We Talk Phoenix Comic Fest 2018 With Kristin Rowan Of Square Egg Entertainment

Recently I spoke with Kristin Rowan; Director of Marketing, Sales, and PR at Square Egg Entertainment about Phoenix Comic Fest 2018.

What can you tell us about what is new for the show this year?

We have quite a bit that’s new this year. We have new programs and events that we’re really excited about. Jason David Frank will be doing a martial arts demo on-site, we will be hosting a Star Lord dance off, and really we have entertaining panels and events for just about every fandom all weekend long. We’ve moved our table top gaming into the west building of the Phoenix Convention Center and we’re expanding our electronic gaming, which will now be inside the lower level exhibit hall. There’s definitely something for everyone.

Last year was tricky for fans with the unexpected security issue and the resulting ban on props. What have been some of the changes you have for 2018 as a result of this and the feedback from fans?

Last year was a challenge for all of us in many ways, but we learned a lot and we’re improving a lot because of it. We continue to work with CSC for security inside the convention center, and we’ve partnered with Pride Group for the outside security set up. Pride group is experienced in running high-level security procedures at major events and we’ve worked with them to completely redesign the security set-up. It will be quite different from last year, and hopefully our attendees will notice a much smoother process with much less wait time.

What can you tell us about the new security steps as it seems that a greater effort to increase security but reduce line times has been a key part of planning for this year.

The layout is really the big change. We’ll have three fully staffed entrances with walk-through metal detectors and wands, 3 times the number of redemption stations for attendees to pick up their credentials, prop check stations outside security at every entrance, and priority lines during peak times.

Last year we saw an interactive display for “Dunkirk” do you see more of this sort of thing in the future where upcoming films and shows are promoted at the convention directly by the studios?

I think it’s a good possibility, as more and more Phoenix is becoming a focus for this type of promotion. We’d certainly love to have them!

Will you be using the RFID system that was used at FanFest and what was the reaction to that at FanFest?

We will be using the RFID credentials for all attendees, exhibitors, and staff. The biggest hurdle at Fan Fest was the time it took for attendees to “tap out” when they were leaving the area. We’ve eliminated that for Comic Fest. Attendees will tap in to ensure their credential is valid, but will not tap out when leaving.

What can you tell us about the name change of the convention?

Recent events pushed us toward changing the name. The lawsuit between San Diego Comic-Con and Salt Lake Comic-Con put us right in the path for potential issues and we decided we’d much rather focus on our event than on our name.

What can you tell us about the guests planned for this year as well as the selection process and how the timing of guests announcements are made?

I think we’ve got an amazing line-up this year, and we’re not done yet! Guest selection comes down to a number of factors. We look at popular shows and movies, classic genre type shows and movies, and which guests have been successful in the past. It also really depends on the guests’ filming schedule, availability, and willingness to attend. Guest announcements are strategically planned to align with the rest of our marketing strategy for each show.

How many people do you expect to attend this year?

We expect 80-100k attendees.

What can you tell us about the charitable aspects of the show?

Since 2010, our signature charity is Kids Need to Read, a national non-profit organization that donates books and other reading materials to Title 1 schools and underprivileged children. Kids Need to Read hands out thousands of books each year in the valley and around the country and we are proud to support children’s literacy alongside them. Each year we host fund-raising events on-site for KNTR. The Friday night poker tournament, hosted by Lupine Entertainment, and the Saturday night party, hosted by Blue Ribbon Army, are both fundraisers that donate 100% of all proceeds to KNTR. In 2017, Phoenix Comic Fest donated just over $60,000 to KNTR with the help of our generous partners, sponsors, and attendees.

What are some of the long term plans for the show going forward?

It’s difficult to have much in the way of long term plans, given that the industry and the landscape seem to change fairly often. We plan to focus on our attendee experience, bring the best guests, programming, and activities we can, and to learn from our past endeavors to make each year better than the one before.