Ask an Enforcer! (PAX Volunteer)

SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
edited October 2012 in PAX Australia
With PAX Aus being a whole new event, it's likely going to need a massive influx of new and amazing volunteers whom are called Enforcers.

PAX has been around since 2004 and some of the people who volunteer have been around just as long and some of them even frequent our forums.

I'm sure many people who are interested in volunteering for PAX have lots of questions about what kinds of jobs there are, what the hours are like, or what being part of that community is like.

Keep in mind they may not be able to answer all of your questions, or give you advanced information that's not yet for public consumption.

"we're just doing what smalllady told us to do" - @Heels
SmallLady on
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Posts

  • UNHMANUNHMAN Registered User regular
    More questions the better. Ask away.......though I agree with SmallLady we might not be able to answer everything. But, we will what we can. Here to help.

  • HearthjawHearthjaw Registered User regular
    Thanks guys I've got a few questions..
    What sort of pre-Pax prep is there prior to the event? I'd like to do it but getting time off for both PAX and any prep would be difficult if it isn't in Sydney.
    What sort of jobs do enforcers actually do? My impression from other PAX's was queue herding, ticket validation type and just wandering around being helpful. I imagine they also liase with security at the site as well help coord first aid?
    And of course there must be a lot of work with setting up and packing up.

    steamid: sewersider
  • whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    DISCLAIMER: These all based off of how East and Prime run, Aus could be handled differently

    Setup: Wednesday and Thursday setup is not mandatory, but highly encouraged. Your only requirements for Enforcing are working your assigned shifts, which is typically the same 6 hour shift on Fri/Sat/Sun. As far as setup goes, Enforcers are involved with setting up freeplay areas, doing line prep work, assisting exhibitors in the expo hall, checking in other Enforcers, some A/V work (although that's mainly handled by the venue staff). The bulk of the efforts go into setting up the PC/Console/Tabletop freeplay rooms. And yes, there is a lot of setup/teardown involved in a PAX.

    Jobs: Here are the departments that you can try to get yourself assigned to (again, read disclaimer, my comments after the dash):

    Registration (pass pick up, media check-in, etc.)
    Line Management - Self Explanatory
    Line Entertainment - Also self-explanatory
    Console Freeplay - Handle checking in/out of games/controllers to people
    Classic Console Freeplay - Pretty much the same thing
    Console Tournament - Handle tourney sign-ups and make sure players/teams are where they should be
    PC Security - Make sure none of the computers develop legs and walk out of the room when they shouldn't
    PC (Freeplay, Tournament & Spareboard) - See console, except you have to deal with computer availability
    BYOC - Check in other people's computers, participate in mini-tournaments and games with BYOC attendees, make sure they're stuff stays there
    Tabletop - See console
    Main Theatre - Line management and some backstage work
    Satellite Theatres - A combination of LM and logistical work for panel rooms that aren't the Main Theater
    Exhibition Hall - Help out exhibitors, mainly with LM
    Handheld Lounges - Another freeplay area, where people conveniently bring their own consoles
    Enforcer Welfare - Help make sure other Enforcers stay on their feet the whole weekend by keeping them properly fed/hydrated/rested
    Special Rooms - Areas that doesn't fall into any of the above
    Spareboard (extra staff, you might end up doing anything)
    Info Booth - They've got questions, you've got answers (this is also where I've worked the past two PAX)

    There are other roles, but they are either invite only or require certain credentials. For example, we have a small security team that coordinates with venue security for any major issues, but they mainly come from law enforcement/security backgrounds and are hand-picked.

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
  • HearthjawHearthjaw Registered User regular
    Thanks for the comprehensive answer! I guess there isn't much else to say until we get more information.

    steamid: sewersider
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    In your opinion, for somebody who is going to PAX for the first time, would it be better to go as an attendee or try their luck as an enforcer?

    Flay on
  • WhacktoseWhacktose Registered User regular
    I have never attended PAX as an attendee, only as an enforcer since 2007. I really enjoy having a "task" at PAX. Working a 6 hour shift also leaves plenty of time (for me, at least) to explore the convention. Thus, I would encourage folks to just enforce and get the full experience that way.

  • CuZZaCuZZa Khoo's Epic Mount Perth, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    Flay wrote: »
    In your opinion, for somebody who is going to PAX for the first time, would it be better to go as an attendee or try their luck as an enforcer?

