Deadline extended for 2013 CSTS Art Contest voting

The voting window has been extended for the 2013 CSTS Art Contest! This is your last chance to have your say on which design will represent CSTS for the 2013 season.

Voting will now close on 28 October 2012 at 11:59 PM PST.

To have your say, click here to see the designs and cast your vote!

So vote now for your favourite and spread the signal!

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We want your vote on next year’s artwork!

We sent the signal out to create the promotional art for next year's events, and here they are! Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry (or two!) to the 2013 Can't Stop The Serenity Art Contest.

We know it's going to be a challenge, but we need you, the good folk of the 'Verse, to help us choose which one will become the official artwork for Can't Stop the Serenity 2013!

To have your say, all you need to do is click here to see the great designs and cast your vote!

You can only vote once and you've only got until 21 October 2012 at 11:59 PM PST to get your voice heard and your vote counted. So vote and then tell your friends to spread the word and come help us choose the best of the best.

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A Special Thank You to our Art Crew!

Can't Stop the Serenity has been extremely lucky to work with some amazing artists over the years, and it's our pleasure to thank the 2012 crew! Phil (with the assistance of Karen) have been hard at work all year, turning this year's promotional artwork contest winners design into art suitable for t-shirts, posters, patches, web-banners and more. And Liam has pulled off yet another fantastic Global Intro Video, which featured cast and crew plus a very moving piece on Equality Now.

As we wind down from the 2012 season, let's hear a little from two of the team...

Phil Towle, Art Director for Can't Stop the Serenity 2012....

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Oh wait, wrong galaxy. My love of Sci Fi started, like many, when as a kid I wanted nothing more than to be a Jedi (occasionally Han Solo). I grew up reading, watching and attending anything to do with Star Wars (that's me with Mark Hamill!) and, for a long time, I found nothing that matched the spirit of adventure I’d discovered in those films….until a certain bunch of Space brigands entered my life in the early 2000’s. I’d already grown up with Buffy, Angel and co and the potent combination of the mighty Whedon and gunslingers in space proved almost too much for my tiny mind to comprehend. I immediately fell in love with Firefly.

It was a few years later (it took me a while to get over the death of Wash) that I stumbled upon CSTS and the global screening events. What were these events about? Who was running them? Why was I attracted to Kaylee instead of Inara? I needed answers dammit and luckily my town just happened to have a dedicated team of Browncoats on hand to guide my through the trickier parts of the ‘verse. The rest, as they say, is history. I attended the local screenings, ended up doing Artwork for the Sending A Wave podcast and ultimately contacted CSTS to see if they could use my design experience at all. I’d love to continue into 2013 and help the CSTS brand build awareness and take over the world! (Mine is an evil laugh)

Liam Merrick, Global Video Coordinator for Can't Stop the Serenity 2010-2012...
I've been interested in sci fi and fantasy since I was a kid. There's been a few shows that I've really enjoyed but I think Firefly was the first show that really blew me away. When I ventured to my first convention, I spent most of the time hanging round the Melbourne Browncoat booth. I soon started attending their events and volunteering to help out. At the time I was studying Film and TV, and found that my technical skills could be used not only to help at a local level but a global level. I started by editing the 3-6 minute introduction video. That was in 2010. Since than I've filmed interviews and shoutouts with some of the creatives and actors involved with Firefly and other Whedon shows, I've edited numerous videos throughout the years and I've helped planning and promoting events. I've really enjoying not only being creative but also helping out for a very good cause. So even if it's helping out on the day, it's worth getting involved with Can't Stop the Serenity. But if you can, it might be fulfilling to help plan the event at a global level.

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Time’s ticking down for the Global Promo Art Contest! Entries close October 14

The closing date for the 2013 CSTS Global Promo Art Contest is drawing near! This is your chance to design the logo that will represent Can't Stop the Serenity 2013, featuring on Twitter, Facebook, T-shirts and promoting all manner of local events. All of the details for the contest are here and entries close on 14 October 2012. So get those creative juices flowing and be part of the fun!

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A Special Thank You to our Communications & Web Crew!

As we finish up another fine season of Can't Stop the Serenity, we'd like to send a special Thank You to the folks who keep things ticking along smoothly from behind the scenes. CSTS been fortunate to have some wonderful people on the Global Team over the years, and the 2013 Team have been fantastic! This year, we've had the pleasure of working with three amazing women who have been the backbone of our "front line" of CSTS by managing the website, social media and communications. So here's a moment-in-the-spotlight for Lioness, Jacque and Julia - our dedicated Communications & Web Crew! Lioness - Communications Director, Shepherd and overall Lady of Awesome - tell us a little about what you do...

As Communications Director and Shepherd, I’m been talking within – to the Browncoats running the screenings around the world- and without – talking to the wide world about CSTS. Getting the word out is an important part of the job. We know there are people out there just discovering Joss Whedon for the first time and so CSTS will be new to them as well. Beyond sending out Broadwaves and the Press release, I search the internet for likely possibilities- people who might be willing to help us spread the word further. I am aided in this by a great list of contacts put together by previous Communications Directors. Posting regular Blogs on our website is also important and that is followed up by mentions on Facebook and Twitter. New this year is Google + and Pinterest. Each Social Media location has its own special needs so it is never a questions of just cutting and pasting.

Probably the most rewarding part of the job is talking with the Organizers. I ran a screening for 5 years so know firsthand what it is like to do so but I have now been blessed with getting an overview. The amount of dedication and hard work amazes me time and again. Having this overview also means that I can see a city doing something unique that I think more people should know about. Cities concentrate on what they have to do to have a successful screening, but I get to see the big picture and can promote and praise when a city is doing something they take for granted but is really quite awesome. Because the cities are focused on their own screening, they forget how important it is to keep in touch with the Global organization and with fellow Organizers. So a lot of my job is spent surfing the net, trying to keep up with all the cities having events and making sure we have the most up to date information.

