C R E A T O R C A M P . O R G
Behind the scenes at the ﬁrst ever CreatorCamp (#CCyow2010).
Tips for organizing a CreatorCamp event in your community.
Camps for creators Organizing principle Afterglow Creative Collisions CreatorCamp Toolkit Teamwork
CreatorCamp grew out A breakout box for Bob’s thoughts on CreatorCamp delivers a A summary of tools and Mark shares his
of a September 13, 2010 CreatorCamp’s one CreatorCamp and the veritable collection of tactics to help you thoughts on how two
blog post by Bob organizing principle main ﬂow from idea to creative reminders and organize and promote a people who are creative,
Goyetche. In the post, and ﬁve simple rules. reality... snarky tweet, collisions for Andrea. CreatorCamp in your passionate and
Bob states his case to Page 2 expanded thought, Page 5 community. committed to process as
create an event about Keys to Success name and date to make Page 6 much as product can
creating something. A list of contributing it happen. have fun achieving
Page 2 factors to the success of Page 4 almost anything
Page 3 Page 6
November 14, 2010
months earlier). The launch of the wiki was kind of By Tuesday evening we had settled on a venue
Zero to haphazard — the way most wikis are launched, I (with the help of W. Thomas Leroux) and decided to
suspect. In the ﬁrst 24 hours we wrote blurbs about delay the announcement until we had conﬁrmation.
CreatorCamp in the event, reﬁned and reformatted content, and set I wrote up a blog post announcing the full details
three weeks up templates for registrants and sessions. There was
a concern about spambots and the like so we made
and left it in draft.
it a requirement that people Sue’s contributions didn’t stop there. She connected
The Tweet announcing
request membership to the us with one of her media arts students (Carolyn
wiki in order to be able to Lundy) who created a logo for the event. We
went live at 8:59pmET,
edit the page. Bob and I suggested a tweak that allowed identiﬁcation of
November 14. It
borrowed some ideas from city-speciﬁc landmarks so each event could have its
implicated Mark Blevis,
the PodCamp wiki model, own customization. For Ottawa, Carolyn put the
Bob Goyetche and CC
making a master page of Peace Tower inside the light bulb of the logo.
Chapman, and set the
information and event
wheels in motion for the @markblevis announces #CCyow2010 T-minus 22 days and counting
listings, with subordinate
ﬁrst ever CreatorCamp.
pages for each event. We Interest in CreatorCamp was on the rise. We were
also transplanted their receiving emails and noticed blog posts and
Replies and offers of help came in right away. Sue high-level rules with very few modiﬁcations. Thank podcasts were appearing online. At the same time,
Murphy volunteered to ﬁnd a venue. We set some you! Bob was planning an event in Montreal, Daryl
parameters including keeping the event small (100 Cognito expressed his interest in organizing
Meanwhile, Sue Murphy was chasing down
people max) and having the ﬂexibility to hold two CreatorCamp Calgary, and Bob and I spoke with
concurrent sessions. Sue offered to make some calls. possible venues. We kicked around a few possible co-organizers for a CreatorCamp in the US.
possibilities. It turns out some options were already
We stayed in contact through email and SMS. Carolyn swung into action, customizing logos for
booked. For some others, Sue’s calls weren’t
Montreal (Olympic Stadium), Calgary (Calgary
T-minus 23 days and counting returned as quickly as we were hoping. That’s not to
Tower) and even a logo in anticipation of a
say the venues weren’t interested or available, but
CreatorCamp Toronto (CN Tower).
Bob set up a Wiki to which I forwarded that we had a short time during which we could
CreatorCamp.org (we registered the domain two actually make our decision. (...continued on page 3...)
C R E A T O R C A M P . O R G
Bob Goyetche (photo by Cat) Mark Blevis (photo by Nico) CC Chapman (photo by CC Chapman)
Are these topics bad? Of course not. I just honestly but direct messages and my inbox told me I may
We need camps for have no desire to spend any time on them. I don’t have hit on something, or at least I’m not alone in
creators believe that you need to be versed in ANY of these
topics to be a media creator. You DO, however, need
feeling the way I do.
to be AMAZING at several of these if you want to So a half joking tweet gets traction. Where can we
The idea of CreatorCamp was born out of a September 13,
build a business. go with this? Is there somewhere to go? Are there
2010 blog post by Bob Goyetche. The post titled We need
bears there? Won’t someone think about the
camps for creators reads as follows...
I don’t want to build a business from this. children?
I missed Podcamp Montreal.
