LTUE Day III

LTUE XXIII is over. It’s an odd convention, in that it’s not really a convention at all — it’s a symposium. It doesn’t have dealer’s room, room parties, or even much cosplay (cosplay does happen a bit on Saturday) For all that, it’s a great time.

I’ll probably be lending them my services on the organizational front next year. They did a few things really well (running on a shoestring budget), but did a few things less than well. Fortunately most of what went wrong did so behind the scenes, and the attendees never noticed. Regardless, these are things I know how to fix, provided I can find enthusiastic people who will listen to me.

I had a great time. I posted myself in the Registration area, commandeered a table, and started dishing out free sketches. These “sketches” were 10-20 minute marker-art jobs, which attracted a LOT of attention. It was good practice for me, and the people watching me do it had fun. They also took URL cards. This went on for a good two hours.

My panels were fun, too — especially since most of the attendees were NOT Schlock Mercenary readers… YET. I did a good job balancing my “I can talk about anything and sound like an expert” persona against the “learn something from the other panelists” persona, with the exact result I desired — the other panelists felt pleased with their own performances, and the audience felt compelled to figure out what this whole schlockmercenary.com thing was.

Panels are odd beasts that way. I want to entertain the audience — it’s good for the convention, it’s fun for me, and it’s great marketing. I also want to EDUCATE the audience — this isn’t a stand-up routine, Jerry Springer, or “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” I have to be super-careful not to talk too much. I know I can fill 50 minutes all by myself… that doesn’t mean I SHOULD.

The final banquet was great. I sat with Dan Willis, Bob-is-not-my-wife Defendi, L.E. Modessit, Jerry Pournelle, and a guy whose Utah license plate reads “SFWRITR.” No, I didn’t get his name. We talked until the buffet line got short enough to stand in, during which time we discussed politics, education, nuclear power, hunter-gatherers, and How To Be A Successful Husband. Jerry gave us two rules — “Men, if you are ever arguing with your wife and discover that you are right, apologize immediately.” Oh, and “Learn To Grovel.”

In the buffet line, Jerry dug into the mystery barbecue crock pot and announced “Donner, Party of 20!” He paused for a moment, and then said “Donner, Party of 19.” No barbecue is complete without long pig humor.

The door prizes were announced, and Jerry won a Farscape VHS tape. “What’s this? I’ve never heard of it?”
ME: “It’s… um… space opera with puppets, Jerry.”
Jerry: “I liked ‘Firefly.’ Is it anything like that?”
Me: “Umm… puppets.”

(Note to Farscape fans… cool your jets. You’ve got a muppet space-opera right there and you know it.)

All told, we had a great time. I’ll be back next year. This thing is right in my back yard. How could I NOT be back?

28 thoughts on “LTUE Day III”

    1. I showed up at the con and Howard performed introductions:

      “Bob, this is my wife Sandra. Sandra, this is my wife Bob.”

      Then he turned all red and embarassed and we all laughed at him.

  1. Glad you had a good time.

    I’ve been on the commitee in years past and it’s always a long slow slog up to the con and then a mad rush in the last month to get everything done. It usually works out in the end for those that that get to attend.

    I need to get a new job so I actually have time to do stuff like the concom. I envy your ability to do what you love to do and have time to persue other activities you enjoy.

    –Mav

  2. but did a few things less than well. Fortunately most of what went wrong did so behind the scenes, and the attendees never noticed. Regardless, these are things I know how to fix, provided I can find enthusiastic people who will listen to me.

    What else besides publicity and GOH stuff? And I agree on the publicity stuff.

    I posted myself in the Registration area, commandeered a table, and started dishing out free sketches.

    Oh, that was wonderful. I think we should have artists do it again next year. It made the reg. room kind of the central hang out place of the sym.

    The final banquet was great. I sat with Dan Willis, Bob-is-not-my-wife Defendi, L.E. Modessit, Jerry Pournelle, and a guy whose Utah license plate reads “SFWRITR.” No, I didn’t get his name.

    Oh! That was probably James, Aleta’s husband. (Aleta was the one who did all the cooking and helped hand out awards, etc.) I think that’s all who was at your table.

    And Bob Defendi will forever have that nickname, I think. And you forgot the part where Bob-is-not-your-wife Defendi won the princess tiara!!! THAT was the absolute BEST part of last night. And he even put it on.

    And Jerry likes Firefly??? Okay, I have a newfound like of the guy. Anyone who likes Firefly has got to be cool.

    Yay for coming back next year!

    1. What else besides publicity and GOH stuff? And I agree on the publicity stuff.
      Those are the biggies. Everything else is window-dressing. Solve the marketing problem (it’s not publicity… it’s MARKETING. Learn to smile confidently when you say that word. It’s not blasphemy) and many of the other problems will take care of themselves. For instance, with proper word-of-mouth from this year’s Concom, you could double the size of concom next year. This means more warm bodies to throw at problems you can solve with warm bodies, and a deeper talent pool for solving problems that require actual skill sets. I could give you a list of things I’d handle differently (little stuff, like fooding the Green Room, and laying out the Reg Room) but it’s pointless to haggle over that until the marketing problem has been solved, and you’re staffed for overkill.

