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Video: Rainfurrest 2012 fursuit parade

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Keep your eye out for the 2012 Golden Hairball award winner for "Best Dressed" at 6:56.

Video by Poxy Wolf.

Comments

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What is the significance of this video? Every con has a fursuit parade. This doesn't seem "Flayrah" worthy

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Do the other cons have videos of their fursuit parades? I am in favor of showing more fursuit parades on Flayrah.

Fred Patten

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Due to the proliferation of devices able to capture video, and the increase in attendance, at every convention multiple people are unofficially recording the fursuit parade and uploading it to YouTube, where it is immediately searchable.

In this sense, they are not really "news". Even posting the best for each con, we would have several each month.

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Absolutely. If you pick a convention and a year, you're guaranteed to find at least a couple videos of that con's parade on YouTube. In fact, the parade at FCN 2011 was filmed and uploaded from so many angles that I was able to splice together progressive footage of Vin from beginning to end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxPVG_ZTwmo

The thing is, parades are usually very long and very repetitive. I don't see much of a point in showing fursuit parade footage here. It would clutter up Flayrah a good deal. Far more interesting would be users' videos showcasing their overall convention experience, the events and people encountered throughout the weekend.

If you're looking to compare parade footage from year to year to look at the evolution of fursuit design, that might be better as a single article with side-by-side comparisons.

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I guess that what I mean is that I am in favor of more convention reports that are comprehensive documentations of all of that con's highlights, including a brief summary of its fursuit parade, instead of just one or two events like the fursuit parade.

Fred Patten

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I agree that it would be nice to see reviews like that. Like there used to be. A lot of people still do con reports in their LiveJournal or blog, but they tend to be very self- or group- oriented with things like "We swam in the pool and I hung out with [names of locals I traveled with] and we ate at Burger King then went to [DJ]'s dance..."

Instead of more event-oriented things like "The hotel's amenities are a joy, with attendees going for a splash in the 6' hotel pool at seemingly every hour of the day; There is a good selection of restaurants but only within driving distance; The Friday evening dance run by [DJ] had a fair turnout and a great light show put on by [A/V credit]."

It doesn't have to be an objective con review, but I want to read what the con experience was like for attendees. I don't want to read that somebody went to Burger King with his buddies.

If Flayrah can make that a thing, I'd be happy to help put the word out that there is interest in garnering real con reports for fandom posterity.

(Edit: I'd also be happy to contribute reviews myself, though it might be bad form to do so for the half of the cons I attend at which I am a staff member.)

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^ there's a reason to post it, to get your excellent comment about con reports :)

If Flayrah can make that a thing, I'd be happy to help put the word out that there is interest in garnering real con reports for fandom posterity.

It is interesting that cons ban outside journalists, but you sense a gap for con reports.

To improve it, how about providing a pre-made con report style form, with general points to cover, and ask people to use it plus investigate specific things (like, catch an interview with the GoH)?

I nominate you to gather a couple of links to what you think are GOOD con reports for comparison, write down the points you think a good report should cover, gather them into some kind of style form (or whatever you want to call it), and submit it here with a request to try it out. I guarantee it will be used.

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See my CaliFur VIII report for the best that I could do. An ideal convention report should cover the following:

1. Full name of the convention, location including name of hotel, dates.

2. List of Guests of Honor.

3. At least the main program items each day. Names of moderators or speakers.

4. Fursuit highlights. Brief clip of fursuit parade. 5 or 6 most notable fursuits. If any fursuit prizes given, name them.

5. Dealers room highlights. How many dealers. If any books, art folios, etc. premiered at the con, name them.

6. If any official charity, what it is and how much raised for it.

7. Name of Chairman, other major con committee.

8. Art Show. Many artists do not want their art photographed, but how many pieces entered, total amount sold, price of highest piece and artist.

9. Official attendance.

10. Any local newspaper or TV news coverage.

11. Any other highlights, such as Anthrocon's friendly nearby restaurants.

Fred Patten

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Heh, thanks. :)

Well, outside journalists aren't convention connoisseurs. They're there to report that there's this funny thing happening in your town, and they tend to imply that all furry cons are like the one they're filming. Outside journalists are not trying to tell you what makes THIS con special, among all the others.

The form is a nice idea, though there are a LOT of things to talk about at a con, so it might be better off as a set of guidelines or list of suggestions. There's no incorrect way to do a con report really, but there are ways to write uninteresting or uninformative reports. Some people will provide general descriptions of everything. Others will put a heavy focus on one or two things, like friends made, event quality, or even the architecture and quality of the hotel.

