So here I was, my first time at Rhode Island Comic Con in the city of Providence, R.I. It was billed as the 'biggest con in the smallest state' and that certainly was true with the amount of celebrity guests, creators, vendors and attendees. But all this 'BIG' certainly led to the show being a disaster for so many people.
But first, the positives (because there were so many)! It was great to see so many friends who have been doing the same con circuit I have been doing. It's so much better to share the fun and tiring work with friends.
I wanna thank Ramon Gil (my booth buddy) for not only hooking me up, but being a cool new addition to the family. People wonder why I'm always so positive and cheerful... much to do with the company I keep.
If you love Star Trek, Doctor Who and Supernatural and other top sci- fi shows, then you had a chance to meet so many celebs like William Shatner, George Takei and (see above) Colin Baker! Something for everyone...
BUT this also where the problems of R.I.C.C. to me started! With so many celebrities here it attract so many people to come see them... great for ticket sales. Now you had all these celebs fighting over the same dollar with not a lot to go around. Many names who would be a big draw at any other con suffered from this and the fact that the staging area was so crowded you may not have gotten to the person you wanted.
With so many people inside and waiting in long lines this caused too many people in the building and thus... Fire Marshall shutdown. For safety you can understand why they did this, but outside in the rain were people who were not not allowed to get back in, many parents waiting to get their kids back. But what was upsetting to find out was as the lockdown was in effect they were still selling tickets. This is where the problem takes an upsetting turn. I spoke to a few people who purchased tickets not realizing they were now going to the end of this line.
Inside the crowds were huge for a few hours and for me and most of my friends, were buying what we were selling, but then... for the next two hours it was empty. Sadly i know some friends who bought early bird tickets and didn't get in until 5 PM, giving them only two hours inside. Not cool for them or anyone in this predicament.
I don't know what went on behind the scenes so I will not judge anyone or criticize too harshly until I have all the facts. Maybe tickets were still being sold because they didn't know of the problems of no entry. I know that when things begin to go bad it can snowball quickly and not everyone is quick on their feet. I'm sure the promoters were putting out fires all over the place (like they normally do) and trying their best to remedy the situations. But when people are mad (and rightfully so) and there is a 24 hour news cycle... bad news travels fast and it is impossible to move faster than the speed of Twitter and Facebook!
Promoters also need to take into account that people don't just 'hit and run' at a con anymore, they stay and hang out. If a high ticket price is attached you will make it an all day event, so there will now be less room and the con floor now becomes standing traffic.
I know so many creators and fans are already saying 'NO' to next year, but lets give the R.I.C.C folks a chance to sort this out, figure out where the problems were, fix them and make amends because my first time at R.I.C.C. was a good time that I hope to do again next year.