Exclusive Interview With Dan Farr, Producer OF SALT LAKE COMIC CON
In just a few weeks, the geeks, nerds, Whovians, Trekkies, enthusiasts and cosplayers of the the Salt Lake City area will be gathering for the first annual Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience, an extension of the hugely successful Comic Con that set records last summer during its inaugural presentation. The Con ended up seeing over 70,000 visitors, making it the most successful inaugural convention in North American history and rivaling some of the biggest conventions on the continent. Not bad for a first try, right? Dan Farr, who is the producer behind the Salt Lake Comic Con and the upcoming FanXperience took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to have a chat with me to explain the differences between the two events, as well as what we can expect to see at the highly anticipated FanXperience, which has already sold over 20,000 tickets, with just under a month still to go. The FanXperience is a much different approach to the convention scene, but it will no doubt still be a fantastic event. Comic Book Therapy: What makes FanX different from the traditional Comic Cons that people may attend?
Dan Farr: I tell people there are more similarities than differences between FanX and Comic Con. There’s really a couple of reasons, we thought that the fans wanted something sooner and those fans included me and our team and we thought instead of saying “Comic Con 1.5” or something like that, we came up with the FanXperience. The FanXperience also became a mission statement for us as a team, to make sure we’re focusing on the fan experience. And the other thing, it became, it’s a little more descriptive for people who aren’t aware of the term “comic con.” You know, comic con is not something that, you know if you’re in “the know” group, you know the term comic con very well. In general, a lot of people, they don’t really know what comic con really is. My experience, since I started doing this, started talking to people about the event, the first one, a majority of the people had no idea what comic con was. And so for me, I wanted to, with the FanXperience, I wanted to try a little bit of a different brand and see how that goes. But in reality, it’s a very similar event.
FanXperience just really became something that really just an extension of the first event and the chance to get together twice a year rather than just wait for once a year.
DF: Well, one thing I’ll say about San Diego, San Diego, I’d say it’s more of a professional event, you know. There are fans that do get in, but for the most part, it’s really geared for the serious professionals, where ours, of course, we do have a lot for the professionals, but we also try to create an event that’s family friendly and fan friendly and, I’d say that’s probably the difference between us and San Diego. Emerald City, I’d say, my feeling, most of the other comic cons outside of San Diego are a little more fan-focused and they all kind of fit inside that genre. I haven’t gone to Emerald City yet, but as I’ve looked at information on it and all that, it probably, in a lot of way, very similar to what we do at ours.
CBT: Looking at the guest list that has been revealed so far, this convention looks to be more encompassing than the Comic Con last year, covering more than just the usual Comic Con fan base. What other genres can we expect to see covered?
DF: Well, we have Adam Baldwin from Firefly, we’ve got Power Rangers, we have Elvira. We have Mickey Dolenz from The Monkees. It’s kind of crazy. It’s hard to keep track of everything, but it’s like we try to get a sampling from as many different possible voice actors, you know. Charles Fleischer from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and he’s a comedian too. You didn’t talk about Star Wars. You can go back to Adam Baldwin of Firefly and Chuck, it’s more for the, you know it’s not main stream, but a lot of the geeks are into both of those properties.
And when I say geeks, you know that’s a loving term. And I feel like I’m being adopted into the geek plan.
CBT: I have! I’m happy to have you!
DF: I hope so, I hope people have adopted me in.
So the other thing, try and think of another genre..umm. Drawing a blank on that one. Oh yeah! Boondock Saints and Doctor Who! I’d say Doctor Who has been my biggest surprise by far on realizing how popular it is. To get popular with such a narrow group of fans, you know, it’s like the Doctor Who fans are a very elite group.
CBT: The most rabid.
DF: Yeah, they’re the most rabid for sure.
CBT: I’ve had a lot of people ask if kids would enjoy the event. What can you tell us about the KidCon element of FanX?
DF: That’s part of what we’ve done, we’ve taken, picture the last event, and just imagine some of the things that are more focused, well the same type of things that are more focused on kids, and just moved into a certain area. You know, I don’t want to sound like I’m playing both sides of this, but I tell people that just because we have a Kid Con, that doesn’t mean that all of a sudden there’s no more guidelines for the rest of the con. But at the same time, just because there’s a KidCon, doesn’t mean we’ve dumbed it down. Not dumbed it down, but you know what I’m saying, try to make it too moderate. It should be the same as last time, just picture last time, just adding KidCon to it. That should be what we have.
CBT: Which guest or event are you most looking forward to?
