Due to COVID-19… the only way that a horror convention is going to happen anytime soon is to have it virtually. As a result, on May 1st & 2nd the incomparable Gigi Bannister decided to host the very first online horror convention using Zoom.
The Phantasm franchise is very special to me. In fact, it was the catalyst and inspiration for my brewery Necromantic Brew Co. . My friend and Co-Founder Jesse came over and we watched them in secession every few weeks. We’d brew beer while we watched on two crudely attached white shower curtains that we used as a screen. A cheap projector on amazon played them from my roku stick.
Phantasm-Con not only brought actors and actresses from the franchise into my home, but also managed to maintain some of the staple pieces of a traditional convention. Q&A panels, costume and art contests. Even screenings of the films and a virtual food court! Door Dash and Uber Eats were used for food delivery.
Phantasm-con struggled with its platform Zoom. Gigi fought with many inevitable glitches and bugs. Her team could tackled them without assistance of any kind from Zoom. The process for getting touch with customer service reps while simultaneously hosting the meetings were too overwhelming. Namely, because reps were not answering calls and who knows when they’d get around to the support ticket for help. As a result a few of the promises were just not possible to keep. Mainly the 1-1 time with the celebrities.
Phantasm-con succeeded in everything else. Gigi made herself available for the entirety of the event. The behind the scene stories she shared during the viewing of the movies were legitimately priceless. Furthermore, to make up for Zooms short comings she added a third day May 3rd. Altogether, we fans got close to 24 hours of interaction.
In addition, there were plenty of special guests that stopped in throughout the days. Including Count Gore de Vol, Bram Stoker’s great grand-nephew, Bela Lugosi’s granddaughter, directors, actors and writers. Hosted and moderated by Terrortalk TV’s Jay Michaels, who did an excellent job keeping interviews moving. He also did an great job keeping the fans engaged by letting us ask questions. No one talked over each other and conversations never went stale.
If all that wasn’t enough, bags filled with swag from some of the sponsors were also sent to us. Even attendees located in Spain and the United Kingdom were not charged for shipping. All fans received bonus giveaways too!
Gigi announced 60% of all paid tickets bought $500.00 worth of PPE,(personal protection equiptment). Those pieces went directly to those in need of them! A great idea for a very relevant cause.
In conclusion the virtual convention was a rousing success that each fan insisting on doing again. The multi-tiered ticket prices allowed for fans with small to medium sized budgets to attend. Keep an eye out for another in the near future!
Co-Founder of Necromantic Brew Co, writer, father and husband. Stolen and sold at birth from Chile, testified as a teen in a murder trial. Life proves scarier than fiction.