I have never hosted a convention

Hearth’s Warming Con 2015 has come to pass. Right before and right after, I wrote entries in my physical journal. I will start this blog post with those two entries and complete this post with a more detailed wrap-up. The journal entries have remained completely unedited.

I Never hosted a convention

20-02-2015 time unknown, Melanie / Diederik’s place

It’s about two am and Lena and I are in our bed at Melanie and Diederik’s place. Roughly eleven hours ago, our convention weekend started. We packed the car with sponsor merch, sleeping stuff and a whole bunch of miscellaneous items. And then we drove off.

Our trip was fairly uneventful. We encountered some traffic jams, but nothing major.

The feeling we had though. That was something. Our first stop was at a copy shop in Duiven, where we picked up the con booklets. After that, we made a stop at a nearby McDonalds for a toilet and food break. That’s when the feeling of going on a holiday was strongest and it really made me wan to take a trip with Lena.

As the ride progressed, however, tiredness set in and we became a bit irritable. Luckily, we arrived in one piece, after which we had to run another errand. We decided to regroup at IKEA and have a quick dinner before heading back for more work.

And now, we’re about fourteen hours before the con. There are still things left to be done, but we know what they are and how to do them, so we can do them quickly and efficiently.

Most important now then is sleep. So I’ll put down my pen and get to that.

Long days are coming.


22-2-2015, about 0:30, Melanie / Diederik

And we’re done. Wow. That was something.

Lena and I just finished the very lasts of our tasks for today and are now preparing for bed.

I’m having trouble staying awake.

But wow. What an amazing two days. Words can barely describe it, but we’ve been running, stressing, fixing everything in our path to give everyone a good con experience.

And as far as I can tell, people enjoyed it. It definitely was a big success and I do hope to get to do it again.

Tomorrow will see the second part of the look-back at HWCon, with more details on what happened. And after that will come evaluations and finalizing of the financial matters.

But first, we’re going to sleep in.

I think we have earned it.

Good night!

The (second) day after

Yesterday, I meant to write more about what exactly happened at HWCon, but we slept in, stayed around Melanie and Diederik’s place for a bit, then headed home and just took it easy. Now, let’s head back to Friday morning: the morning before Hearth’s Warming Eve.

There was a lot to be done. Lena and I were tasked with getting a van and picking up some instruments for the Przewalski’s Ponies, a Russian band that was going to play at our convention. That mostly went well, aside from a minor collision, the details of which I can discuss upon request.

So,  we made our way to the venue, where I started unloading the van, while Lena headed back to Melanie and Diederik to help transport stuff to the venue. That last part took some more time than expected, and by the time they arrived, we were getting pretty close to opening. Fortunately, we had some very useful volunteers who helped us set up in a very short time, and with only a fifteen-minute delay, we opened the ticket registration.

Registration went a bit hectic at first, but once we got the hang of it, we were able to smoothly process our evening guests. About half an hour later, the fifty or so people who had been waiting to go inside were let in and were enjoying some of the games we set up, or simply having a chat with others.

Now, as tends to happen at conventions where I have this kind of responsibility, I don’t partake in many of the activities. I prefer to stick around the key areas of operation to make sure everything there stays in order, and I’m alright with not really following the program. Therefore, I missed our story teller (but I heard that people enjoyed it very much) and the follow-up performances and party. Nevertheless, I’m glad they were successes.

Also, I did manage to score a two-player starter set for the CCG, so Lena and I can play that too now! Unfortunately, the two packs of card sleeves we bought with them did not have enough sleeves to pack an entire deck, which in my opinion is a really poor buy, but what can you do about it.

Anyway, the Eve went well. Cleaning wasn’t that big of an issue, as we would still have all of the venue the next day, so we took what we would no longer need on Saturday and headed out. Me and Jasper, the person who organized our DDR and karaoke events, took the van to gather the equipment for these events and went back to Melanie and Diederik for some quick z’s.

Getting up on Saturday morning wasn’t easy. The previous day had been pretty busy, and Saturday would be no different. Once again, we headed to the venue, where we set up shop. I again focused on the registration booth, but I was often interrupted by vendors who were allowed inside earlier (but still had to register with me).

Again, we were able to set up fairly quickly and with about a fifteen minute delay, we opened for the second day.

This day, however, we had roughly 200 people who wanted to enter, and we took quite a bit longer. Luckily for us at the entrance, due to technical difficulties, the opening was delayed for about an hour, and we managed to get everyone in the line inside before we started.

With the breaks in the schedule, the delay of the opening was fixed after only two events and the schedule could continue as planned. Again, I was running around for most of the con, most of the time as a messenger trying to find the correct person required for whichever problem arose. But that was fun. I love doing that kind of thing. I did miss out on pretty much all events, which, aside from karaoke, I do not mind. I would have liked singing one song, but that’s just the way it goes.

All in all, it was a big success. I have seen lots of reviews and write-ups about the event, with very positive remarks. There were mentions of things we can improve too, most of them very valid issues, but people in general were forgiving, seeing how this was a first-time convention. In fact, many said that this was one of the best first-time cons they have ever attended, which is just great to hear.

Of course, it wasn’t just me. In fact, there were a lot of people who worked hard to make this convention the success it was, and I will take this opportunity to thank them: our volunteers, who worked so hard before and during the convention to make sure that everything was taken care of for our visitors; the people from Ponyville Live, who streamed and recorded the events at the Mane Stage; the members of the EPCU, for their advice and support; our guests and vendors, for providing an entire day filled with things for people to do; the people from Event Center Fokker, for allowing us to use their venue for this event; all of our visitors and Indiegogo backers, who believed in us and allowed us to make this convention a reality; and of course the members of the Hearth’s Warming Con Committee: Melanie, Diederik, Aluriya, Moontune and Eynav, as well as former members Marco and Hyfnae, for their time and effort the last year and a half.

It wouldn’t have been the same without you!

Normally, I would post some pictures with my entry, but due to my running around all the time, I have not really had time to take pictures. Luckily, others had, so I will link those here. If any more become available or if the recordings are finished, I will edit those in later.

Hearth’s Warming Eve (PhoenixWing)
Hearth’s Warming Day + After-party (AlexPhoenixWing)
Hearth’s Warming Eve (DeltaCrisis)
Hearth’s Warming Day (DeltaCrisis)
After-party (DeltaCrisis)


Now that it’s over, all that remains is the question: what’s next? Obviously, despite the event having passed, there is still more to do for the organization. The most important tasks now are finalizing the finances and evaluating the convention, both from our own point of view as from anyone attending. And after that comes the question on everyone’s mind: will there be second Hearth’s Warming Convention? I hope so, and I will do my best to make it happen.

But, the busy period is over and there is room for other projects. My main focus is going to be reorganizing my house. Over the past few weeks, Lena has more or less come to live here, which brings along some required changes to my interior (such as not putting all cups and glasses on the top shelf). We also have two houses worth of couches, two washing machines and more of that ilk, so we’re going to go through all of that.

Lena has said she wanted to go back to animating. She used to run a group of people working on a Warrior Cats series. With me as co-director, she’s going to revive that project. Whenever I’m not working on that, I will try and revive my own project of Stumble-a-pony, a Stumbleupon website geared towards pony content. For those curious, I have a prototype running on stumbleapony.magical7.com.

And lastly, Lena and I are planning on hitch-hiking to England, which means we will travel through France. That’s why we’re planning on taking some crash lessons in the French language.

So, enough to do once again. I’m looking forward to it.

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