Anime Central is a convention run by fans for fans! As such, we like show you the faces of those who volunteer their time to help run the Convention. This week’s post is an interview with our Department Head for Registration!

And speaking of registration, you should pre-register for the Convention now! The tier 3 rate of $53.00 is available until April 1st, after that it’s $60.00 to register. Pre-register at https://www.acen.org. Skip the Registration line and choose Badge Mailing for only $2.00 extra! The option to have your badge mailed ends April 1st as well. If you already pre-registered opting to pick up your badge at will-call, but would like to upgrade that to a mailed badge, email our Registration team at registration@acen.org and they will be more than happy to help you out. Go to http://www.acen.org/content/registration-info for more information on tier deadline, rates, and policies. And just so you know, badges go out after April 1st, so please be patient!

So without further ado, here’s a little about the person who makes your badges happen!

Name: Melinda Hayden

Department: I am the current Department Head for Registration where we process the registrations and badges for all of our attendees.

Staff for how long: Fall 2008-Present; all in Registration

A little about yourself: Chapter One … There was once this girl who – well, no idea where I am going there; but it was a place to start typing. If I had to say one thing about me, it’s that I am eclectic. I have two cats who I named after the main characters after one of my favorite books, and I currently work in my local library; I collect the footed McCoy flower pots from the 1940’s, and random silverplate from the 20’s; after spending time at the Art Institute for college, I do a mean doodle; and even though I think that I am much more of a tom-boy, I <3 my pink laptop.

What are some of your favorite anime related media? There are too many anime to list, but the ones that I find myself watching over again are Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket among a couple others. My all-time favorite Studio Ghibli movie is Spirited Away, followed closely by Howl’s Moving Castle.

Why did you join staff? Funny story there; my first ACen was the year Registration became infamous. It was my first date with the man I later married, and we had decided to attend ACen for the day. That morning I woke up with a 101+ fever and my head swimming. Instead of canceling, I decided to take a couple of cold meds and go anyways; not the smartest idea in retrospect, but cest la vie. We arrived around 11AM on Saturday to a sea of people in line already. Hour one went by as we did the normal chit-chat, getting to know you that you do on first dates. Hour two came and went and I started paying more attention to the registration staff running to-and-fro and what-all was going on around me than I was talking to him. Hour three hit as we inched closer and closer to the front of the line and all I could think of by then, was I was going to look into volunteering myself. XD

Needless to say, I applied and was hired that fall; spent 2009 as General Staff, promoted to ADH for 2010-2011, and took over the department for 2012-present.

What tips do you have for attendees to enjoy ACen more? Wear comfortable shoes; there is a LOT of ground to cover between events going on in the Hyatt, the Convention Center, and various other locations. That being said, EMRT will be more than happy to give you first aid for blisters if needed.

Bonus Stuff: Discounts to get into the Convention

Are you a little short on funds and might not have quite enough to make it to the Convention this year? We wouldn’t want you to miss the Convention just because you’re strapped for cash! Here are some ways that might help you lighten your financial burdens enough to get you to the Convention!

Are you going to pre-register online to get your badge before April 1stDid you miss the whole opening paragraph to this post? The tier 3 rate of $53.00 ends April 1st, after that it’s $60.00 to register! Pre-register at https://www.acen.org/user.

Do you have a group of 10 or more friends who want to go to Anime Central? Did you know that if you all register online at the same time, we’ll give you a group discount? If you register 10 to 19 badges, we’ll give you $2.00 off each badge; if you register 20 or more badges, we’ll give you $5.00 off each badge! Pre-register and get a group discount online at https://www.acen.org/user. Group registration is not available at the convention.

Are you an educator looking to enrich your students with the knowledge of Japanese Pop Culture? Why not bring your class to Anime Central? What better way to expose them to discussions, panels, and media from Japan? Email us for more information at registration@acen.org.

Are you Police Officer, Fire Fighter and/or currently serving in the United States Military? To show our thanks to all Airmen, Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Guardsmen, Police Officers, and Fire Fighters for their service, we want to give back to those that help serve, protect, and help make our country a better place. You can get our First Responder/Military Discount of 50% off your badge by showing us a current valid government ID when you register for your badge at the door.  Domo arigato gozaimasu for your service!

Do you run a convention that’s related to anime, manga, or Japanese culture?  If you want to promote another convention or event that you represent, why not get a convention trade table? If you are interested in applying for a convention trade table, visit http://www.acen.org/advertising. Apply quickly because space in the Convention Table row are given on a first come first serve basis and space is limited!

Can’t come to the Convention because you have to watch the kids? Is your child obsessed with the newest hit anime on TV, a budding otaku in the making? Well, why not bring them with to the Convention? Sunday is Children’s Day at Anime Central! Children aged 12 and under get in for free with the purchase of any adult badge! We’ll also have games, panels, and events just for younger fans, to ready them to be the future of Otakudom!

Are you going to another convention where the Anime Central Road Show will be? The ACen Road Show makes appearances at other conventions, where you can purchase badges at a special (low!) rate. We run games and contests, recruit staff, answer questions, and have a great time doing our very best to get the word out about our show. The Road Show pre-registration rate is $38.00, whenever we appear—that’s the best rate you’ll find anywhere, lower than the earliest early-bird price. The Road show rate will only be given to attendees registered at the convention or event we are at, the Road show rate is in appreciation for showing support to other conventions. For our Road Show appearance schedule, visit http://www.acen.org/road_show.

Want a cheap badge to next year’s Convention? The sooner you pre-register for your Anime Central 2014 badge, the cheaper it is! If you register for next year’s Convention, we’ll give it to you at our ACen Road Show price of $38.00! You can visit any of our Registration Booths in the Convention Center for details on getting registered before you leave.

Want a *free* badge to next year’s Convention? We’re always looking for people to volunteer at the Convention as Anime Central Gophers, going where departments need extra help. If you work enough hours you could earn a free badge for next year’s convention. For more information or to sign up, go to http://www.acen.org/content/volunteer under the “At-Con Volunteer” section, or stop by the Volunteer Headquarters during the Convention.

What are your best experiences with getting a badge for Con? Feel free to leave a comment!

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