Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Midwest FurFest 2015

“Be careful what you wish for. It might come true.”

I’ve complained over the last few years that Midwest FurFest has been an underachiever when it comes to the writing and literature track, compared to other furry conventions. This past weekend I spoke with the programming lead for MFF and I’m now in charge of the writing and literature track for MFF, so if it happens again next year, it’ll be my fault.

My goal is to have at least 15 panels at MFF 2015, with a stretch goal of 20. Toward that end, I will likely be contacting quite a few folks, some of whom are FWG members who follow these forums, about the possibilty of doing a panel. If you’re reading this and would like to be on a panel, please feel free to contact me. I’ll also be looking for ways to get fans to get more people to attend the panels, and will be contacting the person(s) responsible for the conbook regarding conbook stories.

OMG, what have I gotten myself into?

Well volunteered, that lion :slight_smile:

Great, there’s another impossible dream added to my list.

I’ve found that putting together a good writing track is easy as pie… if you can find the writers. For my own part, I’ve retired this year and I’m not experienced yet in how best to live on my new budget. So even though I’d like to get back to MFF after a long absence, well… I’m not sure yet and won’t be until a lot closer to the con. My main goals is to make RainFurrest in 2015, and while I’m at it fulfill a lifelong travel dream along the way.

In any event, I’ve put together many writing tracks and if you want any advice I’ll do everything I can to help.

Thank you.

I’ve been to many of your panels at MFM (you and Kris are among the people I intend to contact to inquire whether you might be attending MFF) and am hoping to attend RainFurrest in 2015. Given that many folks don’t plan their convention attendance a year out, there are likely many potential panelists who don’t know yet if they’ll be attending. I’ll need to time my correspondence to be late enough that people have likely made plans, but early enough to work with the programming leads and schedulers.

One of my concerns is getting enough people to attend the panels. I’d hate to go to a lot of effort to get 15-20 panels on the schedule only to have them be sparsely attended, so any suggestions on how to promote the writing track would be appreciated.

In the last few days I’ve been ramping up my efforts to get together the kind of writing track one would expect from the second largest furry convention. Toward that end I’ve sent messages to a bunch of people inquiring about their possible attendance, including many who are active on these forums. But if you’re not, that’s not an issue, as there are no doubt many other qualified writers. If you are planning to attend Midwest FurFest this year and would be interested in being a writing panelist, please contact me, either by responding to this thread, sending me a PM, or emailing me at mwalimulion [at] gmail.com.


One of my concerns is getting enough people to attend the panels. I’d hate to go to a lot of effort to get 15-20 panels on the schedule only to have them be sparsely attended, so any suggestions on how to promote the writing track would be appreciated.

I don’t know why I didn’t reply to this sooner…

At larger cons, in my experience the key to getting big attendance numbers is to include Big Name Furs-- Kage, for example, could fill a room for a panel on traditional Polynesian pimple-popping techniques. Also important are well-written and colorful panel descriptions in the con book and pocket-program. Interesting panel-names help, too. For example, “Authoring That First Story” might well be better attended than “Beginning Writing”. But in the end, barring a Kage-like intercession, attendance will generally run below fursuiting and art panels. It’s just the nature of the beast.

This mole will be at MWFF. Anyone else, aside from the esteemed Mwalimu?

Since MWFF is equally as inconvenient for me to go to as something like Rainfurrest (would require a flight or something along those lines), I sadly won’t be there. However, if the writing track ends up going super well this year thanks to all of your hard work, I would definitely look to go here instead of RF next year.

I hope MFF soon has a writing track worthy of your travels. I doubt it will be as many as RF, which had something like 40 last year; if I tried to get that many on the calendar I’d probably get some push-back from the programming lead and other higher-ups on the con staff. If I can get it up to about 25 (about what Anthrocon has) without that becoming a concern, I’ll be happy. This year my goal is 15 with a stretch goal of 20.

I am planning on going come hell or high water. I could help do a panel on narrative in video games, if you’re interested.

Currently I’m at a point where I have a decent slate of panels but still have room for ideas that others bring forth, such as yours. If you would like to do such a panel, I think I can fit you in. Could you please PM me with your e-mail address?

Yesterday was the deadline for panel submissions, so now I can officially operate in the mode of managing and organizing what’s in my notes without having to worry about anything being added to it. Now I just need to figure out who’s doing what panels; some need more panelists, some need less. I’ll be sending out lots of emails to folks over the next week or so for this and various other reasons.

I got a few tips at RainFurrest. For one thing, a ‘classroom’ setup (tables and chairs) is preferable to a ‘theater’ setup (rows of chairs). Also that if the writing track panels aren’t well attended, keep at it in future years, as it may take a couple of years to build up this convention’s reputation for having a good writing track. I never did manage to hook up with Kodi (the MFF programming lead) while at RF, but I’ll be seeing him this coming Sunday. I hope he’s still okay with designating a ‘writing track room’ and letting me book it as full as I can. The other day I took a first crack at scheduling all the panels and confirmed that I can fit them all in the time available.

Also, Rechan has expressed an interest in Chicago-style pizza. Fortunately we have Giordano’s nearby to fill that need (and they deliver).

Lou’s is also within driving distance. >_>

Word from the programming lead is that he received over 300 panel submissions from all the various tracks, and that’s more than can be fit into the schedule and the space available, so a few will have to be cut from some tracks. He didn’t say how many from the writing track would be affected. I replied that if some panels need to be cut, I’d like to have some input into which ones.

I suspect this means they are not able to designate a room for the writing track, since I had already confirmed that if all were in the same place, they could fit between opening and closing ceremonies with a few hours to spare (two of which would be for the fursuit parade, because after all who wants to be in a panel during the fursuit parade). Also uncertain is whether the room (or any of them) will be in the classroom configuration as I had hoped.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens. If I have to cut some panels, I’ll be asking myself if this is what it feels like when the editor of an anthology has to reject stories.

The full schedule is up at http://mff2015.sched.org/; there may yet be a few things changed but this is probably pretty close to final. Mostly it’s pretty good, though there are a few things that didn’t go as I hoped. The panels are split between three different rooms (though about two-thirds of them are in one room) and there are some instances of two writing panels scheduled opposite one another. I have not received any indication whether the rooms will be in classroom configuration as requested.

Nevertheless, I believe we have a solid writing track for MFF. 24 panels and 22 panelists, enough to say we have a solid writing track where we didn’t have much of one before. Now the challenge is to get some butts in the seats at the panels. It may take a couple more years before MFF builds a reputation as a convention writers in the fandom will take notice of.

It looks like you put in a lot of work over the last several months. On behalf of everyone who loves writing and wants to see it grow within the furry community, thanks. Hopefully MFF can grow into a con with a good writing reputation.

Mwalimu, if you want some FWG bookmarks/brochures to distribute at MFF, let me know and I can mail some to you. (Same goes for anyone else who needs them for upcoming cons/events.)

I could definitely use bookmarks for Anthro New England

Thanks, I would love to have some to pass out. I’ll send you a PM.