ConCarolinas and my attitude…

Some one recently accused me of having a bad attitude towards ConCarolinas and that it is better off without me in a leadership position (in so many words).  Although I do not put a lot of credence into the person that said this, it did start me thinking.  I do have a negative reaction a lot of the time.  I don’t always have positive things to say to people when it is brought up.  So I had to dig deep inside myself to really analyze why I am having this problems with CC even after 6 years of working hard for it.

It comes down to history and how things got started with ConCarolinas.  A couple of guys … long time SMoFs (Secret Masters of Fandom)… both from other states (I like to call them carpetbaggers), picked the Carolinas and in particular Charlotte to be a place to start a con.  Their intent… to create a con worthy of a WorldCon bid or at least a NASCFIC bid.  Charlotte was an up and coming city, getting a lot of attention in the late 90s and it sounded like a good idea. These two guys brought in more capetbaggers to help out.

I tangentially got involved early on only because of my interest in gaming and my hard work at the Guild.  It wasn’t until later when the carpetbaggers were still working on CC that I started working for StellarCon and MACE to really get the convention running experience.  Doing both of those, I knew that I was good at my area but had no intention of ever being in a leadership position.  I joined on to CC seeing that there was plenty of leadership people involved and I felt OK about me being just the director of gaming. I was under the presumption that some of these folks would stick around and remain in some leadership positions so I could just do my thing like StellarCon and MACE.   I was a point in my life that I really was not ready to take on much more than that.

This is what I assumed.  Well, you know what happens when you assume.

So I go from not paying much attention to the e-mail list conversations to paying a little attention (my first mistake) to actively getting involved in the planning.  Suddenly, I am moved from just gaming up to con chair (which I declined) down to vice chair under Fred Grimm.  I still did not like it but really vice chair does not do much, so I went with it. I was still very reluctant to do much more than gaming.

Another mistakes involved communication.  One of the two out of state guys – Irv – was really the instigator of the whole convention and did A LOT of the initial leg work.  He has all kinds of experience doing this kind of stuff and I hate that he is gone now.  But the problem with him is that he had the personality of a rock.  His e-mails were very difficult to read because they were SOOOOOOOO long and this gets me back to my next mistake.  I paid little attention to his e-mails, most of the time because I did not have time to read them.

More over, the reason I paid little attention to his emails is because I had ONLY intended on doing gaming.

But I am sure now that there was probably more information in those e-mails that would have helped me at least see where things were going.  in particular, where all these leadership quality people were going.

This is where things start to turn sour.  After the first year in 2002 with a 2 day con, the con was suddenly dumped in my lap by Fred who moved away.  The other out of state guys went off to do their thing – try for the World Con or NASCFIC bid.  Suddenly, I have this huge organization with bylaws that didn’t make sense to me, a $13,000 responsibility to a hotel to fullfill every year, and a group of people I only half knew and had to coordinate all together through the internet to get 2003 to happen (and 2004…)…

I won’t even get into the problems the internet has caused in the way of communication, or the problems caused by certain indviduals whose personalities were nothing short of distructive to the committee and to the con as a whole.  I won’t get into the struggles each year to get people to do their job and not have it done half ass. I could easily get into the BS we went through when those out-of-towners lost the World Con bid and the NASCFIC bid and blame us, the people on the ground, for both (because we did not vote, which incidentally cost several hundred dollars to do so). And then several of the out-of-towners died and the “parent organizastion” of CC dissolved.

I was simply pissed from the beginning that a con was dropped in my lap when I never really wanted it; a con that supplies me, my wife and my marriage nothing but greif and stress; a group of people who barely get along and probably would not be hanging out if it weren’t for this con; a con that I have worked my ass off for and only have gotten called  an “ass”, “tyrant” and now someone with a bad attitude towards the con and very little else out of. But regardless, I took it on year by year anyway because I had a sense of obligation to the gaming and sci-fi community; becauses I had some respect for those that did all that work and fund raising to get CC started; because we had $9000 in the bank and needed to do something with it.

What was I thinking?

So I ask you, is my attitude well founded in a legitmate gripe.  Add on to that stuggle we have every year finding good people to do our jobs, volunteer and take over the con.  And all the inane comments and suggestions that dive me up a wall because they all require more staff and help or more room which we have none of.

So you tell me, should I have a better attitude.

Now we have gone through the struggle of reorganizing, re-incorporating and doing the hotel contract one more time – all stuff I simply never wanted to do and did not have the time to do. But thank God for Tony.  He has the time – at least more than I do.  And thank God for Tommy for helping us out legally. I set it up, all Tony had to do was the leg work.

I was never prepared to run this con from the business end.  All I wanted to do was run gaming. And for my efforts, I get a con dropped in my lap.  I’ve never had the time to deal with maintaining the business of a con year by year and really take this con to the level its needs to be.  And no one else is willing to do it either.  THe people that work on the con do enough to maintain it year by year, barely, but in reality, we should have one year’s work done a year ahead of time.

It even angers me to see those people from out of state ( the ones that are still alive) sit back and watch things go, when we need leadership and staff. It also angers me to hear all these great ideas from the peanut gallery but when we turn it around on them and ask you to help implement some of them, we get crickets.  And then we get accused of shooting ideas down.

On top of everything else, every year, we have gone through the cases of people who do not know what to do and instead of being proactive and doing something or even asking what to do, they just sit there and wait for someone to tell them what to do.  And then when things don’t get done, people say “No one told me, guess it wasn’t my job.”  This con, because it is run over the internet, needs more proactive people to do things for the con – people with imaginations that can come up with the different things that need to be done.  I would not think that it would be that hard to find imaginative people in fandom. I didn’t know what to do when I started but did fine.  I proactively sought out things to do.

But on the flip side, the group is very reactive against people who make waves in the group.  We have pushed some people outbecause we did not like the waves they were making.  That’s a matter of personality.  What I am finding out a lot of the times is that people have two personalities – one for the internet and one for in-person.  We always seem to get the people with bad internet personalities.

Anyway, that’s about all I can say about it now. Maybe more later.

Hope this helps people’s deeper understanding of the con.

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