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When asked "how was it?" about this year's Fan Convention and Charity Event I find myself answering in equivocations.

"Seeing my friends was GREAT! Aaron Hendra Project was AWESOME! Tiffany Hendra inspired. Visiting TST was uplifting. Having Sam and Lynn Childers there is a blessing....BUT..."

The "BUT" is where YOU, the GALS, the heart and soul of this site and previous conventions come in. We, the planners, are fighting two schools of thought. 'Don't fix what isn't broke." (poor grammar aside) and "Change and grow or die."

Ladies and gentleman, the convention is and has been on life support for a few years. We have tried several ways to make it better, different, appealing to many and yet our numbers continue to dwindle and despite our best efforts to make the nights fun, memorable and to feed your souls the way it feeds mine and many others, we KNOW we have failed.

HELP US! Tell us what you want, what you need. What would draw you back or entice you to come? What do you miss or think is missing? PLEASE remember I am asking for constructive ideas and help. Simply pointing out where we have fallen short won't help. Veteran attendees, first timers, never beens....we need all of your input to keep the convention viable and valuable to us as fans and to our charitable efforts. NO idea is too small or too "out there".

Talk here, shoot me a PM or ANY mod you feel comfortable voicing your thoughts and opinions with, message me on FB or even an email. Just talk to me/US. We do not want to lose this unique event for GALS, but we cannot keep pumping our personal funds, time and energy into something that isn't working.

Thanks,

KB

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I really think there are still some who are not totally on-board with the charitable aspect of the convention. In the first couple of conventions I attended, in 2007 and 2008, I still heard people buzzing about when Gerry was going to show up. They just didn't get it. Frankly, I don't know how to fix that. If they would just attend one convention and visit the Shade Tree and meet Marlene and Deandre, spend some time volunteering with us, meet Sam and Lynn, maybe they would. I mean no offense to anyone, but I really do think many just want the con to be "fun and games."

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I'm really gonna have to think how to answer this.

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No offense taken. I do miss the "fun and games"...lol :snort:/>

I had to watch ustream this year. Thank you for making that possible. Everyone looked gorgeous as usual. It seemed entertaining. However, the spirit of Gerry was not evident on the ustream. He creates the Gerry juices that flow through Gals. Without the fun and games, it becomes just another charity event. I think very highly of the charities Gals has picked to support. I enjoyed helping out at 'The Shade Tree'. Having said that, What I saw on ustream was very calm and reserved. I think more of good old drooling over Gerry and our love of his talents and many attributes could create a more lively affair. I missed Holli's stand up routine, as she always makes me almost pee my pants. I miss the laughter, yes the fun and games...and naughtiness the Gals shared. Jmho

Love you Gals,

Sally

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I too have noticed the "GALS-ness" fading from the festivities. For ME personally the raging LUST has passed and I'm there for my friends and chosen family I only get to see once a year. I don't know how to spark the "L" part again.

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Well, a well placed double entadre might help. Or a lively trip down the Gutter....

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I'm wondering if trying to piggyback the charity fundraising on top of the GB fan event isn't part of why attendance is down. If that's the case, maybe the convention should go back to being primarily for the fans-as it was in 2006. The focus was on the fans getting to know one another and having a good, crazy time doing it-all while celebrating Gerard Butler. I'm not saying charity work can't be part of it, but maybe it should play a smaller role. It seems to me that if the push is primarily to benefit charity, then the organizers need to seek attendees outside of GB fandom. Some fans might be willing to shell out the bucks for a party/vacation with other fans and friends-but the idea of raising money for charity may not sound as entertaining or worth the expense to everyone.

Swannie

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the organizers need to seek attendees outside of GB fandom. Some fans might be willing to shell out the bucks for a party/vacation with other fans and friends-but the idea of raising money for charity may not sound as entertaining or worth the expense to everyone.

Swannie

This was our attempt this year. We TRIED to have a "Gerry Fan Night" and a "Charitable Ball" night. We brought in a NON Gerry attached entertainment at great expense and hoop jumping. While Chris Mann was a treat for those who attended, sadly he did not bring in any outside attendees. So we are are at a loss.

Even before the charitable aspect became a highlight of the con, attendance was fading. It was our hope that the philanthropic efforts as part of the soul feed that comes with the reunion aspect of the con would be an enticement not a deterrent.

Keep talking. This is good and every contribution helps.

