• Member Since 24th Mar, 2014
  • offline last seen Monday

Vivid Syntax

Convention Runner, Statistician, and lover of all things Soarburn

More Blog Posts201


Get Your Wish - A Ponyville Ciderfest 2023 Con Report · 3:52am Nov 30th, 2023

Ponyville Ciderfest 2023: An Interactive Storytelling Adventure was two conventions in one. I ran one of them, and if you’d like a long-winded perspective on it, you’ve come to the right place!

Spring-Winter 2022
When the glory tries to tempt you, it may seem like what you need

I’ve already retired from convention running once, back when my son was born, but in May 2022, Charlie pitched an idea of a writing-themed convention. His idea? Replicate the now-defunct Disney Galactic Starcruiser experience, an immersive weekend where the story comes to life, written by authors from across the fandom, where attendees can live their own stories, where their choices feed into the larger plot, and with secrets everywhere. So, basically he was asking me to succeed where the Disney corporation had failed with using only volunteers and a budget as close to $0 as possible.

I do love a challenge.

Work began in earnest in September of 2022. I put together an outline of my plan, a tentative timeline, and the applications. We announced at the end of Ciderfest 2022, and Jenni Miller of Crackle’s Cousin and SteelTheWarrior share the honor of “first to sign up” – Steel by filling out the application in their seat at the con, and Jenni by coming up, clapping me on the shoulders, and saying very directly and with no room for doubt, “Vivid, I’m going to help you on this.”

Jenni would go on to be our actor lead. Steel would join the official leadership team as well, along with Sonicsuns and Nyronus after the application and interview process. Brandon White was our app developer, and I eventually came up with the term “Storymaster” to describe this wonderful mishmash of people that somehow were going to pull this idea off. Suffice to say, this convention wouldn’t have happened without these five people, and I’m forever in their debt.

Winter and Spring 2023
I have to write the meaning of my life, or else everything’s in vain

We canvassed the community across Fimfiction, EQD, our own social networks, and more, and eventually, we got over 130 storyteller applicants. Of those, over 90 would go on to write a story, serve as an editor, provide art, or act in our prompts. I’ve said since day 1 that this needed to be a community effort, and I am blown away by how much faith the community put in our project and in me as a leader. I knew I couldn’t let them down.

We started with style guides and general directions, all while behind the scenes, the Storytelling Leadership team (myself, Nyronus, Sonicsuns, and Steel) figured out the main plot and the details of the game. We settled on a multiverse approach, where Fizzy Glitch (the kirin PVCF mascot) feels unwanted and gives everyone the chance to tell their own story using a magical artifact called The Book of All Stories. We liked this because a) it was open-ended and allowed each author a chance to shine in whatever way they wanted, b) it allowed for different versions of characters at the same convention, and c) it conveniently covered up any continuity errors across the experience.

We eventually settled on two major story arcs: a set of three factions (each with a face character) vying for power, and a “Save Fizzy” plotline that would determine whether Fizzy Glitch would still be friends with the other mascots or go full nirik and abandon them. Twilight and Discord were obvious choices for the face characters for Heroes of Equestria and Characters Having A One-of-a-kind Selebration (CHAOS – I’m still really proud of that acronym), but the Villains in the Dark were originally led by Grogar. That changed when, during the audition process, I kept acting as Sombra to test actors’ improv skills. Eventually Jenni told me, “I hope you realize I can’t audition anyone else for Sombra, right? I’ll make your cosplay myself if I have to.” I am eternally grateful that she made me Sombra, since that was the most fun I’ve had at a convention in years.

The Save Fizzy plot was going to override the faction outcomes if she wasn’t saved, leaving us with four endings. However, we decided that we didn’t want to have this big faction battle to be thrown out at the last second, so instead, we made it binary. This led to Nyronus (our Mane Plot guru) having to write six different endings for the convention. You can read the rest of the Mane Story paths here, and they’re phenomenal: https://ponyvilleciderfest.com/2023-storytelling-adventure-alternate-histories/ 

Steel did a LOT of the logistics for the game itself, and after consulting with Brandon, we determined that we’d use a code word system as a way to track everything. We’d hide code words around the convention, attendees would enter them into the app, and it would show them a story where they could make a choice, which would award points (conceptualized as pages from the Book of All Stories) to one of the factions.

