Thought Bubble Festival 2008 – Exclusive Interview


With less than a month to the Thought Bubble Festival we caught up with Tamsin Isles one of the organisers for a quick interview.

Taking on the organization of a comic convention is a huge undertaking (you have my sympathies for the sleepless nights you must be having) so my first question is why do you do it? 

I’m a sucker for punishment! That and I love comics. 

When does planning start for the con and how many people are involved?
It starts about 10 months in advance. Lisa and I are involved in the set-up from the very start, but then we also have a team of core volunteers we work closely with in the run-up to the show.
What lessons did you take away from the first Thought Bubble?

Mainly that air conditioning is a Very Good Thing! Also that you can never be too prepared, but that at the end of the day you never know quite what will happen!

Did you make any changes to the way you went about the set up this year’s  con to last year (things like approaching guests, getting sponsors, talking to exhibitors) and do you think those changes have worked out for the better?

In terms of guests we had a similar approach this year, so that didn’t change. However, having had a successful first year made approaching sponsors and exhibitors easier because we were coming from a stronger position.

Do you think it’s easier or more difficult getting professionals to attend for one day rather than an entire weekend?

I think for most people it doesn’t matter. Some like the fact that it only means one day off work, but of course for others coming from further afield one day might be a minus. So far most people have been really positive about the set up. A number of our guests will be doing more than taking part in the convention, we’re also lucky enough to have some of them running workshops for us, as the festival itself lasts for four days.

The convention day is part of a longer event – how does the organisation of the whole event affect the organisation of the Saturday? 
We tend to treat the festival as a series of events to make sure it is well-rounded. We try to avoid running workshops on the same day as the convention (15th November) purely due to logistics!

What are your thoughts on the fact that people are starting to look at Thought Bubble as the 3rd part of the UK Comic Con Trilogy alongside Bristol and Birmingham? 

It’s really exciting! We’re very happy to be able to help introduce comics to a wider audience in the UK.

Is there anything that you have at the Thought Bubble that you believe sets you apart from Bristol and Birmingham cons?

We’re partnered with the Leeds International Film Festival, and because of this we get to show some amazing films as part of our programme over the four days of the festival. As I mentioned before, we also feature workshops throughout the festival aimed at both adults and young people, so people attending get to have a more indepth look at how their favourite creators go about creating comics, and young people get some inspiration!

You are hosting  a swish after show party at the Alea Casino this something you see as playing an important part of the con or just a nice extra for attendees and can I come dressed as James Bond?

It’s a bit of both. Comic creators tend to be quite solitary due to the nature of the work, so events like this are a good opportunity for people to get together and unwind. But I think it also works as a really nice extra for people attending and helps to round off the show nicely. Please do come dressed as James! If you finish off the look with an Aston Martin DBS, I’m sure a few people will be doubly impressed.

Will this venue be solely for Thought Bubble attendees?

Yes, we have exclusive use of two beautiful bars at Alea on that evening just for guests, exhibitors, and those attendees who booked tickets in advance and got invites.

With Thought Bubble so close to the BICS con do you see that as a plus or a minus in terms of attracting attendees so soon after another con? 

I suppose it can really work both ways; people are worried about financial issues at the moment, so spending money on two shows over two months might be too much. But I think there is an amazing audience for comics in the north. Our dates are dependent on the Leeds International Film Festival, which always runs in November.
If someone is unsure about coming to the Thought Bubble what would you say to convince them to make the journey and what can they expect on the day?

The show is great value for money—for £6 you get brilliant guests, panels, amazing exhibitors and the chance to win fantastic prizes. Plus, cosplayers get in absolutely free!

Many thanks to Tamsin for her time and we wish her and the others best of luck with the festival!

Also thanks to Kathryn Bacon for the photos used in this interview.

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  1. TB is gona be Great Fun. The TB Crew have done a great Job sorting things out for this. Plus the Guest list is very impressive for a one day event.
    Got my Flight booked and shall hopefully see you all in November.

  2. Brilliant stuff.

    I for one am really looking forward to attending the event, though I wish it was for more than just the Saturday now!

    I may splash out on a dinner suit for the evening do or maybe just get out my best normal suit, but I’m afraid it’ll be a Volvo S40 SE rather than an Aston Martin DBS that gets me there…

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