When this interview was originally conducted, Joyce Lim was the the acting Chairperson at Anime Expo. Ms. Lim graciously took some time out of her busy schedule to offer insights on how anime cons work behind the curtain.
Note: this interview was originally performed on January 26, 2010 as part of an article series for Anime Dream. All communications were conducted via e-mail.
Anime Herald: What is your role at your convention? What kind of duties are you responsible for?
Joyce Lim: My role at Anime Expo is the Chairperson. I am responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the various divisions that arrange and run the convention. I make sure that the convention has the facilities, material and personnel resources as well as interesting programming to run smoothly and be enjoyable to attendees.
Anime Herald: What types of challenges does a person in your position have to tackle?
Joyce Lim: The challenges I encounter include getting a group of passionate people to work together improving their part of the convention without lowering the quality of any other part.
Anime Herald: How did you get your start at your convention? Were you there from the beginning?
Joyce Lim: I first heard about Anime Expo through my college anime club and attended Anime Expo in 1996. I later joined the staff in 2000 when some of my friends decided to run the Masquerade event.
Anime Herald: Do you have any advice for people who are interested in helping out at a convention?
Joyce Lim: If you are interested in helping out at the convention, talk to the staff and tell them that you are interested in helping out. They can give you more information on how to apply to be on staff or become an attendee volunteer and help you figure out which department you’d be more interested in and best match your skills. We are always looking for passionate, energetic people to join our staff.
Anime Herald: What was the convention scene like when you began? Has it changed much between then and now?
Joyce Lim: When I began, the convention scene was smaller and more closely knit with a casual school club atmosphere and you could easily attend all of the events you were interested in. If you didn’t know someone personally, you probably at least heard about them. Now, there are so many people that you’d be lucky to know even 1% of the attendees and staff. There are so many events happening that you have to prioritize your events and choose which ones you definitely don’t want to miss.
Anime Herald: Are there any precautions that you take to ensure that your part of the event goes smoothly every year? How do you keep Murphy’s Law from rearing its head in the worst way possible?
Joyce Lim: Always have a Plan B. And in some cases, Plans C, D, and E. If your event is outside, make plans to get a tent or move it inside if it rains. If someone doesn’t show up for their work shift, change the work shift schedule, get someone else to cover that shift, or see if there is some other way the work can be completed. There is always at least one thing that makes you shift gears and move things around so you have to be very flexible and quick on your feet. And if all else fails, there is always someone higher in the organization to ask for help and advice.