We brought on our writers, and away they went! The immediate problem was that the Villains weren’t getting hardly any options in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” type stories we needed. We requested more, but if I had to do this all over again, I’d give workshops on writing compelling villain options (being something of a villain myself). I think it would have given the Villains in the Dark a better shot, but so it goes.

While I was busy working 20+ hours a week on the con simply with administrative and big-picture stuff, Sonicsuns stepped up to the plate and organized the editing team. I literally couldn’t do all the work that his team did, and it blows me away how they edited over 300 stories and prompts. Thank you so much, editors!

The Power of the Page

Summer 2023
‘Cause that’s your role. The work that stirred your soul, you can make for someone else

Work continued tirelessly. I organized writers to put together a physical book, Scattered Pages: Tales from the Book of All Stories, complete with over twenty original stories (and art! And a one-page RPG! And an AMAZING cover by Alsey!). We also organized the book store, a writing programming track (sorry for the confusion, Luck Rock!), the actor involvement (both with spontaneous interactions and “Meet the Character” type events), and so much more.

The Secret Events were a huge one. Charlie wanted attendees who participated to really feel like they got something special out of it. The solution was to hide invitations to secret events in the app, so that certain code words would give you the times, locations, and passwords for them. Thankfully, our GOHs LOVED the ideas we put forth. I got to have one-on-one conversations with all of them as the con neared, and we played this information SUPER close to the chest. I didn’t even tell the Storymasters the details until a few weeks before the con. We took this stuff seriously.

Between Whinny City and Ciderfest, there were only 6 days where I didn’t spend at least 3+ hours on Ciderfest work. This writing community means so much to me, and the ambitiousness of our task was really setting in.

Fall 2023
One day you choke, your urges overflow, and obsession brings you down

And this is where the profound loneliness set in.

I remember crying to my very understanding and supportive husband one night as summer became fall. I knew what would happen: I would put my entire creative soul into this convention, and I would see almost none of it. I’d already more or less given up on reading any of the materials that the team was producing outside of what was absolutely necessary (and for anyone reading this, don’t worry: I will read every single story over the next year). I felt myself growing further and further from the team and the community as the responsibilities and time crunch increased. It’s a hell of a thing to put on the convention of your dreams and not get to experience most of it.

(Addendum: I have to add that several people like Zack and Janice reached out to me to check in on me throughout the months. I appreciate them immensely, and I'm sorry I wasn't better at accepting help. Part of it is strategic: once I lose my grip, I tend to lose my momentum, and the wasn't an option here. Would it have been good for me to spend more time chatting with friends in the Mane Events chat or with you and others one on one? Almost certainly, but that would have taken many, many hours away from the con. I owed it to everyone that was working on this to give it my best.)

But I couldn’t stop. The efforts of almost a hundred people (not to mention all the attendees and their good time) were riding on me delivering on what I’d promised. I made it work by becoming very efficient with my time: I would bring my computer to work, then sit in my car or go to Caribou to work for an hour before picking up my son every day, then come home, eat dinner, and put him to bed before working for another 3-5 hours almost every night.

There were always more meetings: with Ciderfest staff to inform them of the theme and what we had planned, with actors to do training, with GOHs to review the secret events, and more.

It’s worth pointing out how much faith and trust Charlie put in me for this event. We didn’t have our big “here’s what’s going on” meeting until late summer/early fall, and even then, it wasn’t really a collaborative meeting. It was me telling Charlie, “this is what I’ve decided, and here’s what I need from you,” with only minimal feedback. I’m humbled that he was willing to give me the reins on this project, and I hope I did him proud.

There were some scares with the app and its features, so we also decided to build a backup Google Forms solution just in case. Sonicsuns again swooped in and saved the day on this one, and the work that he and his editors did ended up saving our butts when the app became available for us to upload to. All the while, Jenni kept wrangling the actors and helping in more ways than there are grains of sand, Nyronus did every task I asked of them despite the need to keep shoving off the mane plot, and Steel worked with Volrathxp to finish the plan for, oh yeah, the code words that were the lynchpin of everything.