Last year and this I have also been the Shepherd.. In some cases I am the first line of contact for the cities. I remind them to start a thread on the forums and nudge them to communicate regularly. They write to me for everything from recipes to explanations as to what is mandatory. Occasionally I hear things that remain private between me and the Browncoat writing. It is really the Shepherding part of the volunteering and I take it very seriously.

Jacque has been our Webmistress Extraordinare and Registrar for the past two years, and we are sad to be saying farewell...
I volunteered to do these positions because I believe in both CSTS and Equality Now. I love being a Browncoat and supporting what I feel is a very important non-profit organization that does some really great work. I've enjoyed seeing CSTS grow and seeing other people's passions for making this work as well. I like going through and adding the new cities one by one to the roster of cities and countries that are supporting the cause and spreading Firefly and Serenity as well.
Julia has been our dedicated Tweeter, keeping our followers informed about events and 'verse news. Asked why she volunteered for the CSTS Global Team, Julia explained.
I had been part of the Melbourne Browncoats CSTS a couple of years ago I was asked to take on the job of Global CSTS Twitter ops because they had no one to do it. Saying yes was easy, who wouldn't want to help spread the signal about such an amazing cause! And it was one of the best things I ever did. It took a while to get a handle on things and finding what worked and didn't but it's a lot of fun. Of course you're constantly refining how you do things and there's some great tweeters out their to be inspired by.

The main part of the job is getting the word out about all the fantastic CSTS events and other big Global announcements like contests and auctions. It's also essential to raise awareness about Equality Now and they work they do, especially if there are actions that people can take to help. Twitter is often people's first stop if they have a query about something, so not only do we disseminate info by announcements but play a vital role answering questions. Giving exposure to our wonderful, wonderful sponsors is also important. And finally there's sharing all the fun 'Verse related things like interviews with the crew, amazing craft and new Firefly shiny being sold.

The best thing about the job is when Browncoats discover we exist for the first time via something we've tweeted and being able to interact with so many awesome fans. They're so excited to find out that not only can they see Serenity on the big screen again but by doing so they're donating to some very worthy causes. It's also great to see a tweet take off and be retweeted lots, in particular if one of Serenity's crew or a celebrity retweets it. Though it's funny, you can never predict what tweet will soar and what goes nowhere (usually it's the one that isn't written as well as you'd like or has a spelling mistake in it!). Timing seems to be a key factor.

And the most satisfying thing is being able to tweet the event donations as they come in and watch the total tally grow.

CSTS has done amazing things for 7 years and for it to continue we need you! There are so many things you can do to at Global, jobs big and small, that help things run smoothly. You learn a lot and meet fabulous Browncoats. So don't be scared of volunteering if you don't think you can do a job, there's great mentors and lots of help. By working for Global you're assisting events to raise money which helps Equality Now make the world a better and safer place for women and girls everywhere.

Thank you all for your amazing dedication!

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Why would you volunteer to be the CSTS Global Events Coordinator? William shares his story…

It's always inspiring to meet the incredible people who take on the role of the Can't Stop the Serenity Global Events Coordinator each year. And for the past two years, that fine outstanding citizen has been one William Pace. It's been a delight to have William as our "Captain" for the past two years, and it is with sadness that we see him leave the role. However, we wish him the best with his new little Browncoat-in-Training needing the lions share of his attention! Thank you William! As he says farewell to his term as GEC, we asked him what made him put up his hand.

First, to understand why I'm here, you have to understand why I'm a Browncoat.

I'm one of the rare 'first fans' that tuned in to watch Firefly when the series debuted with 'Train Job'. That also makes me one of the first people to be both confused and intrigued by the strange formatting of the pilot episode (owing to the broadcast order). Still, when the first commercial break hit I found that I liked it enough to keep on watching.

Thirty minutes later...Mal pushed Crow through the engine.

That was it. I was hooked. When my wife came home from dance rehearsals I was babbling about this guy putting this other guy through a turbine and how it was the coolest thing ever. She smiled, raised an eyebrow and said, 'Okay.' A few years later when she watched the whole series on DVD, she finally understood the context and my excitement about the best series ever to be cancelled mid-season.

Then in 2008 I found Can't Stop the Serenity. I was delving into my obsession with Firefly more than ever; building props, attending Firefly themed parties, and hobnobbing with people who had worked or rubbed shoulders with the Big Damn Heroes, so when I found the Utah Browncoats Yahoo group and learned that no one was taking the helm for CSTS in Salt Lake, I volunteered, serving alongside Nicole Dowland. Later I ran affiliate events in Logan, Utah for three years back to back.

In 2011, I saw the opportunity to take the helm of CSTS globally, which I jumped on immediately. It was the chance of a lifetime to head up something this important. It also allowed me an unparalleled opportunity to meet fellow Browncoats the world over, both in 2011 and 2012.

The position of Global Event Coordinator is a challenging and rewarding role that affords a volunteer the chance to make new friends, give input on a worldwide scale and fight the good fight. As the Global Event Coordinators before me, I was able to roll up my sleeves and fight for victims of slavery, sex-trafficking, and many other injustices from a place of support and in the good company of fellow volunteers. It's also been my pleasure to serve with two great global teams, comprising some of the same individuals. I wouldn't have missed this for the world.

If you've got the drive and passion for the 'verse and a love of Can't Stop the Serenity, why not consider rising to the challenge for 2013?

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