Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pre-New York Comic Con with Peter Tatara

Ok New York Comic Con is just around the corner and I am psyched! Not only are the fans psyched but Peter Tatara is also very excited about the event. “NYCC has very quickly become a huge spectacle.” With excitement comes work. “There's a lot of work that needs to be done, and it has to happen all right now to make sure the con is ready for February.” Once the work is done and the convention occurs I am sure everything will be great with amazement.

Speaking of work, the people at NYCC have been working on finalizing guest and panel list. “This is confirming who'll be there and making sure they've got flights and hotels.” Other works conducted in preparations for the convention includes, but not limited to, are programming, exhibitors, and sponsors. So, all the work they do is to make sure every detail and every corner is worked out smoothly for the success of the convention. The work for a successful convention does not stop at the pre-convention nor preparation stages. It continues during the show, which includes Peter’s duties. “Patching leaks, putting out fires, and making repairs. We're going to build a good show, but things will break, and it's my job to be the duct tape.”

Peter has been working on previous NYCC's. I wanted to know if he felt that his previous experience will be any or less different to NYCC 2009? According to Peter, he said that it would be “very different.” In the past, Peter was in charge of the anime and manga programming aspect of NYCC. This time Peter is “running all the programming at the show.” As a result, he has his “hands in all the guests, all the screenings, all the panels, and all the special events.” So it is full blown programming duties for him. With his newfound duty, Peter feels that “it's daunting having to take something that is known and loved and do it again -- and make it better.”

Speaking of previous NYCC and continuing the subject of working on the convention, there was an unfortunate event that occurred. “In year one, we had too many people in the building, and the fire department shut the show down for a few hours. We've been able to avoid this every year since, but we're still conscious of capacity and making sure we have enough space for all attendees.” So to prevent this from happening again, NYCC has gotten more space each year “but we're getting close to capacity.” Because of the closeness in capacity limit, estimation had to be done. To do that, Professionals, who would like to attend on Saturday and Sunday, will be charged ten dollars. “Previously, all three days have been free to Pros (with dedicated Pro programs on Friday), but we've never been able to track how many actually come over the weekend, and this means we've got several thousand more bodies who tip us over capacity. By giving Pros the option for a Friday or a Weekend Pro Pass, we'll be able to more accurately count who is actually inside when things get jam packed on Saturday.”
In regards to attendance, Peter told me that last year it was 65,000 attendees. “This year, we'll easily hit 70,000, but I don't want to look any higher than that. We were in April '08 but we're moving to February '09 and we're all cautious because of the cold.” Yes weather makes a big difference in attendance.

So from all the hard work that was put into the convention, what can fans expect? Are there any big surprises for the fans out there? Peter said “more. All I can say is "more"…but I can't talk about the big stuff yet.” So all NYCC is doing is “giving the fans more and doing it better.”

One of the things that fans can expect is the guest list at the NYCC 2009. The guests at NYCC 2009 “represent the best of pop culture -- across comics, movies, television, anime, and games.” Some of the guest are returning guest from NYCC 2008, while others are “crossing over from NYAF.” Of course not every desired guest can attend. Some cannot come due to scheduling conflicts. “They'd love to come, but they're supposed to be filming during the con. In these cases, we try to confirm them for next year.”

Other things that fans should look out for are any special activities during the convention and special events happening at NYCC. Of course, Peter cannot tell me the full-blown details, because they are surprises for the attendees. He did tell me that they would be having some special events, premieres, and concerts. “We try to make as many free as possible to attendees, but there'll likely be a small fee for anything offsite.”

Another event I was curious about is Kids Day at NYCC. Now some might think comics are not for children or some might think they are for whatever reason. Some might not even consider a comic book a literacy tool, but it is. This is what makes Kids Day important. Kids Day, like comic books and graphic novels, “promotes literary. The entire focus of the day is encouraging children to read. And it's done in a kid-safe environment. It's a controlled location built with kids in mind.” Kids Day at NYCC “is a day celebrating comic books as the gateway to literacy for kids. It began last year and is going to be bigger and better in '09.” The event will take place on Sunday of the convention in an area of the show built just for children. There will be” events, activities, and guests just for kids.”
Now this is the big question about NYCC, why is it important to have such an event? How does it affect or not affect society’s culture? This is what Peter had to say: ”New York Comic Con celebrates pop culture. If it's new, cool, hip, or awesome, it's at the show. We want to celebrate the comic book and everything comics have touched as pop culture is a huge part of culture and huge part of business. If you look at this past summer's movies, not a month went by when a big comic movie didn't premiere, and Watchmen is one of the most anticipated movies of '09. Comics are big part of what's driving what's hot, and we're here to celebrate it.”
© 2009 Linda Thai

Thanks again Peter!!!
Thank you Chet Royer for the pictures of the FIRST New York Comic Con.
For more information on the convention please visit www.newyorkcomiccon.com

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