Announcing the 2015 MaxFunCon Class Lineup

Classes! Crafts! Comedy! Clowning! Learn how to do something new, or hone your skills with one of this year's excellent sessions.

Mark your calendars - signups will be Tuesday, MAY 26 at 12 NOON PDT

How do class signups work?!
Our MaxFun classes are divided into two sessions: Session A (in the morning) and Session B (in the afternoon). On Tuesday, we will be emailing you two separate links to select a class for each session. You’ll click each link, pick the class you’d like to attend at the session that corresponds to the link, fill out your name, and that’s it! You can only sign up for one class per session, and please do not sign others up. Space in every class is limited, and always fills up quickly. Now, on to the list of classes!

SESSION A (Saturday 9 - 10:30 AM)

A Perfect Interview, Every Time with Jesse Thorn
Celebrity interviewer Jesse Thorn is known for always conducting perfect interviews. How does he do it? He'll tell you in this fascinating and stimulating talk. Soon, you'll have taken his job, and he'll be wearing a barrel held up with suspenders.

Writing Workshop with DC Pierson
DC Pierson, author of the novels The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To and Crap Kingdom and member of the comedy group DERRICK, will offer you writing feedback in a relaxed, fun, constructive environment. Students should bring in 8 copies of a piece of no more than 800 words (complete story, essay, sketch or short film script, or excerpt from a longer work-in-progress.)

Lake Walk
Stretch your legs! Get some fresh air! Take a stroll along the shores of the actual lake "Lake Arrowhead" is named for. This is a relatively un-strenuous walk but please note that there are stairs.

Live Nail Art with Jane Marie
If you ask Instagram and Pinterest, there is literally nothing happening these days other than nail art. Okay, and weddings and babies and contouring. Anyway! Come to this class and learn how to do a handful (get it?) of easy looks on your own nails at home without looking like you just got done finger painting. Nail polish will be provided if you'd like to play along.

Kickstarter for Funny People with Taylor Moore
In the vast universe that is creativity on Kickstarter, Comedy may well be the final frontier – the depths of which we've only just begun to explore. Join us for a conversation about new and different ways to make funny stuff with the crowd on your side. Stick around and we'll talk about your project, learn how to tell your story, create great rewards, and get the word out.

The Art of Profile Writing with Mary O'Hara
The interview is a cornerstone to all kinds of creative work, be it radio, documentary or non-fiction writing. Mary O'Hara (who is an award-winning social affairs journalist, columnist for The Guardian, and author of the book Austerity Bites) will host a guided workshop on conducting a great profile interview. Attendees will get the chance to pair up for a brief, candid interview and transform the answers into a killer opening couple of paragraphs. Leave caution at the door and come prepared to reveal what makes you worthy of that coveted front page.

Meet your next Seattle Councilman with John Roderick
Spend some time with longtime friend of MaxFun, John Roderick, who happens to be running for Seattle city council. He might talk about his platform, he might not, but you’ll (probably) hear what goes into running for public office. Start your own career in politics right here at MaxFunCon.

The Amazing Secret to Making A Fabulous Podcast with Colin Anderson
Maximumfun.org senior producer Colin Anderson covers the basics of making a perfect podcast. Colin produces MaxFun's International Waters, Bullseye and Pop Rocket, and spent years as a producer at the BBC. Come armed with questions and go home with answers.

Sew a Pudgy MaxFun Rocket Ornament with Xyloart
You know what's missing in your life? A pudgy rocket familiar to guide you and protect you from crows and short pants. Now you can make your own! No sewing experience is needed to construct this little felt friend, but we will be using sewing needles so please no babies! Unless they're cool babies who can handle it.

Potato Stamping with Jessica Charlton
Create bold and lovely art using the humblest of vegetables - the potato! Send letters from camp on unique stationery YOU design. Swap extra-special hand-stamped calling cards with your new MaxFunCon friends. Choose from stamps provided and carve personalized images of your own. The only limit is your imagination (and also maybe your knife skills)!

