Archive for the ‘conventions’ category

RecentChangesCamp 2010

June 7th, 2010

I haven’t mentioned as much as I have in the past because woe, I can’t afford the plane ticket to attend from Australia… but if you’re a wiki person in the United States or Canada and you want to learn about wikis, network with other wikis people, find help with your wiki project, learn about best projects, have some wiki topic you want to discuss, you should seriously consider attending RecentChangesCamp 2010. I’ve attended and helped organize RCC in the past and I can’t begin to explain what a fantastic experience it is.

I’ve pasted a copy of the invitation below.


You are invited to Recent Changes Camp 2010!

RCC 2009

June 25-27, 2010

1710, Beaudry, Montreal

Want to join? Just add your name to the list of attendees!

We’ll convene at the location on Thursday or Friday and wrap up on Sunday. Check back for the Agenda. There is no cost to participate other than transportation. We may even be able to help you find lodging.

What is Recent Changes Camp, anyway?

RCC 2009

RCC 2009

Recent Changes Camp was born from the intersection of wiki and Open Space. Since 2006, participants from all over North America and the globe have gathered together for a common purpose: discussing the past, present, and future of the technology and collaborative method that is wiki. RCC is a chance for everyone in the wiki community, something we like to call Wiki Ohana, to meet and have a fun, productive conversation about our passion for wikis of all stripes.

Going far beyond technology, we’re interested in wiki culture and other networks/groups/etc. that share many of the values implicit in it — from cultural creatives, to public participation and free culture advocates. If you use a wiki or you value open collaboration, Recent Changes Camp is created for you. RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow. Further down this page you can check out a sampling of sessions we’ve enjoyed in the past, along with pictures and videos from previous events.

This unconference/BarCamp has been held at least once every year since 2006 (and twice in 2007). Unlike a conventional conference, where everything’s pre-planned and structured, RecentChangesCamp is a gathering where we decide for ourselves what we’re going to get out of it by offering sessions each morning on whatever we want (and of course ad hoc sessions can form at any time). There’s no agenda until we make it up! Now, that might sound a bit chaotic if you’re never been to this type of gathering, but be prepared to be surprised at how much people can learn and create when they collaborate spontaneously.

With an emergent agenda, it can be hard to describe specifically what you will get from participating in Recent Changes Camp. In large part, that is up to you to be responsible for. Participants often say greater sense of wiki community, broader sense of wiki way and wiki tools, or more excitement about our future together as well as inspiration and discovery.

At Recent Changes Camp, everybody is welcomed. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, and you certainly don’t need to consider yourself a geek. Collaboration thrives on diversity! All you need to bring is an open mind, and a willingness to participate, whether by teaching or by taking an active role in discussions. And, don’t forget, an unconference is what we make it, so let’s make it enlightening and fun.
Keywords: wiki, unconference, barcamp, open space, community, creativity, collaboration, technology, free culture, free/open source software

Qu’est-ce que les Rococo ?

Les RecentchangesCamp (Rococo en version française) sont nés à l’intersection des wikis et la Méthode du forum ouvert. Depuis 2006, les participants de l’Amérique du Nord et du globe ont réuni pour un but commun : discuter le passé, le présent et l’avenir des wikis mais de façon plus large, des méthodes et des processus collaboratifs et participatif.

Cette Rencontre sur la Collaboration, la Créativité et l’autOgestion est l’édition montréalaise du RecentChangesCamp de Portland. Ce BarCamp sera organisé selon la méthode du ForumOuvert qui suppose une mise en place collaborative de l’agenda. Les wikis resteront un objet technologique central à la rencontre, mais nous offrirons aussi une large place aux communautés sans fil et aux personnes qui, de façon générale, s’intéressent à la collaboration, à la créativité et à l’autogestion. Gardez en mémoire, que vous, chercheurs, artistes, programmeurs et praticiens, serez les principaux acteurs de cette rencontre sur les wikis, les technologies et médias participatifs et les pratiques collaboratives en général.

Sessions covering an array of interests

Time Schedule

  • Remember that the Agenda will be settled the first day only.

Previous years

RecentChangesCamp 2009, Portland, Oregon

RecentChangesCamp 2008, Palo Alto, California

RecentChangesCamp 2007, Montréal, Quebec (aka RoCoCo)

Video from RoCoCo :

RecentChangesCamp 2007, Portland, Oregon

RecentChangesCamp 2006, Portland, Oregon

Invitation: RecentChangesCamp (RoCoCo) 2010

April 5th, 2010

Recent Changes Camp 2010: Montréal will be held June 25-26-27, 2010 at the Comité Social Centre Sud (CSCS), located at 1710 Beaudry, in Montréal.

What is Recent Changes Camp, anyway?

Recent Changes Camp was born from the intersection of wiki and Open Space. Since 2006, participants from all over North America and the globe have gathered together for a common purpose: discussing the past, present, and future of the technology and collaborative method that is wiki. RCC is a chance for everyone in the wiki community, something we like to call Wiki Ohana, to meet and have a fun, productive conversation about our passion for wikis of all stripes.

Going far beyond technology, we’re interested in wiki culture and other networks/groups/etc. that share many of the values implicit in it — from cultural creatives, to public participation and free culture advocates. If you use a wiki or you value open collaboration, Recent Changes Camp is created for you. RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow. Further down this page you can check out a sampling of sessions we’ve enjoyed in the past, along with pictures and videos from previous events.

This unconference/BarCamp has been held at least once every year since 2006 (and twice in 2007). Unlike a conventional conference, where everything’s pre-planned and structured, RecentChangesCamp is a gathering where we decide for ourselves what we’re going to get out of it by offering sessions each morning on whatever we want (and of course ad hoc sessions can form at any time). There’s no agenda until we make it up! Now, that might sound a bit chaotic if you’re never been to this type of gathering, but be prepared to be surprised at how much people can learn and create when they collaborate spontaneously.

With an emergent agenda, it can be hard to describe specifically what you will get from participating in Recent Changes Camp. In large part, that is up to you to be responsible for. Participants often say greater sense of wiki community, broader sense of wiki way and wiki tools, or more excitement about our future together as well as inspiration and discovery.

At Recent Changes Camp, everybody is welcomed. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, and you certainly don’t need to consider yourself a geek. Collaboration thrives on diversity! All you need to bring is an open mind, and a willingness to participate, whether by teaching or by taking an active role in discussions. And, don’t forget, an unconference is what we make it, so let’s make it enlightening and fun.

http://rococo2010.org/
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=114318455249901
http://twitter.com/rccamp
http://identi.ca/rccamp

Help Wanted! Think Galacticon 2011 Needs You.

February 19th, 2010

I attended this convention in 2007.  It was really interesting and if you’re in the Chicago area, I’d urge you to attend.  They sent out the following e-mail that I thought I would share here as they need help:

This is a reminder that Think Galacticon needs volunteers, and your time for signing up is running out!

We were serious when we said Think Galacticon wouldn’t happen if we didn’t get enough volunteers. But although the February 15th deadline for joining the organizing committee has passed, we’ve extended it until the end of the month. We’re still short of the numbers we need to organize the con in a healthy way. If you want the con to happen and haven’t volunteered yet, please join! If you know someone who’d be a good concom member, spread the word! Our (actually) final deadline is Feb. 28th. If we don’t fill our core positions by that date we won’t be throwing a 3rd fabulous leftist SF/F weekend in Chicago.

We’re especially looking for people in Chicago, but wherever you are, we’d love your help. Let us know what you’re interested in and we’ll figure it out. Below are key positions we’re looking to fill:

Self-Care Assistant- Local
Venue Liaison – Local
Accommodations Liaison – Local
Registration Coordinator- Local
Volunteer Coordinator- Local
Events Coordinator- Local
Consuite Coordinator- Local
Publications Coordinator- Local
Programming Coordinator- Anywhere

Job descriptions and information on other open positions can be found here: http://community.livejournal.com/think_galactic/2010/01/14/. There are more jobs to take on than those above, but not filling the ones above will stop us from having a Think Galacticon in 2011.

If you’re interested, e-mail concom2011@thinkgalactic.org with the position you are interested in and whether you’re local to Chicago.

Thanks!

katsucon convention reports

February 15th, 2010

We’re trying to compile a list of convention reports for fandomnews and Fan History’s katsucon article.  If you have links, please feel free to edit the article or comment on this post so we can add them in.  The convention reports we’ve found so far include:

Katsucon

January 4th, 2010

The admin staff hasn’t really been keeping up with the latest Katsucon drama and we would really appreciate if our awesome contributors could step up and improve the article.  One of the most contentious issues that we’ve seen in the lead up involves issues around Artists Alley.  randomsome1 called the Maryland Comptroller’s office and got the low down on the tax situation for any artists selling merchandise and other goodies there.  This is crossposted with permission from her:

So I just spent an hour or so on hold and on the phone with the comptroller & sales/use tax people of Maryland. (For the record, their hold jingle is dire.) I transcribed what I got from them for sharing with the group.

If an individual in the state of Maryland is selling artworks or crafts which have been made specifically for sale, do they need to collect sales tax?

A: Yes they do. What you and/or the show promoter will need is to get a temporary sales tax number, unless you plan to sell in Maryland on a regular basis. If your sales will not be regular, register for a temporary sales tax number. “Regularly” is defined by “four or more times a year.” People who sell regularly in MD should get a permanent tax number, and for more information should call Miss Foster @ 410 767 1543.

A temporary tax number does not have a yearly/quarterly filing requirement. Getting one does not actually make you a business—it’s just to say that you will be selling things. (If you officially want to sell as your studio instead of your name you have to register a fictitious name, which is a slightly different and kind of expensive beastie in its own right.) When you complete the application it asks how long the event will run. After there’s a 20-30 day window to file.

If you return to sell in MD and need to pay sales tax again, just call the temp sales tax phone number (from above) and Miss Foster will be able to talk you through using the number/temp license. She got me registered over the phone with my info from Otakon.

Would tax liability change if a seller proclaimed themselves to be an amateur or a hobbyist?

A: No.

What about the provisions in the tax code regarding “casual and isolated sales”?