      One thing that was as close to perfection as I’ve yet seen: The Sessions. You did the session schedule like a class schedue, and you had proctors signalling the 5-minute warnings — WITHOUT FAIL. The session schedule for a particular room was on the door of the room, and the only changes I was aware of were a few cancellations. Many cons treat the panels as a “we do it ’cause we think we’re supposed to,” and then putting all their focus on the dealers, gaming, and cosplay. The fact that those things are de-emphasized at LTUE is one reason the panels are so excellent. Oh, that and the fact that Students and Faculty know how to organize things so they feel like “school.” 🙂

      I think we should have artists do it again next year.
      Yup. This is something that could be scheduled, two artists at a time, or maybe just one at a time. It’ll draw crowds (rimshot) and it’ll really show off the talent at the show. You could also do a Comic-Jam, where all the webtoonists take turns adding panels to a big sheet of bristol. The end result is always worthless storywise, but the cartoonists have a great time with it, and it’s fun to watch it unfold.

      Mostly, though, I like commandeering a table and doing the sketch thing myself. Remember that term I shared with you, “hijack marketing?” ZING. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be happy sharing the spotlight, mind you. I’m just pointing out that whether or not it gets scheduled, me sketching stuff will always happen.

      (Especially at conventions where I can charge a few bucks for the marker-art [emote: greed])

      That was probably James, Aleta’s husband.
      James was on my left. I’m talking about the guy sitting to my right, between me and Dan. I got the license plate serendipitously when I noticed it on my way home, and passed him to see who was driving. It wasn’t James (and James would still have been cleaning up when I left, what with being married to Alita Of The Catering.)

      Re: the princess tiara… that WAS good. I hadn’t forgotten it. I was just too tired last night to write about it. The best part there was Jerry’s comment: “I’ll always remember you THIS way.”

      –Howard

      1. Hi Howard! This is Rebecca, your friendly LTUE art track head. XD

        You were a fantastic guest, thank you again for coming and doing such a wonderful and enjoyable job. ^^
        We will very joyfully have you back. 🙂

        I’m graduating and won’t be head of the art track next year, and I don’t know who will be, so you’ll have to talk to them about setting up artists in the registration room, and Comic-jams. 🙂 I know Jeanette could do it, but as for myself, most of us young webartists would be really intimidated to draw on demand in front of people. 0.o But it is most definitely something I should learn. Perhaps you can do a workshop on how to do that, and get every artist at the workshop to start drawing? 🙂

      2. This means more warm bodies to throw at problems you can solve with warm bodies,

        (We take cold bodies too. Shhh.)

        like fooding the Green Room,

        Like, there wasn’t enough in there? I don’t know if this is a chicken and egg thing, as in, not many people go in there so we don’t put much food in there, or is that the reason many people don’t go in there.

        and laying out the Reg Room)

        What would you have done differently?

        You did the session schedule like a class schedue, and you had proctors signalling the 5-minute warnings — WITHOUT FAIL.

        Yay!! I’m glad to hear the gofers did that so well. I’m so very pleased to hear that.

        The fact that those things are de-emphasized at LTUE is one reason the panels are so excellent. Oh, that and the fact that Students and Faculty know how to organize things so they feel like “school.” 🙂

        LOL, you do have a very good point there. Yes, there is definitely a different feel about the panels here than at any con I’ve been to. Not that I end up attending many panels at cons. …And that just goes to prove your point. They’re not as good and always seem very de-emphasized.

        I’m talking about the guy sitting to my right, between me and Dan. I got the license plate serendipitously when I noticed it on my way home,

        I know who was sitting there, I just can’t remember his face! Or his name. Darn.

        The best part there was Jerry’s comment: “I’ll always remember you THIS way.”

        LOL! I didn’t hear that. That’s so great.

    1. Yeah, it didn’t even occur to me until today that we had a whole PILE of webtoonists, and never did a comic-jam, a sketch-swap, or nuffin like that. You’d think with three Comic-Cons under my belt I’d remember little details like that.

      *sigh*

      –Howard

  3. I’m the one with the SFWRITR license plate. (I’m guessing you were in the lime-green VW with the SCHLOCK plate.) The name’s Eric James Stone. I’m one of the authors sharing a table of contents with your sister-in-law in All the Rage This Year.

    You did a great job with your Schlock Mercenary presentation. As a result, I’ve been looking through your archives, starting from the beginning and I’ve finished off the year 2000 so far. Very funny.

    1. Nancy sent us a copy of that anthology and I read your story. It’s a fun one. Howard hasn’t had a chance to read the anthology yet, he’s been too busy drawing until his hand falls off. Keep up the good work.

    2. Good thing I read the comments

      I was about to post that I knew the guy, good thing I read the comments. I work with eric.

      Good to know there is another schlock fan here now 🙂

  4. Uhm. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be cracking up now over the Donner Party comment. My sense of humor appears to tending towards the cheerfully morbid tonight.

    1. Here at the college I attend, there’s a dorm named Donner. I gather it’s not uncommon to use the dorm name when a group of them go out for pizza and need a name for the waiting-for-a-table list.

    1. Hell yeah 🙂 Here’s a spooky thought…imagine Schlock as a muppet? A muppet with a really nice ominously humming plasma cannon? 🙂 The sheer pleasant image that places in my mind will warm me nicely. ~LOL~

  5. What an interesting name. It caught my attention because “Life, the universe, and everything” is also a first year unit at my university, although not one I took, someone I have regretted since 😛

  6. “Men, if you are ever arguing with your wife and discover that you are right, apologize immediately.”

    That’s a quote right out of Heinlein’s “Number of the Beast”.

    But since Pournelle and Heinlien were friends, this is not surprising.

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