GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ The Genesis of The Imaginarium Convention- Part V: Final Stretch: the week before | I Smell Sheep

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Genesis of The Imaginarium Convention- Part V: Final Stretch: the week before

Ever wonder what goes into creating a convention? Stephen Zimmer has agreed to take us through the steps. He has agreed to do a six week series about what it took to put together Imaginarium which will make its debut this September. 

Final Stretch: the week before 

It is just one week out from the debut of the creative-writing centered Imaginarium Convention! The couple of weeks leading up to a convention are quite the maelstrom. All kinds of things are being finalized, involving a mountain of details and confirmations pertaining to everything from the programming, to events, to the venue itself.

On the programming side, Susan Roddey has been coordinating with over 130 guests whose collective schedules involve coverage over 140 workshops and panel sessions. Each of them has an individual itinerary, and there are always questions, changes, a few guests having to cancel due to emergency situations, new ones coming in as replacements in the last hour.

The juggling and slotting of a group this large is no easy task in the final stretch. With a print program involved, it is important to get the schedule as accurate as possible as of the deadline for the printing run, in addition to setting up mechanisms for up to the minute updates. For Imaginarium that will involve the website, a PDF, and an app for mobile phones that will be kept current throughout the event to make sure that attendees have the best information possible.

The programming schedule is not the only schedule or list of assignments that has to be finalized in the final approach to the convention. The final grid of table space assignments for the vendor hall has to be completed, the gaming schedule, involving hosts, types of games, and time slots, has to be done, the film festival screening schedule has to be finalized and judges coordinated with, volunteers have to be assigned and scheduled, and there are details involving a fair number of events ranging from many book launch parties to a film premiere to the Saturday night Masquerade.

In addition, a lot of physical items have to be brought in for the event. There are customized event banners, lanyards, the program (a 60 pager, full-size, on glossy paper, no easy feat!), film festival award trophies, t-shirts for the staff, t-shirts for the convention itself, audio equipment, projection gear, menu plans for the award banquet, badges for vendors, guests, and attendees, and much more. Most of this converges in the final stretch and it takes a lot of checking and cross-checking to make sure that everything is accurate and looking good.

Meanwhile, there is the final media and publicity push, which ranges from outreach to regional media to online promotion. Every bit counts, from tweets and Facebook posts about workshop signups, film festival screenings and Masquerade information, to blog posts featuring guests, to link sharing for everything from convention registration to hotel reservations.

As you can see from the above paragraphs, the final stretch leading to a convention is an exercise in mass details. The goal is to make sure that everything possible is tacked down, as live events have things that happen that you do not expect or plan for. The better you have prepared everything else in advance, the better prepared you are to deal with the surprises that inevitably emerge throughout a convention weekend.

At this point, we are seeing the details setting into place and are looking forward to next weekend’s kickoff. Our goal is to deliver attendees a very rewarding experience on many levels when they participate in Imaginarium 2014! Thank you for following along with this mini-series of posts involving the development of Imaginarium and we hope that it has given you some insights into the preparation of a convention.

About the Author:
Born in Denver, Colorado, Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning fantasy author and filmmaker based out of Lexington, Kentucky.

Stephen has two series being published through Seventh Star Press. One is the epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series, which was launched with Crown of Vengeance (winner of the 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel). Book 2, Dream of Legends, was released in January of 2011. The other is the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga. The Rising Dawn Saga launched in spring of 2009 with The Exodus Gate (nominated for a 2009 Pluto Award). The next step was taken in June of 2010 with The Storm Guardians. Highly prolific, Stephen is adhering to a release schedule that sees a new book approximately every seven months!

As a filmmaker, Stephen has credits in fantasy and horror, including the supernatural thriller Shadows Light (feature), The Sirens (horror short film), and Swordbearer (fantasy short film). Swordbearer debuted in early 2011 and is currently being exhibited on the convention and festival circuit. Featuring a special appearance by former WWE wrestler Al Snow, the film is based upon the H. David Blalock novel Ascendant.

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