Monday, May 14, 2012

Blog #27: Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo 2012

The dust has settled and another year at the Calgary Expo has come and gone. For the most part I am very happy with my experience this year. I got to see every member of the original TNG cast, got their autographs or got my picture taken with them. I also got to meet Stan Lee, Comic book writing icon Peter David, John Noble from 'Fringe' and got to have beers with a wrestling legend: The Honky Tonk Man. I also managed to buy some stuff including a prop sword similar to the ones used on 'Game Of Thrones', a 'Superman' bathrobe, several sci-fi t-shirts and most importantly I added to my vintage 80's He-Man toy collection. The best part of the weekend was the time I got to spend with my son Bailey. He is a wrestling fan and had a great time meeting Jake The Snake, Honky Tonk Man, Million Dollar Man and other wrestling legends. All in all a very good weekend.

But there is a downside to this year. This year the number of people attending the con almost doubled, probably due to the TNG reunion but also in part by the stellar list of celebrities they had besides the TNG cast. Saturday in particular got so bad the Calgary Fire Marshall stepped in and banned people from entering the building. Even people with weekend passes were being denied access the con. One guy I met in line for a photo op told me he had went out to his car to unload some of the stuff he had bought then was forced to stand in line for almost 3 hours before he was let back in. People who had photo-ops payed for weren't being allowed in. And the lines inside were beyond ridiculous. I stood in line for a 'Fringe' photo op for over 2 hours, then with just 10 people ahead of me they closed the photo-op session. I almost lost my mind. Saturday I literally spent the whole day in lines. But I don't think the organizers realized just how many people would show up and were taken completely by surprise to the number of people who did show. They even expanded the con area space this year and it still did not create enough room. Being a fan of this con I have a few suggestions for the Calgary Con organizers which I think will help them next year to create an enjoyable experience for all and not alienate people.
1: Sell tickets to the event on line only. No more door sales. That way the days will not get over sold which clearly is what happened Saturday because people with weekend passes were being turned away and that's not fair at all.
2: More photo-op areas and have them in a different area away from the autograph area. Why not have 6 photo-op areas spread around. That way the photo-ops will move faster and flow better. 
3: In regards to photo-ops they should sell the photo-op tickets with specific times attached to the ticket as to not create huge line ups of people seeking the same photo at the same time. I had my photo-ops planned out prior to going to Calgary and I used their time schedule to make it work and because I got turned away on several lines I had to pass up some of my photo-ops I wanted to get done. I had wanted to get a photo with Adam West and Katee Sackhoff but because my other photo-ops got bumped around I had to drop them which really sucked.
But over all it was a great con. Hopefully next year the organizers will have all the bumps from this year smoothed out for next year. And maybe a few less celebrities is what is needed. I like having a variety of people coming as much as the next guy but this year was just too many big names for such a small venue. That being said I look forward to next years con and I will be saving up to purchase a VIP Pass. The VIP pass allows that ticket holder to get first priority to all photo-ops and autograph lines and other cool perks. Those tickets are over $300 but with all the time saved by having such a ticket makes it all worth while. So I will be saving for a VIP ticket for 2013 for sure.

And with that I say 'Nuff Said'.

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