This is a short article that covers a little bit of what we cover in our Panel of the same name. Enjoy!
Starting an Airship is a fun way to get involved in steampunk if there isn’t one in your area or you have different interests than other Airships in your area. This document will help you plan for this and help you avoid some of the pitfalls many others have come across.
When building an Airship, the very first thing you should consider is “What is your goal?” That can be anything from “Be a business” to “Travel to events together.” This can help to define your group and find the most suitable people to be part of your crew. This way everyone has a clear idea of what the expectations of the Airship is.
Don’t be afraid to start small. I personally think it’s best to start small and grow from there. That way your Airship has time to grow and you don’t have as many growing pains at once. You will have problems as your crew grows. It’s just easier to deal with these problems one or two at a time rather than all at once.
Once you have a starting crew selected, you want to select your officers. This is generally your Captain and First Mate. It could include other positions depending on the needs of your group. These people should generally be responsible for organizing the crew and dealing with conflicts down the road (there will be conflict).
Speaking of conflicts, you will have some. People with different personalities with individual ideas will always conflict with others. Unless you happen to find the perfect crew the first time through, you’ll likely come across some sort of issue. Just be aware that it’s going to happen and besure to remind people that you’re all here to have fun. This is also why it’s important to have a clear set of goals for the group to avoid confusion and thus conflict.
Sometimes you have to remove people. Not everyone who joins your crew will work out. When the ship first starts out, you really can’t do trial members since everyone just joined. But don’t be afraid to ask someone to part ways. Just make sure you do so tactfully and maybe help them find another group more suited for what they want to get out of an Airship. It’s better to part ways than to let someone deter you from your goals.
As your crew grows, you’ll be able to do more as a group. Plan events, do things. Also, revisit your ships goals. Make sure that the goals you set in the beginning are the same goals your crew wants for the ship. New ideas may make for new goals for your ship.
Finally, get involved. Your area has a lot of steampunk groups in and around it. Steampunk is still growing and the more involved your Airship is, the more people you get to meet and interact with. That is the biggest key to this movement. The people involved make this all worth while. Go to smaller events out of your local area and support eachother’s Airships. They’ll turn around and do the same in return.