Monday, May 30, 2011

OSFest 4.0 Programming: Independent Film Festival

With great computer power comes great special effects – cheap. That means that more and more people are able to use this medium to tell stories with great visual appeal. Everything from YouTube wonders to fully imagined Hollywood style productions will be available for your viewing enjoyment in the OSFest 4.0 Independent Film Festival

Starting 3PM on Friday July 22nd and running continuously until 3PM on Sunday July 24th at the Crowne Plaza Old Mill, OSFest has brought together dozens of genre films produced by the folks who love them. Mitch Obrecht, the Festival Director, has arranged the films into six tracks.

And best of all, admission to this festival is included in your OSFest 4.0 convention membership. So join us July 22-24, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Old Mill for a truly great time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

OSFest Fanzine Workshop

By Trudy V. Myers

I've been asked to organize a 'fanzine workshop' for OSFest 4.0. I was asked because I used to publish a fanzine, 30 years ago.

Back then, one had to read the slush pile, select the stories one wanted, edit them, re-type the hard copies into the proper format, take the proofs to the printer, collate the results, staple them together... How could I possibly squish all that into a workshop?

But technology has made things easier. Submissions could be made by email, editing done on the computer, and then the final product could be posted on the internet, removing the copy shop from the equation completely. I began to think it could be done. Now, would there be any interest in such a workshop?

Actually, I see this workshop as serving three purposes; it would give people interested in the editing end of publishing a glimpse of what's involved; it would give some fledgling writers a chance for their work to be critiqued by a fresh set of eyes; and offer some interesting reading to the general public.

So, how about it? Is anybody interested?

Writers, would you like to submit a short story set in some well-known universe (not your own) to a market that doesn't pay anything, just for the learning experience? We're asking for stories under 7,000 words, standard format. Please also put the universe of your story on the front page, under your contact information, and send the story attached to an email as a .doc or .docx file. The email address is We will make an effort to find an editor who is familiar with that universe. (If you write in an anime universe, it wouldn't be fair for your editor to be familiar only with Star Trek and Star Wars.)

The basic format of the workshop is about an hour on Friday, where we will hand out manuscripts to the fledgling 'editors', and give some basic instructions on how to choose what stories they want to include in the final product. On Saturday, we'll discuss our selections and decide on layout, editing and so forth. Hopefully, there won't be a lot of editing to do, because we'll have to take turns in the hotel business center to do it. One final meeting on Sunday, where –I hope – we'll have a techno-geek available to help us upload the stories, so everyone can see how it's done.

So, editors, are you interested in learning a bit about editing and publishing a fanzine? If you are, please send me an email at the afore-mentioned address, and let me know what universes you are familiar with, so I can try to match you up with submissions.

This workshop may be a little intense, but I'll try not to keep from enjoying too much of the rest of the convention.

Monday, May 23, 2011

OSFest 4.0 Programming Upgraded

I'm sorry for not keeping up with happenings for the last couple of months. I have been busy getting the programming schedule pulled together for the Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival this summer. OSFest 4.0: System Upgrade is more than just a slogan; it's a commitment to bringing you the greatest possible SF fan experience possible. A lot of what we would like to do this year is interactive; we want to get you involved. Therefore I will be running a series of articles on our plans and how you can make the best use of them.

There has been a renaissance of fan groups forming over the last few years and several of them have agreed to share their fannish passion with us over the July 22-24 weekend. Interested in Medieval recreationism? We have Amtgard, The Barony of Lonely Tower, and the Kingdom of Riverheim coming do show us what they do. In addition to the typical fighting demos, these groups have agreed to show off their pageantry in what I am calling a Tri-Court. For one hour a medieval court will be held with each set of Royalties showing us how they administer to their recreational subjects. We will also have workshops on various arts and sciences the group pursue. Want to make a traditional set of medieval clothes for your next Renaissance Festival? Join the SCA in a T-tunic workshop. Amtgard will be teaching techniques in leather working, macramé and bead working. And of course The Kingdom of Riverheim will again teach people how to make chainmail.

But like I said their will be a wide variety of activities this year, many hands-on. Yet there will still be a lot of traditional programming and I will be talking about these in the weeks leading up to OSFest 4.0. I hope you will take some time and join us on our System Upgrade; July 22-24, 2011.