Intervention is an annual convention in Maryland celebrating Science Fiction, Fantasy, Pop Culture, and the Art that surrounds them.


PROGRAMMING SPOTLIGHT: Button Down Pinback Party


Tone E. Rome’s (Spritelings) contribution to The Button Down.

If there’s one thing geeks of all backgrounds have in common, it’s our love of pinback buttons. Go to any con and you’ll see them all over jackets and backpacks, declaring the wearer’s love for TV shows, video games, and Internet memes. Stephanie Byrd of Red Fish Rue Fish is taking the trend to the next level with The Button Down Pinback Party, a new social event launching at Intervention 7!

So what’s The Button Down, and what do we have to do to get our pinback on? We interviewed Stephanie to find out.

InterventionCon: So, first things first — tell us a little bit about yourself and your company, Red Fish Rue Fish.
Stephanie Byrd: I started Red Fish Rue Fish back in 2013. I am, in general, a ball of creative energy. But I didn’t simply want an outlet to sell my own creative output, I wanted to build a business that could also be helpful to others. In addition to selling my art and accessories, l also offer button making services for individuals, local small businesses, fundraisers and even parties.

IC: What inspired you to start the Button Down Pinback Party? What sorts of things are you hoping to do at your events?
SB: I’m a service oriented person, and that is how I run Red Fish Rue Fish. I really wanted a fun way to help connect people through creativity. I wanted to get people engaged creatively, and I wanted to help artists who were already very much engaged creatively to expand their reach. Buttons are a fun, non-intimidating medium. It’s a small space: you can write a word, you can make the whole thing a smiley face or you can draw something really intricate. So many people shrug and say things like “Oh, I’m not creative” or “Oh, I don’t have anything important to say” – and that’s just not true! At the same time, there are so many creators out there looking for opportunities to get their work in front of an audience. Button Down events get at both of those issues by providing a friendly space for people to create as well as collect. Conventions are such a great place for The Button Down because in addition to the love of buttons, there’s an existing friendly, open, creative environment to build upon.

The cross-pollination in the events is really exciting to me. Featured artists are able to engage by contributing to the limited edition collection for the year – sometimes as few as 24 buttons of a design are made. So there’s that collectability factor. I’ve been able to get non-print artists engaged, too. I didn’t want to do the live events in silence, and I thought what a great opportunity to get some new music out there. So I started reaching out to indie musicians and that’s how I was able to get Nate Maingard involved. Karan Ashley just crowdfunded a new movie called The Order, which launched right out the gate with this great logo, and she was happy to have logo buttons become one of the freebies. So here are all these independent creators who have never met and maybe have nothing to do with each other in terms of genre, helping each other to succeed while enabling their fans to be exposed to something they might not have been otherwise.

IC: Why do we as geeks love pinback buttons so much?
SB: Buttons are a really accessible way to our express ourselves! We geeks love seeing our favorite quotes and pop culture references on merch! We love getting into our fandoms and showing that we’re Team This or Team That. We’re also really serious about supporting the creators behind the things we love so being able to get our hands on even a small piece of that art is important and meaningful. Since they’re pretty affordable, there’s this fun, guilt free, instant gratification that goes along with snagging a few buttons at a con. There aren’t too many ways to show off your love for 18 different fandoms at the same time without going flat broke! Smaller buttons can also offer us a rare opportunity to add a geeky little something to our workwear. (You’re totally thinking about Office Space now, aren’t you? “Chotchkie’s” got a little carried away with their mandatory flair and enforcement!)

IC: So what can participants in The Button Down expect at Intervention 7? How can we prepare in advance to participate?
SB: At Intervention 7, participants will have the opportunity to swap buttons as well as make a button of their own to take home. If you’ve got pinback buttons tucked away in a drawer somewhere at home, dust ‘em off and bring ‘em out! If you’re an artist and you’ve got some buttons made up that you’d like to hand out, this is also a great opportunity for that. We’ll have some colored pencils available, but if you’ve got special markers or other supplies you’d like to use, bring those!

IC: Where can people go for more information?
SB: People can like and follow Button Down Pinback Party on Facebook. We also snagged as our Tumblr domain. Twitter updates happen through the @RedFishRueFish feed.