Thanks,

KB

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Hi! I'm not an active poster on the forum and relatively new to the site so I hope you don't mind my input. I think the economy has been so bad for the past 4 years that it is hard for fans to do anything but buy a few tickets to Gerry's films. No family vacations right now so us so a tip to a fan convention would not be considered. And you do have to have deep pockets when any event is for charity also.

I like the comment about having the convention for just friends getting together. And a note about the virtual convention. for those that cannot attend it was nice, but a few downsides are that could have the affect of removing the necessity to attend for some or it could actually discourage people from attending because you are out there on the internet especially if you are a shy person.

I wish you success in finding the right formula, I know you will find it!

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Hi, Michelle! Your input is very welcome here!

I just want to say that although the virtual con is good for those who cannot attend, it only scratches the surface of the convention. Although it does show some of the events as they are taking place, it cannot convey the feeling of "sisterhood" for lack of a better word. I have made many dear friends through GALS that I only see once a year at the con, but when we see each other again each year, it's like we never were apart. It's hard to explain, but it's like one big happy family reunion, but you don't have to put up with that annoying brother-in-law. Posted Image

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the organizers need to seek attendees outside of GB fandom. Some fans might be willing to shell out the bucks for a party/vacation with other fans and friends-but the idea of raising money for charity may not sound as entertaining or worth the expense to everyone.

Swannie

This was our attempt this year. We TRIED to have a "Gerry Fan Night" and a "Charitable Ball" night. We brought in a NON Gerry attached entertainment at great expense and hoop jumping. While Chris Mann was a treat for those who attended, sadly he did not bring in any outside attendees. So we are are at a loss.

Even before the charitable aspect became a highlight of the con, attendance was fading. It was our hope that the philanthropic efforts as part of the soul feed that comes with the reunion aspect of the con would be an enticement not a deterrent.

Keep talking. This is good and every contribution helps.

Thanks,

KB

KB, I 'm not talking about getting a headline entertainer to attract non-GALS attendees. What I mean is that the non-profit side of GALS may have to reach out and market the convention to other organizations/groups outside of GB fandom in order to grow support for the charitable causes. This may require a lot of phone calls, emails...etc. I think the real dilemma is that you are trying to pack two separate agendas into one weekend event. Perhaps it's time to focus on the charitable fundraising and leave Gerry fandom out of it. Or go back to what it was in the beginning: just Gerry fans getting together for fun. Good luck in sorting this all out!

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I think the real dilemma is that you are trying to pack two separate agendas into one weekend event. Perhaps it's time to focus on the charitable fundraising and leave Gerry fandom out of it. Or go back to what it was in the beginning: just Gerry fans getting together for fun. Good luck in sorting this all out!

I think ye nailed it Swannie.

IMO- It used to be about the fun. The charity donations was a verra nice side bonus. Whatever happened to the mantra "whatever happens in Vegas, ends up on GALS"?

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The charity aspect of the convention has always been there. Proceeds from the raffle and silent auction went to various charities as long as I've been attending. I do remember a few years ago when the tone of Saturday night turned much more serious. I heard grumblings from some about that from some of the people who were there who wanted everything to stay the way it had been before. I think that having a Gerry fun night on Friday and a more serious night on Saturday is great. The Gerry fun is very important. I think it would be a big mistake to eliminate it. For those who don't want to attend the charity gala, perhaps there could be a way to offer three different levels of convention participation allowing people to register for Friday night only, Saturday night only, or both nights. Then, those who want to do their own thing, visit the casino, or only stay in Vegas one night could do so.

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Yes, the charity aspect WAS always there, but it was secondary to the GALS fun aspect. Elissa, I think your idea should be explored. Bring the cost down for those GALS and fans who want to skip the charity ball and come for the Friday night fan gathering. Different levels of participation with varying costs to attendees could be the answer.

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The Thursday night meet and greet is also lots of fun, and a great way to meet new people who are attending for the first time, or returning after missing a few years. Maybe this could be expanded into a "Gerry fun" pizza party or something like that. The expense for that could be added into the Friday night registration fee, or as an "add-on" item that people can sign up for when registering for the Convention.

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I thinking the crisis of the last couple of years has played into it. Proper always tot to cut into thrift budgets and find money for some vacations.

Personally for me it is not possible to attend as uit is a verf long flight and costs a lot of money. June is also a busy time at work and I can't always have loads of holiday time.

