Archive of Events

My Journey to a Million Dollars with the Browncoats by Mandy Sullivan

Thirteen years ago, I had never heard of Firefly. I had been working at Equality Now for quite some time and, as usual, we were struggling for funding. I got a call one day, from Renee Balmert from something called "the California Browncoats." She wanted our address in order to mail out a check to us representing proceeds from "ComicCon." The check was for over $3000, a staggering amount of money from one donor, at least it was in our experience. Apparently Joss Whedon had told them we were his favorite charity and they decided to give all the money to us. We were thrilled and grateful and Renee and I started up a conversation as she explained to me what Firefly was and what the Browncoats were.

I immediately purchased a copy of the series and spent the evening in a marathon viewing. Well, let's face it, it's hard not to, right?
Those events marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I won't go into the particulars of Joss' relationship to Equality Now as that is common knowledge now for most of you I think. The internet was starting to really come into force and, as I further learned, Joss had a huge and growing network of fans (from his other series Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as Firefly) that was quickly becoming a worldwide virtual community. When Firefly was summarily dumped by FOX shortly after its short run in September 2002, this community decided to pool their resources and see how much weight they could put behind their disappointment, actually their outrage, and their loyalty to Joss. I mean, there were episodes that HAD NOT BEEN AIRED YET!!

In any case, you all know the rest. A film was made, Serenity, that closed out the stories of the characters in the beloved series. Throughout this time, I was mostly a bystander and cheerleader, but quickly becoming a true fan, a fan of the fans actually! And, a brilliant idea was forming, in the mind of a Portland, OR fan named b!X who asked the question: "Hey why don't we hold a screening of Serenity on Joss' birthday and raise money for Equality Now." That was June of 2006. 42 cities around the world held screenings that year. As the years went by, Equality Now began receiving checks from all over the country as well as UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland, as groups of Browncoats organized their own screenings. And it all happened at the same time of year! We sent the different organizers our brochures, key chains, bracelets, more brochures, hats and tee shirts for raffles and give-aways, supporting them in any way we could.

For me, it was one of the biggest challenges and most wonderful experiences I had while working at Equality Now. The organizers were fantastic people to work with, all of them, throughout the years. From time to time, new organizers would come in to replace those taking a break and they too were enthusiastic in their support of Equality Now's work, and a genuine pleasure to work with and in some cases, get to know. Their patience with me was absolutely limitless.

And every year, the grand total increased. It was absolutely amazing. Seeing as I was the fortunate one who became liaison between Can't Stop the Serenity and Equality Now, visitors, other staff would ask me "who are the Browncoats and why are they doing this?" Well, it's a long story....

The Browncoats brought me to ComicCon in San Francisco to speak on a panel there, they brought me to the Universal Studios premiere of Serenity, they hosted me in Portland and New York City, and always assured me of my welcome in whatever city's screening I might attend. I was so happy when we were able to organize an appearance by Joss at the SoCal CSTS a few years ago It was to thank all of you in the most meaningful way we could think of. To have you hear it from him.

I left Equality Now in October, after 18 years. More than half of those years were spent interacting with you wonderful people. The fact that together you have raised a total of one million dollars for Equality Now and other charities fills me with so much pride and gratitude. You have worked so hard, on your own time, year after year. Awesome. That's what you are. Totally Awesome. Thank you for all you have done for Equality Now, for me, and for just being the people that you are. You've sent some mighty, mighty good vibes out there into the universe, and it will never be the same.

Stay Shiny but most importantly keep flyin'.

Amanda Sullivan

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Small but Fun

There's still time to register events to be held from June to October!

We want as many Can’t Stop the Serenity shindigs across the world as possible to celebrate the 10th year of Can’t Stop the Serenity and the 10th anniversary of the big damn movie Serenity.

Every size event is very welcome.

Some of you may be up for running a Screening event but if you want to start a little smaller or turn an existing event into a Can’t Stop the Serenity fundraiser, why not organise an Affiliate event?

