December 13, 2003
Committee Meeting, 3 Dec. 03
Chairman's Report: Hugo and Retro-Hugo online nominating ballots are going through their final testing. They will open to the public when the Progress Report goes out later this month. Hotel blocks are being set up and will be ready for people to begin making their reservations also when the PR goes out. Deb will be sending out the order for Hugo rockets soon. We'll be ordering 40; any extras will be sold to LACon.
Deb got a letter from Harper Collins; they will contribute $500 to a masquerade prize for the best Discworld-themed costume at the Noreascon 4 masquerade. We have also made contact with the Outreach Coordinator at the NASA Space Center in Huntsville; they are interested in providing us with exhibits.
The Suffolk University course has been approved by the Dean of the college. Because it is held off-campus, we'll be able to offer reduced tuition.
Treasurer's report: The books are completely closed for last year. Tax returns are due on January 15; we hope to get them out in December.
Webmaster: We're redesigning the web site to have simple and more easily extensible menues. We're also extending the search capabilities.
Publicity: Deb showed the result of the Suffolk University class that used us as their project. The class was divided into 4 groups, each one of which produced a big binder of stuff. For example, all of the contact information for newspapers and magazines in New England, contact info for science departments at colleges, and more. The students have made excellent suggestions for changes to our collateral, and Deb also played a sample radio spot that they produced. There was also a suggestion to do a kid's version of the N4 website, if we can find a volunteer to do that. The students love the Lens Family and think that should be our principal logo. Deb will be bringing the binder to Smofcon to share with other Worldcons.
We have also produced a color flyer aimed at people who may not be familiar with Worldcons. This will be distributed to bookstores, colleges, universites, corporate entities, etc. Deb has also learned that billboards are apparently not as expensive as we think.
Leslie reported that the Program Brainstorming blog has been producing a lot of good ideas, and the News blog has a steady readership.
Member Services Sharon reported that most of the area heads would be meeting at Smofcon, and would also be coming to Boskone so they can tour the site.
Current pre-registration figures are: 2741 attending, 751 supporting, 90 child, 4 guest, 2 family, 2 other, for a total of 3590. Tony Lewis notes that we now have a member from Switzerland. Hugo PINs will be generated and printed on the labels of PR5 (for use in voting online). We'll also be sending out postcards to people who don't get PRs (where there are several people at one address sharing one PR).
Deb has contacted Peter Jarvis to ask when Torcon will be doing a Hugo nominations mailing and to ask for a list of Torcon's members.
Ann reported that installments are still operational. Should we stop offering it now, or keep it going? There was some discussion and the concensus was that we should keep it going until about 3 months before the convention (after that it doesn't make a lot of sense). Sharon reported that we've had 26 online purchases of various sorts. We need to improve the email we send to people who purchase online. Deb suggested that we should do a "how did you hear about us" poll on the online purchase site; Mark suggested we could send out postcards with a survey.
Publications: PR 5 is going to press tomorrow. It's a 48-page progress report because it includes the WSFS constitution and 8 pages of ballots and instructions, and 13 pages of ads. It should go out for mailing within a week and a half and start reaching people before Christmas.
Guy and Rose-Marie Lillian will be our Program Book editors.
Exhibits:Joyce Scrivner will oversee the Worldcon History exhibit. We're set up an Exhibits Brainstorming blog. The Art Show mailing is scheduled to go out in the beginning of January. Deb feels that Gay Ellen was overly ambitious when her copy for PR5 said that the Art Show would open at 6am on Thursday. This has been corrected to 6pm.
Program: Priscilla is disappointed that the program mailing hasn't gone out yet; there have been various technical problems with the program database. She does plan to get the mailing out next week.
Events: The Masquerade people have a flyer that they've been distributing to costuming groups.
Deb notes that Susan deGuardiola will be posting a pattern for a poodle skirt, if anyone wants to make one for the Sock Hop.
Facilities: Ben has negotiated an addendum to our Hynes contract, which Deb is signing right now, which adds Exhibit Hall A and about half of the first floor to our Hynes space for $11,000, which is slightly less than half of what they normally charge. This means that Registration and related areas can be on the first floor, which will be very convenient for everyone. This frees up some suite space in the Sheraton and also means that we can use the first floor Hynes entrance from the Prudential Mall.
If you want to reserve a hotel suite for N4, you can't do that through the usual hotel reservation system; you must talk to Facilities.
Convention Services: We'll be surveying committee cell phone ownership so we can check coverage and find out who's willing to use their cell phones. Melanie continues to get volunteers.
We have two decorator proposals that we're evaluating. It looks like many of our union concerns won't be as bad as we thought they were. We should be able to put up most of the art show ourselves with some union labor. The teamsters will do move-in and move-out of dealers with forklifts. We can't use our pallet jack, but we can use carts. There will be another decorator group meeting at Smofcon to review the proposals. Freeman has the ability to take any artwork (like our Lens Family trio) and turn it into a 9' x 10' carpet for $300. Many silly ideas for carpets were proposed. We will make a decorator selection before the end of December and should have a contract in place around the beginning of the year.
Joe Rico has agreed to be our Security Guard liaison; he'll be in contact with the areas that need guards like the Art Show. Gary Feldbaum is working on getting quotes for insurance.
Budget 3.0 will be available in late December. ConJose is finishing up their accounting and expects to send some more pass-along funds. Deb expects to meet with division heads at Smofcon.
Schedule: We are not planning to have any more Gulp meetings. Tables at upcoming conventions will include Philcon, Arisia, Confusion, and Boskone, and fliers to Chattacon and Capricon.
GoH books: The Guest of Honor books are being produced through NESFA Press. The Tenn book is about 2/3 done; the title will be Dancing Naked. We are still discussing content with Pratchett's agents. The Weston book is in title discussions.
New Business: In working to obtain sponsorships and advertising, it would be useful to try to collect some demographic information about our members. We discussed the possibility of doing a survey at Boskone or by mail. Or else doing a survey at N4 itself (which would be more useful to upcoming conventions than to us). We will think about this.
Mark suggested we float a balloon at Smofcon that we'd like to run one in the 2006-2008 timeframe, details to be decided later. We previously ran Smofcons 3 and 15; the one this weekend is 21. The suggestion was approved.