Paying the Cost to Be the Boss

Before I begin, I have to offer my sincerest apologies for allowing so much time to pass between the first installment of Send More Paramedics and the second - between legal threats from the Famous Monsters Convention camp, a misunderstanding from the people behind Camp Blood, and ongoing harassment from everyone's favorite fraud at large, Tim Beal, my attention has been diverted quite a bit. Luckily, all of this has provided me with a great deal of material to write about for the latest chapter in my ongoing blog on all things scene related.

This time around I'd like to touch on something that seems to have been in very short supply in the past two months and that rare commodity is accountibility.

Originally my plan was to set my crosshairs on Phil Kim and his propensity for blaming everything from his guest cancellations to global warming on Bill Philputt, but at this point that would seem like old hash that few people would much care for anymore. Instead, I thought perhaps it would be more interesting to give my thoughts on something more current - let's talk Camp Blood, shall we?

By now we all know the story but for those who have been living under a rock, let me give you the FDTC Cliff Notes version:

Promoter plans biggest Friday the 13th event in history. Rumors circulate for months that the show is in dire straits. Promoter continues to promise the best show ever.  More fans start to hear things that make them think something is rotten in Denmark. Promoter boldly and repeatedly proclaims that the show is ironclad and will go on come hell or high water, that is up until 2 weeks before the show at which point things suddenly change and the show is postponed for 9 months. Fans cry foul and demand refunds. Promoter states no refunds will be given since the show has only been postponed (albeit for nearly a year) and is not canceled. Fans cry out in outrage. Promoter indirectly blames one of the most incompetent talent "managers" in the scene for sabotaging the show. Fans commence burning effigies of said promoter all across the nation while calling for blood. Legal papers are mailed around. And the 10 plagues of Egypt descend upon the convention circuit. Message boards across the country overflow with pissing and moaning and bannings and deleted posts occur in droves.

That sounds about right I think.

Quite a few people have asked me for my official take on this so here it goes:

In speaking to John Gray, I don't think he's necessarily a bad guy, or a crook, or out to steal everyone's money through some fraudulent convention scheme as many people want to believe. I may be wrong, but that's just my opinion in the few interactions I've had with the guy - I suppose I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. What I DO think is that he tried to put together an event that is not only a bit overambitious, but also one that would be very difficult to profit from given the immense amount of overhead cost to make a show like that even get off the ground. As popular as the Friday the 13th franchise is, were talking about a convention which would cost in the six figures just to cover the cost of the guests for the weekend, and while Camp Blood is a dream show on paper (especially for the Jason Voorhees faithful), it would cost a ridiculous amount of money to even get it to happen. If I had to make a guess, I would posit that Gray fell short in the financing department and decided that with as much work as he has put into the show already, he would rather postpone until a later date rather than make a hard cancelation.

I don't buy for a minute that a lone saboteur (especially not one with Tim Beal's lack of cunning and general smarts) could be responsible for taking the whole shebang down. I don't want to call Gray a liar, but I think in the process of doing some understandable damage control and explaining a very complicated situation he's reaching for an easy excuse that is probably going to be good enough for most fans to accept anyway. Regardless of the extent of what Beal may or may not have done, I still think in the end, Gray has to step up to the plate and take this one completely on his shoulders. Its the cost you pay to be the boss.

I'm not saying it's fair or even right, but the fact of the matter is when you're the head guy, the big enchilada, the main man, you need to wear your big boy pants and accept full responsibility for the success or failure of your undertakings. Regardless of whether you were the one to fuck it up or not, it's still your endeavor with your name on it, and much in the same way that you would be basking in the praise if things go well, you also gotta suck it up and eat shit when things don't go so well. It's all part of running a business and protecting against outside forces bringng you down should be part of the business plan to begin with.

If I were to get unjustly fired from my job tomorrow, coming home and blaming it on someone else isn't going to put food on my table and my landlord sure as shit ain't gonna take an excuse in lieu of a rent check. Should the From Dusk Till Con site get hacked next week or some joker decide he wants to spend his every waking moment finding out ways to discredit my work, passing the buck isn't going to protect all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into making this labor of love what it is. That's why you have a Plan B and that's why you cover your ass. That's why you do what you do so damn well that nothing short of an act of God is going to take it down - it's what you do when you step up to the plate and make yourself The Boss. Even after all this, things still happen and even the best leaders faulter. That's when you suck it up, and without shame or reservation say, "I fucked up and I'm sorry. I will fix this and make this right."

So what does John Gray do to make things right? Well, first and foremost I think he needs to stop blaming Beal and just take the Camp Blood thing on the chin - he may not be fully to blame, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Beal did play a part in causing some problems, but as the head honcho he needs to assume responsibility fully and professionally. I also think issuing refunds to whoever wants one is the right thing to do - he may not be obliged to do so since the show is technically not canceled, but it's just bad business to postpone a show for almost a full year with no guarantee that it will remotely be the same event as originally advertised and still keep someone's money who paid tickets for an event in August.  Again, I don't think Gray is a crook, but he's caught between a rock and a hard place - likely if he refunds money he'll be lacking the funds to put on Camp Blood in 2011 and then he'd REALLY have no choice but to terminate the covention completely. Nevertheless, I think such a gesture would go a long way towards preserving his reputation as a businessman that does right by the fans and I'd be willing to bet that most people who would take refunds would likely repurchase tickets for next year's outing. Warranted or not, there's quite a shit storm flying around John Gray and his show, and he really needs to do something to stop the bleeding. As many supporters as he may have over at the Guts and Gory forum, it's not nearly enough for what he's going to need to pull off this show in May.

One thing is for sure, John's got alot riding on Camp Blood. Personally, I'd love to seem him pull it off, not just for him, but mostly for the Friday the 13th fans who have long waited for something like this to come around. Whatever happens, John Gray has one person and one person alone to credit for his ultimate victory or crushing defeat.

That person is John Gray.


See ya at the con,

Mr. Chainsaw

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