Discon 1 Guide: Summary

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[This is Chapter 11 from George Scithers' Con-Committee Chairman's Guide, the story of Discon I, the 1963 Worldcon. Retyped in 2001 by Tim Illingworth, from a copy of the original 1965 publication.]


11.01 The first thing you must do: get a hotel which has enough meeting space, enough bedrooms, reasonable prices, and a management that's interested in having you. If you don't have these in your town, forget it. If you do, you've got your biggest problem solved.

11.02 Set up a program, but don't try to stuff too much into the time available. For a big, high pressure con, consider a Friday thru Monday con. For a small con with few speakers available, consider doing practically nothing on Monday.

11.03 Keep track of what you've spent and what you expect to spend; what you've received and expect to receive; and consult the balance before spending for anything new. When in doubt, don't spend. With the $3 membership fee (I'm talking about North American cons, now) you can expect to break comfortably ahead of even. With a $2 fee, you'd sweat blood.

11.04 Don't depend on the auction to balance your books. It can be a comfortable source of extra money, for -- as an example -- a set of Proceedings. And don't try to sell too many items in the time available.

11.05 If you want Proceedings, ask every speaker who normally works from a written speech for his manuscript, and ask beforehand. Even if he just works from notes, try to get them; they'll at least help in spelling hard words.

11.06 If the price of the banquet is too high, too few people will come. Unfortunately, there are no really cheap banquets available. As a last resort, you can do without a banquet.

11.07 Arrange things so that the costumes at the costume ball can be seen and announced; many costumes depend for their effectiveness on having their names announced. A band isn't necessary, but it helps, especially if they're set to play appropriate fanfares for the various costumes.

11.08 Publish a good set of progress reports and program book -- don't be ashamed to put out a good, legible job of mimeography if you can't afford offset printing -- but don't work yourself to death over the program book before the con begins.

11.09 If the auction material includes junk, separate out the junk and store, give, or throw it away. Program time is too valuable to waste on trying to sell an item worth one cent or two.

11.10 And, finally: if each member of the con committee feels the other members of the committee are working harder than he, and that he ought to do a bit more to catch up with his share, then you've got a successful committee working on a sure-to-be-successful con.


Publication 1965
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