Maybe you can do an event in the US and maybe in Europe (London or so). Then eveyone can chose the event they want to go to. It might save money for some re travel costs.

It is just an idea

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I don't think the charity aspect has ANYTHING to do with it to be honest. I have not been in a few years but I enjoy that as well as the GB stuff. I think you're missing something. Both can be done and still have fun youre speaking of. Maybe I just see it through different eyes but I dont think that has lessened attendance. People dont wanna part with their money or cant. I think that is what the issue is here. I've not been in the past because of health reasons and this year because my oldest child was leaving home but I think we can figure this out, y'all

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Personally, I like the charity aspect since it allows us to contribute in a meaningful way to some fabulous organizations that we might not otherwise know about. I think it's great that there has been a way to still connect them with Gerry's movies and yet are separate from just straight out fandom. (Nothing wrong with fandom...it just broadens the motivation a bit more.) It's finding that delicate balance of still allowing the fandom part that was so much fun in the early conventions and broadening the horizons by including the charitable part. The friend time is such a critical part of the conventions, at least for me. I can find charitable groups in my own area that I want to help but the chitchat time, drooling or crying or laughing through movies together, finding someone unexpectedly as the elevator doors open up, meeting up for a meal or just hanging together has always been a super special and soul filling time for me. Being able to combine all that along with helping others becomes a perfect blend.

Not sure how to pull any of this off. It's a tough balance, I realize. I am still trying to formulate my thoughts on all of this.

I don't mean for any of this to sound like criticism. I had a blast at the convention and honestly didn't realize just how much I had missed it these past few years as life's obligations became a bit of an obstacle.

Hugs to all, Jilly

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Charities are awesome, but I have a question...ask yourself, why did you seek out the site to begin with? Was it Gerry Butler or were you seeking a charity organization? Be honest.

To me, charity was not my first reason. I really like that all Gals have big hearts and like to help others out. What a plus for this group. Having said that, I don't think the conventions should be taken over by the charity organizations we contribute to. They were not what brought us together in the first place. We can not lose focus on what brings new people to the site ladies...that would be Gerry.

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I like the charity aspect to the convention. I would've been there this year if my family hadn't been busy moving from Oklahoma to Tennessee. I'd much rather give my time to a service event instead of losing money in a casino. I really like Swannie's idea of having different package amounts depending on what events you want to attend. JMO...I'll be there next year!

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There's so much to say, I just want to make sure I find the right way to say it.

Before I get into my personal reasons for why I haven't been to conventions and what I would like to see to help me go to another, I want to really acknowledge everyone who has spent hours of their personal time, personal funds, and really put their heart and soul into making the conventions fun and entertaining. The Admins and Mod's who think all year about what the convention will be and actually make it happen - you GALS are absolutely without question... AMAZING. You have bent over backwards to make it a really personal experience for every fan who attends and have really taken things to a new level with all of the charity work you have done and the money you have helped the entire organization raise. You have many, many things to be proud of with all you have accomplished, and what you have allowed us as fans to be a part of. I hope that you know, beyond our admiration and support of Gerry, the con is not simply about him, and is really about FANmily.

All of that being said...

There are really two reasons I have not been a part of the con since 2008. 1.) Money and 2.) Gerry.

Let me explain before anyone who says "It's not about Gerry" gets their Scottish knickers in a twist.

When I say one of those reasons is Gerry, it's not because he doesn't come and I don't get to meet him. Honestly, I never want to meet the dude. I would rather he stay up on my gorgeous Terry Sheridan pedestal than have me meet him in person. It's just not my thing. What I mean is...the con in the beginning was about Gerry. Supporting his work, meeting people who appreciated and were fans of his movies and pretty much anything else he did. Somewhere along the way, GALS realized the power they had, and decided to put that power to use doing lots of things for charity. That's not a bad thing at all - so many lives have been touched by what GALS has done. Many of us have donated when we have been able to, whether at the con on items that have been purchased or donated for the various raffles or simply following the lead and finding our own charities in our own communities to support. Many of us have followed the Charity thread and donated to different organizations in the name of Gerry. I can appreciate and respect this. However, the reason the con was so enticing to me in 2007 when I had just 'found' Gerry was that...GALS got it. They got ME. I had never felt this way about ANY actor or celebrity. All my friends thought I was nuts. My family rolled their eyes. But my GALS, they understood. I came to the con and met so many like-minded yet individual people that I felt like I had been beamed aboard the mothership.