Now I have several friends who either make a living Valerie mentioned that PAB is kinda like a creator’s
Actually, let me rephrase that, I missed seeing my or tell people they do with the topics above, and camp, but PAB is more about ideas and thoughts
friends at Podcamp Montreal. I didn’t miss more power to them. I also know a few oncologists, than creation. I think there may be room for an
Podcamp. After the 8 or so I’ve been to, I don’t think but have no desire to know more about how they event where discussing the creation of media (not
I’ll actually ever miss a Podcamp. earn their living. the selling, recognition or monetizing) is the goal. I
imagine an event where you could learn the basics
It’s a wonderful event, don’t get me wrong, but it’s I just want to be super-clear, I think Podcamp is of audio/video/knitting /photography/
not for me anymore. GREAT (I do!), but it has evolved away from my woodworking /sculpture/graphics/ etc.. What a
interests, despite the fact I’m thankful it’s there so I treat that would be. Now to be honest, I have no
Because it’s no longer about Podcasting? – there’s can see my friends. desire to start sculpting, but I’m convinced I would
more to it than that. ﬁnd a session on sculpting more interesting than
So this Sunday, just to stir things up (cause I tend to
analyzing web page trafﬁc. That’s how I roll.
I’m not bothered that there isn’t much podcasting do that), I tweeted “What if we leave PodCamp to
talk at podcamps. Podcamp has evolved as an marketers, and start #creatorcamp .. #justsaying” . The nice thing about doing this in a camp-ish way
event. This evolution has taken it towards other would be that it would only need 1 organizing
topics like social media. At one point, I thought The reaction was surprising. I fully expected
principle. Something like :
imposing podcasting-type topics might be a way to nothing to come of it, like many of my tweets (!),
keep it on track. I now think that’s a futile Your session MUST be about creating something.*
position. Podcamp is has become a recognized
social media event, and is the place to be if you
want to learn/connect with these topics.
Organizing principle * and by CREATING, we don’t mean revenue, audience,
market share, connections, twitter-followers.
We have one organizing principle... sessions
The thing is, the direction these topics have gone, At bitnorth this year, I gave a quick talk about
MUST be about creating something (and by
there just happens to be a great percentage of organizing conferences, and some of the lessons
CREATING, we don’t mean revenue, audience,
sessions on things that don’t interest me. (and I’m I’ve learned from co-organizing PAB (and several
market share, connections, Twitter-followers).
not pretending to speak for anyone else here).. podcamps!!) and as I was reviewing my notes, the
Otherwise, the rules are pretty much the same as one piece of advice that really stood out was :
Looking over the last few podcamps, here are any other "camp" event.
some session topics I never need to see again : “Create an event YOU would like to attend.”
1. Create an event YOU would like to attend
Search Engine Optimization I’d love to attend an event dealing speciﬁcally with
2. All attendees must be treated equally and be creation, would you?
Marketing allowed to participate (subject to limitations of
Press Releases 3. All content created must be released under a
Starting the campﬁre
Creative Commons license There was immediate and widespread interest in
4. All sessions must obey the Law of 2 Feet (if Bob’s post. Lots of people seemed committed to the
Public Relations idea yet none acted on it.
you're not getting what you want out of the
facebook session, you can and should quietly walk out
It was during a Skype conversation between Bob,
and do something else)
twitter Mark and C.C. that the decision was made to
5. The ﬁnancials of a CreatorCamp must be fully organize the ﬁrst CreatorCamp in Ottawa when CC
social freaking media
disclosed in an open ledger, except for any would be in town to kick off the tour for his newly
etc… etc.. donor/sponsor who wishes to remain co-authored book, Content Rules, at SMB Ottawa.
C R E A T O R C A M P . O R G
How we did it (...continued from page 1...) We estimate about 40 of the 65 registrants participated in Creator Camp Ottawa.
The vibe was great. The presenters shared experiences and suggestions;
T-minus 21 days and counting participants seemed engaged. I furiously took notes.
