Our first stop was the Ballroom, to put up signs saying "go to Tower Court C." We looked in the Ballroom, which was set with maybe 150 chairs in a theater U facing a center area, with some tables in the room. I couldn't see why it would be a problem to use this room. I checked with Deb Geisler, who said that they thought I needed a different arrangement. "We can use this, and it's just fine; we just need to move the tables around and move the chairs the other way around."
Deb said that it would be okay, except that Alex Lazko had already set up the MCFI microphone/speaker kit in Tower C. I called Alex and he told us how to turn on the sound system in Grand Ballroom, and told us it would be okay to take the microphones and stuff from Tower C. With us thus having the blessing of both Facilities and Tech, Lisa and I went to Tower C -- which in retrospect would have been a disaster given how many people showed up -- and took everything from the MCFI kit, including the speakers, down to Grand Ballroom. (We didn't need the speakers, but we didn't want to separate the parts of the kit.)
Lisa and I moved tables, Lisa rearranged chairs, and made sure all of the microphones we had worked. We did not have a fifty-foot microphone cable, so we couldn't use the ECM-51a, but there was a wireless hand-held microphone I could use.
Then I quickly took show fliers that we'd hand-lettered to say "Tower Court C" and re-lettered them to say "Grand Ballroom, really!" and put them up in strategic places, including on the schedule listing at Tower C. In all cases, I put the fliers on the approved surfaces, which means the con's signs on easels.
After phoning yourbob to tell him that we were back in Grand Ballroom, I went back to the Crowne Plaza to shower and change into my suit. Lisa said she could hold things down. Luck kept holding -- the rain had stopped.
After quickly showering and donning my suit, I grabbed the rest of the Match Game gear, including the poster tube and the board that holds the questions, and trotted back to the Sheraton. The rain still held off.
By the time I got there, more people had arrived for set-up, including our announcer Jeff Hulten and his wife, and Chris Garcia and the Lovely and Talented Linda, all of whom pitched in with set-up. I'm going to miss names because I was so rushed.
We had time for one practice run-through of the opening and sound checks. This was really looking good. Now to hope the audience finds us.
Thank goodness, the back-and-fortn trek across the second floor didn't dissuade too many people, and we soon had a good sized crowd, and we got started, only a few minutes late.
I think we had the best opening we've ever done. The audience was into it from the start, and I think (if I do say so myself) my over-acting was about right. We got straight in to it after initial announcements and explanations, and our first two contestants really set the tone with how with it they were.
The next couple of hours were something of a blur -- a happy blur, but a blur. I know that because we went into tie-breakers (and one sudden death), we ended up having to cut the show back to only four games instead of five in order to end by midnight as promised, which we did. We also managed to not give away any of the bonus round prizes; however, the books donated by Night Shade Books and the North American Discworld Convention that all contestants had the pick of depending on whether or not they won the main game were all popular prizes.
Lisa says we had a peak of 60 people in the room, and thanks to turnover, I think we probably had as many as 100 different people in the audience over the two hours of our show. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves.
After the show ended, Lisa put MCFI's kit back together and we left it near the main sound tech in that room. I left a voice-mail with Alex telling him where it was, and I'd earlier left a note in Tower C saying that the stuff had moved to Ballroom. I hope this was the right thing and that they get their kit back. Then we packed our stuff and with the help of Bob Hole, headed back to the Crowne Plaza.
This has got to have been one of the best shows we ever did. It wasn't perfect, but it was darn close. We couldn't have the panelists tiered because the riser was in Tower C and it would have cost money to move it to Ballroom, and it might have been nice to have had a long cord and some other things, but all in all this was a fantastic show. In retrospect, the set in Grand Ballroom was wonderful. Oh, sure, we could have handled hundred of additional people, but we had more than enough seats for everyone there, everyone involved had a good time, and it was just a real successful event of which I'm proud to have done. I'm not proud of not having written down everyone's name so I could give proper credit.
Oh, and while Lisa was too busy to shoot anything during the show, she did shoot these pictures while we were getting people settled in. I posed for some photos with the ECM-51a even though I couldn't actually use it during the show.
We regret not being able to get to the parties, but by the time we hauled stuff to the room, we were utterly beat and had to have a light snack (thank goodness we brought that electric ice chest) and unwind. If I hadn't really wanted to get this report written before I got to sleep, I probably would have been in bed 45 minutes ago.
My thanks to Denvention Programming for putting us on the program, Deb Geisler and Mark Herrup from D3 Facilities for swinging everything we needed and running cover with the hotels when we needed that, Jim Mann for his help in Program Ops, and Alex Latzko for putting up with me peppering him with cell phone calls while we fretted over the tech, and for giving Lisa permission to move the gear and set up the microphones. (She did well working by herself.)
Now to collapse for a few hours before getting up and doing the Business Meeting. Thank goodness we have a light agenda today.