Conning – Introduction

 

Dive in! It's a furry con! (photo by Ciron)

 

The title to the 2007 write-up by Terry Wessner, co-founder of Camp Feral!, celebrating 10 years of the event is“Like Herding Cats.” This joke is common in this strange community because it’s accurate: convincing people to attend your event, organizing everything so they can show up at a specific place and find specific things going on, getting them officially registered, funnelling them through the various processes that make up your event, and trying to keep everything that MUST be organized in some order…it’s like herding cats.

Most conventions struggle against the current. Organizing furries…it’s frustrating!  It’s a pain in the ass.  It seems to take away from everything you’re working towards.  The whole reason anyone gets involved in a convention is because they had a great time at ANOTHER convention…you know, as an attendee…and want to help do the same for others.  Well…that or the broken thought that running a convention will make you a furry celebrity.  That oxymoron aside, the world is different when you are behind the scenes…when you’re not a cat anymore, you’re a herder.

I have been involved in cat herding since about 1998 or 99…I forget.  It started innocently enough – friends are coming to visit me, why not make an open invite and see who else wants to come out – and over the decade has become an unpaid, rarely thankful, and mostly time-consuming career.  I have planned everything from out-of-town breakfasts, to full-day hangouts with planned events and meal stops, to holiday parties, and now a full-on convention in the woods.  I have tried the simple (send an email, sit and wait for people to come) to the complex (year-round marketing, promotion, merchandise, insurance, bus rental etc. etc.). Overall,  I’ve devoted a lot of time convincing people to do things together.

I guess I’m a con man. …heh…hah…

This blog has two purposes.  The first is it’s central purpose: to post information and news about Camp Feral! in the case that our website is down, or otherwise we need to post information.  This will happen very irregularly.

The second is to talk about running an event, a convention…about marketing…about the little things people forget about or the ones people over think…about the experiences I’ve had…about the concepts I personally feel aren’t done well enough or are forgotten.  It’s an opinion blog, only related to Camp Feral! because that’s where my most intense, bizarre, and exciting experiences come from.

I’ll suggest ideas that I believe events and conventions should keep in mind when first starting out, such as ‘What makes your convention so much better than this IDENTICAL convention?’ or ‘What makes a good staff?’

I’ll suggest tips and tricks to market and promote your event…because telling a few friends isn’t always going to be enough (although a good word of mouth will beat a banner ad anyday!)

 

Exhausting!

 

I’ll tell stories about things that fell apart at Guelph Furry Breakfasts, Victoria Day BBQ Parties, and of course the ‘Digging Holes and Foraging for Berries Con.’  And I’ll be honest…Feral! is never 100% logistically smooth behind the scenes.

And I’m hoping to do it all from what I consider to be my unique position: I love herding cats.  I love doing it for other people even though I rarely get to enjoy the event myself.  I love trying new ideas and treating the event as a creative outlet rather than a business (I would call myself ‘Artistic Director’ of Camp Feral if it didn’t sound so douchey!) And I’ll leave the furry celebrity for the people who seem to want it so bad.

In all…I’m hoping to  be kinda entertaining for everyone who’s ever tried to invite people to their house or town to do something fun as a group.  I’m not trying to say I’m the lord of convention planners…I’m not even trying to say I do it well…I’ve just been doing it awhile and have a passion for it.

…I also have lots of training in traditional and new media marketing so…that might come in handy occasionally here.

I call it Conning…’cause really, in the end, that’s what you’re going to be doing.  Running a convention, that is…what did you think I meant?!?

Please subscribe to this blog, or I guess you can keep an eye on either my Twitter @Potoroo when I’ll announce new blog posts (you can join the Tword Association game on weekdays too!), or become a fan of Camp Feral! on Facebook where announcements will also happen!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Nevwyn on October 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Wooo … I wonder if I can get this blog to count towards a course credit in my program then I can get the Roo to do my homework for me.

    Reply

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