The fantastic thing about Affiliate events is they can be almost anything. Here’s a few ideas to inspire you:

  • With so many Firefly board games out there, a games day makes a great event.
  • A trivia or pub quiz event
  • A costumed picnic
  • A pajama party
  • Dinner at a Chinese restaurant
  • Get a group of friends together to see a movie, buy a book of discounted tickets or do a group booking so it’s less per ticket and either charge everyone slightly more to or pass the hat to raise money for Equality Now.
  • Have a ‘Shiny’ jar at your event, it works like a swear jar, at the start of the event nominate a popular Firefly word or phrase and every time someone says it they have to put a dollar in the jar
  • Pin the cunning hat on Jayne

These are only a few concepts, but as you can see an event can be as big or as small as you want. See how easy it could be?

The benefits of being an officially registered event include:

  • Access to our forums to talk with other organizers to share ideas, experience and support
  • A prize pack to help you raise money and promotion of your event through global social media
  • Meeting and hanging out with other amazing Browncoats
  • Your event's charitable donation will be added to the 2015 Global Donation Total.

You can find all the details about registering and running an event, including important deadlines, on our Host an Event page. And if you have any questions just contact us at events@cantstoptheserenity.com

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Can’t Stop The Serenity Raises One Million Dollars For Charity

CSTS is immensely proud to announce that as of the end of the 2014 year, our 9th, we have raised One Million dollars U.S for Equality Now and the other charities our event cities have supported.

One Million Dollars.

It has come in as Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and American dollars. In Pounds and in Euros. Small amounts and large, from big cities and small groups of friends.

We probably can't measure exactly how much good this money has done, but we can feel it. And we know what we are.
Those of us who have run events, those who have donated time, money or swag, and of course those of us who open up our hearts and our wallets when we show up at a screening or affiliate event.

Big Damn Heroes, all of us.

One Million Dollars!!!!

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Registration for 2015 is open!

Join Browncoats around the world celebrating 10 years of Can't Stop The Serenity. Whether you have a big screening or gather a small group of friends together to raise money, every event is very welcome.

Not sure what goes on or how to get started? We have lots of excellent information here.

Many CSTS events are known as "Screening Events" where Joss Whedon's "Serenity" is shown on the big screen in conjunction with auctions, raffles, contests, merchandise sales and other multimedia (pending licensing arrangements).

If you're unable to organize a Screening Event (due to funds, location or proximity to other Browncoats), an Affiliate event may be the answer. This can be any kind of event, such as a BBQ, dance party, trivia night, or video night, etc. The choice is yours! And you can do both if you want.

Once you've decided, take advantage of Event Resources to help you and your team with the planning process.

Next, you need to tell the Global Team about your plans so that you can become an official event. There are two ways to do it. Do you already have everything in place? Time, location, fellow volunteers? Then go straight to the Event Registration.

Maybe all the details have still to be worked out. Then what you want is the "Expression of Interest" Form. Filling this in gives you access to our Event Organizer forum and all the help there.

Being an official CSTS Event means that you become part of the wonderful CSTS community. We'll help you raise money for Equality Now by assisting you with promotion, & giving you access to our forums to talk with other organizers who have come before and continue to triumph. By indicating you are affiliated with CSTS you are telling your potential sponsors, donors and audience that you are legit! Your event's charitable donation will be added to the 2014 Global Donation Total.

But most importantly, you'll be helping raise awareness and money for Equality Now so that they can continue their work to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world. And with up to 25% available for you to donate to other Charities, CSTS does good around the world.

If you still have questions, drop an email to events@cantstoptheserenity.com. Join our forums and talk with other browncoats.

This is a year of celebration! Let's also make it the year that we raise the most money for Equality Now & other charities.