Sue conﬁrmed the venue late afternoon on Nov 17. Almost exactly three weeks The presenters were fascinating. Amazingly, each session reinforced a common
to the minute before CreatorCamp Ottawa would begin, we went live with the idea to start your project.
venue information and fully promoted registration for the event. Less than 72
hours had passed since the event had been conceived. Here’s the list with their topics/titles and my personal standout takeaway from
We chose Wiki technology because of the speed at which we could establish the
CreatorCamp website and the ability to allow others to contribute. The premise Louise Legault-Hatem: inner creative genius in impromptu situations
is anyone can edit the page to add themselves to the list of registrants and (success comes from trusting your instincts and abilities)
submit their name as a possible speaker. It’s that conceptual simplicity that Tom Hofstatter: “Run with scissors”… focusing creativity by imposing
makes Wikis so popular for organizing “camp” type events. boundaries – and removing distraction (committing to the idea is the hard
part, accidental and self-imposed limitations contribute to the creative
Alas, Wikis can be daunting for people who are unfamiliar with the technology.
Most people have no problems navigating a Wiki but don’t have the know-how
or interest in ﬁguring out how to edit an embedded page. It was a growing Alison Gresik: 4 things you need to know to write a book — or ﬁnish any big
concern that the technology was getting in the way of people registering for project — next year (ﬁnd the big yes and act on it)
CreatorCamp — and it had only been about 12 hours since the Wiki was Sue Murphy: The role of hiatus in the creative process (sometimes you need
ofﬁcially launched. So I interrupted Bob on Gchat to suggest we move to give up something you love to renew your passion for it)
registration over to Eventbrite, a service designed speciﬁcally for managing Christopher Grifﬁn: Accidental inspiration and creativity (get rid of the
event registrations and free for events that don’t use the built-in registration fee preciousness of the materials/project)
CC Chapman: Photography as a creative activity (take and share pictures of
me: Just want to get your take on me creating an Eventbrite for CCyow2010 anything/everything every day)
to make for easier registration for the non-social media community.
The venue was fantastic; the environment naturally created a “theatre in the
Bob: yes- seems like a good idea-, then we can lock down the wiki – round” which the speakers used very well.
I actually dreamed the wiki got spammed last night
If I could change one thing, it would be the music. Being a popular pub, Patty
We techie folks have weird dreams. In our defence, Wikis are often the target of Boland’s played music through the house speakers which are wired in such a
spammers. This has led many Wiki owners to implement some cursory security way that turning off the music on the second ﬂoor (where Creator Camp was
controls. A side effect of those controls is a layer of complexity making it less held) kills the music on the main ﬂoor as well. While the staff did turn the music
intuitive for participants of the site. down for us, it was a bit of a challenge to speak over it. The presenters must
have been exhausted afterward. To their credit, they were so engaging, it was
I created an Eventbrite event for CreatorCamp Ottawa and manually re- easy (for me) to tune the music out.
registered everyone from the Wiki to Eventbrite. We decided to maintain a
parallel registration list on the Wiki as well since it allows people to add All that and we raised $340 for the Ottawa Food Bank!
biographical information; something some registrants had already done though
not something we speciﬁcally promoted. Given that few made that effort, my
guess is the extra steps in the process are discouragingly complex. Besides, the
audience is creative folks, not social media creative folks which means they may
Keys to success...
not be as familiar with the technology as geeks like us.
two heads are better than one
Bob did some coding to make sure the list of Eventbrite registrants was kept
keep the event small (100 people) and ﬂexible (the option to have two
current on the Wiki.
concurrent streams - though #CCyow2010 was single stream)
T-minus 5 days to go
promote the event even with basic decisions in place
The rest of the planning revolved around promotion of the event. Besides
have a central website for information and registration
blogging and Tweeting about #CCyow2010, we promoted the event through
word of mouth. A couple of reminder emails were circulated to registrants. don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help (venue, promotion...)
Those emails included a nudge to bring $10 to donate to the Ottawa Food Bank.
We settled on ﬁnancial donations rather than canned goods so it wouldn’t be make registration as easy as possible
necessary for us to haul away a small mountain of heavy containers.
promote the event at other events (if possible)
I made arrangements for a representative of the Ottawa Food Bank to attend the
arrange to kill the music or hold the event where music won’t be an issue
beginning of Creator Camp to collect and carry the money away, rather than
having to take the collection and deliver potentially hundreds of dollars during make giving to the local community a part of the event
working hours. By the way, I made the the initial request for a representative on
Friday, three business days before Creator Camp. While the Food Bank was able have a representative of the selected charity present to collect the
to accommodate us, they apparently request 7 days notice. donations (one less thing to worry about; money’s easier to carry than
encourage participants to run their own Creator Camp events
There were 25 new registrations on the day of the event. That was attributed to
an announcement I made at Social Media Breakfast Ottawa following CC’s trust the event to turn out just as it was meant to
C R E A T O R C A M P . O R G
Christopher Grifﬁn presents at #CCyow2010 (photo by Alexa Clark)
Bob’s post-CCyow2010 blog post which includes his thesis on the ﬂow of idea to reality...
