With tens of thousands of pop culture fans set to attend Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane and Sydney this month, Spice caught up with the team at ReedPOP to find out what goes on behind the scenes at the major event.
Here, Luke Lancaster, content manager for Oz Comic-Con and PAX AUS, shares the challenges and rewards of producing such a high-profile event.
How has Oz Comic-Con evolved since its inception in 2012?
It really feels like Comic-Con has grown alongside pop culture. It’s amazing to see how in the past few years pop culture has opened its doors; the biggest movie in history is about superheroes. We actually shared a photo in the office the other day of one of the earliest Comic-Cons. It’d probably fit inside of Stage 1 these days. So for one, the shows are much bigger.
We’re also constantly trying to improve and adapt what we offer. It’s a huge remit, trying to touch on film, TV, cosplay, comics, anime – you name it. And we’re always trying to improve the ways we reach those fandoms and create one-of-a-kind experiences for anyone who comes to Comic-Con.
What does the preparation look like behind the scenes?
Making Comic-Con happen is a year-round job. Even longer in some cases, when you consider we’re already talking about next year’s shows…
There’s roughly a dozen people who work on Comic-Con full-time, not to mention our amazing crew who help out at the shows themselves. The team all has their own specialties, but together we work with exhibitors, panellists, guests, and everyone else who comes together to make Comic-Con a reality.
What are some of the challenges that come with organising such a large-scale event in multiple cities?
Y’know, Australia is really big. But really, it comes down to the same challenges as most events. When we first get to the venue, it’s empty. It’s a big concrete floor. I don’t want to get too deep into how the sausage is made, but it’s no small miracle of logistics that gets Comic-Con built in a couple of days.
Outside of physically building the show, the hardest part is making sure it still has that local flavour. What works for Brisbane might not be what a Melbournian wants. Where we can, we try to work with local community groups to deliver not only a renowned Comic-Con experience, but one that resonates in every city.
What are the rewards of producing Oz Comic-Con?
It really comes down to being able to create a place where people can share the thing they’re passionate about. Everyone on the Comic-Con team geeks out about something.
It’s a lot of work to make sure those doors open, but it’s all worthwhile to see people sharing that feeling at an event we built. The feeling of being in a critical mass of people who are unabashedly celebrating the stuff they love, it’s electric.
Oz Comic-Con Brisbane will take place on 21 – 22 September, before heading to Sydney on 28 – 29 September.