The 2006 New Frontiers Symposium is now officially over, and a good time, I think, was had by the 50 people (give or take) who managed to make it out in the rain (and it was raining hard by the afternoon) to see what I thought was a great group of speakers.
Yes, I wish the numbers had been higher, and yes, I'm going to take a "not insubstantial financial loss" on the Symposium this year. But that's only part of the story.
From a corporate point of view, my company got a lot of good coverage in the run-up to the Symposium - more than it's gotten in the previous seven years combined. That's a good thing, and a positive for us.
From a "do we do it again" point of view, I view the attendance as a beginning, not an end. The folks who showed up are something we can build on. And we will. We'll take what we did right, and use that as a foundation, and we'll learn from those things that we could have done better.
I view the 2006 Symposium as a trial-run for things to come. Will Wise and I were bouncing some very interesting ideas around after the Symposium about how we can move forward by using the Internet, and concepts such as live streaming of symposium video, which would allow people from all around the world to "attend", and, hopefully, even interact with the speakers. More on all of this in the days and weeks to come.
Most important (for me at least), is the sense of satisfaction in a job well done - a risk taken, and rewards gained, although perhaps not in the standard ways that people might think of. What do I mean? Well, it's worth noting that in my first production, way back in 1999, both my company and I lost money (as I said above about the Symposium, a "not insignificant amount"). But we demonstrated to the network that we could bring a good project in, on time and on budget (and it was a very small budget). As a result, bigger projects followed. We took the initial hit because we knew you have to start somewhere if you're going to build something. To use a cliche, Rome wasn't built in a day.
So too with the New Frontiers Symposium, which will have a 2007 edition, most likely in the late Spring. Some of the speakers are already being lined up; others will follow.
For now, let me just say THANKS to everyone who came to this year's Symposium, everyone who helped behind the scenes. Let me single out just a few:
- Redstar's Christine Boss, who manned the front door all day long;
- my brother Jim, who was also there pretty much all day long, working away;
- my parents, who attended for the whole day;
- my old pals Peter Black and Carrie Smith, who were also there pretty much all day long;
- our host, Veronica Reynolds;
- Will Wise, who designed and maintained the Symposium website;
- my friend Katie Martin, who flew in all the way from Texas to see the Symposium, and was great to hang out with;
- lastly, but by no means least (!!), my "better half" Linda Wood, who caught some of the sessions, but more importantly didn't smack me over the head with a frying pan or teddy bear when I (a) showed her the financial report from this year (which puts the kibosh on our winter vacation, except perhaps for Bedford - hahahahahaha...), and (b) didn't shoot me when I said we were going to do it again. Without her, there would have been no Symposium, nor would there be another.
Of course, thanks as well to all the folks like Rob McConnell at the X-Zone, the gang at the Book of Thoth, the Anomalist, Errol Bruce-Knapp at Strange Days.. Indeed, Tim Binnall at Binnall of America, my friend and fellow traveller Stuart Miller at UFO Review, and on and on and on down the line, who helped us get the word out this year. Much obliged, one and all.
Most important, thanks to the speakers / friends - Will Wise, Nick Redfern, Mac Tonnies, Stan Friedman, Greg Bishop, and Bob Zimmerman - who made it all truly worthwhile for me, and the audience. Great work, guys. A pleasure sharing a stage with you, and drinks afterwards! Hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as I did.
More later, including my take on the lectures, and photos etc. For now, however, you can check out an early review / report at The Halifax Daily News and Mysteries.ca (which includes some pics).