BronyCon Haters, Get Over Yourselves!
Hey everyone. I’ve had this bottled up for a while, but recent interactions have forced my hand. I’m sorry about this sure-to-be ginormous post. (FYI for those of you who don’t like reading, there’s a “tl;dr” section at the bottom.)
I’m absolutely sick and tired of people painting conventions (specifically BronyCon) as money-making dens of greed. Anyone who thinks this can go sit in a corner while I regale you with some #trufax.
I am the Head of Vendor Relations for BronyCon, which puts me as one of the voting members of its Convention Committee (previously Council). This is often shortened to ConCom.
I’ve seen “$100k profit” tossed around a lot. I have no idea where that came from. There are very few people who have access to BronyCon’s financial records (obviously) and even I am not privy to all of their details. But let’s assume for now that that amount is exactly true. What do you think we are doing with that money? I’ve heard ridiculous things like we give most of it directly to Final Draft or that we spend it in completely rediculous ways. I heard something about a Council yacht once. I can only pray that whoever thought we were spending it on yachts was joking. The most common thing I hear though is that it goes directly into our (ConCom’s, aka Super Secret Shadow Society’s) pockets. This is probably the most rediculous rumor of all. We don’t make a dime! Shoot, if we were, I’d say sign me up! I personally have been going through some pretty rough financial times. The kind where I just applied for a third job because ends aren’t meeting. The kind where that probably still won’t be enough to keep the bill collectors at bay. All this while still being a full time student. If I hear one more person suggest that I get tons of money from BronyCon and the hard-working attendees, I might actually go off the deep end. It takes A LOT to actually get me worked up. But to hint that I’m making money, stealing money from the fandom…
Alright, but let’s consider for a second that we do get paid. Do you think we deserve it? Consider this. On average, I do about 10 hours of BronyCon work a week. Obviously this number skyrockets during the crucial month before the convention with me literally working 7am to 4am for five days straight during the convention itself. One of the nice things about my position on ConCom is that I effectively have 24 hour shifts, while at-con. Let’s do some simple math. Let’s ignore the other 360 days of the year for now. 24hrs * 5 days * $7.25 (min. wage) = $870. In reality, though, I lose money every year. If we factor in everything, I’m doing about $8,000 of work a year, for free. And that’s not considering the fact that it is skilled labor, probably deserving of a much higher pay rate. Anyone saying otherwise can go stuff themselves. Working for BronyCon is *hard* and requires a good bit of talent. But once again, every single person on BronyCon’s staff is an unpaid volunteer. Sure, we get a few perks, like a discounted hotel room and a t-shirt. I’m not going to deny that. Why we do all of thus work for free differs from person to person, but that’s an entirely different matter. The fact remains that we love what we do.
Let’s go back to the “$100k profit.” How many of you know where most of BronyCon’s income comes from? The answer is of course from badges. When do you think most of those badges are purchased? Do you find it inconceivable that BronyCon may have to pay a lot of its expenses BEFORE we get most of those badge purchases? Do you also think that an expanding convention might have expanding costs?
"Well, FIReNVY, what about the rest of BronyCon’s profit?" I’m going to be honest here. Only an idiot would think that BronyCon putting away it’s extra profit is a bad idea. What happens if BronyCon has a bad year and its income is less than its expenses? The buffer of our savings account is what will allow us to continue. Let’s say for 2015 we budget for 5,000 attendees. Pretty safe bet, I’d say. Our pre-registrations are looking good up until a month or so before the convention. Then a natural disaster strikes the East Coast, miraculously leaving Baltimore alone. Suppose we have a policy set up to refund the thousands of people that are affected and can no longer go. We go from 6,000 pre-regs to 2,000 within hours. We still get a good number of at-the-door registrations, but not enough to reach the 5,000 attendee amount that we budgeted for. If we didn’t have any savings, there is very little that we could do other than go deeply into debt, maybe even personal debt. But with the savings account, we’re fine and able to still put on a good show for those attending, with the ability to *still* have a BronyCon 2016. Obviously this particular situation probably will never happen, but the fact remains that any business needs to have reserve funds to operate successfully.
