At one time, I was proud to be at the center of THAT convention. I was proud that I built it from 300 attendees to 1300. I was proud to have hosted the largest attended Deep South Con (2010) since it’s inception. I was pretty proud of my accomplishments until it all came crashing down in 2012. After then, I became bitter, angry. Never mind the fact that I was never really recognized for my accomplishments afterwards – Fan guest of honor, anyone? Nope! Three years went by and I did not resolve my anger. And then the came back begging us to come back. Gaming was in shambles. The first year I came back, I was not kind. I had not forgiven and it showed. Staff noticed and we heard about it. The second year, I tried to be better but this time, attendees noticed. I took my anger and resentment out on them. After getting some scathing feedback, I really made some efforts to be better this year. I think most people noticed.
Now, I work for them as a contractor running what I do best – gaming. My focus are gaming and gamers, nothing else. Some people may get frustrated if I don’t have answers for anything else in the con, but I am not paid to be that person. However, I tried to be as kind as I could when I told the person “I don’t know.” However, despite my current role, I still can not help but feel something for this thing I helped build. For 11 years, I was a pretty big part of this convention. Some people called it my con but I honestly made an effort to give credit where credit is due. Unfortunately, most people work for the credit I gave them. I felt like the only one, along with my wife, working hard for this convention.
The results when I was in charge speak for themselves. The con grew fast over 11 years, with a great reputation, good following and good guests. Since them, the reputation has been shot. It has gone from the con you can not miss to the con you have to think about. My guess is that they maybe had 800 people at the con this year. MACE fills that space better than this one does now. The guests were nothing to be crazy about. The events were pretty much the same old-same old. I paid no attention to programming. And then there was the big controversy over JR.
Without getting too deep into it, the JR was a total SNAFU that could have been handled better. And they realized that in hind-sight. As I understand it, the closing ceremonies were all about correcting their mistakes in that regard, and repairing that damage going forward. That was big of them, but too late now. Many people were spurned and many will not come back because of what happened with JR. That Con’s reputation is now sullied worse than anything I ever did (foot fetishes, anyone?) and much of it may not be repairable.
Or maybe it can naturally. One thing I learned about fandom is that it is (1) not unified (2) fickle and (3) forgetful. I was turned off from fandom because they proved to be mostly shallow sheep that want nothing to do but escape the real world and not take responsibility for its woes. And fandom is not unique in that way, but it’s sad to say because you would have thought that as intelligent and wise many of the geek community is, that would rise above being the sheep they really are. But as it turns out, they are no different than anyone else. So all this mess will probably blow over for most, except a select few and those select few will be replaced by someone else less aware of things around them.
But now, instead of being bitter and angry, I am satisfied that chickens have come home to roost. People are seeing THEM for who they really are – one person in particular. Despite everything, she is still sapping off everything that I built. In 6 short years, she has all but destroyed everything I built in 11. All she can do is scramble to try and rebuild. Good luck! You are getting what you deserve.