Thursday, August 20, 2015

STGCC 2015: An interview with Ms Lin Koh, Assistant Project Director for the Pop Culture Cluster of Reed Exhibitions

Ever wonder what goes on behind the running of STGCC and how they choose which guests to invite? Well, the answers are right here as we managed to score an interview with Ms Lin Koh, Assistant Project Director for the Pop Culture Cluster of Reed Exhibitions, who gamely answered our questions…

1. Reed Exhibitions took over STGCC in 2010. How has the market grown in these 5 years?
We observed that the market has grown over the years and underscoring this trend is the continuous growth of STGCC since 2010. From 50 exhibitors in 2010, this year’s STGCC will host over 200 exhibitors from 13 countries. We have also seen a 42% growth in attendance numbers from 2010 to 2014 while our Facebook following has expanded from 9,750 in 2010 to 36,000 in 2015.

[according to its 2013 press release, the attendance for STGCC 2013 was 40,000, an increase from 35,000 in 2012.]

2. How far ahead do you plan for the next STGCC?
We typically start brainstorming on the strategic plans for STGCC and project how we want to shape the show three years ahead, while project management for the next edition usually kick starts right after the current one!

3. How do you decide who to invite as guests?
Input on who will make up each year’s guest list will be collected from our counterpart, ReedPOP USA, feedback from fan surveys, the blogger community, followers on our STGCC Facebook account, as well as through research by our content team and conversations with our exhibitors. From there, we will narrow down a list of pop culture personalities, a good mix representing the Eastern and Western spheres of comics, toys, games, manga, anime and cosplay.

4. STGCC attracts attendees from Asia and Southeast Asia. Currently, Reed is also going regional with Indonesia Comic Con, ICC - what prompted this move?
Indonesia is a big market with a lot of potential, in terms of population as well as the very strong pop culture community, and we have a local office there with the capabilities to leverage the opportunities there. We also see a lot of potential in other Asian countries, with rising demand for conventions from fans. There is also a growing pool of artists from the Western and Eastern hemisphere who are more open in venturing into new markets in Asia to grow their fan base and spread their love for art. Under the ReedPOP portfolio, we have also launched Shanghai Comic Con this year, so do stay tuned for more updates for new shows under ReedPOP.

5. As the Assistant Project Director for the Pop Culture Cluster, can you give our readers an idea of what goes on typically in a day of prep for STGCC?
For me, my day typically starts at 9am, and sometimes at weird hours as we have regular t-cons with our USA office to share updates for STGCC. My morning is usually spent tackling all the emails that cover sales, marketing and operations. After which, I start running through the to-do lists with my assistant project manager to identify urgent items that need to be “attacked”. In the afternoons, I will be leading project meetings with the team to go through the action points by each team member to ensure work is on track. We also like to stay well-connected with our fans and hence I work very closely with my marketing team to plan the online and social media content on STGCC’s website and Facebook. This is to ensure that our fans get updated with the latest news, announcements of this year’s pop culture personalities, exclusives and new products launches from our exhibitors and all the exciting things happening at this year’s con! The day gets busier as we lead up to the show but we all enjoy the adrenaline rush putting together Singapore’s biggest pop culture event of the year.

6. What role does STGCC play in the development of the local comic scene? How does it promote local writers, artists, publishers?
STGCC provides established and rising local talent in the pop culture scene – from artists to illustrators to toy designers – with a platform to showcase their craft to local and regional fans as well as companies in the industry. Each year, we see an increase in the number of exhibitors at Artist Alley, a dedicated space at STGCC for creative talent in Singapore and the region to showcase their works. From 166 artists from 12 countries in 2014, this year will have over 170 artists from 11 countries participating in Artist Alley. Local writers, artists and toy designers can also gain great exposure to the many local and overseas companies taking part in STGCC, as well as influential pop culture personalities, and provide them with opportunities to network which can pave the way for tie-ups and partnerships.

This year, STGCC will host a local comics panel with Kelly Bender, Lim Cheng Tju and Elvin Ching as they touch on topics on the past, present and future of comics making in Singapore. Fans will also not want to miss on a special SG50 collaboration between STGCC and talented local artists like Tell Your Children, Keh Choon Wee, Ong Ean Keat of Keatopia, Mas of Wanton Noodle, Ziqi of Monster Little and Caramelaw A.K.A Sheena Aw as they design an array of custom Munnies in celebration of Singapore's Golden Jubilee. These custom Munnies will be available for bidding at a silent auction at STGCC, where all proceeds raised will go to child welfare organisation, Club Rainbow. C.B. Celbulski, Senior Vice President of Creative & Creator Development of Marvel Comics and talent scout for the publishing giant, will also be doing a portfolio review at STGCC. More details will be announced soon, so stay tuned to the STGCC website.

The pop culture scene here is burgeoning and we definitely see STGCC continuing to play a strong role in its development.

7. Are there more people in Singapore reading comics, collecting toys and playing games as a result of STGCC?
We are definitely seeing more interest on the ground as seen from attendance numbers growing stronger each year, solidifying STGCC’s position as the must-go event of the year for industry players. Through our conversations with our key exhibitors, such as Toy Baze, The Falcon’s Hangar and Simply Toys, they have shared that there has been increased demand for their products through their participation at STGCC over the past few years.

8. It's a few weeks before STGCC 2015 - how hectic has it been?
We have been burning late nights but it is all worth it for the fans to make sure we put up a good show, do expect a lot of fun at STGCC 2015!

Photos courtesy of STGCC.

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