Steve Davies writes some more things to think about
What are you going to put in your members' registration packs? A common list would be:
- Programme participant letter (if they are on the program) telling them which items they are on and when they are scheduled for
- Flyers, free books etc. supplied by sponsors and advertisers
The perennial (if rather boring) question of Registration is "Should the program packs be envelopes or bags?"
|Can often be obtained for free from bookshops or publishers||Need to buy (say) 1000 A4 envelopes|
|Hold more than envelopes||Pack down better than bags and take up less space|
|Are easier to fill with lots of stuff e.g. books||Can be arranged in alphabetical order in boxes|
|People can carry them away easily||Can be picked up in larger quantities (bags slip all over the place)|
|People can use them for putting other things in||More uniform|
|Less likely that the contents will fall out|
|Can be easily labelled|
Personally, I favour envelopes after having struggled one too many times with bags slipping all over the place. If you get offered free bags, you might consider just having a pile on the Registration Desk for people to take as required.
Are you going to provide free memberships, hotel rooms and other resources to guests, fan groups or authors? This is a vexed question, which usually comes down to:
- Guests of honour get free rooms
- Committee don't
- Some people (not committee) get free memberships because it's beneficial to have them along
- SF professionals don't get automatic free membership (unless they're guests)
- Similarly, some groups get free tables etc. because you'll pick up memberships that way
- Always have a fixed policy because otherwise people will complain and demand the same
When it comes down to it, what you're doing is cost-benefit analysis. By spending the convention's money on giving this person a free membership, does the convention benefit from it? Remember, "free" memberships are not free, they cost money and resources to service. Especially, you don't owe every person who has ever published a short story a free membership, you'd never make any money at all. Let the pros buy their own memberships, or get a publisher to buy memberships for them, even let them in for half-price. Just don't give it away for free.
- Programme grids
- Define rescheduling policy
- Green Room
- Radios/mobile phones/room phones/pagers
- Lost & Found
- How many people? Structure? Large/Small Ops
- Need short, simple rules if any
- Who does what?
- Why "Stewards" not Security?
- Volunteer policy
- Weapons policy
- Badge checking, fights, mundanes, attitude to con attendees
Give them a chance and Tech will eat your whole budget and then some. Be ruthless. Do you really need that third mixing desk? The follow spots? The lighting towers? The extra ten radios so Security can play cops and robbers? The closed-circuit projection TV system that breaks down every few minutes?
Borrow whatever you can, provided you're sure it's of decent quality. If you have to hire stuff then go for a reliable source over a cheap one (but ask around so you don't get taken for a ride). Remember that when your reflux thingamatron breaks down it's going to be Easter weekend and nobody is going to have another available before Tuesday, not even if you try and get one sent by courier. And don't forget, you only get one chance at this, discounts and apologies aren't any use at all.
- Art boards,
- Auction (moving art)
- Paying artists
- Cash facilities
- Print shop
- Labelling/forms/bid sheets etc.
Try and find out a bit about your guests. Are they easy to get along with? Difficult? The first committee I was on invited a famous female fantasy writer who (we later discovered) had a reputation for complaining. We took careful precautions to pamper her as much as we could, provided her with a couple of handsome young men to drive her around, top up her drinks and so on. It seemed to work. Beccon used to have a person whose role was to shadow their guest unobtrusively, turning up if the guest was standing around looking lonely or if they had been captured by a deadly bore. This had the additional bonus that it became a lot harder to lose them. So, prepare for anything your guest might want, a favourite brand of drink, a chance to meet an old friend, a guitar, a pair of young ladies/men wearing not very much...