A: In the case of this event, quite a few people will have the option of making purchases so it does not count as a one time sale. As the purpose is for people to have more than one sale, and as the likelihood is extremely high that more than one sale will be made by each seller, this makes it exempt from the “casual and isolated sales” provision.

What about out-of-state sellers, small businesses, etc.?

A: They would also need the a temporary sales number. PA or other out-of-state sales tax numbers do not apply in MD, where the possession of merchandise will take place.

What could make sales at this show be tax exempt?

Sellers would not be required to collect sales tax if the purchase is made from a verified/certified reseller. (In this case, they would be required to collect proof of reseller status.) Otherwise they are liable for collecting and paying sales tax. To do otherwise is tax evasion.

What are the responsibilities of the individuals running a show that will feature sales of the previously mentioned artworks?

A: An event promoter could register for a sales & use tax number for the particular event, then at the end of the event the sellers will report their sales volumes and pay them the sales tax due; then the event promoter will report and pay that to the state of Maryland. If the sellers are registered with the state of Maryland they will pay the amount themselves directly. If any of you sold at Otakon—it’s like that.

Kyle Cassidy to photograph fans at New York Anime Fest

September 15th, 2009

If you’re planning on attending the New York Anime Festival on the weekend of September 25 – September 27, you might want to check this out.

Photographer Kyle Cassidy will be present on Friday taking fan portrait shots between 2-5pm, for an upcoming gallery show. You can see some of his great work from this year’s WorldCon here.

FanHistory is also hoping to be present to help document the event and continue our outreach to the anime fan community.

Dragon*Con – the overall con report

September 11th, 2009

Post by sockii.

Yesterday I posted my report on the Dirk Benedict & Dwight Schultz panel at Dragon*Con. This is my day-by-day summary of the convention as a whole.

Thursday, September 3
For once, vespapod and I were leaving early enough that I could hopefully get some dealer’s room and artshow set-up done today. Our plans, however, were nearly thwarted when the radiator in his car went BOOM on the way to the airport! Fortunately we had time to spare to get the tow truck to pick up the car, catch a cab, and not miss our original flight.

We arrived in Atlanta about 2pm, got our bags, got on MARTA, and headed straight to the Marriott Marquis so I could begin dealer’s room setup. My annual, lovely neighbors, Chimera Publishing, had a surprise for me since I’d gotten there early: an extra table! We had to squeeze it in “L”-ways in my table space, but I was hopeful that the additional display area would be beneficial to sales. I did basic set-up and then went to check into my hotel, the Wyndham, where I’d scored a room through the great dragonconrooms community at the last minute. We still had some time to kill before art show set-up would begin, so we headed out for an early dinner at Benihannas. The place is usually too packed to even try to get in once the con officially begins, so it was nice having a chance to have a pleasant dinner before the crowds descended.

Registration line at DragonCon

On our way to the Hyatt, we saw that the registration line was not just out the door at the Sheraton, but stretched well around two blocks! Afterwards I heard that people stood in line for upwards of three hours to get their badges, and the line was even closed early Thursday so some folks had to get right back in it Friday morning. A friend of mine commented that it was far easier to just pay the extra money at the con to buy her badge than to preregister – that the on-site pay line was only about a half-hour long. Me, I’m glad for my dealer’s passes: no lines, no waits, just show up on-site and get my badges! How easy is that?

Vespa helped me with artshow set up and by that point we were done for the night. It had been a long, stressful day, so we headed back to our hotel, had a couple drinks at the bar, and then called it a day.

Friday, September 4
For once I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to do table set-up, so we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and got back to the Marriott about 10am to finish my table set-up. I was pleased with how much I was able to get out on display with my extra space, and was well ready for the room to open up at 1pm.

Spacial Anomaly Gallery table setup

vespa had a panel to go to right at 1pm, which was fine as Friday sales are usually pretty slow. This definitely proved to be the case: lots of crowds roaming through, but most people were just looking, perhaps mentally making notes on what they would like to come back for later (if they had the money after buying photo sessions and autographs.) vespa returned and then I left for the Dirk & Dwight panel, as described previously.

The room closed at 7pm. My numbers were a little low compared to Friday’s for last year, but I was still optimistic. I met up with a friend and we all had dinner together at Azio, a pretty decent (if pricey) Italian place, and then crawled the Marriott, checking out the costumes, posing for photos with everyone from R2-D2 to Jack Sparrow, and then hanging out at the Marriott bar until exhaustion took over.

Cylons invade the Marriott!

Saturday, September 5
Saturday came and I was hoping for big sales – last year it was my best single day of the con. Unfortunately, this year it would be my single worst day. The dealers room was quite often dead, and what people who were there didn’t seem to have much money to spend. I talked to a couple other dealers who were experiencing the same thing, although some others seemed to be doing ok. After talking to some friends and other folks, though, we decided that the slow sales were perhaps due not just to the slow economy but the huge amounts of money people were paying for autographs and photo sessions with the three main guests this year: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart. It was $200 to get a photo with Patrick – and that’s before getting an autograph on it, too! I know a lot of people were balking about these prices before the con, saying they weren’t going to pay it, that it was unfair…and yet, the lines were continually back out on the street for their photosessions and I know a lot of people who DID pay the price. And stand in hours-long lines after lines not just for the photos, but then to see these guests in their panels.

So I really think that all contributed to the slower sales for dealers. It’s kind of a Catch 22: you want big name guests to draw attendees to the event, and yet if they are TOO popular and their autographs TOO in demand, those numbers don’t necessarily translate into better sales for the vendors.

At the end of sales hours I was feeling pretty bummed out, for certain. vespa and I had dinner on our own at a sushi place a little off the main track of foot traffic and spend a little while checking out costumes that night. But my heart wasn’t all that much in it at that point. I had paid and posed for an official shot with Dirk & Dwight that evening, so the one thing I was looking forward to on Sunday was seeing how my photo turned out!

Sunday, September 6
Sunday we got to the Marriott about 9am, as I was eager to pick up my photo which was supposed to be ready at that time. That was when I learned that Froggy, the guy who did the photo sessions, had had virtually all of his equipment stolen that night! The lock to the storage room had been broken and someone stole the camera equipment, AND the laptop with all of the photos stored on it. Fortunately, the Dirk and Dwight pics had been printed the night before, and the theives had not stolen any of the already printed pictures – whew! But I felt really bad for the folks who were now going to have to either get a refund or try to get their shots retaken, now would not receive digital copies they’d paid for, etc. Not fun, and given their system for tracking who asked for/paid for what is a little loose and confusing, I wonder how they actually managed to sort it all out.

Still, my picture turned out really great so I was happy.

After re-setting up for the day, vespa left to go to one of the Dukes of Hazzard panels, which he said was a lot of fun as there was only about 15 people there, so they could have a real conversation instead of a large group talk. I then headed out for a break from the table, debating whether I’d go to a wikipedia talk or to Dirk Benedict’s solo panel. On the way there, however, I was distracted by a woman in an AMAZING H.M. Murdock costume. Even more amazing, it turned out we were long-lost friends from our mutual days in Xena fandom. So instead of the wiki panel I ended up catching up with her for about a half hour. We then wandered into Dirk’s talk, but I have to confess I was getting a little bored after about a half hour and slipped out to head to the Walk of Fame and see if Dwight was there.

He was, and I got my picture from the day before signed. This time we had a little more time to talk and I mentioned I was friends with John Glover, a former classmate of Dwight’s from Towson. That set off a really fun conversation. After that, I checked back at my dealer’s table – still pretty slow – so I went back to the Walk of Fame once Dirk’s panel was up so I could get his autograph on my photo as well. He commented on how much fun they were having during the photos and it definitely shows!

Dirk, sockii and Dwight

After that was done, I pretty much stuck around my table save to hover in the artshow when bidding closed at 6pm. Sales there were ok – I moved about 2/3rd of the paintings I brought, even if mostly at minimum bid, and my mom did similar on her jewelry which I was agenting. Print shop sales were kind of slow for me, however. After that it was time to close the dealer’s room for the night. We met up with a local friend for a nice dinner at a nearby brewpub. After that, we were kind of too tired to do any more hotel crawling, so we called it an early night. Sales were still way down, though I was at least out of the red. I didn’t sleep that well, however, trying to scheme how to pull the con more into the black for me on the last day.

Monday, September 7
Mondays are always crazy for me at Dragon*Con. First I had to rush over to the Art Show to get a check-out number at 9am. I got there early, which was a good thing as they started giving out numbers early as well. I would be 6th for checkout at 4pm, which was good. Got back to the dealer’s table and, once vespa was set up to handle sales, I had to run stand in the line to buy my table space for 2010.

This line took soooooo long. I was in it for about an hour, as the only people moving fast were those paying in cash. Finally they added an extra helper to take checks, and I handed over my money anxiously – despite the poor sales this year, I am going for broke next year and paid the extra money for a second tale. *gulp* Guess we’ll find out in 2010 if it pays off…

vespa was ringing my cell yelling at me to get back as soon as I could. Sales were picking up, and to help that along we started doing some big discounts…30% off everything…it really helped even if it cut down on the profit per sale. With the push to move merchandise, at closing at 5pm (and combined with my art show sales), I estimated I was only down a couple hundred dollars from last year’s tally. Not great but I’d live with it. I got my stuff out of the art show and we did the mad pack-up, which took about 90 minutes. Made it to the airport with about three hours to spare before our flight.

I was completely exhausted and so was vespa. It was a long, long weekend and it’s taken me a good three days after the fact to begin to feel back to normal at all. I always feel like Dragon*Con is an endurance race, and by the end I want to sleep for about a week solid. I also don’t want to see many human beings for a while either as the crowds get really, really old, really fast. Even so, we managed to have a pretty good time and I’m going to look forward to next year’s con. Though you might hear me hoping that next year, they won’t have such big name headlining guests…!

*

If you’re thinking about checking out Dragon*Con for yourself in the future, be sure to check out my Guide to Dragon*Con.

