Tag Archive: Interview


An Interview with ACen’s Assistant Department Head of Art and Publications

An Interview with ACen’s Assistant Department Head of Art and Publications

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 Assistant Department Head for Art and Publications!

The Art and Pub department handles all the various art and writing that goes out to the public. Their biggest focus is the Program Guide because without that, you’d have a hard time knowing what’s going on at the Convention! In addition to the printed Program Guide, they’re also in charge of the App version of the Program Guide. Now the guide fits even better into your pocket!

So without further ado, here’s a little about the person who catches all (most) of the typos!

Name: David Ordoñez

Department: I am the Assistant Department Head Art and Publications where we create any items that go out to the public such as the Program Guide and Press Releases. Primarily, I’m the Copy Editor for all our publications (Program Guide typo-free since… well, never).

Staff/for how long: Logistics (‘05-’07); Merchandising (’08-’10); Blogger (’13-Present), Copy Editor (’11-Present), and ADH (‘12-Present) for Art & Publications

A little about yourself: By day, I’m a customer service phone rep for a medical waste disposal company and a Petty Officer in the US Navy Reserve one weekend a month (barring any deployments). I also have a BA in English from NIU, which when folded up makes a lovely hat. I also enjoy sunsets and long walks on the beach. Nobody cuddles as hardcore as the Ordomancer.

What are some of your favorite anime related media? Final Fantasy (6, 7, and 9), Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, Avatar: The Last Airbender, anything Studio Ghibli and Pixar

What was your first ACen experience? My first ACen was 2002. I brought my violin with me. I can play pretty much anything by ear, and was playing themes from various video games, shows, and movies throughout the weekend. While impatiently waiting for the dance, I started playing conga music and of course, a conga line formed behind me. Because of repeated violations of the fire code, conga lines are now forbidden at ACen. You know you had a good time when you set precedent for future events (FYI, if I see anyone starting a conga line, I *will* break it up).

Why did you join staff? I wanted to go to the Convention for free! I started on the Logistics staff, which was a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, but the cool thing about it was that all our work was done before and after the Convention, so I had plenty of time to enjoy the Con itself. I got lucky to get on that staff as a lot of positions do all their work during the Convention (and now I’m in yet another position that does all their work before the Con). However, I was on the Merch staff a few years where all that work was during the Convention, but I managed to scam some extra ACen shirts and swag on the cheap! I had a lot of fun yelling at the top of my lungs hawking ACen swag. Every staff has its work to do, but every department does their fair share, and the perks are totally worth it!

What tips do you have for attendees to enjoy ACen more? Keep your packing as simple as possible. If you can’t carry all your luggage by yourself, you’d better have a big enough cart to lug all your stuff around. And for the sake of others, please bathe.

What were your most interesting experiences with the Program Guide? Did you catch any typos? Feel free to leave a coment!

An Interview with ACen’s Department Head of Exhibit Space

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!

An Interview with ACen’s Department Head of Volunteers (Plus How to become a Gopher!)

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 Volunteers!

Speaking of volunteering, if you can’t spare time to work before the Convention, why not volunteer at the Convention? As an Anime Central Gopher, you go where departments need extra help. In exchange for your help, you’re eligible for free badge for next year’s Convention! It’s the perfect opportunity to try out various departments and maybe even find a department you want to join as a full staff member next year.

Some of the perks of volunteering at the Convention include:
- A full badge for yourself to next year’s Convention (2014 only, after 16 hours’ worth of work)!
- Access to the Gopher hotel room at the Convention, shared with other Gophers (each night you’re there, after 6 hours’ worth of work per day, but space is limited)!
- A small peek at the inner workings of Anime Central!
- A prize for the Gopher who works the most hours!

This year’s Gopher Prize is themed for our Sweet 16 in 2013! The Gopher Prize shows how our best Gopher is:

- A very sweet volunteer: a DVD of the complete series of Antique Bakery!

- A highly skilled volunteering ninja: a DVD of Ninja Nonsense!

- A lucky Red Shirt that survived volunteering: A Star Trek Red Shirt towel!

If you volunteer for setup before the Con opens (as early as Wednesday) and/or tear down after the Con closes (Sunday afternoon), those hours count for double! Keep in mind that we’re a non-profit volunteer organization and happy to help you meet any community service requirements you might have! For more information or to sign up, visit http://www.acen.org/content/volunteer, under the “At-Con Volunteer” section, or stop by the Volunteer Headquarters during the Convention.

