G & T Show SL – ShoreLeave 2017 with Mike Schilling
G & T Show SL – ShoreLeave 2017 with Mike Schilling is now available to download. Check it out here. This week Nick and Mike had the privilege to speak with Mike Schilling about this year’s ShoreLeave 2017 convention. They discuss everything from this fan-run convention’s history; this year’s guests, activities, and community; and its future. Be sure to check out this interview and start planning your trip to attend Shoreleave 2017.
Nick starts off the show with introductions. They are impressed with the line-up for this year’s Shoreleave 2017. Nick asks Mike to share the guest list for this year’s convention. Mike Schilling reminds everyone that Shoreleave is staffed by volunteers and they do it for the love of fandom. Shoreleave 2017 is held on July 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
The convention began as a fan-run Star Trek convention, but as fandom evolved to encompass other franchises, Shoreleave followed suit and invited guests from other popular shows. Since this year marks the 30th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, they are proud to announce Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis. The convention will host their first ever guest from Big Bang Theory. Kevin Sussman, who plays Stewart, will represent the show. Michael Hogan and Luciana Ciaro from the recent Battlestar Galactica reboot series has agreed to appear. From Dark Matter, they have three representatives from the show: Jodelle Ferland, Marc Bendavid, and Mike Dopud.
Writers, Artists, and Scientists
They also have approximately 40 writer guests. Many of them are regular attendees, but they seem to add a few new ones every year. Todd Brugmans is their artist guest of honor. He created the program covers for last year and this year. Also, they have 13 scientist guests from the Hubble Institute and Goddard, including C Alex Young who is a NASA Solar Astrophysicist and will be speaking about the solar eclipse that will occur at the end of August.
Performers are also a part of Shoreleave 2017. This year, they welcome The Chromatics, Luna-C, and The Boogie Knights. Boogie Knights is Keith R.A. DeCandido’s band.
Come for the Con, Return for the Friends
Nick shares his first convention experience at Shoreleave. He was on leave and was in full uniform. While waiting for Dave Mack, he was greeted by a person that mistook him for a cosplayer. After ten minutes, he wondered why he had not attended a convention before.
Most of the people that he’s met at Shoreleave return to see their friends rather than the convention. Nick agreed and mentions that it is true of his visits to Shoreleave, Farpoint, and STLV. Conventions are place where people can meet up with people they have not seen in a year. Majel Barrett once said that a person can go to a convention without knowing anyone and leave with lots of new friends. He admits that he may not remember every one’s name, but recognizes them and greets them with a warm greeting.
Mike admits that he will often skip panels to talk with friends. Shoreleave isn’t so big that you can’t find a quiet place to talk with your friends. He suggests never skipping the opportunity to talk to people.
Not Enough Time in the Weekend
Then, Mike goes on to talk about planning which panels you want to attend by circling them on your program. You will wish there were more copies of you since there is never enough time to get through all of the available content. There’s more than a dozen different tracks of content in Shoreleave, especially on Saturday.
There is something for everyone at Shoreleave. Some people spend the entire weekend in the gaming room, or the dealer’s room, or attending panels. There are workshops, self-dense classes, meet and greet parties, dances, photo-ops, autographs, costume contests, and so much more. They even have ninjas in attendance.
Shoreleave isn’t big enough that you can’t spend a few minutes talking to the celebrity guests. Nick recounts meeting Katee Sackhoff and James Edward Olmos at his first Shoreleave appearance. It ruined other conventions for him, since he’s so close to the celebrities the entire weekend.
Mike agrees. They may not have the budget or the media coverage that other larger conventions have, but they have an intimacy and experience that those other conventions can not provide. It’s not uncommon to talk to an actor guest while getting an autograph signed.
As long as they are fiscally able to do it and people want them to do it, they will keep doing Shoreleave.
Shoreleave has become synonymous for its writer guests. Although they didn’t plan it that way, they have come to be a very writer friendly convention for Star Trek, sci-fi, and genre writers. Nick thinks the writer’s workshops are some of the best ones that he has ever attended. He quickly runs through some of the list of noteworthy Star Trek writer guests. The other larger conventions don’t care about the writers and it is a great niche for Shoreleave.
They talk about Meet The Pros. The writers and scientists will usually set out their books, allowing fans to purchase them, get them autographed, or just meet with their fans to talk about their work. It’s also a place for them to network and develop new and exciting projects together. Mike Schilling attributes the creation of Crazy 8 Press to Shoreleave since many of its founding members are regular attendees. Also, many of the writers will hold book premieres during the convention, marking the first time that new books are available to the public.
History of Shoreleave
Mike shares a little of Shoreleave’s history and how the writers became involved with the convention. Howard Weinstein and Robert Greenberger were the first writers to attend Shoreleave as guests during Shoreleave 2 and 3 respectively. They have rarely missed a year since then.
