February 21st, 2003

unicorn tree

Visioncon (Springfield, Missouri): Stay Away

I won't be attending VisionCon in Springfield, Missouri this year. In good conscience, I cannot recommend that anyone attend it, either now or in the future.

Last year, I ran the anime room because there was nobody else available to do it; the group that had been going to come run it had to cancel, leaving them with an empty screening room. I stepped in, set up a schedule of stuff, and had the time of my life.

Now, for months I had been trying to get the con organizer, who shall be known as Joyce because that's her name, to put me in touch with the fellow running the anime room this year, so I could volunteer to help out and provide some anime titles. She said she would tell him. I gave her my name and email address to pass along.

She didn't. She mentioned to the fellow that "someone" wanted to get in touch with him, and he said he didn't need the help...and she never got back to me about it either. Apparently she had some beefs with the way I ran the room last year—never mind that if it weren't for me, there would have been no room last year, and she never said anything to me about those beefs either, then or now.

The irony is, if she'd just told the guy who was trying to get in touch, he could have contacted me and we could have worked something out, because he happened to be an acquaintance of mine. As it turned out, I even had some stuff he would have liked to show, but since he'd had to finalize the schedule before the day of the con there was no way it could be worked in.

Since the anime room wasn't showing much stuff I was interested in, there were no guests I really cared about, no new artists to commission character sketches from, I'm not interested in gaming in the noisy noisy common room that's the only place they provide, and I only have $55 to my name, I decided to skip the con this year and hope it gets better next year. It's not worth paying $15 out of my meager funds to hang around when there's nothing I'm interested in going on and nothing I can afford in the dealer room. At least now I know who to get in touch with for next year.

Many of my friends are or have been con staffers or gofers in the past, and none of them are really happy about the way Joyce runs the con, leadershipwise or financially. They've told me some stories that I'd probably best not repeat here as they could be legally actionable. But based on my experiences this year, I believe them—and agree with them that a convention that's run like this is not the best place to be. I'm voting with my wallet and staying away, and recommending that anyone who might otherwise have been interested stay away as well, now or in the future. Of course, the sad part is, I'll probably be going back there next year if I'm still here, just because it's the only game(-ing and anime con) in town.
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Greetings from Denver.

Hi All. Glad to meetcha. I'm John Fiala. I'm a computer software developer from Colorado. Last year I both did the on-site roleplaying coordination for BenCon and wrote 'Emergency Response', a superhero adventure for Guardians of Order's Silver Age Sentinels rpg. This year, I'm hoping to be just as active.

Right now I'm working on a story for SAS's upcoming fiction anthology, and doing second-draft and filling out on a Feng Shui adventure I ran at Denver's local Genghis Con to good reviews. Plus, I've started a Call of Cthulhu adventure.

It's nice to meet you all.
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    busy