Volunteer FAQ

Phoenix has a Comicon?

We hear that a lot more than we would like. Yes, Phoenix does in fact have a lovely Comicon AND we need volunteers!

 

I’ve never been to Phoenix Comicon. Can I still volunteer?

Of course you can. Prior attendance gives you a better sense of what the convention is like and may help you identify what you want to do, but it is not a requirement.


What positions do volunteers fill at Phoenix Comicon?

All of them! Directors, Managers, Coordinators, Event Staff, and shift positions are all volunteer!


How do I become a Director, Manager, or Coordinator?

First, we have to have an opening. Then you interview with the supervisor. Openings are listed on http://phoenixcomicon.com/page/3 and are updated regularly.


What do Event Staff do?

They work in all departments. Working as Event Staff consists of multiple shifts and 16+ hours, generally worked over all four days. Event Staff are the backbone of our event and their hard work is what makes us successful.


Why should I volunteer as Event Staff instead of being a shift volunteer?

Event Staff qualify for a full event membership, t-shirt, swag bag, four $5 vouchers for Hyatt food kiosks, and discounts with vendors.  Plus, you have a title.


What is required for Event Staff?

It depends on the position. Some positions require an interview and some positions require a minimum age of 18. You need to communicate with your team regularly before the convention, so we emphatically encourage you to attend the monthly meetings to stay up to date on what is happening in your department and what your team needs from you.


I already know I’m only going to volunteer for a single shift. Can I still come to meetings?

Certainly! We will try to convince you to become Event Staff, but all volunteers are welcome at the meetings.


I don’t want to go to meetings, can I just work a shift?

Yes, but even “just a shift” will be busy!


Are there any benefits for shift volunteers?

12 hour shift staff volunteers receive one pin, one t-shirt, and one full event membership.

8 hour shift staff volunteers receive one pin and two single day memberships.

4 hour shift staff volunteers receive one pin and one single day membership.


I am volunteering for a 4 hour shift on Friday night. Can I get a single day membership for Thursday?

Generally, a 4 hour shift volunteer gets a single day membership for the same day that they volunteer. If you have a Friday night shift, you can check in Friday morning and get a pass for Friday, or you can check in Friday before Volunteer Relations closes and get a pass for Saturday or Sunday. If you have any questions about the policy, please talk to your supervisor or the Volunteer Relations Coordinators at volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com.


I want to volunteer for more than 8 hours. Can I do that all in one day?

With few exceptions, no. We don’t require or want our volunteers to work more than 8 hours in one day. Some of the management may do it, but it is exhausting and not recommended. We expect our volunteers to take short breaks throughout the day and to have a pause for lunch/dinner.


Is there an age requirement?

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old (some areas require 18+) and anyone under 18 will be required to provide a signed parental consent form at check-in.


Can my child volunteer with me? They’re 15 (or 14).

Possibly. It depends on the position you are in and is up to your supervisor.


Can I be in costume as a volunteer?

Again, possibly. It depends on the position. If you are in Programming and working the Whedonverse room, dressing up like Captain Mal is completely acceptable. Other areas, like Line/Access are costume-free.


Can I take pictures of cosplayers while I volunteer?

We do expect people to focus on volunteering during their shift and give you a day pass for Comicon in order to enjoy the show. No one will take away your camera or phone if you take a picture while working, but the hope is you would provide convention guests the same help and respect you would want to receive as an attendee.


Is there any reimbursement for hotel or transportation costs for Event Staff or volunteers?

At this time, we are not able to provide reimbursement for Event Staff or shift staff volunteers.


Ok, I want to be Event Staff. Where and when are these meeting you speak of?

All Hands general meetings are held the second Saturday of the month at the Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. They generally start at 10:00am and last a couple hours.

There are also meetings on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 7:00pm, but these are more of management meetings for coordinators and above. Event Staff are still welcome at the Wednesday meetings.


What Event Staff positions are available?

Open positions are listed on http://phoenixcomicon.com/page/3 and are updated regularly. If you are interested in a specific area and do not see an opening listed, email volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com to get more information.


I’m new and I don’t really know what I want to do, but I want to be Event Staff. Now what?

Check out the open positions listed on http://phoenixcomicon.com/page/3 or email volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com. Then, come to the Saturday meeting about 30 minutes early and look for the “Welcome Volunteers” sign. Come talk to the Volunteer Relations Coordinators. We will help you figure out what areas need help and fit your interests and skills. Then we can introduce you to others in your department.


I already know what I want to do as Event Staff, but I haven’t talked to anyone. Now what?

If you know who the supervisor for your position is, please email them and let them know you’re interested. If you don’t know who to email, contact Volunteer Relations at volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com. We will forward your information to the appropriate supervisor. Then, come to the Saturday meeting about 30 minutes early and look for the “Welcome Volunteers” sign. Come talk to the Volunteer Relations Coordinators. We want to meet you and we can introduce you to others in your department.


I already know what I want to do as Event Staff and I’ve talked to the appropriate supervisor. Now what?

Come to the Saturday meeting about 30 minutes early and look for the “Welcome Volunteers” sign. Come talk to the Volunteer Relations Coordinators. We would like to meet you and introduce you to others in your department.


I’m driving to the meeting. Where do I park downtown?

There is tons of parking downtown. We do give volunteers a voucher to park in the Phoenix Suns garage on 3rd St just south of Jefferson. Email volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com for info on the voucher.


Can I use public transit to get to the meetings?

Of course! There is a monorail stop at 3rd St and Washington that will drop you right outside the Convention Center.


The Convention Center is actually three different buildings. Where exactly are the meetings?

The rooms sometimes change from month to month, so email volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com and double check with us. We are usually in the North Building and often in rooms 121ABC-122AB, but that’s not a guarantee.


