SMOFCon 27 - an encapsulation

I spent this past weekend at SMOFCon 27, since I run the Art Show at Armadillocon.

I made it to Austin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, but wasn't able to really see the con until after dinner. I had to remotely oversee a software build that was happening back in Houston.

After dinner was the Icebreaker. This year's task was to prepare for a (fictional) WorldCon bid in under 2 hours. The members of the team of which I was a part chose the available London Underground location as our site. Our motto was "Get Ripped Underground." This lead to a theme of Zombies and Jack the Ripper for the convention.

I think I hit the Con Suite and the lounge for a bit after that, but turned in fairly soon.

Saturday, I was up at my usual time and headed off to breakfast at Annie's. Shortly after I arrived, the Division Heads meeting for Renovation showed up. As a crowd of 22 folks, they were about 80% of the patrons of the restaurant. At one point during their breakfast, most of the folks turned, as a group, to look at me. It turns out they were all boggled by the fact that someone from the convention would be up at that hour without a good, solid reason.

I went to the following panels on Saturday:

"Printed & Electronic Publications - How & When to Distribute Them"

"Managing Your Bid with Time and Money"

"Programming Timelines for Different Types of Conventions - WorldCon vs. Regionals"

"Artists - What They Need and Expect from Conventions"

I was the moderator of this panel in name only. It took on a life of its own and I was unable to do much to control it.

I expected the discussion to go in one direction, that of how to best serve the artists of the Art Show. It went in the direction of how to serve the interests of the artists who are attending the convention. Below are some snippets of items I noted during the lively discussion that occurred:

Artists have a product that is useful for advertising the convention. If you can afford it, look into using their art ( with permission ) for at-con and pre-con marketing material and signage.

If you GOH brings along a companion, make certain that you meet both of their needs, if possible. Pay special attention to the needs of the mobility-, visually-, etc. impaired.

Make the Art Show a fun place to be. Set up places to sit, places to draw

Artist's Alleys are debatable in their worth. you need to be able to drive extra traffic

Lighting = Sales. Improve your lighting. We need a standard to help art shows judge whether they've got enough lighting or not. Does one exist?

See about creating artists' workshops

"Hands on" tours of the Art Show for the visually-impaired. Can this be done for 2-D works?

Concept Art website

Awards for the artists. They're relatively simple to do and can provide egoboo for the artists.

I did mention some items that folks had suggested I throw out to the crowd in relation to art shows:

Make it easy to find the forms and rules
Get the Art back quickly
Give the artists numbers to determine if your show is right for them
Send an after show report with numbers
Help them meet the deadlines
Be polite
Let them know if their application has been accepted

Some numbers that folks were interested in receiving about a show:

Percentage of attendees that buy art
Avg & median sales/buyer
Avg & median price per original sold
Avg & median price per print sold
Avg & median revenue per artist
Percentage of art for sale that sold (i.e., exclude NFS)
Percentage of prints that actually sold
Total Sales
Avg sales per panel

Somewhere in there, I had a bit of a lunch break. I didn't go eat, but I did go with Chuck Siros to see the site for next year's Armadillocon. We're changing hotels and I wanted to see where we will be putting the Art Show. It's an interesting space and will be fun to fill with panels.

After all of the panels, I went to Threadgill's for dinner with a few friends.

When we got back, it was time for the "Fannish Inquisition" This is a part of the con when seated WorldCons and prospective WorldCon bids make their presentations in front of most of the SMOFs. It was interesting to see that 2012 ans 2013 are unopposed for their years. Chicago in 2012 made a statement during their presentation that the winner of that night's Statistics and Probability Seminar (aka Texas Hold 'Em Tournament) would become the Chicago bid's Treasurer.

After all of the WorldCon bids were done, the SMOFcon bids were presented.

After that, it was time for the Statistics and Probability Seminar (aka Texas Hold 'Em Tournament). I'd been looking forward to that for quite some time. I ended up winning the tournament. I'll have a more detailed post in a bit.


Up early to find breakfast. Unfortunately, no non-hotel restaurant opens before 9 a.m. So, I wandered around downtown Austin in a light drizzle looking for food. I gave up a little before 9 and then went back out at the magical hour of 9 a.m. and dined at El Sol Y La Luna.

My only panel of the day was:

"How to Run a Remote Convention"

I thought about sticking around, but I wanted to get home. So I took off for Houston.

A good convention. I had a good time.