The Future of Mysterium
Sorry we’ve been so quiet lately, but I swear we’re still working on Mysterium 2012 behind the scenes! We planned to have the logo chosen for you this weekend, but it has been surprisingly difficult to get us all together to choose one. Hopefully by next week! But that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now. Instead, I want to discuss the future of Mysterium and get your input. Note that this is largely just me talking unofficially, Eleri and Odo may not agree with some of my points, and no decisions have been made yet.
Most of you know about the Falling Man Group, which was created to act as a non-profit to help with Myst fandom events (namely Mysterium so far). The board is made up of 3 people who have run Mysterium in the past, and so have experience doing so. The plan was that 2012 would be the last time that the three of us would take a front-line role in planning Mysterium, at least for a while. Instead, we would solicit bids from others who had a team and wanted to run Mysterium. This would help bring in new blood with new ideas to help carry Mysterium forward. We expected that the people running it would probably live near the city they proposed, and so would have an easier time getting everything together than we have doing it remotely. The FMG board would provide guidance and funding, and would also lend a hand as needed, but the chosen team would be the leads. This is totally viable conceptually; Zib, Tanshin, M13 and I did this same thing last year when we ended up running Mysterium 2011. However, if no one were to step up to make a team and run the show, it would also mean there wouldn’t be a Mysterium. That would be unfortunate, but at the same time Mysterium can’t happen unless people want it to happen.
So that was the idea… but now we’re not so sure it’s the right idea. We’ve been brainstorming possibilities, and I wanted to just put them out informally. Please feel free to leave a comment here if you have thoughts. This is *your* convention as much as it is ours, and we want to take your opinions into account when we make this decision. Also, if you are someone who would be interested in bidding, let us know that too so we can see that there are actually people who would want to do so.
Anyway, here are the ideas we’ve come up with so far:
1. As currently planned, soliciting bids from outside, and FMG oversees the committee.
Pros: More control over who is running it, new blood brought in
Cons: Potential of no one stepping up (or just one bad group stepping up), little location control, inexperienced teams could screw up?
2. Alternate Seattle/Boston each year, run by the FMG
Pros: Consistent date/location schedule, major cities, can establish relationships with hotels
Cons: Not good for non-coastal people, no new cities to explore, FMG staff will burn out (that’s not a “may” but a “will”)
3. Encourage people to run mini-Mysteria when/where ever, provide supporting grants from FMG
Pros: Low oversight needed, people can gather regionally as desired
Cons: No large yearly gathering, dilution of ‘Mysterium’ brand, etc
4. No formal Mysterium outside of Spokane every 3 years (starting with the Myst 20th anniversary in 2013)
Pros: Less work, familiar location, easier to involve Cyan, possibly larger attendance
Cons: No yearly gathering (easier for people to lose interest), harder to keep consistent staff, harder for people outside the west-coast to go
5. 4-year cycle: Alternate Spokane and one of the other options (bids, Boston/Seattle), with a year of nothing between each one. So an 8 year cycle would be: Spokane, nothing, bids, nothing, Spokane, nothing, bids, nothing
Pros: Have it in Spokane/at Cyan more often, keeps it moving around a little, having a Mysterium every-other year may help to deal with the declining attendance numbers we’ve been seeing.
Cons: Complicated, not quite yearly and may actually lose people’s interest, still leaves us with the problem of what to do that alternate years when it isn’t in Spokane
Edit (6/14/12) – Thanks for all the comments everyone. Things are hecktic at the moment, but Maker willing I will respond to them this weekend. I want to make sure I have time to give them some real thought before I respond. Note also that if you are interested in getting involved in the planning or running of Mysterium at any level, either leave a comment or send me an email through the contact form.