Five Minutes with Jerry Milani, Wizard World National PR Manager

by Brian Maass on September 17, 2018 in Entertainment, Film, Living Texas, Austin,
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Calling all Central Texas fans of Doctor Who, Charmed, Vampire Diaries and more. (Leave It To Beaver, anyone?) Make sure you’re in the Capitol City this weekend.

That’s right, Wizard World is coming to Austin Sept. 21-23. Fans young and old will meet their favorite stars, cosplay their favorite characters and meet the artists that brought them to life. Ahead of the fun-filled weekend, we spoke with Jerry Milani, National PR Manager for Wizard World, about what to expect during the event.

Wizard World returns to the Austin Convention Center Sept 21-23. Free entry for under 10s.
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How did the concept of Wizard World come about?

Originally, Gareb Shamus, the founder of ‘Wizard Magazine,’ which covered the comics and pop culture industry, purchased the old Chicago Comic Con and created Wizard World Chicago in 1998. That show has run consecutively 21 years in a row); Philadelphia was added in 2001 and Wizard World has been adding shows in different cities ever since.

For those who’ve never attended before, what is there to experience at Wizard World Austin?

It’s really a celebration of pop culture—-whether it’s movies, TV, music, art, science fiction, comics, anime, gaming, cosplay, whatever… Wizard World helps fans connect with others who love the same things they do.

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What do you do to ensure that Wizard Worlds are fun for longtime attendees but also for first timers?

There’s always something different: the entertainment stage is humming all three days with music, contests, demonstrations, and Kato Kaelin emceeing; programming has never been more thorough and diverse in multiple rooms. There’s also an expanded gaming area. Also, kids 10 and under are free at all of our shows, helping us introduce them to the younger generation.

I’m one of those first timers, but friends all say Artist Alley is the biggest draw. What is your process for finding amazing artists who haven’t yet been discovered?

Our Artist Alley team is always looking for ways to bring creators to our shows that fans will take notice of.

What separates Wizard World from other conventions?

We want to appeal to fans of all genres, all areas of pop culture, all in one place. If you’re a big Doctor Who fan, sure you want to meet Peter Capaldi, David Tennant or Pearl Mackie… But on your way to the celebrity area, you’ll run into a TARDIS you’ll want to get a photo in, and an exhibitor with a piece of Doctor Who memorabilia, and an artist with a unique interpretation of the 10th or 12th Doctor, and some fans cosplaying Doctor Who. Finally, you get to meet the stars to cap the day. It’s all-encompassing in the pop culture space, all in one place.

When selecting the celebrity guests, how do you decide who you want to invite?

It’s a big puzzle. Foremost is availability of the guest – are they filming? Have they done our show before here, or another one nearby recently? Has there been fan interest in their shows or movies, or will there be by the time we have the show? How many celebs can a particular show handle? Do we have enough “current” celebs vs. “classic” ones? A lot of questions, but we always strive for a mix of these elements as well as guests that fans tell us they want to meet.

Native Austinite Brian Maass has long had a passion for music and movies, and is now bringing that same passion to the world of photography. @maass_brian and brian_maass_photographer