SwanCon

Apr. 15th, 2009 09:59 am
tommo: (Default)
[personal profile] tommo
The con was great, and I had a blast. Thanks so much to the committee for organising a great con. Here's some dot-point notes:

- Richard Morgan was a great guest of honour. I thought he was really friendly and approachable, and he was an engaging speaker/panelist.

- I didn't see as much of Trudi Canavan, but she seemed very nice. Unfortunately she was extremely quiet, so I couldn't hear her 90% of the time she spoke.

- I ran four panels (Lost, Top 10 TV Shows, 2008 in Film and Changing the Heroes), and in my opinion they all went really well. I'm very pleased about that.

- I bought some stuff: Seasons 1 & 2 of Lost on DVD, The Complete Conan Chronicles (for $15!), 4 issues of Borderlands, From Hell, New Ceres Nights and Angel Rising.

- I nominated for the WASFF board but missed out. I didn't mind though, as this year was really a case of being spoilt for choice. You could've picked just about any six of the twelve nominees and ended up with a great board, and I think those who made it on are all very capable, hardworking folks who'll do a wonderful job. I'll probably nominate again next year.

- I found that the programme was a little front-loaded for me personally, as I attended a stack of stuff on Thursday and Friday but had trouble finding more than one or two things of interest on the remaining days. Saturday was especially problematic - with the art show and market day each taking up a full room, the programming ended up being very light. I think the only panel I attended was the one I was running.

- There was a fairly good balance of topics throughout the programme, although I still feel that there aren't enough panels on specific fandoms. There was a late surge to include more of these types of panels just before the con, but after scanning through the programme I still only noticed around 15 panels where the topic involved a specific author, TV series, film director, comic character, etc. When panels about actual specific SF fandoms are outnumbered by those on OT subjects and meta-fandom, I think that's a bit of a problem, particularly when several of the meta/OT ones are rehashing stuff from previous years. I did my bit with the Lost and Heroes panels, and I intend to do the same sort of thing next year (currently formulating concepts for an Aeon Flux panel/presentation). I'm really hoping more people do the same.

- Pocket programme was a fantastic idea.

- The masquerade really shouldn't have ended at 10:30pm. I have nothing against geek singalong and singstar, but there was another room available at those times, and I really think they could've got by without the top-level AV equipment the masquerade utilises. For many people, the masquerade is one of the major highlights of the con, and having it come to a grinding halt 90 minutes earlier than usual was a massive letdown for everyone there. That being said, the setup for the masquerade was excellent, so major kudos there for a job well done.

- I received several complements on my DJ set, which was lovely. I always have such a great time DJing, and it's really nice to know that people are enjoying it.

- I was asked to be programme coordinator for one of the 2011 bids. I was awfully flattered, but I don't think I'll programme another SwanCon any time soon (if at all). I might convene one, but that project is still a long way off.

- I'm really excited about the winning 2011 bid. A very professional bunch of people and a very impressive bid.

- It was great to see such strong support for children and parents.

- The art show boasted perhaps the most impressive field of entries I've ever seen at a SwanCon.

- I have a really strong desire to watch a bunch of classic SF TV series I haven't yet seen before next year's con - Edge of Darkness, Quatermass, selected Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Starcops, etc.

- I introduced two new people to SwanCon, and as far as I can tell, they both really enjoyed it and intend to come again next year.

I can't think of much else to write at the moment. Might post more if I realise I forgot anything important.

Date: 2009-04-15 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angriest.livejournal.com
Re: guests being too quiet. There was a microphone and sound system in Montana A, which should have been used a lot more often (particularly during the closing ceremony), but that sort of thing is easy to forget.

Date: 2009-04-15 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ataxi.livejournal.com
Complete Conan Chronicles is really rather good. If that's the REH one anyway. If it's a compilation of the Jordan rehashes then ... "..." ... is what I'd say.

If you ever get around to watching Edge of Darkness I'd like to be in on it. They have it on VHS (only) at Planet -- wanted to rent it the other day -- but I no longer have a VHS player set up, although I could if I were less lazy.

Date: 2009-04-15 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
As far as I can tell it's the REH originals. It's the big "Centenary Edition" one that's shown up in bookstores pretty recently. I've had my eye on it recently, and it's usually about $60, so I'm awfully pleased about the price.

