PopLurker Convention Coverage: Pacific Media Expo 2018

PopLurker would like to thank Pacific Media Expo for providing Press Passes in exchange for event coverage.

 

You know…for a two-day show with such a full itinerary, it sure didn’t feel like there was much going on.

Let me back up here and drop a little bit of PMX’s history. So, from my findings, this show has actually been around for a minute. It seems like the first one was held in 2004 and has gone on nearly every year since its inception. According to the coverage I’ve found on the show, it seems like the last one took place in 2015 or 2016, and now the show is back for the 2018 convention season.

And my goodness– this show felt awfully disjointed.

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Whomever was in charge of their social media and marketing did a phenomenal job. A consistent stream of well-done images and graphics cards popped up regularly on Instagram and Facebook, letting those interested in the show know which guests were coming. I joined the hype and was super stoked to go! And when I learned that my girls Cali Crisis were coming (whose music I’ve covered before) to perform on stage and on the WISH bus (a Filipino radio station), I knew I couldn’t miss the chance to see them.

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That’s a lot of words for such an empty show

There are a few specifics going on with PMX that I’ll address before I go further. While I love the idea of a show that celebrates all of Asian culture and media, I still feel like PMX focused on Anime and Cosplaying the most. Probably to draw a crowd, I’m not sure. And truthfully, for a show that had more people on staff/volunteers than the attending crowd (I’m not kidding), there was an extremely high ratio of cosplayers. Good cosplayers. Sadly, I didn’t get pictures of anyone because they were whisked away to prepare for the masquerade. I lost track of them and couldn’t find where the masquerade was being held. Therefore, I followed Cali Crisis to the Wish bus.

The show used up half of the first floor of the Hilton Hotel in Glendale, CA with a set up that could have been similar to Power-Con’s, the He-Man and She-Ra toy show I went to earlier this year (which was amazing). PMX had a game room set up and two offices devoted to Press (empty). They had a staff room (empty) and I want to say about three rooms devoted to panels. (Also nearly empty).

And this was on Saturday. 

But the biggest disappointment at PMX was the Vendor Hall. I’m not exaggerating when I say that there were maybe ten tables set up in there. Two tables had toys. The others were fan crafts. This toy collector wanted to cry. That said, I did manage to snag two Evangelion Unit 01 figures and a Link wall decal for only $11, so…you know…winning.

Pacific Media Expo, while not the worst show I’ve ever been to (that goes to you, AniMagic 2002), has massive room for improvement. In my opinion, it doesn’t need to be two days. It seems like it doesn’t know if it’s a convention, an expo, or an Asian media conference. There was a lot of hype and fun things happening on paper, but in person, the energy was dead. It was also very, very quiet. There was no excitement at PMX. Although I did appreciate the water and little cups. That made me happy.

As someone who also works on staff at a few shows, my advice is to have those employees work the crowd. All I saw was people sitting at tables and talking. If I was the showrunner, I would have my staff walk around and let patrons know when and what was happening at all times. Especially in a quiet, low energy show. I wouldn’t want those people to leave after half an hour because they’re bored.

There were a good number of guests at the show too, but it seemed like they performed their obligatory panel and left. No one was hanging out. I was surprised that no one (except Cali Crisis) had a guest table (which was hidden around a corner). Even Fawn Veerasunthorn, a phenomenal artist from Thailand who is a Disney feature artist and was in one of PMX’s panels was nowhere to be found. She has an enormous social media following for her gorgeous art, and I was surprised that I’d missed her by the time I got to PMX.

I never would have guessed that Pacific Media Expo is fourteen years old. In fact, if you had told me this was their first year, I’d have believed you. I know not every show has to be a massive, insane comic con or something. But I’ve been to other tiny shows (San Fernando Valley Comic Con, Super Dimension Convention) that just kind of know what they are. People are hanging out and having a good time.

Hopefully, the owners of PMX were happy with the turn out and made a profit. I wish for every show to succeed and become whatever it envisions. But PMX simply felt incomplete.

When in doubt, add more toys. Because truthfully…I can’t even imagine what Day Two of this show must have been like.

 

PopLurker’s Pacific Media Expo Gallery

 

Loryn is convention lurking on Twitter.

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