Today, I’m very glad to interview Jackie Milligan, to know more about a fest like no others, so don’t be afraid to read her interesting answers to know more about his job at Fantom Fest.
1- Tell us a bit about yourself and your position at Fantom Fest
Ghost Hunting, Horror Movies, and the Paranormal have interested me since I was a child. A few years ago I decided that I wanted to do something that I was passionate about, that I could really put my heart into. I am the owner, manager, event coordinator; I basically have done everything myself up until the day of the event when angels (known as my closest friends) come to volunteer and help keep me sane. This year I have helped with the Horror aspect from 2 great guys who own STX Media. I also have 2 very dear friends who have given us sponsorships as well as helping with advertising.
2- How would you describe Fantom Fest in under 60 words?
The event that brings together the trifecta of fancons – Horror, Paranormal & Cosplay. Attendees have the unique opportunity to meet icons of the Horror Film, Ghost Hunting and Cosplay worlds all in one venue. Our mission is to offer a fun and affordable event that the entire family can enjoy.
3- What makes Fantom Fest different from other festivals?
Most festivals focus on one aspect. The horror genre, ghosts, and paranormal or cosplay. Some offer Horror with a tiny bit of one or the other thrown in; we offer all 3 in equal parts.
4- How big is the job of organizing Fantom Fest? Which major areas do you need to cover in order to make the festival happen (finance, logistics, booking, marketing etc.)?
All of them, lol. It’s a huge job. This is year 5 so some of the jobs are a bit easier now, but finance and marketing are still a big factor. I am always looking for sponsors, always trying to grow the event.
5- Do you work full time, all year round on the Festival?
Yes, I do. I give myself Oct and Nov off after the event and then start all over again. Since it’s pretty much just me, I have to get organized, put my head down and go! I also work 2 ‘real’ jobs since Fantom Fest isn’t at the point where it can pay me a salary.
6- Tell us about Fantom Fest’s biggest success throughout the last 6 years??
In 2013, I had help from 2 brothers – Brad and Barry Klinge, they had a show called Ghost Lab a few years back and have a pretty loyal following. They live close by and I had met them the first year of my event. They offered to help me get established in San Antonio (I was moving the event from Austin) we had such a huge turnout, the hotel was afraid that we were going to go over capacity!
7- Tell us about your audience and what they can look forward to in the next edition?
We get people of all ages from all walks of life. I have soldiers, firefighters, administrative assistants, moms and dads with their kids, blue-collar workers, young adults and kids who are into anime and comic books. Everyone is welcome, everyone is invited. This year we have what may be the best lineup yet for Fantom Fest. We have actors from the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre parts 1 & 2 (which is huge with the cult horror film fans). They can actually pose for a photo with the actor who played Leatherface. He will be dressed in full-screen accurate costume and the photo will be taken in front of a screenshot backdrop! We will also be screening several short horror films at our very first indie short horror film fest! I have 2 great ghost hunters from the SyFy channel and several well-known cosplayers who do events all over the country. They will be doing demos on how to make costumes, props and masks as well as judging a costume contest.
8- What are some things that most people don’t know about your job?
It is full time, I spend almost all of my ‘free time’ working. It also comes with a lifetime’s worth of stress all wrapped up in 10 months, worrying about sales, about financing, logistics. It’s worth every minute of time spent to hear people tell me on the day of the event how much they enjoyed themselves. It doesn’t come with any tangible perks or make me a ‘superstar’, but it’s worth it to see the smiles on people’s faces.
9- What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in Festivals organization business?
Be sure you have the support of your friends and family. Make a realistic plan, draw out a timeline, budget your needs for the first couple of years all before you start. Remember that the internet is your friend, search over and over again to get the best deals on everything you need. Know that when I say ‘it’s a lot of work’ I REALLY mean it. Do something that your heart is in 100%. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re crazy and you can’t do it!
10- A last Word?
I am so glad that I have had the chance to bring Fantom Fest to life. Please be sure to share my event!