Dragon*Cons celebrity guests don’t always have time to sit down and eat in a restaurant or stand in line for a snack. Some would be unable to have a meal or even a cup of coffee without interruptions. For these guests, the Green Room provides a quiet place to have a meal or a snack. The Green Room Director, Edward DeGruy, talked with the Daily Dragon.
Daily Dragon (DD): What led you to start running the Green Room?
Edward DeGruy (ED): I have worked as the morning shift leader for about five years under Regina Kirby, who now runs Programming for Dragon*Con, and Michael Green. I also worked just generally in the Green Room for just over a decade. Just this last year I took over running the room.
DD: How far ahead of the convention do you start?
ED: All year long. I use coupons and sales to my best benefit. Some stuff will keep on the shelf for years and some things I can freeze for awhile. I am always in need of freezer and shelf space.
DD: What factors do you have to consider when planning for the event?
ED: We have themes each night each year. I plan food to fit the themes. This year, one night is Super Villain Mafia. So basically an Italian night. We decorate as well.
We host a Thursday evening party for Eternal members every year, and we have a special cake for that. Some of the guests who’ve arrived come to that, so it’s a chance for Eternal members to have some nice food and a bit of a “meet and greet.”
DD: What’s the most fun thing that’s ever happened?
ED: Owing to the fact that our room is a place for the guests to get away and relax away from the crowds we do not talk about a lot that goes on in the room. Guest Hospitality is the Secret Service of the convention world. Well, without all the prostitutes.
But we always have fun. Our best nights are when we see a guest leave with a smile on their face and a thanks saying now they are ready to tackle another day.
DD: Have you ever had to scramble to deal with an unexpected problem?
ED: Every year. From power outages to we forgot a food item to a guest having an allergy or food restriction. We are the Iron Chefs of the convention world as well.
DD: You’re also involved in OutlantaCon. Please tell our readers a bit about that.
ED: I run the Guests section of OutlantaCon. I arrange for the guests to get to the con and coordinate with our awesome Programming team headed by Alan Siler to make sure they are busy but have time to play as well.
It is a great convention based on Queer themes in the genres. Here in Atlanta the first weekend of May each year.
DD: What brings you back to this job year after year?
ED: A smile. Even if it were only one. Seeing a guest stumble in at breakfast looking all done in and getting their coffee, some food and brightening up as they go out the door.
Seeing a guest come in at night looking tired and worn out, looking like they want no more than to get a bite and go to bed. But then they see a fellow guest, have a drink and next you know we are closing at 1am and they are still chatting, looking very relaxed and refreshed.
DD: About how much food do you go through in one Dragon*Con?
ED: We have a guest list of 400 but not all make it up. Some of the more A level guests have meetings and a lot of panels and the like and do not have the time to visit.
I generally make enough for three quarters of our expected guests. Mostly it works out. Some years we have a little left over. Some years I am shopping on Sunday morning for more.
DD: What’s the biggest challenge in keeping the Green Room going?
ED: Staffing. I have a great staff. Some of them have been with us for a long time but we lose some each year. We have to have people on staff that can talk to the guests like regular people and not go “Squeee!!!! Oh my God, you are …..” Well, we still do that inside our heads sometimes.