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    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: Ruth: and that's one thing that...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 1/12/1996 8:32:00 PM  

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Ruth: and that's one thing that I object to about the worldcons. If a
pro travels to the convention, and appears on panels, which draw the
attendees, which brings money to the convention, then the very *least* the con
should do is provide a free membership. As an example of this, I was
repeatedly asked by folks involved in the recent WorldCon in San Francisco to
come, do a B5 presentation, me and Harlan and one or two others...I wasn't
going to go at first, because I was extremely busy, but finally I relented,
paid my own way up there, showed up at the door to do something they'd asked
me to do...and found out that I had to buy my own membership. My comments in
response do not bear repeating in a public forum, and in any event would
sizzle modem connections anyway.

And the "we'll refund if we show a profit" line is sheerest nonsense;
I've never known a single pro who got his membership reimbursed for a
WorldCon. Some pros I know end up getting booked back to back on panels, they
sign through lunch, they're run ragged for the benefit of the
convention...and they have to pay for the privilege? Where is the logic in

San Diego Comic Con is just as big if not bigger than any WorldCon, and
EVERY PRO who shows up is comp'd into the convention, even if he or she isn't
on a panel. And that is an *extremely* profitable convention. Further, this
small sign of respect entices a LOT more pros to come than might otherwise be
the case. I know a number of SF writers (print and media) and producers who
simply refuse to go to a worldcon on principle, for this very reason.

When I arrived at the San Francisco worldcon, the attitude that I got
when told I'd be paying for my own membership was that I should be thankful
they even let me in the door. They were extremely annoying about it, and very
high-handed. I came within about an inch of turning around and going home;
instead I stayed and did the B5 presentation, but refused to take part in the
other panels they'd scheduled me for, which would've meant heavy-duty
schedules. (And they got downright exercised over my non-attendence, as
though they *had* paid or comp'd me, and they had the *right* to DEMAND I be
there.) The experience absolutely put me off WorldCons, and I haven't been to
one since.

If tomorrow, Worldcon changed its stupid policy (and it *IS* a stupid
policy), what would happen is that you'd get a LOT more pros to attend, on
panels and off, they'd generate more attendees, more goodwill with the SF
community (just ask SFWA how they tend to get treated; there was a big scandal
about facilities provided to them a year or two ago), and they wouldn't lose a
*dime*, if anything they'd make more money due to more folks attending on both
sides. WorldCon has, what, 17-20,000 maximum attending? San Diego Comic Con
gets 20-25,000 and with every single pro comp'd makes a tidy profit each year.
Anybody who says WorldCon can't do it is simply full of it.


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