One of the weirdest things happened during the prep for this con: unlike every single other convention I’ve staffed for, I never had a moment of panic about not getting our part done. Everything felt more or less under control from start to finish. I like to think it’s a combination of personal character growth, good planning, and the incredible work of the Storymaster team.

And eventually, the planning all led to convention week and the culmination of all of our work.

Wednesday: Driving
Floating to the surface, quicker than you sank

After work on Wednesday, I made the 6-ish hour trip to Milwaukee. I spent at least 2.5 hours listening to audio recordings of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies skits with my lines removed so that I could practice. I only stopped because Sombra's voice (even the season 9 one) was killer on my throat after emoting for that long.

I stayed in the Plaza Suite at the Hilton (thanks, Charlie!), and HOLY HELL it was a huge room. It’s a good thing it was giant, since I was hosting a thank-you party for the storytellers on Friday.

I met Nyronus for the first time that night, and y’all, that is one dapper horse. In addition to anything with writing, feel free to ask them for fashion advice.

There was the usual mad scramble to take care of a few last-minute things, and then I finally got to sleep at around 2am.

Convention Thursday
I’ll make it right again… as my hunger grows and grows

We had a 9am meeting with the directors of Ciderfest: Luck Rock, Doc, Caitlin, Coach, and Charlie. What Charlie failed to mention was that it was with twenty hotel staff in suits, so when I showed up unshowered in a schlubby pony shirt, I was a little out of place. On the plus side, I wasn’t embarrassed to eat the food in front of me, which unlocked it for everyone else. We finished the 2-hour meeting and got to tour the abandoned indoor water park that had serious FNAF vibes, but that might have just been the creepy mannequins.

This one was bisected!

Sonicsuns, Steel, and Jenni all arrived that day. The Leadership team was staying with me in the hotel room, though I asked to take one of the bedrooms for myself because I knew I’d need the space and would, eventually, have a breakdown (foreshadowing!).

Due to a late pivot with the verification system, there were some hiccups with registration, and I want to apologize to Crisom and all the Reg staff again for the confusion. Thank you for being flexible, and I’m sorry for the miscommunications. On the plus side, they got it figured out, and attendees were able to play the game and use the app.

I met up with Jenni to get my storyteller feather (which marked the actors as part of the experience), and that night, at Buckball, I put on my Braeburn costume, and I became one of my favorite horses.

It was the first actor prompt of the convention. I encouraged people to play the game or cheer on the sidelines (#BuckballFTW) or let them just enjoy watching (#AllWorkNoPlay). The first couple attendees were a bit like, “What’s going on?” But as I spoke to more, they really opened up. There was even a young boy that came up to me afterwards and hugged me, thanking me for encouraging him to join the cheer team, and he said he had so much more fun because I’d talked to him. His older brother thanked me, too, and I think that was the moment I knew we were in for something special.

The winning Buckball teams also got to make choices. As Braeburn, I asked them, “Hero, Villain, or Chaos?” without any other context, and those were the first points awarded to the game.

My friends Nightie and Ryan swung by the hotel room to catch up that night, and I went to bed late. Again.

So tell me how it felt, when you walked on water

I want to call Friday a miracle, but it’s even better than that. We pulled it off thanks to the combined efforts of the storytellers and all of the PVCF volunteer staff. Caramel (Jenni Miller of Crackle’s Cousin), Barley (Double Clutch), and Fizzy (Copper Rose) did a superb job getting us off on the right hoof with the opening skit and wrangling the dozens of actors that helped out.

My first big moment was at the end of Opening Ceremonies. I was in my fully-armored Sombra cosplay provided by CCC, and I did a skit with Fizzy, Twilight (Rico Starlight), and Discord (OTSDerpy) to introduce the rules for the weekend. That skit was a MASSIVE undertaking just from a memorization standpoint, and we f***ing nailed it. Not a line was dropped, and we got some of the best praise I’ve ever heard from Michelle Worthley: “Vivid, I watched that whole skit, and it was not cringe.” Amazing what you can do with some good writing, huh? :raritywink:

Seriously, this costume is badass.

