Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Technical Difficulties

So, update to the few of you who read our blog. The facebook page, where the majority of our followers reside has single-handedly disappeared overnight. We recieved no notice, no reason, and not trace. "S.P.A. (Steampunk Awareness) won't appear in search either, the only thing that shows is the old S.P.A group, which hasn't been seen since it was most recently upgraded to a page. As far as we can tell, S.P.A has become a victim to a facebook page phenomenon we shall call the "Inexplicable-Disappearing-Facebook-Page-Phenomenon."

What's worse is that FB doesn't even have a help desk, so we're struggling to get any support at all! Regardless, we're doing the best that we can to get our page back, so please stay tuned. We are not giving up two years of work without a fight! So, please, support us if you can and demand that facebook bring back our page! We'll keep you updated here and through Airship Constantine (Twitter and FB) We're fighting for our right to exist, so wish us the best and we'll keep you posted!

Thanks for your support from all of us at S.P.A working to bring you a better steampunk tomorrow, signing off for now!

Vivienne Eeva Valentina
Airship Constantine

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Creating a Steampunk Airship/Group

So where in the world have you been? So, turns out Airship Constantine and (S.P.A) Steampunk Awareness is getting bigger and better by the moment. Steampunk Awareness is working now  more than ever on our website with web planning, building, and gathering  of article contributors. And Airship Constantine? We have now moved up to panel hosting, in several steampunk-themed panels with the Celestial Rogues and Airship Isabella including topics such as Alchemy, Character Development, and the infamous Airship Captain panel...? Yes! Not to mention, the preparation for Clockwork con has become a major work-in-project. Indeed, it has made my own to-do list build up. So, that begs the question, where do you start with an airship? Landship? Or steampunk group? And how best to form a crew?

When I first started Constantine, it was a vision of inclusion, which included working for a better steampunk tomorrow for all audiences, not just our group. Formed initially out of Alistair Elijah De La Barge, engineer, and Sir Edward Michael Ellington, tactical officer, we were set to the task to develop an airship, its history, and it's mission. One must first start with a goal, an objective, and then a plan to develop from there. The mission, the idealism is the beginning of technical development. We developed our ship, or at least, the outline of it, against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic future. The words flowed easily as I wrote the story, my own rebellious tendancies revealed themselves. It became a vision of a realistic future that reflected my own anarchistic thought.

The next step seemed to be to figure out our crew. No doubt that, Airship Isabella's Captain Whittaker had a tremendous influence on our formation when we were deciding roles. Joining SCARS, we decided each member's role would have to function in some real life crew duties similar to their crew role and would be required to actually understand and be able to enact the mechanics of their position for their LARPing characters. This meant that we could not preach about aether, alchemy, and airship structure without knowing when, where, and how it would be used.

Captain: Vivienne Eeva Valentina-->Activities coordinator, propoganda, planning, and ultimate decision maker
Engineer: Alistair Elijah de La Barge--->technology fanatic, robot engineer, second-choice major
Surgeon/Minister: Renaldo Chimalli Panalucia-->nursing student, aspires to retire to be a minister in the Methodist Church
Carpenter/Ambassador: Callista Rose Valentina-->well-established theatre tech, tremendously memorable that led us to more than one friend

The heirarchy was, then, not just fictional, but, also, as a real life role to make our ship function on a daily basis. You'll see similar rankings in the crew of the Isabella, who maintain a systematic structure everywhere they go. Respect, loyalty, and for the good of the whole group are primary codes that each crew must learn to follow.

This brings us to the next realm of airship development: the characters, their stories, personalities, and how one was to create the fictional realm of Constantine. We realized that after working our outline, it was easier to mold out our characters and how they would function through a given circumstance. Particularly having a mission in mind, has allowed us to LARP our character's knowing what our group is expected to do. This is seperate from the group's mission statement, but instead, our conceptual world's objective. A rebel ship fighting against the corrupt governments that were establishing itself against the will of the masses, who were becoming the victims of power's violent and discriminatory might. Each crew member was assigned to create their own history and their own country. The story may never be fully developed, because often, worlds have whole subaltern tales untold, so additions will continue to immerse. One such example was the addition of alchemy and a religious underground, which changed the realm of Constantine's world forever. With each new member, we can add something new to these stories, our world, and our home, it's story, and the life we'd come to know.

Now, to the technical details. One thing that Captain Whittaker will always stress is communication and the inevitable dawning of drama. We have just implemented biweekly meetings. What with work, school, and various other activities, it has become difficult to accomodate everyone's schedule, but with these meetings the hope is that at least one in 10 can attend every once in awhile. These meetings are vital to address any issues, future events, financial matters, membership, and furthering group development. There must be a time set aside for that, because information is everything with a travelling and constantly moving group. Fun events, online groups, and other such interactions are other ways to meet and is especially important in making each crew member feel essential to the group's progress, regardless of their role. Most importantly, remembering people's everyday lives is vital to their enjoyment of their extra-curricular activities. Supporting each other through every faction of life builds bonds, stronger group relations, and experiences. It emulates the airship experience, making a far more valuable project become an experience of a lifetime. Even though the world you created is fictional, through time and work, this crew can become your second home, family, and lifetime friends if you take care of them.

CONS. What do we do with our lives? We travel! Constantly, on the run: planning is crucial. Event invitations flood in daily, and while we don't have the capacity to make it to all events, you must learn to navigate the realm of migration with a group.  This is where the captain can be tested to her limits with travel arrangement, food, transportation, DRAMA, panel planning, must be resilient in making it to an event at all (I don't know how the isabella and Rogues do it)! So, be prepared. Cons present a great opportunity to network, bond, and learn more about steampunk events, but excursions are not to be taken lightly. Stay in the loop (I recommend Twitter, local steampunk groups, or because the world of steampunk exploration is extensive and full of opportunity, you just have to make it there.

Steampunk is a subculture, a world to wander through and create. We have created a world, its leaders, characters, and real life agenda. Where do we want to go next? For further work, questions, and development, shoot me a message on FB. This was more of an informative article then the awe-inspiring pieces I've written before, but one that i felt needed to be written anyway. I hope that it can function as a guide or as a good model for other airships or steampunk groups as they work to make their appearance or at least give a visual to the "work to play" philosophy that we live by.  While the work is extensive, the rewards can become extraordinary. Hope to see you hear next week, because I'm back to work on more exciting topic posts next week!

-Vivienne Eeva Valentina
 Airship Constantine