What Does This Button Do?: Photo 101 Crash Course with Ken Lecky
Got a DSLR that confounds you with its various thingamabobs and doodads? Love taking photographs but want to elevate your pics to the next level? Join one of our esteemed Official MaxFunCon Photographers for a crash course in camera and photography knowledge!

Group Therapy with Helen Zaltzman
Got a problem? Come and talk it out with Helen Zaltzman of Answer Me This! podcast and your fellow MaxFunConcerned. Whether you're struggling with a moral dilemma, a romantic conundrum, life logistics or you just really want to get out of being your frenemy's bridesmaid, all your troubles are welcome.

BREAKFAST–it’s your favorite meal, right? with Julia Crookston
As always, our meeting is about exploring variations, techniques and a little science concerning a favorite food or meal. We will endeavor to answer the small and large questions like: ‘why the heck is the first pancake always less than fab’ and ’how can I tell when my waffle is ready or not’ and the eternal breakfast question: ‘is breakfast for dinner still breakfast?’ And in a nod to our glorious Lake Arrowhead location we’ll look at camp cooking variations. Fair warning: this course involves eating generous amounts of butter, gluten, egg, pork & sugar rich items.

Kinetic Storytelling: Introduction to clown and physical comedy with Stephen Simon
Shut up and tell the story. Get out of being a talking head and learn how to create fun and memorable scenes based on character, without having to say a word. This class features techniques from Commedia dell’arte, Keaton and Chaplin, Ringling Bros,. and Cirque du Soleil to help keep you grounded in your body and add depth and presence to your performance. Great for improvisers and people who just want to have fun. Stephen has been a professional actor and clown for over 20 years and is one half of the comedy duo Ten West (featured at MaxFunCon 2013 in the Poconos).

SESSION B (Saturday 2:30 - 4 PM)

  • Writing Workshop with DC Pierson
  • Kickstarter for Funny People with Taylor Moore
  • The Art of Profile Writing with Mary O'Hara
  • Meet your next Seattle Councilman with John Roderick
  • The Amazing Secret to Making A Fabulous Podcast with Colin Anderson
  • Sew a Pudgy MaxFun Rocket Ornament with Xyloart
  • Potato Stamping with Jessica Charlton
  • Group Therapy with Helen Zaltzman
  • BREAKFAST–it’s your favorite meal, right? with Julia Crookston
  • Kinetic Story Telling: Introduction to clown and physical comedy with Stephen Simon

Plus...

Pub Quiz with John Hodgman and Chuck Bryant
A MaxFunCon institution. Hosted by Chuck Bryant, co-host of the podcast Stuff You Should Know, and your favorite podcast judge, John Hodgman. Have a beer. Earn valuable bragging rights.

Tending the Home Bar with Benjamin Harrison and Chris Bowman
You know that when you throw a party you don’t want to be stuck mixing drinks all night, but you also don’t want to leave your guests to fend for themselves at that gross sticky card table with handles of booze and two-liter bottles of Fresca on it. Chris and Ben will take you through all the equipment and ingredients you need to do everything from making an after work drink to throwing a fancy cocktail party. Also, if you take the class you will get to drink cocktails. And who are you kidding? That’s half of why you’re even here!

Scoring a Podcast with Jane Marie
Some podcasts are boring and some are not and sometimes the only difference is the score. Music can make a scene come alive and we'll show you how to transform your podcast from "blah blah blah" to "blah blah lalalalala!"

Photo Walkabout with Ken Lecky
You brought your fancy camera all the way to Lake Arrowhead, now let's use it! Join one of our esteemed Official MaxFunCon Photographers for a review of photography basics and a walk around the conference center to practice your skills.

Standup Open Mic with Julian McCullough
Julian McCullough leads a standup open mic. Try standup for the first time, or hone new material. Get feedback from your peers and an accomplished pro. Bring a positive attitude and five minutes of material. All participants are expected to perform.

