Even though I had an entire week off from work this February, I failed to do anything for I Never, which in itself is something I’ve never done, so you’ll have to make do with this late meta post that has nothing to do with I Never.
The reason for my lack of time last month is of course Hearth’s Warming Con 2016. After the resounding success of HWCon 2015, we came back for a second wind and with an expanded version. Instead of the evening + Saturday we did last year, this year we extended it to an evening + weekend. Needless to say, this had its impact on the amount of work required. Even with the experience we got from last year, there was enough to be done to fill more than a full-time job.
But we did it, and judging from the first responses, we did it pretty well. Of course, there were many things that could have gone better and we have again learned new lessons that we can take to the future. In the end, almost any event will have its struggles. The important thing is that most of these problems stay within the organization and do not impact the visitor’s experience. It seems we managed to contain the chaos sufficiently.
So what was my experience of Hearth’s Warming Con 2016?
For me, the real deal started on Friday evening, when we set up for the pancake eve in the Pancake Pavilion. As we expected, this evening was fairly simple to setup, requiring us only to check for tickets and to enjoy our own dinner. Just like when we visited with the committee before the con, I took a Dame Blanche pancake, which was again divine. This day, I also had the pleasure of meeting M.A. Larson, who’s not only an interesting guest for what he does on the show, but also a great guy to simply have around. He interacted with his fans very well and people were very happy he attended the convention. But most of all, I enjoyed seeing some friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Stargaze, from Germany, prepared a care package with some goodies for our upcoming child, having had a daughter himself a few years ago. If you’re reading this, thank you so much again!
Saturday was the big day. I got up at 6:15 and left the hotel for the venue at 6:45. From that moment on, I was pretty much working all the time. Bringing items to the convention, picking up M.A. Larson and fixing any small issues that arose throughout the day: the life of a committee member is one of running around non-stop. It was probably around 18:30 that I found the time to sit down and eat dinner. During this break, I listened in on the party that was starting. I think MC Arch, or Oceanbolt as he is known in the Dutch brony community, is worth mentioning here, because he really nailed it. I wasn’t just surprised, I was overwhelmed. Though rap is not my type of music, he does know how to get the crowd going.
Anyhoo, after the party I took to hosting pony pictionary, which basically meant I had to hold a whiteboard up for people to draw on. It wasn’t very crowded, but we did have a lot of laughs. And just before heading home, I ended up assisting a group of bronies changing a flat tire. Not what I expected to do as committee, but we’re there to help in any way we can.
Sunday was easier. We had our setup still from Saturday, so we didn’t have to do much about that. The Sunday events largely took care of themselves. It was quieter, because some people had a long night of partying. And in general, it felt as if the staff got into the gist of the convention and were cruising on auto-pilot.
Because of this, we had more free time. I even managed to join the cosplay dating show, where I had to play Apple Bloom who tried to score a date. Turns out Apple Bloom is too young to date, and Baree playing Twilight Sparkle got to be the lucky winner. The event was a big success though, and I’d like to see it again.
Another highlight of that day was the Skype call with Claire Corlett (Sweetie Belle) and Chantal Strand (Diamond Tiara). I was on duty as audience question screener, so I managed to follow a lot of the panel. Everyone was enjoying the panel, and even more so when M.A. Larson sat down behind the laptop to ask them some questions.
But time flies, and almost straight after the Skype call, the con came to an end. We’ve been working for a whole year to put down three days of fun, and I’d say we did a great job. People were happy. People were sad it was over. And even now I see people online talking about how much they enjoyed it.
I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I mostly expected to feel relieved after the convention, but there is also a big part of after-con blues. Despite the enormous amounts of stress, I did enjoy it a lot.
Still, the convention being over opens up new opportunities. I’ll be working on the finalization of this year’s Hearth’s Warming Con, but there are other things on my path as well. I’ll be a dad soon, and I’m going to dedicate a lot of my time to that. Maybe there’ll be a next Hearth’s Warming Con as well. Maybe not. Time will tell.
Until then, I’m going to enjoy the quiet.