Prepping For Balticon: How Do I Do This Again?

2 years ago, when we still thought the pandemic was a matter of weeks, I got conned into running social media for Balticon, Baltimore’s 4-day celebration of everything science fiction and fantasy. While I’d attended the convention for several years, and I’d worked on other cons, I’d never worked this one before. Now? They’ve added publicity under my purview as well. While I’ve got 2 virtual Balticons under my belt, things are going to look a lot different this year.

We’re going to do a 4-day convention, online AND in-person. So I’m not gonna be sitting at my desk, alone, obsessively responding to every chat or message on every platform, while streaming videos. I’m going to be trying to keep up with everything while attending stuff in person!

I don’t kid myself that my department is critical to the flow of events at the convention. Social media and publicity can only do something if the algorithms actually show stuff to the people who are actually interested. But, if I can do a little more to make any single panel or event run smoother, if I can help people find out about stuff they might have missed, I’ll consider it a win.

What To Pack?

The personal stuff:

For suitcase #1

  • 4 days of clothing/costumes, toiletries, and vitamins
  • A notebook, pens, business cards
  • Snacks, drinks, and a bottle opener
  • pretty lanyard
  • my vax card and IDs
  • sunglasses
  • my foam roller
  • my woodcraft dragon for the art show!
  • folder with some poetry, a short story of mine, my opening chapter/synopsis (just in case)
  • masks: pretty ones to layer with surgical masks, plus my see-through one for paneling/talking to those who lip read
  • portable phone charger — that I still need to charge

The live-streaming stuff

In my shoulder bag

  • My laptop and cables
  • my wireless mouse (because forget touchpads!)
  • webcam
  • microphone
  • lights
  • laptop stand
  • Shoulder-bag

The con stuff

In suitcase #2 (and a bag for the drinks)

  • non-alcoholic drinks for my First Timers and Friends Social Hour (and snacks? we’ll see)
  • coloring books and coloring pencils for my Crafting and Coloring Chillax-athon
  • puzzles to loan to the Quiet Room
  • clothing and craft supplies for the C3 (costume contest challenge)
  • my air filter (to use at parties, and maybe loan to the con in between?)
  • folders for press kits
  • design and print signs for my events
  • painter’s tape (to hold up my signs)

What to do (week of)?

For the Con

  • Final ad push
  • Last pre-con newsletter
  • Design graphics and schedule updates and big-ticket items the socials
  • Prep Outreach Committee signups
  • Final staff meeting and updates
  • Finalize 10+ documents
  • Coordinate with press
  • Monitor/respond to all the social media channels and inboxes
  • Prep stuff for Balticon 57 announcements
  • Run Zoom Host training

For Me

  • Check out the schedule for stuff I want to attend
  • Try not to volunteer to fill all the staff openings (but get cashier trained for registration)
  • Do my weekly author spotlight, blog/vlog post, and prep Friday’s post
  • Schedule my own social media ‘where to find me’ posts, or I’ll forget
  • Play with Catticus and make sure he’s set up for success while I’m gone
  • Get a massage Wednesday night, because my neck isn’t doing great
  • Schedule a family visit in the wrong direction, because timing is everything
  • Water my plants
  • Buy parking
  • Get gas

I know I’m forgetting something! What do you do to prepare for a trip and/or convention? Anything I’m forgetting?

1 Comment

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s