to Organize a Convention in 10 easy steps:
By Bob Hubbard
a place to hold it. This can be a hotel, motel, convention center, local
Moose hall, etc.
out a convenient date. Try to avoid having it too close to other cons
in your area. Avoiding major holidays may be a good idea especially
if they are the big ones like Christmas.
some guests. This is both easy and hard. Getting the Big Name Guest
(BNG) can be both ulcer inducing as well as pricey. (Shatner has been
rumored to want 6 figures for an appearance, and I aint talking about
those Kenner Star Wars figures either). When starting out, its often
a good idea to hit the B or even the C levels. They are often more reasonable
and flexible. Worst case, try some voice actors…unless you’re
doing an anime con, in which case they will be at a premium,.
This is a key step, often missed by cons. They bill themselves as the
biggest, largest, grandest, etc., yet do little more than slide some
flyers under dorm room doors or rely on the local art paper. Do print
the flyers, and get them out to every shop that caters to your target
market. Use the free advertising available through the national publications
like StarLog. Advertising is the key to a successful con.
pre registrations. Offer a discount as an incentive. The more cash you
can get early on, the more you can get the word out, maybe even getting
that extra room or guest to really make things rock.
qualified volunteers. These folks are the life blood of any con. While
sometimes depicted as folks with no lifes, living in dark basements
hoping to kiss a member of the opposite gender before retirement age,
the majority are hard working, motivated and excited folks who really
give a damn. Get them involved, toss in some guidance and you’ll
have the workings of a great con.
7: Be organized.
Poor organization, communications, follow up all can cause problems.
Be clear in your communications. Proof reading is also good. If you
can’t say it in a single paragraph, it might be too complex, so
your ass legally. Spending some time now can save you a buttload of
problems later. Too often fans think it would be a good idea, only to
get raked when something goes majorly wrong.
with the location on laying out events and such. A good location will
have an experienced staff that will understand their facilities, traffic
flow, etc. Properly preparing the facilities can greatly enhance the
event for all involved.
early to set up and plan on being there late. There is a reason why
many con organizers look like Gollum after a 3 month journey thru the
wilderness with a bunch a scraggly hobbits.
Putting on a successful con can be a rewarding experience. It can also
be a nightmare. These tips aren’t everything you need to know,
but they will get you started. If you need more help, contact your local
are some informative links:
also known on various on-line forums as "Silent" Bob, and
just "Kaith", is a long time sci-fi fan. Currently head of
the I.K.V. Devisior,
an independant science fiction, anime and fantasy fan club, he has held
positions with numerous other groups. He has organized activities at
Media Play and Barnes & Nobel, worked con security, participated
in club challenges for charities, and participated in masquerades, art
shows and model shows at several Toronto conventions.
You can reach Bob at his website, http://rustaz.com