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Sideshow Toy

Checking in with Diane Kamahele

By Andrew Kardon     June 10, 2002

Making noise is what sideshows do best. Sure they've also got their fair share of freaks and carnival barkers, but that's why people love 'em. And the same holds true for the collector-friendly toy company Sideshow Toy.

No, the people working there aren't three-armed outcasts or sword-swallowing swashbucklers. Far from it. It's the figures they put out, however, that range from the spooky to the freaky to the all-around cool. With some really big licenses in hand, Sideshow Toy has quickly stepped up to the plate in the action figure collectibles world. Recently, we tracked down Sideshow Toy's Queen of PR Diane Kamahele to see just what all the noise is about.

Over the past year or two, Sideshow has really snagged some top licenses like JAMES BOND and THE TWILIGHT ZONE. How'd you do it?

Our ability to get licenses such as the ones that you have mentioned is the direct result of the awareness that Licensors now have for Sideshow Toy products through the releases of many new product lines over the past year. In the beginning, we could barely get anyone to answer our calls, and today we are thrilled to be offered so many great opportunities. We attribute this to a combination of good licensing decisions, combined with an incredible Product Design and Development Team.


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With such a range of product, what would you say is the current vision for Sideshow Toy?

Our current vision is to continue to broaden our customer base via enhanced exposure through specialty accounts, the Internet and international distributors. Although we certainly do cater to the die-hard collector, we are finding that the mainstream consumer is now discovering our product as well.

What would you say is the biggest line you guys are putting out this year?

Without a doubt it would be our JAMES BOND line. We are attempting to organize a collectable program around 40 years of film releases.


Besides horror-movie figures, you're now branching out and grabbing some popular films of old. PLATOON. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. HOLY GRAIL. Is there an overall game plan here?

Our company is made up of film buffs who have enjoyed all of the original classic monster films, but of course much more than that. The archive films that we have chosen are our personal favorites. There is no specific formula or criteria that we use to decide on which licenses to buy and which figures to develop... aside from that which we have a personal interest in developing.


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Most toy companies choose between sculpting and articulation in terms of which is more prominent. How would you describe the direction you chose to go with your figures?

Our focus is on the detail of the sculpting, the portrait, the accessories, as well as the quality of the cut and sew when it comes to our fabric. These components are - to us - more important than articulation.


What's the one (no pun intended) Holy Grail movie property you're just dying to get your mitts on?

The GODFATHER franchise.


What's your overall take on the toy industry today as opposed to a few years ago?

We don't consider ourselves a traditional toy company, and as such we are less influenced by the negative impact over the past several years on the toy industry. While we began in the mass market, we are now a collectibles company in the specialty market, and as such have been insulated from the overall decline in the traditional toy market.


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Why go with a 12" action figure line as opposed to the more standard 5- or 6-inch model?

Our preference is for larger figures because of the detail that can be achieved in the 12" or larger scale.


Any chance Sideshow will hook up with any comic book companies to put out action figures?

We have been approached by numerous comic book companies and have not yet found the opportunity that excited us enough to venture forth with development yet.



Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at feedback@cinescape.com.

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