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Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

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Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  P_Thorne on Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:17 am

What: Philcon 2011
When: November 18-20, 2011
Where: Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill, NJ
URL: www.philcon.org

If anyone would like to assist with Family Programming or an expanded slate of LEGO-based events, and you arrange to do so as listed Staff, you get into the convention for free -- X hours of contribution (where "X "is usually around three but we wouldn't object to more, and "contribution" is generally small groups, for a change of pace from our usual giant-crowd public outreach) and the rest of the time you can interact with authors/artists/scientists, play games, browse stuff to buy, etc.

If, instead, you want to pay for your membership, rates go up in about a week.

(I'm not a department head this year; instead, Family Programming is being run by Becky Robare.)

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  P_Thorne on Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:58 pm

Since I will not be attending the next meeting (October 1, Allentown) and would, in fact, prefer action before then, here are the essentials of the Philcon 2011 promotional spiel I would've given:

Philcon! Sci fi, fantasy, etc., from books, TV, etc.! Also tabletop games and a few costumers! Authors, artists, scientists, fans and combinations thereof! At a hotel! With free parking! In New Jersey, not so far from Philadelphia!

* Display MOCs in the art show
* Run a packaged game or your variant thereof
* GM a QuikWars or BrikWars session
* Organize a trivia quiz show
* Lead a building technique workshop
* Hang around the Open Build area (and encourage kids to build models instead of just minifigs)

Re: the trivia game, I have built (mostly) an Excel-VBA tool that translates a list of challenges into a Jeopardy-like grid, with integrated timers and scoring, in a single DHTML page. The tool is not quite complete, but if you can compile textual questions/answers (or more complex challenges that involve pictures, groups of pictures, video or sound clips), I can shuffle them to be translated.

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  cjedwards on Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:43 pm

Do the adults come over to check out the LEGO creations, or do they just send their kids over?
I'm thinking about bringing a bunch of space-themed creations to show off. I could fill several tables if I bring everything I have.

-Chris

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  peterlmorris on Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:17 pm

I also would like to come. I can probably pretty easily fill two to three tables worth of stuff, depending on how dense you want it.

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  P_Thorne on Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:14 pm

At a con, any activity more complicated than a panel discussion entails balancing competing demands for space, time, staff and security.

The usual arrangement for the past several years has been:
* MOC exhibit amid the Art Show, which is monitored and locked overnight.
* Open Build in one end of the Kids Room, running all weekend; room locked overnight.

It's "usual" because (a) in the Crowne Plaza, Philcon has fewer rooms than program tracks, and (b) as Kids Prog head, I haven't had enough staff to divide and monitor an Open Build located elsewhere. (The MOC exhibit piggybacks on the Art Show's security). The Kids Room is slightly hidden, for security, and given that location the Open Build attracts mostly kids who'd be there anywhere. (Also, it's not handicapped-accessible, which renders it undesirable for standard panel events.) In 2004-05 we were able to put it in the Dealers Room, but only because there was extra space.

However, with more staff, other possibilities arise:

* For 2011, Kids Prog (which has a new head) has been revamped as Family Programming. I might be able to promote LEGO Programming from adjunct to full track status.
* A multi-hour Open Build with a specific time, place and theme in a more public area of the con (move in, then out). (Balticon 2003 ran an informal building contest.)
* A game in the gaming area. (This isn't held in a room, but rather the prefunction area outside the ballrooms.) Would have to coordinate with the Gaming head.

Assuming the MOC exhibit stays in the Art Show, I'll have to coordinate with that department (and with the Dealers room, which adjoins and is separated by panels) for how many tables we can get. Previously I've fit on one or two.

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  peterlmorris on Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:54 pm

So how do we move forward? Do we need to go ahead and register? I still don't quite get what's involved in volunteering. We just sit and watch some kids build with LEGO for a few hours? That would certainly be worth the 50 dollar registration fee.

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  P_Thorne on Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:53 pm

P_Thorne wrote:... and you arrange to do so as listed Staff, you get into the convention for free ...

Operative word: "arrange." The head of LEGO Programming is me. The head of Family Programming is someone I'm in regular contact with. If you want to commit to be convention Staff, PM me with your full name and contact details (address, phone(s), e-ddress). (This is safer than translating your forum handle and trusting the club address list is current.) You will then be added to the official rolls so that you'll have a badge printed, and will be listed in the program book.

(Philcon divides its personnel into three tiers: Convention committee, Staff, and Volunteers. The first two tiers are expected to put enough hours into the convention, before and during, that they're comped. Volunteers, if they contribute enough at-con, are comped the next year. The comp is the con membership fee; lodgings are up to you. How do cons work? They get the convention space in exchange for a promise to fill a certain room block. They fill the room block by attracting attendees from a sufficient radius, and having enough evening programming, that lodging at the hotel is preferable to commuting.)

Please remember that helping with LEGO programming at Philcon, makes sense if and only if you enjoy SF/F fannish content and want to attend the convention as a perquisite -- just as with most other non-AFOL events we may piggyback on (comic book shows, train shows, etc.).

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  peterlmorris on Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:32 pm

Sounds like it'd be better for me to just pay the fifty bucks and see what the convention's like before trying to get comped. It's a small enough fee that I don't mind paying it. Accomodations are not a problem, either, since it's near enough to where I live that I can just drive over every day, though it'd be nice to know what the deal is with parking.

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  P_Thorne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:18 pm

(Responding to an earlier sentiment:) Please note that it's a losing proposition to force recruits to (a) help with an activity they don't already enjoy or (b) stay locked-down in one place, unable to enjoy the convention. That's happened too often to me, so I wouldn't inflict the suffering on anyone else. That's why the particular selection of pre-planned activities depends (what, when, how long), in part, on staff preferences. (Other bad ideas are to put guests on four consecutive hours of panels, to schedule anything important at 10:00 am on Saturday, etc. -- you pick up these things, working on a concom.)

peterlmorris wrote:Sounds like it'd be better for me to just pay the fifty bucks and see what the convention's like before trying to get comped.

If you've never been to an SF convention, a fan-run SF convention, or Philcon in particular, that would probably be prudent. Philcon is a long-haul endeavor (year 75!) so staff development also extends over years. I recommend that newbies read its FAQ rather than my re-typing.

peterlmorris wrote:though it'd be nice to know what the deal is with parking.

Parking at the Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill is free, plentiful, ground-level and uncovered -- it's the one big plus for this venue, whereas moving outside Center City Philadelphia and away from easy public transit was a big minus. Here's the Google Maps aerial-photo view of the area.

There's curb access to the prefunction area to the ballroom that houses the Art Show, so installation of large, heavy items is easy (wheeled carts make it easier).


Last edited by P_Thorne on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:46 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Grammar, other "bad ideas," more parking adjectives.)

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Re: Philcon 2011 (Nov. 18-20, 2011)

Post  peterlmorris on Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:19 pm

Phil, I apologize but I will not be able to make it to Philcon this year. I had to go down for my grandfather's funeral this past week, and it's just going to be too much of a strain in addition to Kidsfest. Next year for sure, though.

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