Phoenix Comicon Open House

PhxFanFestOH08The Two Gay Geeks had the enormous pleasure of being invited to an open house/reception hosted by Phoenix Comicon for Media and Press. Given the number of times we have attended past Comicon conventions, plus last year’s Phoenix Fan Fest it was a no-brainer that we would attend this private event as it would also give us access to some of the people who work for Phx Comicon and to have a few minutes where we would have a sit-down interview with them.

We arrived shortly after 5:00 PM and after we checked in we had some time before our first interview and we saw in their front conference room a display of some of the merchandise that will be available to purchase at this year’s Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest.

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Fanfest 2We were allowed to wander around their new office and we had the chance to check out their new photography setup that they will be using at both Fan Fest and Comicon. We learned that, in the past, people would have their pictures taken with media guests at the convention and then be forced to wait and pick their photographs up at a specific booth at a later time. Now they will be able to have their photos taken with the media guests during the photo ops and the photo will not only be printed immediately right there, but a digital copy will also be sent to that attendee’s e-mail account at no additional charge.
Keith and I were the first guests to try out the new photography setup.

The event was catered so after having a small meal we were then brought into the office of Brandy Kuschel, the Director of Guest Relations for Phoenix Comicon where we sat down and were able to have a brief interview with her, which you will be able to hear as part of our next TG Geeks Webisode. What I will say is that she was extremely forthcoming in her answers, both those on and off the record! She also gave some insights into events and panels that will be coming up with Fan Fest so stay tuned for their announcements!

After we finished with Brandy we then had a chance to interview the Director of Programming, Joe Boudrie. First off I had to compliment on his awesome office. It was geek paradise with all of the toys and superhero art he has hanging in his office. If I had a personal office like that I’m sure it would look quite similar. In talking to Joe we were able to get a sense of what goes into the programming of both Comicon and Fan Fest. We also had a chance to discuss with him the Comicon name and Joe gave us both quite an informative response as to the organization of Phoenix Comicon and how many of them are quite independent from one convention to another. As with Brandy’s interview, you’ll be able to hear the interview we had with Joe during our next webisode.

Our attention was then turned to Jillian Squires who serves as the Director of Marketing. Interviewing her was most interesting as she has a business degree in marketing, plus she’s into all things geek! It made her a natural choice to become a part of the Phoenix Comicon organization and she just celebrated 5 years them. Her interview went into some of the specifics surrounding her job as the marketing director and how she gets the word out regarding Phoenix Comicon and Fan Fest. Our interview with Jillian will also be a part of our next webisode.

Lastly we had the opportunity for a Q & A with Matt Solberg, who is basically “the boss” of Phoenix Comicon, so all of the press guests, as well as the Comicon volunteers and staff, sat in for this question and answer session.

Matt was extremely friendly and as equally forthcoming with answers as everyone else had been that night. Various questions were raised, including the possibility of holding a special event at Comicon and/or Fan Fest for those young patients at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Keith Lane asked about the possibility of seeing smaller, more singularly themed events on a quarterly basis that Phoenix Comicon might be interested in starting.

Most of what Matt had to share was how Comicon operated and the challenges they have been forced to overcome over the years. When it was pretty much over Matt echoed what Brandy had told us, that something really interesting was looming on the horizon for Fan Fest, and while neither Matt nor Brandy revealed what it specifically was (and even if they did tell us it would only be right for them to make the initial announcement), their reactions certainly suggested that it was something that they were somewhat excited about!

What I took away from this event was the enthusiasm that each of these people has regarding Fan Fest and Comicon. They definitely have a passion for each of the jobs they do, and they very much want to see Phoenix Comicon/Fan Fest continue to succeed and grow, but at the same time to be a quality event. Keith and I both agreed that our excitement for both Comicon and Fan Fest has definitely been piqued and the Two Gay Geeks are very much looking forward to attending these, and any future, events.

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