Tuesday 19 November 2013

Running Small Events: Introduction to Autocratting by THL Asa Gormsdottir

June 2006


▪          Theme
▪          Activities – martial, merchants, A&S, childcare, Feast, lunch counter, bar, season of year?
▪          Personalizing an event - cutesy stuff, canton-specific mythology

▪          crowded calendar
▪          Deciding to conflict with another event – distance or theme
▪          # of parties involved
▪          Complexity

▪          holding events out of canton
▪          sponsorship


Choosing a site:
▪          Venue size based on expected range of attendance
▪          Schools, legion halls, parks, community centres, hotels
▪          Outdoor events – shelter/weather issues, bar restrictions, safety issues

Space issues:
▪          Parking
▪          Lists
▪          Food/feasts
▪          Space for people to sit and visit, work on A&S etc.
▪          Change rooms/washrooms/Royalty Room
▪          Merchanting. The merchant question and small events
▪          A&S
▪          Child care area – placement – not near the lists!!

Narrowing it down:
▪          Deposits/deadlines to pay
▪          Fire regulations
▪          Stage, tables, chairs, fixtures
▪          Electrical outlets
▪          Stairs/accessibility
▪          lot plowed after snowstorm?
▪          Check fine print in contracts

Things to avoid when choosing a site:
▪          paid security guards
▪          site catering
▪          parking fees
▪          site bar (can be costly/limited selection/no flexibility)
▪          Be aware of need for Smart Serve permits (Ontario) for bar


Typical division of responsibilities:
▪          autocrat and deputies
▪          feastocrat
▪          reservations/troll
▪          bar steward
▪          marshal(s)
▪          merchant coordinator
▪          A&S coordinator
▪          Child care coordinator
▪          Royalty liaison
▪          Herald
▪          Chirurgeon
▪          Grunts – set up/take down/clean-up/security
▪          The issue of volunteers and professionalism

Other Resources:
▪          Seneschals
▪          recent event autocrats/other experienced people

Choosing a feastocrat:
▪          timeliness
▪          good food
▪          ability to stay on budget
▪          need for reservation counts

Choosing a troll:
▪          Trust, accountability, ability to follow instructions and count money
▪          Don't use your exchequer as this takes away a key audit control
▪          Keeping track of floats
▪          Keep money under lock and key – assume the worst will happen until it doesn't


▪          site rental fee
▪          insurance
▪          permits
▪          food – feast (big!), lunch counter
▪          bar
▪          prizes
▪          site tokens

Event revenues:
▪          Site fees
▪          check range of fees from previous events using Tidings/Calendar
▪          Not so long ago >$5 was considered excessive – not any more
▪          The question of “comps” – controlling free admissions
▪          Lunch table
▪          Feast
▪          Auctions, contests, raffles

Pre-Event Funding:
▪          Canton
▪          Baronial or kingdom involvement?
▪          Who will fund a deficit?

In-Kind Donations to seek out:
▪          tokens
▪          prizes
▪          TIME
▪          Tools, tents, flags, signs, tablecloths, regalia
▪          Local or Baronial Quartermasters

Protecting Funds/Reporting:
▪          Troll – great responsibility
▪          no payment without receipts
▪          NMS
▪          importance of timeliness when reporting




▪          Tidings requirements – SCA sanctioned event / SCA insurance
▪          Emails to local group, barony, kingdom, seneschals
▪          Invitations to royalty

Event chronology:
▪          Site opens/closes ….
▪          access previous evening for set-up?
▪          Setup requirements
▪          Signage
▪          Troll/bar/lunch opens….
▪          Courts at TRM’s discretion
▪          Tournaments – martial, A&S, inspections, etc.
▪          Raffles, classes, etc.

Thinking ahead:
▪          All the waivers you can lay your hands on, including minor waivers and NMS list
▪          Marshals in charge to bring extra forms for their activities
▪          Make up disposable signs in advance e.g. washroom, change room, royalty room, A&S room, etc.
▪          Phone lists – cell phones particularly
▪          Distribute event layout maps in advance so staff don't fight during set-up
▪          Hold site tours in advance if possible

Odd Things you might want to bring:
▪          You are the den mother for a gigantic family for one day
▪          Paper towels, rubber gloves, Fantastik, garbage bags
▪          Toilet paper, Kleenex, baby wipes
▪          First aid kit or get a chirurgeon aboard your team
▪          Bottled water, juice boxes, high-energy snacks for crashing team members
▪          White cardboard or paper, markers and masking tape, pens, highlighters etc.
▪          Duct tape, tool kit, flashlight, extension cord
▪          Door wedges

WAYS TO ANNOY AN AUTOCRAT (or, how not to be accountable):
(with contributions from Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton and Bantiarna Medb ingen Dungaile)

Before the event:
▪          When invited to participate, smugly tell the autocrat you are philosophically opposed to the event’s concept
▪          Take on a role, then forget all about it
▪          Avoid event planning meetings “because you’re too busy”
▪          When deputized to send in the event information for the Tidings, forget to do it, or assume that the deadline for the July issue is a couple of weeks before July
▪          When deputized to run the bar, forget to get the permits in time.  Then complain to the autocrat that the site has to be dry
▪          When a site token is chosen, complain that "item X would be better", when item X would cost $300.
▪          Ignore event announcements/website. Call the autocrat late at night and ask stupid questions.

During the event:
▪          Forget to bring what you promised, arrive late, then deny you were ever asked
▪          On arrival, criticize the site’s attributes and say you know a far better venue. Even though you were silent during site discussions.
▪          Insist the directions to the site are “wrong” even though no one else had a problem.
▪          Demand free admittance “because I’m helping/I’m a single parent/I don’t have any money on me”, even though the autocrat paid full site fee.
▪          Ignore event information that advises there is no room for individual presences, and demand the autocrat find you space for all your stuff.
▪          If weather forces everyone inside, forcing them to share space, complain that the autocrat is biased against fighters/fencers/dancers/merchants/children/A&S because you had to share.
▪          Block registers and heaters with your bags, then complain that the site is too cold.
▪          Interrupt the autocrat and ask if they are having “fun”
▪          Complain that the event is in downtown Toronto, and that the group should really try to have their events somewhere less stressful.
▪          Complain that the event is not in downtown Toronto, and getting there by transit involves a couple of transfers.
▪          Complain to the autocrat about all the children who have come to the event (especially when said children are being relatively well-behaved.)
▪          Offer the autocrat “helpful suggestions” to improve their next event. Tell them you can do it better.
▪          Question the autocrat’s motives for running the event – to their face
▪          If you’re working troll, leave your table unattended. Ignore the autocrat’s instructions. Forget about the NMS. Make up your own fees. Mishandle change. Steal.
▪          Complain that Court is after feast, when it is Their Majesties' discretion to set the time.
▪          "Forget" to gather up your possessions by a certain time even after repeated requests to do so.
▪          Complain about the food and its cost. If the food is on time, say it’s too fast/too much. If the food is a bit delayed, make faces at your fellow guests and tell off your server. Never help serve. Leave your food scraps on the table.

After the event:
▪          Forget your promise to help with take-down/clean-up, as you rush out to the post-rev. Or, stand around chatting and watch the autocrat cleaning on their hands and knees.
▪          If you lost in a competition, blame the autocrat

▪          Be difficult about turning in receipts or filing your own reports. If given a deadline, ignore the autocrat’s instructions, dump the material on a handy bystander and then claim innocence when the report goes in late.

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