Programming Spotlight: Con Runners’ Track

This year, Intervention is introducing a new set of workshops and panels specifically for people who want to run conventions of their own! Join our panelists for six panels covering everything you want to know about kicking off your own conventions, from business to common pitfalls:

So You Want to Run a Convention? will guide you through everything from concept to post-con, helping you avoid some of the more common beginner mistakes many encounter.

Attendee Policies will help you learn how to keep your con safe and organized without being overly strict, from security to crowd-herding to medical help.

Leadership Strategy in Volunteers will teach you how to recruit and manage volunteer staff for your events, how to keep them motivated, and how to handle difficult volunteers.

Marketing and PR will teach you what to do on the other 362 days of the year: how to get the word out and bring people to your event.

The Horror Stories panel will be a time to share the worst of the worst when it comes to your previous experiences — and learn how to avoid these issues, or what to do once they’ve begun.

And From Bad to Worse: Tales from Running Conventions and Conferences will explore real-world examples of issues that could stop a con in its tracks, and how our con runners recovered from them.

Check out our programming descriptions for more information on these and more!


Upcoming Marketing Seminars at Intervention 6 (by Oni)

August 14-16! Rockville, MD! I’ll be doing some updated for 2015 Marketing for Small Business seminars at Intervention. Shatner Cat says you need to register now!


My seminars are included for free with general admission. Following that I will be available to answer your questions and help you get to the next level. All Real Talk. No BS. No false hope. You’ll leave with actionable items that you can actually use to get your work seen no matter if it’s art, music, a blog, or a hamburger shop.

Tentative seminar titles are:

Oni Hartstein’s Real Talk Marketing 1: Setting up Your Business Online – This will cover the basic points that you need to hit and how you need to hit them in order to have an in-person and digital presence that works and grows.

Oni Hartstein’s Real Talk Marketing 2: Generating and Dealing with the Press (Magazines//TV/Radio) – The Press won’t come to you. Here is how to start getting coverage and how to work with the Press so you don’t tick them off. I will also cover how to speak on camera and how to handle / diffuse PR disasters and negative Press.

Oni Hartstein’s Real Talk Marketing 3: Working your ecosystem – Once you are set up online you’ll have to put some work into it each week in order to grow. If you don’t know how to market your work or have plateaued, this is going to be a game-changer for you.



Workshop Spotlight: Learn How to Make a Web Series at Intervention 5

Every year we expand into more areas of creative awesome, thanks to your registrations and donations funding our event! This year we have some instruction for those of you who are interested in making your own a web series:

5PM Sat. Aug. 23 in the Workshop Room: Shotgun Mythos teaches you The ABC’s of Creating a Web Series

The creator of Shotgun Mythos presents a workshop on the ins and outs of creating a Web Series. We’ll open with the first couple of episodes of Shotgun Mythos so you can see a finished product, then move right into the workshop presentation. After the workshop, you’re invited to stay for a special screening of the movie of the second season of Shotgun Mythos (Movie rating: R).

Check out this and more in our Programming Descriptions and the Schedule.


Programming Spotlight: David Pescovitz’s talk at Intervention: Science, Art, and Magic: The World is a Wunderkammer

One of the Can’t Miss presentations happening this year at Intervention will be David Pescovitz’s talk Saturday at 1PM in the Large Panel Room. We are so pleased that David was able to come to Intervention this year.

David Pescovitz is co-editor of the popular weblog and also editor-at-large for MAKE:, the DIY technology magazine. Pescovitz co-wrote the book Reality Check (HardWired, 1996), based on his long-running futurist column in Wired magazine where he remains a correspondent. David has a way of making you look at art and tech in ways that you never thought possible and inspiring people to do cool things!

You can get a taste of what some of his past talks have been like through this video taken at Lift Conference. Just Say Know: A Cyberdelic History of the Future:

Be sure to check out his Intervention talk on Saturday August 23 at 1PM in the Large Panel Room: Science, Art, and Magic: The World is a Wunderkammer

He also has an AMA (Ask Me Anything) at 3PM on the same day in the same room.

This is one of many amazing things happening at Intervention this year! Can’t wait to see you there!

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