Convention Idea: Proto-minicons

The series on adding professional events to conventions is here.

Last week I mentioned the idea of starting career-specific Minicons at conventions – small conventions inside other conventions, in specific areas, and run by a given staff to meet a specific need – providing professionally-oriented events.

These kinds of events may not always find support, may be hard to do, and hard to maintain.  It could be too small – OR it could become too big too quickly and interfere with the parent convention.  After all you want to make sure the event that started the minion operates smoothly.

So, if you aren't sure about doing a Minicon at a convention, try to do it on it's own – a prototype minion.

Imagine this.  Take an existing convention that only happens once a year.  3 months before, 3 months after, 6 months after, whatever have it sponsor a separate event only organized around careers and fannish activities.  You can leverage the existing convention infrastructure, but do it in a more bounded manner – one day event, different (and cheaper) location, perhaps even free depending.

Think of it as a Proto-Minicon.

This gives you a few advantages to outright running a Minicon:
* You can gauge interest before you make it part of a bigger convention.
* If interest is great enough it could become it's own convention and skip the Minicon stage.
* By tying it to an existing convention you achieve additional publicity if it works, but have enough distance failure won't have any or much of an impact.
* You can run the experiment without using convention resources until you're sure it'll work.
* It allows for experimentation outside of the "parent" convention.
* It allows for recruitment outside of the normal schedule of a parent convention.

So if the Minicon is a hard sell or you're unsure of it, try a Proto-Minicon.

– Steven Savage