But a newsworthy con report generally should be one based not on "MY experience," but on "THE experience:" It describes not merely what you did, but what it was like to be there. That I think is the key thing that others would be interested in reading.

Some things that could go on such a form might be these. Though I've been to a billion furry cons I wouldn't consider myself a writer or journalist, so this list should probably be refined by someone with more experience:

- Pre-con prep - Was the con website informative and easy to peruse?

- Overall quality of travel - how is the climate or current weather? what is the location, and is it easy to get to? Was the cost of travel/hotel/reg/food cheap or expensive?

- Overall quality of hotel staff, check-in process, rooms, amenities, bar, surrounding area and meeting space.

- Event space quality (comfortable for fursuiters? easily accessible from rooms? too big or small? poorly laid out or underutilized?)

- General atmosphere - Too cozy/crowded? Or was it a "relaxacon?" Anything interesting happen in the hallways? Lots of fursuiting activity? How about the props/decor, if any? Was there a "zoo" and what was it like? Did you find any interesting room parties or was there a party floor? What about outside the hotel - any interesting activity there?

- Con staff - organized? responsive? kindly? incompetent? were multiple organizations involved? How well were provisions for volunteers, VIPs, dealers/vendors, fursuiters, panel/event hosts, people with disabilities, etc?

- Programming in general (were there schedule conflicts or poorly scheduled events? not enough programming or not enough pertaining to your interests? any panel no-shows?)

- Individual Panels/Events (which did you attend, even briefly? how well was it run? how many others attended? how did others react? was it informative/entertaining or a waste of time? were the main events well prepared and organized? What were the highlights of each event/panel attended?)

- Dealers Room, art show - Sizable dealers room? Any particularly interesting wares or notable artists?

- Registration - Was the cost to attend, and was it worth it? Did you register online or at the door? How long did you wait in line?

- Was there a con suite or sponsor suite? Was it comfortable? Were there enough snacks or meals, if any?

- Con book, shirt, gifts - Any notable gifts received? What was the art on the t-shirt? Is it something you'd be OK with wearing in public? Was the con book helpful and informative? Was it just a formality to look pretty? Or was it a waste of paper?

- Quality of other convention functions - Fursuit lounge, photoshoot, video/tabletop game room(s), etc

- Charity - Who was the charity? Was this a returning or new charity? Did they stand out or appeal to you compared to others? Did they make an appearance at the con? Was there a display, show or interview with them? How much money was raised and how does this compare to other years?

- GOHs - Who are they, what are they known for, why were they picked? Were there any interviews or special events featuring them?

- Other people - Any notable interactions with particular staff members, artists, performers or weirdos?

Here are things that you'd want to keep brief, or omit, if you're writing for Flayrah or FNN:

- Avoid personal accomplishments (this was my 10th Anthrocon, my 5th con fursuiting, I drank 8 beers and threw up in the pool, etc). Those can go in your LJ.

- Avoid irrelevant personal experiences (we ordered chinese food to the hotel room and watched pay-per-view porno on TV and recited internet memes)

- Avoid inside jokes (my buddies will get this: WATCH OUT FOR THOSE STEAMCLOUDS haha). Although, a widely acknowledged running gag at the convention might be notable, i.e. "Fender spoke at opening ceremonies about getting bugged because FA was down, so every time someone saw him in the halls they complained to him about the website. By closing ceremonies he was twitching!"

- Keep personal experiences brief. "I had my fursuit on for the first time and got some good reactions from other attendees." or "I was a dealer, but had very little traffic this year." Details are not necessary here.

If you're still interested I'll look for examples of good actual con reports in my opinion in a bit.

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Please gather these comments into a headline article for future reference.

I don't think separating "MY experience" from "THE experience" is important, as long as it's written well.

Furry fandom is art appreciation, with visual art, writing, performance, dance and more mushed together under one big vague label.

Compare the challenge of writing a good furry con report, to the challenge of writing about a large music festival. (Keeping in mind the well known saying, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture".)

Music journalism has done very well at that. A lot of the best does it by being very personal and subjective. It helped make rock and roll what it is.

Furry can do that, because it's not a canned product from Disney or Hollywood, and it's not Comic Con.

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The problem with that idea is, in order to make a more objective, "all-encompassing" con report, you need to the input of several sources to adequately cover one convention; one person couldn't pull off writing the whole thing.

For example, if my primary interest is in fursuiting, I may go into detail about the fursuit parade or fursuit games, but I may completely ignore things like art panels, even though they are a major segment of a furry convention. It would also mean attening events I may have no motivation in being at, like a G.O.H. panel I'm not interested in, and therefore, I may give a lackadaisical review of it as a result. And that wouldn't be fair to the people who would have an interest in the G.O.H.