1. Snarky Tweet --> 2. Expanded Thought --> 3. Name and a date to make it happen
That project ﬂow won’t make it onto the bestseller lists, but the event on had a name and now a date. Those 2 things made all the other things
December 8th proves it’s a valid process none the less. If I break this down, happen.
here’s what I see :
The effect of a set date can not be underestimated. If you say let’s do this
1. Snarky Tweet – “What if we leave PodCamp to marketers, and start soon – there is no commitment, because soon is relative, and very ﬂexible.
#creatorcamp ..” December 8th 2010 though, is pretty hard to change, so all other decisions
were made in function of that.
I’m all for agreeing with people, but if you do see something you don’t like –
say it! There are plenty of people who just wait for “thought leaders” to say In fact, if you’re thinking of planning an event, pick a name and date would
something so that they can agree. I’ve been called a thought leader by some to me be the two most important things. Seems obvious, but it’s so powerful.
in this space, and I’ll let you in on a secret, a thought leader isn’t necessarily
who thought it ﬁrst, but who said it ﬁrst. So express your thoughts, “Well Other thoughts
said Chris” doesn’t do anything.
Let it happen - CreatorCamp Ottawa was a great event, and throughout
So the snarky tweet born out of a feeling that an event no longer spoke to me the evening I couldn’t help but feel that the way the event was going was
gets many replies, retweets, and generates MANY private messages to me exactly how it should happen. It could have been completely different
that tell me I’ve hit upon something, and now would be a good time to and still that would have been perfectly how it should be.
expand on that.
In the round – the layout of the tavern where we held CreatorCamp
2. Expanded thought – in other words, back it up! meant that there were seats all around the person speaking. This was just
great – not only did it force the person speaking to move around and
It’s so easy to be that person that just bitches about stuff. We know them, interact, it also fostered interaction between the audience, as they were
sometimes we ARE them. Bitching on its own will do very little to address facing each other, not just forward to a speaker.
the issue or enhance your image. Think of some of the “social media
experts” you know – I’m sure you already have a name in mind – all they do Keep it small – One of the things we noticed when organizing the PAB
is bitch and never offer more. Whether it’s because they won’t or can’t is up conference is that 80 people interact much more easily than 120.
for debate. CreatorCamp Ottawa had around 45 people, and the interaction level was
quite high. It’s not up to me, but I suggest capping the event at 50,
So propose a solution to what you’re bitching about. I used a blog post to otherwise people will naturally break into groups, and someone will be
make my thoughts known. Here’s the cool part, you don’t have to follow up left out. A small number keeps everyone engaged.
on it or make it happen. It doesn’t have to be right or the “ﬁnal answer” or
anything. Your proposed solution at best will move the debate forward, and Overall, I couldn’t be more thrilled at how CreatorCamp is evolving, and
at worst at least show you’ve thought about it somewhat. with the success the ﬁrst event. 2011 brings CreatorCamp to Calgary,
Montreal, Boston … and based on conversations maybe Chicago and
3. Make it happen Windsor.. I’d love to see your city on this list. All you really need to have a
CreatorCamp is someone willing to talk their creative process, and someone
This was the surprising part to me. This step wasn’t my idea. The willing to listen. Email me with any questions, I’d love to help you make it
CreatorCamp idea was just sitting there, and I didn’t have the cycles/ happen.
motivation/time/whatever to push it from idea to event. Then, something
interesting happened. It looked like CC Chapman, Mark Blevis and I would So all this happens because of a snarky tweet. I can’t say I never got
be getting together for a few beers on Ottawa. Mark saw the opportunity and anything of value from twitter anymore. crap.
suggested we do CreatorCamp then. That was the magic moment. The event
C R E A T O R C A M P . O R G
We have one organizing principle... sessions MUST be about creating
something (and by CREATING, we don’t mean revenue, audience, market
share, connections, Twitter-followers).
Susan Larrivee and Andrea Ross at #CCyow2010 (photo by Mark Blevis)
And, most of all, I was captivated by the collision of my various lives:
Creative Collisions Bob, Julien, Bob and Sue, podcasting friends
This recap post was published by Andrea Ross following #CCyow2010
Alexa, who I met in grade 8
Tonight was the ﬁrst ever Creator Camp. Louise and Tom, who are currently my coworkers
Candice, who I met through a anti-cancer food for web services barter
I was thrilled to take a dip in creativity soup with quilters, painters, writers,
musicians, speakers, photographers, storytellers, bakers. And more. My long lost cousin, Susan.