There have been rumblings for quite some time that while we all still admire and respect Gerry, thus the reason for the site, GALS was going to start stearing away from Gerry Addicted Lust Syndrome and morph into something more respectable. I don't get that, and I don't know why the name has to change when I think we've all carried ourselves pretty well so far and are already really respectable. GALS was the reason I joined and it was the place where I met many people I still care about and keep in touch with. It may just be a touch of 'my cheese got moved' but I don't like the idea of shedding our original and very loved name and history in the name of appearances. I will ALWAYS be suffering from GALS and I don't care who sees the name and doesn't like it. If they don't like it, let's hope the door doesn't hit them on the way out.

In addition to the change towards a name other than GALS, there seems to be a feeling that if a con attendee doesn't participate in the charitable trip, then there's something wrong with them. Either they aren't good people or they're rude or they're at the con for the wrong reason. I don't think that's fair and I dislike the fact that this is the attitude of some of the fans at the con. Just because someone doesn't go physically to The Shade Tree and donate their time or have a personal experience with them doesn't make them a bad person or less of a fan or less a part of the group. When I mention this bit, it's not because it's just a feeling, it's because things have actually been said to me, in person and through email such as "I can't believe that only x amount of people went with us to the shelter. That's crap." That makes no sense to me. Some people may feel very uncomfortable in situations like those. Maybe it's too emotional, too sad, too close to home. Until we are in their shoes, we don't know and we should not judge. I believe in charity. I will contribute money when I have it. I will do what I can to raise funds. I will send supplies by mail. I simply don't like to donate my time at an actual shelter for personal reasons. Does that make me less of a fan than you, less of a good person than you? No.

Lastly, in regards to money: I don't know about anyone else, but this is my feeling. It's too expensive to get to a con. I tried really hard to go this year. Total price when I worked it all out was over $900. I'm a college student working full time who can barely make ends meet, and I don't even have a family to take care of. I can't justify $900 for what would end up for me a two day trip because that's all the time I could afford to take off of work.

I know that many of you have donated your time and money and talent to putting together decorations and programs and entertainment and menus and everything else. It's all beautiful and has a wow factor to it, and really kicks it all off right. But what if we did something simpler and instead of spending money on getting celebrity guests or huge props or goodie bags or whatever expense for all the extras is - take that money and donate it instead? I have no idea how much of all that stuff trickles down into the price of the con for those who pay to attend, but man if the price could be lowered, that would be a huge motivator. We already have to pay for hotel and travel, plus all our meals and rental cars and spending money, and we want to donate as part of the charity too. Some of us just can't even bid on the items because we don't have the money to. There have been plenty of things I would have bid on, but why bid $20 when 18 other people have thousands of dollars they bid on the items and outbid us anyway? I would rather just flat donate that bid on something because it's never gonna be me that wins, and really, I don't need more stuff.

Anyhow, that's my two cents and I'm now off of my soapbox. Thanks for listening.

AimeeMarie

Edited by AimeeMarie

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I don’t normally post comments, but thought I’d share my two cents and I apologize if any of this sounds negative. This is coming from someone who had never been to a fan convention prior to the GB one. I’m also sure it will upset some people. I’ve been to 3 or 4 conventions. Haven’t been to the last two for family reasons and unless the date changes or I can convince my mom to go, probably won’t be attending anymore. I went by myself the first time, and definitely felt like I was in high school because of the “cliques”. After Thu and Fri night, I almost regretted going, but Sat made up for it. I’m used to traveling by myself and being alone, but am shy so it’s not easy for me to cozy up to people. A few people went out of their way to talk to me, but many already had friendships formed and concentrated on existing relationships. Not a bad thing but makes things more difficult for shy people. I’ve only been to conventions for work so I was surprised there weren’t very many workshop sessions during the day and those that did exist, weren’t very structured. I had no clue what a siggy was or a card (?) and still don’t have either because just not quite sure about them. The 2nd one I knew more people so I was more comfortable, and I’m pretty sure my best friend joined me even though she’s not a GB fan like I am.


