Today’s FAQ Spotlight focuses on the questions we’ve received about SPX (Small Press Expo), and the fact that Intervention and SPX are scheduled for the same weekend this year (Sept. 10-12) in the same area (Rockville, Maryland).
The short answer to the situation is that it appears that neither SPX or Intervention knew the other was looking at this weekend when we finalized both of our location bookings. SPX was scheduled in 2009 for the last weekend of September (26th and 27th) and the previous year SPX was scheduled the first weekend of October (4th and 5th). When we at Intervention researched the area and time we assumed that SPX would probably stay in that late September timeframe.
We originally were looking at a late October date (Halloween weekend in fact), but feedback from potential guests and attendees showed that to be a less than optimal time. So we were able to get our current weekend lined up and contracts signed. Right before that we did one last round of looking at the listed con dates for everyone in the country, and at that point SPX had not yet made an official announcement of their date. A few people, including our friend Gary from Fleen.com, actually asked us if 2 weeks difference between the cons would be ok, since he also assumed that SPX would be happening later in the month and wanted us to be aware of the timing. That didn’t seem like an issue to us.
So, 1 week later Onezumi happened to be looking around and caught the small notice that SPX had announced the same date as Intervention. At this point both of our cons had obviously signed contracts and committed resources to the date.
At first this gave us pause. SPX is a well established con that focuses on Comics–this should theoretically be a problem. The more we thought about it though the more we believe this isn’t a problem. SPX has always been focused on the idea of independent print comics. While some webcomics guests do attend SPX, the “idea” of SPX, as shown by the multitude of their programming, is still very much focused on the print realm. Intervention is about online distribution and promotion, and somewhat more open ended in the content type discussed (video, music, comics, blogging, etc.).
There is crossover, but in many ways Intervention and SPX appear to be the Yin and Yang of focus and programming. I can actually foresee people who might attend both for the elements that they want to get info about. Considering that the cons are also physically located only a few miles from each other, this is a very easy thing to actually do. In some cases very large cons have had areas spread out this far just for their own events–so it’s not impossible.
The method for the cons is also somewhat different. Intervention is a 24 hour con starting on Friday the 10th, with many night events (including dances and other soon-to-be-announced performances and shows), so the crossover between programming of both events might actually end up being pretty natural.
Our goal (and anyone who knows us knows this is how we work on everything) is to see this as a positive for both events and for attendees. We definitely encourage anyone who attends Intervention to consider checking out events at SPX if they are “on topic” for their needs (and we all know print distribution of online comics is very important and this information is not easy to find). There’s never a need to see things in “us versus them” format, just to see what benefits we all can gain from the circumstances. We have always been from the “let’s work communally” side of things–which shows in our Open Source work as well as our Webcomics Central service, so we hope (and will work toward making this true) that this situation works out for everyone.
As for next year–who knows? We didn’t intend for this to happen this year so we certainly aren’t thinking of purposely scheduling Intervention 2011 opposite SPX next year. If possible we’ll try to find out from SPX what they think they’ll be doing for their date next year, or at least let them know when we’re considering doing our event–and we’ll go from there.