NOTE: Actual job does not involve exchanging phaser fire with angry 1960s trashcan/antenna hybrids. Also, being a white dude in whatever time period you call home, is not a requirement.
SERIOUS NOTE: This post will be changed and modified as more details become available.
Convention Season for the year is almost upon us. This year mine’s a doozy too. I’m on a couple of panels at 9 Worlds, doing 1.5 things at LonCon and will at the very least be outside Edge Lit eating a panini and chatting to people in a couple of weeks. I’m also, in September, going to be in York at FantasyCon. In fact, that’s the convention where I’m going to be busiest because, along with Marguerite, I’m going to be running the Redcoats.
Want to come help?
Redcoats are the people who make BFS conventions tick. I worked as one at World FantasyCon with the magnificent Lou Morgan, and it was a weekend that was equal parts great, rage inducing and completely busy and engrossing. That’s honestly why I signed for FCon 14. Because, this year’s schedule notwithstanding, I’m still learning my way around conventions. I have, often, precisely zero confidence and am still mildly surprised I bothered coming back after my first Fantasycon; literally nothing more than 300 people who already knew one another getting drunk with precisely no capacity to welcome newcomers.
Things have changed since then and continue to. It’s both welcome and desperately needed too.
WFC last year was a breakthrough for me because we were so busy that I never actually had the time to feel socially awkward or out of place. It was exhausting but it gave me the opportunity to interact with the con from my own space and that helped immensely. Plus the other Redcoats I worked for and with; Andrew, Lou, Naz, Ewa, Boo, Jen and Pixie are some of the flat out nicest people I’ve ever met.
We’re recruiting for FCon 14 now and still have a couple of places left. Here’s how it works;
-You get membership and Con Hotel accommodation comped.
-You’ll have to share a room with another Redcoat.
-You’ll be active throughout the con day. Evenings should be either free or have fewer redcoats needed.
-There will be a break room. With food and water and you’ll have the chance to use it regularly.
-Your duties include;
-Reporting Harassment. The Con Harassment policy is here. This is the most important thing Redcoats do; provide a visible face of the con so, should an incident occur, the details can be taken and it can be passed up to the appropriate bodies for further action. Should you volunteer, there will be a detailed briefing on the policy and your actions should an incident be reported to you prior to the con starting.
-Accessibility Assistance. Accessibility in the WFC13 hotel was a bad joke told by a madman to an audience of the dead. I’m told, although have not seen it yet myself, that the accessibility in this hotel is infinitely better. Regardless, you may be called on to direct or accompany guests with mobility issues to lifts.
-Handling registration. Namely taking people’s names, finding their registration details for them and letting them loose on the traditional immense pile of free books. This is a job that will, for the first day or so, blow chunks. Registration is always busy, always heavy on foot traffic and there will always be a couple of curve balls. A day in, it’ll die off drastically.
-Room management. The panel schedules and locations are being nailed down now but a Redcoat will be attached to each room to make sure the panels wrap up on time, the new panels start on time and the room keeps moving. You’re free to watch the panels in the room you’re assigned to.
-Wearing a redcoat. My future brother-in-law is a bus driver in London and, as a result, has a high vis vest.I’ve seen people ask him directions on trains, in the Underground and on the street because if he’s wearing the vest, he must know Stuff, right? Wearing the redcoat means the same thing; you’ll be asked for the wifi password, where the loos are, what room a certain author or panel is in, any and everything you can think of. Be courteous, be helpful, be nice and it’ll be fine.
You’ll have frantic hours and quiet hours, have a chance to see what you want to see and get a view of the con you wouldn’t normally get. It’s a weird job but it’s one of my favorites so, if you’re interested, get in contact. The con contact addresses are here and if you send a message there marked ‘Redcoats’ or ‘FAO Alasdair’ it’ll get to me. Alternately, come say hi on Twitter at @AlasdairStuart