The Amtgard Demo Handbook
by Baron Squire Rabbitt Wallcrusher & Marquis Squire Kayden Bonesteel MacGregor
Chapter 2: Preparing for the Demo
Once you have a time and place secured, it is a good idea to gather as many items as your space allows for showing. This is where the group’s artisans come in.
The best way to gather these items is to make a call to arms to the Artisans. Send multiple e-mails to
distribution lists and forums. Make announcements at your parks asking to borrow items. Make sure to ask
people personally if they have anything you can use. Assure them that you will take great care of their items
and will return them promptly after the demo. Also, be sure to ask each artisan if they are willing to allow
patrons to touch/hold their items. The more individuals you ask the better response you will get. Be willing
to drive to members’ houses or their group’s parks to pick up and return the items. In our past demos, the items
that drew the most attention ranked as:
- Pictures of Amtgard
- All other A&S
In addition to these items banners are great draw. They are usually flashy and draw attention. They also lend themselves to people’s imagination, which helps that person really get a feel for being in our world. If you or your group has the money in the coffers, it is a good idea to get a vinyl banner with the club name, i.e. “Amtgard of Colorado” printed on it. You can display it on the table in front of you or the wall behind you. This will answer the first Question everyone has, “What is this?” and change it to “What is Amtgard?” Other banners that are good are household, fighting company, kingdom, duchy, barony, or shire.
The next step is to have some sort of handout to give to the visitors of your demo. This can be as simple as an Amtgard business card and can be as complicated as a several page flyer. Be sure that you have something to give them to remind them of your group after they leave the demo. Be creative! This is no way a complete list, but a way to get your brain thinking of ways of transmitting the information.
Amtgard Business Card: Have a business card with design appealing to the eye. Have your Kingdom level website on the front, and all the subordinate group’s names, city locations and website addresses on the back. A business card is a great handout because people will stuff them into their purse or wallet and then weeks or even months later they will run across it. Business cards are also one of the most cost effective forms of promotion.
Flyers: Have a flyer that gives a high level explanation of what Amtgard is, the classes that can be played, where your parks are located, times of meeting, and a list of the web addresses. These can be almost as cost effective as the business cards and all you need to make a flyer is a computer and a printer. If you want to make something really flashy, there are programs such as “Print Shop” that are designed to help with the creation of printed media.
Amtgard Magnet: Similar to the Business Card with appealing eye design and either kingdom level or local group level web address on front and maybe when and where you play. They can put it on their fridge when they get home and the information will “stick” longer.
Amtgard Pens/Pencils: People always need writing utensils. Just have a brief message and website. For example: “Amtgard of Colorado www.ironmountains.org”. If your website is current, they will be able to find all the information they need to locate your park and attend your gathering.
Again, these are just a few ideas to get you started. When it comes to promotional materials, the only limit is your budget. In the past we have also used recorded video and Power Point presentations. These are not tangible items that your patrons can take with them, but video does seem to leave a more lasting impression and it does help give them an idea of what we do and who we are.
The next preparation you will need to undertake is obtaining volunteers to help run the demo. You will need to send a call to arms to distribution e-mail lists and forums multiple times requesting help and volunteers. Make numerous announcements at the parks, and personally ask people. You will get more interest for help if you go to individual people and ask for their assistance, as people are more comfortable with personal invitations over the mass publications. Make sure that you have people committed to being at the demo at a specific time for a fixed length of time. The more general you are with scheduling, the less likely they will show up when you need them.
Prior to the day of the demo it is good to go to the site, if allowed, and scout where you will be setting up
your display. This will allow you to evaluate the surroundings so you can proactively begin to plan the layout
of your display. This is very important as it will make the set up of the display go much faster and smoother.
Also, approximately a week before the demo, call your contact at the demo location and go over the following:
Confirm date and time A time in which you can come in to set up a. If this demo spans across days, ask if it is necessary for you to break down and set up every day or can the room be locked during closed hours. On the day of the demo is it necessary to speak with someone prior to set up or can you come in to the location and begin to set up immediately.
1) Confirm date and time
2) A time in which you can come in to set up
- If this demo spans across days, ask if it is necessary for you to break down and set up every day or can the room be locked during closed hours.
3) On the day of the demo is it necessary to speak with someone prior to set up or can you come in to the location and begin to set up immediately.
4) If you were unable to visit the site prior to the demo and you do not need to speak to anyone, get exact details as to where you will be setting up your display.
5) Where you and your demo volunteers can park during the demo.
6) Could they provide equipment (carts, dollies) to transport demo materials from vehicles.
- If this is not a possibility, make sure you have the ability to transport your own materials either via your own equipment or pack mules (aka friends and volunteers).
7) Where to park while loading/unloading materials before and after demo
8) If this is an event the requires badges/passes - Where do you pick them up
- If the number of badges you can receive is limited, how many badges are available, and how much would extras cost for the rest of your volunteers to allow them to be there.
9) Confirm number of tables and chairs they will be providing.
- If the site is not providing (or they are not providing enough) ask if you can bring your own.
10) If you need electricity for laptops, video, or any other electronic media, verify that it is available. If power is available, determine if extension cords will be necessary.
11) Confirm if you can fight on premises or if this will be a display only demo. (Due to some insurance requirements, some locations will not permit fighting on their premises. But do not be discouraged as the display should still bring visitors to your booth)
12) Time in which you must be shut down, moved out, and the area cleaned up.