Organizing the CZ/SK Blender Konference 2023
We really enjoyed last years official Blender Conference in Amsterdam, talking with others, listening to the talks, having a good time.. and we thought it’s a shame that there is no CzechoSlovak event that would be more accessible for the local community.
We decided it’s time to finally do something and organized it ourselves!
Last Minute Organization
Organizing a conference is much more work than we realized. All the little details had to be handled but often we had no idea what actually has to be handled because we never organized something this big.
- Decide when the coference should be - date was chosen to be ~4 months before the official conference when it’s already rather hot outside.
- Realize how much 2D graphics data we will need to come up with and actually print it / share online on Facebook and elsewhere.
- Of course you also have to choose a venue and pay for it too! Lots of communication and assessment and more communication.
- What does the venue look like? It’s best to go for a visit, meet the locals, take useful photos. We also wanted to put banners around the Faculty so that students can take notice.
- How do you actually let people buy the tickets? - we settled on using the Czech Event Informing company Go Out .
- What will everyone be eating? We would prefer if people can relax and network without having to worry about filling their stomach - in the end we chose Liběřské lahůdky and were very satisfied!
- Who will be the speakers, ask people about it, clear up any of their questions - this takes much longer than you would expect.
- Also gathering info about the speakers to include in the shared media - this takes really long since everyone responds at different times causing much communication overhead.
- Name tags - print them, finish their design, figure out how to make the hole for the lanyard.. Sounds easy but isn’t really.
- Lanyards - one thing we got much more of than we needed - happens.. :) But we at least separated blue for coders, orange for artists and black for organizers.
- As a bonus we wanted people to be able to buy a Blender related T-Shirts - again the designs needed to be created and the printing ordered.
- Lemonades - this is something organized by blenderkit and we had approximately one for each visitor.
- As a cool bonus we wanted to print a lifesize Blender logo similar the official conference in Amsterdam - Adam knew a guy who makes props for movies, Hexik managed to bring it during a 2 hour ride from Prague and now it’s nicely visible in all the videos taken from the conference.
- Another bonus were the stickers which we had to prepare and let someone print out.
I’m sure there’s lots I forgot since then but long story short, it was much more than we anticipated but well worth it!
24 June 2023
The day has finally arrived and 2 cars were leaving Vinohrady headed for the Faculty in Dejvice. First left around 7:40 with Adam Preisler in a red Hyundai i30 and later at 9:30 also Adam Krhánek with Zdeněk Doležal bringing over most of the heavy stuff and the Blender logo..
This blog post would probably be way too long if I really wrote everything but I am honestly happy that everything went quite smooth, everyone had the right amount of fun and we gifted ~120 chlebíčky we had left over to people in Vinohrady on Sunday :)
We actually figured in the morning that we have no water, beer, wine or anything else other than the lemonades.
And this leads me to the last chapter, likely the most important one?
Things to remember for next time
- Provide Early Bird ticket prices - this allows you to know approximately how many people will attend, and people can save money
- Have the team split into pairs and each takes care of something else at the time
- Workshops should be prepared in advance - we sort of talked about them but didn’t prioritize them and it resulted in no workshops unsurprisingly.
- We would like to try using an application for Event Planning where people can ask questions etc.
- Since some people are coming from far away, there doesn’t have to be that much food because some people arrive later in the morning and the same applies for people leaving earlier in the afternoon.
- Maybe it would be better to do double day conference but then you have to sort out tickets for single days. However the advantages are good - more time overall, full attendance for the evening programme, trips from farther away are more meaningful since people stay for longer. The issue is when should this be? Saturday and Sunday? We wouldn’t want to take the weekend away from people but at the same time people often can’t attend because of work. Likely Friday and Saturday would be a good idea though.
There are many people who had something to do with the conference but a couple definitely stand out and I would like to mention them here.
Big thanks goes to Dana Matějovská for her help regarding communication with the faculty, helping with various details and actually being there with us to enjoy the Saturday!
Also Blanka Krásová was helping us with recording the talks, dimming the lights, changing the input sources for the projectors and more. Thanks to her, we could process everything later and put on YouTube so anyone can take a look, learn something, recall the memories and so on.
Roman Machanec was recording the Event for his friend Josef Surý - one of the speakers - but we thought it’s someone from blenderkit and didn’t find out until later that evening at the Afterparty when talking with Josef in Klubovna. We contacted him and he agreed to do a bit more for us. We’re wondering what could we order his services for again, big recommendation.
Jan Novotný from our team who was posting about the conference on the CzechoSlovak Discord server Gizmo and also brought over the huge life size Blender logo. I thought it would fit inside the car but they had to bind it to the roof of the car and then it took about 2 hours to take it back to Prague while it nearly started raining!
Highlights, YouTube Channel
We started a YouTube channel for the conference . Check out all the talks and other materials there.