The Amtgard Demo Handbook
by Baron Squire Rabbitt Wallcrusher & Marquis Squire Kayden Bonesteel MacGregor
Before we begin I wanted to say that this is a guide that will help you get started down the long and winding path that is “Running an Amtgard Demo”. This is neither a bible nor a step-by-step manual as to how to run your demo, it is merely a guide.
Contained in this document is information pertaining to the principles and techniques we have used and refined over the years to help increase the attendance in our Empire. We are providing this so that you may use, adjust, and adapt this guide to fit your methods and procedures of running a demo to hopefully make your recruiting more successful.
A demo is a wonderful tool that can lead to a rewarding experience that brings several new members into Amtgard. With proper planning and organization this tool can be honed and sharpened to yield better results with less effort.
Chapter 1: Securing a Location
There are many variables involved while selecting a location to do a successful Amtgard demo. Of these variables the most important is the “Target Demographic”. Usually once you find out what the target demographic is for your group the rest of the steps fall into place. As most people who would be considered the same demographic tend to hang out in the same locations (i.e. drunks hang out in bars, goths hang out in coffee shops, etc…) you need to find a location where large groups of your target demographic tend to gather.
In the list below we will display the demographic types that tend to work for our group and would probably work for most Amtgard groups. This is by no means a complete list. Each group will have different personality types who play this game, and as such some of these criteria will not apply. This also means some criteria that may work for your group may not be listed below. Please take this into consideration while determining the Target Demographic for your group.
Target Personality Types:
- RPG Gamers
- LARP Gamers
- PC Gamers
- SCI FI Convention goers
- Fantasy Arts Convention goers
- Gaming Convention goers
- Renaissance Festival Patrons
- Historical enthusiasts
Now that you have a list of your Target Demographic, the challenge you have is to find a suitable location where this type of person gathers in large numbers. Finding a location that suits more than one category of your target list is the gold mine of recruiting that you are looking for.
Example 1: A gaming/hobby store would be a good fit for your target demographic for gamers, but does not fit your target for a high volume of people at any one given time. Because of this it would be a good location to leave flyers for your group, but not to hold a full-fledged demo. The exception for this could be if it was the grand opening of the gaming/hobby store or an event that will draw a crowd. This could bring the volume needed to make a successful demo.
Example 2: A High School would definitely fit your target demographic for teenagers. This also fits the target for a high volume of people, and as this is such an abundance of teenagers, you can probably fill every category of personality type in this one location. This is definitely an A+++ location to have a demo, but is also one of the most difficult to get your foot in the door.
Now that you have an understanding of what type of location we will be looking for, here is a list of some
of the most successful locations we have found for doing a demo:
- High School
- Shopping Mall
- Movie Theater
- Convention (Sci FI, Gaming, Fantasy Arts)
- Renaissance festivals
- College Campus
These types of locations are the main staple in our demo circuit. Making first contact is as easy as picking up a phone book. Helpful hint: You do not need to be Sherlock Holmes, trying to decipher who would be the best person to contact by rummaging through the phone listings. Just dial any main number at the location you are trying to secure, explain briefly who you are, that you want to use their premises for a demo, and ask who would be the best person to speak with. The internal staff will know better than any phone listing exactly whom you need to contact. Once you have called or been transferred to the correct person. Explain to them that you are a member of a not-for-profit organization called Amtgard and you would like to ask to use their facilities in a membership drive. Tell them that you are a group that does live action fantasy role-playing and renaissance style creative arts and sciences. Communicate to this person that your group of volunteers will be there in a display capacity only, and will not be trying to sell anything nor will you allow their patrons to participate in the combat demonstrations.
In the event you are calling a High School ask for the Dean or Principal and add that this may benefit a history or literature class and volunteer to go into the classroom to answer questions and display your artisans' creations. If possible you can even ask if it would be possible to do a full combat demonstration in an assembly style setting in front of the entire student body.
For a movie theater, you will have a better chance of securing the location if there is a genre of movie opening that mirrors Amtgard. A few recent examples of this would be Gladiator, King Arthur, Troy, etc… Not only will people be more likely to fit within your target demographic, but also the management tends to appreciate anything that might draw more patrons to their theater.
Most of the time, this is all that will need to be said to get your foot in the door. If your communication was good and your luck holds out, you will secure the location with this little amount of effort.
If by this time you are getting a full on rejection, then this location will probably not pan out. Don’t be disappointed, as this will happen more often than not. Just relax and start again with a new location. Remember, persistence is the key as there are plenty of opportunities out there.
If the person seems to be on the fence and unsure if they are willing to donate their floor space to your noble cause, ask to meet them in person. Set up a time where you can bring in some items and sit down for a brief one-on-one meeting. Bring a handful of photos and maybe some minor examples of what your artisans can do. Ask them face-to-face for the time and space you would like. Usually once you are there in person, it is harder for them to refuse.