Con talk back: David Glanzer responds

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San Diego Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer sent a response to my epic post yesterday. I’m happy to post the whole thing — I think it is very informative and some of it clarified some things I’d long wondered about. In fact on one very important point, it directly contradicts what I wrote yesterday — and I’ve removed that part of my post. I’m not going to rebut any of it…it doesn’t really need any rebuttal. I hope I made it clear that I am well aware that no one is actively trying to keep people out of panel rooms…it is the way it is, but some changes in procedures may need to be made. Glanzer writes:

I’m sorry to say that there were, indeed, some issues with registration this year. Not just with Professionals, but Attendee Registration and Press as well. Obviously, no one should have to wait in a line for two hours and we honestly do take great strides in trying to avoid scenarios like that. My understanding is the issues that caused those problems were addressed and should not arise next year.

Regarding the “one person out, one person in” scenario. That was implemented because the room had reached capacity and the Fire Marshall closed the room.

As you know safety is one of the primary issues of concern for us, and we work very closely with city officials and particularly the Fire Marshal on site. Once the Fire Marshal makes the call to close a room, it is closed. It is up to her when, or whether or not, to allow people to begin entering again.

With regard to a press list, there actually is no press list. Each studio is given an allotment of seats for use ONLY during their presentation. Those seats can be given to family members of those on the panel, executives, or press. But there is no press list at the front of the hall for special access.

And because of this the studio certainly does NOT have control over who enters Hall H. As mentioned above, the presenting studio is given an allotment of tickets for specified seating and it is up to them how they disburse them.

I certainly agree that something must be done to address the issue of press for those big rooms. And it is something we are discussing now, and as you can imagine with close to 3,000 press in attendance it is a daunting task. I might also point out that for us “legitimate” press includes online bloggers and such.

We know that the bigger publications and news outlets will write about our show once a year, but it is online press who write about us throughout the year, and they pay particular attention to our gusts. Guests like; Sergio Aragonés, Kyle Baker, Alison Bechdel, Allen Bellman, Ray Bradbury, Dan Brereton, Daryl Cagle, Cecil Castellucci, Darwyn Cooke, Guy Delisle, Paul Dini, Roman Dirge, Cory Doctorow, Ann Eisner, Warren Ellis, Mark Evanier, Renée French, Gary Friedrich, Christos N. Gage, Neil Gaiman, Rick Geary, George Gladir, Laurell K. Hamilton, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Adam Hughes, Joe Jusko, Miriam Katin, Mel Keefer, Scott Kurtz, Joseph Michael Linsner, Joe Matt, David Morrell, Karen Palinko, Lily Renee Phillips, Mike Ploog, Paul Pope, George A. Romero, Rowena, Dave Stevens, J. Michael Straczynski, Ben Templesmith, Roy Thomas, Morrie Turner, Mark Verheiden, Matt Wagner, J. H. Williams III, Kent Williams, F. Paul Wilson, and Brian Wood.

I should point out that no one wants to deny anyone entrance to a panel. We really don’t. And something must be done to address the issues raised this year with press. And I promise you, this is something we’re working on currently.

Your suggestion that more than one person may be needed to cover the show is a good one. Just in terms of specific panels, we had over 350 hours of programming, and I would imagine it is nearly impossible for one person to cover it all by themselves.

Obviously someone of the stature of Trina not being able to get into a panel is troubling for us. And I trust that we will have a solution to this very soon. Again, we’re still in the process of unpacking and trying to answer loads of emails, but we’ve already begun the process of discussing what went wrong and trying to come up with solutions to ensure that things like this don’t occur again.

Thanks for the kind words about the Comic-Con staff, and I would agree, you should not have to call for something as simple as getting into a panel. And I honestly believe we will have a solution to this issue for the next show. We just have to kick it around a bit and make sure it works.

I might point out that wrist bands were NOT for special entrance to Hall H. I’m not sure how that got around, but many people were under that assumption and that assumption was incorrect.

As for people not being able to enter Hall H. Again, when the Fire Marshall closes a room, there is no way for anyone to get in, it becomes an issue of safety and we must defer to her completely.

Our press room is very spartan. Hopefully we can get a sponsor for this room in the future.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on your post.

Comments

  1. David Glanzer is not only a sweetie, but remarkably responsive to criticism. If only some politiicians would be as open and honest about admitting mistakes and considering solutions.

  2. Some people have said that this year marked the beginning of the end for comic con due to problems like the ones addressed by David G (and I do agree he is a hell of a guy) but I don’t think so. Over all I think the man did as good a job as anyone could do. San Diego (along with comics themselves) are entering a new era. What that era may be, no one can know for sure, but I’m excited to find out. When I got back, one of my co-workers where I teach art at told me that he watched comic con unfold onG4 , and it made him want to go. That’s a very good thing for comics right there. Just the year before that, floored to be watching a history of comics (and a history of Superman) on the History Channel. We’re getting to where we always wanted to be. I’d warn those who might focus to much on the negative to take a look at these facts.

  3. How about simulcasting the video from Hall H and Room 20 to the press room? That way the press can watch the presentations, while the actual live shows can be saved for who they are meant for: the fans.

    -Steve!

