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The announcement has been made that the current Gathering of the Gargoyles (the thirteenth annual) will be the last in this form. I'm saddened by this of course, but even more saddened by some of the vitriol I've seen toward the constaff. So I posted this at Station 8:
Thought I should speak up. In part to defend my friends, I suppose, but also just to make my position on all this clear.
I'm the person who suggested we end the thing. Me. Frankly, I was simply horrified to discover how much of their own MONEY the con staff was putting toward the convention year after year... with it costing them increasingly more with each succeeding convention and with attendance falling at a steady clip. And that's on top of the incredible amount of hard work that these people put in. There have been other individuals and groups who have run individual Gatherings here and there, but most burn out after one year and don't do it again. This group volunteered their time year after year. Stuck with it when others wouldn't. They deserve praise, not scorn.
Are they my friends? Of course. Are they loyal to me? I think so. I like to think I'm just as loyal to them. Are they cliquish at times. Yeah. I've noticed that too. It happens with any group of people who work very hard together to do something and, frankly, feel largely unappreciated for their efforts. They get tight.
But I don't buy the notion that this is an impenetrable clique -- especially since new members join the group all the time. I've known some of these folks for over a decade. Others, just for a couple years. And even if you aren't admitted to this so-called "Inner Circle", what difference should that make? The Gathering is big enough for multiple cliques. Big enough for you to bring your own clique. The Gathering has interesting and informative events whether or not you're in ANY clique.
When someone asks "Why would I want to give any money to hang out with people who have no interest in including me?" I think the question itself is off point. They're throwing you a convention! They're including you! Does that mean they have to personally enjoy your company? Personally, spend time with you? That's unreasonable. You may be great. You may be annoying. I don't know. But they don't have an obligation to coddle you. Just to put on a great show, which I think they've done year after year.
And you're not paying to spend time with them anyway, you're paying to attend the con. Or not. No one's holding a gun to your head, but then don't complain if the thing isn't somehow able to continue indefinitely on SOMEONE ELSE'S DIME.
Don't get me wrong. No one is going to miss the Gathering more than I. I think there's some real truth to the accusation that the thing became Greg Weisman's annual ego boost. Because without a doubt it is a HUGE ego boost for me personally. Year in and year out, I have a blast. I'm treated VERY well, and I enjoy that treatment. I'd be lying if I said otherwise.
But it's not as simple as that. For starters, the reason that the con has consistently featured me and the various series that I've worked on is because I'm willing to do the work to help put the convention together. Frank Paur, just as an example, is ALWAYS welcome, but he doesn't always choose to come. I ALWAYS want to be there. So it's something of a not-so-vicious circle. I provide the convention with contacts -- and the convention uses those contacts to hold panels on Starship Troopers or WITCH or, this year, The Spectacular Spider-Man. All of which is an attempt to INCREASE the attendance by bringing in other fandoms and exposing them to Gargoyles. It's worked to some degree, but not enough.
I've also provided contacts for shows like Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin and Kim Possible, and we've had panels on those that I wasn't a part of because my involvement on those series was nearly non-existent. But I knew those guys, so I got 'em to come. I'm sure everyone would have loved it if I had gotten, uh, say, the Avatar/Last Air Bender guys to do a panel on that show. Trouble is, I don't know those guys. So no luck.
And, hey, I did create the show that we're theoretically celebrating. I am the guy who's fought to get the DVDs and the comics, etc. It's because of the fandom that I never gave up. But it doesn't change the fact that I'm the guy who never gave up. So maybe it's not SUCH a bad thing that I've been the primary beneficiary of the con. Or maybe it is. I'm not going to worry about it.
What I am going to do is enjoy the last convention. I really think we'll be going out with a bang with a ton of special guests. And, ironically, because of the low attendance the BEST FAN-TO-PRO RATIO you'll find at any convention EVER!!! If you can't afford to come this year, we're very sorry. We'll miss you. Really. But if you can, you should try, because once again, I think it'll be a great show.
But of course I'm biased. ;)
And as Jennifer pointed out, if anyone else wants to have a Gargoyles convention in 2010 or 2011 or 2198, no one's stopping you. I'm still willing to attend, still willing to help. Or willing to stay away, if that would be best. But I'd advise thinking long and hard about both the time commitment and the financial aspect of it before jumping in. Cuz it's tough. Not for me. It's easy for me. But for whomever happens to be the constaff in any given year, it's a lot of work and not cheap.
Now, I suppose for some people, all I've done in this post is prove their point. I'm tight with the constaff. They're tight with me. All true. But they've still put out an open invitation year after year to friends and so-called-foes alike. All they're really saying is that they're done. You think you can do better? Go for it!