By the way: HUGE shout-out to Copper Rose, who was Fizzy Glitch all weekend. There was a TON of lines, and she had to be the emotional heart of the story for over 72 hours straight. She’s an absolute hero for pulling it off.

I interacted with a few attendees as Sombra, and then my day was just running around putting out small fires, ordering pizza for the party, and accomplishing last-minute things until the One-Page Story competition. This was our first GOH surprise: Kelly and Josh showed up to encourage the writers, hear about their stories, and read the winner’s in front of everyone. It also set the stage for further GOH surprises throughout the weekend.

I also collected the first batch of “Letters to Fizzy Glitch,” which I needed for my own nefarious purposes.

After that, I put Sombra back on (this time with a three-piece suit instead of armor), and it was time to prepare for our first secret event. There were four slots over the weekend, and each faction had one in each time slot so that attendees had to pick and choose. I was helping out with Diana’s Siren Serenade. As Sombra, I welcomed attendees who had the password, and it was SO MUCH FUN watching attendees show up for something when they had no idea what it was. If you don’t know Diana’s work, she’s appeared in Broadway shows, and she was kind enough to act as Aria Blaze and sing three songs for us karaoke-style. She slayed, and I’m so happy I got to watch her perform, as that would be the only event I would stand and watch the entire weekend.

The gala was next, with a wonderful script written by Snowday, who was SUPER flexible with all our changing needs. After a couple shaky rehearsals, I had been worried, but the acting team pulled it off at the last minute, and it was a ton of fun. The Heroes took the dance battle, but the real victory is Rico for her Chrysalis cosplay and the way she committed to the bit time and again.

The gala ended late, and at a little before 10pm, I made my way back up to Plaza Suite for the storyteller party, where I got to make a big entrance to cheers and congratulations from over 50 gathered storytellers and friends. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life: walking in, seeing that I was recognized, and hearing everybody clap and cheer. It felt like being in a movie. This team has been phenomenal from start to finish, and hearing their approval was a huge relief and boon to my mood. I gave a speech reminding them that this was their victory, and we kept on celebrating with pizza and specialty drinks made by the incredibly talented Lucky Star.

Nyronus and Sonicsuns presented me with the most thoughtful gift: a letter thanking me for all my hard work, which was then signed by all the storytellers in attendance. I also got to hand out our special storyteller pins and the copies of Scattered Pages to those that needed them, and I got to thank everyone one-on-one, which was important to me. Volrath also got me a full proxy commander deck of all my favorite horses, which was sweet of him beyond measure. Charlie showed up to hang out and made me take bites of pizza, since I hadn’t eaten in about 14 hours by that point.

The party wound down around midnight, my friend and editor Forrest came over to hang out, and I went to sleep late again.

Don’t you waste the suffering you’ve faced; it will serve you in due time

When getting ready on Saturday morning, I finally had the thought I’d been dreading: “I’m not going to see the convention, am I?”

I’d known it was coming. Running the Experience was a more-than-full-time job, and aside from things that I was running myself, Diana’s karaoke was the only thing on my schedule. I hadn’t even had time to download the app or look for codewords. So, I had the breakdown I’d planned for, and I ended up crying in the shower so nobody could hear me.

It comes with the territory. You pour everything you have into an idea, you guide it with every thought and synapse you can spare, and if you decide to do something truly ambitious, then it will consume all of the time that you let it. The needs of the world are infinite, and our capacity to provide is not.

But there are so many bright sides, too, and I am in no position to complain, because I get to do something that almost nobody else in the world gets to do.

