As You Ready Your LeakyCon Schedules…
So, the LeakyCon 2014 schedule
came out today. It is our biggest, wildest, largest ranging, most crazymaking, most ambitious, silliest, ridiculousest thing that has ever happened.
There are 225 sessions. There are workshops and panels and Q&As and games and improv sessions and book previews and movie screenings and Between Two Ferns parodies (Between Two Mandrakes, starring Maureen Johnson and John Green, and if you didn’t know you needed this in your life YOU DO NOW) and autograph signings and singalongs and photo booths and rock concerts and dance parties and talent contests and quiz shows and meetups and book signings and openings and closings and more.
There are almost 100 special guests and almost as many presenters, moving through this stacked labyrinth of programming. If you want to know what it’s like to plan something like this and make it work, imagine a maze that has hundreds of possible routes and imagine that you must make thousands of people move through those routes perfectly, swiftly, with precision, and without ever running into other people along the way.
And what you don’t even know, yet, is that there is also a secret track, an extra invisible maze that you will only ever interact with by chance and which will never be trotted out in a programming book or on Sched.org for you to marvel at ahead of time, planned just for the joy of it happening.
There are many people on LeakyCon whose praises you will hear me sing, loudly, before this is all done. But tonight’s victory goes to the LeakyCon programming team, and it seemed apt to do it publicly while everyone is making spreadsheets, printing out schedules, and cursing the immutable laws of physics for confining them to being in one place at one time.
If you are ogling over Lit, you have the inimitable maureenjohnsonbooks
to thank, with the incredible katelinnea
assisting in every way possible. That schedule is INSANITY alone. It is an incredible conference in and of itself.
And for the 200+ other programs, we have a general programming team consisting of:
Kathleen Henderson (DO YOU HAVE A TUMBLR, KITTY?)
That is an alphabetical list, but they are really two teams: a creative side and an administrative side, that we set up early this year. Creative and Admin met separately for half the year then recently (three months ago?) combined our efforts following the user generated content submissions.
Since that combination this team has really soared, and I have been so proud to witness this growth. The combination of left and right brain has made for a really geekily supercharged team. A team that created our first Artist Alley and our new Gaming Arena; it is captaining a pep band and started cosPLAY (our new take on the cosplay competition). It has worked with the wonderful Matt Maggiacomo to conceptualize and organize our rock shows; it has come up with brilliant ideas for guests (any and all Supernatural presence at LeakyCon comes down to this team) and initiatives. They’re responsible for the Tumblr Ask Box.
This group of people has done more than you even know so far, more than I can tell you about yet, and so much I can’t wait for you to discover.
The programming schedule is a beast that we must slay every year. Every year certain tendrils escape death and come back to haunt us; that means changes from the book to Sched.org (and announced to you via social media). That means INEVITABLE name misspellings, outdated bios, general typos, and cross-scheduled guests. Also there’s always a wild card: this year, who would have guessed that a contestant in LeakyStars was also leading a program, and WE WOULD ACTUALLY CROSS SCHEDULE THEM? It should have, but didn’t, occur to check for that, because those odds are kinda astronomical. The programming schedule must be tamed, yearly.
Because it’s more than a schedule, and that’s something we believe: it has breath and life. It dictates your time here. It has to spread the geeky joy around in just the right manner; it has to be a proper ascension of activity; it has to strike the right balance of thrilling and educational and silly and flat-out fun. It has to have just the right feeling before it is done.
The overwhelmed, excited, happy feeling the schedule evokes isn’t an accident, it was our fervent hope. It is the product of several hours a week for almost a full year now from EACH of these people listed above. It is the product of our special guests and of our attendees, organized by this programming team. As you page through and have your freakouts and make your tentative schedules, have a thought for them - for Maureen and Robin and Kathlee and Lizzie and Mudha and Kathleen and Jenna and Leah and Brad - because the release of this schedule has represented a full year of work that they’ve been doing quietly (even though we spend most meetings in hysterics) ALL FOISTED ON YOU AT ONCE. To say they are super stressed about it having the desired effect is an understatement.
I hope you’re all ready for what is un-doubt-ed-ly going to be our best year ever.