How Does DCC Book Guests?
Here’s another tricky one; there is much we wish we could tell you from behind the scenes, but a great deal of it is confidential. I’ll endeavor to answer the most frequently asked questions/complaints without breaking any of those confidences, though.
“I Want [enter massively famous person’s name here]. Why Can’t You Just Invite Them?”
And right away, we’re into tough territory. Most people think that booking a guest — especially a big, super-famous one — is as simple as “inviting” them, and that they choose to just show up if they say yes.
This isn’t how it works at all. Guests of all sorts are doing a job, and therefore they expect to get paid for that job (which is why autographs and photo ops cost money, and that money doesn’t go to us).
As a nonprofit, we don’t have the same kind of guest budget that other shows our size may have because we choose to spend our money on educational programming year-round for those who need it.
We Can Only Book People Who Are Available
What this means is that not every celebrity in the world has a desire to appear at a comic con, and even if they have appeared in places like New York Comic Con or San Diego Comic-Con, it doesn’t mean they’re up for doing an appearance elsewhere. Or, that they are available. Or, that we can afford them if they are.
Oftentimes, the appearances at those two conventions are part of larger deals with studios and sponsors on a level which we will likely never achieve without being in a major industry hub.
We don’t just have the phone numbers of famous people (though, wow, it would sure be nice if it were that easy!).
“The Guest I Really Wanted CANCELED. How Can You Do This to Me?!”
Trust me when I tell you that guest cancellation disappointment begins at home.
When we get news that a guest has canceled, we are devastated, just like you. Maybe even more so because not only do we miss out on meeting that person too, but we have disappointed the fans.
Whether you know it or not, when we choose and book guests, it is because we want to make fans happy, to bring them something great, and provide an experience they can’t get anywhere else. We want you all to be happy and see this person, knowing we could bring that to you.
Perhaps even more importantly, the guest is also disappointed. They choose to do comic cons most often because they want to interact with fans — they want to meet you, chat with you, take pictures with you (sometimes even silly ones). It is a disappointment to everyone when a cancellation occurs.
It’s not a Machiavellian plot on our part to get hopes up and then dash them to pieces. Claims that it’s all a scam are equally ridiculous: We could not announce a guest without their contract and expressed consent or we would be immediately sued.
Further, we wouldn’t do that because it’s unethical and uncool.
Why Don’t You Just Make a Contract That They Can’t Cancel?
This frequent complaint/question, often made at the heat of a disappointing cancellation, is an understandable one.
It is difficult when we’re upset to see celebrities as people who have lives, but they do have lives and they also have other jobs. If we made a contract like that, no one would ever sign it, and here’s why.
I like the example of a friend’s wedding. A year out, you might agree to be in a friend’s wedding. You very much want to be there, and you know it’s important to the couple, who are your friends.
In the space of that year, or even maybe just before the wedding, you suddenly get a promotion at work, get accepted to a university program, or have an opportunity to go abroad.
Whatever the case might be, this new thing that you need to do as part of your career path now prevents you from doing the wedding. Do you pass up the job and go because you said you’d do it or do you respectfully change plans and take the career path?
Celebrities are people who face these decisions all the time. If their main career puts up a roadblock to their attending our event, there is little we can do about that.
Sometimes they encounter family emergencies or unexpected health problems. We often don’t know why they back out, but we also feel it’s not our business to ask. We just have to do our best to communicate it and hope to see them again in future.
Why Does Denver Seem to Have So Many Cancellations?
There are a couple of ways to see this, and this is just a guess.
First, it is crucial to understand that we don’t set out with the intention of not hosting any of the people we announce. If there is doubt that they’ll make it, we often hold out announcing them until we know for sure, and many have come and gone that our attendees never even knew about.
We always try to book relevant guests; that means the actors are currently working on projects or are presently on a television show or film series. It means they are popular and in demand, which heightens the possibility of their getting called away to something else.
The other problem is that June is a major filming month for pretty much everyone.
Sigh. This too increases the chances of losing a potential guest, as we have learned the hard way with a certain television show cast that we haven’t managed to pull off in a meaningful way even after several years of trying.
For Next Time…
We hope this has been helpful in shedding some light on how we strive to book the best guests we can for you. We’ve got a bunch more upcoming posts aimed at helping you have the best experience possible at DCC this year.
As always, if you have more questions or would like to suggest a topic for us to cover, feel free to write them in the comments below, post them on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you at the con!
More from Christina Angel:
All Comic Cons Are Not Created Equal: How DCC is Different
What’s the Deal with Cosplay and Prop Rules at DCC?
How Do We Book the Convention Center?
Are There Lines and How Do I Avoid Them?
What’s Up with the Ticket Prices?