Internship: FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention

From January through March of 2017, I was the Community Outreach Intern for Salt Lake Comic Con, helping them build up to the annual FanX event on March 17-18. It was a dream come true for me, because in case you haven’t looked at anything else on my website, I’m a big geek.

Here I am featured on the Meet the Team page:

Salt Lake Comic Con usually puts on two conventions every year. There’s the actual Salt Lake Comic Con, put on once a year and hosting over 100,000 attendees. And then there’s FanX, which is essentially a smaller, more personal convention (but still hosting I think around 70,000 attendees). Other than the number of attendees, the two conventions are very similar to each other.

As the guy in charge of community outreach, I straddled two different departments of SLCC: Social Media and Marketing. My superiors were Manda Bull (Social Media) and Kelsey Kingdon (Marketing), and their superior (my superior superior) was Bryan Brandenburg, chief marketing officer and co-founder. They were all great to work with, and I learned a lot from them.

I went into the internship with three objectives:

1: Gain hands-on experience creating partnerships with businesses.

Part of my job involved coordinating with local businesses, vendors, and artists. Conventions will often promote exclusives to generate business for the artists. My job involved contacting these people, asking them to provide exclusives. I’d compile images in a google doc and the information about the exclusives in a spreadsheet, and then send that on to the social media team to post on the website.

Exclusives Page

Another aspect of my job involved handling charitable donations. Salt Lake Comic Con donates a ton of passes to many organizations. My job was to go through the spreadsheets of past organizations and coordinate with Bryan, determining who to donate to and how many passes to send. It was then my job to contact these organizations, and then either ship the passes or arrange a time for them to pick them up. This was one of my favorite parts of the job. I used to be a cashier at Sam’s Club, and interacted with lots of unhappy people. But when you tell someone on the phone that you’d like to donate something to their organization, not surprisingly they’re always happy.

2: Come up with a great promotional idea/event for FanX 2017

One of the big guests slated for FanX 2017 was Stan Lee. That got me thinking of trying to find a way to incorporate comic book stores with FanX. So I came up with the idea of having a contest: For every customer who spent X amount of dollars at participating comic book stores, they’d be entered in a raffle for two free passes and a photo op with Stan Lee.

I presented my idea to Bryan, and he proposed that we have participating comic book stores sell prorated passes. They make money, we make money, and everybody’s happy. Of all the comic book stores I contacted, six agreed to participate. I visited each store and dropped off the wristbands for them to sell. While the idea was great, unfortunately by the time I got everything approved, there were only a couple weeks left before the FanX event. And the kind of people who shop at comic book stores are not the kind of people who wait to buy their comic con tickets only two weeks before the convention. So between all the comic book stores, only about six wristbands were sold. If I could have gone back and done it over again, I would have gotten this thing started way sooner.

Comic Book Shop social media promotions

3: Create some social media posts I can put into my portfolio

As community outreach coordinator, some of my miscellaneous jobs involved making social media posts related to either exclusive offers or cool features that would be displayed at FanX. But for the actual 2-day event, I had the opportunity to be a part of the social media team. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, we went all over the convention promoting panels and events. Links to a few of my posts still exist, but unfortunately the majority of my work was done on Twitter and Snapchat, which both over time will delete old posts.

On the plus side, my Instagram posts survived:

View this post on Instagram

#Cosplay makeup 101 in room 150G here at #FanX17

A post shared by FanX™️ (@fanxsaltlake) on

Overall, this was a great experience. I had attended Salt Lake Comic Con three times before, but this internship gave me an opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes. It’s amazing how SLCC pulls off so many events every year, especially with such a small staff. I’m incredibly grateful I was chosen for this job. If you have any more questions about my internship experience, feel free to ask!

BONUS:

I also had the opportunity to hang up the posters in the back room.

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