Dragon*Con panel report: Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict

September 10th, 2009

Post by sockii (Nicole Pellegrini)

I only made it to one full panel at Dragon*Con this year, and that was the A-Team “Reunion” Q&A with Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict (actually, it wasn’t much of a Q&A, but I’ll get to that later…)

I had to rush to get to where the panel was located in the Hyatt from my dealer’s table in the Marriott. I was surprised that, when I got there about 10 minutes before the panel was to begin, there was a HUGE line to get inside! I really didn’t expect that for an A-Team panel. Nevertheless, the room was fortunately a fairly large one (seating 200 maybe, and it did fill up) and I was able to score a single seat fairly close, in about the 5th or 6th row. Much to my amusement, as I was sitting down the woman next to me pulled out a blue baseball cap. I then noticed her tan pants and converse sneakers, matching my own, and discovered that I was sitting next to a die-hard Murdock fan, much like myself.

An H.M. Murdock fan at Dragon*Con

Dirk and Dwight came out a few minutes late to an enthusiastic response from the crowd. They were both lively and in good spirits, their off-screen camaraderie as evident as always. Indeed, they talked for some time about their off-screen friendship and how that was rather rare in Hollywood (a place Dwight described brilliantly as being full of “malignant narcissism”), and also how that had been strengthened during a time after the series’ end when Dirk was going through a bit of a personal crisis. They talked a lot about the beginnings of the A-Team: how Dwight was “fired” after the pilot episode and then re-hired after the screening results came in; how Dirk was supposed to get the part of Templeton Peck from the start and what it was like to join the show after the early filming had been done; what it was like first meeting George Peppard and what he and Mr. T were both like off-screen. Much of this wasn’t necessarily new information to anyone who’s seen Dirk and Dwight at cons before, but they are always fun stories to hear them tell: and both Dirk and Dwight do some hilarious Mr. T impersonations!

Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict

They also talked about practical jokes played on the set, and some of the difficulties in the later seasons with Peppard and T that lead them to take on larger parts to carry the action and dialog (Peppard and T would only work 10am – 4pm, so Dirk and Dwight would go on late into the evening to fill in extra screen time as necessary.) On a more personal level, Dirk talked for some time about leaving Hollywood and why he had decided it was more important to be a full-time father to his boys than continue pursuing an acting career. This got a loud round of applause from the audience, as did Dwight’s mention that he had been married to his wife, former actress (now a therapist) Wendy Fulton, for 27 years.

The two of them talked for so long that there was only time at the end for maybe a half-dozen questions or so. I don’t remember the specifics of what was asked too well, although one person did bring up the James Bond-spoof episode The Spy Who Mugged Me, which got Dwight to do his great Sean Connery impersonation for a little bit. There was some mention of the potential A-Team movie but both expressed doubts it would ever really get filmed as there has been talk about it for so long, with so many different scripts proposed, and both were skeptical about the tone it would take. A number of people (myself included!) spoke up with thanks for The A-Team being their “first fandom” and the entire reason they were still in fandom today, which was really nice to hear. I managed to get in a brief question at the end for Dwight as well, asking if his talk radio show would be making a return any time soon, which he answered no, except for some fill-in positions, and deferred from going into any further detail during the panel since he didn’t want to/have time to get into politics there. Oh well; I wanted to ask because I wasn’t sure I’d have a chance to get away from my dealer’s space later in the weekend to catch him on the Walk of Fame.

They finished up soon afterwards and did mention they were heading right over to the Walk of Fame to do some autographs. So after checking in at my dealer’s space to make sure things were going ok there without me, I dashed over to the Hilton to get in line. Dwight recognized me right away and apologized for not answering my question further during the panel, so we talked then a little bit more about his talk radio work, what had become of “Dark Matters” and working with Don Ecker; how he was doing fill-in work at TRN on occasion and was still hoping to get a full-time/syndicated show in the future. I didn’t want to hold up the line too much longer (and later went back on Sunday to talk with him some more about other things) but I did get him to pose with me for a photo.

Dwight Schultz and sockii!

I also went to get Dirk’s autograph and a photo after that as they were seated right next to each other. Dirk’s line moved verrrrrrry slowly as he is quite chatty with people (and a lot of Battlestar Galactica fans were there asking him all sorts of questions.) He was nice as well, though I find Dwight a little more directly engaging and easy to talk to (as you come up to his table, Dwight gives you a big smile and reaches out to shake your hand. He really seems pleased to meet each person that comes to see him, instead of just doing this thing for the money.)

So that was my big A-Team adventure for Dragon*Con! Later on I posed for an official “staged” photo with both guys, and caught part of Dirk’s solo panel, but Friday was definitely the fannish highlight of the con for me. As an A-Team fan who had only had the chance to see Dirk and Dwight separately before, and neither for at least ten years, I was really thrilled to see them both here and hope that they will come back and do Dragon*Con again in the future (and hey, next time give Dwight a solo panel! I’d love to hear him talk more about his other genre work…)

*

To learn more about Dragon*Con and attending the convention in the future, check out my Guide to Dragon*Con.

FanHistory is off to Dragon*Con!

September 3rd, 2009

Well, at least one of its representatives is :)

I’m leaving today for Dragon*Con, where I’ll be all weekend working the Spacial Anomaly Gallery table in the Dealer’s Hall (location F13, if all goes according to plan.) You can also check out some of my artwork in the Art Show and Print Shop.

I’ll try to post some updates throughout the weekend, though my perspective will be fairly limited during the day to a vendor’s point-of-view. Please feel free to stop by my table during the weekend if you are there, I’d love to say hi, sell you some goodies – and of course, talk about FanHistory!

DragonCon is coming! Are you excited yet?

August 26th, 2009

I know I am! DragonCon is the largest annual convention that I attend regularly (as an artist, vendor, and also just a “plain” fan). This year I’m especially looking forward to getting to see two of my old favorites from The A-Team, Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict, who will be there. I’ll be curious to know what they’ve got to say about the latest rumors around a new movie, such as the possibility of Chris Pine taking on the role of Murdock.

I know there’s also going to be an effort to stage the largest “Thriller” dance in tribute to Michael Jackson ever, which ought to be a scream (in more ways than one).

If you’re going, please be sure to find the Spacial Anomaly Gallery table in the dealer’s hall to stop by and say hello! And remember, as always, your help in sharing your experiences at the con here in the wiki during and after the con are always appreciated.

San Diego Comic-Con: Too Big For Its Own Good?

July 27th, 2009

Some reports coming out of this year’s Comic-Con International are suggesting that the con may be reaching its breaking point in size. One fan tells the story of waiting in a tremendous line for hours to try to get into one panel, only to find out that most of the people who managed to get in had either camped out in the panel room since early morning, or were members of the press who were given preferential access to the big “media events” at the convention. Other blogs report that convention centers in other cities, including Las Vegas and Los Angeles, have been either approached or expressed interest to the convention organizers to take their business to their bigger venues.

With memberships selling out faster every year, and the con growing from 300 to over 125,000 attendees annually, is it time to move and to embrace even more expansion? Or is it time for the convention organizers to rethink the way things are going, and if bigger really IS going to be better in this case? Tickets could be sold — or even assigned potentially by a free lottery — for panels and events that are of especially high demand and interest. That could perhaps give fans better chances of seeing the events they want to see, and is how many other commercially-produced genre conventions control seating for their premium guests and panels. Of course, enforcing people to leave panel rooms between events and sit in potentially assigned seats, could prove a whole other logistical nightmare, requiring additional security and ushers, more turnover time between panels, and not be something the convention organizers want to deal with.

Another possibility that has been suggested is to reduce the focus of the convention, or break it up into separate events for the many different genres embraced currently at the event (film, television, comics, anime, gaming, etc.) But the overlap between all of these genres is so great, I don’t know where the lines could or should be drawn. If it is to become more strictly a comic-con, what about television shows based on comics universes like Smallville? Films based on comics like Watchmen?

I suppose part of the question is, what do the organizers really see as the future of Comic-Con? Is it going to become just more and more of an event for the entertainment industry and the mainstream press than it is for the fans? Is it already long past that point? Is this just another sign of the changing face of genre conventions, with more and more of the small, fan-run, not-for-profit events shrinking or disappearing completely, leaving fans with only the mega-events like Comic-Con and Dragon*Con left? (And D*C as well is reaching the breaking point of its capacity in recent years, for if its growth continues it will surely be forced to move from its current host hotels into a convention center facility.)

I’m not especially happy if that’s the case. I know I’ve lost a lot of the smaller cons I used to enjoy, or if they’re still going on they are becoming so small that it’s not worth my time and money to travel to them (such as BASCon, which recently announced this year it was becoming just an overnight event instead of a three-day convention. Not something I can justify flying cross-country to attend.) Many fans do not enjoy the massive crowds, huge lines, and big costs of the mega-cons, either. I think it will be sad if those are the only options we will be left with in the future.

Comic-Con is underway! Please help us record what happens!

July 23rd, 2009

The San Diego Comic-Con (wiki) is currently underway. The largest convention of its kind in the United States, this convention plays a vital role annually in promoting and previewing what’s to come in the fields of comics, anime, genre movies and television, science fiction and fantasy artwork and gaming…just about everything under the sun when it comes to media and comics fandom.

FanHistory would be thrilled if any attendees at the convention could help us document the event this year. Please consider helping to improve the main article on the convention, which sadly is little more than a stub currently. Scan in some flyers you’ve collected at the convention and upload them to our Comic-Con International images category. We’d also love some photographs taken at the event, a copy of the souvenir book, and/or any daily news bulletins published at the convention.

Write up any convention reports or blogs while at the convention? Please add links to the Convention reports for 2009 article, too. This helps us provide a spectrum of experiences from the event.

Dealers and artists, add yourselves to the list of those attending–and then consider creating a page about your business and work to help promote yourself with our simple Dealer article template.

There’s much you can do to help us record the history of this great event. Not sure where to start? Just leave a comment here and ask away for more help–all contributions great and small always are welcome.

The high cost of conventions – when will it become TOO high?

July 8th, 2009

This morning I read an interesting blog about the increasing costs of conventions, which posed the question, “How much is too much?” As in, at what price do fans begin to balk and refuse to keep paying? Will they ever do so, or will they keep shelling out whatever amounts of money conventions and big name guests expect them to?

