Megaplex

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Megaplex
Megaplex Logo.jpg
Megaplex logo
Subject Furry
Location
Website
Status ongoing
First iteration 8-10 March 2002
Organizers Pawpet Live Experiences, Inc. (PLEx)
Charity The CARE Foundation [1]
Photos, videos, reports: Megaplex resources

Megaplex is a furry convention first held in March 2002 as Pawpet Megaplex. The latest edition, Megaplex XII, was held 26-28 July, 2013 in Orlando, Florida.

Megaplex's stated goal is to provide "a celebration of interactive arts and performance, with a primary focus on anthropomorphics and fantasy".[1] Programming has focused on fursuiting, puppetry, improvisation, and other types of performance, including musical performances by Toxic Audio, 4:2:Five, Matthew Ebel and Rhubarb the Bear, and a performance of the stage musical Julie Bunny Must Die!.

A variety of factors[2][3] has caused Megaplex's attendance to fluctuate over the years. The 2013 event had the highest attendance to date with 821 members.

Contents

History

Megaplex
Pawpet Megaplex 1 (2002)
Pawpet Megaplex 2 (2003)
Megaplex 3 (2004)
Megaplex 4 (2005)
Megaplex 5 (2006)
Megaplex 6 (2007)
Megaplex 7 (2008)
Megaplex 8 (2009)
Megaplex 9 (2010)
Megaplex 10 (2011)
Megaplex XI (2012)
Megaplex XII (2013)
Megaplex XIII (2014)

Megaplex staff
Megaplex guests of honor

Pawpet Megaplex (8-10 March 2002, 126 attending) came into being as a replacement for Furry Spring Break, which was held in 2001. FSB was unable to secure hotel space for a second convention in 2002, and folded. In its stead, Pawpet Live Experiences, Inc. was formed and held the first Pawpet Megaplex at the Ramada Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

Pawpet Megaplex 2 (21-23 March 2003, 197 attending) moved to the movie-themed Sheraton Studio City Resort, closer to Universal Studios Florida. The convention had its first guest of honor, Susan Rankin. This was also the first year Toxic Audio appeared.

Megaplex 3 (19-21 March 2004, 357 attending) returned to the Sheraton Studio City, with guest of honor Trace Beaulieu, of MST3K fame (Dr. Clayton Forrester, Crow T. Robot). The convention's theme played heavily on the fact the name of the con could be abbreviated to "MP3"; this was seen in promotional materials, as well as on-site artwork and the con book. The convention officially dropped the "Pawpet" from the name this year; however, the official web site remained ppmp.info until 2009.

Megaplex 4 (11-16 March 2005, 387 attending) moved into larger quarters at the Sheraton World Resort, right next door to the SeaWorld Orlando theme park. The guest of honor was professional puppeteer John Kennedy. As part of the convention, Orlando's Potpourri of Puppets was hosted on Sunday night. The convention's theme, taking into account the fact Interstate 4 goes through Orlando, was a "road trip."

Megaplex 5 (17-19 March 2006, 257 attending) was held at the Sheraton World Resort. The fifth anniversary con's theme saluted the B-movies of days gone by, lending MP5 the subtitle of "...Teh Horror!" [sic]. Unfortunately, part of the horror was the hotel, which staff and attendees alike had troubles with{fact}. Brian Reynolds attended as a guest of honor with his wife, Tracy.

Megaplex 6 (2-4 March 2007, 185 attending) was held at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverfront. The primary reason for the move to Jacksonville was cost - hotels in Orlando and Tampa wanted two to three times what Megaplex had paid for space in the past, whereas the Wyndham's offer was more in line with past deals. The convention had a game show theme, and its guest of honor was Mike Kazaleh.

Megaplex 7 (28-30 March 2008, 255 attending) returned to the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverfront. The theme (announced at Megaplex 6's closing ceremonies) was comics, with heroes and villains battling it out in the form of convention mascot MegaPanther, and his arch foe, Baron Von Redtail. Adam Wan was the guest of honor, and the special musical guest was Matthew Ebel, who also participated in the traditional live Rocky Horror event performing as Frank N Furter.

Megaplex 8 (24-26 July, 2009, 425 attending) marked a move away from the traditional March time frame in response to FWA's move into March. The convention also returned to Central Florida, at the Radisson Worldgate Resort Orlando, located in nearby Kissimmee, FL, and a short distance from Walt Disney World's main gate. The convention had a "Toyland" theme, with a "Christmas in July" sub-theme, and the guest of honor was BigBlueFox. Popular events for Megaplex 8 included a reprisal of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," with Matt Ebel as Frank N Furter, a live performance of the Funday Pawpet Show, The Big Blue Fox "Dance till Dawn," and the return of "Fursuit Deal or Big Deal."

Megaplex 9 (23-25 July, 2010, 410 attending) once again took place at the Radisson Worldgate Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. The convention featured a Mad Science theme with Guest of Honor Paul Zaloom, the actor behind Beakman from Beakman's World. The con expanded its meeting space to include a larger Dealer's Den, an Artist Alley, and lounge area dubbed "The Lair." 81 fursuiters were in the Fursuit Parade and the con raised $2,928 for the CARE Foundation.

Megaplex 10 (29-31 July, 2011, 553 attending) returned to the Worldgate Resort (which dropped the Radisson name) for Megaplex 2011: Retro Arcade. This was the 10th Megaplex, with Chad Krueger as Guest of Honor. 86 Fursuiters walked in the first Fursuit Parade at the con, and 64 walked in the second Late Night Fursuit Parade. Megaplex raised $1,368 for the CARE Foundation this year.

