We’re about to take off!

Cabin crew, arm your doors and crosscheck…

free-cutoutsRoom 801: Mile High Club takes off tonight for our Premium attendees, exhibitors and speakers as we go on the Free! Photo Tour! The weather is absolutely gorgeous in Sydney today, and we have some… props to make those photos extra special.  If you know you should be on the tour but haven’t received an email about it, please contact us ASAP.

Tomorrow morning at 10am, the convention weekend starts in earnest; pre-registered attendees can start entering from 9:45am. If you’re interested in entering our formal cosplay competition, entries will be accepted on both days until 10:30am for the 10:45am parade and judging. This year we’re also running fanart and fanfiction competitions, if that’s your personal brand of creativity!

Anyone who buys tickets online (including on the weekend) is eligible for our massive pre-registration giveaway at the convention’s closing ceremony. Pre-registering saves you a few bucks and means you don’t have to wait as long to get into the convention.

Everyone involved in the convention is so excited to bring you this event; we’ll see you all this weekend at the Holiday Inn Parramatta!

Reading romance manga online is easy with Renta! [Sponsored Post]

This post is sponsored by Renta. We work closely with our sponsors to bring you posts that are relevant to and supportive of the Room 801 and Australian yaoi/yuri community.

Renta! website

The Renta! home page.

Renta! is an eBook rental service for romance manga, allowing you to buy digital manga and read it on a variety of devices, while keeping your purchases in the cloud so there’s no need for you to download anything! It’s great for people using shared computers or who have nosy family members—there’s no need to hide files on your computer or password-lock anything other than your account on the Renta! website.

Using Renta is very simple: just register an account (using an email address, password, and a username) then check your inbox for a registration confirmation email. Click on the link enclosed, and off you go!

Once you’ve registered and logged in, you can browse through the manga you’re interested in, which is helpfully arranged in categories such as Yaoi, Sweet Love, and Spicy Love. Each category breaks down into more specific subgenres: for example, “Yaoi” includes themes such as “salarymen,” “showbiz,” or “college.” Many manga on the site include previews so you can get a free taste of what to expect from a particular title. Note that titles in the Yaoi, Spicy Love and Hentai categories are strictly for over-18s, so if you wish to view these titles, you’ll need to set your birthdate (which can’t be changed) to confirm that you’re old enough to look at restricted material.

Manga on the Renta website

An individual manga title on the Renta! website.

Rentals are paid for with “R-tickets” which are available in a variety of denominations. Each ticket costs just over one US dollar (at the time of writing) and you can pay by Visa or Mastercard. The more tickets you buy at one time, the more you save in the long run. For example, buying 50 tickets will give you two bonus tickets; buying a pack of 100 tickets will give you five bonus tickets. Once you’ve purchased your tickets, you can then start renting manga. Simply click on the option to rent the manga for the period of time you would prefer. Depending on the title, manga can be rented for a specific period (48 hours) or indefinitely by using a few more tickets.

Renta! allows your profile to display titles you’ve viewed as well as a wishlist, so you can keep track of what you’ve looked at and manga you might wish to remember for a later date. Because you only need to log in to the website to view what’s on your “virtual bookshelf”, it’s an easy, accessible and discreet way to get your yaoi fix whenever you’re in need, provided you have access to the internet on your device.

It’s as simple as a few clicks, a credit card payment, then reading manga on demand. All Room 801: Mile High Club attendees will receive a free gift code for one ticket to try the service out; just check your showbag for the flyer and code!

This post is sponsored by Renta, a romance manga ebook rental website from Japan. Renta is a generous sponsor of our 2015 event. Visit the Renta website or follow them on Facebook or Tumblr.

Travel tips, giveaways and fan survey

There are just a few weeks to go until the convention – we’re so excited about it and we hope you are too!

A Golden Slipper race is being held on Saturday the 28th of March at Rosehill Gardens, so if you’re thinking of booking accommodation you should do so sooner rather than later. You can use your favourite booking site to find a room, or you can use our booking form for the Holiday Inn Parramatta.

The NSW State Election is also being held on the 28th, so you may want to vote at pre-poll. If you’re voting on the day, the closest polling places are at Parramatta Town Hall or Rowland Hassall School, which will be marked on the map in your showbag. We won’t tell you how to vote, but remember, preferences are very important.😉

We know you love giveaways so we have some really amazing stuff for you to win this year, especially for our pre-registration giveaway and our competitions for cosplay, fanart sketches and fanfic drabbles. Prizes include Madman online shopping vouchers, Siren Visual DVDs, comics and merchandise by HamletMachine, Emirain and Guilt|Pleasure, and accessories by Mogo&Co. Pre-registering really helps us to plan a better convention experience for you, so please buy your tickets ahead of time if you’re able to do so – it means you can save a few dollars on the ticket price, too.

One of our past attendees is a PhD student who is conducting a study on the legal aspects of anime and manga. If you’re a fan living in Australia aged between 18 and 25, please fill out her survey if you have time to assist with her research. If you have any problems accessing the survey, please email haa670 at uowmail dot edu dot au.

Early bird savings and Friday night details

In case you aren’t already aware, tickets for Room 801: Mile High Club are on sale and you can get a discount if you register before the end of this month.

This year’s social event on Friday the 27th of March is a walking tour of locations around the Sydney CBD that are featured in the Free! anime, followed by a train back to Parramatta and a friendly catchup over drinks. The event is exclusive to our Premium attendees, speakers and exhibitors. Premium tickets are only available until the end of February and are selling steadily, so if you want the full experience of the convention make sure you get in quick.

Thanks to everyone who answered our call for expressions of interest in our last post. We’ve almost finished getting in touch with everyone and our program and trader list are even bigger and better than last year. We’d still like to hear your suggestions for the Swap Meet video playlist and what you’d like to see in a yuri-specific presentation or discussion – get in touch!

Room 801 tickets now on sale

Tickets for Room 801: Mile High Club are now on sale, with early bird discounts available until the end of January.

You can get all the details of our ticket types and pricing on our Tickets page, buy your tickets on Eventbrite, and join us on our Facebook Event. As always, please let anyone know about the convention that you think would be interested!

The convention program is looking great but we still have room for another speaker or two, especially if you’re a yuri fan – contact us if you’re interested. We’re also still on the lookout for video suggestions for the Swap Meet.

Venue, Date and Expressions of Interest

It’s official! Room 801: Mile High Club will be held on 28-29 March 2015 at the Holiday Inn, Parramatta. Registration will be opening this month; if you were a Premium attendee at our first event or if you’re a member of an anime club, stay tuned for details of some special discounts.

As with last year, your suggestions always help us put together a better convention! Expressions of interest are now open for the following:

If you have a general suggestion or just want to send us a message, you can use our contact form at any time.

Please help us out by spreading the word, and consider joining our Facebook event!

It’s really happening…

Room 801 is returning to Sydney in 2015!

We’ve had a good look at what worked and what didn’t for our first event back in February, and we’ve also taken all of your feedback and the results of the attendee survey on board.

The main changes will concentrate our panels and presentations in a single programming stream over the weekend, with screenings and workshops alternating in a secondary room. This leaves us with more space for our traders to show off their amazing wares and, very importantly, more options for everyone at the con to socialise.

Due to some major stuff that’s been happening in the organisers’ lives, we’re moving the event to Parramatta (in central western Sydney). The venue will be very easy to reach via public transport, parking will be easier and there are heaps of accommodation and food options in the area to suit any budget.

So look forward to an official date and venue announcement very soon – we’ll be opening up expressions of interest for volunteers, traders, presenters and activities this month!