Sunday, September 8, 2013

Working a World Con

This year, my husband and I were in charge of Opening Ceremonies at Lone Star Con 3, the World Con held in San Antonio. Last year, we were in charge of both Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Chicon 7, the World Con held in Chicago. We have attended many World Cons over the years, but these were our first efforts at being staff members of a World Con.

I don't know if these experiences will help me in my efforts to establish myself as a writer, but they might. Instead of going to publisher parties and winding up being a wallflower, I showed myself to be an active participant, a capable and flexible planner, and a person who was easy to work with.

But wait, I was a behind-the-scenes type of staff person, so who would have seen all those good things about me? Good question, one I've been thinking about the last few days.

We were late getting access to the stage, so any convention attendees who arrived at the ceremony location early in search of a good seat, saw me moving set furniture and props, consulting with sound techs and the convention Toastmaster. When others could not decide on a good location for a late-arriving set decoration, I made the decision. If any of these good people noticed me in particular and caught my name, ... well, I only know of one person who attended this convention who does not do a lot of reading.

We met and interacted with other staff members. We received compliments from some of them for being cool, collected and flexible, but maintaining control. Some had expected us to have a melt down over the loss of our major piece of set decoration, a set of cardboard swinging doors. Happily, it was found and brought to us an hour before we were to begin, and 3 people immediately set to work putting it together for us. It would have been a shame if that item had never showed up, but we figured the attendees were coming to see the guests, not our choice of decorations.

Finally, we had some interaction with the guests, as we introduced them to the Toastmaster, explained what we expected from them, and alerted them that they would be next on the stage. Despite our efforts ahead of time to work with the Toastmaster on the list of guests, last minute details meant our list of people for him to introduce almost doubled in the last half hour before the ceremony started. He was a trooper, speaking briefly with all of them and taking notes. We were hard pressed to keep track of where he was putting them on the list, but we must have done something right, because we never had the wrong person waiting in the wings. These guests included (but were not limited to) famous authors and a well-known editor. Hopefully, they noticed our efforts in a favorable light.

In any case, we took our enjoyment of world cons and paid it back/paid it forward by being staff members.

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