The GOH script reading was Saturday morning after another round of secret events. This one was particularly challenging: Giles and Josh had been added late in the game, so I’d only had two weeks to write and edit over 40 pages of dialogue. That was on top of doing everything else for the con. Plus, I was trying three new things with this script:

  • I collected and read all the “Letters to Fizzy” that were submitted by Saturday morning. I selected six, typed them up, and added them to the script as a fun surprise for members of the audience and to play into the “Save Fizzy” storyline.
  • On that note, the audience got to vote for Fizzy’s reaction to the letters. They chose the “Save Fizzy” option, which awarded 30 more points to that story arc.
  • I wrote three endings for the script, only one of which was read (Chaos).

It was a huge hit, and I’m especially grateful to Esteemed Writer, Producer, and Story Editor Josh Haber for letting me put him in the story. Reminder: don’t write fanfic about real people. This was a special case. :eeyup:

Because I love it so much, I’ll give you a taste of the villain ending, in which the Narrator gets to toy around with the Pony of Shadows/The Darkness:

Narrator: Time to have some fun.

Shadows: What are you going to do? Torture me? Banish me?

Narrator: Worse. I’m going to ship you with every member of the audience.

Shadows: No! Anything but that!

Narrator: Our perspective changes to 2nd person. It’s a beautiful day in Ponyville. YOU walk into Bean-Bean, Ponyville’s hippest new coffee shop. As you step inside, the barista, a tall, dark, and shadowy figure, sees you, but then he looks away and blushes.

Incredible performers and a guy who makes them say things

I swung by autographs to get my script signed by the GOHs, who were SUPER complimentary, and I can’t thank Kelly, Elley, Diana, Bill, Giles, and Josh enough for going along with my silly little project.

After that, it was more Sombra for a secret event where I got shot with rainbow lasers (curse you Flash Magnus!!!), then to the sponsor dinner to help out. Charlie asked me to put something special together for the sponsors, and I told him Sombra would come by and put on a skit.

Since I’m a villain, that was obviously a lie.

Michelle was in on it, and we got to mess with Charlie’s traditional toast to the sponsors. The Hero option was to let him give it normally. Chaos was to give Michelle a kazoo to plug into his mouth while he gave it. I’m very proud of the villain option, because it was something Charlie would hate: Michelle and I would spend one full minute complimenting Charlie before he gave his toast. The look on Charlie’s face and the way he begged the audience for the Chaos option will live rent free in my head forever.

Naturally, the sponsors (a wise and noble group) sided with the Villains with 41/50 votes. Charlie gave me a big hug afterwards and whispered to me, “I… hhhhhhaaaaaaaaaate you,” which fills my evil little heart with glee. 💜

I ate quickly, ran around, popped into the Meet the Storyteller panel, ran around more, and gave my panel: A Tiktok Sensation, wherein I recount the story of my VERY adult-oriented book Sensation going viral, being seen by four million people, and eventually being found by my boss’ boss. The audience was great and came along on the ride, and I hope that everyone took something good from it: regardless of any embarrassment, I know from reader feedback how much of an impact this story has had on their lives (in two cases, saving them). You never know the impact you can have on the world until you put something out into it, so create with your whole heart, and know that vulnerability is how we connect as humans, even in the world of ponies.

I scrambled to put Sombra back on so that I could do my “Meet the Character” event at the grand staircase. I was convinced that nobody would be there at 9:30pm, but I ended up staying a full hour in that spot with a constant stream of attendees who wanted to meet with King Sombra. I’m proud to say that most of them were quite villainous and got the outcome #EveryVillainIsLemons, which I still don’t understand the reference for. 

After that was the AD con store shift with Admiral Biscuit and Volrathxp, who are both heroes. Sensation was available for purchase, and I spent over an hour signing books from fans who had bought it the night prior or when they saw me at the table. The guys covered for me, and I’m super grateful that they did so. I also sold out of all 20 copies that I’d brought to the con store, which was a HUGE boost to my ego. If you picked up a copy, I hope you enjoy it! And for the love of Luna, don’t put it in a free library!!!

Afterwards, I was a zombie. I headed back up to my room and did more con work until 2am, when I couldn’t take it anymore and passed out.

Don’t say you lose just yet. Get up and move ahead.

