GZAE was designed to help those wanting to break into the industry or just get help heading in the right direction. We want to be as transparent and open as possible with what our show is about. If you should have any questions, comments or concerns we are always here to help out. Feel free to CONTACT us at any time!

Here are some frequently asked questions we’ve received over the years:

When did GZAEXPO start?

Planning started December 2015, the first event was February 2016.

What is GZAEXPO’s mission?

Education & affordability!  This is extremely important and slowly we hear more & more about students/non-students having a difficult time finding jobs in the industry. GZAEXPO was designed with the student in mind, even if they’ve never attended college. Freelancing is encouraged as well, so we ask professionals to share their stories to inspire different avenues. We want to prepare our attendees & up-and-coming vendors what to expect through panels, lectures, workshops, and demos in an intimate setting.

Why is your EXPO called “Ground Zero”?

We know that Ground Zero can be tied to unfortunate events, but we are here to assure you that is not why we found the name to be perfect when describing our beloved EXPO. When the event was still just a thought & slowly becoming a reality, there wasn’t a brand or name. It was simply using “Animation Expo” to describe it. A dear friend, Kris Wimberly, came up with a list of names and reasons he thought of them. The one that stood out for Eva & Kris was “Ground Zero”. The meaning: “A starting point or base for some activity”. 

We are starting something new from the ground up and building more & more each year. Though the growth of the EXPO is desired, we also want to keep the simplicity, organization & beginning mission in mind: Education.

Why are there vendors?

We have created an “Animation Alley” where professional vendors can sell and share their work along with up-and-coming talent. We have a team of industry pros to look through applications and help decide what vendors would suit the Expo each year. The “Animation Alley” room is where you can meet the pros and new talent vendors, shop their merchandise, ask your questions and hang out!

If you are not wanting to break into the industry, maybe just attending in support of your friend or spouse, you can certainly swing by to see our 40+ vendors and support them by visiting tables and purchasing their art.

Why do I have to pay for a portfolio/resume review?

We are asked this quite often & we want to start off by saying that this is optional. We do not force anyone to buy a review ticket, however, without the guaranteed review, your portfolio & resume might go unseen. We benefit from being a smaller venue which provides a unique “easy access to professionals” experience; however, the vendors are not required to do reviews at their tables. Our pros are extremely kind and try their best to offer them for free, but can’t guarantee it due to time, panels, workshops & sharing their attention equally with other attendees.

We believe anyone that has worked hard, gained experience & takes the time to share their knowledge is extremely valuable. Priceless really. The reviewer(s) always work with our mission and keep in mind affordability. A $10-$15/review is a small price to pay when meeting with them 1-on-1. Reviews run 15-30 minutes per portfolio/resume.

Can you guarantee me a job if I attend or vend at the EXPO?

We do not promote or guarantee attending our EXPO will get you work, a job or the right connections. Though we hope some talent is noticed, we just can’t guarantee it.

How do I make the most of the EXPO?

Be prepared by bringing your portfolio, resume, business cards, sketchbooks, drawing utensils, and anything else you can think of. You never know when an opportunity for networking, marketing, and sharing your work will arise. Stop by all vendor tables, gain as much knowledge as you can and be sure to share your business cards! Putting yourself out there is hard, especially for us artists, but our EXPO is filled with folks just like you!

Why does it cost for admission, panels, and workshops?

Though we did not charge general admission to attend in 2018, this was due to a free venue we were supposed to have that fell through only 2 months prior to the EXPO. We were able to recoup most of the overhead from the new venue through panel/workshop tickets, sponsors & vendor booth fees. The Boys and Girls Club took us in last minute with open arms and donated as much as they could.

General admission & panel ticket sales go toward GZAEXPO and help us with overhead.

Workshop ticket sales: We retain $5 from each ticket sold and pay our professionals who instruct the remainder of the ticket. The $5 we retain is used toward each ticket’s processing fee and our time promoting and building the ticketing page.

We might be missing some of the expenses below that we face when hosting an EXPO, but hope sharing this will help you see that we use our funds to better our show each year. You are giving us your time & trust, so you have a right to know.

To run a show, it costs money. To grow a show, it costs even more money. You are investing in our show when you purchase any ticket (general admission, panel or workshop ticket), and we want to share with you what you’re investment helps with:

Website: There are annual fees we pay for having a website so you can have a hub for everything GZAEXPO. This year we are hiring a web designer to make a more user-friendly site as attendees keep asking. If you have ever paid a web designer or worked on one yourself, you know this is expensive & time-consuming.

Staff : In the past, we have had the most amazing staff members donate some of their services and time to making this EXPO a success. As we grow, we want to begin paying our staff more for their hard work. We think everyone is valuable with the skills they bring to the table and we want to pay them what they deserve. This is not a once a month/once a year job, it is a year-round, daily job. Emails, newsletters, workshop/panel set up, promotions, meetings and more are time-consuming.

A/C: In 2018, due to the location change and free admission, we did not have a budget for AC at the last minute venue (nor did we even think of it as something we would need since the other location had it). The B&G Club was kind enough to let us run AC in the classrooms, but not in the main auditorium (remember, it was a free location). They did donate some large fans for the main room doors. Since we want everyone comfortable in 2019, we have to pay for a weekend of AC running in a large auditorium & 3 classrooms all weekend. This adds up quickly and we want everyone comfortable.

