Dan Farr Q&A, part 2

Here we are with the part 2 of my email exchange Q&A with Dan Farr, organizer of the Salt Lake Comic-Con (saltlakecomiccon.com, @SLComicCon).

The first set of questions was a general look at Dan Farr’s Convention background and Conventions in general.

As a reminder: I tend to ask questions bluntly, but ultimately, it is up to you to take what you will from both the Questions and Answers.

I hope you enjoy it! 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 again [Questions in BOLD, Dan Farr’s answers in ITALICS]:

{Q} As you may or may not know, I have commented previously about fan issues that I heard of and observed during the 2013 event as well as the January FanX pre-event featuring George Takei {HERE, and see also the “Event Reviews” category on this site}. Mostly this boils down to one word: COMMUNICATION. Do you think that it is a valid criticism on the part of the fans? If not, why not? If Yes, how do you convince the fans that you are aware and addressing it for the upcoming events?

{DF} Nearly all Salt Lake Comic Con fans have been satisfied with our pre-FanX events. When issues have been brought to our attention we deal with them on a case by case basis to make sure customers feel good about things. We have done this where we can with any and all Salt Lake Comic Con events. We pride ourselves on the fact that we listen to what our fans say, that’s why we bring in the guests we do. [I do not question the quality of the guests that have come so far. It is indeed an impressive collection, and I enjoy the opportunity to see them]

{Q} On the topic of communication: how do you respond to fans who felt “cheated” about the “free” George Takei pre-event?

{DF} This goes along with the previous question. We encourage fans to come to us regarding any issues they may have with any of our events. We will work with them to find a viable, satisfactory solution to their particular problem or issue. We make ourselves very available on social media for this reason. We know fan concerns are valid and we will give them the attention they require.

{Q} Lack of space and A LOT of attendees (and a perception of over-selling) ruffled some feathers in September, especially on Saturday. How do you plan to address those issues this year for Fan X and the September Comic Con?

{DF} Crowd control has been our number one focus and concern since the end of the inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con and we have allocated a lot of time and resources to take care of these concerns for FanX. We’ll be able to accommodate a much larger crowd than we had at the inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con back in September. We knew the Salt Palace had a lot more capacity than we utilized last time, so we put a lot of planning in and secured the entire facility. We planned on making the overall experience of people getting into the hall much easier and to have a lot more space while in the hall. [I was very pleased when I heard that FanX was basically taking over the entire Salt Palace. I believe that the added space can only enhance the experience for the fans]

{Q} Have you considered a sort of “Emergency Response Team” to monitor Social Media (Twitter, especially) during the events to address VALID fan issues in real-time? If so, how would you communicate those problems/solutions to fans NOT engaged in Social Media?

{DF} We will have customer service on site at the event. We encourage people who are having problems at the event to utilize the customer service provided to get their concerns sorted out. Social media contact from our fans is always welcome, but the best and fastest way for attendees to get what they need at the event is to utilize the folks on site. We have put a special emphasis on volunteer training for FanX, so these individuals will be able to handle any concerns that may arise. [I was pleased to hear the emphasis on volunteer training. An event of this size requires a support staff that is not only willing, which the volunteers would be, but equipped to handle the many issues that will undoubtedly arise.]

{Q} Aside from the obvious (FanX, the September Comic Con), is there anything you’d like to plug or promote?

{DF} I’d like to shamelessly promote our fans. I can’t give enough credit to them. Ultimately they are what will make FanX a success. We’ve made it a point to really involve fans in these events by giving them a true voice via social media in the types of guests and topics we bring to the table. We know that as we continue to do this we will receive the overwhelming support of the community.

[END]

So, there you have it, Shadow-dwellers! Salt Lake City is about to experience its second collision with the greater pop-culture universe as the Salt Lake Fan Xperience hits town on April 17-18-19. Lots of great celebrities and interesting-looking panels.

I appreciate Dan Farr making time in his undoubtedly busy schedule leading up to FanX to answer these questions. I look forward to thoroughly enjoying my experience next week, and I hope all you other fans do, as well. I’ll be there all three days, and if anyone can manage to find me in the crowd, I’ll be terribly impressed!

So: How do you feel about the way the event is shaping up? Comment below, and remember, Dan Farr is correct that it is the FANS that make events like this great. Let’s have a great time and keep it friendly, and help each other out whenever and however we can. After all, we’re all fans!

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