July 19, 2005
News for ConnectiCon 2005:
Web comics and attendees band together to save ConnectiConby PatrickD
This past weekend's ConnectiCon found itself in over $34,000 of debt after being presented with a bill for last minute additions to the Connecticut Convention Center staff. In response, over 30 web comics have created SaveConnectiCon.com in an attempt to raise enough money to ensure the convention will return next year.
|In 2003, ConnectiCon opened its doors for the first time. Run by Matt Daigle and Briana Benn at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, ConnectiCon was a labor of love. Through blood, sweat and tears (and their own finances), they created one of the friendliest, most welcoming conventions in the Northeast. It caters to Anime, Sci-Fi, Gaming, Fantasy and more.
They ended their first year in debt, not entirely unusual for a first time convention. Yet despite their own financial losses, in 2004 they hosted ConnectiCon for a second time. The convention doubled in every aspect: attendance, guest appearances, and in fun. They finally broke even.
Due to a change in management and policy at the University of Hartford, where ConnectiCon was hosted for the first two years, the convention was forced to find a new home in 2005. Faced with a choice of canceling their event or taking a risk on a more expensive venue, Matt and Briana put everything they had on the line to throw the best convention they could. They moved ConnectiCon to the brand new Connecticut Convention Center.
Despite throwing another wonderful convention this year, they did not break even. In fact, due to the Convention Center being so new, and through a series of misunderstandings between ConnectiCon and Connecticut Convention Center staff, there were a lot of unforeseen expenses tacked on at the last minute.
To outline the costs concisely: The space rental was $45,000. The billing for additional expenses (to be attached at the convention's end) was quoted as being $5,000-$10,000. These expenses were planned for. However this bill was inflated due to last minute additions to Connecticut Convention Center staff, such as a full-time Fire Marshal, a full-time nurse, and extra security personnel, which were not discussed in the initial contract negotiations. Over the course of the weekend these additional expenses continued to pile up, until costs far exceeded the original $10,000 estimate.
As a result, Matt Daigle is now $34,148.50 in debt. That is too much for any one person to shoulder, let alone a person who was never interested in making money, and just wanted to throw a fun event for people to enjoy.
At this point it's not only ConnectiCon 2006 that's in danger; it's Matt and Briana's future.
ConnectiCon has earned a reputation amongst the webcomic community as being the largest supporter of our medium. There has never been another convention that treated webcomics with such respect and admiration. There has never been a convention that showcased such a huge number of webcomics in one place.
They have treated webcomics like royalty for the past three years and now, in their hour of need, dozens of webcomic creators and other artists have banded together to organize this fund.
We need to save our friends. We need to save our ConnectiCon.
And we need your help to do it.
"I know this can be done," says Dave Lister of Paradox Lost, "I've seen what you guys can do when you all lend a hand."
Some web comics will also be auctioning off artwork to benefit the cause. "I've never sold/auctioned any of my artwork simply due to some sort of ill-defined code I follow so I'm still a little hesitent to do so," says Ian McConville of Mac Hall. "Mr. Daigle, however, has been nothing but good to us so I shall try to wave this strange quirk." Matt Boyd continues, "We've never done auctions, and we've never asked for donations, but we're going to now because it's worth it."
Mookie of Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire explains, "Saving ConnectiCon means a great deal to me and to a lot of webcomics."
"I'd heard other webcomics crews talk about ConnectiCon very fondly, and now I know why," says Ananth Panagariya of Applegeeks. "Hawk and I would like - love - to go to ConnectiCon next year, and we'd love to see you all there."
As of the morning of Tuesday, July 19th, just over $5000 has been raised.