Saturday, July 9, 2011

Browncat Ball 2012 call for bids!


About the Browncoat Ball (BCB)

The inaugural Browncoat Ball was held in Chicago in 2004, with the goal of establishing an affordable, annual, nonprofit event created for fans by fans,
capable of bringing Browncoats from geographically diverse locations from all over the world together to celebrate Firefly, Serenity and our fabulous fandom. The BCB has been held in San Francisco (2006), Philadelphia (2007), Austin (2008), Portland (2009), Charlotte (2010) and will be held in Providence (Warwick, RI) in 2011.

Hosting the BCB is a labor of love. While the central BCB Steering Committee will share planning materials and tips and offer assistance in the fundraising and promotional process, the 2012 hosts should respect the fact that it is hard work to host a successful BCB, but it is extremely rewarding.

Since the BCB is a small event and cannot sustain comping volunteers, a guiding principal of the BCB since its inception is that everyone pays their own way (attendance, lodging, airfare): committee members, volunteers and attendees alike. This way, the attendees do not subsidize the volunteers or committee members. About the BCB Steering Committee

The BCB Steering Committee is comprised of former Browncoat Ball organizers from all previous years. These are the people who put together their own proposals and were on the ground working when they hosted the BCB in their neck of the woods. The BCB Steering Committee exists to evaluate proposals and provide guidance to the current host committee and all future event bidders. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the BCB Steering Committee at bid . Please state the nature of your inquiry in the subject line of the e-mail.

Request for Proposals

We are now accepting proposals for the 2012 Browncoat Ball. Applications for hosting the 2012 BCB should be completed and e-mailed to bid bid . (with "BCB Proposal" in the subject line) by September 16, 2011. The BCB Steering Committee will review the proposals, make follow-up inquiries and render a final decision by October 7, 2011. The selected host committee will have until October 14, 2011 to accept/commit and the 2012 location will be announced at the 2011 Ball on Saturday, October 22. (The host committee does not need to be in attendance at this year's BCB in order to be selected.)

Serious applicants should send a proposal with the following information:

1. A statement from your group about why you would like to host the 2012 BCB.

2. Proposed dates for the event (a non-holiday weekend, ideally in August,
September or October 2012).

3. Proposed location, including the city and, if possible, a specific hotel that would have reasonable rates and at least 20-25 rooms available for the proposed dates. (This doesn't have to be the final location, and multiple sites can be proposed if that is preferred)

4. Estimate on the total cost of a ballroom/banquet facility that has availability during the proposed dates, including room rental and catering. Financial details for previous BCBs are available for reference.

5. A list of 3-5 additional Firefly/Serenity 'verse-themed activities that could be done at or near the BCB site and an estimate and explanation of the costs associated with these activities (for example, transportation to and from the event, admission fees, food charges, decoration costs). All activities and related transportation costs should be included in the BCB ticket price.

Think creatively! Some of the best activities cost very little, can be tied in easily with the Firefly 'verse and don't require a ton of planning. For example,
the 2004 BCB included a Chinese Welcome Dinner and Tea Ceremony on the rooftop of the hotel, the Train Job Luncheon on a privately chartered commuter train and an Afternoon in the Core with suggested activities around Chicago. Additional details from past BCBs are available on request. The sky is the limit! This can be more of a brainstorming list of possible activities rather than a final list.

6. Additional transportation details such as how far the BCB site is from a major national/international airport, what transportation options exist to and
from the airport and how much they cost, and how far the site is from other major cities within driving distance. Please take into consideration the
availability of accessible options for Browncoats with disabilities for all aspects of the event.

7. Total estimate on the operational costs (not including lodging and airfare) and estimate of ticket cost (we suggest between $100 and $150, but other price points will be considered depending on offerings), including possible options for different event packages. Suggestions regarding package options available upon request.

8. Coordinating Committee: A tentative list of 5-10 people willing to:

- Make facility reservations and coordinate event planning

- Register guests

- Promote the event, including Internet updates, newsletters and invitations

- Be the Webmaster for the 2012 Web site. (If no Webmaster is available, the BCB Steering Committee can maintain the Web site, but the 2012 hosts must be willing to provide/edit/review the text for the web site.) There is a forum, as well as MySpace, Facebook and Yahoo! BCB groups, that the hosts can use to promote the 2012 BCB.

- Handle incoming and outgoing money and create and work within a budget (treasurer). This is extremely important, as the 2012 hosting committee will
bear the financial responsibility if the event goes over the budget. The BCB Steering Committee will provide financial summaries of the prior events to the 2012 hosts to give you an idea of what you can look forward to with regards to expenses, although the cost of the event will vary depending on the location. You are then required to provide a similar financial report to reflect how your event was managed, so future events can benefit as well.

- You can propose to host a BCB in an area other than where you live, but at least two 2012 coordinating committee members should live/work near the site being proposed.

- Committee members must be willing to commit to approximately 3 or 4 conference calls or conference chat sessions with the BCB Steering Committee so all parties can be sure things are still on track and to discuss any major changes, if any.

- At least one of the coordinating committee members should be named Amy. If you do not have a committee member named Amy, you may nominate one of your committee members to be an honorary Amy. If you fail to provide an Amy for your committee, one will be provided to you by the BCB Steering Committee.

9. Contact information, including name, e-mail address and evening phone number for one member of the coordinating committee who will serve as a contact for notification purposes. (The BCB Steering Committee will in turn provide the 2012 hosts with contact info for consultation purposes.)

10. Your commitment to maintain a positive attitude and have a good time!

NOTE: The real estate adage "location, location, location" does not necessarily hold true as the primary factor for the selection of the winning BCB proposal. While the BCB Steering Committee does like to see the BCB move around geographically, we are also concerned about costs, event specifics and the commitment of the bidding committees. Don't let the current or past locations of the BCB discourage you from putting together a proposal. Even prior locations will be considered. We are considering forcing the Chicagoland Browncoats to host the 10th anniversary BCB in 2014!

Also, don't worry if you've never been to a BCB before -- none of the BCB Philadelphia 2007 bid committee members had been to a ball before they submitted their winning proposal. And if you've submitted a bid before, please try again -- we only do this once a year and it has taken some committees 3 bids until they were selected. The bottom line is that the BCB wouldn't be possible without Browncoats... Browncoats like you!

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