So far everything is going according to schedule (if not necessarily according to plan). After several revisions the events line-up is also coming together. We should post a final version of the programming schedule in December with the official convention poster though we'll be releasing teasers and inserts about the convention by November. Initial press releases will be available for download in the website and will be faxed to sponsors and interested parties next week.
While there's been significant interest in the panels and exhibits, I'm personally feeling a bit bemused at constantly getting questions like: But what should
we do? What do
you want from us, exactly? Usually in the context of a discussion about sponsoring panels.
Since I'm the person in charge of marketing, I always feel like I'm either blowing our chances of getting a good sponsorship or simply looking like an idiot to the other party when I respond, "With all due respect, it's up to you. Just as long as it has something to do with uh reading, literacy or literature?" Cue lame smile.
The initial plan was to offer panels to organizations and companies since we were operating on the premise that they would probably have their own ideas about what they'd like to profile or talk about. However, it seems that that the common impression is that since we're the organizers, we'll have to provide the discussion topics while sponsors pick and choose which ones they'd be interested in or those which resonate most closely with their own agendas/advocacies. It's very interesting and I wonder if this is really the way things are done in professionally organized conventions.
I can see hackles rising and eyebrows twitching so before potential sponsors run away screaming "Amateurs! Hacks! Off with their unprofessional heads!" (PLEASE DON'T), I'd like to stick a caveat the size of a Stonehenge pillar right here right now and point out once again that RodCon is not a 'professional' convention. That is, in the sense that it seems to be normally understood, which is why I'm finding myself occasionally caught in rather convoluted semantic cross-wiring (cross-fire, more like it). A representative I talked to pointed out that the convention is without precedent in the Philippines so they don't really know what to expect, and I can certainly understand the nervousness on the part of commercial sponsors. Will they earn money? Where's the money going in the first place? Who's coming? How is this--you think we should sponsor a panel on books about gay dinosaurs--WHAT?
Where can we find them?
And I seem to be messing things up more with this blog entry. I invoke the Stonehenge!caveat. I think the goals of RodCon are in themselves pretty clear and straightforward--this is a social event for readers to get together, buy books, attend book exhibits, watch movies based on books, vote for their favorite books, buy books, talk about books, buy books, listen to panels about books (even books on gay dinosaurs) , buy books--and in doing so consciously
manifesting how important it is to read, that there's a lot of happiness in reading, and that books can make us better people and a better society and a better country. We are often invoked to be proud of our high literacy rate. However, while a statistic might be a scientific fact (Filipinos know how to read therefore they must read) but in itself it has no sociological nuance unless we choose to imbue it with critical value (do we really
To go back to the issue of panels--What I'm trying to say here is that we want the panels to be less of a bullet-point list to check or uncheck at will and more of an exercise in active
intervention from the very beginning on the part of people and organizations who have a stake in the industry and in the practice of books and reading. I mean, I think all of us ought to try to think about this more deeply, even if the conclusions we come up with might seem facetious or blindingly obvious.
In other words: when all else fails, there are always books about gay dinosaurs.
Labels: discussion groups, panels, programme