Eirtaku in the Wild: Don’t Slip on the Banana Skins
It’s less than a month to go and Mark checks in with The D for a full update, along with stories of what’s gone wrong in the past for the Eirtakon committee… fingers crossed history doesn’t repeat itself!
October is slipping by and it’s eking ever closer to Eirtakon, so for this Eirtaku in the Wild article I’m going to be giving you all an overview of what’s happening at the minute, some stuff that has gone wrong in the past and plenty of stuff we can expect to probably go wrong in the coming weeks! It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, or a panel slot in this case.
So! In the last two weeks we have confirmed and released the panels schedule and we have also finalised the full weekend schedule itself, which will be online at the start of next week (sometime around the 24th or 25th). It’s a bit later than it was last year but given the size of it (around 70 individual events, almost all of which are on Saturday and Sunday) we didn’t want to take any chances. Last year we had around 50 events so you can see that we’ve been busy over the last 12 months. The major growth has been with more panels and more special events; having two big-name guests also adds a few extra talks and Q&As to the schedule.
Consistently, every year, the schedule is the most difficult thing to nail down. Until last year we always tried to arrange the schedule so events didn’t clash, regardless of their theme. So if a drawing panel was on we made sure it didn’t clash with a guest panel, or that the Halo tournament didn’t clash with a film premiere. Obviously the bigger we were getting, the more difficult this was to maintain, and the scale definitely tipped last year where we ended up with overlapping events. Given the ever-increasing numbers and diversity of attendees, it’s not really an issue any more. More events also mean more committee members, but that’s talk for another day.
What we’ve done this year is make sure we don’t have types of events overlapping, so most panels are run at separate times and guest talks/signing sessions/etc are well spread out through the day. The ultimate aim of the schedule is to ensure people can see as many events as they can, so having an even spread is very important. We think we did a pretty good job this year, hopefully it will pan out on the weekend!
Around this time plenty of disaster stories and worries start rearing their ugly heads. A few committee members regale us of nightmares they have had through the years, of things going horribly wrong and Eirtakon being on every second week for all eternity (great for some, not so great for us!). Thankfully nothing catastrophic has ever happened; probably the worst was 2006 when Eirtakon didn’t actually run that year. To make up for it, we ran it in February 2007, and had Eirtakon 2007 that November – hence if you look through the history books, you’ll see two conventions in 2007. In 2009 we were told on the Thursday that we couldn’t use a quarter of The Hub (our venue at the time), for ‘health and safety reasons’. Given we had been using that area since the first Eirtakon, we were a bit miffed! 2007 MKII‘s t-shirts, on top of arriving at 10:30am on Saturday morning, were misprinted and only had text with no Lori design (at least we got a partial refund from the printers!).
I think they are the only major ‘disasters’ (if you can call them so) we have had through the years; there have been plenty of mishaps but nothing that affected the running of the weekend to any extent. So in that regard we have been lucky. I have heard of plenty of horror stories of guests cancelling weeks before the event, snowstorms forcing flights to be diverted with guests and attendees on board, people passing out onstage… the potential for something going wrong when you have so much happening in one venue is pretty big. Thankfully some conscious planning and fall back plans almost always prevents any accidents. Regardless we have trained medics on staff as it’s not something we want to take for granted.
One event we’re working on at the minute, and it’s very touch and go if we’ll be able to host it, is anime karaoke. We have sourced some fantastic karaoke software from the UK; we’re in the process of testing it and seeing if we can work the tech to a high enough standard. As anyone who’s ever taken part in karaoke at a convention knows, even the best can get it wrong sometimes. Not a trap we want to fall into! It’s all or nothing for us, we’ll see how it goes.
We’re now three weeks away from Eirtakon and we couldn’t be more excited. My next article on The D at the start of November will fill you all in on some oversights we’ve had throughout the years and last minute solutions we found, along with one or two more special announcements we have ready and waiting. Keep an eye out for the full schedule on the main site, it’s going to be a killer!
See you in two weeks!