Ju Landeesse was the force behind the Fandomedia conventions run in 2005 and 2006 in Perth. She attended Convergence this year as the NAFF representative and is currently involved in plannng Swancon 2009.
Q1. This year you were awarded a Tin Duck for the success that was Fandomedia 2006. What was your inspiration for the convention and what kind of advice would give to someone who was thinking of tackling a similar project in the future?
My inspiration for Fandomedia both in 2005 and 2006 was that I wanted a canvas to be artistic, I wanted a stage to be creative and to invite people in to share this, and have fun with me. I wanted also to explore more heavily theme based events. The key concept in 2005 was ‘Comedy’ which given I have a constant battle relationship with the subject (i try and be funny… most times I fail and it laughs at me), this was my proving ground on whether I could produce something quality and successful on a subject i wasn’t personally passionate about. Then came ‘Hunger’ in 2006 and it was -hungry- from guests to attendees, there was this lovely edgy element flowing through the convention – which at the same time was relaxed and fun. In both years I was extremely fortunate to have amazing guests that were the caramel sauce on the waffles.
For those thinking of doing any kind of event, small or large, my main advice is:
1. Be organised – the more organised you are, the more fun you will have at your own event, and the less stressed you’ll be. The less stressed you are, the less people will notice and wonder what is going wrong and start looking for it 😛
2. Take advantage of the huge amount of experience we have access to in this community – there’ s so many things that have been done, tried, suggested, and if you’re trying something that hasn’t been done before, you’ll get some interesting suggestions on how to tighten it, limit the amount of risk. What’s more is that people want to help – they want to see you do your own thing, want to see you succeed and test your feet – they want you to enjoy the process and feel good about it so that we can all have lots of things to go to, and lots of people to share the work around.
3. Don’t be afraid to take chances and try something totally different.
4. Don’t be afraid to use a tried and tested model – Fandomedia was based directly on the other small cons that had come before it.
5. Vet check your program with at least three experienced people – in case the two you originally asked don’t pick up on the huge mistake you made before it’s too late.
Q2. This year you were also lucky to be the NAFF representative, travelling to Melbourne to the Natcon, Convergence. What did you learn and what inspired you?
I learned how better to network and relax while socialising. I learned to navigate Melbourne city central on my own, and I learned about another aspect of conventions – ones that are different to Swancon and the other WA cons. What inspired me was the people there – especially Ang from the UK here thanks to DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund), Kate Forsythe – because we mutually agreed that being cute and being evil weren’t the antithesis of one another. I met so many amazing people that I can’t actually name them all – I plan to have a damned good try in my NAFF (National Australia Fan Fund) con report, but really there was so much laid back socialising and discussing of ideas, new projects, new directions, comparing of past things – it was all such an amazing vibe, we were all there to have fun, and not a one of us were disappointed.
Another aspect that inspired me was getting to talk to Clare Briarly and Mark Plummer about the UK setup for the league of fan funds – it was just amazing. I’m going to spend the next 12 months evaluating whether a similar model will work here in australia, or what other options there are for promoting, and supporting the fan funds that are there for us, but also make it easy and not all too hard for people – at this point the funds aren’t that well advertised, lots of people don’t know what they are or what’s on offer, so hopefully I can put a dent in changing that and setting it up for the future 🙂
Q3. What projects are you working on now and what would be your dream project that you would love to see light in the Aussie specfic scene?
I’m working on 4 projects at the moment…
Swancon 2009 – under PRK, which will be awesome and really that’s all i can say 😛
What is currently playfully called ‘SorCon’ at the moment – basically a small weekend con dedicated to exploring the creations of Aaron Sorkin – like ‘The West Wing’, not to mention other fandoms that don’t fall under the science fiction/fantasy genre. What’s especially awesome is I get to work with two people I haven’t worked with before, and the three others involved are all really, all kinds of amazing and inspiring people – I’m learning so much from them all! I can scarcely contain my glee!
Another small convention after Swancon next year – I’m not revealing anything about it at this point, save that again, I get to work with some outstanding people on this, and really that’s one of the best things.. the collaboration and the creation, learning and sharing things with them… it’s like sprouting wings and flying off into the sunset.
Q4. Do you read much of the Aus spec fic scene? What’s the best thing you’ve read this year?
I’ve very much been reading novels this year. My favourite book of this year is easily ‘Evolution’s Darling’ by Scott Westerfeld – what an amazing find, thanks to Elaine Kemp and Stephen Dedman for letting me borrow it. Utterly amazing – becuase the interaction between an AI and a human SHOULD be different, markedly so and Scott completely nails it! This book has become an instant favourite.
I’ve been reading lots of Aussie authors – and I have a heap to go!! I’ve been reading some of the science fiction by Sean Williams and Shane Dix now that I’ve finished all the ‘Change’ books. I’ve read almost all that Jennifer Fallon has to offer – save her brand new series that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. I am pining for my copies of ‘Dark Space’ and ‘A Darkness Within’ to make their way back from Melbourne (there was no way my baggage was going to handle the mass of books I a) bought, and b) won). Theoretically they should be winging their way back any day now… not that I’m counting or anything.
Q5. – And finally, if you had the chance to get it on with the fictional character you fancy most, who would it be?
Daemon Sadi tied equally with ‘Karla’ from the same set of books, and Captain Jack Harkness, Rogue and The Doctor.
I’m not greedy… I’m generous. *ahem*