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Lance Fensterman might just be the busiest man in comics. As the Senior Global Vice President of ReedPOP, he oversees a diverse portfolio of fan events spread over four continents and ten countries, including New York Comic Con, Penny Arcade Expo, and Star Wars Celebration. Mr. Fensterman graciously agreed to an email interview, finding time to answer my questions during his frequent travels around the globe. It will be structured similar to a radio interview, although a bit like talking with an astronaut on his way to Jupiter. This interview will take multiple days weeks to complete, then formatted for readability.
by Mike Scigliano So after what amounts to close to a year of preparation and work, the 2012 edition of the Long Beach Comic...
by Mike Scigliano After having given some heavy insight into what exactly it takes to produce a well run comicon it's time to show you...
by Mike Scigliano Having a great show that features a superb guest list, awesome panels, quality exhibitors and much more is every comicon's goal. Making...
The team at Long Beach Comic & Horror Con has spent much of the last week working on booking new dates for 2013. We discovered that Stan Lee's Comikaze had booked our traditional dates for 2013 and we needed to decide what the best course of action was for LBCHC. When it came down to it the answer was a lot easier than you'd expect. Do we stick with our dates and get ready for a battle or look into new dates for 2013? Our immediate thought was that staying put is not fair to ANYONE. Attendees are forced to choose. Our partners, our exhibitors, and creators, are then all put in the middle and forced to choose where they will be. It will cost LBCHC more money and will certainly result in less than desired results from not only our comicon but for Stan Lee's Comikaze as well. Everyone loses. And that's just not how we conduct business. We have our attendees and partners to consider as we do when making any major decision about LBCHC. And frankly, we just don't do 'Con Wars.'
By Mike Scigliano-- I'm guessing that most of you were wondering when I would get to the marketing aspect of producing a comicon. Marketing is a very important part of the process of putting on a comicon. Much of the success you hope to have will hinge upon how you are able to reach your potential attendees.
by Mike Scigliano-- A guest list and the expenses associated with it, like everything else involved in producing a comicon, come out of your overall budget. You've got to balance the books to make the show work. Hotel rooms and airfare add up quickly and spending all your cash on guests but next to nothing on marketing or programming needs, for instance, could lead to a train wreck pretty quickly.
San Diego Comic Con is arguably the mecca of all comicons. It features the most robust programming schedule that any comicon can create. Comics, movies, kids, television, games, books and much, much more pack every minute of its crowded programming grid. It's what many, if not most of the comicon attendees look forward to each year. Attendees plan their schedules to the minute to make sure they get a chance to get a seat at their favorite panels. Some will go so far as to camp out in a panel room from early in the day, moving up as each panel lets out to ensure they have the best seat they can possibly get. Obviously this is the extreme case when it comes to comicon programming. The likelihood of having a programming schedule as massive as SDCC's is slim to none. Even New York Comic Con, one of the largest shows in North America after SDCC, doesn't feature a programming grid as vast. So what does this mean for your own comicon programming schedule? Probably, it means very little when it comes down to the details and content; however, overall it there are certainly some things you can look at and put to good use at your own show.
Over the last two months I've discussed a good deal of things you need to think about when putting together a comicon. From venues and dates to decorators and floor plans, we've covered much of the big stuff. So let's take a look at some of the fine details that can easily be overlooked.
by Mike Scigliano-- One of the biggest elements in the production of a comicon that attendees will never see is the show decorator. Once you are locked into doing your comicon you'll absolutely need to have one. And they aren't cheap either. Before we get to deep into this let me explain what a decorator does.
There's a point in every comicon production process where things get real. The utter insanity of what you have undertaken becomes concrete. Booking your first exhibitor is a great high. Each subsequent booking continues that awesome feeling of things going well. That is until you get your first email or phone call from an attendee. Once that happens there is NO going back. The cat's out of the bag so to speak. It's at that point that you come to the realization that what you've been working so hard on for the last few months is now out there for public consumption. It was a very surreal moment for Martha, Phil and I for sure.
By now you've gone through all the hard work involved with the pre-production of your comicon. You have a venue and dates for your show. You've got a floor plan design that you feel happy about AND was approved by the fire marshal. The next step in the process is to begin to promote and pitch your show to potential exhibitors. By "exhibitors," I mean publishers, small press publishers, retailers, artist alley creators (artists, writers, inkers, colorists, painters, etc) and whoever else you feel might be a fit or want to exhibit at your comicon. For Long Beach Comic & Horror Con we place a specific emphasis on comics and their creators in our Artist Alley. That emphasis varies from comicon to comicon, of course, but for us it was a must.
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