If you didn’t come to Baycon, all I can say is – you missed out! For attendees, the Con was a lot of fun. The programming was solid, and with the lower attendance rate, it wasn’t very crowded, so it was easy to move around the Con. The Dealers room was full of awesome things, as was the Art show. I didn’t personally make it to our DIY room, but rumor has it it was as awesome as usual. And our shiny new addition, the teen lounge, was a brilliant hit.

For those of you who have the twisted curiosity to know how the sausage is made, somethings were absolutely brilliant, but not everything was quite so rosy from the staff side of things.

Programming Needs Improvement:

I’m on gaming staff, but I was in charge of organizing for the 2 LARPS running during the Con, and these events don’t happen in the games room. I need programming to schedule rooms for us and put us on the schedule. And since Larps are very sensitive to the number of participants, I need this done with at least several weeks lead time.

The programming grid wasn’t put up until 2 weeks before the Con, which is already late for the Larps. One of the LARPs wasn’t even on the schedule. It took until two days before Con to get the Friday night larp on the schedule. So guess which event didn’t happen? And the LARP wasn’t the only event they forgot to schedule.

At best, the Con comes off as disorganized to their panelists. At worst, the people running it come off as incompetent to the attendees. And that is not a brush I’m interested in being tarred with. Without demonstrated changes to how programming is handled, I am unlikely to volunteer events in the future.

Gaming was Good:

Running the games room is a pretty straightforward gig. We have a good crew, and we rarely have problems during the Con. This year was no exception. Load in is also pretty simple, and it happened early this year, with fewer hands and still ran beautifully. Load out on the other hand was a new experience for me. In the past, I have had to leave for work before we closed down. All I will say about load out is: that process is in desperate need of optimization, or the rest of the crew should be released from that duty.

Newsletter was Amazing:

Newsletter was hands down my favorite group of the Con to interface with. As I said before, LARPs are really sensitive to the number of participants. Without a strict minimum, the event can’t happen. Newsletter is the best way I’ve found to get the word out that the event is happening and encourage people to attend. With enough lead time, we can get announcements in the printed newsletter – which is what I did for “A Reunion at Katmeers”. Without that lead time, we can only reach out on social media. They are the gatekeepers for the official facebook, twitter and tumblr for the Con.

When I first needed them on Friday night to try to salvage the first LARP, there was quite the run around trying to contact the social media guru, but finally, one of the other Newsletter staffers helped me physically walk through the Con until we found him. I can’t even say how much I appreciate the willingness to use traditional means of finding people when technology fails us. Despite the fact that the event didn’t end up happening, Newsletter went above and beyond to help me try to make it happen. – And when I turned up Sunday morning, they knew exactly what I wanted, and everything went so smoothly to get the word out quickly about Katmeers.

I’m so grateful for all their help. I look forward to continuing to work with that crew in years to come.