Earlier, we shared the news that Micro Con, presented by Sideshow Collectibles was coming down the road, see our article Here. As you may know last year we got the chance to talk to Chris DeMoulin about how COVID-19 and the pandemic effected, changed, and ultimately cancelled Los Angeles Comic Con last year, see that article Here. Now that Los Angeles Comic Con is bringing the world Micro Con, we wanted to talk to Chris once more about the upcoming virtual event!
Eric Bryan Seuthe II: Hey Chris, always a pleasure to talk to you! Micro Con is coming, I know you guys are working with Sideshow Collectibles for this experience, how did you guys find yourself partnering?
- Chris DeMoulin: Not only is Sideshow a terrific company with amazing product, but they’re also SoCal-based, and we’ve been talking with them for nearly three years trying to find a way for them to have a fun activation at L.A. Comic Con. After our 2020 event was rescheduled to 2021 due to COVID-19, we developed the idea for Micro Con, and within that was the idea of having a “featured booth” – the kind of booth on a Con show floor that everyone lines up to get into and can’t wait to see what they have. When we brought that idea to Sideshow, they loved it and came on board as our presenter. Now, they’re the featured booth!
Eric: I noticed that this virtual convention is showcasing live panels, what was the reason you guys decided to not fall into the ease of pre-recording them?
- Chris: Micro Con was designed to be just that – a Microcosm of a live IRL Con. We think the four critical elements of any IRL Con are: 1) great main stage panels, 2) live fan/celeb meet & greets, 3) a featured or destination booth with mind-blowing product and 4) dozens to hundreds of other artists and booths to explore and shop. So, we set about recreating that by doing as much live as possible, with an emphasis on finding technology partners who could facilitate the feeling of a live, in-person event. Our event partner, InCrowd Studios, has amazing tech to allow you to rotate in up to 50 guests in the streaming audience live along with the live/digital guests for real interactions, Q&A, etc. Peeq also has a terrific system to facilitate fan/celeb meet & greets. The Sideshow tours will be pre-recorded because we all felt that was the best way to enhance the fans’ experience with their product. But the entire event is designed organically to replicate an IRL event and to be a seamless live, digital hybrid experience.
Eric: The SuperFan Mall sounds like quite the impressive feat. What video game developers did you guys partner with to produce this experience?
- Chris: We partnered with a company called Robot Sea Monster, and they’ve been great to work with. We wanted to create shopping that was a fun, unique experience that is different from the online shopping we’re all doing every day. We wanted to incorporate some of that sense of exploration and discovery you get at a real Con, that excitement of “what will I find around this corner?!?” The initial 1.0 version at launch is pretty basic, but RSM has designed it in a way that – as we build traffic and add stores – we can add more depth to the experience with things like animation, games and avatars.
Eric: Was it hard for the vendors you are working with to create their virtual space within the mall?
- Chris: I think it was pretty straightforward by all accounts. We worked with about 20 exhibitors and artists in the beta test. It’s quite similar to Etsy.
Eric: Tickets for the VIP “All Access” experience cost $99, which is quite a bit for a four-hour experience, what benefits does the All Access ticket net the attendees, over the $15 “General Admission” ticket?
- Chris: The tickets go in order of general admission for $15, then the VIP admission for $35 and then the All Access admission for $99. The VIP ticket allows all of the benefits of general admission plus giving the fan the choice to participate in one of the six live-session panels with Q&A, plus access to photos taken within the studio. The All Access tickets give fans the chance to participate in the live audience for all six live panels. There are only 50 All Access tickets available, so it’s for the fan that really wants to go all-out making this experience as “live” as possible, hopefully being able to ask questions of several of the celebrity guests.
Eric: Will more panels and virtual meet-and-greets become available as we get closer to April 17th?
- Chris: Absolutely – we are posting talent updates for both panels and meet & greets via social media and email every Tuesday and Friday. Amy Jo Johnson (the Pink Power Ranger, of course!) joined Tuesday, and we will announce at least one new panel this Friday.
Eric: With conventions like San Diego Comic Con admitting that they’ve suffered losses, how has Los Angeles Comic Con suffered economically, and how are you planning on overcoming that to provide the same, if not better experience we’ve come to expect from you guys, when we are back in person?
- Chris: It’s definitely been a trying and challenging year for the live event business, and most of us don’t have the resources of a Disneyland or SDCC. We made it through the year the same as many small businesses – belt tightening, virtual office, PPPs, dipping into the reserves – and we were fortunate that we were able to retain almost our full staff. None of that will affect our 2021 plans – we’re planning the biggest, most diverse event we’ve ever held. Since most event expenses happen closer to the event, the revenue that comes in from ticket sales and booth sales arrives just in time to offset the expenses. So fans can expect the best L.A. Comic Con ever in 2021 – 100%!
Eric: We thank you again, and we can’t wait to see you in person at a convention when the pandemic is over!
- Chris: _
You can get your tickets for Micro Con Here, but hurry, as the event is coming up on April 17, 2021 at 11:00am PDT!