This is Conrunner 15, a fanzine about convention running. It is available while stocks last to anyone who wants it from Ian Sorensen, 7 Woodside Walk, Hamilton, ML3 7HY (phone 0698 282288). Published March 28th 1991.
|Eastcon Post Mortem||Martin Easterbrook|
|How to be a TOM||Andy Croft|
|Securing Your Convention Database||David Bell|
Not much to say this time round, you will be pleased to hear, as pressure of Speculation work has forced me into even tighter deadlines for Conrunner than usual. It's interesting to observe that a convention that has take 3 years to plan still requires everything to be done in the last few weeks. As an experienced committee we have known what tasks must be completed for the convention to succeed and have set them in train to achieve our goal by the convention start date. Then the real world steps in and screws up our plans. People forget to do things, computers refuse to talk to other computers, nobody can remember where the badge cutter is stored, someone relies on the Post Office to deliver, the Time Police remove a week or two from everyone's calender and there you are: two days to go and a month's work to complete. And put Conrunner together. Ho hum, that's life in the conrunner world.
Can Pay - Please Pay
Well, I've avoided it for six years, but because of Strathclyde Region's failure to collect poll tax from everyone my school's photocopier isn't being serviced and is thus unable to print up Conrunner for next to nothing. Therefore, as I'm being forced to pay to get this printed (unbelievable, I know) I'd appreciate a small contribution to help offset my overdraft. I'm definitely not wanting to turn Conrunner into a subscription zine as people begin to expect something interesting for their money, but if I'm to maintain my current print run of 250 to allow me to give copies to anyone who asks and is not on the mailing list (currently 240) I'd like you to rush up to me and give me 20p. If you don't do this I'll hate you forever, but keep you on the mailing list. If you do do it, I'll name my firstborn after you and also keep you on the mailing list. (I love that term, mailing list. I do my very best to give out as many zines at cons as possible to avoid mailing. But "giving out list" just doesn't have that ring to it).
Tim Illingworth has asked me to announce that anyone who worked for Noreascon 3 should contact him about claiming a thank you T-shirt from the committee. If you're reading this at Speculation you could use the voodoo board to let him know you're there otherwise write to 63 Drake Rd, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 1LQ.
Tim and Vince Docherty have been buzzing around the globe drumming up support for the Glasgow in 95 bid and have accumulated nearly 800 supporting memberships. Their rival bid from Atlanta must be worried - their chairman Don Cook is flying over to Speculation so that he can assess the Glasgow site. I've resisted the temptation to meet him at the airport and give him the lowdown on the SECC since Vince explained to me what "knee-capping" means.
The Glasgow bid has decided to make use of all the halls in the SECC, including the massive Hall 4, prompting the promise that there will be a fireworks display outside by the Clyde or, if wet, in Hall 4.
It's not just rival bidders who are flying over to Speculation - quite a number of Americans living on the East coast have joined because they can currently get flights to Glasgow for less than the price of a flight from New York to Florida thanks to the airlines desperate attempts to lure people into the air by hefty price cutting. I hope that some time or other we will see a similar exercise operating in the other direction as I'd like to visit an American con and see what they're really like.
Speculation: Size Isn't Important?
As of a week before the con we have 600 members and still some more arriving. A month ago we had 460. I was worried by the low numbers a month ago because too few people would spoil the atmosphere at the convention. I was not worried about the budget as KIM Campbell had prepared a "cut to the bone" budget to cope should memberships not roll in at the last minute as usual.
For some reason, people assume that Eastercons must get bigger each year: I don't see why. As David Bell pointed out a few issues ago there are very good demographic reasons to suppose that memberships will shrink, added to that there are the effects of recession and the abundance of other conventions to draw people away from the Eastercon. So when, at Novacon, a slightly panicked Speculation staff member told me that Illumination (the 1992 Eastercon) already had more members that we did, I wasn't the least bit worried: comparing conventions by the size of their membership list is a little too macho for me! I know I'm repeating myself, but I think that before you set up a convention you should think carefully about what you want it to be like. What type(s) of fan do you want to attract and what will you do with them once they are there? Speculation particularly wanted to attract the fans who are getting a bit jaded and get them back into the habit of going to the programme for stimulation rather than the bar. The problems with this approach seem to have been a) these are the fans who are at the stage of thinking "naw, I can't be bothered going to another con, I've seen it all", and b) Mexicon has moved closer to Easter and caused many fans to make hard decisions about which to attend. We did not want to end up running a convention providing lowest common denominator progamming to the masses. Having said that, we are definitely not elitist in our approach: we are treating all fans with respect and inviting them to participate on an equal basis. There is no segregation into Fan Programme, Media Programme and so on - one programme doed for all.
Trying to be realistic I'd predict that Speculation will end up with 650 attending members, 20 supporters and around 50 day members. (If this was an Albacon I'd be going for 750 attending, 100 day members) We have already broken even on the budget set a year ago and KIM has authorised some extra expenditure in anticipation of a small profit (spending it now means that the convention benefits: afterwards it's a problem knowing what to do with money. Speculation2.......?)