We mentioned on last week’s Podcast that we weren’t sure whether there was a Manchester Play Expo or not, and Kev put me to the task of arranging a replacement in the form of MGPX.
I haven’t made contact with anyone yet, mainly because trying to get the warehouse at Event City in Manchester seems infeasible and expensive.
That doesn’t mean I’m against the idea of an MGPX 2018 Though.
Our last one was great fun, but to be honest there has been a really weird pattern with them year on year.
Less people come, more people enter the raffle, we end up bringing in more from fewer people but the event itself ends up seeming a little on the small side.
Kev never seems all that fussed, but considering the lengths people like Dean go to with bringing equipment and setting up the audio for us, it seems a shame that they’re not getting the audience their efforts deserve.
The live show is always well downloaded, which is as expected when you consider we’ve got a global listener base via iTunes and so forth, so we’re only going to see a tiny percent of people able to make it, interested in making it, and actually making it on the day.
So I am kind of wary of doing it without knowing there’ll be interest in actually attending.
We’ve had maybe 4-5 tweets about it this week which is nice to see that those people genuinely want it on.
I don’t know how Play Expo pull off the crowds they get to be honest, as the events themselves aren’t high quality like EGX, Gadget Show or Rezzed, which is understandable as they’re bankrolled by massive organisations.
Play is more like a bootsale with a cosplay area that seems to dominate things more and more each year, and the odd appearance from the occasional game publisher.
I’m not pouring any scorn at Play Expo, in fact if I could run an event like that I’d love to. Running a big event or festival of some kind is like a dream task, I just know I don’t have the knowledge or funds to bring in large crowds to enjoy it.
Do you have any suggestions of what could be done to better manage this?
Ideas that come to my mind involve utilising what we’ve got a bit better.
If we had a weekend where lots of gaming podcasts invited their listeners along, Kev and his YouTube buddies did ‘an appearance’ and we combined that with Dean’s retro bits, some live content from us, and a big mix of video games, board games, card games and so forth that seems like a start.
We’d need some better evening entertainment options. People seem to run away if there’s loud music. A quiz, a tournament and bits like that seem more suitable.
I love sorting the raffle, though companies are becoming less and less free and loose with the items they send out.
What else is missing though?
Would we get more people attending if there was some kind of shopping involved? Do I need to book the cast of Red Dwarf in to sign autographs for £20 a pop next to Sean and the other guy from Storage Hunters?
Perhaps I’m missing the point and trying to make it too big, do we need less of the retro games, and so forth and just invite 50 people to the pub for an afternoon, with a raffle and quiz included?
In which case that’s much easier and we don’t need to go nuts on a venue and could just keep using somewhere like The Brewery Tap without re-wiring the whole place.
I’ve always wanted to do big events, especially since I used to attend the Buffy Conventions in my young adult days.
Their setup was always quite interesting. He’d invite the guests on a pre-agreed slice of the income made. He’d have 10-15 guests doing signings, talks and photos.
You paid £150-£200 plus your hotel, then presumably each guest got a tenner and he kept the difference once his costs were covered.
Sometimes major guests would cancel at the last-minute which we learned was due to the fact he never contractually obligated them to come.
It was more of a ‘if you’re not busy and fancy getting drunk in the UK for a weekend, you will make a few thousand pounds out of it…” deal which seemed to work rather effectively as I met most of the main cast and pretty much every ‘extra’ imaginable from Buffy, Angel and Firefly.
I don’t think he ever tried Buffy, Angel, Giles or Spike. I could be wrong though, my memory of it all is a bit hazy now.
With Firefly he repeatedly booked Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres to attend but they literally always cancelled because there was something going on in the states that they’d be filming.
The money-making plans he had in place at his events were clever enough to make a few quid without upsetting anyone.
You could buy pictures from him, or you got a ‘free’ program with images in that they’d sign, or you could bring your own single official item, (no knock offs!) and pay for subsequent stuff if you had a collection.
The talks were ‘free’ once you were in there, and you could ask questions.
You’d often get to have a drink with guests in the night-time too if you could get close enough through the crowd.
You also paid something like 15-20 quid for a professional photo, and sometimes guests would come for less but charge specifically on the day which was interesting to see as it was always rather hit and miss as to whether they’d get much attention.
These seemed to run rather successfully, and I imagine they still do – I got banned for arguing with the guy that set them up when he banned someone I knew without justification.
He made a lot of money out of the fact people would use his quarterly events as a place to visit their friends. So we’d all spend £300 to go meet at a hotel, that happened to have a convention on, so we could all get drunk and have a laugh together.
When we realised we could just meet at each other’s houses for £100 we became a bit more picky on which ones we went to.
I don’t think there’s a TV show these days where you could really set something like that up anymore.
The actors and actresses are on way more money, and they already do the ‘big events’ so there’s no need.
I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent from my original topic here of MGPX, but the main thing is I just want to know whether any of you would be interested, what your ideas are for pulling it off.
My gut feeling is we wont do anything, if we do it’ll be small…but that does depend on how much noise Kev makes and how much demand you lot show.
Worst case, we just meet up at EGX, Comicon or something else at a pre-determined time. (We do invite you all for a ‘meat up’ at a restaurant every event but they tend to be pretty small…)