A lot of people have mailed in their thoughts about Ring*Con 2003. I’ll try and post all of them so here’s the second batch.
Hîriel was there as well and shares and shares her thoughts on working during the convention…
I was just reading your fantastic reports and it was great to see that there’s someone who enjoyed this convention and is even able to find the right words to describe it…I’ll be trying to do as well as you did, but I’m not really sure if I can manage to do so because I’m German…and not THAT sure about my English…so please be patient 😉
This is a report from a point of view that’s kind of different from the others as I was a member of the security-staff this year. Arriving quite early on Friday, we were given our schedule and almost immediately had to start working. At first, I felt a bit insecure if everything could work out as the orga wanted it to, as I had never done any securityjobs before – so I was kind of afraid that they’d just let us do the “minor things”, but I have to say: They didn’t. Our supervisors did a wonderful job telling us what to do and especially Vader (our security-daddy) spent about at least two hours on changing the schedules so that everyone could work with his friends and/or could attend the panels and workshops he or she wanted to see.
When the first Ringconnies arrived, it was amazing to see that they respected even the youngest members of our staff and did not complain at all, even if they had to let us take a look into their bagpacks for about the 134th time. The atmosphere was amazing and more than once I thought that this was the way the members of the Fellowship must have felt for each other. Having to live my life knowing that just one of my friends is able to understand my love for Tolkien’s work (actually, she was working on RingCon too), I was as happy as can be because there were thousands of people thinking and feeling just the same way I do. Though I had to work a lot on Friday already, there were always some people who just stopped beside me and talked to me, cheering me up when there had been one of the very few…howcouldIcallthem?…wannabe-Ringconnies who just attended to see “All those geeks in their stupid costumes” and had no respect whatsoever for other visitors or staffmembers. I made a lot of new friends standing at the entrance and checking the conbadges…I never thought that this was really possible!
Because of my quite huuuge amount of work on Friday, I arrived a little late at the Bruce Hopkins/John Leigh-panel which I desperately wanted to see but I have to say that – although I was a little tired – I’ve had more fun than I ever expected to have. Yes – being one of the Rohirrim (and the first one Bruce picked) and having to run around in that crowded Valinor was kind of embarrassing at first, but nevertheless tears of laughter ran down my face when I was allowed to sit down again. Because I was told that I had worked enough for the opening day I was even able to attend Craig Parker’s panel and the following comedyshow with Mark Ferguson. And there they were again: The tears. I couldn’t stop laughing for hours…that passportstory was way to much for me 🙂
Not feeling the least bit tired anymore I was very much looking forward to the opening ceremony which was wonderful…Marc B. Lee was doing a great job (as he was on all three days) and I’m quite sure that when we read “This weekend we rule the planet” on the screen, no one in Valinor was NOT feeling at least a litte proud to be there.
Well, the only “negative” thing I have to say about the first day is, that I felt a little pity with the English-speaking guests because they could not understand the lyrics of the song that was played with that video of Boromir…this was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. (For those who really didn’t understand but would like to know: the song was called “Hier ist ein Mensch” which would be “Here’s a human” in English). Oh, and one more thing: It was a shame that I had not been able to get a room in Bonn, so I had to go home that first night when the party just started – and nevertheless I just had about two hours of sleep…
Saturday started easy for me (hell, this is going to be SUCH a long report…sorry about that, leo! – that’s okay) as I didn’t have to start working before the afternoon, so I could get my autographs and take a closer look around. Suddenly – whilst standing in Gondolin – it got loud outside, so I ran out and there they were: Schelmish. I had never heard of them before but I loved them from the first second on (and I’m sure, so did everybody there). Seeing everyone jump around and having the time of their lives was great…
I was a little sad thet I had to sit at one of the emergency exits when they played the second time but I could hear them…that made this boring job a little easier 😉 All of us had to work even more on saturday but there were all those nice people again who were really friendly and giving their best to make it as easy as possible for us. Even some of the stars came to talk to us whren we were sitting around anywhere, looking “rather bored” as Nathaniel Lees put it when he came to stop me from falling asleep at the emergency exit, Marc B. Lee stole our popcorn – the only thing we could eat that day – at the entrance (but I got it back…I defeated the Master of Ceremony! YAY! ;-)) ), some orga-people were there too, giving us a good time while we had to work for the good time of others…I want you to understand that correctly: We loved working for that, but it was a little exhausting…
When it came to the costume-contest, I wasn’t able to see too much of it which was not that bad, as I had seen most parts of it on Friday already. For those who might ask themselves why I could not be there: I had to work…backstage. That much about just being allowed to do the “minor things”. Some of the tables we had to carry on stage and down again were heavy as hell, but knowing that there are about at least 2000 people out there (and some actors back there 😉 ) waiting for the show to go on gives you a strength you did not know you had. I loved that contest, though it was a little long…but the huge Treebeard-costume, the Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and Humans were fantastic. That short shock when Baumberta fell off the stage was taken away from everyone, when she just got up and did her show…I could never ever have done it that way…compliments to her costume and compliments to her professionality!
