Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Q&A with Sideshow Collectibles CEO Greg Anzalone

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Sideshow Collectibles, the world-renowned specialty manufacturer and distributor of the most highly sought-after licensed and original collectible figures and statues from recognized properties including Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics, Alien & Predator, Terminator, The Lord of the Rings, G.I. Joe and many more.

Since 1994, Sideshow’s team of artisans—including renowned sculptors, experienced model makers, painters, and costumers—have combined efforts resulting in the creation of outstanding original designs and intricately detailed likenesses of pop culture, including film and television monsters, villains, heroes, mystical creatures of fantasy, and legendary figures from history. A deluxe gallery of Sideshow’s best work from its beginning to present day, Capturing Archetypes: Twenty Years of Sideshow Collectibles Art showcases the stunning creations they’ve produced over the past two decades in one breathtaking collection.

We asked their CEO and President, Greg Anzalone, about Sideshow’s journey thus far, and what’s on the horizon for them.

1. What inspired you to start the company back in 1994?

I was inspired by the amazing talent that I saw, a sort of raw ability from sculptors and fabricators to fashion characters and creatures like I’d not seen before. I wanted to work with them and help bridge the gap between their talent and a commercial enterprise.

2. What kind of products did Sideshow start out creating 20 years ago? How has the company transformed since then?  

Our original vision was to be mass market, to create plastic figures that would be carried by the larger toy retailers such as Toys “R” Us and Walmart. After succeeding with that initiative I realized it was a dead end for our true calling, which was more or less the polar opposite: low run, limited edition figures produced for the discriminating buyer.

3. Sideshow is known for its direct-to-customer communication—you sell products from your website and frequently interact with fans and collectors. When did the company start adopting this business model and how has it helped your brand over the years?

While we service hundreds of retail store accounts, we are unabashed enthusiasts of the direct sales model. We think of ourselves as the best spokespeople for the products that we make and relish the responsibility to connect with our consumers around the world.

4. How do you find and recruit the creative talent behind your collectible products?

For the most part, the cream of the figure talent pool rises to the top. Artists know artists and there’s a shared respect for the work that’s being done around the globe. Many of the folks that currently work for us were referrals from friends in the industry, with a large pool of talent emerging from the film industry.

5. What’s your best-selling brand or product?

The legion of Star Wars fans around the world is quite well known. They are rabid, passionate advocates for the type of work that we do and highly supportive of the company. Within that Star Wars universe, it’s logical to see how Darth Vader has become the most successful character we’ve ever produced.

6. When did Sideshow start collaborating with filmmakers and special effect houses like Guillermo del Toro and Legacy Effects, and how closely do you work together?  

Our intention was always to work closely to the source material, or with ingenious talent that were creating film content. That attitude has led us to numerous collaborations with filmmakers, writers, and illustrators.

7. Why publish Capturing Archetypes now? What was your ultimate goal with the book?

We’re proud of what we’ve created over the years—in most cases, the best 3D representation of a character for the collectible market. While typically humble in our approach, after 20 years we felt both the need and the right to showcase some of the work we’ve done for folks that may not know of us or who may not have seen the breadth of our work.

8. Will you be unveiling anything new and exciting at Comic-Con: San Diego this year?

Absolutely. Comic Con is always an opportunity for us to present many new things, including original characters and content, which have been borne from the creative genius that makes up the nucleus of Sideshow.


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