Finally a new post! This was “breaking news” the last week of January in regards to Phoenix Comicon’s decision about their staffing. This would have been up sooner after the news broke but I was finishing up switching platforms for what I want to do with the site in the future. So getting down to business, in case you missed it last year, Phoenix Comicon (PCC) caused a commotion in the Geekdom. Square Egg Entertainment the parent company of PCC wanted to go through a Non Profit social club known as the Blue Ribbon Army (BRA) for their staffing needs for this year’s show and future ones to come.
There were a few meetings within the time frame they announced the staffing news discussing the change, for more details on what happened, what was said and the words that started the commotion; you can visit my previous post on the topic. PCC has since than had their first all hands volunteer meeting and opened it up to a vote with the two options back out on the table. Ultimately the decision was up to Square Entertainment regardless of the popular opinion, regardless of the input they would receive from current volunteers. Their final decision moving forward is they are shifting to an all paid staffing going into effect this year! Four months to the big show and they have to completely change their staffing structure! I do not envy them but I know PCC can pull it off and have high hopes for them.
“After much deliberation, we have decided to shift to an all paid staff in the operation of Phoenix Comicon and all events associated with Square Egg Entertainment, including Phoenix Fan Fest, Minnesota Fan Fest, and Keen Halloween.” -Matt Solberg PCC Convention Director
With change comes great responsibility, here are some pros, cons and hurdles PCC will be facing.
Pro: Alleviating the intertwining relationship with BRA that was brought up before. There is nothing wrong with PCC and BRA having a healthy communicative work-ship and relationship. When it came down to the staffing it seemed a little inappropriate of how the board was set up and how the staffing would have been done. Going to a paid staff will continue to give PCC full control over their staffing, get rid of a majority of people who sign up and become no shows. PCC can have the best staff possible, more so continue to have the best staff possible.
Con: T Minus 4 months till the big show. The show is the end of May and in the Geekdom we know that really means right around the corner. PCC is going to be making many choices in regards to their current structure, such as one of the actions they have already done which is getting rid of Professional Passes. There will be good changes, drastic changes, changes that we will not be happy with and some that will be for the best interest of the show. Best thing is to keep an eye out on their news, so when PCC comes around we are aware of the changes.
Pro: Keeps control of Staffing If PCC were to have switched to BRA the staffing choices would have not been in total control for PCC and Square Egg Entertainment. It would have relied more on BRA, such as making sure all staff are paying members of the group, and the board being in charge of who is on the committees for PCC. By going paid staffing Square Egg Entertainment/PCC keeps control of the staffing decisions, who to hire, what positions they need filled and so on.
Con: Can’t make everyone happy I know there was a majority of people that had no problem with the membership dues as they were already part of the BRA community weather by social media or in person, but to a lot it meant more dollar bills out the pockets as if there wasn’t already enough at a show. There were backlash against the people participating in the Non Profit compared to those who weren’t really involved in it. It Is understandable the PCC can’t make everyone happy. Overall the bottom line was they are a business and doing so they have the right to do what they want, to an extent I can agree to that and sometimes businesses have to make decisions that overall keep them alive in the ever changing fields involved in the one they are in.
Pro & Con: The future, not the time hopping Marty McFly does in Back to the Future, but the future of Comic Cons. The market is continuously growing and although just having staple shows around and bringing back the exclusivity of them would be nice, comic conventions need new ways to stay alive in a now over crowded market. Volunteering at a comic convention has and can be a great experience all around for people. This could potentially change that, PCC could be setting something into motion that future shows within a couple years could follow, especially with for profit shows that are out there today.
When I wrote my first article on the concerns I had about the news that broke in December, there was backlash, some called it click bait as I have mentioned before. I am a passionate volunteer and have been volunteering at comic cons since 2006, more show at one of the biggest shows out there San Diego Comic Con International, recently with PCC in 2014. I was concerned as it was also going to have a direct effect on me, and an experience that I love sharing with others, the experience of volunteering. Also the thought of would I continue to staff at the convention. I have not seen as much publicity on the final decision being made, nothing compared to what went on when they announced the original switch to the BRA Group.
I wish PCC the best with everything, they have much work to do within the next few months, completely changing their staffing structure, reorganizing, strategizing and many other things that I can’t even imagine. I wish them luck and am still planning on going to the show, whether Media Pass, staffing, or even just a fellow attendee. PCC made a tough decision but I, as a fellow comic con fan think it was a great one for them and their future.
View the Press Release sent out by Matt himself regarding the decision.
What are your thought? Paid Staffing for a comic con? Trendsetter or a mess? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.