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March 05, 2004

Committee Meeting, 3 March 2004

General Notes:

  • SFWA has been contacted, and Catherine Asaro said she would assign us a liaison shortly.

  • The Chairman's Discretionary Practical Joke Fund "pig" was emptied after the February meeting, and netted $485 (including ~$20 of mixed change that went back in, one paperclip, one jellybean, and a fuzzy ducky pen).

  • Noreascon Four was contacted by the Heinlein Society regarding a possible blood drive. N4 has opted not to host such a blood drive, but will encourage people in the PRs and with at-con literature to give blood before and after N4.

  • N4 will have tables at: Lunacon, DeepSouthCon, Minicon, Anime Boston, and possibly Eastercon between now and mid-April.

  • Next meeting: April 14, 2004

Registration and Rates: Our registration numbers are now over 4000: 3073 Attending, 864 Supporting, 99 Child, 4 Guest, 3 Family, 2 Other, for a total of 4045.

We decided that children's at-the-door rates will generally be half of the adult rates. The remaining details of the at-the-door rates are still under discussion.

Reimbursement philosophy

MCFI committed (philosophically, but without operational details) to reimbursing committee, staff, volunteers, and program participants after the convention if our budgetary figures are met. if only partial refunds are possible, we will ensure equity between program participant and volunteer refunds.

Contracts and RFPs/RFQs

  • Noreascon Four has signed a contract with decorator company Freeman. Freeman was the decorator for, most recently, MilPhil. Decorator Liaison has shifted to Exhibits, from Convention Services. The contract represents quite a bit of work by Jim Hudson (now DH for Exhibits).

  • The Children's Services RFP for at-con day-care services has gone out, and we've had at least one set of question-and-answer regarding it. The deadline for the RFP is March 15. Many thanks to Sandra Childress for her work in making this happen.

  • Budgetary RFQs have gone out from technical services in order to more appropriately calculate our budget and needs for technical equipment.


  • Two major personnel announcements: Ruth Sachter is now deputy division head for Member Services, and Leslie Turek has agreed to coordinate First Night Noreascon (taking over the task from John Pomeranz, who resigned for work conflict reasons).
  • Division and Area Reports:

    Site Selection: Site Selection filings have now been received from both Nippon in 2007 and Columbus in 2007.

    Hugos: Hugo nominations will close March 25; the roster of nominations will be announced April 11. Final ballots will appear in PR6.

    Convention Services


    • We did some tests of cell phones at Boskone. Verizon worked well every where we tried, and we had some success with some others also. Nextels had problems, but since the Sheraton is making them their method of choice and are working to upgrade service, they may be a viable option.

    • The Office meeting at the open meeting was mostly one in which we presented our views on Office and then took a few questions from the audience.

    • Pat McMurray has had to resign as head of Rangers. Jim is talking with one possibility for his replacement.

    Volunteers: Melanie has put together a substantial proposal on how we should handle volunteers, including levels, how sign off occurs, promotion policy, what supplies are needed, and so on. Jim hopes to get pieces of this up on the internal Web site soon.

    Computer Wrangler

    • Mike Pins did some wireless tests at Boskone. We plan to have two subnets — one for external, one for internal — allowing connection to the Internet, and, internally, sharing of resources.

    • The Hynes is installing wireless service also. If they have a one-price for the whole con for everyone rate — which they are considering — and if this rate is reasonable, we may go that route.


    • We established a move-in policy.

    • It turns out that the Hynes defines a "Personally Owned Vehicle" as 24 foot or less, which simplifies some of what we're doing. Bobbi is checking with the Hynes on several other details, including exactly what we can move between Hynes and Sheraton.

    • We're still looking at exactly how we're handling the trucks, but we plan at this point to have two local trucks and one truck that comes up from Baltimore. Local trucks will be loaded on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday pre-con.

    • Current MCFI storage may not be big enough for all we need. Later in the year, we'll investigate "surge" storage.

    • We're discussing how to sell-off any DVD players, copiers, etc. that we have to buy for the con. Once we work out a few more details, we'll put our plans on the Web.

    • We have a Dock Master: Jeff Hulten, who did the job at the last two Worldcons.

    • We're still looking for someone to handle Procurement, but we have some ideas on how we could handle this.

    Den: Debbie was able to measure the Den space at Boskone.

    Insurance: Gary is sending Jim a copy of the current proposal for comment. Jim will send a copy to Deb.


    • The Hynes requires guards at the doors, and the exact requirement is going to be nailed down by Bobbi.

    • Joe Rico will be working with areas to nail down what our other needs are (e.g., guards in art show, etc.)

    Fire Marshal Liaison/Safety Officer: Sam attended Boskone and talked with a number of the people in the Hynes and Sheraton. It turns out that approval of plans for the Hynes is actually handled through the Hynes, which simplifies things a bit.

    Ribbons: We'll have them.

    Elevator Management: Vlad has recruited a group of neos as staff: Tom Whitmore, Kevin Standlee, and Peter Jarvis.


    Events will be having a working meeting in mid-April to develop build schedules, run scripts and at-con staffing.

    First Night held a brainstorming session at the February open meeting.

    Friday Night/Retros: The Friday Night Event (The Time Machine) creative team has met twice in Boston. We are looking into cost and feasibility of various set devices. We're considering Retro Hugo MC suggestions. All is well.