Sunday was very calm, almost alarmingly so. The kinks had been worked out of the system, so it was really a matter of crossing things off the list until the Storymaster behind-the-scenes panel with Sonicsuns, Steel, Nyronus, and Brandon (Jenni was busy with cosplay stuff). My favorite part was the first-hoof lesson on what Nyronus had to deal with on the Mane Plot front.

Once that was done, we were in wind-down mode. We tabulated the final results at 3:30pm (though we kept watching in case the Heroes rallied), and when I say that we were VERY careful to only give AV the single, correct video to play, I need you to understand that Sonicsuns and Nyronus watched me download the correct ending to a thumb drive, and they escorted me to Mane Stage like a couple of secret service agents.

And then, the waiting.

You’ve probably heard about the absurd $100,000 raised for charity at Ciderfest. It was wild being backstage, even more so because I and the other actors for the final skit were prepping and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. It was this weird liminal space: Sombra was set out so that I could do a quick change after my big thank-you speech to the storytellers, and the other actors were prepping (shoutout to Bryan for filling in as Discord at the last minute due to Derpy’s illness).

Here’s where I admit that I’m not a very good person. Con leadership decided to let the charity auction run long (about 2.5 hours long in the end) to raise as much money as possible. To be 100% clear, I think this was a good decision, because how often can any fandom do that much good for the world in one sitting? Some mysterious MLP G4 show scripts were a big part of this, and we needed to do them justice. However, about an hour and a half into our wait, it really got to me, because I was convinced that the charity auction was going to overshadow everything that the entire storytelling team had worked on for a year (a fear that was, thankfully, unfounded – the feedback all throughout the weekend and beyond has confirmed that the team did amazing, memorable work). It didn’t help that I once again felt like I was outside looking in: we couldn’t hear much of anything backstage, so beyond little peeks through the curtain, I wasn’t really there when the big numbers were hit.

The charity auction ended at over $100k, which is phenomenal, and it was time for me to try to follow that up. I did my best to shine the spotlight on the storytellers and Storymasters, but everyone was exhausted by this point, and I feel like I did a fairly poor job of it overall. To everyone that helped with this project: I hope that you know that you are loved, you are seen, and that you created something truly spectacular that might never be replicated in the Brony fandom. I am beyond proud to be your friend and collaborator.

Charlie and Michelle said some kind words about me onstage, and then it was time for the quick change into Sombra, which was a Sailor Moon-esque transformation involving no fewer than five people helping me get the armor on inside of 6 minutes. I take back what I said above: there was a miracle at this convention, and they go by the name Crackle’s Cousin.

Seriously, ALL of this stuff. And yes, I did get weepy with tears of gratitude.

Then, finally, it was time for the end of the story. We performed one more time, CHAOS took the crown, and despite the exhaustion, I’m pleased to say that the audience lost their f***ing minds when they realized that they’d already decided the theme for next year with their actions.

The acting team did a LOT of hugging backstage. I’m embarrassed to say that the volunteer photo completely slipped my mind, since my brain was fried and I couldn’t hear what was going on once we left backstage. Sorry about that, Charlie. I was there in spirit.

Sunday Evening
And not only for yourself.

After lots more hugs and some schmoozing as Sombra, I took Sonicsuns, Nyronus, and Steel out to dinner at a local pub. Getting to decompress at 9pm was a SUPER important part of the process, I think, and it helped me feel human again instead of like a pony robot. I can’t thank them enough for sticking with me through this whole year.

We ended up talking for two hours about the con, memories from the year, what we had in store, writing in general, and all sorts of nonsense. It’s honestly a beautiful haze, but it contains some of the most exhausted, positive feelings I have from the weekend.

Back at the hotel, I cleaned out our department room until just before 2am, said goodbye to Steel (who had to work the next day, what a trooper), and said goodnight to Sonic. My friend Zinn came over for some much needed decompression time, and he even got to try on a few pieces of Sombra. After he left, Nyronus and I headed up to the Dead Pony party to chat with friends and just vibe. I also got some face time with Charlie, where he told me some very good news that I hope I can share someday. Still gotta keep a few secrets to myself. :raritywink:

Bedtime was 4am. Can you believe I was sleep-deprived for days after that?

