Creator & Founder of FanX, One of Utah's Most Popular Yearly Events
Dan Farr attended his first comic con event as a vendor, hoping to market 3-D illustration and animation software to the comic book and video game artists in attendance.
He marvelled as he watched the enthusiastic attendees file in, dressed in costume or waiting to meet a favorite celebrity.
Farr was star-struck, through not just by the caliber of celebrities he was encountering. He was hit by how much it meant to fans of all ages to talk with the stars of their favorite shows.
"I got pulled into the energy of that fandom and also the creativity of the cosplayers that were there," Farr said.
As he attended conventions in major cities — New Orleans, Chicago, New York — he began to realize something. For the caliber of stars in attendance, the enthusiasm of the fans, and the population of the cities they were in, Farr was stunned that attendance wasn't higher.
Then he decided he could increase it.
In 2012, Farr began a transition away from DAZ 3D, a company he had helped establish, with the idea of starting a comic con in Salt Lake City. He started attending geeky conventions across the country in order to establish relationships, searching out celebrities and vendors he would eventually try to woo to Utah.
Farr sought out a potential ally in Bryan Brandenburg, an entrepreneur and game developer he had first met in 1996 and had worked with at DAZ 3D and other companies. Brandenburg said he needed to at least see a comic con first, so Farr took him to the Wizard World convention in February 2013.
Together the two decided to hold a convention that fall, setting a goal for about 15,000 attendees.
By September, the Salt Palace Convention Center was bursting at the seams with 70,000 delighted attendees and heavy hitters such as Marvel creator Stan Lee and "Star Trek" icon William Shatner on stage, far more than the pair had dreamed possible.
In two subsequent events the next year, organizers drew 100,000 guests to the first FanX in April and 120,000 more to the second Salt Lake Comic Con in September.
Getting started with Comic Con and Star Guests (3:39)
Passion for what he does (5:33)
What is Comic Con (9:58)
Bettering peoples lives through careers (13:08)
Throwing the first event and putting it together (19:06)
Throwing Events and bringing in star guests (29:01)