you guys. People who were unable to attend Minecon last year because it sold out so fast or because it was too expensive. Who knows where Minecon will be held this year? It definitely won’t be held in Orlando, as the convention tends to move each year and that’s why I wanted to create a Minecraft event for you guys. More than anything, it was designed to be a Social Gathering for Minecraft fans to talk to one another, possibly exchange contact information and share their love for the game with one another. Instead a lot of people (NOT EVERYONE) shared their displeasure with the event, which spread like wildfire and suddenly, it became cool to be upset and confront the promoter of the event. It became cool to STEAL stuff as evidenced by our stolen displays, stand ups and props. People began creating rumors which were not even true and people started believing them. Kids were present at the event, and I believe that adults were setting a wrong example by promoting Stealing, Aggressiveness and the bashing of people who are trying their very best to put on a show for you guys.
I did nothing wrong. All I did was Try, but apparently my efforts were not enough. Minecraft is a huge game and its fans are extremely devoted to it. I will stick by doing nothing wrong, but I do apologize for not living up to your expectations. For $50 per person, there was no way I could have recreated Minecon and I never intended to. Minecon charged attendees $150 per person so they could build the convention off of that money. In essence, I did the same, charging $50 per person, and I gave results which were more than fitting for the income generated. I saw absolutely no profit from the event, as all proceeds were used for production costs.
This was not a scam! I was present at the event, we had our set up with the intention of doing the event, but the negativity that took place at the event, prevented it from continuing successfully.
There are stories circulating that people who I hired were not paid which is UNTRUE. SoCal Val was Paid THE SAME DAY. DJ Andrew Michael and Error 404 were all PAID The SAME DAY. Some other staff were paid with checks which YES I WILL ADMIT DID BOUNCE, only because the high demand for refunds which were intended to come out from PayPal, were instead taken out from my personal Checking account, which in turn left no money to be paid for the others whom I hired. I have since addressed the unfortunate incidents and EVERY ONE HAS SINCE BEEN PAID IN CASH. I made it a statement to meet with every one in person and let them know how awful I feel about what happened and offered my most sincere apologies.
Every One will be quick to run and start rumors and promote negativity, but they will never promote the truth. I appreciate Stu Gutter (The Balloon Twister) for clarifying that I did resolve the situation and paid him in person, although his account of how myself and my wife looked was truthful yet a little exaggerated. We had no tears, yet we were both physically and emotionally drained from a day of being verbally attacked and virtually attacked over the internet. As he mentioned, we had nothing to say to him, ONLY because I HAD ALREADY EXPLAINED TO HIM WHAT HAD HAPPENED DURING MY FIRST CONVERSATION WITH HIM IN THE MORNING. I had apologized profusely. He just was not receptive at all and did not care, so why should I have had tried to explain anything to him again? You should have mentioned that Stu! Do not make me out to look bad so you can fit in with every one else. You should have told every one that I personally called you in the morning and arranged to meet with you in the afternoon to compensate you after my check unintentionally bounced. It is insane how many insults we received which were not only directed to us, but also to my children and thats just wrong.
People posted photos of my 4 year old daughter as if she has anything to do with the event and thats a horrible thing to do. Children are innocent and should not be exposed to harm, especially over the internet.
We have been cyber bullied since Sunday afternoon, with tons of derogatory remarks. We have been called criminals which we are not. My wife and I have NO CRIMINAL RECORDS. We dont do drugs and We dont even Drink. WE HAVE NEVER BEEN ARRESTED as some one had claimed……That was the WRONG DANIELLE ROMAN.
Its truly a shame just how abusive and negative people can be. Rather than try to understand me or what happened at the event, people have turned me into a monster and a criminal which I am not. I am an Honest and Giving person. That is why I wanted to give away such great prizes at the event. Even when people got mad and started leaving, I gave away a lot of stuff which wasn’t even meant to be given away. I offered free food, drinks and t-shirts to any one who was upset. I WAS TRYING MY BEST TO work with any one who was upset.
Remarks were made about my ethnic background as well. Someone eluded to the event being run by Latino Gangsters with Huge Chains, which by the way there was no one at the event with a huge chain, especially not on my staff. It may have been the venue staff, but not mine. And even if someone did have a Huge Chain on, does it really matter? Is it called for, for people to be stereotypical and racist for absolutely no reason? Do you guys see how awful things turned, for absolutely no reason? I DID EVERYTHING I COULD TO BE AN HONEST PROMOTER. I was there the whole time, you guys saw the intention, I PAID every one who worked for me, but I guess my TRYING was not enough for you guys.
Im not a thief or scam artist as I DONT CARE About money. Out of the 1023 people who purchased tickets to the event, I gave away about 150 free tickets. Free tickets to less fortunate families. Free tickets to people who were telling me that their son did great in school and they wanted to reward them so I offered free tickets. I have emails which i will post as proof, that I gave tickets away to good people for good reasons. I Dont Care about the money! This event was not about making money for me as I did not get anything. In fact, I even invested my own personal money into the event. It was about providing a Minecraft Event FOR YOU!
