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Little red book of conrunning #5: The most important page - Walk Softly and Carry a Big Schtick .

March 10th, 2018
11:38 am

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Little red book of conrunning #5: The most important page
This is part of an occasional series of posts on the art and craft of fannish volunteer-run conventions. These are my opinions and my experiences. As always, YMMV.

I believe the most important page on your convention website, and in your program book, is the page that lists the staff roster.

You might disagree. You might think it’s the secondmost important page. Or third, perhaps. But surely you see how many things this page does.

Who is running this event? It’s not the chair, or director or whatever title the person at the top has. They recruit the people below, they set policies and direction and articulate the vision of the convention and so forth. But I never ran the convention I was in charge of, now, did I? And it’s never just one person’s ideas and actions, either. Hundreds of staff people and volunteers ran it.

A convention is a group effort. There is no way I could have come up with all the ideas that went into it. Parent-in-tow badges? I adapted that from another convention’s “family of staff member” system. Parent’s Lounge? That was Sarah Goldberg’s “Adult Daycare” room. How to run a good Masquerade? We mostly followed the International Costumers’ Guild Guidelines. And gods bless Lindsay Tallman, 12-year Masquerade Director, for her steady stewardship and grace under pressure.

(Okay, I came up with the idea of having art benches, but they were inspired by a trip to the Los Angeles County Fair ca. 1995. And the individual artists brought them into being from their own creativity.)

So the chair recruits people, and those people recruit more staff, and they bring in their ideas and their time and energy. Listing all of the departments and divisions and tasks that needed someone to do them: that tells the world, These people make this happen.

It also tells the world, These things are happening, did you realize that?

You can look at Loscon’s staff roster and see there’s an “Ice Cream Social” department. Now you know that Loscon has such an event. Look at Baycon’s roster, they’ll mention their DIY Room. Oh, a place where you “do it yourself” — perhaps I’ll see what they do there.

Does the convention have a Handicapped Access Services department? How about Children’s Programming, or Cosplay Chess? Teapot Races? Food Truck Wrangler? The staff roster is an overview of the entire convention.

I have a few more thoughts and ideas about this, but let me reiterate for now: This is the most important page of the website and the program book.

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