    I have done both, it is a great experience and fun either way. @Whacktose is right, as an Enforcer you are only expected to work your shift, otherwise you are an attendee and get to enjoy the show as such. As an attendee you get that extra time to do what you like and participate in more of the numerous community events, but even then these days we have Enforcers who lead double lives at PAX, involving themselves with the PAX Prank, Cookie Brigade, Tri-Wizard Drinking Tournament/Pokecrawl and smaller things like the /dance party. One even spent every night of PAX performing chiptunes at shows around Seattle. EVERY. NIGHT.

    So yeah, it is entirely up to you, either way you'll end up meeting a bunch of new people who make great friends, get to see a huge show and have a blast. But as an Enforcer, you get to make it happen too.

  • jaberwockynmtjaberwockynmt PAX Info Booth Manager Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    Flay wrote: »
    In your opinion, for somebody who is going to PAX for the first time, would it be better to go as an attendee or try their luck as an enforcer?
    I'm sure we're going to need lots of Aussie Enforcers, so if you're even kinda interested, you should apply. If you get accepted you'll get access to the Enforcer-only forum (on a different server than this forum), and be able to see how things look in the preparation. You can back out if it sounds like it won't be fun for you, but I expect you'll love it (most people that get accepted really love Enforcing).

    jaberwockynmt on
    --Jarrod "Jaberwocky" Lombardo, PAX Enforcer: Info Booth Manager.
    "We know that the moment we slip, it will be taken away... and so it is of the utmost importance to be worthy of it constantly."
    PAX will always be held on the best weekend for PAX. Sometimes that will be a bad weekend for you; I'm sorry.
  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    While I truly believe there is value to attending a PAX before you enforce, As Jarrod said we will need lots of Aussie Enforcers to make this happen. Enforcing is not for everyone, you will likely be doing a menial task, possibly spending large amounts of time just hanging around waiting for someone to need you. But it is an amazing community of people, and if having a small part helping put on an event others will love might make you happy, then its the thing for you.

    -Beker/Erick
    gQPRxvs.png
  • AmiguAmigu Registered User regular
    Being a broke ass uni student... does enforcing mean you get free access to PAX for the rest of the time?

    BitD PbP Character Volstrom
    QEz1Jw1.png
  • whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    When you're not on-shift, an Enforcer badge works exactly like a 3-day badge does. But please don't apply to be an Enforcer simply because it's free admission, do so because you want to help put on the best show possible for attendees.

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
    jaberwockynmtadias.angelpunzie
  • UNHMANUNHMAN Registered User regular
    I went to last East as my first ever PAX and knew I wanted to enforce. So, when the call for [E] came out I joined up. Thinking back on it, both attending and Enforcing in the same year showed me two very different perspectives on it. From a Attendee POV you see the "public face" of PAX. Seeing panels, exhibits, meeting people from everywhere is great. And I recommend it before joining the Enforcers so you can see how well it is put together. Now, as a Enforcer I saw a whole new world when it came to PAX. Meeting people on our forums and then meeting them in person was cool and made it a closer group since we had already talked. But, most of all was the work that goes on behind the scenes that really shows what PAX is really about and how much we care about the Attendees. From our little group meetings to line control to expo hall everything you do is to help others have a great time. While it is hard work it is also some of the best times of your life. And meeting friends that you can keep the rest of your life not just during PAX. So, if you like to have fun, meet new people and help others have a great time, join us when the call goes out next time.

  • -RiOT--RiOT- Registered User
    My first PAX was as an Enforcer. I am an Aussie and I flew in Seattle during a longer travelling adventure. I never once felt I was 'missing out' on PAX by working. My experience has been that I enjoy the work / community of Enforcers more than I do participating in the convention. I think I spend around two to three hours over the weekend actually being an attendee, the rest is spent doing what I enjoy: helping people. I have worked three PAXes, and enjoyed every moment.

    The PA staff are also very accommodating around scheduling. They usually have the line up of panels / events set before they call for shift requests, and they work hard to make sure if there is one shift you just can't work they will fit you in somewhere else. Don't feel like just because you're working the convention you wont see what you want to see.

    Note: As with any job, Enforcing is only as good as you make it. Sure you might be shifting chairs for a few hours one day, but if you can see the fun in anything, and take pride in your work you will find joy in it. It is very easy as an Enforcer to get lost in the crowd. Always ask questions, offer to help, be proactive and friendly. Unless you have a very specific job you'll be doing a whole heap of busy work. Take it in your stride. Remember you're a small cog, part of a bigger machine. You might not feel like it sometimes, but even the small cogs are important to the smooth operation of PAX.