The blog was questioning this matter because it was just announced that Patrick Stewart would be appearing at this year’s Dragon*Con in Atlanta–but that he would be charging $200 per photo-op. This appears to be a record high price at such an event, although not a complete anomaly in the science fiction/media-convention industry where autographs, photo-ops, and just seeing the main-draw celebrity guests have become premium ticket items. Leonard Nimoy has been charging $65-75 an autograph lately, and attending his panel at a recent convention in Florida cost you $125-250 EXTRA, above the regular admission price of the convention. Mark Hamill is reportedly charging $100 per autograph as well, and the upcoming TwiCon for Twilight fans has caused some controversy over their prices and autograph policies. Within conventions there are no set prices, so a guest charigng $20 per autograph could be sitting next to someone charging $60–and many fans won’t know that price until they’re in line and ready to buy.

Is it all just getting to be too much? To the casual fan, I should imagine so. The days of spending $25 to get in to a convention for the weekend, attending all events, and getting at least one “free” autograph from each of the main guests seems long gone, at least on the celebrity/for-profit con circuit. The convention industry is starting to remind me a lot of the concert industry, with prices skyrocketing and the best seats only going to those with the fattest wallets (remember those Torchsong Chicago auctions for front row tickets that sold into the thousands of dollars?) Just like many music fans can only afford to go to small club shows these days and support local bands, maybe saving up to go to one big concert a year (and if they’re lucky, being able to even GET a ticket better than the nosebleeds), con goers are having to be more picky and choosy in what conventions they can get to–if they bother still attending at all. Meanwhile the smaller, independent fan cons can barely afford media guests if they want them–or if they can, those media guests charge high prices per autograph, giving none away for “free” to attendees, still increasing the cost for everyone.

And it’s not just the fans who are suffering. When attendees are nickled and dimed for every aspect of the con experience, paying out what can easily add up to hundreds if not thousands of dollars on photo-ops, autographs, guest banquets and cabarets, they have less left to spend on the independent artists and vendors who used to rely on the convention economy for their livelihood. Is the diehard Patrick Stewart fan who just spent $200 on that photo going to have anything left to go to the artshow and bid on a piece of fanart of Jean-Luc Picard? Or a Star Trek fanzine? Or an original book of science-fiction stories from a small-press publisher? What about the convention charities, which often depended on attendees opening their wallets to give to a good cause?

Con attendance is already suffering as airfares, gas prices, and hotel costs rise with every year. Many fans can no longer attend like they used to, and with things like autographs now costing so much, I can imagine the situation will only get worse. It becomes a downward spiral of rising prices and diminishing returns for all involved, and seems to fortell to me yet another ringing of the death knell for conventions as many fans once knew them. All we may be left with soon are a handful of “mega”-events that come with mega-pricetags for all attendees, and a few remaining small scale conventions which only serve local fan communities, unable to support or reach out to a wider audience in fandom. And that’s a change that makes me sad to contemplate.

Animethon: An ANIME convention that’s only for the non-yaoi/non-yuri people

June 27th, 2009

Whether you like it or not, yaoi and yuri are fundamentally part of the Anime community.  You can’t remove it.  (Though white washing it out of American translations of manga and when dubbing anime into English has been tried.)  It is not going to go away.  So if you’re going to run an anime convention, you have to deal with this reality.  Unless the event is explicitly billed as a child friendly event with no adult content allowed, members of the anime community are going to expect that yaoi and yuri are going to be tolerated.

Sadly, Animethon‘s organizers failed to get this message.   Rather than claim to be a convention that is child friendly, the organizer decided that the convention would be anti-yaoi by prohibiting same sex kissing for cosplay events on stage.  Heterosexual kissing was still allowed.  She wasn’t discriminating against gays and lesbians because she has gay and lesbians friends and she likes them.  (Thanks but no.  That’s a cop out.  I have Gay friends =/=  I am tolerant.  It is insulting to our intelligence.)  When called out on it, she finally decided to allow same sex pecks on the cheek because heterosexual friends of the same gender give pecks on the cheek.  That’s her ode to tolerance.  Makes her a special kind of fandom snowflake where heterosexual same sex kissing is okay but homosexual same sex kissing is not.

She then spelled it out quite clearly: Animethon is not the place for large population in the anime community who like, read and watch anime and manga.  If you want that, go to Yaoicon.  (Because anime isn’t about the gays and lesbians and yaoi and yuri.)  Frankly, I think that’s a good idea.  If there is anyone in Alberta, Canada thinking of going to Animethon, don’t and tell the organizer why.

Torchsong Chicago

June 5th, 2009

A lot of my friends are big Torchwood fans, and a number of them have been planning on attending Torchsong Chicago this weekend, especially to see prominently advertised guest and main series star John Barrowman.

Well, at the last minute it’s been announced that both John and Kai Owen will not be attending (John due to injury, Kai for undisclosed personal reasons). Understandably, there is huge upset over this, particularly given the very high cost paid by many attendees for the event, photo-op tickets, and a cabaret that was advertised primarily as a showcase for John. The convention organizers are so far insisting that absolutely no refunds will be given, not even partial ones, which no doubt they’ve covered their butts legally in their ticket sales to do this, as most all conventions do. Yet given the high prices paid by some for the event — upwards of $1,410 a person in an auction for front row seats and $500 for “Premiere Memberships” — one wonders if they’ll really be able to get away with that or if there might be so much public outcry (and potential legal troubles) that they may have to relent. Even if not, I doubt many Torchwood fans would go to another event sponsored by this same promoters again.

Who knows what will happen yet? I’ll be following the fall-out and looking forward to reports back from my friends — some of whom were already in transit to the Chicago area before news of the cancellations was released.

MediaWestCon: Art show review

May 27th, 2009

I have been an exhibitor in the MediaWest artshow, on and off, for the past 12-13 years or so. And to be totally blunt it is very sad to see the way the art show has gone downhill during that time, especially in the past 2-3 years.

And by going downhill, I don’t mean the quality of the work exhibited: there has always been and still is a full range of technical art skills presented, from extremely talented pro/semi-pro artists to beginning/young amateur artists. Crafts from jewelry to knitting to etched granite were on display along with paintings, drawings, and a large amount of photography and photo-manipulations. But the amount of art and the number & variety of artists exhibiting has dwindled dramatically. This year I don’t think the art room was more than 1/3 full–both the tables for 3D art and panels for 2D. Even some of the artists who are regular, big contributors like Jesse McClain only had one panel’s worth of submissions, instead of taking up a full standing bay as she usually does.

So why the downturn? Easily the first reason is the terrible, last minute way the convention handles space reservations for artists, which has only gotten worse and worse each year. This year the Progress Report with the art show reservation form was not mailed out or put on the website until May 3, 2009, and interested artists were told they only had until May 10 to submit reservations! (Never mind that after that date, an update mentioned space still available. No kidding!) Artists also need to have a supporting membership to hang art–and the con rules/website state that memberships can only be bought up until May 1. Also it can take a long time to actually RECEIVE your membership number after paying for one–good luck getting it to you in a week’s time.

Another problem, especially for artists who might be considering mailing in artwork, is the inability to get your multi-part forms mailed to you in time. The convention should seriously consider going to forms that could be downloaded by artists on-line, even if yes, that would then require the artshow staff to create a computer database to keep track of art pieces and bids instead of multi-part forms. But that too could avoid a lot of problems at check-out with pieces missing, winning bids being mis-reported, or not reported at all. But for the past three years running, it has always been about 50-50 whether I would actually receive my forms in the mail before leaving for the convention–and when they did arrive, it was usually with only a day to spare. This basically completely rules out the possibility of mail-in art being submitted, making the only option for artists who can’t attend to be to find someone who is attending to agent your art. (One small thing done this year to help with future issues about the forms is artists were given forms for next year at check out. Great for the regular, small group of artists who habitually show and attend. This will do nothing to help with new artists who weren’t here this year.)

The convention, if it intends to continue to have a good art show, needs to work to correct these registration and paperwork issues if they are going to have any chance of attracting new artists to exhibiting. There might be an impression that the convention is only for “fan-art”, but that’s definitely not the case. Some of the pieces which seem to consistently sell the best are animal/wildlife art, fantasy, and jewelry. This year I submitted some of my astronomical artwork instead of any fanart, and sold 5 of the 8 paintings I showed (along with at least 2/3rds of the jewelry pieces I submitted.) Of course, a fanart oil painting I’d shown for the past two years in the artshow, never getting a bid (at a very low starting bid), I sold off my dealer’s room table this year at a much better price. Go figure! So perhaps the artshow isn’t even the best place for artists to exhibit and try to sell their work at the convention…

That said, there are also buyer issues as well which could be discouraging to new artists, as MWC certainly has a very clique-ish feel to it and that carries over into what (and from whom) people will buy. This year I was agenting for a new jewelry artist who does wonderful work, was all priced very reasonably — and she only received 2 bids out of the 16 pieces she’d shown. I’ve seen a lot of hesitation regularly from bidding on “unknown” artists at MWC, no matter the quality of the work. So it’s an environment of buying from your friends and known fellow fans more so than buying the best, most interesting art.

I’m sure the art show staff has to be aware of these issues at this point. What I’m less sure of is whether they care at all enough to do anything about them. As the entire convention feels like it is just going on because it’s been going on for almost thirty years, there for the fans who remain but not working to bring in new blood, I have my doubts and am not sure I’d recommend the convention to artists who haven’t been regularly showing there already.

WisCon: Something Wrong on the Internet

May 24th, 2009

This is the panel on Something Wrong on the Internet. It is hosted by Liz Henry, Piglet, Julia Sparkymonster, Vito Excalibur. Panelists agreed to talk over each other.

(Reporting this as an audience member and reporting on what other says.)

Why harsh on people’s squee? This thing starts off on race!fail references and just kept going. “Really. It is just the Internet.” That it is discarded because we have these conversations in real life, at places like conventions. Internet can be a better place to have some conversations because you can walk away. And you can decide how much time you want to spend on it. Walking away is good because you can think and reflect better.

Some Internet conversations have offline components.

