Conventions

Published on December 5th, 2015 | by Angele Colageo

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Behind the Scenes with Phoenix Comicon

As fans, my daughter and I attend Phoenix Comicon and Fan Fest each year. These events have grown larger each year expanding to accommodate a larger attendance. We, the fans,  walk in and experience three to four days chock full of panels with our favorite actors, comic book writers and artist as well as buying photo ops, getting autographs and shopping the exhibitor hall.  Each event takes  months of rigorous planning, scheduling and finesse  to deliver.  And the folks at Team Phoenix Comicon do it twice a year. Skewed and Reviewed was invited to visit them at their new offices for a peek at what they do in order to bring us these events each year.

Prior to each event, the Phoenix Comicon team sends out notices by e-mail and social media to announce the guests that will be attending. The Guest Relations Team and their Director, Brandy Kuschel, are responsible for bringing us the line up for each event. Their job includes, booking the guests, inviting them to appear, negotiating agreements. Once the guest are confirmed, they will schedule travel and accommodation. once the guests arrive, they work to ensure that each guest has a great fan experience.

As attendees, we don’t see all the work that goes into establishing the roster for each event. There are different factors taken into consideration when putting together a guest wish list. Fan requests, guest availability, photo ops and autograph costs all factor into the final schedule. There can be changes or arrangements that are made in order to accommodate situations. For example, when a guest is not able to make an event as originally scheduled, shifts can be made to change dates and times. If not, the opportunity to have the guest attend the next event.  So, who are you looking forward to see? Keep in mind that the PCC/FF Team takes fan requests when compiling the guest list for each event.

We had a few minutes with Joe Boudrie, Director of Programming and asked to describe his work with PCC/FF. He said “Putting together a team of passionate, creative people that can organize and present great content.” When we look at the programming guide, it is mostly to find the specific panels that are important to us. Joe’s team is behind the development and scheduling of all the panels and all the cosplay group events. Each time slot is meticulously put together in order to entertain everyone with the purpose being that “at the end of the convention, we  want everyone to leave with great new memories.”

The Phoenix Comicon Marketing department, in addition to notifying us of the events and guests that will be attending,  put together the vendors for the exhibitor hall. Phoenix Comicon and Fan Fest offers the unique shopping opportunity. They bring together a lot of businesses that offer a variety of items that should delight many fans. We asked  Jillian Squires, Director of Marketing what they are anticipating this year in comparison to Fan Fest 2014. Last year, the unexpected addition of attendees doing Christmas shopping in the exhibitor hall.  In consideration, for Fan Fest 2015, the team has provided a “good variety of booths, products and options” for the attendees.  We will be looking forward to what they have planned!

Marketing also extends to communicating with the fans of Phoenix Comicon. The team led by Stephanie Munoz  reaches out to the community via social networking. Phoenix Comicon has their presence in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, Pintrest and Periscope. They want you to know what they are up to and to communicate with you! Check out their updates through those sites and at phoenixcomicon.com!

Phoenix Comicon and Fan Fest are at two very different venues. The PCC Operations Directors Lee Palmer and Jen Palmer work to ensure that each event is set up to enhance the attendees experience and meet safety requirements. They address situations from traffic flow, to lighting and space management. For example, exhibitor hall walkways, certain sections seeming too dim, creating more seating areas.  Changes made to make each event better than the last.

This team of jolly madmen and women are led by Matt Solberg, Convention Director. He founded the first Phoenix Comicon in 2002 and with a merry band of volunteers have built Phoenix Comicon from what started as an idea to organize a comic book convention (attendance  of 432  to over 75K for 2015). to the multi faceted show that we know today.  He attributes the growth to the passion of fans and their interest in creating related activities. The various fandoms that have contributed to the events, have and continue to change Phoenix Comicon and Fan Fest each year.

Every person that I had the opportunity to speak with, showed that they love and openly admitted that it is their dream job(yes, turn shades of envy).  As I went through their offices, laughter echoed down the halls. This tem puts in long hours to create memorable events for Phoenix. What I found that was so cool is their response when asked what they enjoyed most from their jobs. All of them responded in a similar vein – they loved seeing the fans’ delight during the event. What they described is comparable to the anticipation of a friend opening a gift that you made.

Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest 2015  

December 4-6 at University of Phoenix Stadium

Passes starting at $10

Tickets can be purchased at: http://www.phoenixcomicon.com/

Phoenix Comicon 2016

June 2-5

Check http://www.phoenixcomicon.com   for more information


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