  • zerochosenzerochosen WollongongRegistered User regular
    Here's a question, what is the age spread of Enforcers? I'd love to help out as an Enforcer but I'm in my mid 30s, and don't want to stand out like a creepy uncle...

    A webcomic by me: Enemy Agency
    http://www.enemy-agency.com
  • whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    Pretty sure we've got some in their 50s. Don't worry about sticking out for being in your 30s, there are *plenty* in that age bracket.

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
  • zerochosenzerochosen WollongongRegistered User regular
    Nice, as long as there's at least one person older that we can make fun of for being old, I'll be safe :P

    A webcomic by me: Enemy Agency
    http://www.enemy-agency.com
  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    edited October 2012
    zerochosen wrote: »
    Here's a question, what is the age spread of Enforcers? I'd love to help out as an Enforcer but I'm in my mid 30s, and don't want to stand out like a creepy uncle...

    I'm 37 and I know there are some older then I. I have to say the bulk of the crew is low to mid 20's though. They will make you feel old sometimes, dang kids. But, its nice sometimes to sit back when a physical task is offered and say "you take this one youngin".

    Beker on
    -Beker/Erick
    gQPRxvs.png
  • zerochosenzerochosen WollongongRegistered User regular
    Sweet, since I'm only 36 I get to be the young cool uncle. Congrats Beker, you get to shirk heavy lifting and complain about kids today and their "Rock and Roll" music.

    A webcomic by me: Enemy Agency
    http://www.enemy-agency.com
  • BerymBerym Registered User regular
    Soon as they open it up, I intend to sign up for Enforcer - I believe that a strong showing of Enforcers is vital to a good convention, and I want PAXAus to be the very best.

  • zerochosenzerochosen WollongongRegistered User regular
    Do wannabe Enforcers generally buy a pass and get reimbursed if they make the cut? I cna't find any info about Enforcing as yet, and want to lock in my presence...

    A webcomic by me: Enemy Agency
    http://www.enemy-agency.com
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    zerochosen wrote: »
    Do wannabe Enforcers generally buy a pass and get reimbursed if they make the cut? I cna't find any info about Enforcing as yet, and want to lock in my presence...

    yes, I believe that's how it works.

  • PsykarPsykar Programmer Melbourne, AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited October 2012
    zerzhul wrote: »
    zerochosen wrote: »
    Do wannabe Enforcers generally buy a pass and get reimbursed if they make the cut? I cna't find any info about Enforcing as yet, and want to lock in my presence...

    yes, I believe that's how it works.
    Aaah. I was wondering that myself. I just purchased a 3 day pass, and then second guessed myself about being an enforcer!

    Psykar on
  • SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
    If you become an enforcer, you can get your pass refunded.

    "we're just doing what smalllady told us to do" - @Heels
    Psykar
  • zerochosenzerochosen WollongongRegistered User regular
    Sweet, thanks for the answers... now I can buy early and not worry about missing out.

    A webcomic by me: Enemy Agency
    http://www.enemy-agency.com
    Psykar
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Yup, thanks for the answers everyone! I've just bought my badge and I'll be on the lookout for enforcer registration.

  • KwaizyKwaizy PAX AUS Enforcer Manager CanberraRegistered User regular
    I went to my first 2 PAX's as an attendee, then the next 2 as an Enforcer. Being an Enforcer is, for me FAR better. The group is like a huge Awesome, accepting and welcoming family! ^_^
    As said above, you still get plenty of time to see just about everything you want while you're off shift and you'll get to meet some of the best and nicest geeks and nerds the world has to offer!

    Say it with flowers, Send a Triffid.
    Sanity is a slippery slope, and I'm wearing Teflon shoes.
  • CamaranCamaran Catamaran MelbourneRegistered User regular
    I'm happy to apply to be an Enforcer. Already live locally ^_^ ahahaha

  • dr_nick22dr_nick22 Registered User
    How/when can we apply?

    Do any of the jobs require specific experience? Is previous expo volunteer experience neccessary, or are we likely to get a spot even if this is our first time?

    Thanks!

