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 the Exhibit Space!

And speaking of the Exhibit Space, to keep up to date on who is coming to sell, check out our list at http://www.acen.org/content/exhibitor-list. It’s updated frequently with exhibitors as they are confirmed. For a list of artists currently confirmed view our list at http://www.acen.org/content/artist-alley-art-show-participants. To mingle with our artists or check out what they are bringing to the Convention check out the Artist Alley section of our forums at http://www.acen.org/forums. The Artist Alley is currently full, but visit http://www.acen.org/content/artist-alley-art-show for more info and/or to apply for the waiting list. The Exhibit Hall is full too, but if you’re interested in more info and/or going on the Exhibitor waiting list, visit http://www.acen.org/content/exhibitors. This year, the Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley are located in Hall F of the Convention Center.

So without further ado, here’s a little about the person who makes organizes the chaos that is the Exhibit Space!

Name: Phillip Ward-Schmidt

Department: I am the Exhibit Space Department Head. 

Staff for how long: I have been staffing ever since 2007

A little about yourself: I enjoy swimming, running, and various other forms of exercise, but I am also an active Gamer who enjoys FPS, RPGs, and Strategy Games.  If that wasn’t enough interests, I am of course an avid Anime Enthusiast who enjoys the genre, the Industry, and our attendees / members.  Not to mention that there is a fungus among us, because I’m a fungi!

What are some of your favorite anime related media?  I am a sucker a whole slew of series like Naruto, Bleach, FMA, Evangelion, Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Magica Madoka, Howl’s Moving Castle, Wolf’s Rain, Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club, .Hack/Sign, Black Lagoon, Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, Blood +, and my wife just told me to stop typing, so… come join us in the Exhibit Space.  ;)

Why did you join staff?  My first ACen experience involved my girlfriend at the time, my current wife, when she “asked” if I wanted to come join her and work for a weekend, unpaid, at an Anime Convention.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was an entire weekend away from the ordinary, so I accepted the “offer”.  From there my ambition took over and I soon became the Department Head for the Artist Alley & Art Show in 2009.  At which point, half way through the planning stages of 2009, I became the Department Head for the Exhibition Hall as well.  In late 2010 the two Departments merged into one, forming the Exhibit Space, which now stands as one of the most innovative and renown events in the Anime Convention community.

What tips do you have for attendees to enjoy ACen more?  Bring EXTRA SOCKS!  I can’t emphasis this enough.  One year I only brought one pair of socks per day, and was dodging the EMRT Staff because I still had work to do, but my feet had decided that they were no longer on board with that whole walking thing.  My legs were not aware of my feet’s declaration of independence, so they were walked into oblivion, thus after the event I had to bandage them up.  So bring EXTRA SOCKS!  You don’t know how good it feels to jump into a fresh pair of socks after a long walk, plus it ensures that your feet don’t get any ideas ;)

What were some of your favorite experiences in the Exhibit Hall or Artist’s Alley? Feel free to leave a comment!