I was grateful for reminders: A truly amusing sliced life stew.
to recognize gruelling social situations as creative challenges Huge thanks to Louise, Tom, Alison, Sue, Christopher and CC for the thought-
provoking presentations and to everyone who made time on a cold midweek
to start small and draw on what we know
evening to share an evening of inspiration.
to notice our creative sweet spots — an empty canvas can be much more
inhibiting than a tiny space, a speciﬁc problem or a single missing harmony
to appreciate our creativity in its overlooked forms and sizes
that creative goals require decision, commitment, scheduling and enjoyment Will you be next?
to keep expectations low
to recognize creative drought as a valuable time of regeneration and renewal
to be present
to take ourselves less seriously
C R E A T O R C A M P . O R G
The tools we used and how we used them to plan, promote and host #CCyow2010
PBWorks.com Eventbrite.com Twitter.com Facebook.com Blogs
The CreatorCamp.org Wiki Because of its purpose-built It’s hard to beat the efﬁciency We decided against creating We used our personal blogs
was the central hub of all and user-friendly interface, and reach of Twitter for a Facebook group or fan to provide information on the
information, coordination, Eventbrite is the logical disseminating information and page for CreatorCamp. event and to share details on
registration and curation of choice to manage the promoting events. In the case Rather than create too many our planning process to help
CreatorCamp activity. registration process and send of CreatorCamp, Bob ﬁrst outposts which would require others who may be
However, as accessible as email updates and reminders planted the seed for and we regular care and feeding, we considering organizing their
they are, participating in a to registrants. It’s free for announced #CCyow2010 on focused our efforts and own CreatorCamp events.
Wiki presents a technological events that don’t use its Twitter. It became an distributed speciﬁc functions
challenge for most people. payment processing important tool for posting across the Wiki, Eventbrite We believe CreatorCamp will
capabilities - particularly updates and encourage and Twitter. have a huge impact and
So, PBworks is the home for appropriate for CreatorCamp. registration. doesn’t need to be
CreatorCamp, its events and This meant we had to Personal Facebook accounts complicated or
for maintaining and manage a fundraising Twitter was also part of the were used to promote the unmanageable. CCyow2010
publicizing relevant collection for the Ottawa event (people tweeted what event and post updates about came together in 3 weeks
information. Event planners Food Bank at the event. We was going on) and we used it the schedule and speaking with just hours of planning.
will have take on the didn’t use Eventbrite to to announce the event raised program. You can do it, too!
responsibility of establishing check-in participants when $340 for the Ottawa Food
and maintaining event- they arrived. On reﬂection, it Bank.
speciﬁc pages within would have been nice to
CreatorCamp.org know who actually attended.
A word from Mark on great teamwork Organizers and contributors
Bob and I are known as the co-organizers of Bob Goyetche @bobgoyetche, bobgoyetche.com
PAB, a conference about digital content
creation and audience engagement. It’s a Mark Blevis @markblevis, markblevis.com
formal conference with a passionate and
CC Chapman @cc_chapman, cc-chapman.com
committed community. It takes months to
organize this annual three-day event packed Sue Murphy @suzemuse, suzemuse.com
with speaking sessions, social activities and
good food. We’ve also organized PodCamp Carolyn Lundy @carolynlundy
Ottawa in what we believe to be the
W. Thomas Leroux @wtl, leroux.ca
simplest and most pure way to organize
Mark and Bob (photo by John Meadows)
that event — we found a venue, set up a Andrea Ross @justonemorebook, wecanrebuildher.com
Wiki to co-ordinate the event and registration, and announced it no sooner than three weeks
before the event in an effort to keep it small and engaging.
We’re are a great team. We’re passionate and committed as much to the process as to the
product, and not so ego-centric as to put our own interests ahead of the other or the event.
While we agree on an unhealthy number of decisions and ideas, neither of us is blindly
compliant. We routinely question each other and challenge our ideas as an exercise to ensure
nothing needs to be defended to our community. There is the odd time we agree on a
compromise or allow the more passionate of the two of us to run with an idea the other isn’t
particularly married to nor concerned about. This dynamic has always made for great events,
positive community reception and an incredible friendship.
This CreatorCamp.org document, prepared by Mark Blevis, Bob Goyetche and
I believe the best events happen because of a co-ordinating partnership, not a single person or Andrea Ross, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.