So without further ado, here’s a little about the person who rides herd on all our Gophers!

Name: Angel Sickels

Department: I’m the Department Head of Volunteering, in charge of organizing the volunteers (Gophers) who help work the weekend of the Con.

Staff/for how long: Gopher (‘02-’09), Assistant Department Head of Volunteers (‘09-’10), Department Head of Volunteers (’10-Present)

A little about yourself:  I love baking a lot, and I’ve had a good amount of experience making picture frames. I also sew pillows for fun. I like to feed duckies by the pond, and I like ice cream in the cold. I go to other nerdy conventions in the area like Capricon, WindyCon, and Duckon. I play computer games, and I’ve even skipped work just to play The Sims. I learned my lesson and will never do that again. I do not support nor do I recommend anyone to do this.

What are some of your favorite anime related media? My first true love on the Japanese front was, Megatokyo. Staying up night after night at all hours just to catch up from the very beginning, but ironically enough, I’ve very behind to this very day. Seraphim and Boo are my favorite Characters, so much so I have my very own Boo “talking” plushie and have considered on many occasions to have Seraphim done as a Tattoo. = )

I also love Domo-kun. In fact, it’s the unofficial mascot of the Volunteers Department!

I’ve also enjoyed Steel Angel Kuromi (but only the first season), Angel Beats, Kenichi, Fruits Basket, Legend of Dragoon on PS1, Stich 626 on PS2, and Red vs. Blue.

What was your first ACen experience? I have three first time experiences with ACen. My first time going to ACen,I had a horrible time. The worst part of the night was when one of the people I was staying with had a seizure. I handled the situation, but the fact I was alone during the rest of the weekend is what made me leave. I didn’t know anything about the Con, so I left early and I thought I’d never come back.

A few years after that, I met an ACen staffer and he convinced me to try the Convention again. He introduced me to the then Department Head of Volunteers who encouraged me to be a Gopher. So my first year as a Gopher, they had me helping Registration. While on shift, I went outside for a smoke break and when I tried to get back in, Rosemont Police wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have a badge yet at the time. I had to have a staffer vouch for me to let me back in!

About 4 years ago, I finally joined Staff, and on my first year, they threw me in the deep end and made me Assistant Department Head of Volunteers. On top of that, the second year I was ADH for Volunteers, I was promoted to full Department Head. I must have done a good job because I’ve been DH ever since.

Why did you join staff? They needed help! I have a friend who’s been on staff since it started and she was a good influence. She taught me everything I know. Staff always needs help and we’re always looking for Gophers!

What tips do you have for attendees to enjoy ACen more? As much as it hurts to say, don’t volunteer your first time at ACen. Experience the Con your first year to see if you really enjoy it. When you come, don’t go alone. Make sure you have someone to hang out with and share the experience. You should also know your vocabulary. My first year at the Con, dealers were yelling words like “yaoi”, “yuri” and “otaku” and I had no idea what they meant. You don’t want be thrown into a Yaoi panel unless you specifically know what it is and if you are into that. If you don’t know what “glomp” means, make sure you ask someone that you trust who will tell you. Finally, stay hydrated! There’s a lot of walking between the hotel and the Convention Center. Bring lots of extra pairs of socks. Your feet will thank you.

What were your most interesting experiences with Gophers? Feel free to leave a comment!

An Interview with ACen’s Chief of Staff (Plus How To Join ACen Staff!)

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 Chief of Staff!

Speaking of staff, ever wonder what goes into making the Convention happen? Ever wanted to be a part of that? ACen Staffers past and present can hold their heads up proudly, knowing they had a hand in creating the awesome event that is Anime Central. Staffing ACen can entail attending planning meetings weeks before Convention and running things the weekend of the Convention, but it’s not all work! We wouldn’t be working the Convention if we couldn’t enjoy it!

In addition to the responsibility of working to make ACen great, you get a full Staff badge to the Convention, a Staff hotel room shared with other Staffers at the Convention (numbers are limited), and invites to year-round events! We have a staff Christmas party, a Summer Matsuri picnic, and other events throughout the year to get us together, keeping us working as a team! You don’t just see your fellow staffers once a year! It’s a great way to keep in touch with new friends!