Congratulations to our 2015 Scholarship winners!

Photo by Liezl Estipona

We always enjoy reading the truly inspiring applications we receive every year for MaxFunCon. A sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who applied this year. We are more convinced than ever that our listeners are the smartest, most creative, and interesting bunch of folks in the whole wide internet. It was no easy task to pick just two winners. We wish we could have you all up at Lake Arrowhead!

To those who applied but did not win this year, please do not feel discouraged. We do plan to offer scholarships to our future events and we hope that you will write to us again at that time to tell us about your latest hopes, dreams, projects and creations. 

The scholarship recipients who will be joining us in Lake Arrowhead this June are: Julia Harrison and Joe Jackson!

Congratulations to both of you! Other MaxFunCon attendees: please keep an eye out for these awesome folks during the weekend and introduce yourself. We hope you’ll all become great friends!

A huge thank you the generous MaxFunCon attendees who donated for making these scholarships possible!

Scholarships for MaxFunCon! Apply Now!

Photo by Liezl Estipona

We are thrilled to offer two full scholarships to MaxFunCon 2015!

Scholarships will be awarded to two individuals who have a strong desire to attend but are financially unable to do so. Each scholarship will cover the full cost of attendance, which includes accommodations, food, and all MaxFunCon activities in Lake Arrowhead.
In order to apply for a scholarship, you must meet all of the following criteria:
  • You have significant financial need. Specifically, it would be difficult or impossible for you to attend MaxFunCon 2015 if you did not receive a scholarship.
  • You are able to arrange your own transportation to and from Lake Arrowhead to attend MaxFunCon 2015.
  • You will be able to participate in the entire weekend-long conference. MaxFunCon begins at 4 PM on Friday, June 12th and ends at 1 PM on Sunday, June 14th.
If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, send a short essay telling us a bit about yourself.  Explain why you want to go to MaxFunCon and why you need the scholarship.  In particular, please describe your creative aspirations and how attending MaxFunCon 2015 might help you with your future projects. Essay instructions are as follows:
  • In the subject line of your email, please write "MaxFunCon 2015 Scholarship"
  • The essay should be included both as an attachment to your email in Microsoft Word format, and in the body of the email.
  • The essay must be no longer than 300 words. Essays longer than 300 words will not be read or considered. 
  • Please include your phone number in the body of the email so that we can call you if needed.

Creativity is always appreciated, but please make sure your essay conforms to all the requirements outlined above in order to be considered.

With respect to financial need, in the initial application stage we are not requiring any supporting documentation (like bank statements or tax returns). Even so, you should be able to provide evidence to support any assertions you make in your essay about your financial circumstances. We may need to request supporting documentation once we start narrowing down the applications.

The deadline for scholarship applications is WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15TH
We hope to select and notify the two recipients no later than Thursday, April 23rd.  

A huge thank you to all the awesome MaxFunCon attendees who contributed to the Scholarship Fund!

MaxFunCon 2015 tickets are on sale NOW!

Join us in Lake Arrowhead, CA from Friday June 12 until Sunday June 14, 2015 at MaxFunCon 2015!

UPDATE: MAXFUNCON 2015 IS SOLD OUT!

If you'd like to be on the MaxFunCon Waiting List, email waitlist@maximumfun.org with the title "MaxFunCon Waitlist" and include your name, number in your party & daytime phone number. 


Photo by Kenneth Lecky












Registration is $790 per person (plus a small processing fee) and includes everything you'll need for the weekend - lodging, food, drink, classes and shows. For couples sharing a bed, there's a nice discount and it's only $1480 per couple (plus processing). For a limited time, you can also pay via an installment plan - four easy monthly payments.

If you already reserved your space with a deposit, check your email for a special link to register.

We can't wait to see you!

Questions? Email jennifer@maximumfun.org.

