My ConCarolinas 2007 General Report
First of all, the most surprising thing is that I am willing to write a report the day after the con. Usually that doesn’t happen because I have to get over the emotional and physical drain I suffer from at the con. However, this year, it
was considerably less. There are MANY reason for that and I am very encouraged by them.
ConCarolinas started out for me pretty smooth. Only a few SNAFUs, including a screw up with the dates and Barbara Hambly (she wrote down the wrong dates) and a few last minute refunds as well as GM cancellations. Also, the pocket program booklet had to be done over and still had a problem after they were all done…all my fault and I kicked myself quite often for screwing them up.
I did get to pick up Bodie Olmos Thursaday night, which was kind of cool. He’s a nice guy and I enjoyed our conversations.
Once the con got rolling, things started out very well. I only got stressed a couple of times and it was over very minor things. Otherwise, I was smiling and having a great time.
I’ll report on gaming separately from my general report
Things started out very smoothly except in the department of the dealers room. The dealers room was very sparse at open but slowly started to get more in as time went on. Come to find out that there was a truck over-turned at the junction of 77 and 85 which effects about 50% of anyone wanting to come to our con. So by Fri night, the dealers room looked better over all, but because of
the last minute cancels, the middle aisle was thin. I tried to get gaming stuff in there but I did not have enough
Despite that I feel like I have grown too old for the con party scene, Friday night I had quite a few people asking me where the parties were. Like I would
know? Unfortunately, no groups other than the pirates and the Firefly people planned any parties for our con. This we cannot remedy, to be quite honest. I
think gas prices really limited the amount of money people wanted to spend at the con.
The comedy guys were quite funny Friday night. Chatting with Kelly Lockhart, Bodie Olmos, and all my gaming friends was very fulfilling and gave me a breath of fresh air (because I actually was not running around like crazy and was able to sit and talk with people).
The Gaming 101 panel went very well although I showed up late because I was dealing with T-shirts. Thanks to the guys for filling in until I got there.
The T-shirts looked awesome!
Friday wound down pretty slowly as the LARP kicked in and final guests arrived. I know Friday night ended later for some because Donna and her kids helped us pick up Baraba Hambly at 1 AM Sat morning. Thanks Donna for all your help through the years but most especially for that night.
Overall, I was surprised at the sheer number of people in on Friday, especially Friday night. And the number of panels that made. Much more made it this time. Literary, Media and Gaming. All were well attended Friday.
I was glad I was able to find a place for the library folks in the dealers room. Although they were not able to project as much an image as they would have liked, they were able to get the taffic in there with there games running and I was also able to get a few gaming events in there. I think we definitely increased the dealer room traffic overall with this and the treasure hunt.
Friday night as I was leaving, CMPD showed up and my heart leaped into my throat but as it turned out, they were geek cops wanting to know what was going on. The one was a big Star Wars/Star Trek fan and wanted to see the con for himself. They were all on duty so coudl not hang out too long. But they got their fill of klingon karaoke.
Also Friday, I was able to meet Chris Sabat, Kara Edwards and her husband Chris Suchan (WBTV Morning Weatherman). These were the greatest additions. Unfortunately, they did not say the whole time at the con and we probably did not need to allocate them a table. They were they there for their programming panels and a few hours before and after, but that’s about it. However, what they brought to the table was so amazing and so awesome, they were well worth it. Kara is an absolute character. She is so funny and kept the rooms laughing all day. We HAVE to have her back.
Saturday evolved very well. We did not get the local crowd surge that we expected but we got a few one day passes. The con was constantly busy, and hallways packed. Everyone was smiling and everyone I asked said they were having a good time. Highlights were the Heroes Panel (a blast), Gamemastering 101 (also a blast), meeting and chatting with the new SG-SOCOM leader, coordinating gaming the way it should be (instead of the half-ass way I did it when I was con chair), Who’s Line is it Anyway?, the Geek Comedy guys, the auction, the costume contest… all very fun. I enjoyed doing the auction with Brian.
I have to say I have not heard more noise out of the programming room (not counting the RHPS) than when the Geek Comedy Tour guys were in there. They had the room packed pretty well.
The dogs showed up Saturday and once again, were a HUGE hit. EVERYONE got the word on who they were and what they did. I think everyone loved having them at the con. They had some very nice things to say about us at the auction.
Again, I got to see Kara Edwards and Chris Sabat and they were awesome. Even though I am not a anime fan, they were just the coolest guests.
Sunday proved to be the winding down it always is but it did get crowded for a couple of hours between 10 and noon. I don’t remember it being that crowded on
I got a lot of feedback by the time Sunday rolled around. I had a couple of complaints about one particular dealer but I talked to both sides and determined that it was just a misunderstanding. That’s the only bad thing. The guests were all VERY pleased, especially by the programming, panel subjects and the way they were handled (awesome Carol). There were a few scheduling conflicts and confusions but the good far far out-weighed the bad. Carol’s hard work and the room monitoring volunteers helped programming go so much more smoothly than it has ever gone.
The media room was well utilized this time and I think the Klingons were happy in the end with the karaoke being in there. The Library folks wanted more time so I put them in the dealers room. We are talking about having them sponsor a networked computer game tournament next year.
I can not say enough how pleased the guests (old and new) about the programming. I have to give a lot of kudos to Carol and Randall.
Of course, Guest Services went very well. I was very confident in my wife and her ability to keep the guests happy and she did not disappoint. All the guests made comments about how we handle guests… all amazed and all very
complimentary. I hope we can keep that standard going.
There are 4 basic facets that we have to keep happy when we run this con – gamers, non-gamers, dealers, guests – in no particular order. ALL came back to us with smiles and willingness to come back next year. The only concerning area was dealers. Several were concerned about the new layout and new plan. One in
particular said that if it changes, they probably would not come back (which they have said every year for one reason or another and have always come back
The problems we had were so minor that if that was the worst that happened, we were doing pretty good. I found myself saying that a lot when problems came upthrough out the whole weekend.
I have to say… and this is saying something … I had a blast this year at ConCarolinas.
Admin Highlights …
– We made room block. YAY
– We at least made close to the attendance last year.
– The T-shirts sold reasonably well.
– Our star got a few autographs although we still had to pay him $700 (to total $1000 on the guarantee).
– By the Wills’ report the con suite came in under-budget
– The auction appears to have made almost $1500, which is a little up from 2005 (have not been able to find 2006 numbers yet)
– All guests said they would be willing to come back
So we did well. Tony and Frank handled many of the fires I used to handle very well. I was glad to have someone to do those. Kudos to both of them and I am sure they learned a lot.
Thanks to Tony also for the Charlotte Observer focus this year. Tonya Jameson came out and interviewed a lot of people, plus they got pics of the pirate party and a few other things.
Thanks to everyone