AnimeCon.org is a company that organizes anime conventions in support of a nerd community. Below is our recent interview with Ryan L. Kopf, CEO of AnimeCon.org:
Q: Ryan, for those who haven’t heard of it, what is the best way to describe AnimeCon.org?
A: We are first fans of nerdy culture, Japanese anime, things like that. My love of anime started in middle school with shows like Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. Eventually I attended my first convention, and then later went on to start my own convention Anime-ZAP! in Peoria, Illinois. I fell in love with the anime community, as there are so many fantastic anime fans out there. AnimeCon.org’s conventions focus on giving these fans a place to come together, meet voice actors, and shop from hundreds of dealers and artists.
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Q: Ryan, how do you spend your work time? What are your duties?
A: Being CEO is quite an adventure, these days I spend more time on the phone than I ever expected. A big part of my job is coordinating everyone that works on the conventions, and bringing them together towards a common focused goal on some of the most fun, safest conventions in the world. I work with my staff on developing a future vision, writing policies on things like sexual harassment and prop weapons, and try to foresee every possible scenario at the convention.
Being responsible for the vision of an organization like AnimeCon.org is the most important part of my responsibilities. I really enjoy focusing on all the new opportunities that exist for our company, and bringing us into the future when it comes to technology and event planning. Our vision lately has focused on running some of the safest conventions around, with clear policies and well trained staff for handling sexual assault, harassment, and anything else that might come up at an event. Generally our events have the fewest bad things happen at them, simply because our staff are so focused on running safe events.
Q: How many conventions do you organize in one year?
A: We currently organize seven annual conventions, and are always looking into expanding to more conventions and more events around the world. Our biggest cities are Chicago and Minneapolis, where thousands of fans show up for us every year. Anime Midwest is our largest event, and it happens annually around the 4th of July in Rosemont, Illinois. We often also run smaller, community-oriented events throughout the year.
Q: How are your events different from any other in the world?
A: AnimeCon.org events are about a community – but it’s more than that. Outside of just the community, we give away unlimited free ramen noodles, rice, and soda at our conventions to our attendees. It’s little gestures like this that help keep our conventions together. Fans are able to stay at the conventions longer, continuing to make new friends and become part of this great community of anime fans. Our conventions also try our best to make every single attendee feel like a member of the community and like a part of our family. We want everyone to have an amazing, unforgettable, fun experience at our events.
Q: How do you give back to the community?
A: We raise and contribute thousands of dollars every year for charity, in addition to everything else we to do give back to the community. For example, we regularly work with schools in low-income communities to provide opportunities for these students to attend for free and gain connections; we have dozens of panels teaching people how to speak foreign languages, how to draw, how to start a business, how to write, and how to make comic books. We also give free admissions to teachers and other members of the community.
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Q: What’s next for AnimeCon.org?
A: We are excited about a new event this year held in a new location in Chicago. We’re holding a Cosplay Costume Homecoming event at McCormick Place in Chicago, which is one of the largest convention centers in the world. We’re only using the hotel attached to the convention center for the event, but we are excited to have the opportunity to check out this new venue. We are also working on great updates to our online communities, giving fans a safe place to interact and share their art, discussions, and more online.Activate Social Media: