Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Behind the Convention: Richard Phon (part I)

In a new regular part of my blog, I will be interviewing the people behind the Anime Conventions we love. Richard Phon is currently the manager of Anime Expo's Manga Lounge. Anime Expo 2011 marks his sixth year as a volunteer staffer. This is a transcript of my interview with him.

Kris: Why did you start working for Anime Conventions?

Richard: It has been so long now. let me check my facebook to see....
I believe it started back in 2006 in Anaheim. Where I staffed for workshops

Kris: What do you remember about Anime Expo in Anaheim?

Richard: It wasn't anything glamorous, but it was still lots of fun. It really depends on the people you attend with.

Kris: What is your best Memories of Anime Expo when it was in Anaheim?

Richard: How easy the parking was and how short the distance was. Mostly the horrible cosplayers, it brings joy to me seeing bad cosplay

Kris: How would you define "bad cosplay?"

Richard: Basically anything I don't like. You could have a horrible costume, but I would still like the cosplay. People's attitudes determine how good/bad cosplay is

Kris: In a typical convention, what percentage of people would you consider "bad cosplay?"

Richard: I actually don't think it's that high. I'd say around 40%

Kris: Speaking of attitudes, so you enjoy cosplay when the cosplayer is having fun in the convention, as opposed to them doing it because they feel the need to or is it more about the intention of the cosplayer?

Richard: Mostly how they carry themselves as they cosplay.

Kris: So confidence and having fun determines whether you like it or not?

Richard: You could have the most detailed cosplay and still have it be bad. yes, the energy they give off is important

Kris: Very true, I completely agree.

Richard: you wear a box and be a Gundam w/ a good attitude and I would love it

Kris: Speaking of cosplay, would you ever do cosplay?

Richard: I think I would, but only in a group as it would add to the fun.

Kris: So you would do it in a group, is there anything you would consider with your circle of friends?

Richard: Or if I find something too good to pass up

Kris: Any anime, manga, video game, comic, of movie in particular?

Richard: I rather just make some thing up and confuse people. Like, “I heard of this RichCon once. I want to find out more about it.”

Kris: That would be quite fun to do

Richard: just have my face on shirts

Kris: Moving along, in Anime Expo 2007 it was your first year managing. How would you describe your first year as manager? If I remember correctly, we had quite a few misadventures even before Anime Expo...like in our manager retreat and shopping for manga.

Richard: I would describe it as enjoyable as I had a great manager to work with. The staff made it a great convention, but the location didn't. The manager retreats need to focus more on the convention itself and team building

Kris: Of course, I believe that we have to focus more on that. Back to Anime Expo 2007, remember during set up on Day 0. It took so long

Richard: In that crazy room across the street from the convention

Kris: Yes, the location was bad. What do you think about the location now? In the LA convention center

Richard: It suits the convention as it allows for futher expansion

Kris: As the manager of Manga Lounge, what do you see in the future for your department?

Richard: In the future I see no Ann, but other than that it will be one filled with excitement.

Kris: Ha ha ha, you are quite funny

Richard: Hopefully more well known and loved by the attendees.

Check back tomorrow for Part II of the interview that focuses on Richard Phon's love of Anime and Manga.

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