But if glory makes you happy, why are you so broken up?

I should know better than to think I can escape a con.

I had breakfast with Fiaura, who is a dear friend of mine. She was very much the outside voice that I had to spill feelings to, and I cannot thank her enough for listening to me decompress and just… feel again. Even with all the success of the weekend, there was a lot to process.

The roomies and I packed quickly. I said goodbye to Jenni in her room (after giving her a copy of Sensation – let me know what you think, Jenni!), Sonicsuns and Nyronus as we left, and a TON of wonderful friends in the lobby. Eventually, I packed up and started the long drive home.

…only to be pinged by Elley Ray right before I exited the parking garage. She had an incredibly thoughtful gift for me, and I got to say goodbye to her one more time.

…which also meant I was delayed enough to talk to Charlie one more time before I left. I did the Minnesota Goodbye proud.

The drive home was peaceful. I had forgotten what that was like.

After the Con
Did you get your wish?

It’s been over a week since the convention wrapped up. By just about every metric, this con was a huge success, and I owe it all to the storytelling team and the convention volunteers. 

Attendees loved the Storytelling Experience. Full stop. The reception has been OVERWHELMINGLY positive the last several days, and I am incredibly proud of everything that the team put together. It’s also one of the very rare moments where I’m proud of myself, too, and this past weekend feels like something truly special that made the world a little brighter for a lot of people. 

There’s still a lingering feeling that I missed out on the biggest writing convention that the fandom will ever see. But if we don’t make it, who will? The storytelling team has done more than I could ever ask for to help me feel good about everything we did, for which I’m grateful beyond words, and ultimately, I can summarize my feelings best with this exchange with Fiaura on Monday morning:

Fiaura: “If you could go back, knowing what you know now, would you still go through with it?”

Me: “...Yes. Absolutely.”

Don’t ever doubt the good you can do in the world. Even though there’s still cleanup to do with the bookstore, storyteller pins, getting Creativity Unleashed set up properly, and a few other loose ends, I’m left with a sense of satisfaction that I haven’t felt since I published a 950-page book of horse words, and trust me when I say that it feels very, very good.

Thank you
Idol, Idol

One more time, I have to call out some amazing people.

Sonicsuns: There are so many giant pieces of this convention that wouldn’t exist without you. You get things done in a way that I rarely see, even in my professional career, and I hope I can work with you again soon.

Steel: Thank you for helping guide this ship away from disaster. You’ve inspired so much in this project, and now I need to make it to one of your cons so I can play the game your way. Save a seat for me at the RPG table.

Nyronus: Your heart and passion showed from day one all the way through posting the alternate histories. Thank you for believing, for inspiring, and for bringing these characters to life on the page.

Jenni: You’re the beating heart of the fandom community. Thank you for taking on so much more than I ever could have predicted. And even more than that, thank you for taking care of me and being a listening ear when I needed it. You get me, and that’s the best thing I can ask for in a friend.

Copper Rose: You are incredible. People go on and on about talent, which you have in spades, but even more than that, you work hard, and you put your soul into your acting. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Brandon: Your work is a colossal act of charity, and I hope that you know how much joy you brought to the fandom this year with your app. I still intend to buy you that pizza and coffee one of these days.

Janice, Snowday, Volrath, Goken, BlueBrony, Alsey, Slush, Pinkie, Rico, Double Clutch, OTSDerpy, and Bryan: You all stepped up in ways that make me proud to be in the My Little Pony community. Every single one of you deserves thunderous applause whenever you walk into a room.

Kelly Sheridan, Bill Newton, Elley Ray, Diana Kaarina, Giles Pandon, and Esteemed Writer, Producer, and Story Editor Josh Haber: Thank you SO MUCH for playing along with this game of ours. The way you embraced the chaos and ensured the attendees had fun is remarkable, and I hope you had even half as much fun as the rest of us did. We’ll see you all again at another one soon!

Charlie & Michelle: Thank you again for letting me run wild with this. I got away with more than I imagined possible, all because you trusted me. I hope I delivered.

