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Presented by: Martin Schafer, Victor Raymond, and Erik Baker
For: The MinnStF Board of Directors, and the Minicon 31 & 32 Executive Committees
The three of us represent a fairly broad range of time, as far as Minicon work experience is concerned. Between us, we have nearly thirty years of working on the convention above the gopher/badger level, and two of the three of us have been Executive Committee members. The strength of our bid is the range and diversity of our personal make-up. Martin clearly has a sense of the long-term history and traditions of the convention; Victor has been active in making more recent changes to the convention; Erik is a part of the valuable "up and coming" cadre of younger fans. Together, we form a decent team to run Minicon 33.
Ahem. Fun is one of the things we stand for, but there are other themes we'd like to stress as a part of our bid. Together, we hope they provide a good idea of how we want the convention to run.
Continuity: There have been a lot of changes made to Minicon over the past several years. Most of them have been very good, a few have proven to be mistakes. Rather than introducing a whole new set of changes, we'd like to emphasize continuity between previous Minicons and this one. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Fun: What we have noticed is that working on Minicon has gotten to be less fun than in the past. We want to do something about this. Whether it's cutting down on the length of meetings, or having them over an outdoor bar-b-que, or making sure that people are getting the support they need, we'll try things to ensure that the committee is having a good time making Minicon a reality. ""If we aren't having any fun, we're doing something wrong."
Programming must not suck: Minicon has an amazing reputation for being a great party to go to; we want to add the attraction of truly exceptional programming to make the convention complete. We expect that we'll be building on the great work being done this year (and hopefully next) by Anna Bliss, Jody Worl, and Stephanie Lindorff. "There should be at least two programming items each hour that you absolutely cannot miss."
Do not get spread too thin: It is difficult enough to ensure that all of the convention's basic needs are met, there is no need to add on lots and lots of new commitments. We'll be watching this very closely, and setting priorities as we work with the committee before the convention. "If we can't do something well, we might not want to do it at all."
Science fiction, fantasy and their related fandoms are the focus of the convention: It's become fairly clear that Minicon could be considered the Upper Midwest Alternative Culture Festival. We'd like to refocus the convention on its original core concept: science fiction, fantasy and their related fandoms. We're pretty sure that this means no mainstage music show, and a careful look at things like the rave and the drum jam. "It's all very well and good, but what does it have to do with science fiction?"
These constitute the broad themes of our bid. By starting fairly early, and making sure that we consult with the convention committee and MinnStF, we hope that a stable and dynamic convention will be the result.
Besides our themes there are some specific matters we want to address as a part of our bid.
Again, we expect that further refinements will result over time, therefore this is just a beginning list. We are particularly interested in what specific issues the Board of Directors would like us to look at as we begin planning Minicon 33.
We're pretty concerned about this. In particular, two of the three of us are responsible for major departments for Minicon 32, and that made us pause. Frankly, Erik and Victor are planning on doing their best to recruit and train people to take their places in Parties and Hotel, starting this year.
Along with a sense of caution, we all feel that Minicon needs continuity, and that is what persuaded us to make this bid. Even so, we've spent some time talking to other people, notably department heads and members of the current Minicon committee, and they have been very supportive, for the most part.
Finally, we are fairly confident of our ability to work together as an Executive Committee, and to work with the rest of the committee. As a troika, we tend to operate by consensus, and respect each other's opinions.
In addition to ourselves, we've recruited a few people to help us out already:
Glenn Tenhoff: Glenn has agreed to be our Budget Manager. Basically, his job will be to work with department heads on their budgets, and work on setting up financial controls. Glenn will be working with the Minicon Treasurer to keep an eye on expenditures, and try to catch things before we break the bank. We'd like to call him our Chief Financial Officer, but he's not sure that's an appropriate title.
Lydia Nickerson: Lydia unwisely volunteered of her own free will before we could stop her P she would like to be our Administrative Assistant. "I'm not interested in making decisions P I'm not very good at that P but I am interested in making sure that decisions can get made." Lydia will be keeping track of minutes and timelines, and reminding everyone (ourselves included) of what our responsibilities are, and when we said we would do things.
Along with Glenn and Lydia, we've had discussions with some of the present committee, and most reactions have been positive. Given that we hope to retain as many competent department heads as possible in their present positions, we believe that we have a broad cross-section of support within the committee.
Outside of the current Minicon Committee, we've also had a pretty decent response. We'd like it quite a bit if we could get some fannish sorts and previous committee members involved again, but that will depend on how much fun we have in running things. So we're planning on having a LOT of fun P that'll also attract people who never been involved in Minicon before.
Lastly, we had a pretty good idea of the qualities we're looking for in department heads:
Yes. We believe that Minicon has the inertia to keep growing modestly. Given that it is a large convention already, and that it is the fund-raiser for MinnStF, we feel that the best thing to do is to make it the best large convention it can be. With that in mind, we plan on referring back to the work of the Long-Range Planning Task Force, and gather current opinions as well about where Minicon is going, and hopefully report back to the Board any meaningful results. Should the Board have any suggestions about how we should approach this, we would be very willing to listen.