I have been swamped these last few weeks with weddings, anniversaries, general photo shoots, and, as of recently, some corporate events. Out of all of these, the last one I expected to give me any sort of problems was Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest.
I am coming off of a fantastic event down in Phoenix (the Phoenix International Auto Show). It is so fantastic that I am still not done writing up my comments about it. For at least the remainder of the month, I will continue to post positive things about that event. It was, without a doubt, the best run and most efficiently run convention I have been to across the country.
Perhaps you could argue it is because I love anything car-related. Or there were tons of cute show girls there. Or there were tons of expensive cars you could test drive there. Orrrrrr some other things.
Anyways, I still can’t shake the feeling that Fan Fest was just a colossal money grab. It’s not like Saboten, Taiyou, or that Tucson Thing That Surprisingly Still Exists nor is it like Phoenix Comicon. So, it is not a full-fledged convention a la PCC and it isn’t an anime convention, but it’s big enough to warrant renting out the University of Glendale stadium and some of the Renaissance.
The Good: It had Karen Gillan.
The Bad: What was there to do at this convention besides congregate amongst people who like the same stuff you do? My brother had said something along the lines of:
Phoenix Comicon “Walk Around Vendors” Fan Fest
And there is some truth behind that. Walking around, taking pictures, getting videos, and all that stuff can be done at any regular convention. So, what is the draw of Fan Fest if you just don’t have anything else to do?
The worst part is that some of the conventions were just congregations of people who liked the same things. It really made me question why they picked the University of Glendale stadium. There aren’t particularly great reasons to have picked that location. It would be better if they just snatched up the Renaissance just like Saboten did two years ago.
The Ugly: Words cannot describe how livid I am that I got to take pictures of cars worth thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars, but I could not take pictures in panels. The only reason I had applied for a media badge was because it was great interacting with all of you post convention. While my brother goes out to shoot photos for us, I like to go out and shoot video which I then convert to gifs for you all to enjoy.
However, upon walking into the panel rooms, we were immediately told that we could not take pictures even as media. They even kicked a guy out for taking pictures. This is what I don’t get and I will never get about events like these. You paid official photographers to take photos. Do you want to know how long they stood up and took pictures of Karen? Two minutes.
If Fan Fest just wanted their pictures to be seen, why were they not top quality? No extra lighting? If you are in control of the situation, then why not set up those lights? If you’re concerned about quality control and only getting photos you want out on the web, why aren’t you squeezing the best quality out of them? You had guys with gigantic L-Lenses (see: we also own them) standing afar and taking pictures. THIS ISN’T A SPORTS GAME. Set up some external lights and then snap some pictures with a f/1.4 and an okayish DSLR. Why pay these photographers, rent out this expensive equipment, and then take average pictures?
I could go on and on about how this was such a daft decision. You’re telling me that it was much easier to take photos of super cars, hyper cars, and luxury cars than it was to take pictures of an actress?
I convinced security at another event to let me photograph a million dollar car without it roped off. I could not convince security to let me snap a photo of an actress. Some of you may say “Apples and oranges”, but, to me, this is the same thing.
When we get invited out to huge events like Formula 1, it is our fault if we do not take better pictures than some dude in the grandstands.
I’d definitely like to hit out at this policy because I do not like where this is going for Phoenix Comicon. Tell people not to record or photograph big things like movie spoilers or trailers. But, don’t tell people that can’t record or photograph questions.
It’s just baffling to me. You had dozens of photographers taking pictures at the bigger convention, but you cut off photographers and videographers at the smaller one. Between myself and another guy I met at PCC, we had amassed ~100 likes for photos we shared at the same time.
We are here to get you guys exposure. I will gladly give you all my pictures and post great things about you all and your staff, but I will definitely take the time to call out bad practices like this.
Overall: I am leaving Fan Fest with a bad taste in my mouth. I'm confused as to the direction of Phoenix Comicon as a brand. It had such incredible service and organization during the summer months, but it felt disjointed and unfriendly in the winter months. As a result of this, I do not necessarily feel obligated to share my own gifs to communities such as Twitter and Tumblr. As press/media, I was asked to supply my photography to the official website. But I didn't take any photos because I was discouraged to take photos of what I really wanted to take photos from.