I don’t want to get a babysitter for the meeting, is it alright if I bring my kids?

Yes, and remember that kids 12 and under get into Comicon for FREE. We welcome families, so if you volunteer and get your free pass, your kids can go to the convention with you (when you’re not on shift).


What is the dress code for the meetings and convention?

Bowties. Because they’re cool.

Actually, it’s just casual. You will see lots of geek shirts and jeans. We just ask that you leave offensive or vulgar clothing at home.


Do I need to shave or cut my hair to volunteer?

If we made that a requirement we’d lose half the Tech department…

We ask for basic good hygiene. Remember that you represent Phoenix Comicon and we are proud of what we have accomplished.


I might have a friend who wants to volunteer, can they come with me?

Please! Bring them! We get most of our volunteers from imposing on friends and by word-of-mouth.


I know I am going to be Event Staff. Is there anything I can or should do before the meeting?

If you have not done so already, please create an account at http://phoenixcomicon.com/login. When you are assigned a supervisor, you will need to let them know your login name. Your supervisor will then add you to our orgchart and from there you will be able to sign the volunteer agreement.


Do I have to pass a drug test to volunteer?

Well, no. But you do need to be sober at the Convention and we would prefer that you stay sober for the meetings too.


Can I be fired from my position?

Absolutely. Dangerous or inappropriate behavior will result in you being asked to leave or escorted out. Also, abusing your position during the Convention will get you banned.


Who is really in charge?

The only official employee/owner of the Convention is Matt Solberg, our fearless leader. Don’t worry, he is very nice.


If I volunteer, can I still go to panels?

Generally, yes. If there is a panel you are dying to see, your supervisor can take that into consideration with your availability when scheduling your shifts. However, if your department needs coverage and you’re the only person available at that time, you may be asked to skip the panel. Remember, if Programming still needs help, you can volunteer as Event Staff and work in the area that is responsible for the panel you want to attend. Or, you can volunteer as a panelist!


Can I still do Photo Ops if I volunteer? Do I get a discount?

As with the panels, your supervisor can take scheduled Photo Ops into consideration with your availability when scheduling your shifts. There is always the possibility of a volunteer emergency that will force you to miss a scheduled Photo Op, which may require rescheduling or a refund. Keep in mind that if you buy 10 Photo Ops it may impact your freedom to volunteer and you might be better off buying a full event membership. Also, volunteers do not get a discount on Photo Ops as these are part of the way our guests earn income for the time they spend with us.


Do volunteers get a discount on paid events like Geek Prom or Storytime with Wil Wheaton?

That would be nice, but the proceeds from Geek Prom go to the charity Kids Need to Read. Fee events like Storytime with Wil Wheaton are part of the way our guests earn income for their appearances.


Do volunteers get discounts on autographs?

No. Again, this is part of how our guests earn income for their appearances.


Do volunteers get first-of-line privileges for limited-seating events?

No. We stand in line with everyone else. Anyone caught using a staff badge to get into a limited-seating event will be asked to leave and banned.


If I volunteer, will I get to meet the guests?

Possibly. It depends on what you volunteer to do. Guest Liaisons fall under Guest Relations and are interview-dependent positions. Other positions might result in interaction with the guests. However, Guest Relations is a restricted access area and only volunteers that have a legitimate need to be in the area are allowed in when guests are present.


Where do I go for volunteer check-in?

Volunteer check-in is in the Gilbert room of the Hyatt. If you enter the Hyatt lobby through the main doors and turn to the right, the Gilbert room is all the way down on the right side, across from the Gift Shop.


What do I need to bring to volunteer check-in?

If you are a coordinator or above and are receiving a stipend check, you must bring a photo ID. Until you provide a photo ID, we will not give you the check, even if you are our boss and we know you.

If you are under 18, you must bring a signed parental consent form. We would prefer if you parents could drop you off and sign it in front of us, but if you decide to forge a signature, at least make sure the emergency contact information is real. But seriously, don’t forge the signature. We are not responsible for your welfare.

If you have not signed the volunteer agreement online, or don’t have access to it, you should print out and sign a paper copy. If you don’t know where to look for the printable copy, email volunteers@phoenixcomicon.com and we will point you to it. Don’t worry if you don’t know your title or what Tier you qualify for, we can double check with your supervisor.

Bring a smile. No really, we want our volunteers to be excited about the Convention and to show up in a good mood. How the volunteers are feeling has a very real and direct impact on the way they interact with guests and attendees, which affects the success of our whole event.


Are there any risks associated with volunteering?

There is always the possibility that you might end up stuck between a couple of Stormtroopers when they decide to get in a fight (yes, this has really happened). Otherwise, the biggest risk is that you will get tired or dehydrated. Volunteers keep very busy, so getting plenty of sleep is something that can’t be emphasized enough. The same is true for staying hydrated. This is Phoenix and it is early summer. Even if you spend most of the day inside the Convention Center, you need to drink water regularly. Please do not make us call 911 because you failed to drink water or get enough sleep and ended up collapsing.


What is Cosplay is NOT Consent?

Cosplay is NOT Consent (or Cosplay =/= Consent) is a movement that aims to remind people that cosplayers are people too and they deserve respect. Cosplayers enhance the Con and they spend a lot of time and energy on their costumes. Dressing up as Slave Leia or a Spartan warrior does not mean that a cosplayer is comfortable being hit on, touched, insulted, or otherwise molested. ASK before touching a cosplayer or taking a picture of them. Touching another person without their consent or harassing them will not be tolerated. As a convention, we promote respectful interaction with cosplayers and we report inappropriate behavior. Volunteers are encouraged (and expected) to interact with cosplayers respectfully and to speak up when they see inappropriate behavior. This includes calling the police to assist a cosplayer if they are being stalked or harassed.