Employees of the B&G Club: We love our volunteers who donate their time to our EXPO, but we do have to pay the staff of B&G Club who legally have to be present at our show. For every 100 attendees, there must be 1 staff member. There can be 2-3 staff members each hour, during the whole event, for 2 days, and again, this adds up. But let me tell you, they do not just sit around! They worked just as hard as if they were a part of the GZAEXPO!

Donation: B&G Club does not charge us a rental fee to use their location; however, we do have to pay the staff. Since B&G Club is a non-profit, a donation to use their location is a way to say “thank you” and help them out. In 2018, due to the last minute circumstances with the venue change, we were not able to donate. This year, we want to because they are incredible!

Brochures: Each year we make brochures to be collectibles and they really pack a punch. We have been making a full-color brochure to make our vendors and sponsors proud.

Swag Bags: Everyone loves a good swag bag filled with goodies, but remember, this doesn’t mean free for us, and we are 100% okay with that! We want to shower attendees with surprises and giveaways, but remember, everything adds up! The more in our budget, the more giveaways for more attendees!

Model(s) for live drawing: Our models have always volunteered their time and put out a tip jar, but it’s time to pay them because, gosh darn it, they are awesome! They add to the atmosphere and we want it to be a free activity for attendees.

Water: We want to keep our vendors, volunteers and staff hydrated, especially in the summer!

Banners, marketing, flyers, promotions, photo booth: Each and every one of these is an expense to help bring awareness to our show.

Volunteer meetings: We are so thankful for the volunteers we get each year. We usually hold 2-4 meetings prior to the EXPO to help them understand their roles during the EXPO. Each time we meet, GZAE buys them a round of drinks at early meetings & dinner the night before the EXPO after set up.

Videographers/Photographers: We have always had talented attendees to help us out with capturing footage of our shows. It’s time to start paying them for their hard work!

Why is Ground Zero not at a larger venue?

Ground Zero’s vision was to have an intimate vibe after all the large conventions and expos we had attended. Getting to talk with professionals and up-and-coming artists easily was always our goal. Though we would love to be well known and have a crowd roaming the venue, we are perfectly happy with the way it is growing on it’s own.

Taking on a larger venue means the vendors & attendees would have to pay more money. New rules would be enforced and organization becomes much trickier. So let’s just say, though we hope the news spreads about GZAEXPO, we are satisfied with remaining how we are until we absolutely need to upgrade. Let’s all be thankful for what the show is right now and take advantage of the smaller show perks.

If I am a vendor, can you guarantee sales?

As it states in our application, we cannot guarantee sales as we are not THAT kind of show. If you sell your art/merchandise, it is a bonus. This show is for attendees to be educated, up-and-coming vendors to learn how to vend, promote their work, and network. For professionals, it’s a way to give back while possibly selling their art.

I am a professional, so why do I have to pay for a vendor spot?

The first year of GZAE we did not charge professionals. What happened that year was professionals had nothing invested and some either “no-showed”, arrived late, left the event early, or didn’t follow any guidelines. Our brochures are very expensive, and we work very hard on them, so the “no-show” professionals had a spot in the brochure, were advertised that they would be there, took a spot from someone who actually desired to be at the show, and GZAE/attendees were disappointed.

The second year of GZAEXPO we did the same, same results.

The third year of GZAEXPO we did a refundable deposit. As long as pros followed through, showed up to their panels/workshops/followed guidelines, they would receive their deposit back the day after the EXPO. We had a much better turn out when we tried this method.

Going into our 4th Expo, the staff has had a long discussion and it has been decided that we will be charging professionals. Yes, we need pros at our EXPO to create the “education” part.  However, we will remain affordable and have created discounts if pros choose to teach or be on panels (this means with optional discounts, tablespaces could be as low as $25 for the whole weekend). Vendors keep 100% of their profit from sales, are promoted on our website, social media platforms, and in our brochures. This is a lot of work and for that, we must start charging.

Each year we have tried something different to try to limit our poor vendor attendance experience. Every time we learn something new. We don’t think there is a perfect answer or solution. Most shows charge a lot more for pro tables and we feel our show is something professionals should want to invest in.

How are vendors selected?

Our staff does not work in the industry, so we choose trusted industry professionals who have been a part of GZAE to go through applications to select vendors. Sometimes we have repeat vendors, but we do like to rotate the majority of them each year.

I was a vendor before, does that mean I will/won’t be chosen again?

We take into account our vendors who have done our shows before. There is so much talent but so few tables, we can only choose 40-50 vendors for each show. Half are up-and-coming, half are professionals. This is another reason growing into a new venue would be amazing to provide more vendor opportunities, but for now, we are keeping it manageable.

If you were a vendor before, you may or may not be chosen again for future shows. The EXPO is only once a year (we are in talks of maybe 2 EXPOS a year) so please understand our limitations and don’t stop applying. We will not seek you out, you must always apply.

Remember, we are trying to create opportunities for many more vendors, so please be kind and know that if the tables were turned, you would want a chance too!

Why is the show in Orange County?

Eva, the curator, is a resident of Anaheim, CA. If you were a curator, you would want to remain close to the location in case of emergency and for easy set up/break down, etc. She also feels that the OC has amazing talent and is a middle ground for San Diego and Los Angeles. The times for the EXPO have been made convenient so vendors & attendees have time to arrive and set up.

Our parking is also FREE and it’s pretty easy to park somewhat close by after the multi-level garage fills up. You can call a Lyft or Uber for about $5 if you have to park a little farther away (no one has had to do this yet that we know of).

Let us know if we are missing anything or if you have a GZAEXPO related question you would like the answer to. The question is anonymous. We will be sure to post our response ASAP if we feel more attendees/vendors would like to know.