Piglet says she has learned a lot from online conversations. She has learned that she doesn’t hate her body because of these conversations. Don’t be discouraged.

Other people talked. Sometimes, it takes time to learn things. It might take three years before they get the point you made. They might not understand why you freaked them out at the time.

Panel had a hard time with internet conversations that changed their mind. (Then some one came up with that they learned about mock Spanish and changed their mind. )

One did say they learned how ignorant they are on some topics. Sometimes, that can be extremely helpful to learn.

Personal connections can help make learning easier when people are mean to you.

PoC hive mind does not exist. This was something that some one learned.

People learned how to respond when some one accused them of being racist or classist.

Panel discussed Heidipologies. Good example:”I am so sorry people are so hard to trust. I am sorry people are being so mean to me.”

Ruby!Fail is a guy who does porn slides at a tech conference and made people uncomfortable. Pearl Guy did the same thing but he made a good apology. He didn’t repeat. Ruby on rails people said “We need more porn in our slides.” They didn’t get why women were offended at comparisons to porn.

When you fuck up? Online, not comment immediately. Wait a while. Tell people you need to take a moment, stop commenting and formulating a way to response. Locked posts on LiveJournal are key to being an ass hole. Sit with discomfort and try to figure out what you did wrong. Then apologize and mean it, even if you didn’t get it. Don’t say you didn’t get it.

What happens if you do it wrong? Is there a pathway for apologizing? You can give them shit. You don’t need to accept their apology. It is okay. It depends on how people react when you do wrong. You need to shut up. Or you need to explain it and be done with it.

If you never shut up about things, then you will continue to be mobbed.

Can you participate in online drama if you don’t have time to dedicated to it? Answer is yes. You can digest chunks of it. You can toss in comments a few weeks or months after the fact because the Internet is asynchronous. You can also follow by tracking one or two bloggers who follow that subject.

When all your Internet friends are participating, you should participate in the conversation.

Internet Drama is, according to Liz Henry, a form of the news. Twitter is a good place to keep track of some drama online.

Failblog.com is already purchased.

What are the main dramas? (Reference to great blow job wars of 2005 in the feminist blogosphere.) Conversation around that question got derailed.

You have to know the right people in order to know what is going on online. Overlapping but non-identical spheres mean that you can totally miss things like Race!Fail. (And if you don’t know about some of this drama, people would explode.)

JournalFen, Fandom_Wank, Link_Spam on Dreamwidth, metafandom on LiveJournal can help you keep track of fandom drama online.

Asking people before going to a convention what is going is important so you can be prepared for events like WisCon.

Following Coffeeandink is good because you can follow the drama that is going on.

Recent Drama: WisCon picture posting with Rachel Moss was big. Rachel Moss and the_ferret both chances to talk about their experiences with the fail.

A feminist author said don’t talk about some one with out telling them that you’re going to talk about them. Ask them if they want to participate in the conversation. The act of doing that can help change your perspective.

Fail can keep you honest.

Then conversation back to listing recent fail.

Race Fail!

Mammoth!Fail.

Seal Press!Fail.

Seal Press involved publishing feminist bloggers. The publishing house then jumped the shark with their illustrations for the book. They had illustrations like spear chucking African women who were bad. The hero to save them was a white amazonian type female. The press was told all about this and how it was offensive. They didn’t change their behavior or modify their behavior. The press accused people of being jealous of her writing, her awesomeness and her having a book published. It was when she got defensive and whined about it that made the situation and made the whole thing explode a lot worse.

Another time, Seal Press told some black author that the book needed more white people. The publisher trolled comments to explain them.

Another awesome fail was digital colonialism.

Some one asked why white women would read anything about black women?

Seal Press has acted like a jerk face, claimed they were okay because they had a black employee.

Seal Press was weird because she could be an ally in many ways but disappointed people because she wasn’t.

How do you interact with people who fail in some ways? As a feminist, you should probably try to keep those allies, keep those connections even though it is hard. It can take a few months sometimes to get past though hard moments of fail.

How do you handle when say your Guest of Honor does major fail two weeks before the convention? Question from the audience. Conversation then got derailed.

Liz Henry wanted spontaneous panel for mammoth fail.

OSC was invited to a con. Orson Scott Card had done homophobic rants. People were upset. The ConCom realized they could not pull back his invitation. ConCom invited people to discuss it with them. ConCom had some one follow Orson Scott Card around so they could make sure he did not vomit homophobic comments at people. ConCom has to address it in some way. It should be dependent on the ConCom. (The bar is set that anything is better than say “People are over reacting.” It is pretty low.)

In many online conversations, only people who show up are ones that agree with you. This can be a huge thing to overcome. There are ways to do that if you can say find people who can respectfully engage.

Will Shetterly was mentioned. Will Shetterly’s name has an asterick. A panelist do not think that they could have a respectful conversation with him.

One panelist said that if they talk to you in non-macros, it means they think that they can actually engage with the person.

Part of the joy of internet drama is making macros and funny LiveJournal icons. Also great? Bingo cards.

Humor can be really important in defusing some of the major drama.

What do you do when you know and love some one who ends up being a major giant ass hole online? This is the part where one person hates principles and having them. It is really hard to handle that. Sometimes you can call them out. Sometimes you can’t. If doing it, reaffirm that you are still friends, that you respect them and that you are doing that as an act of love because you think they can handle being called out. (and people should be able to take that out. But more often than not, they can’t.)

How does it feel like being the actual target? Total strangers misunderstanding what you did is annoying. Calling out perfect strangers is the spirit of the Internet. How you do that though should be different than people you know.

Hint of a fail is when a person says “There is a mob after me!” Flail is different.

Audrey Lord discusses reuses of anger. People have strong reactions to people being angry.

You catch more flies with honey but who wants flies? Sometimes, there is no way to respond in a way that will make people happy. Even no matter how nice you are. Some people will just respond one way based on their perspective.

Is the goal that some people have zero fail? Are people afraid of fucking up? Do they remain silent for that reason? Do people hope for a fail less universe? If that is true, then it means that no hard discussions are happening. There is less of an opportunity to learn.

You see a gigantic fail happening. You sit on your hands and not post on it. Then you start thinking that yeah. Panelist said that you should ignore guilt. People don’t care. A panelist said that the questioner said that posting about your own ignorance and explain things and linking is just as supportive as many other things.

How not to burn out? This is an issue deepad has had. People are beginning to have conversations in protected spaces as a result.

Burn out happens in all progressive communities. (and with ConComs.) Link dropping can be a way to avoid burn out. You can just find some one else talking about a topic and then point people there. It gets the point across and you don’t have to have the investment.

Shetterly has given his friends an Internet safeword so that people can tell him to back off. That way he won’t be on top of it in an unhealthy way.

You, as an individual, need to be responsible for yourself. Learn when to back off and help your friends by telling them when you are afraid they are going to burn out. Make sure you have people at your back so that it is less stressful and you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Being angry in chat with a safe group is a good way of being safe.

Documenting things can be difficult. How do you document issues that can be contentious. Neutrality is hard. How you document can effect the community that you’re documenting. (No one looks at SF Feminist wiki except Kathryn Kramer.) It can be a challenge. No solution for how to deal with that other than figuring out as you go.

Being the lone voice in the wilderness can be challenging. sometimes, you just need to take a break. But sometimes you can’t take a break because of your job. Then you need a small break, flip out in a corner and then go back. Be aware of the costs. Know stuff that has already happened, talked to survivors. Figure out coping strategies. A good strategy is to bring in a posse but don’t lead them on about why you are inviting them. Warn your posse about the situation, explain that you are swarming and explain to the organizers that you need diversity which is why you are bringing people.

The lurkers will support you.

Understand that you are in it for the long haul when you are the only voice. Don’t think short term.

People get attacked for bringing in people to back them up. Bringing in a posse is different. What you’re just doing is bringing in other people who can provide their own perspectives and to see if the person really had a point or if you are wrong.

One ass hole theory of systems means that you need at least one ass holes so that you can direct shit in the way it needs to go. The point of the ass hole can be to show people what not to do. Deployment of where you put your ass holes can be important. Not at the top as it all reins down.

Suck it and deal with it ARE valid responses. (Course people don’t need to tell you to suck it because the universe will tell you to suck it all on its own.) It is better to have a discussion on why a person needs to suck it.

Having allies who disagree is good because you’re not all minions.

Fear is good.

Lots of articles about this drama in a book sold in the Dealer’s room.

Digital Colonialism. Some guest PoCs and women can be a form of colonialism as they are just co-opted and used. That was an argument in a fail. People were not referred to. They were not informed that this was coming when the blog post was made. They would not stop when told they were being offensive.

Moderate your comments can avoid fail. If Elizbaeth Bear had done that, none of this would have happened.

WisCon panel on self promotion for science fiction authors

May 24th, 2009

At WisCon panel on self promotion for science fiction author. The presenters include Madge Miller, Marrianne Kirby, Catherine Lundoff and Nayad M. They are either professionals in marketing or are published authors.

Advice they have given includes:

Do not rely on a publicist to do it. They work best when you help them with their job.

Self promote with a buddy. It makes you feel less self conscious.

Readings are not necessarily time wise. It might be better to try to do readings with other authors. It can help draw a bigger crowd.

Doing conventions can help make you a more recognizable name.

No one thing is the magic bullet. You need more solutions.

Don’t try to do so much self promotion at once. It can burn you out, especially if you don’t see results. Try to focus on one project at once. That is what professionals do.

Check out who has expertise in promoting. Get advice from them. Use your community to find good ways to promote.

Realistically, most science fiction authors are not going to get a publicist. Think about how you would present yourself at a job interview. Treat things like readings and panels as if they were that. This includes not showing up drunk to your panels. (People do it.) Don’t hog conversations.

Make an effort to fake an interest in other people’s work. Otherwise, you come across as being me me me and can be a turn off. You don’t get the personal connections that way. Personal connections really can help sell the book as those people may go out and tell people how fantastic you are.

If you can pair a book reading with a non-profit event, it can help generate additional interest and help sell the book. It generates good will.

You should almost put on a writer professional cap at conventions. You need to portray almost a different version, almost like acting but more like projecting yourself. This way you can get attention.

