I attended panels on Sunday morning on "Leaks/Gossip/Negative PR" and Sunday afternoon on "Leadership," both of which I found interesting. Like everything else at this convention, I left each panel wanting more of the same and feeling that if we'd had 75 minutes instead of 55, we might have been able to do more justice to the topic. But then again, isn't is an axiom that you should always leave the audience hungry for more?
Another idea that I think has been tried when programming SMOFCon -- although it obliges you to rent double the programming space you actually need, and that's expensive -- is to schedule programming so that panels start every hour, but in alternate rooms, so that there's an A and B track. The A track starts at 10 AM, so when you get to 11 AM, the B track panels start, but they're in different rooms. Some people will get up and go to the B track room, while others will stay in the A track rooms during the next hour.
Another alternative that's been tried and IMO does not work is to provide an "overflow" room nearby, with the idea being that if a panel wants to run long, the panel and interested audience decamp to the overflow space. I don't think this works at all because once the panelists get up, you've lost the momentum. The AB track idea above does mean that you have some audience getting up at 50-55 after the hour, but that's far less disruptive to panel flow than the entire panel leaving the room. Besides, people come and go during program items all the time.
As I said, I missed the wrap-up panel, which was bad of me. As the Hospitality Ballroom was being disassembled around me, I went and put my computer away and came back to see if I could be of any help, but by then, nearly everything had already been rolled away. Talk about many hands making light work.
Cheryl, Deb, and I -- 3/5 of the Hugo Awards Marketing Subcommittee -- met for a while to discuss what the HAMC will be doing this coming year. (The fourth member of the committee present at SMOFCon (Mark Olson) was unavailable, and the Chairman (Craig Miller) couldn't attend, he being rather preoccupied with a certain Writers' Strike.) The three of us later went out for dinner, Deb having kindly offered to drive us over to a Middle Eastern restaurant near where she works. We therefore did manage to get one meal outside of the hotel/airport complex this weekend.
Coming back from dinner, we headed for the original Con Suite upstairs (the Hospitality Ballroom having closed), where there were many rich-looking sweet things and copious amounts of alcohol. I resisted both of those and confined myself to cups of coffee and some of the last bits of cheese.
One of the side rooms of the upstairs Hospitality suite looked like it could have been adapted for a poker game with a little rearrangement of furniture. I got the general agreement from the management, and asked some of the Usual Suspects if they were interested. Unfortunately, those who were interested had no money, and those who had money were not interested. Oh, well, maybe next year. I do, however, wish I'd known that there was going to be no poker playing opportunities this year, as I would have saved space in my luggage -- space that I do need today as we are bringing back more things than we took.
We're now packing up our room. Cheryl and I both have early afternoon flights. Again, she leaves after I do but arrives an hour-plus before me on account of having a direct flight while I get to change planes at Philadelphia. We'd better get up to the Con Suite this morning and see if they still have some bagels left.