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A Talk With An Event Coordinator

Posted in: UpcomingCons
We are spending the weekend at Anime Festival Orlando, taking pictures, some video, and reviewing the convention as much as we can. We took a moment before things got underway to ask a few questions of Event Coordinator Karen Trudeau.

UC: This is the 10th Anime Festival Orlando, can you tell me a little about the convention's history?

In December of 1999 a group of anime fans decided that there was enough of a fan base in the central Florida area to support a convention of its own. Up to then the nearest event was AWA in Atlanta GA.

UC: What is going to be unique about this year that makes AFO different? What are the big things going on?

This year will see the 3rd and final chapter to the Swords of Orlandia saga. A RPG style interactive convention experience, which can be played while attending AFO, or not. There’s lots of stuff going on, and its hard to pick what’s going to be the big thing – we have Vic Mignoga doing a concert on Friday evening, we have our Voice Acting 101 panel which most of our voice actors will take part in, there’s Cosplay & Costume contest, Then there’s the Whack-a-Nerd charity event. There’s so much to do it’s hard to select just 1 or 2 things.

UC: What is attendance looking like? Has the economy had any negative effect on registration numbers?

Looks good. We haven’t seen any measureable negative affect.

UC: Personally, what panels or events are you looking forward to the most?

The ones at Dragon Con, I’m too busy running AFO to attend AFO.

Apparently there is a medieval RPG raging in the background of AFO called Swords of Orlandia. Tell us about that?

3 years ago we had the idea to create a live action game that was themed in the way a video game has a story. We also wanted to have "cut scenes" like a lot of the narrative style games had such as the Final Fantasy franchise of games. So we developed a story centered on two princes who wind up on opposite side and have to battle for control of their kingdom (Orlandia). We wrote 3 skits to perform at Open & Closing ceremonies and also for the beginning of Cosplay, these scene provided additional information about the story and also provided clues to attendees playing the game. (The best thing I can do is refer you to the website and also to the sidebar link to the blog which will provide story info.)

UC: What are the newest things this year that you haven't done before?

This is the first year we are raising money for a charity. With the help of Sleeping Samurai we are offering Whack-a-Nerd. On Saturday we have a 90 min block of time to raise money for Child’s Play.

For a donation you can whack the crap out of a "Stereotypical" con attendee – such as "Guy with Sign" or "Rave Kid" – but its all in good fun – AFO staff members are donating their time to be the "Nerds."
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