    Hugos: Waiting for nominations to come out.

    Masquerade: Have received some of the writeups for the next PR.

    Closing Ceremonies also brainstormed at the February meeting.

    Film: Have done the preliminary design of Sheraton Grand, Republic B, and Hynes 208. Mike is awaiting the Hugo nominees before doing the preliminary film schedule. Current plan is have it done by late April.

    Anime: Have done the preliminary design on Republic A. Have done tentative scheduling of the room.

    Dances: Regency and Sockhop/swing dance are moving forward, as is a time travel dance in Hynes 200 as part of First Night.

    Music Everywhere: Dave Grubbs has been having lots of meeting with different areas about music requirements. He did a test of various ideas at Boskone.

    Tech: The budgetary RFQs have been sent out to vendors. We are making great strides in Sheraton design (mostly at the Open Meeting). We are expecting to have Hynes Auditorium designs reasonably well nailed down after the April Events meeting.


    Art Show: Mailing has gone out and is now posted to the public and committee web sites. Congratulations to Gay Ellen and the Art Show staff on that, it's going to be a great show.

    Concourse: We're working on the Concourse design. We're trying to fit a lot of things into the Concourse, and it's going to overflow. So one question is how we should use the big (30-40' wide) Hynes corridors. There are 5 we can work with: the interior one outside halls C and D, two along Boylston Street on the 2nd and 3rd floors, the first floor one between the two rotundas, and the 3rd floor one between the Art Show and the Auditorium balcony. For the Concourse itself, we are working on estimating how much space and furniture the various exhibits need.

    Freeman Decorating has been selected as our decorator, and the contract has now been signed. We have obtained CAD drawings of the Hynes layout from Freeman.

    We're exploring the idea of integrating some of the exhibits integrated based roughly on decades. That may not work for the Pro or Fan Galleries, or the Doc Smith, commercial, or various Guest of Honor exhibits, but we can try integrating several of the others, such as:

    • Fan History

    • 50 years of Hugos

    • Timeline

    • Worldcon History

    • Worldcon Innovations

    • Maybe other fan exhibits

    This would be extra work, compared setting up the individual exhibits, but it would be more interesting and draw more people. We're also looking into how we might use AV to improve things; one idea was to have each case of Hugos be associated with a monitor which would show at least who won each year, and ideally pictures of the people, ceremony, convention, etc.

    During the day, the Mended Drum will be mostly an extension on the food service (with beer, etc. available, working like a sidewalk cafe). It may serve as a central place to watch live video of the Main Stage events (GoH speeches, Hugos, Masquerade) while they are going on, with beverages and kibitzing. And I'm seeing it as a place for live music after those events, until we close at 2am. So it'll be pretty small during the day, expanding in the evenings.

    Dealers Room: Is actively taking reservations.

    The Exhibits Division still has some staffing needs. For example, we need lead people for the Fan Lounge, to organize the Mended Drum, and to replace Jim Hudson as Decorator Liaison. If you have suggestions, let Jim Hudson know.


    Personnel: Appointed TR Smith as housing staff (she'll be specializing in working with the Sheraton, which she got familiar with at Boskone. Appointed Elka Davidoff to be Party Tsar. Appointed Nancy Cobb as Hynes staff.

    Sheraton: Based on the experiences with Boskone, we are planning on increasing the staff working with the Sheraton reservations/front desk (and cutting back on the Marriott, which seems to be working well so far). We're continuing to research their systems to try to find why people are having problems booking rooms when the Sheraton claims we aren't out of them. We're working with the Sheraton to try to get pickup reports to help identify those issues.

    At the B41 debriefing, we've identified many of the failing areas at the Sheraton (reservations, front desk, attention to detail on setup), and are working with them to try to prevent them fron occuring at N4.

    Marriott: Met with their reservations manager; things going smoothly, but she's working to see if she can give us better rooms layouts for handling specific requests.

    Hynes: Jim Mann, Jim Hudson, Sam Pierce, and Ben Yalow met with the new Hynes CSM and their security director the Monday after Boskone; questions got answered, and lines of communication got opened.

    Member Services

    Child Care: An RFP has been issued

    Registration: We've been working ut the details of how Registration will be set up.

    Information: The Information weblog has been set up, and Sheila Perry will monitor and moderate the blog, gathering information and suggestions.

    Children's Services: Had a discussion at the February Open Meeting.


    Program has been very, very active. Priscilla notes that she has some 150 confirmed program participants and more than 600 potential program items (many with precis already written!) this early in the game. Priscilla plans to generate lists of confirmed program participants for posting to the public portion of the N4 web site. Program's weblog has been very successful

    Program will hold its "frenzy" the Friday of the May Open Meeting.

    Program will offer a differently-configured "writers' workshop" concept at N4.


    • PR 6 deadline is fast approaching; material needs to be in by the end of the week

    • PR 6 will include Hugo/Retro-Hugo final ballots, and so will go o the printer as soon as ballots are dropped in

    • Newsletter had a session at the Open Meeting.

    • Joe, Edie, and Geri discussed a number of smaller, specialized publications with people at the Open Meeting, including some "wish list" items.

    • Souvenir Book is on track.

    • PR 7 will be sent in August and should include last-minute news.
    • Posted by Noreascon 4 on March 05, 2004 | Permalink


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