Words from the President of FenSF


FenSF, Inc [the Fans Educational Network for Science Fiction], is a nonprofit organization devoted to teaching individuals how to promote and run amateur science fiction and gaming conventions. In furtherance of our educational goals, we sponsor a yearly amateur science fiction/fantasy convention called MarsCon, conduct convention training sessions, provide outreach and assistance to other fan-run conventions, and engage in fund raising activities to raise money for convention efforts and increase public awareness of amateur science fiction and gaming conventions in general.

Each year, the FenSF board looks for leadership proposals from fans like you who have an interest in running MarsCon. It is the duty of FenSF to award leadership for MarsCon to a core group of volunteers. To give you a clearer idea of what leading the convention entails, we have provided detailed information on these subjects:

We hope that this information is helpful to you and that, at the very least, it encourages you to volunteer and become more active in MarsCon and other amateur science fiction conventions in the future.

Time Line for MarsCon Leadership Proposals

Using MarsCon 2018 as an example, the approximate time line for submitting proposals, considering them, and awarding leadership is as follows:

May 2016:
First heads up for letting bids for MarsCon 2018
June 2016:
Let bids for 2018; Bidders assemble leadership teams
July 2016:
FenSF board reviews leadership proposals for MarsCon 2018
Aug 2016:
Award leadership for MarsCon 2018
Sept-Jan, 2017:
MarsCon 2018 Exec starts to assemble convention
Jan 2017:
Fix Guests of Honor and other details so that MarsCon 2018 may be advertised at MarsCon 2017
Feb-Mar, 2017:
MarsCon 2017 happens; Registration process for MarsCon 2018 begins
Feb-Mar, 2018:
MarsCon 2018 happens; Registration process for MarsCon 2019 begins
Etc, etc, ad infinitum.

Leadership Proposal Bidding Criterion

Purpose: The information below is designed to assist you in creating a leadership proposal or bid to run a future amateur science fiction convention: MarsCon.

Philosophy: We wish to create an inviting, fun atmosphere in which various aspects of science fiction and fantasy may be promoted, discussed, and enjoyed. We need to both learn and teach the various jobs required to produce such a convention. It is the duty of the Con Chair (person) to do the following: Produce a profit for the corporation to be rolled into subsequent years; Document all meetings and teaching activities; Keep track of the funds; And at all times bring honesty, honor and dignity to MarsCon and FenSF.

How to Start: You may ask anybody to be on your convention committee (ConCom). Several bidders may ask the same person to be in any position. If multiple bidders ask the same person to be on their committee, even in the same capacity, so much the better. All people on ConCom are volunteers, but you must ask everyone and get at least a verbal commitment. We are looking for people skills, organizational and planning skills, and leadership.

Required: The following MINIMUM information, which sets forth the core of the Convention Executive Committee, is required on all leadership proposals:

Con Chair (Name and Address) [The final authority]
Treasurer (Name)
Hotel Liaison (Name)
Operations and Safety Chief (Name)

Optional: The following information is desirable, but optional for all leadership proposals:

Vice Chair (Name and Address)
Assistant Treasurer (Name)
Assistant Hotel Liaison (Name)
Assistant Operations (Name)
All other ConCom members you may have established at the time of the bid.

Other Information: A leadership proposal should also contain the following information

Convention Name:
Convention Theme:
Proposed theme, if known
Convention Date:
Proposed date if known
Hotel if known
Time Line:
Meeting and publication schedule, based on 18 month cycle
Preliminary budget based on last years of budgets
New Events:
Extravaganzas or special events. If special events require extra funding, how is this to be done.
Proposed Guests:
Types of Guests, number, specific names if known
Statement or Essay:
Why I want to run the convention. (This is your opportunity to give us some idea of your style, creativity, and enthusiasm. Style counts. Have fun with it.)

Attach any other pertinent information you feel will help us make a decision.

Submitting your proposal: Leadership proposals must be delivered to the FenSF Board. The preferred method of delivery is to send by mail or deliver in person at an official meeting three hard copies of your proposal.

List of Essential Volunteers for Running a Convention

We've touched upon a few of these already, but here is a more comprehensive list of department volunteers which we consider important or essential in running MarsCon or similar conventions:

Executive Committee: [Other ConCom may also serve on Exec]

Con Chair
The con leader and final authority for the convention. Responsible for creating an inviting, fun atmosphere during planning meetings and during the convention itself where various aspects of science fiction and fantasy will be promoted, discussed, and enjoyed. Duties: Prepare for and run ConCom Meetings; Produce a profit for the corporation to be rolled into subsequent years; Document all meetings and teaching activities; Keep track of the funds; And at all times bring honesty, honor and dignity to MarsCon and FenSF.
Vice Chair
Works with and supports the Con Chair in all duties. Functions as Con Chair when the Con Chair is off duty or absent.
Manages the budget for the convention year, pays the bills, handles deposits, and balances the books.

