theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
theengineer

Polaris

Better late then never...

I thought Polaris went well this year. It really was the Michael Hogan con, as both his Guest of Honor speeches were great (and he closed off the Sunday afternoon with a rousing "So Say We All!!"), and he was the first person ever to accept a Constellation Award in person (Claudia Black almost was, but she had to fly out Saturday afternoon and left a taped acceptance). Apparently he joined everyone in the parking lot Saturday evening for stargazing as well, which I'm so sorry I missed. He really rocked.

Claudia only had one GoH speech, but it was good, and Matt Frewer was just great. David Hewlett was just there for the day as well, but he was a lot more fun then I expected him to be. He was up for the same award Michael Hogan was, and when Michael won David ran up there first to try and get it, only to be thrown off the stage by Michael. (Seriously! There was hang time when David was in the air! I was worried about the con insurance.)

The new hotel this year was very linear compared to the Doubletree, it was weird not being in a hotel I knew by heart and I spent about an hour Friday on a recon figuring out where everything was. Overall, I think the space was quite good for Polaris, with the exception that the Dealer's Room was a little small for them, and some tables had to go into the hall, but they didn't interfere with traffic too much. The guest rooms were quite nice (with microwaves) and the hotel directly connect to a mall with a food court with great cheap chinese food. And the hotel cash-and-carry was about 30% cheaper than the Doubletree as well.

I had a problem Friday with panelists just not showing up at two of the panels I attended (audience participation saved the day), but panels Saturday and Sunday went better. Nine or ten panels were cancelled outright at the start of the con as no one had signed up for them (they were kept on the schedule as it was thought that someone would). At the programming feedback session, it was a common answer to hear "We didn't to this, that, or the other thing because we didn't have enough panelists", but there was no discussion on why that was, or what Polaris could do about it in the future. I didn't do any panels this year because I was taking a year off, but I was never even contacted about the possibility of doing any even though I've done them at Polaris for years. I do think this is something the con has to seriously address.

But the Masquerade and dance were fun. The Constellation Awards went very well indeed, thanks to the very hard work of gurudata, Janet, and others. I think they are really starting to get some traction now, let's hope the rest of the media start waking up to the fact they exist (the toughest thing to make happen).

Our Anime North suite went ok. It was more cramped then anticipated, and there was only one other room party going on on that floor, which cut down on the traffic we had expected, but I think we'll likely do it again next year. But we and the Rochester party got warned from the hotel at 8 PM about "noise", which apparently amounted to people talking.

Star Trek panels about the new movie pretty much amounted to "The new Star Trek is young and hip! But we're old and grouchy! Star Trek should be old and grouchy too!" Believe me, that's not much of an exaggeration. Yes the new movie is a special-effects blockbuster full of plots holes and if shoots continuity comletely dead, but the point of it is to put bums in seats for the next 4-5 years while they crank them out, and get people interested and excited about Star Trek again, which people were absolutely not before. Maybe at the end of the movie cycle we can talk TV series again, but not for a while.


And the Viva bus has it all over the TCC. The stops all come with automated ticket sellers, and GPS hookups to the next buses coming, so you actually get accurate information on how long you'll have to wait. Now that's science fiction!

  • 1
(Deleted comment)
I thought Polaris went well this year. It really was the Michael Hogan con, as both his Guest of Honor speeches were great (and he closed off the Sunday afternoon with a rousing "So Say We All!!"), and he was the first person ever to accept a Constellation Award in person

Actually, the second - Tanya Huff won last year.

when Michael won David ran up there first to try and get it, only to be thrown off the stage by Michael. (Seriously! There was hang time when David was in the air! I was worried about the con insurance.)

I asked Hogan about it afterwards, and the whole thing was improv'd. (But from where I was sitting, I could tell that Hewlett was in complete control of the whole thing - he actually jumped off the stage and Hogan essentially mimed the push.) So there was no need for worry. :)

I had a problem Friday with panelists just not showing up at two of the panels I attended (audience participation saved the day)

Did you fill out a survey? We need to know when people are missing panels. (We try to check, but when we're counting bodies in the rooms, we don't always remember to count the panelists too.)

At the programming feedback session, it was a common answer to hear "We didn't to this, that, or the other thing because we didn't have enough panelists", but there was no discussion on why that was, or what Polaris could do about it in the future.

We do mention the opening of panelist signups every year in TCON News, and we have pages on our website that talk about how one goes about becoming a panelist. Plus, we email everyone in the Programming database every year to let them know when we're ready to take signups for the coming year.

I didn't do any panels this year because I was taking a year off, but I was never even contacted about the possibility of doing any even though I've done them at Polaris for years. I do think this is something the con has to seriously address.

Very odd. As I said above, we email everyone in the database - you should have gotten something. Perhaps we have an out-of-date email address for you. I know that I contacted your brother because he'd pre-registered as a panelist but hadn't signed up, and he told me he had also decided to take a year off.