Women in American culture get told that self promotion is tacky and icky and they should not do. Women need to get over that. If you put on a professional hat, it becomes easier to self promote.

If you are going to do a reading for the first time, practice with people you like and respect. They can give you good feedback. Start out with something structured to help overcome your own fears. Ask your friends to tell you when you commit your own weakness like stumbling over words, rambling, etc. Non-professionals can give you feedback if you are being boring. Also think about timing of your reading. More than 35 minutes makes keeping your audience hard. Think about breaking up longer readings into parts. Practice your timing. Know when you can stop, look up at the audience and where to pace yourself.

Consider wearing makeup so that you look brighter than life and larger, to enhance your stage presence.

What are bad ideas?

People who do book forts at panels at conventions can be a problem. It is better to be graceful and just flash the book. It is a bit selfish to promote the book the whole time. (Though this may be depend on the panel and why you are on the panel. If you are on a panel because of that book, it can be different. A book fort may be overkill but a single book might not be that bad.)

Many people who feel insecure put others down. They try to stand on the bodies of other authors by putting them down in order to self promote. This can hurt you. It is better to be nice.

Don’t give a speech if you’re on a panel. Moderators should direct traffic and have questions to help steer questions. They should not read four pages of notes.

Advice for people starting out to increase chances of success?

At conventions, sign up for panels you are interested in. The more practice that you get, the more comfortable you will be when you become published.

Online presence is importance. You need a website. Determine where you want your name out. Have a blog. Look at what other writers are blogging about to get ideas for what to write about.

Realize that it takes a long time to build an audience. A year out is a good idea is when to start building. You have a chance to build conversations, to let people know you have a book coming out. Ask people questions. Always be authentic online and in person. Be authentic to who you really are.

Talk about things that you are interested means like minded people as they will likely like your fiction.

Working on a blog, creating a community, talking to reporters as a form of self promotional activity can help you get a book deal. Why? Because you get to make good connections who can help you accomplish your goals. It isn’t necessarily fair that we respond to the people we know but it does help getting published in the first place.

It is never to early to get online. You should get yourself associated with things that involve your audience.

Twitter, FaceBook, LiveJournal, GoodReads are all ways to interact online.

Twitter. Authors can tweet. Read up on the etiquette of tweeting before you start. If you do the wrong thing, people will snicker. Twitter is very real time. If you are going to be on it, you need to really commit to it. Follow people and respond to him. Personal details can really help connect you to your audience.

Twitter can go horribly wrong. Updating shop listings every time you do that can be a pain. Don’t over do the URL plugging. Twitter is an online service that allows you to send 140 characters. Twitter started off as phone but now is on the web. You should ReTweet interesting comments by people you follow. Be good to others who might be able to be good to you. ReTweets asking can get info out to a large audience that say your book is coming out.

You can actually talk to people on Twitter and make connections with people you might not otherwise make. Doing this may result in getting a follow back. Be authentic. Don’t become an annoying fan.

Anti-Twitter panelist prefers to blog. She finds it annoying. The information is not useful to her. Who cares that you walked your dog? Not enough info there to want to follow up on. It is a stylistic personal preference. Digest of Tweets on LiveJournal is annoying. If they didn’t follow you on Twitter, why would they want it in another medium?

Cross posting to Twitter and FaceBook can be annoying. There are different rules and etiquette. FaceBook tends to be less cluttered.

FaceBook is kind of nice as a networking tool. It isn’t necessarily great for blogging on because audience attention isn’t high. If blogging, post it elsewhere.

On a self promotional level, finding these services annoying is irrelevant. It is about trying to reach people in the most beneficial and effective towards meeting your goals. If your audience on FaceBook is helpful, then you might want to update there even if you are not comfortable. Find where you can compromise to self promote. This is what is comes down to. The tool is about getting results, not your personal feelings.

Consensus is that you really, really need to have a blog. Try to develop a readership. Mix up the content to help develop a broader readership: Personal life, professional life, writing life. Good to have blog attached to your website. Why? It helps with Google ranking. It means you can keep adding fresh content to your website. Twitter feed can help keep your content fresh.

If you are not going to engage authentically, then don’t.

One of the highest read blogs was that of a chinese erotic model who updated regularly. Try to update once a day to maintain the audience if you want to develop a huge audience. If you don’t want to blog, consider doing message from the author. Dead blogs are a turn off to the audience. People will drop you from their feeds.

Blogging is a big time commitment. When you’re doing fiction, you may not have the same correlation with blog success. You need to find balance. You need to find what works for your life. Penelope Trunk gives good advice on how to blog effectively. Though Penelope is extremely controversial so take it with a grain of salt.

MediaWestCon – Day 1

May 23rd, 2009

Just a quick missive from MediaWest. First day seemed very, very quiet. While there was the usual feeding frenzy for the first hour in the dealer’s room, after that it pretty much turned into a ghost town the rest of the day. The art show looks very sparse this year – only the most usual suspects hanging their work, and some of those even with half of what they usually show on display. Lots of empty tables and panels so far. Even the dealer’s room had a number of no-shows, or people only coming in to set up at the end of the day Friday.

Flyers out in the lobby are also quite sparse–though there certainly are quite a few for Star Trek and Kirk/Spock about. Haven’t had the chance to check out the room sales and doors yet, hopefully later today when I also have my first panel.

Will have to see how the rest of the convention goes…

Off to MediaWest tomorrow…

May 20th, 2009

Tomorrow I’m off to MediaWestCon, which should be interesting this year in a number of ways. I’ve heard some speculation that with the changes in the host hotel (now a Causeway Bay), along with the continuing and ever-growing sluggishness of the organizers dealing with convention matters, that we may be nearing the end of MWC’s run. Probably not this year, but perhaps next as 2010 will be the con’s 30 year anniversary.

Of course, this is all speculation at this point. We’ll have to wait and see what happens or what the word is this weekend.

Still, I am curious about a number of things this year, including:

* How will sales be in the dealer’s room and art show, given the current economy? (Especially in Michigan, with so many car manufacturing plants closing shop.)

* What will be the hot fandoms this time around? Will everyone be talking about Star Trek, or is the film too new to get a lot of “official” scheduled time and attention? What about Torchwood, Merlin and other buzzed-about shows?

* Will hot topics in journaling media fandom, such as Race Fail and Dreamwidth Studios be talked about at all? Or are they off the radar for the more “old school” fandom base that makes up the bulk of MWC’s membership?

I’ll try to post some daily blogs from the convention with my impressions on these issues, as well as anything else that comes up, and of course update with photos and other items from the convention after I get home next week.

Star Trek: The Next Generation of fans?

May 6th, 2009

The summer movie season is about to start with one of the most anticipated releases in scifi fandom in some time: the new Star Trek movie. Trek fandom has been abuzz about it for some time, although the anticipation has been mixed with some anxiety: will the film do The Original Series and its beloved characters justice? Will it sacrifice the heart of Trek for big Hollywood pizazz?

A more critical question, in my opinion, and one I have heard echoed in some Trek fandom circles, is whether the film can do anything to revive what is, in many ways, a dying fandom. It has been several years since the last Trek series, Enterprise was on the air–a series which in and of itself had alientated many longtime Trek fans and had did little to keep interest strong in the franchise. Trek conventions are few and far between these days, with few (save Shore Leave and Farpoint) except the massive Creation Cons still being held. With the exception of a few still-strong shipping and slash communities, notably Kirk/Spock, fanworks production is greatly diminished.

That said, there does seem to be some steady growth in Trek livejournal community activity in recent months–perhaps due to the movie? The presence of popular Heroes actor Zachary Quinto as Spock may do well to bring in some crossover fans. But the long-term impact on the fandom will take some time to see.

I will be curious to see what the buzz about the film is at this year’s MediaWest, which will be taking place at the end of this month.

Another convention gone…and what of the future?

April 7th, 2009

I was very sad to learn recently that Eastern Media Con would be going on hiatus this year. EMC was one of the most enjoyable cons I’d attended the past two years–it had a lot of the fun, friendliness and lack of pretensions that I’d enjoyed about the old Eclecticon, but with some great more “modern” amenities and features.

Of course, their reasons for not running it this year make total sense: the bad economy, past con debt, and more difficulty than ever in finding a hotel willing to offer the features wanted by fans at a price that fans could afford. I remain hopeful they’ll come back in 2010–after all, many small cons seem to do better on a bi-annual schedule where people have more time to plan and save between the cons they want to attend, and they become more of a special “event”. But I really begin to wonder how much of a future there is for any con besides the large corporate ones these days.

I only have three shows scheduled for myself this year at this point: MediaWest, Shore Leave, and DragonCon, and this may be my last time at Shore Leave and even possibly MediaWest depending on how things go (Shore Leave has been on a slow decline for years, and MediaWest, while still “holding on”, I’m curious to see for how much longer. The old host hotel is going through renovations which may make it less fan-friendly and more expensive; the con comm does not seem to be bringing in “new blood”, and various other issues leave me concerned.)

There are other issues plaguing the convention scene also which could have some effect on their ability to keep going, as well as attracting new fen to attend. At this year’s Lunacon, there apparently seemed to be some conflict between “old school” science fiction fans and some younger fans in attendance, who felt very off-put by some of the behavior encouraged and/or tolerated at the event. A LiveJournal rant after the fact lead to over 1,000 comments–many from others with long-standing peeves about convention attendee behavior. Others felt unfairly called out for “being themselves” in what they had always considered a “safe space” for fans, many of whom may or do have social skills issues that give them trouble finding acceptance in mainstream culture and society.

So, what are conventions to do? Should conventions try to become more mainstream, shunning and criticizing those who refuse to give up their old “nerdly ways” because it may be turning away newer fen? Will the old guard of science fiction cons–Lunacon, Philcon, Balticon, etc.–become as extinct as the dinosaurs in the not-so-distant future, because they seem to refuse to change with the times? Do conventions have any real future in a world where the internet has already made fandom more “mainstream” and accessible to all?

These are all the things I keep pondering, as I have no clear answers or ideas myself.

