In Response to "Behind the Convention Curtain" Created by Bobbins on 4/10/2012 7:05:57 PM
The Good Lord Bobbins of TeslaCon offers a response to our previous Opinion piece in discussing Steampunk Conventions.
For those of you who don't know me I run TeslaCon, a Midwest convention in Wisconsin. This year will be our third event. Many people have asked how I do it- what makes it different and how a con like TeslaCon actually works.
In truth conventions to not all run the same, infact now I believe they are becoming far different than what people can imagine. I have worked on close to 40 conventions over the years and have directly worked on or planned 22 in total. The issue becomes these days: what type of con do I want?
I define several different versions. The anime/group con. The traditional 80's SF con, and then what is starting to happen the new entertainment style con. I style TeslaCon as part of the new entertainment approach. We are the largest immersion steampunk convention in North America, and we didn't do it by being like everyone else.
The trick with cons is to be innovative and be the most cutting edge you can be. Fans want more for their money, but they also want an experience that they cannot get anywhere else...that's the deal breaker. How do you create an experience and do it with a budget you can afford? How do you determine what you can afford...by selecting who and what you have at the convention basically.
I am not a (501c(3) and you really don't have to be anymore. The reason is simple, people on con committee's fight, and it rarely ends well. Disagreements accure and don't always get resolved.I created TeslaCon as a sole entity to survive anything. Basically a chairman without a board of directors. It works for us well- but not everyone would like it.
It makes me the owner solely responsible for all actions, yet we get things done an a very timely manner.
I also create most of the look and feel myself, TeslaCon really is my con. You get to see how I perceive the world of steampunk. Many have likened it to a "Disney" ride or park theme, and that's alright. We try to give people an "experience" not just a 3 day con with ala carte pricing.
Much of what is said in the article is true. But the fandom itself is also dictating what happens through likes and dislikes of the fandom. I think it would be fair to say unless you have at least 20 hours a week and about 3-5 thousand to start with it gets difficult to start a convention. You also must stay in the loop of what is going on in fandom. I read about 1-2 hours of posts a day.
I will always try to help new people with their dreams and aspirations...it never hurts to help others. But I do stress reality when it comes to budgets. Have one-work it- make it work for you. That will be the key to your success.
That is my two cents-
Lord Hastings Robert Bobbins III / TeslaCon