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Unsung Heroes

It takes a lot of people to have a successful Can't Stop The Serenity year. Organizers and their crew do so much work that we can never say "thank you" adequately. If they didn't step forward, there would be no CSTS events and no CSTS at all. But they are not alone and this past year especially, people stepped forward to help others in ways that maybe haven't been recognized as well as they should.
Until now.
These are only some of the Unsung Heroes we would like to recognize as the year draws to a close.

Ty came back this year to do the first run of Tshirts. Melanie and BirdandBear both took up the slack and did the rest of the orders, Mel in Canada and birdandbear for the 2nd run everywhere else. It is a lot of work and it can go wrong so easily. But it didn't. Every year we have had Tshirts. Thanks to these three, 2014 was no exception.

William Pace, the Utah Browncoats; and Mary McKay-Eaton & Mike Jenkins of Fireflyprops.net made sure that every city had some swag arriving which was especially welcome in a year when CSTS Global couldn't send anything out.

The Edmonton Browncoats run their own charity event now but sent auction items to a few cities who were very glad to get them. Firefly Cargo Bay is no stranger to donating to CSTS events. But it seems that they went above and beyond this year. Everywhere we turned, another city was thanking one of these 2 generous Canadian organizations.

Groups in the U.K. helped each other out a lot. Often being new event cities themselves, they passed on everything from banners to leftover swag to other UK cities.
In Australia the same thing thing happened, with the new Melbourne Browncoats supporting the smaller groups by covering the cost of having a table at cons in other cities.

None of these people or groups made any money from this. Indeed, many of them were out of pocket because of their generous donation of time and items. This generosity is what being a Browncoat is all about.

Thanks to all of you.

Do you know any other unsung heroes everyone should know about? Comment below!

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Last But Hardly Least

This coming week sees the final events of the CSTS season but what a finish it is!

The Browncoats of Tampa, FL are having their first ever Can't Stop The Serenity screening on Sunday Oct. 12. Entry is by donation so give generously but be sure to save some money for the raffle which has an astonishing number of truly shiny items. Everything from the Firefly Car air fresheners to the new Firefly Clue Game with Tshirts and actions figures in between. There will be tough trivia, Board Games, an RPG game scenario demo and of course, a screening of Serenity.

Salt Lake City is back with their Serenity Screening. Accompanying the BDM will be several fan films, including 'Operation Night Watch',& 'The Verse' by Julian Higgins. Brian Wiser of Done the Impossible will reveal some Easter Eggs from the 'Done the Impossible' documentary. There will also be a costume contest, raffle auction and a Q & A about all things Firefly.

And finally, on October 15, for the first time ever, Can't Stop The Serenity is having a Virtual Shindig. Hosted by the Utah Browncoats it will run in three parts so people around the world can participate. Although only our 2014 event cities are mentioned, all are welcome.

First, we will start the Australian session beginning at 4 AM MDT to accommodate both coasts. For participants in Australia, it will be 9 PM in Melbourne & Nowra, and 6 PM in Perth.

Act two will be our European broadcast, beginning at Noon, Mountain Standard Time, providing a 7 PM Broadcast for Aberdeen, Blackwood, Leicester, Beeston and London.

The Third and final act will be at 7 PM MDT, which allows for a late broadcast to Halifax at 10 PM. We will reach the Eastern seaboard at 9 PM, including Atlanta, Montreal, Duluth, New York, Norfolk, Pembroke Pines, Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, Miami Springs, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Washington D.C.. If you're in Platteville, Dallas, Minneapolis, Saint Louis, Nashville, or Lawrence, tune in at 8 PM. Denver, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, and Sandy will be in line with us at 7 PM. All other event cities will tune at at 6 PM, including Sacramento, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, Orange County, Tucson and Arcata.

Each of the three acts will run for approximately three hours, and will feature material specific to each major region. There will also be a silent auction with all money going to Equality Now. We hope that wherever you are in the world, and whatever your work schedule day or night, that you will join us for any and all of these three sessions live via Ustream!

And after that? One word.
Auction

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