Dan Farr Q&A, Part 1

Well, my fellow denizens of the Shadow, I have received responses from Dan Farr to my email questions about the upcoming Fan Xperience (saltlakecomiccon.com, @SLComicCon, April 17-19, at the Salt Palace), as well as the inaugural Comic-Con last September and other related events.

I will be posting these responses as a 2-parter.

The first set of questions is a look at Dan Farr’s background with conventions and conventions in general.

Those of you that read me regularly know that this will be no puff-piece; I tend to ask questions bluntly in an attempt to prevent prevarication in the answers, but, ultimately, it is up to you to take what you will from both the Questions and Answers, the Interviewer and the Interviewee.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy what you read here! It is intended to be informative, and I hope that you find it so.

Feel free to Comment and Share (PLEASE!) here in the Shadow, on twitter (@mwwoodring), and Facebook. There are a lot of fans out there that might not see this otherwise. Fandom is born of word-of-mouth, so let’s make sure everyone has the best experience possible!

Here we go [Questions and Editorial Comments in BOLD, Dan Farr’s answers in ITALICS]:

{Q} Had you ever run a convention before the 2013 Salt Lake Comic Con? Any hesitancy in putting on something with the “Comic Con” label?

Dan Farr {DF} I had never run a comic convention, but I have participated in many comic cons over the years on the vendor side and I have partnered with MediaOne, which has run a plethora of large events in the Salt Lake City area over the years.

{Q} How did the idea come about to do an event in April rather than waiting the full year [from the inaugural SLCC in September]?  

{DF} Nobody wanted to wait. We were too excited about doing the second event, we didn’t want to wait a full year to do it. 

{Q} [What is it like] Being affiliated with “Comic Con,” especially because the San Diego Con is so incredibly well-respected and carries a huge burden of expectation from the fans. Can you describe the pressure of bearing those expectations? 

{DF} With the comic con label I knew we had a lot to live up to in that title, but I was also very confident that the fans here in Utah would be supportive enough for us to live up to the comic con name. I also knew we could put together an event that was big enough to be worthy of the title with the guests and artists that we had access to for the event. I didn’t feel a lot of pressure using the name, I felt more of an obligation to the fans in Utah to put on a worthy event. I wanted to make sure to put together something special for them. 

{Q} Why the “Comic Con” label for Salt Lake’s version? Why not “Wizard Con” [http://www.wizardworld.com/] or another incarnation of such a fan gathering? 

{DF} We ultimately went with a “Comic Con” because we didn’t need to get permission to use the name. If we would have tried to go under one of the similar types of cons we would have had to get permission from them. Comic Con is not a trademarked brand, so it made the most sense for our event.

{Q} One of the bigger draws last year were the roundtable panel discussions. What are some of the big panels you have planned at this event?

{DF} One of the big panels this time around is actually a ticketed event, it’s our Star Trek Ultimate Xperience. This panel features Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden and Denise Crosby. We know this will be a great panel. [William Shatner is currently scheduled to moderate this panel] That being said, there are many other panels focusing on a variety of television shows and movies that will be great as well. [As a writer, I am impressed by the number of panels that are dedicated to writing and publishing, and look forward to attending several of them, time permitting]

{Q} Cosplay was a huge factor in last year’s attendance, are you doing anything special with or for those who will be attending in costume?

{DF} We will be conducting another cosplay costume contest at FanX. The participation in last September’s costume contest was phenomenal and we expect the FanX costume contest to be one of the key draws at the convention during Saturday’s activities. 

{Q} I have heard from one Convention veteran (who has paneled at SDCC) that the SLCC is more of a Science-Fiction convention than a “Comic” Convention. Do you feel that’s valid or do you feel that it is just an evolution of “Comic Cons” today?

{DF} From all the comic cons I have attended, every convention has a unique flavor to it. These days it’s hard to compartmentalize what makes a comic convention a comic convention. San Diego Comic-Con is not the same event it was when it started 30 years ago. It’s evolved into a much different event. People in San Diego say it’s become a lot more commercialized over the years. It still has the comic foundation, but it has turned into a huge pop culture convention as well. We focus on pop culture and whatever people seem to be excited about. We do a lot of polls with fans and have done a lot of research to find out what are the most in demand pop culture elements to include.

{Q} If you were to host a 100%, “true,” “Comic” Con, do you feel that it would do as well in Salt Lake City?

{DF} Once again, this goes back to our fans. We are striving to bring in the types of pop culture celebrities and topics they are the most interested in. Comics are increasingly becoming more popular. As a result, there is a demand to have a comic book element to the event. This is why we have brought in local comic book artists Ryan Ottley and Tyler Kirkham, to give the convention a distinct Utah comic book flavor.

[End part 1]

So far, so good, I say. Learn anything? Tune in for part 2 of the Q&A in a couple days. And remember: spread the word!

 

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