Monday, March 28, 2011

C2E2.2 A few Post Con Thoughts from Lance


With C2E2 now a solid 7 days in the rear view mirror, it seemed like a good time to share a few thoughts a few links and say some thank you's.


The team left Chicago feeling ecstatic about the way C2E2.2 went down, I don't know if you were on the show floor Sunday at 5pm when we dimmed the lights to wrap up the show but all those left on the floor started applauding. I've never seen that before, anywhere, nor has anyone else on the team.

That seemed to be a pretty good summation of how the weekend went. We needed a strong show this weekend and after talking with fans and exhibitors, we feel pretty confident that we delivered. A 26% increase in attendance to 34,000 was exactly the kind of step forward after a decent launch year that the show needed. We'll know a lot more after we conduct our exhaustive post show research (which by the way, if you get a survey, please take the time to fill it out, we really value and act on the feedback).

The new hall seemed way better and I was pleased to see most panel rooms very full. In general I have little to complain about, except maybe the fact that the building ran out of food on Saturday. In fact McCormick Place officials said they served 6 times as much food as they did last year. A bigger crowd and a hungrier crowd it seems.


Although it's not official, the dates for C2E2 2012 will be March 16-18 and we will be back in the West building again.


A few highlights for me personally were:


- The Rock Band stage, which I used as my morning wake up call. It's amazing how rocking out to a few songs around 8am can really help get the blood flowing.


- The CBR bar at the Hyatt was outstanding. It was equal parts awesome and dangerous to end the day with a drink and a massive representation of the comics industry in one swoop. And yes, we had a few staff causalities the day after St. Patty's day.


- The Comedy Death Ray event on Friday was, I believe, the best event ReedPOP has ever produced. While Patton Oswalt is a personal favorite, I don't say that solely out of hero worship. My point is that is is exactly the kind of event we aim to do more of. It was not a pure comic (and I mean comic in the periodical sense) event, but rather an offshoot of the pop culture world comics helped to spawn. We believe C2E2 and NYCC should be forward looking gatherings that bring new fans into the community - not stereotypical nostalgia shows with talents and stories of days long past (keep in mind, respecting the history of this culture is vastly different from profiting off of the nostalgia of it while offering very little endearing value to the community). The Comedy Death Ray event was a branch off of the big pop culture tree that comics are the trunk; endemic enough, but still striding into new territory to make it fresh and draw in a new audience (a third of those that bought tickets to the event, had never been to a con before). Look for more and more programming like this at our shows.


- Like the Comedy Death Ray event, having Rick Bayless at the show was an awesome creative twist. It was a totally different panel than anything we have run in the past, but it illustrated that we hope our shows are not about just comics, but rather art, self expression, creativity and all rooted in popular culture. Rick had an amazing time, and he was a little nervous about it at first. Another cool example of what we hope ReedPOP shows can do to deliver new thinking and new audiences


- Having Newsarama in a studio on the show floor was a success and something we'd like to replicate again. It brought an energy to the show and a transparency to how the media covers us.


- Maybe my biggest highlight was the Crave Crate of 100 White Castles that the team surprised me with in the show office Saturday night!


While those are my personal highlights and I do believe that the show took a massive leap forward in year two, we are also realistic about the road ahead. Our goal when we launched C2E2 was to bring a national event that celebrates all the strains of pop culture to Chicago and this year was an important milestone, we have a lot of shows and a lot of crowds to deliver to reach our goal for the fans of Chicago.


We look at launch events like C2E2 as 3-4 year processes for them to meet there potential. If year 1 was a little behind where we wanted to be, we feel like we are back on track or even a little ahead after year 2. The only way we'll stay on track to delivering that massive event that Chicago fans said they wanted and our exhibiting customers said they needed is to keep listening to the fans and building the kind of event they can be proud of. Our belief has always been fans first and from that basis we'll build events that are successful for all. In order to do that though, we need to keep hearing from the fans. Email, post comments, come to meet ups whenever I am in Chicago and fill out those surveys we send, you guys are our most critical partner.

Thanks for a great time in Chicago and for helping take C2E2 to another level. We are on a pretty exciting adventure together!


-Lance

2 comments:

Nick said...

Your survey is flawed.
I was forced to answer two questions that didn't pertain to me in order to continue on in the survey.

Question #1: Did you attend any of the sessions in the IGN theater? NO, I DIDN'T but I couldn't tell you that.

Question #2: Did you attend any of the autograph sessions? NO I DIDN'T but I couldn't tell you that.

Lance Fensterman said...

Hey Nick, sorry about the hassle, we are workign on correcting this now.