Notes from Comic-Con 2012
From Ed Peters
Every year, the fan faithful by the literal thousands descend on a tiny seaside hamlet south of Los Angeles for a chance to revel in all things unreal: the International Comic Con in San Diego.
And for the past few years, I’ve had the privilege – and the endurance – to work this very important show. Why important? Because it’s one of the few chances where, as a publicist, we get to actually interact with the public. Most of my job requires working with conduits to the public – writers, journalists, reporters, bloggers and talent. But when I arrive in San Diego – along with the roughly 150,000 other conventioneers – I’m directly plugging into their field of vision.
The reason for all this set-up is because this year, perhaps more than the five previous years I worked Comic Con, I got feedback that suggests we’re not always willing to recognize that it’s the fans that basically allow us to do what we do…
Example: I was helping out a client who had set up a signing at the show. I was charged with delivering the “tschotke” in question: the posters that the 3 to 4 talent would be signing for a (hopefully) lengthy line of fans. As I waited for the talent to arrive, I was happy to see a hearty few already lined up a good 90 minutes before the advertised start time. I said hello with the first couple of people at the front and started a dialogue with them. Right off the bat, I said “Thanks so much for coming to the signing.” The guy seemed startled and I said so. When I asked why, he said “You’re the first person that thanked me for being here.” It was now my turn to be startled.
During the course of the next 4 days, I had plenty of opportunities to thank the fans for coming by my clients’ booths, attending signings and hearing my spiels about this upcoming Blu-ray and that upcoming DVD. While I can’t say for sure each “thank you” will translate into positive press and/or the ultimate “clinch” – purchase of the product I’m promoting – I realized that for each and every person I spoke to, joked with, traded trivia or simply smiled to, they not only are the reason for what I do, but in point of fact, are responsible for my paycheck. If I don’t reach them and make them feel like they are as much a part of the product chain as the director, writer, stars, crew or distributor, then they won’t buy that DVD or this Blu-ray. As much as my client, they will let me know when I’m reaching them and when I’m not. To be able to have this pure direct insight into my job is a blessing.
So, for all the 150,000 fans who attended Comic Con – and I’m pretty sure I’m bumped into each of you by the time I left – a big THANKS for stopping by and letting me say hello, shake your hand, tell a few corny puns and most importantly giving me a chance to make a living.