ConCom [Includes Exec as well as those listed here]:

Anime Coordinator
Obtains permission to show various anime titles at the convention, develops a schedule of showings, attends to the projector, and monitors the film room during anime showings.
Art Show Director
Sets rules and guidelines for the convention Art Show, communicates with artists and arranges for entries and mail-in art, manages room setup and functions during the convention.
AV/Tech Head
Manages and sees to all audio-visual needs for the convention panels and Main Stage events during the convention.
Charity Auction
Keeps track and takes charge of donations, transports donated items to the convention, manages volunteer staff consisting of auctioneers, runners, and money collectors during the auction.
Responsible for maintaining current ConCom list, monitoring incoming e-mail messages & correspondence and forwarding to the appropriate departments. Prepares ConCom Meeting minutes and drafts convention updates for posting on the web site.
Con Suite Coordinator
Manages the convention hospitality suite, orders supplies (i.e., soda pop, popcorn, serving utensils, etc...), arranges menu, decides upon a theme for the room, decorates the room, monitors the room during the convention, maintains cleanliness and replenishes supplies whenever needed.
Dance Head
Develops play list, develops a theme, and DJ's the Dance.
Dealers Room Manager
Communicates with grandfathered-in and new dealers, coordinates all dealer registrations, arranges for room set-up, responds to requests for information about Dealers Room, finalizes list of dealers for publication, and manages the Dealers Room during the convention.
Prepares scripts, rehearses for, and performs in Main Stage events such as Opening & Closing Ceremonies.
Fan Faire Wrangler
Arranges a time and place for an event where area fan clubs table and share information about their groups during the convention, coordinates the setup with the Hotel Liaison, and responds to inquiries from fan groups interested in participating in the event.
Filk Room Manager
Manages the Filk Room and participates in the filky fun. "Filk" may be simply defined as folk music for science fiction fen.
Film/Video Room Manager
Obtains permission to show various films and videos at the convention, develops a schedule of showings, attends to the projector, and monitors the film room.
Looks for and participates in activities geared toward raising extra funds for the convention.
Gaming Chair
Recruits gaming volunteers and works with them to develop a game schedule which may be advertised on the web site and posted at the convention. Manages Gaming Suites.
Guest of Honor Liaison
One or two are assigned to each Guest of Honor. Assists Guests in developing ideas for programming events and finalizing their convention schedules, helps Guests with transportation to and from the convention or greets them upon arrival, assists with hotel check-in and check-out, orients Guests to the hotel, introduces them to key volunteers, assists Guests with getting to programming events on time, assists Guests with their autograph sessions when needed, sees that Guests have sufficient access to meals and rest and that their questions are being directed to the appropriate department volunteers throughout the convention.
Hotel Liaison
Acts as liaison between convention and hotel, negotiates hotel contracts, and arranges set-up for all function rooms.
Works with literary guests and programming chair to develop a schedule of events to be held in the room during the convention, provides snacks, creates an atmosphere conducive to relaxed discussions, and monitors room needs.
LAN Coordinator
Organizes volunteers and secures a sufficient number of computers to be networked together at the convention for local area network gaming. Manages the LAN Gaming Room.
Solicits paid advertisements for inclusion in the Program Book and Progress Reports.
Masquerade Director
Develops rules, registration forms and judging criteria for the Masquerade costume contest, arranges for prizes, and coordinates the Masquerade Rehearsal and the Masquerade during the con. Works with Extravaganzas and AV/Tech Head.
MN Munchie Movevent
Provides busy convention volunteers (who contribute toward the cost) with a quick source of nutrition during the convention.
Music Room Manager
Works with musicians and singers to develop a schedule of performances and events to be held in the room during the convention, and monitors the Music Room.
Operations Chief
Keeps a time line for development of the convention during the planning stages. Coordinates training of Operations and Safety volunteers. At the convention, responds to all trouble calls and requests for information. Gets all messages to the appropriate departments. Maintains a log of all problems, solutions, and notable events which occur during the convention.
Parties Liaison
Communicates with and assigns rooms for groups and individuals who plan to throw parties at the convention.
Programming Chair
Solicits volunteers and ideas for programming and develops program schedule for the convention.
Programming Room Czar
Manages and monitors a particular programming room during the convention. May introduce speakers, warn speakers when their time is nearly up, refresh water, and see that the room is kept tidy.
Actively promotes the convention at other gatherings; prepares and delivers press kits about the convention to news media.
Publications Chair
Responsible for layout, design, preparation and distribution of flyers, posters, registration forms, Progress Reports, the Program Book, and all other official convention publications. Coordinates ad exchanges with other conventions and sells ad space. Works with Promotions and Marketing to promote the convention.
Registration & Database Administrator
Collects registrations, delivers collected fees to the Treasurer, delivers information requests and information on new volunteers to the appropriate departments, and maintains records on convention attendees.
Safety Head
Enforces policies to assure the safety and security of all convention members, responds to trouble calls, trains and manages safety staff.
Sales Chair
Sets prices for old and new convention merchandise, primarily con t-shirts; Advertises and handles sales of the merchandise at the convention.
Sciences Chair
Arranges for exhibits and manages the Science Room during the convention, coordinates hard sciences events with the Programming Chair, investigates possibilities for Sciences GoHs.
Videographer / Con Photographer
Takes video footage of programming events to share with other ConCom who missed out; takes at-the-con photos which may be later posted to the web site.
Volunteer Badgers
Check and insure that only registered members are permitted entry into particular convention functions.
Volunteers Head
Before the convention, contacts registered members who have expressed an interest in volunteering. During the convention, seeks additional volunteers to fulfill the needs of each department, keeps track of volunteer hours, and arranges for and provides perks to volunteers who have earned them.
Web Master
Manages all content on the web site, updates old information, performs edits, and coordinates domain registration.

*Wherever possible, department chairs and volunteers should have sub-heads or seconds.

Please feel free to contact the FenSF Board if you are interested in submitting a leadership proposal or if you have any questions concerning FenSF, Inc. You may reach us via the methods listed below.

Yours in Fandom,
Arthur "Artie" Johnson,
President of FenSF, Inc.
The folks that bring you the best little con in Fandom.