Welcome back for part four in our visit with Ingimar Oddsson, organizer of the Steampunk Festival in Iceland.
Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.
Read Part Three here.
Airship Ambassador: Looking back on all of that hard work, what are the rewards of producing this event, what do you look forward to for the future?
Ingimar Oddsson: I hope to look back and be proud. That is my main concern. I have had fabulous times, traveled the world and created my very own themed Steampunk event.
Today though, when I look back I think I might consult people and companies on the issue of communication, both personal and public relations. Food for thought.
AA: It’s quite the accomplishment! What was one memorable story while planning the convention the last few years? Any laugh out loud or crying moments?
IO: Getting the reward for my project was one of the sweetest hour. The sour moments are so many but fortunately they don’t last long. One sour moment I’d like to share. We had a “Grand Ball” at the end of last Steampunk Iceland festival 2016 The staff, the band and two other people were the only ones in the house. And we played our program for three hours and in the end we had about 30 people in the house. This was a sour moment. There I decided to move the festival closer to Reykjavik.
But don’t get me wrong, overall the whole week went very well. Only this one last “grand ball”.
AA: Ouch. Planning a convention can be a challenge some days. What are some of your methods to stay motivated and creative?
IO: “The empty void of loneliness” is the place I get the most creative. My fragile mind gets easily disturbed by any outside stimuli. When I am alone I create, come up with solutions and make plans. But the motivation to carry out my plans I get from other people. I am both extrovert and introvert. I need to express my ideas and creation to others and in fact I get a kind of a rush, goosebumps all over when I relate to others.
AA: Do you talk with other convention organizers to trade ideas?
IO: I do now. But in the beginning I had really no idea what I was getting myself into and I probably wouldn’t have done it at all if I had known all the work that awaited me. Today I soak myself in the experience of others. And share my own.
AA: Good for you! In talking with them, what are some common questions that everyone has to resolve? What kinds of unique situations have come up among the various conventions?
IO: Some events / conventions have reached far regarding attendance. 1200 to 6000 people and loyal sponsors every year. Other conventions like mine are still reaching out for more people and sponsorship. The biggest problem to solve is the real experience of the guests, so many are disappointed and will not return. That is a problem we all have in common. How can we maximize the positive experience. Vendors, artists, hosts and panelists. We all want to reach out and give more, but how? The answer is not: “There will always be negative people” We must do better and learn how.
I guess we are all doing better every time. And if I get the answer I will probably keep it as secret.
AA: For the aspiring convention planner, what lessons did you learn along the way for this festival?
IO: Get things straight sooner, there will never be too much time on your hands when the events start.
AA: With all of that work, you’ve had a chance to meet a lot of people. What kind of networking, associations, and new friendships have come out of your work on the festival, before, during, and after?
IO: I started as the only, lonely steampunk in Iceland. I didn’t know of any others. But today we have a facebook page, we have met and become friends. Throughout the world I have found many new friends I hope to meet some day. But probably the most cherished friends are those furthest away. Some I have met and spend wonderful time with. Only last 12 months I have been to the US three times to participate in steampunk convention and meet friends.
One has to be careful in utilizing friendship to promote projects or events, but when you really need it they will respond.
There are so many steampunk related fan pages and the most enthusiastic steamers like almost all of them and they can if they will post advertisements or information, but preaching constantly to the choir might get negative results. One must choose the time and space carefully.
Steamposium 2015 by MK Studios
AA: One thing I love about steampunk being global is that I do have friends around the world. Technology helps to keep us in touch, but the friendships is what makes the world seem smaller. What are some things you would have done differently with your event?
IO: I think I would have liked to have finished my story of Bildalia which is still in the making. I think I wish I had used my time better.
AA: Now that thousands of people are intrigued and are already packing their bags, where is the next festival and how do people get there?
But of course find a place to stay, hotel, hostel or camping area. It is all too easy.
AA: Piece of cake! What suggestions and encouragement would you give to people who want to attend?
IO: Get Bildalian Passport to all events and you will have all sorts of treat. Don’t be shy, talk to the locals and they will help you out. Remember you are one of the reason others will come.
Wear clothes !
Quick clarification – “Wear clothes” means “to wear steampunk clothes”. I’m sure the local would appreciate everyone not being nude, too, but this specifically means wear your steampunk finest!
Let’s break here in chatting with Ingimar. Join us next time when he talks about his other interests.