boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I'm thinking of hosting a storytelling party at Wiscon. A mike for the teller, chairs for the listeners. Refreshments. A big piece of paper to sign up on if you want to tell a story. Is this a good idea? If you were at Wiscon, would you come? How likely would you be to tell a story?

If the storytelling part lasted three hours, and the stories averaged five minutes, plus a minute for changeover, that would be thirty people. That seems like lots?

Have you ever hosted a party at a convention? How much did you spend? How did you decide how much food and drink to have? How did you acquire, prepare, and store said food and drink if you were far from home?

I should decide soon, so there's time to get the word out so people who want to tell a story will have time to prepare one. Should I have a theme?

Any advice is welcome.

Date: 2014-12-25 05:00 am (UTC)
malnpudl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] malnpudl
Never been to Wiscon, and all things considered, I'll probably never get there, so this is an uninformed comment on many levels. I certainly can't offer any advice.

That being said, I think it sounds really cool. I'm a huge fan of The Moth, and for the same reasons I think your idea is kind of brilliant. I think the people who come to Wiscon would have fascinating stories to tell and it would be an equally good place to find an interested and appreciative audience.

I wonder if five minutes is a little short? And even more, whether sixty seconds for changeover is possibly too optimistic? But my only experience comes from business events where the transition between speakers & topics never happened as smoothly or as quickly as one might anticipate. I'd expect at least two minutes, even in a modest room with a modest crowd... but again, just speculating here.

Date: 2014-12-25 11:03 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Bitmapped "dogcow" was subject of Apple's Knowledge Base 13, and appeared in many OS9 print dialogs (dogcow)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
I think it would be very popular. I think you might need to schedule some break time; since parties nominally run six hours, there's room for at least ten minutes quiet in there. The 60-second mic handover is optimistic, unless you have MCs (plural so they can take a rest, too), who will grab the mic, intro the next teller from the 3x5 card they filled out, and then pass the mic to them. Running Autism Timer on an iPad would be helpful.

I've been peripherally involved in the planning & hosting of two WisCon parties. In terms of arranging for drinx & snax, simplify things by conspiring with a Madisonian. We have many grocery stores which cater/deliver as well as restaurants nearby. #1 organizer has to be there at 9pm to orchestrate setup. Handy to have three toting & lifting people to set up buffets and chairs, plus one more for decoration/themes. Plus the MCs, and finally, someone else has to lovingly kick people out at 3am.

The ambient noise level on the WisCon party floors is high, so the mic is crucial. Generally I'd say "go wireless" but I'm concerned a well-lit partygoer would walk away with it. Some parties have moved to 1st floor because of fewer suites on sixth; they would be slightly quieter because fewer parties but louder because bigger rooms. Contact the party chair early with your requirements.

Making Light has a very helpful thread on how to host a party at a con. You do not have to serve alcohol at a party, although many people seem to think so. Not serving booze saves money, although beer can be cheaper than soda.

Two WisCon rules: don't serve alcohol to minors and welcome everyone.

I'm not immediately volunteering because I haven't decided if I'm going this year.

Date: 2014-12-27 12:43 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Cartoon ruler says "You rock" to a cartoon stone who says "you rule!" (rock and rule)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Delighted to be of help. I was struck by just how much work it is coordinating a party. The choices themselves aren't that important -- in this case, people are there to share storytelling, not for a meal -- but there are many choices and many people will be poking you about them.

I would be delighted to hang out with you, before, during, after, or in a parallel universe to WisCon. That sounds like it could be a delightful road trip! You'd share the final approaches of spring as you skim across the northerly states. You could park your car on my never-ticketed-ever street and I'd shepherd you downtown on a bus (or you could spring for a taxi).

Congratulations on suppressing that question; in your shoes I would feel it bubbling up like a plate of bad oysters. /pheh.

I'm also sorry to say that I don't know if I'm going. I thought I'd designed the right approach last year, and ended up bailing halfway through :(

Date: 2014-12-26 12:24 am (UTC)
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
From: [personal profile] sasha_feather
It's a great idea! You can pass the hat to help offset costs if you want to have snacks.

Date: 2014-12-26 01:26 am (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
Just a thought but you might consider forgoing food altogether. You're more likely to get attendees who are actually interested in what's going on, and less milling around. I could be wrong but I don't remember the vid party having food, for example.

Date: 2014-12-27 12:47 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Ultra modern white fabric interlaced to create strong weave (interdependence)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
That's a bold and sensible move! The first vid party had beautiful movie-and-TV-themed cakes to share; cutting them marked the end of the programming and the start of the reasoned discussions.

One could certainly pass out button to everyone who tells a story—and seeding the organizers/helpers with buttons before the party could be an effective advertising tool.
Edited (hmm, the strike tag isn't working. How will I ironize?) Date: 2014-12-27 12:48 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-12-27 09:25 am (UTC)
emceeaich: A close-up of a pair of cats-eye glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] emceeaich
@malnpudl mentioned "The Moth," but what this reminds me of is the old Fray-day events back in the late 1990's (before Zuckerberg and Google ruined everything.)

These were community storytelling events, but the organizers always preloaded the reader queue with good storytellers. What I learned from those is make sure you have drafted 2-3 people who you know will have good stories, appropriate for the audience, and that will set the expectations for others.


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