"Don’t use that buzz word with me! It’s almost as bad as ‘professional’ and I can’t stand…" Stop. Just stop. I could care less what you think about the words "business" and "professional." BronyCon is a professional business, so get over it. We deal with many outside organizations, such as Baltimore’s tourism agency, VisitBaltimore, and our decorating contractor, Hargrove Inc. We even have a piece of paper somewhere from the State of New Jersey that proclaims that our parent company, Lunar Solis Corp, is a recognized legal entity. Shoot, we have to deal with the IRS every year, too, as a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization. The IRS really cracks down on non-profit/not-for-profit fraud, which means that we, like every other non-profit or not-for-profit company out there, are under constant scrutiny. (Hey look, another reason why suggesting we’re ridiculous with our money is just plain silly!) We act professional because we want to be treated with respect from those outside of the fandom, not just for those within it. You have to remember what fandom we represent and how hard that information is to swallow from the standpoint of a business outside of the Brony world. Regardless of the fact that we are about ponies, we have to ensure that everything adds up and that we cross all of our t’s and dot all of our i’s. There are real consequences if we don’t.
"If you guys don’t want to seem like money-grabbers, then just be one hundred percent open about how you operate." Really guys? Really? An attendee has no need or, for that matter, legal right, to be privy to our industry secrets. There is not a single argument out there that will convince me otherwise. Can you demand to see PepsiCo’s recipe for their soda, Diet Pepsi? No. No you can’t. In fact, if you try to press the issue, you’ll have a team of the world’s best lawyers on you before you can sneeze. Their trade secrets, like our trade secrets, are legally protected, similar to how I could never force you to give me your Social Security number or bank account information. So why then do the vocal minority keep insisting that we do? The way we conduct our business is far from perfect (as that’s not really attainable) but it’s still the closest that we can get. We have methods and tax information and account passwords and a bajillion other things that we simply can’t share. Sorry. If someone on staff says that they can’t talk about it, than please stop pestering them about it or judging them for not sharing. We don’t criticize the voice actors for not talking about un-aired episodes, do we?
Alright, I’ve had just about enough of this rant. I hate being irritated. It’s simply so much better to smile it away, and just get along with everyone. Pinkie’s not the only one that doesn’t let her optimism get shaken so easily. Hopefully, the vocal minority can finally shut up and stop harassing us on Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. It gets old guys. Seriously. I’m not kidding, here. Stop harassing BronyCon staff. We do a tremendous amount of volunteer work for you guys. We don’t have to. I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I continue to be harassed for what I do out of love for this amazing fandom, I’m going to just simply stop doing it. There is no reason for anyone out there to harass me in particular either. I do my best to ensure that everyone I deal with sees me as I am, respectful and caring. ANY of my vendors or staff members can back me up on this. You know the famous NSFW artists? While they were vending in my hall (perfectly safe prints, mind you), I personally stopped by several times throughout each day to ensure that they were safe and weren’t being harassed for their work. I will go to some extreme lengths for my vendors, staff, and attendees. DON’T abuse that by abusing me.
Anyway, thank you for making it this far. To sum it up for those that went “tl;dr”, BronyCon has good reasons for making and keeping a profit, whatever it may be, and doesn’t do anything shady with its money. Now please go enjoy your ponies. I hear that there’s a new season or something going on right now. You should totally go check it out!
Michael in the background just being smooth
I love this family
EDIT: AND THEN HE JUST STARTS PLAYING IT WITH ONE HAND WHILE EATING A COOKIE
I love the Crebers! They are just so awesome, and nice! Can’t forget talented, either!
Help them get to DC guys!
Oh god feels… I need to read this fic…
You totally should! The chapters are REALLY long, though. I’m talking almost 600 pages in, and I just got to Chapter 6. It’s well worth the read, though. It’s pretty intense.
And why the heck wasn’t I following you before?! We need to try and hang sometime! That is if you’re still in the DC area.
I’ll be down in Baltimore for some BronyCon business sometime in the next month, plus I should be down over Winter break. We should totally chill then! Maybe with Hollowpoint or something!
WARNING ABOUT A REALLY NASTY NEW VIRUS.
Meet CryptoLocker. It’s your worst nightmare. A lot of antivirus software, including the big names, cannot yet detect or stop it. If your computer gets it, CryptoLocker takes all your files hostage by encrypting them and giving you a certain amount of time to send a certain amount of money to the man behind the virus.
The encryption is very tidy, and so far seems uncrackable (well, crackable, but it might take a couple centuries). If you tamper with the virus itself, it will pretty much self-destruct and take everything with it. And the way the money is transferred, the dick programmer behind it all for the moment is pretty much uncatchable.
YOU CANNOT GET RID OF THIS VIRUS WITHOUT COMPLETELY WIPING YOUR COMPUTER. YOUR ONLY CHANCE IS PREVENTION AND PREPARATION.