It feels sometimes like the convention is trying to be all things to everyone and isn’t succeeding. Based on this and other comments I’ve read, here is what I like or suggest. I like the idea of having a tiered choice for Friday and Saturday night. I like having one charitable organization that donation efforts are directed towards. I like doing charitable work on Saturday. I liked the workshop about empowering women given by Marlene, Celine’s gutter gal talk and watching a movie at an actual movie theater. Having guests is nice, but not necessary. If there are guests, would prefer they have some relation to GB, but don’t have to be actors or super recognized or important. I loved Holly’s comedy routine and Katie’s singing. I really enjoyed the Neil Diamond impersonator. I love Landa’s cookies. I like the video contest with a GB theme. I like the raffles, but think there are too many and they are too time consuming. I also spent time crafting items to donate both GB and non-GB related and felt like they were not really appreciated, partly because of a comment from another attendee and partly because of how some of the more difficult items to craft were put into raffle bags instead of being auctioned. I should have said something before donating, but really didn't expect they would be parts of raffle bags. Crafting is difficult and time-consuming so I quit making things for that reason but do continue to contribute items for the auctions and raffles. I love both the live and silent auctions, and participated in the silent auctions but doubt I’d do the live auction with the amount of money involved. I feel like devoting one night to AOEA and one night to TST may be problematic. I also wondered why we don't do anything for Kids Kicking Cancer since it was or is a charity GB supports although I know MGP was the main reason. Kids in EA are important but so are those in the US. I think Vegas is a great place for a convention because I’ve heard rates are pretty low compared to other cities and there is a lot to do in Vegas unrelated to an actual convention. I read somewhere at one point why it would always be in Vegas and it made since. Don’t remember the reason but was ok with it.


As for suggestions, I would recommend a few structured workshop sessions whether a scrapbooking session, jewelry-making, etc. and charge a small fee for some that require supplies. I went on a scrapbooking cruise and they had a session with a small kit to make a small scrapbook of the cruise. All supplies were included. I started at one point to suggest something like that at the convention, but gave up on it for crafting reason mentioned above. I recommend having a tiered charge so you can choose which nights to attend. Have a buddy system so that newcomers will be paired up with veterans if they feel the need. When I started junior high, we had someone assigned to us to help us acclimate. I think it would help some of the shyer people. Use Friday for workshops, lunch provided by the hotel (nothing fancy) with maybe a speaker, casual night (maybe even pajamas), video contest and all things Gerry-related. Have a small talent competition of GALS and PALS for our entertainment. Have silent auctions and raffles but don’t designate funds to go to just one charity. Use Saturday for some time at TST and maybe host another workshop or provide a same workshop again for those who don't want to go to TST. A movie is fun but not really necessary, although it sounded great to show MGP and have Sam talk afterwards. Have the gala with dressing up and some entertainment (AHP if available?), but don’t spend a lot of money to bring a big or known name. Maybe that should be the night Holly and Katie perform and/or an encore of Friday night’s winner. Have the major live auction Saturday night. Identify the charities that will receive the funds and split the money among them. I would prefer we stick with TST, but I’ll go with whatever is decided. I noticed a change in focus from the first one I attended to the second one where attendance dropped almost in half, I think. Don't know if it's because the focus has seemed to move away some from Gerry or just a maturing of the event and organization.


I forgot to mention how much I appreciate all the work of the mods/admins. They've done an amazing job.


Tina
Edited by TexasTina

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Aims and Tina, thank you for being totally honest and up front!

I like hell love almost every word y'all said. Everyone wether here or on FB has been great in speaking out on this difficult topic. Bravo ladies!

I know that with all the commenting going on, that the Mod Squad will be able to figure this out.

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I have a suggestion for the charity aspect. I see comments about stick with one charity and how splitting may be problematic. I can understand the sentiment but I really don't think the number of charities really matters. HOWEVER, I think a possible answer is to not designate one night to TST and one night to AEOA. Both nights should all go to RPCF and then split equally, and I believe that is actually what happens but it is confusing. JMHO but by splitting the nights some may want an item but really want to support the other cause more, so hold back. Or vice versa. Also if the charity aspect is about RPCF then we can highlight the charities that they support, showcase them and bring them in as we have been doing, but not making each night solely about them individually. Maybe then it will be easier to make one night more "GERRY." This year Friday was supposed to be Gerry Fun Night, but it was also about AOEA. That completely split the focus and made it much more difficult to "get our Gerry perve on" as it were. Let's face it you behave differently around company :D

Make sense?

Edited by MareksLadyD

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For those interested in a break down of the average production cost I'm working on that. Headed out fo town for a few days to be Mom, this will have to be tabled until I get back.

Thanks everyone for offering your thoughts.

KB

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