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 Message
    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: Sharon, my main point was primarily...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 1/13/1996 3:15:00 PM  

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Sharon, my main point was primarily that if a pro is invited to a
worldcon, or asked to perform on a panel or give a presentation, then that pro
should be comp'd. The SDCC "every pro is comp'd" rule is great, but I'm not
going to shove it down anybody's throat. This, though, should be the minimum
requirement.

You lock yourself into a box otherwise. Okay, you comp more pros, you
lose those memberships...but suddenly there are MORE pros -- again, there are
many who just won't attend on principle over all this -- and this will draw
more attendees to SEE those pros. If that pro brings in just *one* more
person who might not otherwise have attended, then it's a wash, is it not? On
the flip side, you *don't* comp pros, so many don't come, so there are fewer
folks drawn to the con, and less money is made.

The policy is, frankly, counter-productive and stupid. And, frankly,
insulting to most of the pros I've spoken to about this subject. It's okay to
have them as draws, to get the folks in the door, but respect their efforts by
at least not requiring them to pay for the privilege of being asked to
perform? Not a chance.

And yeah, ConFrancisco *did* leave a bad taste in my mouth. I was
treated rudely. When I said that after coming all this way, on my own dime,
at their request, and being denied admission, I was half inclined toward just
turning around and going home, what I got was a shrug and a laugh..."Okay,
fine, go, we've got plenty of other pros here. We really don't need you if
we've got the others." So I did the one B5 presentation -- because I knew a
lot of fans were expecting it, and would be otherwise disappointed -- but
basically boycotted the rest of the convention, for which I'd paid full price.

If, tomorrow, all the pros said, "Screw it, if we have to pay to go to a
convention that wants us to *work* while we're there, we're just not going,"
then the day after tomorrow there would be a *new* policy that pros asked to
work at the WorldCon would be comp'd...and the cons would go on just fine.
Because without the pros...you don't HAVE a convention.

I guess the reason I take such personal umbrage at this is because when
I'm asked to be at a convention, I bust my butt to serve the convention. At
the recent UK convention I attended, it wasn't just "do your one presentation
or panel and coast," I was down hanging out with fans in the lobby, sitting
and talking...I was in the main ballroom, personally rearranging chairs to
make sure there weren't any bad seats, since there were posts in the way and
those setting up hadn't taken that into consideration...I signed autographs
for 3 hours straight, working the line up the stairs when people started to
get faint from the heat, signing about 2,000 autographs in two days, with the
rule that NOBODY got turned away who wanted one, no matter how long it
took...I attended presentations I wasn't in...and when I go up on stage
finally I fight like crazy to make every second as interesting and fun as I
can, because *that's my obligation to the convention, and the people who came
all this way to be there*. They expect, and should receive, nothing less than
absolute satisfaction.

I lose over 5 pounds every time I do a two-day convention, because I'm
constantly on the run, trying to make sure everybody's having a good time. I
do this for the cons where I'm the "big shot main guest," and I do as much of
it as I can when I'm just one more invited guest (without being intrusive or
getting into somebody else's spotlight, which is wrong). Given all that, I
don't think it's too much to ask to be comp'd into the convention.

See, the money, for me, ain't the issue. I can afford the ticket, that
ain't no big deal. (As for WB paying the freight...now THAT'S comedy.) It's
the *principle* of the thing that bothers me. The science fiction field is a
direct result of the efforts of its writers, creating new and exciting visions
of the future, the past, and our possibilities. It seems to me that those
who do so should be accorded a minimum of respect for their efforts in a
massive celebration of the genre.

And yes, I do know the history of the worldcons, albeit not as
extensively as others might. And when they began, they were mainly just pros
getting together in a sort of private club environment, along with a
relatively small portion of fans. Now, however, it's become a fairly big
industry, lots of fans come from all over the world to attend, major
publishing companies buy booths and exhibit space, movie and TV studios
participate...it's Show Business now. But the same mindset from the early
days still is being applied...and SF folks, more than anyone else, should know
the peril in applying old logic to a changing world.

jms

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