Back up your computer to something like an external hard-drive, or even an internal hard-drive that you just take out and stuff away somewhere for safe keeping. Make sure your antivirus is up to date, avoid skeevy sites, and don’t open random emails. DO NOT download email attachments unless you know exactly what it is, because that seems to be how this is primarily being transmitted.
You can learn more about it here.
We’ve actually run into this at work. It’s extremely aggressive and a major fucking pain to get rid of. One of our guys got infected with it and even paid the company whatever fee they charge to decrypt the files, and due to “an error processing the first payment”, ended up double-charging him (no refunds, of course) and is virtually untrackable.
Literally fuck this guy with a cactus. Like, if you see him, offer to introduce him to your little cactus friend in a quite personal and intimate manner. This shit is FUCKING INEXCUSABLE.
Also, bulk up on your virus protection, limit your porn and illegal cartoon-watching and torrents to safe sites, DO NOT OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS UNLESS YOU’RE EXPECTING THEM, and just be careful in general, cause this one is one of the nastiest viruses around.
I wouldn’t reblog a virus alert unless I was dead serious about how bad it is.
I heard about this virus recently, and I’m dead serious when I say do NOT fuck with it.
This is the shit I literally fight against for a living. I work in Information Security and Forensics. I have coded a god damned IDS. And I still can’t beat this shit.
This one is actually serious. We had to pull three PCs from our network when they got this. Back up literally everything.
I’ve been working my ass off to define a signature for this puppy, but so far, nothing. No idea how infection spreads, no idea what to look for on the machine, or in the traffic being passed in and out. The best thought we’ve had is to try and reverse engineer the encryption algorithm by infecting a test machine and trying to determine the method of encryption in real-time.
Listen to this. This one is fucking scary, and there is a real bad guy on the other side. None of this “lolol my twitter was hacked” bullshit.
Spooky Movies Masterpost + Recovery (Starring crappy MS Paint editing)
- Scary Movie
- Scary Movie 2
- Scary Movie 3
- Scary Movie 4
- Scary Movie 5
- Shaun of the Dead
- The Haunted Mansion
- Edward Scissorhands
- Scooby-Doo (The Live Action Movie)
- Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- The Goonies
- Hocus Pocus
- Tower of Terror
- The Addams Family
- The Addams Family Values
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
- Young Frankenstein
- Sleepy Hollow
- Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge
- Halloweentown High
- Return to Halloweentown
- Harry Potter 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7: Part 1 and Part 2
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Corpse Bride
- Monster House
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
- Practical Magic
Random Scary Movies:
- Dawn of the Dead
- The Hills Have Eyes
- The Descent
- The Mist
- The Cube
- The Ring
- Don’t Be Afriad of the Dark
- Session 9
- The Human Centipede
- Drag Me To Hell
- Trick ‘r Treat
- Cabin Fever
- Prom Night
- When A Stranger Calls
- The Possession
- The Blair Witch Project
- The Skeleton Key
- The Strangers
- The Haunting in Connecticut
- The Cabin in the Woods
Scary Movies that Need to Chill Out w/ the Sequels:
- Halloween (1978)
- Halloween 2 (1981)
- Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)
- Halloween 4: The Return Of Micheal Myers (1988)
- Halloween 5 (1989)
- Halloween: The Curse of Micheal Myers (1995)
- Halloween H20: 20 years Later (1998)
- Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
- Halloween (2007)
- Halloween 2 (2009)
- Freddy Vs. Jason
- Friday the 13th (2009)
- Nightmare on Elm Street
- A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
- Scream 2
- Scream 3
- Scream 4
- Saw 2
- Saw 3
- Saw 4
- Saw 5
- Saw 6
- I Know What You Did Last Summer
- I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
- Paranormal Activity
- Paranormal Activity 2
- Paranormal Activity 3
- The Grudge
- The Grudge 2
- The Grudge 3
- Final Destination
- Final Destination 2
- Final Destination 3
- Final Destination 4
- Final Destination 5
- The Evil Dead
- The Evil Dead 2
- The Evil Dead: Army of Darkness
Classic Scary Movies:
- The House of 1,000 Corpses
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Fire in the Sky
- The People Under the Stairs
- The Omen
- The Sixth Sense
- The Silence of the Lambs
- The Shining
- The Exorcist
- Children of the Corn
- House On Haunted Hill
- Fright Night
- Child’s Play
- The Heat
- The Hangover
- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
- 50 First Dates
- The Proposal
- Step Brothers
- White Chicks
- 13 Going on 30
- Escape From Planet Earth
- Despicable Me
- Pitch Perfect
- Warm Bodies
- Kick Ass
More might be added later, enjoy. :)
Forgot a few, but still a pretty good list!