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unCONventional, the biggest online database for conventions and fan events worldwide

Attention all con-goers, nerds, geeks and comic book fans, your Holy Grail is here. Imagine IMDB for conventions, this is our design.

We hope to make unCONventional the largest and most comprehensive database of conventions, worldwide. Our aim is to create the go to website for convention news and listings, allowing you to easily check multiple events at the same time and plan which of them you want to attend.

Normally when looking for details on conventions, people go to the website of the organiser.  This is a perfectly good solution for that specific event, but it doesn't help you discover new activities, or finding the event that has that one guest you really want to see. How many times have you heard about an event after it sold out? Or just after it had taken place? It need never happen again!

Rather than trawling the internet looking for events and appearances, unCONventional will be a one-stop shop providing all the info you need.  Want to see actors from a specific TV show? Want to see a specific actor? Want to know what is happening in your city? How about if you’re travelling and looking for something to keep you occupied? A quick search will give you all the events you are looking for without having to dig through a load of different sites.

Photo by Grant Gowdy
Photo by Grant Gowdy

Our aim is to develop and maintain a massive database of events, people, locations, films, TV shows, comics, etc. 

We did toy with the idea of allowing people to edit the database, wiki style. But at least two of us would be driven mad with a need to double check everything so we have decided to keep control over the data, though there will be a submissions/corrections form so if we mess up, you can point it out. We’ll come up with some way of rewarding the helpful among you.

The website will also showcase special events we think are noteworthy. We will do interviews, convention reports, news articles, etc. We will also create an event calendar to finally help you keep track of those important dates other than the cons themselves. Did you miss out on San Diego Comic Con tickets because you remembered they were going on sale a few hours too late? We will warn you beforehand so you don’t miss out. Did DragonCon prices go up before you remembered to get your ticket? That won’t happen next year.

We hope to highlight a lot of deserving conventions, both established and new. There will be a place for cosplayers to show off their creations and for fans to submit their own convention stories. We’ll have our own convention reports along with interviews from some of the guests. Those of you who make videos will also have a place to showcase your work.

We would like to thank our friend Grant for allowing us to use his photos from recent conventions. You can visit his Facebook page by clicking the photo below.

Photo by Grant Gowdy
Photo by Grant Gowdy

Our friends at Sneaky Zebra, for example, were happy to share their video from London Comic Con with us. Check out their Facebook page for a lot more videos, photos and general awesomeness!

That is the true convention spirit every con goer knows and loves, having fun! We want to make unCONventional a truly global effort with one website having all the information you need.

Why do we need your help?

To make this work, we need a custom designed database for the site, along with a custom built interface to allow for easy data entry and editing. While we are not talking IMDB levels of info, we expect the initial data entry of events, people, places, TV shows, movies, comics etc. to be approaching 10,000 entries, with frequent updating and expanding needed.  We do have an information systems analyst on our team, so this should be a fairly streamlined process. 

We want the website to be free for all fans to enjoy and not have to rely on advertising. Reducing the time it takes to maintain the site is key since we have no plans to monetise this and it will be worked on in our own spare time.  It is not a commercial enterprise. This would be a site built by fans, for fans. To do it right we need a little help.

Where are we now?

Along with getting people to share their photos and videos with us, we have done some actual work on this. We’ve started collecting all the info that will eventually make up the database, along with working up a design for the database. This is an ongoing process, but for an example of both (not final info) check the screenshots at the bottom of the page.

After checking out a lot of possible options, we have decided that we will be using the cloud solution from database.com for the backend. One of our team, Inês, is certified by Salesforce (the people behind database.com) as both a developer and an administrator. Figuring out how we connect the database to the website is the next step.

While we are yet to finalise any design decisions for the site itself, we have been hard at work on it and have put together many designs. Testing out ideas, seeing what works, what doesn’t, etc. The Design will be locked down over the next few months but in the meantime we will continue to fiddle, picking and choosing any good bits that stand out from the various designs. A couple of our early test examples can be seen below. These are just that though, tests. As we progress, both during the campaign, and after, we’ll keep you up to date with the design progression.

Where are we going?

Going forward, the following schedule is how we see us getting from where we are to having the site ready to launch. This is an estmate, and while it could take less time, it could also take more.

Start of August – Project funded
August to October – database development and further website design work.
October to November – Work on finalising the site design and testing the database integration with the website
Before the end of the year – Website launch

The extra help we will be able to bring in with the funding from you guys should see us being able to stick to this estimate.

A little on who we are

We are just fans with a little background experience on the whole "internet" thing. Since you don't care about how we love kittens and sunshine, let's explain why we think we can make this website work. Inês is our resident nerd. She is a Salesforce programmer, administrator and developer and can make boring magic happen with databases. I'm Gary, I am an idiot tamer at one of the worlds biggest IT companies and have a little experience in web design. Our PR person Doug moves the deep crevices of the internet like a navy seal. Rita is an air traffic controller so her multitasking skills are off to chart and we plan to have her input data into the database like no one's business. We may let her stop for coffee every so often...

Please check out the http://kickingitforward.org website and collective, we are a part of it and support paying it forward to other projects

Stretch Goals

As we have mentioned before, this is not a commercial project, so you may be wondering what we will do with any money over and above our target. Initially, the site will focus on events featuring guests from TV and Film and other noteworthy guests who make regular con appearances.  Over time, we will add events that do not include film or TV actors such as events that are exclusive to Anime, comics, gaming, etc. Should our goal be exceeded, we would use some of the extra to speed up this process.

Another thing we would love to be able to do would be to produce a companion app for the site. Of course this would be free and available on both iOS and Android. 

If we are still sitting on any extra money, then the plan is to give it back to you, the fans. Giveaways, competitions, whatever we can really to show our appreciation for helping us get started.

An explanation of the book "Damn It! Drinking Games about TV shows"

Damn It Cover
Damn It Cover

If you opt for one of the perks that includes our book (either in ebook or physical format), you might be wondering what it is all about. We started this project more than a year and a half ago, a compilation of drinking games we had written to watch the television shows we loved the most. The initial publication of the book contained drinking games for 60 TV shows. The new version has over 100, both old and new, covering a range that will surely have something for everyone.

Here's a picture of Doug's Dalek, just because we need to show it off.

Current work examples

Database Diagram
Database Diagram
Beginning Data Collection
Beginning Data Collection
Early Design Test
Early Design Test
Another Early Design Test
Another Early Design Test

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Our main issue will be connecting the huge database to a user-friendly website, which also allows us to edit and update quickly and easily. For that we need some help. And since the T-Shirt which proclaimed "will work for beer" turned out not to be as factual as we had hoped, we need some money!

Another issue will be to keep the database up to date once we are live. This project will require a lot of research but we hope that if the website is successful, and user adoption is high, after a while information will come to us instead of us having to hunt for it.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    Thanks email, Hall of Heroes listing, drinking games ebook. Are you a vendor? We will list what events you will be present at (You will need to let us know about any changes to keep the info accurate) along with giving a description of the kind of stuff you sell and linking to your website, or webshop, if you have one. we can work with you on the wording of all this so that you are happy with it.

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    At least 3 of us will cosplay for you and send you the photos and maybe a funny video. There will not be any nudity involved but we promise to make it funny. We will choose the cosplay, sorry, Gary refuses to dress up as a Sailor Moon. All 10 available cosplays would be different.

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