I don't mind at all if a congoer gives a personal, narrow-scoped report of their own experience at a con, as long as it's WRITTEN WELL. Sometimes, a person's own report reveals interesting things about the con that an otherwise comprehensive report would miss.

Again the important thing, to me at least, is how well it's written.

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you need to the input of several sources to adequately cover one convention; one person couldn't pull off writing the whole thing.

That's what interviews and quotes are for, and planning for multiple angle coverage :)

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I don't mind a narrow-scoped report either, if it's interesting and reveals something about what the con was like.

As Patch points out, someone who wants to seriously put together an all-encompassing review about a con would be better off having a team to record video and deliver their feelings and experiences, and interview other attendees for the same, leaving the writer to review it all and edit it together.

Just as a disclaimer, mine is an armchair point of view. I've contributed almost nothing to Flayrah, and haven't done much for WikiFur either lately, so I would very much welcome the opinions of more active and experienced users here.

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No need for a team, if there's a couple of individuals who are aware that they're working parallel with each other.

Taking quotes, notes and photos on your own works great, for delivering perspective in a personal piece.

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The best histories of the World Science Fiction Conventions have been composites of several individually detailed con reports. Nobody sees everything, but "the historian" needs several fans' detailed reports, including personal reports, to get all of the highlights. Con committee members can be interviewed to get the details of attendance totals, how much was raised for a charity, how many dealers there were, any awards given, etc. If fans writing a serious history can coordinate before a con, they can decide who covers what.

Fred Patten

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Actually, I'm going to kind of interject here and say this, taken generally, this is the entire point of journalistic archives; on a day to day basis, a news reporter or even news team does not really know if what they are writing (or broadcasting or filming or whatever) will be important tomorrow; that's tomorrow's job.

Yes, occasionally, an event like 9/11 happens, and you know that's going to be important 10 years down the line, but most days its just a small group of people desperately trying to fill up the "newshole" (that's really the technical term, as inelegant as it sounds) with whatever they can get their hands on.

After the journalists are done its the historians job to figure out what all that gooey filling in the newshole (it's getting more inelegant, isn't it?) actually means; in that way, archives of small, local papers are just as important as the big ones, because they give historians so much material to work with.

Getting back on topic, a con report with a narrow view is still infinitely better than no con report at all. Though, of course, a con report with a goal is even better, and a conscious attempt at comprehensiveness is best of all. But complete comprehensiveness is never actually possible; at a certain point, the only way to capture every aspect of an event is if everyone in attendance is a part of the team to cover the event, and then it isn't even really an event anymore, is it? It's kind of one of those "a speckled axe is best, after all" things.

So, in con reports as well as reporting in general, we can't really tell what will actually be important until time has passed; but we can never really tell what was important if we don't try.

Uh, was that pretentious enough? Too pretentious? I can tone it down a bit ...

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This is why I started doing furry news in the first place; I knew all too well that you can't write an encyclopedia if you don't have good primary and secondary sources to work with. Our coverage of current events in the fandom could be improved, but five years ago we were in an even worse place. (It would be a lot better if I didn't have that pesky nine-to-five job — not that I'm complaining . . .)

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I guess Flayrah ideally should be able to provide whatever the writer thinks the reader wants to see. From my point of view that would be 2 or 3 pages overviewing of the event from many angles and the perspectives of many different people, along with the writer's personal highlights of the weekend and maybe a slideshow or accompanying short video.

Yeah, narrow-scoped con reports (and many of them) are great for historians, "special-interest" reporters and Flayrah contributors. We can utilize them here, to compile a more accessible and convenient story for everybody else.

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I did extensive con reports for MFF 2005 and 2006, and Wikinews pieces for Further Confusion 2007 and Anthrocon 2007. Later that year I was accepted to MFF as an "official" journalist . . . unfortunately, I never quite finished my piece.

There were a few reasons: I twisted my ankle badly on Saturday which impacted my ability to get around for the rest of the con, and a month afterwards; I had prioritized taking photographs over interviews or textual recording of events, which meant I had to scramble to get some details; and I found myself swamped at work, with no time to finish the piece.

I intended to turn the photos into a montage/slideshow (the ones at the top of the set were the selected ones, with comments), but ultimately it became "not news". Perhaps that's for the best, though, considering some of the stuff I saw on Sunday night. ;-)

What people here are staying is right; our conventions have grown so large that they require a small team of reporters to do them justice. It would be perfect as a staff role, except for the huge conflict of interest you run into (imagine reporting on a drug overdose). Further Confusion has tried it anyway with the Furly Edition, to varying degrees of success.

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