DF: Well, that’s a question I get quite a bit, you know. My answers don’t get any better. I don’t get any better at answering that one. I will say this: it is hard, there are so many things that I like and I’ll tell you ever more so than what I like, it’s more about what the fans like. I’m excited about Karen Gillan although I’ve never done anything Doctor Who. Seeing as how the fans are so excited about it, that’s what makes me, you know I’m really excited to see [crazy] over her.
CBT: For FanX, you’ve already got a great line-up of guests, with folks from The Walking Dead, Star Trek, various actors, authors, artists and such. I know you probably can’t reveal names, unless you want to, but do you have some more tricks up your sleeve in the coming weeks before the convention?
DF: [laughs] One that’s really fun that we’ll announce if we didn’t do it yesterday, is Pat Priest and Butch Patrick who were the kids on The Munsters. Yeah, that’s just really fun and unique.
CBT: Some throwbacks there, with Mickey Dolenz and now these two.
DF: Yeah. The thing with Pat Priest is she is from, she was born in Bountiful [Utah]. So she’s returning home.
CBT: Star Trek: The Next Generation is playing a major part in FanX and looking at the list of guests, there seems to be a couple people missing in Wil Wheton and Patrick Stewart showing up?
DF: Well, um. I’d say there’s a slight chance. I wouldn’t put any stock in it just because it’s really, uh, let’s just say we tried really hard to get Patrick and it just was not a good time for him on his schedule, and so, I’m one of those people, you know, I never say die, there’s always hope. But up until the last minute, I’m going to still have hope. Wil Wheton, yeah, we hadn’t planned on bringing him, but there may be a possibility.
CBT: Last summer, you assembled a very impressive group of guests like Lou Ferrigno, William Shatner, Adam West and of course Stan Lee (Was able to check that off my bucket list! Thank you!). Who would be your dream guest and are you close to making it happen?
DF: I’d say at this point Chris Hemsworth or somebody else from the Avengers. But, unfortunately, they’re filming the Avengers right now and filming during that time, so we can’t get any of them. We’ve reached out to several of them but they’re all going to be filming.
CBT: Just a couple of rapid-fire questions: Captain Kirk or Captain Piccard?
CBT: Star Trek or Star Wars?
DF: Uh, Star Wars. That’s because of the wife!
CBT: Marvel or DC?
DF: Marvel, because Stan Lee came to see us. Lou Ferrigno and all that. I know we had Adam West and all that, and Dean Cain and Burt Ward from DC, but I’ll lean towards Marvel
CBT: Favorite Avenger?
DF: Ummm, I have to say, probably Thor. No, no, no! I’m going to say Iron Man! Sorry, I’m going to say Iron Man.
CBT: Favorite Comic Book Movie?
DF: Oh, Avengers, for sure.
The Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience will take place at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City April 17th – 19th and has an amazing and eclectic group of guests in store. One of the biggest things happening will be the assemblage of numerous Star Trek: The Next Generation stars, including Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Denise Crosby and Marina Sirtis. Fans of the hit series The Walking Dead should also be excited, as Jon Bernthal, Chandler Riggs, Laurie Holden and Kyla Kennedy, who played the recently departed Mika. Whovians should rejoice as Karen Gillan will be making an appearance, along with Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer, X2: X-Men United star Kelly Hu, Sons of Anarchy’s Drea De Matteo and wrestling super stars Maryse Oullet and Barbie Blank, formally known as Kelly Kelly. The Star Wars fans have not been overlooked either, as Billie Dee Williams will be taking part, as well as Jeremy Bulloch and Daniel Logan, who both have played Boba Fet in the historic franchise will be appearing, along with Nick Gillard, the man behind the Jedi’s, As for comic artists and writers, some big names are expected, including Arthur Suydam, Jamie Tyndall, Terry Huddleston, Bob Layton, Ryan Ottley, Greg Horn, Ed McGuinness, Brian Pulido and many, many more! Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX will continue to announce guests as we get closer tot he convention, but I assure you, they will have a few tricks up their sleeve. They always do. For a complete list of guests, CLICK HERE You can purchase for the event by CLICKING HERE. There are several different options available, ranging from a single day pass, which start at $25, all the way up to a VIP Pass, which gets you into express lines for photo-ops, greets and autographs, early entry into panels and some serious swag. Those passes sell for $175, but are well worth the money for the serious fans. You can also find information about the Cosplay rules and regulations, information on the KidCon event and several other events leading up to the convention by checking our their WEBSITE, following them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER. I’ll see you at Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience!
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