Megaplex XI (27-29 July, 2012, 625 attending) was the final year at Worldgate Resort, which they outgrew, with the theme "Steampunk: Turn Back The Gears." The Guests of Honor were Ron Schnieder, also known in Disney circles as EPCOT center's "Dreamfinder" and Noel MacNeal.

Megaplex XII (26-28 July, 2013, 821 attending) moved the con to the Marriott Orlando Airport in Orlando proper, with the theme "At The Hop". The Guests of Honor were Fox Amoore and Tirrel.

Megaplex XIII, to be held over July 25-27, 2014, will have the theme "The Candy Factory". The Guests of Honor will be Mary Mouse and TaniDaReal.

Rating

From its origin as a "funny animal convention" promising "good clean fun"[4] -- which has been acknowledged as a PR blunder by the convention[2] -- Megaplex has had a somewhat prudish reputation. This has been reinforced by its PG-13 rating, which historically extended to both sales and events (with the exception of the Rocky Horror Picture Show since 2006).

In 2007, con chair Carl Fox noted that, at the time, the convention staff felt that Megaplex's event rating was appropriate to the convention's location and audience, and was equivalent to Anthrocon's in most areas.[2]

However, for Megaplex 7 (2008), the convention adopted similar dealer's room rules as FWA's, allowing mature work as long as it is not displayed openly.[5] Also, some of the performances late on Friday and Saturday nights contained more mature language and material (Rocky Horror amongst them), marking a shift away from the strict rating on events.

Staff and organization

Pawpet Live Experiences, Inc. (PLEx) is a class C for-profit corporation operating out of the State of Florida.[6]. PLEx, Inc. was incorporated in January 2002, a mere two months before putting on Pawpet Megaplex 1, and went the faster route of incorporating under the less stringent for-profit statutes. The Board of Directors runs the convention on a not-for-profit basis, and intends to eventually update their incorporation to officially reflect this.[citation needed]

PLEx, Inc.'s current president is Randy "Yappy" Fox, and the vice president is John "K.P." Cole. Together they currently share the role of convention chairman.

The current Board members are:

Other staff members include Blitz Wolfang, Brejar HowlynStar, Dingoroo, Fafner, Genesis Whitmore, Inukaza, Lynxcat, Johnmutt, Michel Mephit, Mini Zee, Jim "Rasvar" Mogle, Salen Stormwing, Santa Fox, Sobek Wanikami, Sparky Fox, STiTcH, Takala, Urson, and Wild Wolf.

The convention actively recruits new staffers through open face-to-face meetings and on-line chats. A more comprehensive listing of Megaplex staff and their roles is visible on the convention's website.

Former staff members include Antimon, Arix, Brace Bear, Brent "Acidwolf" Scott, Carl Fox, Chilly Mouse, Eagle Beagle, Ford Shepherd, Hino Pup, Josh "Jaded Fox" Strom, Sasta, Liesl, Mike Russell, Patrick "Mach" Dowden, Ronin Otter, RisuKun, Scott Whitmore, Scott Garron, Tappycat, Terry "Mouse" Sender and Vector.

Innovative Ideas

Despite its small size, Megaplex has successfully tried many creative and innovative ideas. Some of these include:

  • The giveaway of custom beverage mugs to all full memberships and not just higher paying memberships (as long as supplies last). This has been one of the most popular attributes of Megaplex membership and due to the artwork on them, the mugs have become quite collectible.
  • The inception of a very high dollar membership level above supersponsors called the "Megasponsor." Megasponsors were given all the perks of a Supersponsor level, and also received special gifts such as engraved pocketwatches. Megasponsors are credited for funding some of the convention's signature events such as the concerts by Toxic Audio and 4:2:Five.
  • Introducing new game show concepts such as "Fursuit Deal or Big Deal." Traditionally hosted by 2 the Ranting Gryphon, this game allows contestants to be selected from the audience to play and go to the final round. The final round mirrors "Deal or No Deal," but instead of having models, the cases are opened by fursuiters.
  • First done in 2005, the convention's main events have been streamed live online.
  • Sponsor Lounge. Instead of having a con suite that is open to all attendees, Megaplex offers a well stocked lounge open only to Sponsors and above. The quality of the sponsor lounge has been considered a significant enough perk that many attendees upgrade to the sponsor level just for access to the lounge{fact}. Beginning in 2009, the Sponsor Lounge has provided snow cones to all attendees on Sunday afternoon as a way of saying thanks to the general attendance base.
  • Beginning in 2010, the convention offered registration badge number 1 for the 2011 convention in the charity auction. While this badge number is usually reserved for convention chairman, Megaplex opted to let an attendee bid for it in the charity auction. The auctioning of badge number 1 raised over $300 for charity in 2010.
  • In 2011, hall prizes called "Achievements" (corresponding with the video game theme of that year) were given out to attendees who accomplished them. Each achievement was kept secret, remaining unrevealed until it was awarded.
  • Megaplex is currently the only known furry convention that keeps all of its con books, artwork, badge imagery, and photo/video archives on-line and available for all individuals to view on its web site.

References

  1. About Megaplex (22 September 2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Some Candid Comments on Megaplex, from the Chair - Carl Fox,   megaplex (24 December 2006)
  3. Goodbye, 2007...Hello, 2008! - Carl Fox,   megaplex (7 March 2007)
  4. FUR: New Convention - fur.conventions (6 January 2002; archived)
  5. Megaplex 2008 policy document - Dealer Room
  6. Pawpet Live Experiences - Florida Department of State

External links


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