I'll let you know if I end up watching Edge of Darkness. Might be able to organise some sort of small group screening.

Date: 2009-04-15 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ataxi.livejournal.com
Yep, it'll be the Howard ones. They're fun and actually rather well written by and large.

Date: 2009-04-15 06:53 am (UTC)
ext_54569: starbuck (Default)
From: [identity profile] purrdence.livejournal.com
I have nothing against geek singalong and singstar, but there was another room available at those times, and I really think they could've got by without the top-level AV equipment the masquerade utilises.

If it had been put into the Cocktail Lounge at that time of night, it would have annoyed people in the second floor rooms, especially those trying to sleep. If it had been put into the room next to the games room, it would have been disrupting the games room - singalongs and karaoke are rather noisy. Which leaves the Montana room.

Date: 2009-04-15 06:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
In which case it just should've been on a different day. I'm sorry, but I don't think it's a big enough event to warrant derailing the masquerade.

Date: 2009-04-15 06:59 am (UTC)
ext_54569: starbuck (Default)
From: [identity profile] purrdence.livejournal.com
Well that's something you need to take up with Maia and future programmers.

But I do agree that another night is a reasonable idea.

Date: 2009-04-15 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mynxii.livejournal.com
It was a trial of an idea based on that several of us had noticed that by 10:30 the masquerade tends to flag, we wanted to keep the party spirit going by programming party specific things in there - I've received several positive comments on this, but also several that thought it would have been better to continue the masquerade. I think it was worth the trial and probably depends on what kind of masquerade attendance you think you're going to get...

Date: 2009-04-16 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
I imagine you're going to get mixed responses depending on who you ask. But for the people who like to dance and party at the masquerade, 10-10:30pm is usually when things just start getting really good.

In my experience the 11:30 point is more when it starts to slow down. But, of course, I'm one of those people who loves to dance and party at the masquerade, so I'm biased :)

Also, while I understand the idea you were going for, I think anything where you're looking at a screen and taking turns to play isn't a "party specific thing". As far as I'm concerned, there's no quicker way to kill a party atmosphere by putting on video games or DVDs. That's what you do when the party has completely wound down and there's only 4 of you left.

Date: 2009-04-16 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mynxii.livejournal.com
Good point - as I said, it was something we decided to trial :)

Date: 2009-04-15 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The idea for an Aeon Flux panel is awesome - I'd be into that.

Also like the idea of revisting old shows like 'Edge of Darkness' or 'Blake's 7' etc- we should encourage lots of people to watch or rewatch before the con.

We should revist LOST again next year and see how's it's travelling along. I thought the LOST panel was ACE.

Cheers
Graeme

Date: 2009-04-16 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
I've been doing some reading and thinking about how I'd put the panel together, and I think it'd be really good. There's a lot of interesting ground to cover, which is surprising since it was a fairly short-lived show.

I think we need to see more classic shows (including recent classics) being given the same treatment as Doctor Who gets in the Annual Doctor Who panels. Basically a series of annual, season-by-season discussions. There's plenty of stuff that would work really well in that format.

I was really happy with the Lost panel. Glad you thought it went well. By the time next year's con is on, it'll either be down to the last few episodes or will actually have finished. Either way, it should make for a good followup panel.

Date: 2009-04-15 03:55 pm (UTC)
ext_54569: starbuck (Default)
From: [identity profile] purrdence.livejournal.com
I have a really strong desire to watch a bunch of classic SF TV series I haven't yet seen before next year's con - Edge of Darkness, Quatermass, selected Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Starcops, etc.

You know, that would be a good idea for a late night video stream. Not 24/7 like it used to, but maybe for a couple of hours each night after the panels for the day is finished.

Date: 2009-04-16 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
I've been thinking for a while now that SwanCon programmes should utilise the late-night slots for movie/series screenings. It'd be perfect for marathon viewings of mini-series like Edge of Darkness, or for movie doubles/triples, like watching all of the Evil Deads back-to-back.

It'd fill in the void left by removing the video stream (which really has become completely redundant), but wouldn't encroach on existing panel space.

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