Are you new to this convention thing?
Here's some tips for any "newbies" out there.
What can I expect to happen at convention?
Expect the unexpected! On one level a convention has a programme of events
that you can attend. On another, it's a chance for people who don't usually
see each other to get together and socialise - probably while sharpening up
their debating skills around a bar. A con can be as structured or as
free-form as you like.
Check your programme and work out what you're interested in and what might
be fun. Go to the event, sit back and enjoy the show.
On the first night there'll be the opening ceremony - unmissable - and maybe
some ad-hoc panels, which crop up throughout the con and cover many diverse
topics. Did someone say there was a toga party in one of the rooms?! Check
out the whiteboard - oh, room 101! Damn - did I bring a sheet? Maybe the
hotel laundry can help out... oh-oh, you have just become a practitioner of
the unsubtle art of scratch costuming.
Other features : the huckster's room... get some books and doo-dads, - maybe
something for a guest to sign at one of the signings? Decisions, decisions -
stuff yourself stupid at the banquet, or play a new board game? Sing along
with the filkers or drinks in the bar with the Bearded Triffid and other
reprobates. (Offer the Triffid an ale and you'll likely have a friend for
life.) Choco frenzy with some wee furry friends or fast food from round the
corner? Be very careful - at the end of the con you can find you hardly
managed to squeeze any of the offical items in at all! But who cares so long
as you had fun?
Even the shyest con-goer may have a mysterious persona locked away. People
dress up at cons. Some play a character all the way through the weekend,
others wait to reveal their hidden side in the masquerade. From the
elaborate to the simple, the sublime to the ridiculous, this is show time.
Dedicated masqueraders bring along ingeniously crafted and beautifully
elaborate costumes that astound and amaze. Others improvise at short
notice. You don't need deep pockets - a lightning raid on a supermarket or
the $2 shop can turn up trumps. No-one who saw them will ever forget the
Immortal Broccoli Brothers!
Yak, yak, yak, yak - there's always a buzz and a debate about something.
Listen or join in, anyone is welcome. Conversations veer from one topic to
another with complete abandon. Often the guests join the group in the bar
and sit around spinning yarns with the best of them.
Consider booking a hotel room. This can be a quiet haven or a hot party
spot depending on your inclination. We put all the party animals together
so the decent folk among us get a decent night's sleep! There are often lots
of impromptu parties and events happening after the programmed events - if
you've got a room you can immerse yourself in the con without having to
worry about getting home. Tell us if you're sharing a room to cut costs -
and if you need someone to share with we will do our best to pair you up
with someone suitable.
I don't know anyone there - will I feel left out ?
Don't worry if it seems that everybody knows everybody and you know nobody.
There's always plenty to see and you'll find conversations spontaneously
happening around you. If you see something interesting just hang around and
you will soon get into the swing and the chat.
First off observe the milling around in the lobby as long lost friends meet
and greet. People watching can be such a gas.
Once you've registered and got your programme check out the events and
decide what you're going to attend. On the first night go to the opening
ceremony to find out what's going on, check out the crowd and get your first
sight of the guests.
As the con progresses and you attend various events you will notice some
faces becoming strangely familiar! Sharing an interest is a great way to
make new friends, you'll find there's always something to talk about and
before long you will be waving across at people (or even little furry
animals) as you make you way to and from the various rooms.
Cons are a great opportunity to make new friends that are interested in the
same stuff as you. You are not alone!
Registration - what's the story?
On the first day - usually late Friday afternoon/early evening - after you
have milled around the hotel a bit, you should register as a con member.
Line up to collect your identity tag (now we all know who the weirdos are)
and con pack. You'll need to wear this tag to get into all the programmed
The conpack holds promotional material, a con book and a "what's on at the
con" programme listing. The con book has articles on the guests and other
subjects relevant to the con. You may even find some freebies in the con
As a paid up con member you can go to any of the programme items. For an
additional charge you can also attend the banquet - register early if
you're keen because space will be limited.
Check out the whiteboard here - it's regularly updated with last minute
changes and announcements, messages and lists of room parties that are the
satellite events in a convention.
What do the membership types mean?
Supporting members don't attend the convention, but get the convention
publications like the progress reports, the convention book and the post-con
book. Supporting membership costs $30.
Full members can attend the convention from Friday afternoon to Monday
afternoon, coming and going as they please. Full membership before the
convention costs $90. It may be more at the door.
Furry memberships are for soft toy friends - bring them along, register them
at the con and let them join in the furry fun. Just $5 and they get their
own badge too.
Day members can come in just for the day they pay. We're waiting to see how
our budget shapes up but the day rate will probably be about $40.
Full and supporting members (i.e. registered as attending the convention and
paid the membership fee) will be sent progress reports before the con to let
them know what's happening.
How do I become a member?
Follow the instructions on the form and fill in the required details. Click
"send registration" to send the form to us. You'll also need to post us a
cheque for your membership and room deposits/payment.
By post :
Fill in a paper application form and send it to us with a cheque for the
membership fee and for room deposits/payments. Find one in our first
progress report, on our flyers, or print off the online form and fill it in
by hand. What, no form? Don't worry, we'll still take your money! Drop us
a line with your name, address, phone number/email address and your
membership fee. We'll register you and get in touch.
Our postal address is Con with the Wind, PO BOX 11559, Manners St,
Beam me up Scotty !