We’ve received tons of great feedback from our convention attendees in only the few short days that have passed since our convention was over. While the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from this year, we do know that there are some things that inevitably happen that we need to address. Additionally, now that we know what to expect with a capacity of the size we had in 2013 (and expect in 2014), we have plans of our own. Here’s some of what you can expect for Gallifrey One: 25 Glorious Years next February…
Guests: The reaction to our guest lineup this year was universally positive, with the one exception being the number of cancellations we experienced. Of course, we need to remind everyone who has been concerned about this that it’s a situation that happens *all the time* to conventions, because actors (who are usually the ones who cancel) must choose their working profession over a single public appearance. Nevertheless, one of the ways we’re going to handle this is simply confirming some guests from the more recent Doctor Who series later than in years past… so do not be surprised if you don’t see big names announced until *much* closer to the convention, possibly as late as the end of 2013, and almost certainly after we have sold out registration for 2013. (We will still be allowing membership transfers until January 31, 2014.) We must therefore emphasize that, when you register, you should be under no illusions about any potential guests, which we have not yet announced (so if you read somewhere “I hear that XYZ is coming to next year’s con,” don’t believe it – it’s not true unless we announce it here.)
Programming: We have already addressed people in the back of the room seeing what’s going on (with the second screen); we know now, however, that there were audio issues. We’ll make certain that these are addressed so that people in the back of the larger programming rooms can hear with no issue. We’re going to flip the large program rooms on the western hallway a bit so there’s less sound intrusion between program rooms. We’re also going to end panels in our programming rooms (and the main ballroom) a few minutes earlier to allow more time for people to enter and leave, especially for the crowded sessions in the main halls; while this might cut panels or discussions a few minutes short, we think it will balance things out by not disrupting the next event.
Panel Discussions: We know a few people got confused by our use of Doctor Who titles for our panels; this was just for the anniversary, and they’ll be more descriptive next year. (That said, we still think doing it this year was a neat idea – and always remember that there’s a full written schedule with descriptions of everything that happens at the convention in your Program Book, in date & time order.) Next year, we’ll be back to our traditional format with both Doctor Who and science fiction media discussion panel tracks, with the return of some of our popular general-themed events like the SF TV & Film Year in Review panels, our multimedia discussions and, yes, something with vampires because people enjoy them and we hear about it when we don’t host one. We’re also going to feature a much larger group of local television genre writers next year.
Autographs: While we did post our autograph policy on our website with clear instructions about who was signing and where, some people appear to have missed it; we’ll make sure it’s a bit clearer for 2014. We do want to let you know that most of our autographs will be moving to the Dealers Room for 2014, and the room itself will be enlarged a bit while still retaining the same number of dealers, so we’ll have additional line control available for this. We’ll hopefully be able to share the lineup areas on our website prior to the convention, so you know what to expect. Finally, we will attempt to have autograph pricing clarified earlier than the convention itself; while this is not something we can control, we’ll do everything we can to get that information to you before you arrive.
Dealers: Speaking of the Dealers Room, every single dealer from 2013 is coming back for 2014. We know there were some comments about the lack of new Doctor Who books, and several dealers are looking into that (as our primary DW bookdealer folded after 2012). The heat issues in the Dealers Room this past year were caused by a fault in the hotel’s air conditioning system and was rectified by Saturday afternoon, so we don’t expect that again.
Volunteers Policy: Effective for 2014, Gallifrey One will be enforcing a volunteers policy that allows volunteering by attendees age 18 or over only; this is due to liability issues. Volunteers will be accepted for help with stage setup, for line control & door monitoring, and for teardown. We’re going to change the way we interact with our volunteers for 2014 (details to be posted on our website soon).
Videotaping: Since we evolved from local science fiction conventions, we’ve always had a more relaxed policy of implied videotaping rules rather than stringent posted rules — basically we have allowed videotaping for personal use — but due to the recent issue with entire panels being posted on YouTube, we realize that this must be codified. Therefore, as of Gallifrey 2014, we are making it explicit that, with your registration for Gallifrey 2014, you consent that any videotaping you do at the convention within our programming rooms (Program A, B, C, etc.) may not be reposted/uploaded to video sites online including YouTube, Vimeo, etc., without the express written consent of the convention, with the exception of brief clips no more than a few minutes long and within reason. Videotaping of other activities including general cosplay, personal photos/video with the TARDIS, etc., are fine; we simply do not consent to our programming being rebroadcast to people who are not at the convention.
Lines: Several people commented that they were concerned about the autograph lines and the line for the Masquerade going outside where the smoking area was; we are looking at ways to improve this so that does not happen again. We are also investigating (and we stress INVESTIGATING, as this is nowhere near a done deal) the possibility of video simulcast of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies and Masquerade on the hotel television channel as a way to potentially alleviate some of the crowding issues for these events.
Gaming: We realized just how much of an issue the loss of our gaming lounge was this year, so we’ll be bringing it back in 2014. (This is the area with the round tables for table and card gaming that forms part of the pass-through hallway between the western and central hall.)
For Kids & Teens: We realize that some of our younger folks have different priorities, so in addition to our daytime children’s program for younger children, we’re looking at some events in the evenings. For one, we’re looking at some gaming options in the evenings for teens in our gaming lounge, as well as some child- and teen-friendly discussion panels on Friday night. We’d love to hear from you if you have an idea for something that might be more family-oriented for your children, as we want to include everyone.
Courtesy Policy: This is important – we’ve gotten a lot of feedback that some common courtesy was not followed by a few of our attendees this year. Therefore, for Gallifrey 2014 and beyond, we will be posting a Courtesy Policy for the convention. Among the items we will be asking are for viewers of events and panels to keep quiet and not chat amongst themselves while panelists and guests are speaking; for cellphones to be turned off or silenced during panels; for parents with small children who become noisy to leave a panel room with their child so as to not interrupt the panel; for attendees wearing hats to remove them in the main hall so that people behind them can see the stage; for people to quietly open and close the doors to panel rooms that have had their doors closed for sound reasons; and for people outside the doors to the programming rooms to keep their voices down so as not to interrupt the panels. In order to ensure that none of these items, or any other issues wreck the experience for others, we will be strictly enforcing this policy (soon to be posted on its own page on our website), up to and including asking offenders to leave the convention. We will very much appreciate your consent to and following of these rules to make sure everyone has a good time.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns via email – we look forward to hearing from you!