As we prepare our June magazine which will be out near the end of June, we have an interview with Ryan Hartman Director of Events at Penny Arcade, Inc.
While the full interview will be in the next issue of the magazine, here are some select parts for you as a preview.
What is the best part of your job and what are the biggest challenges in
organizing and growing PAX?
I like being able to throw a party for people who are like minded and seeing what sticks. So much of what we put together at the show comes from the team just saying “this is cool, will other people like it as well?”
Also I’m a very organized person, I think it takes someone with a very specific thought process to plan things like this with so many moving parts. It’s silly to say but I really do enjoy the whole process of putting the pieces together and making them work. Building show after show from scratch on the backend and going through our staggered list of milestones is fun. It’s exciting and rewarding to see it all contribute to the final product.
What is most important thing you learned from working your first PAX Show
that you have never forgotten?
Set expectations. Fans are great, and they will roll with you through a lot, but always be honest and always set proper expectations. Be upfront with information and let everyone make their own conclusion.
I would think that with so many shows that it is almost a year round
event. Can you tell us how far in advance the bulk of the work is done for
a show and what are some of the key dates?
A given show is started on average 8-10 months ahead of time. Like you said, it’s a constant turning wheel so even beyond that we are still thinking of new ways to fix things. We have tentative ideas for the next 3 years of each given PAX, but the real actionable stuff is about ¾ of a year out before it starts.
We had a person ask us about how exhibitors are selected. Do you reach out
to some companies or is it all an open sign up?
A little bit of both. We have great relationships with a lot of gaming companies and exhibitors and work hard to make sure they are returning to each event. Likewise we have an open submission system that allows for many new companies to come in, or return if they have exhibited in the past.
Can you tell us if the proposed expansion of the Convention Center has
started to factor into future plans and what sort of things would you like
to have and what will they allow you to offer fans going forward?
We have ideas on how we want to use the space once it’s completed but we haven’t out and out laid out the convention to a fine tooth degree. As it gets closer each year we will put more into that level of planning, but the construction is slated to take a while and who knows what hiccups might change or delay things. When it’s a completed asset we will fully evaluate.
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