Admin wrote:Most other events that have guests attract the autograph hunter who predominantly comes in, gets an autograph, may be has a quick look around and leaves, this just does not happen at the MCM Expo events, people do not want to leave.
With all due respect, I have to disagree with that. I'm a long term supporter of previous expo events as well as the old sci fi show fairs that used to take place... whilst I fully understand the needs of your business in changing with the times and offering something unique to draw bigger crowds to your shows, I do feel that perhaps you're missing the point somewhat as to what "autograph hunters" actually want from an event.
I'm quite happy to queue for any length of time in order to meet an actor or director of one of my favourite films. I'm quite happy to pay a reasonable fee for the opportunity too. In the past, expo events for me have been very enjoyable and I've had the pleasure of meeting many great guests. From many recent comments posted on this forum though, I've noticed a worrying trend for photography being banned whilst obtaining autographs/meeting the guests.
Again, I fully understand the need for expo to generate as much profit as possible. Whilst you obviously enjoy putting on the events, you are a business after all. The problem is, it seems that unlike past events where attendees where given the choice of paying for an official photo shoot as well as taking their own photos at the time of signings, nowadays the choice has been taken away and it's a case of pay for an official photo or have no photos at all. I think this is a great shame, as for me (and I'm sure, many other attendees) one of the main reasons for coming along to meet the guests is to obtain a photographic memento of the meeting.
Quite often, the actual obtaining of a signature isn't as important. That's not to say I wouldn't buy one or several 10x8's to get signed, I usually end up buying as many as I can afford, but faced with the fact that it's becoming more and more awkward to obtain personal photos at Expo, rather than turn up, obtain autographs and not want to leave, I'm much more likely to not even attend at all.
Of course, I understand that sometimes guests prefer no flash photography when they are signing, but then again, I have always politely asked before taking any photos and have never had a guest refuse to pose with me.
To summarise then, happy to support Expo, pay the same entry fee as everyone else, happy to queue to meet guests and happy to pay for signed items. NOT happy when the choice to purchase an official photo or take my own instead and get to spend more on actual signatures is taken away from me.
At nearly every previous signing event I've attended across the country over the past 10 years I've purchased signed items for a friend of mine who lives in the United States - as he can't attnd in person to get a photograph with the guests, he asks if the guests would mind posing with the item they have signed for him, so he can frame the photo with the item. The guests have always been more than happy to do so, but this is much less likely at Expo now judging from many of the comments from other attendees.
Please give customers the choice... at the end of the day, I think you'll find most autograph collectors are more than happy to come to your events and spend their hard earned cash, but if we are forced to queue all over again and pay an extra fee just to have a photographic memento of the day, quite often it's enough to put us off from coming along in the first place.
I hope you will take my comments on board as they were intended, meant as constructive feedback rather than unreasoned criticism of your events. The NEC Memorabilia show has always been one of the best events for "autograph hunters" in this country over the last decade, primarily due to a great and varied selection of cult tv and horror genre guests at every event and the freedom to take unlimited photographs with all the guests at the signing tables. PLEASE don't take away the option for attendees to take their own photos with guests at the NEC in future now that you've taken over the running of Memorabilia events, if you are planning to offer the official photo shoots there. It will be a devastating blow to autograph collectors if you do.
Best of luck with all of your future events