It’s getting so that even certified Nerdlebrities can’t afford the expense and stress of going to Comic-Con International: San Diego. Besides our own constantly growing anxieties, our email box is starting to fill up with people asking “Can I get in?” “Will you get me in?” and “Who can I talk to about…” With four-day passes already sold out, and the Comic-Con website already sporting a graph showing how close each day is to selling out, we thought it would behoove everyone to ask CCI’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations David Glanzer the questions that everyone is asking us, and save everyone some time. Many thanks to David for taking time out of what must be an insanely busy schedule to answer these questions.
An before you ask, no, we have no magical powers to get people into Comic-Con.
The Beat 4 day passes are now sold out. Was this earlier than last year or about the same time? Were there the same number [of 4-day passes] as last year?
GLANZER: Yes, online registration this year opened much earlier than last year. Additionally, we tried to inform the public that there would be no onsite registration this year so I am sure that is the reason registration for 4-days maxed out so quickly. Yes, the same number was used this year as for last.
The Beat: For those who still want to go to the show, is it still possible? What is their best option?
GLANZER: Although no four day badges are available, single day badges are. So it’s possible to log on to the website and purchase a badge for each day of the show.
The Beat: Professional registration is also closed, as of May 1, if I’m not mistaken. Is there any advice you can give to people with a last minute change of plan that might require them to go to the show in a professional capacity?
GLANZER: Onsite registration for professionals will still be available this year. Granted they will be charged a nominal fee, as we have done in the past.
I should point out, however, that because we have limited attendance many people are trying to enter the event either via press registration or professional registration. For this reason we are being more diligent in requiring verification of press or professional status. Also, there is a pretty good possibility that next year professional registration may only be in advance and online, or that the fee for onsite professional registration (should there be onsite registration for professionals) may be equal to the cost of purchasing a four day, or four single day badges. Again, this is to encourage people to take advantage of early registration which is complimentary.
The Beat: Likewise, the press list has also closed. Traditionally lots of people show up at the show with a business card and expect to get in. Should they disabuse themselves of that notion?
GLANZER: Yes. To be honest, last year when we informed press that onsite registration may be limited, we were happy to see our pre registered list grow quickly. Press were savvy enough to take advantage of early registration thereby guaranteeing a badge for the show.
Since mainstream media, for us, is online press, bloggers and comics reviewers, accredidation can be difficult to verify sometimes. Unfortunatley this has resulted in some people taking advantage of the press registration process who aren’t press. In fact last year one website gave detailed information on how best to thwart the press registration process at the show.
Obviously we would like to accomodate every person from the press who would like to attend. However, because we have a limited amount of people who can occupy the facility, we have to be even more diligent in our verification process. Likewise, it may be that we will have to charge a fee for onsite press (should there be onsite registration for press) to encourage people to take advantage of early registration.
The Beat: You have a graph on the main site that shows how many one-day passes have been sold — Saturday is almost gone. How quickly do you expect the other days to sell out?
GLANZER: If last year is any indicator, once Saturday sells out, I imagine the others will follow fairly quickly. I should add we really do strive to make each day unique at Comic-Con and, as an example, Thursday of last year saw some pretty great panels including the Indiana Jones panel, and Friday saw the terrific Founders of Image Comics panel among others. So Comic-Con is great for all four days, or just one or two.
The Beat: Just to make it clear, is it possible any longer to walk up to the show and buy a ticket to get in?
GLANZER: Unfortunately it is not.
The Beat: What is the situation with exhibitors and waiting lists? At least one prominent exhibitor who used to have a big booth has dropped out of this year — has the exhibitor list been locked down?
GLANZER: The exhibit floor is never the same from year to year. Some exhibitors can’t return, some exhibitors increase their space by a small amount and others reduce their space. And we try to make room for some new exhibitors to keep the floor dynamic. As of right now the wait list is fairly long. However, it’s almost like seating at a restaurant. A table for one might be easier to accomodate than a table for 12. While the floor is techinically locked, it is still weeks before the show and whlie we hope no one cancels, it is still a possiblity and, in fact, has happened in the past.
The Beat: Do you think the rise in airfares will affect this show this year?
GLANZER: That’s a great question and one I have mixed opinions about. I would think anyone coming to the show from a distance great enough to fly will have already secured their accomodations and badges. With the cost of travel these days I can’t imagine anyone deciding at the last minute to travel via plane. But I know that I have limited some of my own personal travel this year because of fuel coss, but now that I think of it, I tend to cut the things I don’t mind cutting out. But the really big things, the really fun things, I try to save up for so I can be sure and do them.
The Beat: If people want to go to the 2009 show, when should they start planning?
GLANZER: I’m probably the wrong person to ask this question because when i plan vacations I tend to do it pretty far in advance. Sometimes over a year. I guess I deal with a variety of surprises in my work likfe and I try to mitigate any surprises in my leisure life. But I would think planning for the 2009 show early is always the best advice. In fact, more and more people are taking advantage of purchasing the following years membership at the previous years show which results in a pretty significanat savings.