MaxFunCon 2015 

June 12th-14th


Our seventh MaxFunCon will take place June 12th-14th, 2015 in Lake Arrowhead.

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 28th, here at MaxFunCon.com.

In the meantime, sign up for our email list here for updates.

If you're interested in sponsoring MaxFunCon, or in sponsoring scholarships for MaxFunCon, email Jesse at jesse at maximumfun. org.

MaxFunCon Preparedness

Here's some info to help you as you get ready for the legendary MaxFunCon! 

* Tickets *

There are no paper tickets to MaxFunCon. As a registered guest, you'll check in at the front desk with your name for your room assignment. Then you'll head over to the MaxFunCon welcome table in Iris for your name tag and conference bag.

* When to Come *

Registration for MaxFunCon starts at 4pm. This is also when check-in begins at the conference center. From 4pm until 6pm, we'll be welcoming people with a casual cocktail reception. That said, it's our strong recommendation that you come to Lake Arrowhead as early as your schedule permits. Both traffic out of LA and driving conditions on the mountain (particularly fog) grow exponentially worse as it gets later. A pleasant 90-minute drive from LA at 1 or 2pm becomes a grueling 3-hour-plus slog at 4 or 5pm. If you end up arriving early, you can always park and enjoy the lake.

* What to Bring *

Lake Arrowhead is a mountain resort, and while the forecast is in the 70’s and 80’s, we do suggest you bring clothing to layer as it can become chilly at night, dipping into the 40’s and 50’s. One of our comedy shows is held in an outdoor amphitheater at night, and our s'mores roast is also held under the stars, so please bring cozy clothes to keep yourself warm. Consider bringing a hat, scarf and gloves. You can look at up-to-date weather information here: http://bit.ly/maxfunconweather .

Bring comfortable shoes (the center is situated on a hill). There is WiFi, but you won't really need or use your laptop. Generally, you won't need many diversions - your schedule will be quite full. Your food, beverages (including adult beverages) and everything else is provided, so there isn't much need for money. Bring something to write down contact information for your new friends.

Classes largely have no special requirements other than the obvious -- if you signed up for improv, bring improv-friendly clothes or if you’ve signed up for cooking bring clothes you don’t mind potentially getting messy. And don’t forget to bust out some fancy duds for the Country Estate Party!

* Carpools *

We strongly encourage you to share rental cars and other ground transportation whenever possible. Folks are organizing carpools on the forum, here

* Special Needs *

If you have a mobility impairment or a special food need and you haven't reported it to Amanda, please do so immediately. Also: it has been suggested to us that if you're a vegetarian, you might want to bring a couple protein-y snacks, as the vegetarian meals, while good, might be short on non-meat protein.

* Getting There *

We strongly encourage you to use the official directions to the conference center on our  website, rather than using GPS or Google Map directions. The mapping software doesn't understand the terrain of the region and the relative road sizes, and will send you on a route that will take you an extra 20 minutes or so of driving. You can also get accurate directions straight from the venue's website.

* If you arrive early *

If you happen to arrive early, feel free to say hi - we'll be in Iris. We may need a bit of help setting up and filling the conference bags.

* If you have questions *

Feel free to email amanda@maximumfun.org if you have questions. You can also post your questions on the forum.

Country Estate Party: What is it, and What Do I Wear?

CountryEstate.jpg 
Ladies and gentlemen, bust out your moleskin skirts and mustard-brown tweed sports coats because it's almost time for the Annual Country Estate Party. That's right, MaxFunCon's cocktail formal evening ball dance party extravaganza is back again. And this year...

Dan Deacon is the DJ. 

Never been to a MaxFunCon Country Estate Party? Intimidated by the MaxFunCon fashion police? Never fear, we're here to make sure you impress with yo' dress and understand the epic elegance of country estate ensembles.  


What, you didn't think there was an entire Pinterest board dedicated to MaxFunCon Country Estate Party ideas? You thought wrong, my friend.