Star Trek panels about the new movie pretty much amounted to "The new Star Trek is young and hip! But we're old and grouchy! Star Trek should be old and grouchy too!"

Guilty. ;)

Actually, the second - Tanya Huff won last year.

Oops, sorry.

Did you fill out a survey? We need to know when people are missing panels.

I did fill out a feedback form, but it was the general con one, not a programming specific one.

The two panels were "Doctor Who - Matt Smith" (in which one girl showed up, who said she had signed up a week ago as it was a Panel in Peril, the moderator never showed up), and "My Star Trek Includes Vulcan" (where no panelists showed, and two members of the audience jumped up to lead the discussion).

I've had the same email address for a few years now, and Polaris has reached me with it in the past. Maybe me and my brother got mixed up. :-)

Star Trek panels about the new movie pretty much amounted to "The new Star Trek is young and hip! But we're old and grouchy! Star Trek should be old and grouchy too!"

Guilty. ;)

What, you didn't at least think Chris Pine was good eye candy?

The two panels were "Doctor Who - Matt Smith" (in which one girl showed up, who said she had signed up a week ago as it was a Panel in Peril, the moderator never showed up)

The guy who was supposed to moderate joined concom about a month before the con - perhaps there was something going on that prevented him from getting away. I'll have to ask him.

"My Star Trek Includes Vulcan" (where no panelists showed, and two members of the audience jumped up to lead the discussion).

There was only one panelist on that one, and he got dragged out to dinner and didn't notice the time until 20 minutes after the panel's start time. Fortunately the two who jumped in are very good, experienced panelists who are well-versed in Trek, so the panel ended up working out okay.

(The one panelist who was supposed to be there and didn't show up until 15 minutes before the end of the panel is some guy by the name of Sibley. I'll give him hell the next time I see him. ;) )

Seriously, I felt soooo awful about missing most of the panel - it was truly embarrassing. Vickie Kostecki and Jeff Tahmazian saved my ass by taking over.

I've had the same email address for a few years now, and Polaris has reached me with it in the past. Maybe me and my brother got mixed up. :-)

Not likely, but not impossible - we have to enter email addresses manually into the database we've been using. If we switch to the new one that's being developed, assuming it's ready in time (and it looks like it will be), and assuming that the chairs give us permission to use this new one, panelists will be able to sign up for accounts and enter their own information, including scheduling conflicts (ie. "not coming until Saturday", "I want to watch the Masquerade", etc.), so if anything gets missed, or the panelist gets scheduled for a panel after their bedtime, the panelist will only have themselves to blame. :)

What, you didn't at least think Chris Pine was good eye candy?

Until he opened his mouth, sure. ;) I'll admit that he did a pretty good job of portraying Kirk without mimicking Shatner, and Karl Urban nailed DeForest Kelley while still making the character his own. (I saw a couple of instances where he was channeling De's body language perfectly. It was eerie.)

Edited at 2009-07-22 05:46 am (UTC)

You say you announce panelist signups on the webpage, and you contact last year's panelists. Do you also reach out to new people? If not, you have no way of replacing panelists who drop out, so of course your numbers are dwindling.

We do announce the opening of panelist registration in TCON News, which goes out to everyone who has attended the con in the past few years.

But perhaps there's another way that would be more effective - maybe we should think about doing something like a spring picnic where we can schmooze people. Or a winter pubnight (though the panelist pubnights last year didn't go too well - it didn't help that we got the worst snowstorm of the year the first time we tried scheduling it, and only plaidlibrarian and I showed up).

But TCON News doesn't hit new people, and picnics cost money and people points (and still end up inviting the same people). Have you tried figuring out who might be good on panels and, I don't know, asking them if they might want to be on panels?




I schmooze whenever and whomever I can. :)

When I'm working tables at other cons, I often broach the subject of programming to people whom I've seen on panels elsewhere. Plus I'm always trying to convince people I know (which is everybody, apparently :) ) to volunteer. However, many respond that they're too busy enjoying themselves.

I also worked a little harder on the professional angle this year - in addition to the 18 author guests (21 if you count the three cancellations) and our usual forensics guests, we also had several independent filmmakers and four people who worked on the film Repo! The Genetic Opera. I also talked briefly to Mark Askwith about remounting one of Space's "Fandom Forum" shows at the con, but that didn't come to fruition.

Is this your way of telling me that you've not received an invitation to be on panels in the last few years and would like to? ;)

Is this your way of telling me that you've not received an invitation to be on panels in the last few years and would like to? ;)

Well, yes and no. This hasn't been a subtle attempt to find out why you've never asked MEEEEE to be a panelist [sigh, melodramatic pose, sob]. But the fact that you've never asked me, even though you know I've done similar (and once the exact same) panels at other cons, suggests that there are probably other people who you also haven't asked. Or you think I'm a horrible panelist. ;)

I'm assuming it's the former, and that for whatever reason, I'm not on your radar as a potential panelist. So probably I'm not the only one, and there are potential panelists out there who aren't being invited.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account