If you have ever spoken with Wizard World regarding a press release, asked to interview a guest, or applied for a press pass, then odds are pretty good that you have spoken with Jerry Milani.
Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive who has worked in P.R. for more than twenty-five years. He has worked with college and conference sports media relations, the International Fight League, USA Wrestling, and Wizard World. When he’s not working PR or media relations, he can be found announcing games for the Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts, writing sports-related articles for numerous sites, or attending games as a spectator.
PopCultHQ had a chance to talk to Jerry about his experiences and his dream guest.
Wizard World PR Manager – Jerry Milani
PopCultHQ – You’ve been running PR and marketing at Wizard World for nine years.
Jerry Milani – I joined Wizard World in 2009, in New York, and have been the PR manager since shortly after that. I was initially just a local PR contact for New York, but the young lady that was doing it left shortly after the show and I started with Wizard World at the next show.
PopCultHQ – So you do all the shows?
Jerry Milani – I do all the shows
PopCultHQ – That is a lot to handle.
Jerry Milani – It’s fun. I’ve gotten to go a lot of places and meet a lot of people.
PopCultHQ – I see you also do freelance writing for sports?
Jerry Milani – I do, Wizard World is a client of mine, it’s most of my job, but I also handle PR for other clients, sometimes on a one-off basis, sometimes more. On a project that comes up such as USA Wrestling, which is a client that I’ve had for a while, we handle things for some of their events. In Olympic years we might do more and non-Olympic years a little less. I also do some writing on a few different websites and just generally keep going with things all year around.
PopCultHQ – Man that is a lot of hats.
Jerry Milani – Keeps everything interesting though, no two days are ever the same,
PopCultHQ – What is one of the biggest challenges of balancing all of this?
Jerry Milani – It’s managing where we are at each stage, so I’m two weeks out from Chicago, four weeks out from Tulsa, six weeks out from Austin, and eight weeks out from Sacramento, and I still have three more shows. At each point, I have certain things that need to be accomplished at that point. Such as when do we do credentialing for each show? When do we do outreach to media with the local PR contact, we have a local person in each city that helps us that does PR, someone that knows the market. Where are we in terms of having celebrities available for advanced photos and onsite press and in-studio press, and things like that. So in every city we are at a different point, so it’s just kind of balancing and keeping on top of things so we don’t miss opportunities in the cities. Over nine years, we’ve got a system going.
PopCultHQ – You get to meet so many people and celebrities from all walks of life, have you ever had a fanboy moment where it was, “Oh my God, I get to meet ____?”
Jerry Milani – Yes, I’ve had a few that were in advance I was excited and a few that I came to meet and then got more excited every time I got to. So my favorite all time Wizard World guest was Richard Anderson. Richard passed away last year, but he must have appeared in 200 moves and tv shows, his biggest thing was that he was Oscar Gold. I knew of him and I loved the show when I was little, but I didn’t know how fascinating this guy was until I met him and talked to him. He spent time talking to me about his career, and he was interested in my career and to me, he was my favorite all-time guests. Then I really wanted to see Ron Glass. Ron Glass passed away, unfortunately. Ron Glass was in one of my all-time favorite shows Barney Miller and I was talking to him, people were asking him about Firefly and all that. I wanted to know about was Barney Miller. He talked to me about that. Maybe my tastes are different than other people, but those are the kind of guests that I want to meet. James Hong was one for me, he was in a few episodes of my favorite show Hawaii Five-O (the original) and he talked to me about that. Again, most people didn’t ask about that so he enjoyed that too. They say that sometimes you don’t want to meet your heroes, but I’ve been really lucky that the kind of people we have at Wizard World are the kind that want to talk about their shows. Tracy Gold was also a great meet for me. Growing up I watched her shows.
PopCultHQ – If you were to deal with a dream guest, living or dead…who would you love to meet and bring to a con?
Jerry Milani – Humphrey Bogart! Could you do better than Humphrey Bogart?
Jerry Milani – You’ve heard my other answers, so yeah, I’m going to be in that world with that one. Could you imagine talking about his experiences in Casablanca or The Treasure of Sierra Madre? All the movies he did? Being married to Lauren Bacall? The whole thing? Everything about him would be amazing. It would be the meet that I think people would never forget.
We’ve been close. I mean, we had some like Michael J. Fox at our shows. We’ve had Burt Reynolds at our shows. We’ve had some of these all-time Hollywood greats and I’ve seen a few of those guys. William Shatner is an all-time pop culture Hollywood great. There is no getting around it. The opportunity to meet him and have him interact that is close to that level.
PopCultHQ – Thank you very much for talking to us Jerry and we hope to see you at Wizard World Chicago.
Wizard World Chicago takes place August 23th-26th at the Donald E. Stephens Center in Rosemont, IL.
Interested in tickets? Then be sure to use code PopCultHQ at checkout for 10% off!
About Wizard World
Wizard World, Inc. produces comic, gaming and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, television, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art, collectibles, contests and more. A first-class lineup of topical programming and entertainment takes place at each event, with celebrity Q&A’s, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Fans can interact with Wizard World on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
The Wizard World convention schedule is available at: http://wizardworld.com/comiccon