  • DanacyrusDanacyrus Gaming Coffee Making Musician BrisbaneRegistered User regular
    I'm assuming that similar to other conventions the majority of general placements simply require a good attitude and willingness to learn! Don't need a qualification to direct people around the place and what not. Look way up and they mention that only a few jobs require experience such as Security. :)

    If it's anything like the convention I helped to coordinate, many of our volunteers had no experience, but there was training time, where your role was explained and anything you needed to learn was taught (Usually pretty simple stuff!). As for actual likelihood to get a spot, I can't really say much on that XD

  • whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    Dana's pretty much right in regards to experience. As for how/when, "when" is probably a couple of months out (so buy passes NOW), and "how" will most likely be in the forum of a word .doc application (that I can't seem to find any previous years' available for reference).

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
  • BekerBeker Child's Play Program Director SeattleRegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff regular
    dr_nick22 wrote: »
    Is previous expo volunteer experience neccessary, or are we likely to get a spot even if this is our first time?

    Previous convention experience, retail experience, customer service, etc are indeed a plus. How likely you are to get in depends entirely on how many staff they need and how many applications there are. Not something we can know at this point.

    Take the application seriously like you would any job application for a role you really want is the best advice that I can give.

    -Beker/Erick
    gQPRxvs.png
  • MotordomMotordom PAX Aus [E] CanberraRegistered User new member
    I'd love to enforce, only problem is that I would be staying in a hotel (from Canberra) and therefor could only afford thurs-sun probably

  • whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    edited October 2012
    That should be fine. The minimum commitment for Enforcing has been 3 6-hour shifts during PAX days. Setup/teardown not required but encouraged. There's also the Enforcer afterparty Monday night.

    whypick1 on
    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
  • DanacyrusDanacyrus Gaming Coffee Making Musician BrisbaneRegistered User regular
    To those who aren't sure about volunteering because it's the first year, or first time attending the convention I can say a few words about that. The first time another Aussie gaming convention came about I volunteered, and the two years after was one of the events Co-coordinators. I did much longer shifts than the minimum at PAX (voluntarily) , and all I can say is that it was awesome. I found that I didn't really miss anything. I had time to game in the evening, and browse the exhibitors/vendors, see people I knew, and meet new people. It's an entirely different side of the show, and it's a great way to fill your time, and meet like minded people especially if you haven't been to a convention like this before.

    Actually I'd go to the extent of saying that if you're not going with friends, or are unsure of what it'll be like, it's a great way to familiarise yourself with the convention, and different aspects of attending. The first time my application was pretty sad. They said 'skills' and I sat there thinking... 'None?' But settled on 'Public Speaking, Leadership and Problem solving under pressure' (from previous job experience) and that led to a lot of opportunities for me.

    The best advice I'd give for first time volunteers is be open minded, and ready for anything! It's one hell of a ride, especially being the first year in Oz!

  • Utopia137Utopia137 Registered User regular
    Anyone know when Enforcer signup usually is?? Been volunteering for Cons for about 5 years now and definitely get in on this one.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Utopia137 wrote: »
    Anyone know when Enforcer signup usually is?? Been volunteering for Cons for about 5 years now and definitely get in on this one.
    whypick1 wrote: »
    "when" is probably a couple of months out (so buy passes NOW), and "how" will most likely be in the forum of a word .doc application (that I can't seem to find any previous years' available for reference).

  • LamentLament Registered User regular
    Never thought i'd get a chance i'd get a chance to take part in a PAX easily after moving to Australia recently! Will be keeping a close eye on more Enforcer info! Thanks for taking the time to answer questions already guys & gals!

  • DragonBearDragonBear Registered User regular
    Great bunch of answers here, thanks everyone. I'm coming in solo from Perth WA and already signed up for Bickie Brigade (Cookie Brigade to those north of the equator :-)) so Enforcer seems like the right answer for me. I'll keep a lookout for signup.

    Oh and zerochosen, I'm your weird great aunt (40+) so you totally get to do the heavy lifting around me you whipper-snapper you!

  • zerochosenzerochosen WollongongRegistered User regular
    I'm sure we will be the only weird and creepy people at PAX :P

    A webcomic by me: Enemy Agency
    http://www.enemy-agency.com
    DragonBear
  • DragonBearDragonBear Registered User regular
    zerochosen wrote: »
    I'm sure we will be the only weird and creepy people at PAX :P

    Isn't it always the way? :winky:

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