Dan Farr and Comic Cons – Industry Insight

Written by | The Business of Acting

ReelGuru talks with Dan Farr,  a founder of the Salt Lake Comic Con about cons and fans!

ReelGuru.com: Thanks again for sitting and talking with us. So, you have received a lot of success with all of the comic cons you have put on over the past couple of years. What do you attribute most of that success to?

Dan Farr: Getting the word out on what the event is. My partner, Brian, handles the marketing and is a social media genius. Being able to help people understand what these events are has been our biggest push. When I attended different comic cons in different cities, I would go and I would see a show that had 10-15,000 people, which was considered a nice-sized show at the time, and when I would see those I would think, “Oh, this is great! These people are having a lot of fun.” And that’s actually how I got pulled into it because I wasn’t looking for comic cons, but when I went there I got sucked into the energy. 

I realized that I’m the average, you know, in regards to the world of fandom, but it was the excitement that made me look forward to the next event. I was a vendor there and I looked forward to the next one, and when I went to different cities, I would ask people I was with that weren’t going to the conventions what was going on, and most people didn’t know what was going on. “Oh, it’s just a bunch of comic book people.” Also, a lot of people actually think that comic cons are about comedians, so this really great event only had a sliver of the amount of possible customers.

If people really realized what it was, they would be there. They’d catch the energy the way I did; that’s why it became a marketing challenge—just to let everyone know. We really leveraged the celebrity status of the guests into reaching out to fans of different celebrities that maybe wouldn’t normally come to a celebrity signing event or comic convention, unless they knew that that person was going to be there. The trick is to let everyone know that Lou Ferrigno is going to be there, Kevin Sorbo is going to be there, or whoever, and spread that as broad as possible.

I think it would be an interesting survey question to ask people at the door how many of them had heard the term “comic con” before this event. I bet well over half of the people coming to these had never known what a comic con was before they came.

RG: That’s really interesting. Now, I imagine that you have a pretty good grasp of what you are bringing to people’s lives. As outsiders, we can go in and look and see everything and go, “Oh, this is interesting, this is quirky,” or whatever, but we have also seen people wandering around in tears. Can you talk about that a little bit?

DF: That’s really the payday here; we’ve been investing in this business, so personally it’s not an actual payday for me yet. I hope it will grow to that—it’s been very successful but not financially yet for me. So, my payday is really being a part of brokering this excitement of a fan and the meeting of this celebrity and seeing that come together, or a fan seeing a product that they really like from the vendors or meeting a comic book artist—seeing those fan moments. I don’t know that I have the fan gene as much as other people, my wife included—she’s a big Star Wars fan, so you can imagine who she was excited to see here. She was getting nervous when she was going to meet Carrie Fischer. When she was going to show up at the hotel last night, my wife was like, “Oh, I-I don’t know.” (Editors note: This interview was conducted before Carrie Fischer past away)

For other people, it’s Doctor Who and meeting Matt Smith. I’ve never seen Doctor Who, so I wouldn’t necessarily think that I’m a fan of that show or of him, but I become a fan of these people when I see them interact with their fans. That’s the payday for me: when I see people come up to me at these conventions and tell me their experiences.

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Last modified: November 1, 2017

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