PFS came out of this idea that festivals have two things in abundance that make for poor learning situations:
- People often don't show up with an "intent to learn," and
- Even if you do, sometimes it's hard to get to workshops and take something valuable away from them
Sure, there are other things involved in festivals: the deep fellowship around the fire, the joy of experience, and the social aspects that they bring. "But," said we, "we have festivals for those things, and that will (we hope) never change."
So our focus really was on the notion that we could build something more like a SkillPath seminar (with full knowledge that sometimes, those things are a joke and a half). We made workbooks, provided the option for additional books, and recorded everything for a DVD of some of the key concepts. We thought that if people showed up, expecting to learn and with proper support material, we might really be able to "pack in" a whole lot more knowledge than anyone ever really gets exposed to at a normal festival.
We had about 21 or so people show up, not including the presenters and the support folk (who did an amazing job!), and from everything we've heard so far, we packed in the information and presented it well.
We're now finishing up the books (a couple can already be bought [1|2] on our website, and will be mailed out with the DVD to those who purchased it) and getting ready to start the editing process on the video. (I don't recommend buying the available ones right now, but wait a few until we get the rest of them edited: we might have bundles!)
I don't think that there will ever be a time (at least, not in the really near-term, foreseeable future) where PFS is charging the $299/person fee and selling $30 (each!) books to go with that SkillPath does, but it looks like we've got some real value here. I expect that we'll work to do the same cost next year, just getting smarter about what we do and reducing our costs where we can.
Next year's, assuming that the Grove decides we want to do this again, is scheduled to potentially be a two-day seminar on magic. We have a couple of authors that we'd like to invite (so, less us and more big-name-cool-folks). It should be pretty awesome.
I'm a bit exhausted today (okay, I'm really exhausted), but man, it was worth it. If nothing else, we had an excellent day, met a lot of awesome and new people, and hope to build those connections into something great and long-lasting. So, here's to next year :)