Need some inspiration from Estate Parties past? We've got you covered. Browse away. Have fun with it. And, hey - save us a dance?


Wanna talk about the Country Estate? Here's a forum for you. 
(For real tho, this is all in good fun. Dressing in Country Estate attire is encouraged but not mandatory - you'll still get to party your butt off, regardless.)

Sign Up For Classes... NOW

Photo by Lecky Photography

Okay, MaxFunCon peeps! Are you ready??

MaxFunCon has two activity sessions: Session A (Saturday morning) and Session B (Saturday afternoon).  Each attendee should sign up for ONE class per session.  Full activity descriptions can be found on the sign up pages (and also here).  

To sign up for SESSION A, click here: https://mfc2014am.eventbrite.com


To sign up for SESSION B, click here: https://mfc2014pm.eventbrite.com


NOTE: You do not need to print out your tickets via Eventbrite. We will keep track of the sign-up lists.

Please sign up only if you're already registered for MaxFunCon!  If you try and pull a fast one, we'll notice.


Announcing the 2014 MaxFunCon Class Lineup

Have we got some awesome classes for you! A little comedy, a little writing, a little crafting, a little of this, a little of that... Check out the full list below!

Mark your calendars - signups will be THURSDAY MAY 8 at 12 NOON PDT

How do class signups work?!
Our MaxFun classes are divided into two sessions: Session A (in the morning) and Session B (in the afternoon). On Thursday, we will be emailing you two separate links to select a class for each session. You’ll click each link, pick the class you’d like to attend at the session that corresponds to the link, fill out your name, and that’s it! You can only sign up for one class per session, and please do not sign others up. Space in every class is limited, and always fills up quickly. Now, on to the list of classes!

SESSION A (Saturday 9 - 10:30 AM)

Disco Balls with Jessica Charlton
Create a mini paper disco ball while listening to some sweet jams. BONUS cake decoration challenge: ugliest cake wins a special prize.

PRETZELZ & NUTZ - Sweet and Savory Beer Snacks with Julia Crookston
Everyone wants to make their own beer, sleep with a brewer, or at least know the brewer by name. But what's the snack with beer? Do you run off to buy some anonymous bag of beer nuts or a pretzel snack from Trader Joe's? Really? No more. Commit to local, commit to hand made. Become an artisan at something. I'll show you how to make delicious pretzels and addictive nutz - you're on your own to find the beer (brewer).

Sketch Comedy CRASH COURSE with Jordan Morris
Want to learn about sketch comedy? Learn how to turn your funny ideas/characters into short, hilarious comedy nuggets. You'll learn what separates sketch from other types of comedy and pitch ideas in a writer's room environment. Bring a laptop and a couple of pitches for concepts or characters.  

What Does This Button Do?: Photo 101 with Kenneth Lecky
Got a DSLR that confounds you with its various thingamabobs and doodads? Love taking photographs but want to elevate your pics to the next level? Join one of our esteemed Official MaxFunCon Photographers for a crash course in camera and photography knowledge! (A working camera is required for this class.)

Introduction to Clown and Physical Comedy with Stephen Simon
Shut up and tell the story. Get out of being a talking head and learn how to create fun and memorable scenes based on character, without saying a word (but you still can if you want to). This class features techniques from Commedia dell'arte, Keaton and Chaplin, through Ringling Bros. and Cirque du Soleil to help keep you grounded in your body and add depth and presence to your performance. Great for improvisers and people who just want to have fun. Stephen has been a professional actor and clown for over 20 year and is one half of the comedy duo Ten West (featured at MaxFunCon East). 


How to Be Psychic with Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy
Ross and Carrie teach you the tools and tricks that magicians and other tricksters use to pretend they have psychic or other-worldly powers. Learn to cold read (offer "psychic readings"), give an applied kinesiology test (a trick that makes special charms seem to improve your balance or health), and spoon bend! Teach your friends to spot a phony, and wow them with the greatest party tricks ever. No psychic skills required; good sense of humor recommended.