To everyone that played along: this was a huge experiment for this community. Thank you for making it all worth it and for making us writers feel seen. But do try to be a bit more villainous next time.

Finally, to every storyteller that brought this experience to life: this is your victory, and I hope you relish it for years to come. I’ve heard countless stories from you about rediscovering the joy of writing, working with editors for the first time, and making new friends in our community. Cherish it. You belong here, and this place is so much better with you in it.

I’ve gone on for far too long, so thank you for reading up to this point. If there’s one thing you can take away from everything I’ve said, I hope it’s this: you have a story worth telling, and when you put yourself out there, then amazing, magical things will happen. 

The Storytelling Adventure has been my one hobby for a year and a half now, and I still haven’t absorbed that we pulled it off. I’m in this community to stay, so I guess that means it’s time to move on to (what else?) something even grander.

But first: catching up on queer horses. Obviously.

Lots of love,


Comments ( 8 )

I meant everything I said in that letter I and the rest of the group signed.

You were a phenomenal leader. Having been at your right hand, I understand that better than most. You deserve to be proud of what we did, and what we lead others to achieve.

Godspeed, Vivid. Godspeed.

Having lost two friends and dealing with the stressors of a new job, this entire year has sucked for me, but this con really was a shining moment. The focus on creators was so welcoming and fun to be around, even though I didn't get to contribute as much as originally planned, and that's something I never got at my four trips to Bronycon or Babs.

Definitely coming back, definitely contributing even more horse content and time if able. :twilightsmile: Carry on, Your Highness.

and for anyone reading this, don’t worry: I will read every single story over the next year

Me too. All the endings, all the options. This has been such an incredible project, my only regret is that I couldn't possibly read every word in my three days at the con.

I can't thank you and the whole team enough for this. The more I find out, the more impressed I am with everything you accomplished in such a short period of time. I'm glad I had the chance to contribute, and I can't wait to see what happens when Creativity gets Unleashed.

The reception has been OVERWHELMINGLY positive the last several days, and I am incredibly proud of everything that the team put together.

As you should be! The reception has been positive because this is exactly what our fandom needed - a reminder of the creativity within our community. With as ambitious as this concept was, I would've been impressed if you only pulled off half of what you wanted. This could've gone sideways so many times but it didn't. That's a testament to good leadership and good teamwork.

Thank you again. This has been so much fun from start to finish. They say you should always leave the audience wanting more, and I definitely want more! I look forward to seeing Creativity Unleashed, and I'm hoping to be able to contribute again.

What a wrapup! I definitely had some inkling already on how rough it must have been to be rushing from fire to fire and not being able to see the grand scale of what we accomplished, because quite frankly I felt part of it myself. I think most of us saw our own little pieces of the puzzle, and it was the attendees that really got to see their own story come to life, and that's something incredibly special. I wish you had been able to see more, but as you said... you'd do it all over again if given the chance and I think most of us feel the same.

You're a fantastic person, a genuine friend, and I'm absolutely more than excited to have worked on this project with you. It was an experience that still has us talking about it, talking about the stories we crafted, the times we had with each other, the friendship we have all shared, and you helped bring all of that together for us.

In the end, we will all remember this convention, and for some of us it won't even be the memories of the convention itself, it will be about the hard work we all put in to make it happen, to make something truly and utterly special that we all put a little piece of our souls into.

And of course... there's always going to be time someday for us to get to play some Magic together! I hope you enjoy the deck. It was exciting to piece together, and of course to get the side prize of magically getting the rest of the Mane 6 cards just a few months before the convention (what timing!)

Looking forward to our next inevitable collaboration, because I HAVE IDEAS.

- V

I was there in spirit only (Tragically) but from what I've heard you folks pulled of an incredible feat and deserve every single bit of good praise.

You should be so proud bud.

See you again soon!

It sounds like all the hard work you put in led to a magical experience!

This sounds like one of the greatest cons ever. I can see the sheer crapload of passion that you poured into this. Thank you for making it so special. I’m still bummed that there was no practical way to get up there myself this year.

Next year, though, wild horses won’t stop me. :rainbowdetermined2:

Login or register to comment