So You're Thinking About Hosting a Con...

How to Put on a Beauty and the Beast Convention

updated 2019.1.16

Your Con Team & Helpers

Your Con Team

Did we mention: You need a team! Much of the early work (selecting a convention hotel, for example) can be done by you alone, but you really, really, REALLY need a team you can depend on to help you pull off a convention smoothly. It’s lovely to have helpers who are new to the process, but it’s also imperative that you find an experienced fan or two to round out your core team. Divvy up responsibilities. Coordinate with each other. Be grateful, and lavish in your praise for those whose hard work is making your job easier, and allowing you to better enjoy the whole process. Everyone will thank YOU when your convention goes off without a hitch, so you need to mention your team members so everyone knows the success wasn’t achieved alone.

Your con team should also be a buttress against small problems that happen AT the convention, helping you resolve them smoothly. For instance, all con team members, just as the con chair, should put themselves last – if there is a meal mix-up and one of the con team can resolve it by giving up her choice and taking another, it should be done without complaint, or if there’s a seating issue on an add-on trip, the first to volunteer to fix the problem (giving up a seat, etc.) should be a member of the con team. They should support you and you should support them in every aspect of con-running. Knowing you have their backs and they have yours is imperative, so choose your team amongst those with a proven record of support and those with a sincere desire to learn and work hard on behalf of making the convention succeed.

Ask for Help

We are privileged to be part of a fandom that includes many talented, helpful, and generous fans. People are often willing to lend a hand if you ask. Some of them are named in this document, but many more exist and are willing to help.

As a con chair/team, you have a LOT to do. Any opportunities you can take to spread the load are a good thing! Some examples (some mentioned elsewhere in these pages, but not all):
  • Panels/activities: Ask registered fans for panel suggestions. If it’s an idea they really like, they may even be willing to host it. Ask! If you aren’t getting enough volunteers, contact individual fans to discuss the possibility of them hosting a panel – suggest a topic yourself, even.
  • Prizes: Ask attendees to bring a prize or two for Beast Bingo and other games. Not only does this spread the load (and the suitcase space and/or savings on shipping), but it also increases the variety of prizes.
  • Tote bag items: Ask attendees if they’d like to contribute items for your tote bags. Have them check with you so you don’t get too many of the same things. A month or two before the con, let people know how many fans are registered so they know how many of an item to bring.
  • Table decorations: Ask attendees to sponsor the decorations for a table, or to make them to the convention theme.
A few weeks before the con, remind people about these things, and about anything else you may want them to bring – items to sell in the dealers room, art for the art show, music for their talent show number, etc.

Virgin Wrangler

In recent years, Teresa Batby has been our convention “Virgin Wrangler” to provide extra attention to our con newbies, who may be unfamiliar with other fans or with our conventions. Try to determine how many con virgins you have in attendance and consider some activity to orient them to our convention experience. It’s nice to identify them as con virgins on their name tags or even with different color lanyards, so they can be easily spotted and welcomed.

If you want to include Teresa or another fan in this process, be sure to ask them well in advance.