  4. I hope CCI:SD will consider several concrete options for expansion I heard bandied about during this year’s event. The Con should start Tuesday as a trade show for professionals and press and “Preview Night” starting at 6pm; then open for an additional full day of programming on Wednesday. It may not be the solution, but it’s a start.

  5. Yeah, I miss pro con. It would really help to take the stress off of those of us who are there to do some read business.

  6. Something needs to be done about the roadblock of studio pavilions smack in the middle of the hall. All the dangerous congestion happens there. Go to Artists Alley, the Small Press Pavilion, anywhere outside the middle and you could almost swing cats, but try to cross through the Hollywood gauntlet and you risk getting crushed. Since Hall H is the center for movie stuff, maybe everything related should be shoved down to that end. At the very least, maybe tickets for autographs and promotional give-aways need to happen at designated times at the rooms way up on the back hall upstairs, out of the way. And Hollywood celebrities have to stay off the floor. Sails Pavilion autograph area and panel appearances only.

    And no more promotional carpets. That stupid yellow Tin Man carpet was full of rolls and folds that nearly got people trampled on Preview Night. Who the hell can look down at the ground anyway when they’re desperately trying to avoid getting a some cosplay character’s cardboard hair spike in the face?

    On the whole I actually had a great experience at this year’s con, but then I went to Balboa Park on Saturday and only came back in time for The Goon panel. I also let go of my desires to see or obtain anything.

    Preview Night was terrible though. With no programming to suck crowds off the floor, something else needs to be done to reduce numbers. Maybe the three-day passes will have to exclude Preview Night.

  7. Maybe charge $10-$25 more to attend preview night (since they get access to the exclusives and what not) and then use that money toward a worthy comics related charity. Or use the extra funds to help make more low-cost tables available to artist alley or small press. Those sections seem to get smaller each year, dwarfed under the shadow of the movie studios. I’m obviously biased but I think the more help given to artists (young and old) so they can survive in that competitive environment the better the industry will be as a result. Helping B-movies succeed won’t help us sleep at night, but encouraging struggling artists not to give up is a worthy cause!

  8. I definitely second the idea of simulcasting the video to other places, so that people can experience the presentations vicariously if they are not able to get into the room. Or make the video available online later in the day. My company has pitched the Con organizers on this before, but they have (understandable) reservations about the logistics of it.

  9. The studios probably wouldn’t agree to a recording of their panels, but a simulcast would be awesome. The only problem is finding another room to put people in.

    A simulcast in the Press room is an even better (and maybe easier to implement) idea.

    As an aside, I’m seeing all the news outlets boast that the Con sold out for the first time ever…but isn’t this the first year there’s been a cap on attendance?

  10. Tom Galloway says:

    I’ll reiterate this suggestion; it’s not just the press who have a problem with getting into Hall H and Room 20; it’s all attendees who might want to see an item or three in there but don’t want to have to camp out for several hours to do so.

    While I’ll freely acknowledge logistical difficulties with this, as a four-day attendee of any type; regular, press, exhibtor, pro, etc., I can sign up for 1 or 2 H or 20 items in advance and get an equivalent of a Disney FastPass for ‘em; special door for Pass holders who have seating reserved in the room equal to the number of passes available for an event and which is cleared after each event. At 5 before the event, those seats go up for grabs.

    That, or let the people camping out in Hall H actually camp out there at night to get them out of the hotel pool. : -)

  11. Wow do I love that idea, Tom. I mean, I wanted to go to several Hall H events, and had to pretty much give up on all of ‘em when I realized that the only people who were going to see Battlestar Galactica at 3:00 had showed up to claim their seat for the entire day around 9 AM.

    I don’t want to camp. I want to see one or two presentations. And if the price of “Fastpass” is that I only get to pick one, when I pick up my badge for example, I’d be happy to pay that price and make the tough decision about which media panel I want to attend.

    I know this would require a ton more logistics work, but it’s the best suggestion I’ve heard for how to fix the “couldn’t get into the big panels” problem that so many of us faced. It doesn’t fix the press issues, necessarily, but it does seem like a really good idea.

    If one that might take more than one or two years to figure out how to implement properly.

  12. Torsten Adair says:

    The solution is simple: ticket every event in Hall H and Hall 20. Tickets would be handed out early (8 AM) every morning, with a limit per person. If a person wants more, they can get back in line.
    Gold Tickets are soldseparately at $10. These allow holders to be seated first, with limited reserved seating, and a chance to ask the first and last question. If the reserved seating is full, these “golden chosen ” get first choice of any open seats.
    Each event will be cleared, and attendees will be encouraged to leave by swag. A Con volunteer can man the exit to allow those with tickets to the next event to leave and re-enter.
    There would be three lines: golden tickets, regular tickets, and standby. Standbys would be seated five to ten minutes after the start of the event, at the discretion of staff.
    Companies sponsoring each event would be given an allocation of special tickets. These seats would be reserved off to the side, and seated like the Golden Tickets.>>>

  13. Torsten Adair says:

    >>> Press can sit there, or stand along the wall, or relax in the Media Center, watching the simulcast while drinking coffee and getting a backrub.

  14. Insightful. Bookmarked.

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