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Unread 09-08-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
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How do you start a new con?

How do you start a con? I mean, besides the obvious of having a place to hold it, some people to organize things, and people to run panels.

I'm the kind of person that can't really work off instructions in a book or on a screen. I need something I can get my hands on, and have a person I can bounce questions off of.

So I thought (for some strange reason) why not just start a mini-con centered on workshops for costume making and similar? People could get demonstrations, swap cloth and prop materials, or even look for hands-on help with something really complex they can't quite manage by themselves.

silly thought, maybe, but I am curious.
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Unread 09-08-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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-Money: None of this gets done without money. As you need a place to host people, you need equipment, you need planning, you need people that will participate (Even if you don't pay them, there are some things you'll need to provide).

-People: Mentioned above, you can't do all this on your own.

-Interest: If you start a small event and hope to grow, you need to advertise yourself --- no, stop, don't register and AdChoices ad, stop the run to book some FB adverts. What I mean by that, is to propagate the work to people who are local and would be interested in such a gathering. You're from Ontario, you might want to look into the AN crowd, or attend the dozens of so picnics/gatherings that already happen with Toronto people (Uh, I... don't know how far Kitchener is from Toronto actually).

I think craftmanship stuff is amazing even if it's not really accessible for everyone (Uh, we're all nerds to some degree, right?) --- surely there is interest into this.
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Unread 09-08-2012, 10:09 PM   #3
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- Not so much on the money bit. AnomalyCon spent $100 to get started, and that was just to buy domain names and register the business. If you have contacts, you can get guests for free the first year (and then the first year should generate revenue for the second year). YOu may just have to settle for local guests the first year, however.
You don't have to start out at a hotel. Hotels are expensive. Try and get sponsored by a club at a university or something and use that space for free (or super cheap).

- And interest and people, as mentioned above.
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Unread 09-09-2012, 07:26 AM   #4
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I just lost a huge post I had here... so here's the tl'dr version.

Is there interest? You have Emiko's con, Con-G and another con in Guelph in November that I forget the name of, so there's already a decent crop of local cons (oddly enough i'm not aware of a convention in London, which is a bigger city...). Although you have a different slant on things, people will still only attend one. Is it possible to add onto another con and have a costume focused track?

Where to put it? October seems to be your best and pretty much only bet if you don't want to end up in a cruddy month or competing spot. Remember that your core audience will be there September - April.
Plus costume con 32 is being held in Toronto in April of 2014

Actual locations can be tricky here... as i'm not sure if Emiko's mini con is still heavily connected to the Universities there. They moved out to a hotel this year, but before they were on campus. University locations are great for mini cons as you can get a bunch of rooms for workshops and panels. I would get a hold of someone from that convention and test the waters about having a cosplay oriented convention.

Learning? Since you seem to learn hands on I would suggest volunteering at Anime North, Emiko's mini con and Con-G to get a taste of how cons function. Figure out what works and what doesn't work.

You'll also need a dedicated group of people who want to make this happen. Many conventions fail because of a lack of volunteers and poor communication.
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Last edited by DireKitty : 09-09-2012 at 07:35 AM.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 11:51 AM   #5
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Work on a con committee first. I don't mean volunteering to run a panel (because honestly, I've done that, and it requires only minimal responsibility to be there. You won't learn anything about running a con), I mean volunteering a great big chunk of your life and personal time to apply to join the committee and find out what it takes to run a con.

It takes a lot of work, dedication, money (yes), and a dedicated group of staff to start up a con. If you are absolutely adamant about wanting to start your own, give me a PM and I'll hook you up with a coffee break with 2 instrumental staff members of Atomic Lollipop (a small Toronto con that has existed for 2 years, run by experienced and inexperienced event co-ordinators) and myself sometime to give you a bit of info on what it takes. Note, I was not on con staff, I was a panelist volunteer. However, my brother and his partner were staff members and this con was started by their group of friends, who had previously done event co-ordination efforts for raves and parties.

It is a lot harder than you think to run a "mini" con. But I really like your idea, so I want to encourage you! I would sign up to volunteer and attend a local con of workshops for sure. But as others have said, there are probably other cons you can add your ideas onto instead of starting up a totally new one.
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