Q&A Corner: Danny Birt

Danny Birt Speaks. We Listen.

(As Do The Chickens*.)

Danny Birt

What have you found are the best conventions for a hybrid musician/writer to attend as a professional, and why?

Speaking generally, the larger a SFF convention gets, the harder it is to function as a hybrid professional from a logistical perspective.

Different cons have different ways of setting up their programmatic offerings for members, but most organize their programs by tracks (writing track, kids’ track, music track, media track, etc).  At larger conventions the tracks have much greater autonomy from one another and have more separate personnel running them, so when it comes to scheduling a guest in multiple tracks it becomes much harder to coordinate panels and workshops and performances.  Scheduling conflicts are far more likely to happen at a larger convention due to this.  Book dealers sometimes scan the author guest lists to see which books they need to stock for the dealers’ room, and if I’ve been placed into the musician guest list without being cross-referenced in the other lists, dealers forget to bring copies of my works to sell.  Indeed, even getting into the programming of another track almost feels like trying to become a guest at a separate convention sometimes! (e.g., I’ve been asked to be a music guest at a con, but the literary track doesn’t even know they have me there so they don’t know to put me on writing or editing panels.)

The smaller a convention is, the more likely members of the con are to be able to find the time for personal interaction with hybrid guests to learn that they ARE hybrid guests.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had fans of my literary works get confused when I tell them I have a concert to perform later that day, or fans of my filk music become amazed when they come by my table and see that I have books out, too.  At some cons I’ve been put down for a “variety show” program item — part reading, part concert, part puzzle solving… it’s a fun hour that goes over best at small conventions with flexible mindsets.

 *If you don’t get the bit about the chickens, don’t feel bad. Neither do the chickens.

A chicken with a question. Or a question with a chicken. You decide.