Username Post: How long have you Staffed?        (Topic#3219)
Movie Phone Guy 
Con Regular
Posts: 58
Movie Phone Guy
Loc: Maine
Reg: 01-09-07

12-20-13 05:22 PM - Post#13426    

Open Question: How long have you staffed your convention(s)? What do you do? What do you love to do, what do you loathe?
PortConMaine TechOps Chair 2006 -2011
PortConMaine Event Support Chair 2012-2015
Owner of a pretty good Alfredo recipe
Sometimes Patrick plays my Voicemails.

Obsessed with robots
Posts: 1468
Reg: 02-25-09

12-20-13 07:15 PM - Post#13427    
    In response to Movie Phone Guy

I've been with Anime Boston since 2003 (its first year)

2003: Volunteer, but the rule among AB staff is that if you volunteered that year, you count as staff since everyone did a ton of work.

2004-2005: Regular security staff (Orange shirt)
Liked: Got to see a lot of the con as I went just about everywhere at some point. Not much I. The way of pre-con work
Loathed: Wanted to be more involved

2005-2008: Various security management positions (Red shirt, my title kept changing, last one was Co-Manager for the department.
Liked: Got to see more planning work, share ideas, created the first handbook for security staff, got to know more staffers.
Loathed: Felt like I was chained to the security HQ room and missed a lot of the con (I was the only red shirt who didn't get to see any of Kaiju Big Battel), had to a lot if customer service stuff at times (attendees who were justifiably angry in 2008) when I was manger I got all the dumb prop weapon questions in my E-mail (my favorite remains "can I brings a real chainsaw?")

2009 - Present: Facilities Manager
The fact that I've been in the position the longest should show how much I like it.
Like: Get to be involved in lots of planning, but on-site I'm more or less free to roam as long as I have a radio, my cell phone, and the Nextel from the hotel on me. I often joke that walking into the Tech Ops room is like being Norm from Cheers. It's a nice ego boost to be the guy people go to when they have questions. I've learned TONS in this position.
Loathe: Ok that's a strong word in this case, but so let's call it "challenges". Doing stuff to keep the hotel, the convention center, AB staff, and attendees all happy can be a tough balancing act. There's times where I have to be the last one out of the Hynes at 3am and be back in at 8am. It can be really frustrating when event managers at the facility change and you need to explain everything all over it it feels like they don't like the event and you have to explain to staff members "It's not that they hate us, but they need to take care of themselves too". There's also the dark side of being the guy with lots of answers, sometimes people ask you for help with things they could handle on their own (Your room needs garbage bins emptied? I put the number for guest services next to the in house phone which is next to the bin!) Having to be firm when something like a VIP's hotel room isn't ready at 8pm and they've been on site for four hours!

Don't get me wrong though, the Facilities Manager job for all its tough areas has been my favorite staff position. I've learned and grown a lot from it and don't plan on leaving it any time soon.
-Doug Wilder
Resident Mecha fanboy of AnimeCons TV!

Edited by Nigoki on 12-22-13 05:29 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

Sacrificial White Mage
Posts: 476
Loc: New England
Reg: 03-08-09

12-22-13 10:12 AM - Post#13429    
    In response to Nigoki

Thus far I've staffed two cons. The smaller role was as a judge and co-masquerade coordinator the first year of BAMcon. It was a fun job, but not a good fit for me.

My more significant position has been with ConnectiCon. In the fall of 2008 I joined the guest relations department, and the following spring when our department head stepped down I got thrown right into the fire running the department my first year. After a couple of years it became apparent I was just too young and inexperienced for the position, so when someone else became availble they scalled me back to guest relations on-site operations manager and handler in 2011 and 2012. When that department chair decided to leave the con I once again stepped up and have been running the department ever since.

My favorite part of the job, cheesy as it may sound, is the pride I get knowing I helped make the event happen. Walking through the halls seeing everything come together and all the attendees having fun, or just sitting in a meeting realizing "wow, this is where it all happens....and I'm a part of making it so!"

To be fair, the behind the scenes access to the guests is a nice perk when it comes to those who are more social and less guarded. Being a responcible staff member brings with it an inherent level of trust that can facilitate friendships a lot faster than being an attendee who might strike up a conversation at he guest's booth (not to say guests don't befriend attendees sometimes too). Myself being an actor as well I have a lot in common with many of the guests we bring in so it's nice to chat with them about theater and performing and just life in general.

What's not so fun is budget limitations. Attendees just don't understand such concepts, and consequently have a hard time understanding why we can't bring in more or higher profile guests. I've sent out inquiries to people who say "my client needs an $80,000 autograph guarantee and first class air travel." When put in the context of what sort of draw said guest might have and how many paid autographs (something many of our attendees can't or won't pay for) they will get to go toward that fee, we know we cannot afford the cost. The other side of that is getting a guest who has requirements just a little higher than The Powers That Be are wiling to spend on them and trying to sell them to The Powers because I know they would be worth it.

All in all it is a very rewarding position. And to Doug's point about being able to do pretty much whatever once the event is underway, it is nice being senior staff and having a capable department under you. I get some hectic moments sometimes, especially day zero when everyone is arriving and checking in and getting badges, but most of the con I can float around from place to place at will.

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