In the early days of Shoreleave, they would have an actor or two from Star Trek such as Walter Koenig, George Takei, or James Doohan. Howard or Bob and their artist guest would round out the guest list for Shoreleave. As fandom grew and conventions evolved, Shoreleave evolved with the times, diversifying and expanding to meet fan expectations.
The writer staple of Shoreleave began with Howard and Bob. They told their friends who in turn told their own friends. That is how they grew from two writers to more than 40 writers that routinely attend Shoreleave.
The Game Room
Another feature of Shoreleave is their Game Room. There are people that play games throughout the weekend. Mike mentions walking by the room at all hours of the day and night and finding the same people playing in there. Mike’s son is into video games, but the type of games played are D & D, Card, and table top games of all sorts. This is just one more element of Shoreleave.
Mike points every one to Shoreleave 2017’s website. With the convention quickly approaching, the site will be the primary source for the latest information regarding the convention, it’s schedule, and activities. Check it often for the up-to-the-minute news.
The Day After
Nick states that the convention runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. He goes on to wonder what happens the Monday following the convention. Immediately, everyone collapses from exhaustion. But, they have to break everything down and put away for next year. A wrap up meeting occurs a few weeks later. Then, the bills have to be paid and that could take several months to settle.
It’s not long after the convention that plans are made for the following year. Mike reveals that the guest relations chair is already working on ideas for Shoreleave 40 in 2018 and can’t reveal anything at this time, but they are looking to do something special for their 40th Anniversary.
The first committee meeting for the next Shoreleave convention usually takes place in November to really get the ball rolling for next July. By that time, they have had a time to analyze what worked, what people liked, and what problems they encountered the previous year and can devise solutions or improvements for the following year. They determine who will chair certain departments and start building towards it.
When new volunteers join the organization, they are usually paired with an experienced member to ensure that they doing things properly. They rely on each other and their own knowledge in order to make it better year after year.
Shoreleave on Social Media
Nick asks where can people find Shoreleave on social media and if there’s a special hashtag people can use. Mike responds that there is a hashtag they are using but he doesn’t currently know what it is. They are on Twitter and on Facebook. Don’t forget to check their website, but everything that gets posted there does go out on Facebook and Twitter.
Gene Roddenbunny is the official mascot for Shoreleave. It originates from the Star Trek TOS episode Shore Leave. Mike recounts the story of where their convention gets its name. The logo for Shoreleave was already in place before Mike attended it for the first time. They also have a large art piece that features the Shore Leave bunny looking through the Guardian of Forever. In addition to selling bunnies at the convention, they are given to all of their first time guests along with their welcome gifts. It’s their logo and it can be found on t-shirts, badges, and various other places around the convention.
Star Trek and Science Fiction fans are very generous people. Shoreleave also supports several local charities including: the Maryland Food Bank and the Shore Leave Blood Drive. However, they also have the Julien Fleming Memorial Fund that was created in the memory of a young man that passed away several years ago from an extreme illness. The fund aids people with their medical bills. Each year, a member of group creates a hand-made bunny that gets auctioned off by one of their main guest stars to benefit this charity.
How to Attend Shoreleave 2017
Nick offers directions on how to get to the Hunts Valley Inn for anyone interested in attending. Tickets are still available. Mike shares a story of how they sold out of tickets the year William Shatner attended.
Registration for this year’s membership ends on June 15th at midnight. Only at-the-door memberships will be available after that. Anyone with a 3-day or single day membership, Mike strongly suggests arriving to registration at least thirty minutes before the doors open. Saturday is historically their busiest day. Anyone looking to avoid the crowds, come on Sunday and you will still have a chance to meet their guests since they are available all weekend long.
The Hunts Valley Inn has sold out of rooms, although the convention has not. They offer directions to the Hunts Valley Inn. There are other hotels just a short drive away. That information can be found on the website as well.
Once you’re at Shoreleave 2017, it’s very important to start planning out your weekend, but don’t forget to make time to meet and visit with people and make new friends. It might mean missing out on a panel, but its the people that makes the convention experience much more memorable.
Sori wishes he could go and hopes that someday he will be able to make it.
To Much To Do
There is so much going on there, time will fly while you’re at Shoreleave. They have programming track for children, teens, and adults, writers, workshops, science tracks, panel discussions, artists, and so much more. They have something for everyone. But, its the other fans that keep people coming back to the convention year after year.
Mike shares a story of Nimoy’s final appearance at Shoreleave. They had a couple of panels dedicated to him, with the fans sharing stories and feeling about the man. It was one of Mike’s most memorable Shoreleave experiences.
Sori thanks Mike for taking the time to join them and talk about Shoreleave. After listening to their discussion, Mike hopes to attend one day. He recommends anyone considering attending Shoreleave to take the chance and do it. There is something for everyone.
Nick will be there and hopes to see everyone there.
ShoreLeave’s Website – https://www.shore-leave.com/
Gene Roddenbunny on Twitter – https://twitter.com/ShoreLeaveCon
Shoreleave Convention on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShoreLeaveCon/
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.
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