I can’t say anything about the fashion-show at all, which is a little sad because I would have loved to learn a little more about some of these amazing costumes I had seen all weekend, but we had some chaotic minutes searching for the stuff the winners of the costume contest should get, so, don’t be upset, dear fashion-show-people, I’m sure you did a wonderful job 😉
The people left Valinor and finally the area was prepared for the second autographsession on sunday morning…I was tired as hell and just wanted to go to bed and sleep for about three years, but… Forget about being tired, the Middleearthparty was calling…and it was calling with the voice of Schelmish. I must’ve been dancing for hours, judging from the amount of sweat that was pouring off me, but I did not care…and all the others must have been thinking just the same. Okay, I can’t say too much about that party anymore (thanks to the dwarves at Elbenwald and their free met*grin*) but I’m sure that everybody’s had a wonderful time – again. It was about 8 in the morning when I realized that I had completely forgotten about going home and it must have been almost 8.30 when I finally fell asleep anywhere…on the floor…for unbelievable 30 minutes. 😉
Though none of the staff had slept too much (and everyone had to confess a “small” amount of alcohol-intake) we started working again at 9 in the morning and that was when the chaos began, because most of our staffmembers just didn’t show up anymore. The orga had a stressfull time I think, but they always listened to our problems (e.g. when we had spent about four hours at the dealer’s room without eating or at least the possibility to go to the restroom just ONCE because no one came to do our job for these two minutes). I think those of us who were there worked all day – almost without a break, but though it was more than exhausting we still had our fun.
Finally I had the possibility to see one of JRD’s panels whilst sitting next to the microphone telling the people who wanted to ask him anything not to beg for autographs…I could’ve understood if they did, many of them could not get one at the official sessions because it just took too long (but I can say that FedCon’s planning to change that for the next RingCon). He was fun to listen to, telling interesting stories about life on set and his castmembers, so I do not rate that hour as a working one… 😉
It took me a few minutes to realize that the moment I had been afraid of all weekend was finally there when Marc B. Lee entered the stage again for the closing ceremony. It’s unbelievable how very fast three days can pass if you’re having a good time with people who understand your passion for LotR and Tolkien… The cardgame was fun, those Reggaeorcs even more but then it was time for the last few minutes. I got goosebumps all over when the name of Professor Tolkien appeared of the screen and all those people were cheering and standing up, I do not understand why some people can’t see the magic in his works…just imagine…who else could make people react to his name like that, 30 years after his death?
When they finally showed the exerpt from Daily Telegraph (to those of you who weren’t there, this is, what I’m talking about: “Bilbo found a scrap of black twist and tied it round his arm. The little hobbit wept bitterly. Somewhere in the world of fantasy that Prof. J.R.R. Tolkien created, this is happening at the news of his death.”) it got completely silent in Valinor and I’m sure that I do not only speak for myself if I say: I’ve been crying. After everyone else had left, we had to clean up Valinor, working about another two hours. I could’ve cried again as I saw how quickly every single sign of that wonderful weekend was removed…
Finally, after about two tons of pizza for the staff, we had to leave, looking back one last time at the main entrance of the Maritim and whispering a “See you next year” into the night.
Oh my God, this was probably the longest report I’ve ever written in English (I hope it was more or less understandable), but I just had to let anyone know what a staffmember felt about this weekend. It could not get much better, it was stressfull, it was exhausting and I think I slept about 17 hours afterwards, but I’d do it all again tomorrow – or for the rest of my life 🙂 I’d like to thank the FedCon, C’rdan, Marcel, Raphi, Thorsten, Vader, all staffmembers and helpers, the stars and of course all those wonderful fans for the passion they put into these three days, I think most of us will never forget them and I hope that I’ll meet many people next year…some of them again, some of them for the first time. To those of you who have the possibility to attend RingCon 2004: Pack your bags and come there…I’m quite sure you’ll have the time of your life!
Hîriel (who still is dreaming of last weekend ;-)) )