There are openings in multiple departments such as Panel Programming, Registration, and Customer Service. For more information on our individual departments, go to http://www.acen.org/content/departments. For more information on requirements and to apply for Staff, visit http://www.acen.org/content/volunteer, under the “Staff Requirements” section, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible on what you can do to help ACen!

So without further ado, here’s a little about the person who herds all the cats that make ACen happen!

Name: Rosa Halcomb

A little about yourself: Hmm. I’m a big nerd who sews, reads tarot cards, collects manga and antique cameos? Not that much to tell. I grew up in Kentucky, and I still live there, and I drive up to Chicago for ACen meetings and planning things. I travel a lot for work, so the driving is no big deal, and I love the people involved in the Con– they make it all worth it! What else? I’m in my 30s. I have a cat, and I garden in my allegedly spare time. My day job is as a business analyst for a cable company – basically I write business rules and process materials for the engineering and support teams. I geek for fun and I geek for a living. It’s a happy life!

What are some of your favorite anime related media? I grew up watching Bubblegum Crisis and Tenchi Muyo. I’m a big fan of horror anime like Higurashi or Hellsing, and I like things with a good story. Really, I will watch or listen to pretty much anything given the chance, and am currently working my way through Madoka and Sword Art Online. I also was a huge fan of Initial D, because I adore the music. MOVE is one of my favorite bands. X Japan is another. I mentioned that, right? I don’t need to jump up and shout “We Are X” to get the point across.

Staff for how long: 10 fabulous years and more to come. I started as Art Show staff, and then ran Artist’s Alley for a couple years. I was the Convention Secretary, the Chief of Staff, the Vice Chair, and then the Conchair. Now I’ve retired from Conchair and gone back to being Chief of Staff, and I really love it!

What was your first/best ACen experience? In 1999 I was just learning about this anime stuff, and the guy I was dating wanted to road trip to Chicago to this con he heard about from an artist friend of ours. That weekend I discovered ACen. I stood in line to get Kenichi Sonoda’s autograph, and the fire alarm was pulled during the signing, so he just lined us all up like ducklings and led the way outside, and finished the signing in the hotel’s outdoor space. That really taught me my first and most important lesson about conventions: you have to learn to roll with the crazy moments, and not sweat the small stuff too much. My secret favorite moment of the Con is to slip backstage just before the rave starts up, or just before a big event like a concert is going to happen. I wait for the moment the lights hit, and the crowd makes that amazing rolling roar of sound that’s so full of excited anticipation. It just makes me want to jump up and down and cheer. I love knowing that people have a great time, it’s very energizing.

Now and then I get to meet someone who joins us as staff or as a guest who really touches my heart. Hideko Tamura Snider was one such person. She was ten years old when her home in Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb, and her thoughtful eloquence and inspired writing are amazing. She wrote a book called One Sunny Day about her memories of the bombing, what came before, and what has happened since. Meeting her and talking for a while about the book made me really rethink a lot of things about my own way of living. She is just a truly inspiring lady, and I admire her very much. Read the book if you have the chance.

Why did you join staff? I was always hanging out in the Artist Alley bothering friends and looking at the pretty original stuff. Eventually, I asked if I could help, and the next year I was volunteering full time for the Con. I met all these amazing, fun, dedicated people who had the gift of grace under pressure, and this adventuresome spirit I really admired. I never left.

What tips do you have for attendees to enjoy ACen more? The community is what matters most. Remember we’re all fans of this genre that is as diverse and wide-ranging as the fans who love it, and every one of those fans deserves respect. There’s enough bullying and rudeness in the world, ACen is our place to be with people who like the things we like. Whether they’re into Naruto, or DBZ, or One Piece, or Panty & Stocking, or something obscure that’s just coming out, when we subdivide and make fun of other fans, we’re acting exactly counter to the reason we all get together. Be kind to your fellow Otaku! And Get Soap, okay?

Also: Volunteer! We love to have bunches of new folks on the team, because they bring new perspectives and ideas. Plus, there’s lots of good in it for you, as well! Not only can you earn back your badge, you’ll also meet some amazing people. Plus, you get great experience that can help you with experience for your resume, references for your work, and great answers to tough questions like, “How to you react to high pressure situations?” I’m proud to be a professional reference for lots of folks on the team, and if you do a good job I have no qualms about telling a prospective employer that.

Have you ever met an ACen Staffer who went above an beyond at con and just made your experience that much better? Tell us about it in the comments!

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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