How to Write Comedy Like a British Person with Sarah Morgan
Part primer in cool British comedies (that you can drop into conversation), part writing class, all hilarious. Led by your favorite British Person (and co-writer of International Waters!) Sarah Morgan.

Writing Workshop with DC Pierson
DC Pierson, author of the novels The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To and Crap Kingdom and member of the comedy group DERRICK, will offer you writing feedback in a relaxed, fun, constructive environment. Students should bring in 8 copies of a piece of no more than 800 words (complete story, essay, sketch or short film script, or excerpt from a longer work-in-progress.)

MaxFun Rockets Softball with Jesse Thorn & Ken Roberts
Heyyyyyy, batter! Come on up to the softball field (yes, there's a softball field!) and play a little softball with Ol' Jesse Bats himself, Jesse Thorn, and softball enthusiast Ken Roberts. Find out who's an ace and how to catch a can o' corn, how to work the hot corner or hit it on the screws. Bringing your own equipment (gloves especially) is encouraged! 

Making Good Satire with Joe Randazzo
From Jonathan Swift to Robocop to South Park, satire has long been one of the most powerful forms of comedy and commentary that can rise above the din and stand the test of time—it can even define an era. But what makes it so? What separates parody from satire? How does it work on multiple levels and appeal to a broad audience? And how do we avoid crossing the line from satire to snark? Join former Onion editor and adultswim.com creative director Joe Randazzo in exploring what goes into great satire and how you can make it yourself. We'll look at historical examples, consider what might come in the future, and use some of the tried-and-true group brainstorming techniques that Joe has honed over his 10 years working in comedy to hopefully come up with some satire of our own. 

Lake Walk  
Stretch your legs! Get some fresh air! Take a stroll along the shores of the actual lake "Lake Arrowhead" is named for. This is a relatively un-strenuous walk but please note that there are stairs.

SESSION B (Saturday 2:30 - 4 PM)

Disco Balls with Jessica Charlton
PRETZELZ & NUTZ - Sweet and Savory Beer Snacks with Julia Crookston
What Does This Button Do?: Photo 101 with Liezl Estipona
Introduction to Clown and Physical Comedy with Stephen Simon

How to Be Psychic with Carrie Poppy and Ross Blocher 
How to Write Comedy Like a British Person with Sarah Morgan 
Writing Workshop with DC Pierson 
Making Good Satire with Joe Randazzo

Plus...

Pub Quiz with John Hodgman and Chuck Bryant
A MaxFunCon institution. Hosted by Chuck Bryant, co-host of podcast ‘Stuff You Should Know’, and your favorite podcast Judge, John Hodgman. Have a beer. Earn valuable bragging rights.

Tending the Home Bar with Benjamin Harrison and Chris Bowman
Conceived as a spiritual sequel to Ben's legendary Make your Own Cocktail Bitters class, Ben Harrison and Chris Bowman will talk you through everything you need to know to set up a crowd-pleasing home bar. From equipment to key ingredients to garnishes to glassware to ice, you'll learn all about the well-executed domestic watering hole, how to scale it for bigger and smaller parties etc. Want to learn to make big, flawless ice cubes to put in your Maximum Fun beverage glasses? This is your class! Mainly, though, we will be mixing a bunch of cocktails. You will get to mix a bunch of cocktails. You will get to drink them.

Intro to Improv with Jordan Morris
Jordan Morris isn't just the co-host of Jordan, Jesse, Go! -- he's also a UCB-certified improv instructor. Try improv for the first time; this session is open to any and all experience levels (including zero experience). 

I Have Opinions: Breaking In to Freelance Writing with Emily Gordon 
So, you'd like to make a living freelance writing? This class will teach you how to figure out if freelance writing is for you, how to hone your blogging voice, how to pitch editors, how to pitch so that you get responses, and how to be patient as your contributor list grows.