Camp Fandom 2.0 Canceled

March 18th, 2009

SWSX and a few other reasons are why we canceled it. Hopefully, we can try again later in the year.

#rcc09 : Welcoming on wikis and edits

February 21st, 2009

I missed the presentation by wikiHow that talked about welcoming on wikis but I heard about it later when a small group from wikiHow and a few tag alongs like myself went to dinner.   If you’re not aware of it, welcoming on wikis is when people are welcomed to the wiki after they make their first contribution or register for an account.   Some of the wiki people I know do this because they think it helps to build community which in turn translates into additional edits to the wiki.  As wikis need edits to improve their content, this is really important.  Wikis should always be looking for ways to convert edits.

At the session, wikiHow apparently talked about the effect of welcoming and their conversion rate in terms of helping to get more edits.  They did a student on the topic in fact.  They found that welcoming people to a wiki did not have a relationship to people’s edit totals or likelihood to edit more.  (I wasn’t there so I am probably missing more of it.)

That’s kind of interesting as I know of a number of wikis that try that including AboutUs, EncyclopediaDramatica, wikiHow and some wikis on Wikia.  We’ve never really done it on Fan History because we couldn’t figure out how to automate the process and most people seemed to come in, edit their article and that was it.  Why waste the energy on it?  But at the same time, all these other wikis were doing it.   It seemed ingrained in wiki culture.  Why not do it?  Are we just being lazy?  It feels kind of nice o be redeemed and know it doesn’t necessarily help in terms of community development.

I would be kind of interested to learn why it doesn’t convert to additional edits though.  Is the lack of conversion a result of how people view wikis?  Possibly not as a community?  Is it because people who want to edit will edit no matter what and some people just edit here and there because of subject matter expertise?  Lots of reasons probably and I want to learn more. :)

#rcc09 : Developing a wiki community

February 20th, 2009

RecentChangesCamp is under way and I’m attending a session on developing wiki communities. Several Meyer Memorial Trust people here and several Foodista folks at this presentation.

Some general thoughts and things mentioned:

Community needs to be built around a content from which possible community members are dedicated to and passionate about. It needs to flow with their normal tasks and create reason why to participate.

You need a few core people who are dedicated to keeping the community going. This can be because wikis have bursts of activity and you need some one can sustain across bursts.

Wiki communities can be helped by contacting people who contribute to the wiki and asking how they can be more helpful.

People like rewards, recognition for their activity. That needs to be done and tapped into in order to help build community.

Highlighting the fact that others can use the content and be helpful to them can give people a more altruistic reason for being involved.

Wikia does a good job at highlighting communities, highlighting articles created by the community.

Members of a wiki can get value when you reminded them that they are part of a larger community and a mission, a guiding statement. It helps create purpose and leads to fulfillment when that goal is being accomplished. Their contributions become more than just a few edits.

WikiHow is benefiting community wise because of retired folks and laid off people. It means more people involved and helps connect them to part of a larger community as they deal with life changes.

Community needs to understand that there is no page ownership. When dealing with older people, you need to patient and explain ownership issues.

Community Wiki and Meatball Wiki are two wikis which talk about building community on wikis.

There can be a trust issue to getting people involved with wikis. Because wikis run counter to the idea of not having authority.

Convention/fan relations? You’re doing it wrong.

February 19th, 2009

Previously I I blogged about FaerieCon and my experiences there as a vendor/attendee for the past two years. I was aware that the venue, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, had more than its fair share of problems as far as the con organizers, vendors, and attendees were concerned. It certainly wasn’t especially “fae” in atmosphere, and being a union facility everything from setting up your booth to running a single line of electricity could become quite expensive.

But that said, it did have some advantages location-wise, at least for those from and/or familiar with the Philadelphia area. It was no more than a block or two’s walk from the Greyhound bus station (and numerous Chinatown bus routes). A block or two from multiple subway and regional rail routes (including the route that serves the airport–an under $6 fare). Under a $10 cab fare from 30th Street Station. For those reliant on public transit (or who use it whenever possible for convenience/environmental/cost factors), it was great. Also being smack-dab in the middle of Chinatown, and near Reading Terminal Market, cheap and good food was in quick, easy walking distance. Yes, the “host hotel” rates were expensive, but the city itself is full of lodging choices for any budget, again within easy public transit reach to the convention center. The nearby Trocadero theater made for a fabulous location for the Good and Bad Faerie Balls.

Nevertheless, I had heard talk of moving the convention, and did agree that it might be a necessary choice. Even being in the heart of the city, it seemed attendance was never in the range that it could or should have been to make the PACC location profitable (for anyone). A different location — say a hotel convention facility in the area, even the nearby ‘burbs — should provide cheaper facilities, and I had imagined might provide cheaper prices for exhibitors, hence I was actually considering trying to work the show again this year as the fees for it were my primary reason not for returning.

But then last night I received an update email, which made me rule out the possibility of going back entirely.

Because the convention is now going to take place in Hunt Valley, Maryland (oh, they say it’s Baltimore, but I’ll get to that in a moment) at the good old Marriott Hunt Valley Inn. And let’s take a look at how they “promote” this change of venue on their website (the same as the email), which manages to be both highly insulting to Philadelphia and its resident fen, but inaccurate in many ways as well…

LOCATION: Baltimore, MD
- Easier Access for all of our Fans
- A Safer and more Hospitable City

First off, Hunt Valley is NOT Baltimore. It is, by YahooMaps 17.5 miles (approximately 22 minutes by car) away. This might be easier access to some with cars, but it is not easier access “for all”. I know from a great deal of experience that it is about a $40+ cab ride from the train station in Baltimore to that hotel. It is 45 minutes away from Baltimore by light rail and an awkward walk (especially if you have any luggage) involving crossing a 6-lane high-traffic road (with no pedestrian sidewalks as this is commuter suburbia).

And let’s talk about “safer and more hospitable”. What a way to insult Philadelphia and its residents. We can examine some actual statistics from 2005 that ranked Baltimore the #2 most dangerous city with population over 500,000 in the U.S.; Philadelphia was ranked #6. Baltimore is noted for its consistently higher than average crime rates.

Oh, but that’s right, the con isn’t really in Baltimore anyway. It’s in Hunt Valley, which probably doesn’t have that much crime given it’s mostly full of business and industrial parks. Except perhaps pedestrians getting hit trying to cross those roadways!

DATE: November 6-8
- No Ren Faire Date Conflicts
- The perfect Holiday Gift Shopping Event

It’s nice it doesn’t conflict with any Ren Faire. But the new later date puts it two weeks before Philcon, meaning again that many Philadelphia-area fans are less likely to attend for budget/scheduling reasons.

And as someone who has worked retail for many years, nothing truly becomes “holiday shopping” in earnest until Thanksgiving weekend onward.

VENUE – Marriott Hunt Valley
- Just 10 Minutes from Downtown Baltimore!

Ten minutes perhaps by helicopter.

- A modern, beautiful hotel.

I guess they’ve missed how many of us have laughed our heads off at the rather hideous remodeling of the hotel from several years ago, with the nausea-inducing carpet patterns, odd lighting choices, etc.

- FaerieCon owns the WHOLE Hotel for the Weekend!
- After hours, you can party all night!
- FaerieCon Special Rate Rooms are just $99.00 a night;
that’s 50% off Philadelphia rates!

I also know that hotel tends to fill up pretty quick for conventions. Nearby overflow choices are somewhat limited and generally in the $130+ range.

- Free Parking on Site! – saving you up to $40 a day from Philly

Again, good for the car people. For the rest of us, not so much…

- All Activities – including the Masquerade Balls – take place in the Hotel!

I’ll miss the Troc.

- Hunt Valley is an Experienced Convention Host – Balticon and others are held there.

I’ll grant them this is true. But I will say it has very limited – and expensive – dining choices. Their snack bar is similar to Aramarks’ at the PACC in terms of selection and price. The hotel’s main restaurant, the Cinnamon Tree, is overpriced and inconsistent at best in quality. There are numerous chain and other restaurants in driving distance, but it’s been my experience that being suburbia, they are mob scenes Friday & Saturday nights — especially when you throw a convention into the mix.

- Full Guest Facilities: Bar, Restaurants, Gym, Outdoor Areas, etc.

OK, I just have to laugh at the outdoor areas bit. The outdoor areas basically consist of the lawn around the parking lot. The most I’ve generally ever seen people use these outdoor areas for during conventions is a smoke break.

And let’s also talk about the fact that their exhibitor prices have only gone up, not down. At a non-union facility, now which has a much more limited capacity for bodies on premises than the PACC did. This to me is the final insult upon injury. Even with all my personal beefs about the location, I can still afford (and profit on) working a convention like Shore Leave at that hotel — because a vendor’s space can be had for under $300. Even if I have upwards of $400 in travel, lodging, and food expenses, I can still make a profit when my expenses are under $700. Here, FaerieCon is charging just about DragonCon-level pricing for space, for an event that will not possibly get that kind of turnout.

I really have to wonder what is up with how they think they can justify that. And I will wait and see if I can get any answers from the event staff to explain it all…

It’s a shame, too, because I had been considering even just attending this year, without vending. I really enjoyed the craftwork, the music, and the atmosphere of the convention in the past. But at the considerably higher cost for me to now even attend (let alone exhibit), given the state of the economy currently it’s just not something I have the budget for, even if I wasn’t insulted by the way this change was announced.

The 2.0 World, and its impact on fandom

February 4th, 2009

An interesting new on-line journal launched this month, Live 2.0, which focuses on the changing face of live entertainment: sports, music, theater, etc. The premier edition pointed out how, in our current technological age, so much of where entertainment consumers spend their money and how they spend their money has changed. Stewart Copeland, drummer of The Police, is interviewed in a fascinating look into how the ‘record album’ (or these days more likely the compact disc) has become so inconsequential as compared to the live concert as far as a musician earning his keep. The concert promoter now trumps the record executive. As Copeland points out,

“The idea of a concert as a catalyst for selling a CD is bass-awkward now. You make a CD and go through all that hassle and give it away, as Madonna has done her deal with not Universal, but Live Nation, and as Prince gave away his album, and as Radiohead [has done]; it’s the other way around now.

