CrimeCon heads for Orlando but first offers virtual edition
The story of CrimeCon is not a whodunit. Everyone knows the coronavirus pandemic is the culprit behind the postponement of the true-crime event, which was scheduled to make its first Orlando stop this month. Organizers have pivoted to dates this fall and have added a free online feature called “CrimeCon @ Home” set for Saturday.
“The feel was like very much everyone is in the ballroom. We’re programming this like a single stage,” said Kevin Balfe, executive producer and founder of CrimeCon. “So everyone’s watching this live so that we can have that fan interaction and social and all that sort of stuff versus like something that you could just kind of on-demand watch it any other time.”
Saturday’s “at home” event will include segments with Josh Mankiewicz (“Dateline”), Nancy Grace and the trio from
“Last Podcast on the Left” plus updates on Netflix documentaries such as “The Staircase” and “The Keepers.”
Mankiewicz, who Balfe said is referred to as the “mayor of CrimeCon,” did an “ask me anything” segment.
“He answered everything everyone’s ever wanted to know about ‘Dateline,’ but was afraid to ask,” Balfe said.
Karen Smith, a retired detective from Jacksonville, used chemicals from her kitchen to show forensic techniques.
“She did a couple of demos with some of the chemicals to show how they ascertain whether something’s blood or ketchup and how they pull fingerprints off of a Tanqueray bottle,” Balfe said.
What organizers didn’t want for the new project was a feel of yet another Zoom meeting, he said. They also recognized that an hour of watching someone talk feels longer when watching in an at-home setting.
“We just really had to reinvent how we thought about the programming, short sessions, you know, highly visual where possible,” Balfe said. “But just, you know, what we do, which is hopefully education, some entertainment, some advocacy.”
“CrimeCon @ Home” can be seen from 4-6 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, May 9. It will be streamed on CrimeCon.com, CrimeCon’s Facebook page and Oxygen’s YouTube channel. It will serve as a benefit to First Responders Children’s Foundation.
The flesh-and-blood version of CrimeCon, which was launched in 2017, has now been rescheduled to Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at Orlando World Center Marriott. The lineup of scheduled speakers includes investigators, criminologists, lawyers, psychologists, journalists, podcasters and more. But the event, like most entertainment offerings these days, remains in flux.
For instance, there could be capacity restrictions, not unlike what restaurants are currently experiencing in Orlando and Orange County.
“The city or state may say ‘You guys can do this but with half the people.’ Or they may say ‘with a quarter of people,’” Balfe said. “We’ll have to adapt.”
Last year’s CrimeCon was held in New Orleans and featured speakers included Josh Mankiewicz, Keith Morrison, Nancy Grace, Erin Moriarty, Kelly Siegler and Christopher Darden. The 2020 CrimeCon is scheduled in Orlando for late October.