Also, just so you guys know, out of the 1023 people who purchased tickets, ONLY 120 plus members are apart of the Minecraft Convention Scam Page, while the rest are unheard from, so it goes to show, that not every one was upset about the show. Some were optimistic and gave it a chance, while the very few who voiced their displeasure, were still very powerful enough to bring the event to a close.
People were blunt with me and were not afraid to tell me the event sucked no matter how hard and how much effort I put into it. What kind of message does that give our children? What If I had told your child that his Costume sucked? Think he would have liked it? Do you not think your kid would learn this behavior or think that it is ok to do, and will continue to put down the valiant efforts of other people too? I know some are going to say -well you are basically saying my sons costumed sucked because you selected some one else as the winner of the costume contest-, when that does not apply in this case since it is a competition and people, especially children should be taught that in competitions their is always a winner and a loser, and there is nothing wrong with losing.
Other unfortunate things plagued the event such as the venue and its owner. The owner DID NOT PROVIDE HIS SOUND EQUIPMENT as he had mentioned in our contract. His venue staff was to have cleaned up the venue and moved all of its furniture before the show began which they never did. The Broken Couch showcased on the channel 6 news WAS NOT OURS and We did not intend to utilize it for the show. The venue staff just never removed those broken couches from our leased space. Also, the picture seen on the Channel 6 News where there was barely anything in the convention, Was taken AFTER The EVENT WAS OVER….AFTER EVERY ONE HAD STOLEN ALL OF OUR STUFF. The Media is very quick and famous for making things look worse than they really are. But ask any honest person who was there and they will tell you that at the beginning of the show, our event did not look the way it did in photos showcased on the News.
In closing I would just like to apologize for what transpired at MOTM. The lateness was and was not my fault. Again a series of unfortunate events caused the show to start and open late. I do apologize for the event not running through its entire run time, but disgruntled attendees ruined it for every one else. It is a chain reaction, once someone starts complaining, every body else does the same. I had every intention to continue the event, but the atmosphere just became so hostile and unsafe for children, and adults alike that it was just time to wrap things up.
I am absolutely drained after two days of being insulted and threatened. Some one was black mailing me and threatening to give away my personal information if I did not comply with them, which by the way, I had originally contacted them first in order to make things right. This is how nasty the world can be. It is absolutely terrible and I have absolutely no faith in the future of this world, after experiencing so many hateful attacks, simply because what I tried to do was not good enough for some people.
I have been called a Criminal, when I have stolen absolutely nothing from any one. I did not scam any one. I have proof that I intended to run an event for every one attending. If any one should be considered criminals, it should be those WHOLE STOLE OUR PROPS, OUR GIVEAWAYS, AND THOSE WHO WRECKED OUR SCAVENGER HUNT!
This was all the doing of one person who became upset and decided to recruit more followers to do the same and disrupt the event. I ask you all to please reevaluate your assessments of myself and my event as I have always tried and am trying to do the right thing. After everything I have written, can you see who the real criminals are? The select few who chose to Steal, Destroy and Rile up every one at the event. Not Me. I apologize to the event attendees who suffered because of those who chose to do wrong against us. And would like to thank the hundreds of people who did remain at the venue, hanging out until the end.
And finally, I'd like to acknowledge the creators of the Minecraft Convention Scam page - Matt Verdier and Susie Dishman Verdier, who according to their Facebook page, walked into the event, stayed 10 minutes and left, clearly showing that they didnt give the event a chance. They purchased discounted tickets for themselves due to a coupon code we were offering. If you check out Matt Verdiers Facebook page, he himself will verify that he is Standoffish and is working on becoming a lot more social than what he used to be. Furthermore he states Chances are that you and him will not agree on perhaps a few things. His Ideas are controversial and He loves to argue. But most importantly, he stated that he loves writing stories lately and that is exactly what he and his wife are doing. Instigating and starting a huge mess, by getting every one excited. As for Susie Dishman Verdier, she claims she is a producer for Local 6 News, while she really works for Surgical Care Affiliates in Downtown Orlando. Everyone should really pay attention to who they are getting their information from and who they should trust. The Story Tellers - Mr and Mrs Verdier, are instigating for their own personal entertainment. They did not even have children present with them at the event, so how could they know how it felt personally to have an upset child. Unless Mrs Verdier is counting her husband Billy Madison, as a Child, as he is an older man who has a serious fascination with Legos. Please do not let him and his wife influence you.
Below please find photos from the event, which were taken by Anthony Johnson. I see a bunch of happy kids in these photos. If there were any sad kids at the event, it was solely because their parents influenced them. The event could have continued with more happy children who would have received more prizes, but all the negativity brang the event to a close early. It is not likely that you will find another event of this nature, produced by an individual who genuinely wanted to please you all with a Minecraft event. It took a lot of time and effort to advertise the event and conceptualize the entire event. It's not an easy task at all. If any one thinks they could have done a better job at producing a Minecraft event, how come no one has done it? I invite every one to try and see exactly how hard it is to create the event from the ground up and advertise it. It's not easy to attract 1000 + people to an event. How would you even go about getting at least 20? We didn't false advertise, EVERYTHING WE MENTIONED ON THE SITE WAS PRESENT AT THE EVENT, PLUS ADDITIONAL STUFF THAT WAS NOT MENTIONED!