Let’s just make a record so that people will like us and come to the show.”

The future for a musician is much more in finding a niche market, for the big, big names like U2 are much fewer and far between, and marketing must embrace not just advertising in a few music papers but the internet, television, radio, and even “making sure you get your tune onto Rock Band or Guitar Hero”.

Russ Stanley, VP of Ticket Service and Client Relations for the San Francisco Giants, is also interviewed and talks about how the team has stayed on top of current trends to successfully market the team and grow ticket sales. “Embrace creative ideas” and “Think Technology” are the first two points raised, showing how simply doing things as had been done in the past no longer works.

So what does any of this have to do with fandom? Well, think about it. For a very long time, one of the long-standing models of live, in-person fan interaction and communication was the convention. Fans would travel the state, the country, even the world to meet other fans in person to discuss their favorite books, movies, television series, or simply be able to spend a few days with people who shared their interests in parts of fandom, be it slash, fur, science fiction, etc. Beyond these conventions, many of these fans had few ways of interacting beyond letter- and/or fan-zine communications, fanclubs, and other mail-based activities. Conventions have thrived for most of a century, beginning (arguably?) with Philcon in 1936, with few alterations in their models for content, marketing, attendance, and organization.

And yet, I believe few today would argue with me that the convention as modeled in the past is dying. Hotel costs have skyrocketed, and many such facilities are no longer interested in the business of renting out all of their meeting rooms at a low rate for an entire weekend to a convention when they can fit in 3 or 4 shorter events, weddings, church groups, or what-have-you over the same amount of time, get large catering contracts and other extras out of the deal. The internet has made communicating with other fans of shared interests much simpler and faster, and possible from the comfort of one’s own living room. There’s no need to trek to MediaWest every year to buy the newest fanzines to get your fan-fiction or art fix; there are more stories than anyone could possibly read in a lifetime available on-line. Convention dealers face lower profits due to the availability of much genre merchandise on-line and often at discount prices via ebay, Amazon, and other large vendors. Many smaller, local conventions find themselves suffering and dying out, or at least facing dwindling attendance numbers where only the largest events that offer wide varieties of programming seem to thrive and continue, such as DragonCon or highly commercial events such as those put on by Creation Entertainment. Cosplay and gaming may continue to give members of those fandom interests reasons to continue attending live events, but they are but two parts of a wide spectrum of fandom interests.

So perhaps it is time for fandom to look towards other models of live interactions and events, such as the BarCamp. Much more interactively generated by “users” (ie, attendees), the BarCamp breaks with the more rigid convention model, can take place in a wider variety of venues (utilizing, say, university facilities or business spaces), and looks for corporate sponsorship to cover costs instead of asking for membership fees from attendees. BarCamps embrace Web 2.0 ideas and technology to stay on top of current trends instead of lagging behind them and clinging to outdated models of interaction. Anyone can start up a BarCamp, and without the high financial burdens or risks involved in even organizing a small convention where hotel blocks must be guaranteed, meeting rooms booked, other conventions attended in order to promote your event, or even guests contracted.

This is part of why I will be very interested in seeing how Camp Fandom comes together for this year, as a fandom-specific event taking place utilizing the BarCamp model. Will other fandom camps follow, perhaps specific to certain fandoms, genres and interests, just as conventions in the past did? It will be interesting to see.

What other impacts will the “2.0″ world we live in have on fandom, and how fans consume and interact with our canon sources, be it movies, television, music, sports, etc? These are interesting questions to consider, and I’d be curious to continue this discussion and see what others think. I think we’ve already seen the “niche” market affect media fandom in the sense that we are no longer a world where only Star Trek, Star Wars, and a few other large name fandoms rule fandom-generated content. There are “niche” fandoms for virtually everything these days, and communities for sharing works about them. Even within each individual fandom, like say Harry Potter, there are communities, mailing lists, and fanworks for every sub-interest imaginable: genficcer-only, slash and het pairings of all kinds, AUs, any kink imaginable…you name it. And those involved in large-scale fandom activities such as running multi-fandom archives, conventions, etc, need to be aware of the wide variety of users that are potentially out there beyond what they might be familiar with inside of their own niche, and decide who they wish to serve: only those within their special interest, or the ever-wider world of fandom out there today.

Camp Fandom 2.0: Please help us promote this event!

January 20th, 2009

Bwa. *boggles* I was told to look at Camp Fandom 2.0 less as an event but rather as a movement to start discussions in the community. It is a fantastic idea. Things need to go beyond the event. Discussions and understanding need to happen.

That aside, please help promote Camp Fandom 2.0. Seriously. It is a free event. It is being held in Chicago on March 21 and March 22 so out of towners can have reason to attend by being a two day event. The people attending get to set the discussion. It should be free of race wank… If you’re a professional author, it is a great way to discuss say the issues of dealing with fans, managing your on-line presence, etc. If you’re involved with conventions, you can talk about the challenges of doing that. If you’re a vidder, you can bring your computer and make vids, or talk about the process of making vids, where to host it, etc.

If you want to be in on the planning, we’d love to have you. Just drop me an e-mail at laura@fanhistory.com and we’ll tell you more about what we’re doing behind the scenes. :)

RecentChangesCamp 2009: Your Invitation! (we would enjoy you being here)

January 8th, 2009

This is a cross post from the RecentChangesCamp site/wiki.

“When? Where? I want in!”


February 20-22, 2009

University Place Hotel, Portland State University, Portland, OR

Add your name to the list of attendees.

We’ll convene on at the Univeristy Place Hotel on the Portland State University campus Friday morning (February 20) and wrap-up Sunday afternoon (February 22). There is no cost to participate other than transportation, just  We may even be able to help you find lodging.

“Give me more!”

Recent Changes Camp was born from the intersection of wiki and Open Space. Going far beyond technology, we’re interested in wiki culture and other networks/groups/etc. that share many of the values implicit in it — from cultural creatives, to public participation and free culture advocates. If you use a wiki or you value open collaboration, Recent Changes Camp is created for you. RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow. Further down this page you can check out a sampling of sessions we’ve enjoyed in the past, along with pictures and videos from previous events.

This unconference/BarCamp has been held at least once every year since 2006 (and twice in 2007). Unlike a conventional conference, where everything’s pre-planned and structured, RecentChangesCamp is a gathering where we decide for ourselves what we’re going to get out of it by offering sessions on whatever we want. There’s no agenda until we make it up! Now, that might sound a bit chaotic if you’re never been to this type of gathering, but be prepared to be surprised at how much people can learn and create when they collaborate spontaneously.

With an emergent agenda, it can be hard to describe specifically what you will get from participating in Recent Changes Camp. In large part, that is up to you to be responsible for. Participants often say greater sense of wiki community, broader sense of wiki way and wiki tools, or more excitement about the our future together as well as inspiration and discovery. Conversations at 2006 Portland RCC generated the wiki-ish tool used to organize 2009 Portland RCC.

Sessions covering an array of interests

At Recent Changes Camp, everybody is welcomed. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, and you certainly don’t need to consider yourself a geek. Collaboration thrives on diversity! All you need to bring is an open mind, and a willingness to participate, whether by teaching or by taking an active role in discussions. And, don’t forget, an unconference is what we make it, so let’s make it enlightening and fun.

Gallery of Good Times

A 2008 session on structured wiki

The schedule wall

John Abbe describing Open Space

See more photos tagged recentchangescamp at Flickr.

RCC in Motion

Documentary of the 2006 RecentChangesCamp, shot and edited in-camera by Geri Weis-Corbley (of the GoodNewsNetwork) to great effect. Part one:

Part two:

Video from RoCoCo (Montréal 2007):

Testimonials and earlier invitations

  • RoCoCo was great! I met a lot of other people working on some really awesome wiki projects who had a lot of respect for wikiHow and were dealing with many of the same issues we’re dealing with here. The conference is user-generated, which meant that the talks were interactive discussions…I highly recommend people go if they get the chance…” —Nicole Willson
  • “It was great, everyone there had the wikiLove and was very pleasant, it really sounded like they all read How to Have a Great Conversation. There was a few unconferences about how we can use technology to obtain other goals, too. Things like activism were explained through technology, even tho it is in its own partly against technology.” —Nadon
  • “I went primarily to meet other wikiHow people, and this was amazing. But what I did not realize was that the OTHER attendees would be fascinating and passionate about wikis and that they would have so many ideas about how to use wikis for all kinds of things. Anyone looking for a little inspiration in life may wish to sign up and attend the next wikiHow event. Great for the creative juices……….” —KnowItSome

Invitation from: 2008 Palo Alto | 2007 Montreál French (English) | 2007 Portland | 2006 Portland

So are you going to be there or what? Put your name on the attendees list!

Camp Fandom 2.0

November 12th, 2008

I’m a big, big fan of barcamps and unconforences. They’re great fun, awesome learning experiences and a neat way to network. Since I attended RecentChangesCamp back in May 2008, I wanted to run a fandom specific one that dealt with the back end up of fandom. Some of the issues that fansite maintainers, community maintainers, wiki helpers, convention runners, gamers have are unique. Some of them are not so much. They can just feel that way when you’re busy struggling to figure out how to deal with problems. Getting the chance to network with people dealing with similar issues can be a challenge.

So we’re happy to announce Camp Fandom 2.0. It is being held on Friday, March 21 and Saturday March 22, 2009 at Illinois Institute of Technology, McCormick Tribune Campus Center. Camp Fandom 2.0 is free to attend and is geared toward the back end of fandom: Businesses operating in fandom, fansite maintaining, running conventions, being a dealer at a convention, people who are computer and web programming in the fan community, people producing vids, art and fan fiction, etc. If you’re a company involved with entertainment or fansite who want to demo your newest site or product, this camp is for you. If you’re looking to recruit people to help you or some one who wants to get more involved and looking for a project, attend! If you’re looking for people in the fan community familiar with issues of being involved in fandom and how to deal with those challenges, Camp Fandom 2.0 is also for you.

As we get closer to the event, we’ll post more details. If you have any questions, let me know. We’re also looking for volunteers to help run Camp Fandom 2.0.

Additional details are available on the BarCamp website.

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