|Long Term Planning and Willing Souls
||[Aug. 7th, 2009|01:32 pm]
The mid to late nineties was when I first had the base idea for the Continuum Conventions. I still have most of my notes from then, filed away where I can one day come across them and say, "So that's where they were!"
I've never thought as myself as a good person for running cons, or something like the Continuum Foundation for that matter. I've only ever stepped up for such jobs because someone had to, to get things moving. I still remember the first Continuum meeting where I said that while it was my idea, I didn't need to be the person running the con, I was more than happy to hand over the reigns to someone more capable than myself. And then everyone said I should do it, so I did.
I tend to plan for the long term, that's where my strength lies. I basically formulated ideas for around three or four conventions before the first one had ever run. I wanted the cons to act as a training ground for con-runners, so that when things like the Worldcon came about, there were people who had recent experience and knew what to do. With a rolling committee, I hoped that as some people bowed out, fresh blood would come in, meaning there was always some mix of experience and fresh ideas, and that appears to have mostly worked.
The gap after Continuum 4 was due to things outside my control and planning, plus having just had my mini-stroke, I wasn't in any condition to make more plans and run around getting people motivated. Things like this can't afford to hinge on a single person, another reason for idea like rolling committees, and trying to be a training con. My opinion was I had gotten things started, if people wanted more, they'd have to do something about it.
And they did. rachelholkner was the first to step forward, she talked to me and started the ball rolling, pulled together a frankly awesome committee, and got herself a co-chair. Continuum 5 is next Friday. Rachel's first convention was, I believe, Continuum 3.
And then there's hespa, who has stepped up to run Continuum 6. Someone else who was looking at long term planning and knowing that getting C6 up and running would require starting to get organised before C5 actually ran. And so she has. You will be able to buy memberships for C6 at C5. I'm pretty sure her first convention was ConVergence 2002.
Guests can be important, but more important is the program. And Continuum has been truly blessed to have the person who is probably Australia's best programmer in mortonhall. She has been involved with the programming for every Continuum, and as if that wasn't enough, is also programmer for Aussiecon 4. A good part of the reason we're still going is that people see the interesting and varied programs she puts together, and want to come along even if they've never heard of the guests.
One of my plans when we set up the Continuum Foundation was that we'd eventually get up a website and a 'how to run a Continuum' wiki. I didn't have the first idea of where to start, but then the marvelous celuran came along, and started setting things up. And slowly but surely it's coming together.
Conventions have to work as a business, and an important part of that is branding. It's why I started out using Maskobalo for our masquerade, something a little different and distinctive and, at the time, a name that only we were using. They fact that other cons have started to use it too only shows what a good job we did!
this means I have to give a special mention to the King of Cool, vanilla_extreme. Mitch's eye for design, and his unwillingness to wear anything that didn't make him look cool, gave us our original logo, some nice t-shirts, and an overall visual look that was distinctive, classy, and that people liked wearing. I still remember Hugo nominated artist Nick Stathopoulos saying that when he was wearing a Mitch t-shirt, it felt like he was in expensive designer-wear.
With my original plans way back in the 90s, I wanted to have local awards as well, but decided early on that I wouldn't be launching those until the fifth convention. I figured if we made it to five cons, we were hopefully going to stick around. Nearly didn't happen for this one. Award runners fell through, and I simply wasn't able to get things organised by myself.
And then arcadiagt5 stepped up and took it over. The fact that these awards are happening at this convention is purely down to his hard work.
So an hour or so ago, I finished the certificates for the nominees and winners for the inaugural Chronos Awards, to be presented next Friday night. The Chronos Awards have been made by Gary Armstrong, and the Ian Gunn Memorial Award has been made by Lewis Morley. Both people do nice work, and I just know I'm going to wish I could have one of each of the awards to keep, but unfortunately I'm not eligible, since I no long live in Victoria, and the Gunny is for people whose work goes mostly unrecognised - and that's certainly not me.
Speaking of unrecognised, there's my wife, shazgirl who took on Treasurer of the Continuum Foundation because, well, we needed one. The fact that she's been trying to balance that, full-time work, a baby, and a husband with health issues is a testament to how awesome she is. Without her hard work, God knows what state the finances of ConFound would be like. So thank you, sweetheart, you never cease to amaze me with the bigness of your heart or your ability to keep going even when I'm useless.
There are plenty of other people to thank for taking my ideas and running with them, but I need to finish this and start packing because we leave for Melbourne in a few hours. So I hope that a broad thank you to everyone who has ever stepped up and done anything to help us out will be enough.
Seriously, if you've ever linked to a Continuum on your webpage, put up your hand for a committee position, appeared on a panel, donated equipment or expertise, put out a flyer for us, volunteered your help before or during a convention, or done any one of a hundred other jobs, big or small, thank you.
This all started with my ideas, but without the help of each and every one of you, that's all they would ever have been.