I volunteered at the AnimeFest 2014 in Sheraton hotel, Dallas, Texas earlier in August. It was pretty cool. At first, I want to volunteer as photographer, as I did in AKon 2014. But they didn’t accept me, so I tried again for the main stage crew. I thought it would be a position that will create the programs for main event and then got accepted to the volunteering as main stage crew.
So after a while, I got an email from the stage manager saying hi to all of his crew and told us that he was thankful that the people volunteered there are experienced in technical theater set up. I freaked out because apparently the activities that I will do was different with the activities that I will actually be doing. Doh, sound set up? I never did that.
There were two pre-event meeting. The first one, the manager greeted us and show how to connect the soundboard to amp and how to operate the sound board. Apparently there were other two main stage crew there, well I was glad I wasn’t alone. Then the next meeting, we tear down the stage thrust, which was apparently really fun. You know, the stage thrust (image below) so AnimeFest has 4 tower need to be broken down. It was heavy, and the process to pull down the top part was neat too. There were chains and we need to pull the chains in similar speed (4 people in the corner). Then the top thrust has a lot of lamps/light attached to it. So soon after the top thrust was on reachable position, we also take all the cables and lamps/light out. Then, back to broke the thrust into pieces. It was funny to hear lots of violent hitting sound to disassemble the thrust joints. The thrust, even after being disassembled, still very heavy.
This is a stage thrust (image from google).
Then at the day, I arrived on Thursday night. The thrust was already up, and we were attaching the lamps. I love the overall process, although I know nothing of it. Gosh.. I don’t even know the cables ( xlr cables, dmx cables, duh what are those???) haha so I ended up just doing whatever they told me to. Cables, finding cables to connect the lights. Attaching the light to the thrust. Light is actually very sophisticated (Yeah, light is a bitch! – my fellow crew member said lol). After they are connected, then power goes in. The lieutenant told me to help one of the crew (much younger than me but more capable then me, I felt so ashamed) to connect the power to the lights. It is also a bit tricky because we need to make separated circuits for the lights so it wont exceed 200kilowatt (if that even make sense, sorry I am bad at physics) since its the capability of the building. oh dude, volunteering here in the U.S. is not a play, its a serious stuff T^T people still know what they are doing, so unlike me who know nothing lol. So to connect the light to the power I learn new stuff again, the spider box (like a usual electrical plug in your wall but its huuuge). That boy succeed in powering the light. And the Lieutenant was especially very good at motivating people and involving people at the main stage. He was the light guy and he actually has a family business in that. How cool!
Then we were done for the night. It was at 2 AM and I need to got up at 8 am because I will still have to went for a meeting in downtown for my intern. Such wow! Such busy and I like it! 😀
Then on Friday, we set up the sound. Well then I realized that the main stage crew wasn’t as many as I thought. It is merely simpler than the light because it needed only to set up the speaker, woofer and amplifier. Then connect all of those. This was my new experience as well. So so connect the speaker to amp, the cable needed to go underneath the stage, yes, underneath it. So I crawled underneath the stage with my working format outfit (sorry colleagues if I smelt weird and dusty). And guess what more, because the cable for the right side speaker and woofer weren’t long enough, I need to re-do the crawling-under-the-stage again, diagonally T^T.
This is somewhat the place under stage was (image from Google). I was too busy crawling to take picture, of course.
Then after that I called it off for the day and went for lunch with my awesome research team at a texmex restaurant downtown.
After the meeting ended, I went back to the stage at around 8 and prepared for my shift for opening ceremony. The cable apparently didn’t go to the correct cable in the soundboard so there was a little fuss over it ( a lot actually). Lol I was only assigned to look over the laptop until the animation was done ( AnimeFest showed the new episodes of Space Dandy).
Then the next program was DJ and party. I was not assigned to it so I just look at how the people work with light board and sound board. Not much, looking at the people partying until midnight and off to sleep at around 1 am.
On Saturday, this should be the busiest day. I woke up at 7 am (thanks to the usual work day routine) and while wondering if I should go down now or not then my stage manager called at 8 am in the morning to ask me to go down. So I rush down and the con was filled with people. I can’t express the feeling, but its instant happiness and butterfly flies in my stomach when I see the cosplayers lol.
At the main stage, the manager, light director, and sound director of the guest tonight, FLOW (the one who sing ‘Go’ for naruto, ost for Eureka seven and Code Geass) were there already. I was in awe looking at real Japanese speaking Japanese in rapid speed (duh me). The task for me was to help the manager to set up the fabric to cover the AnimeFest banner since Flow doesn’t want it when they play. It was only fabric but damn its heavy because it was hang from steel and we need to attach the steel part to the stage thrust. So mostly it was done by my manager, I was just holding the steel while he tied it to the thrust (but it was still very heavy).
After set up 2 of the side fabric and cover all of the background, my manager told me to take a break and enjoy the con. Lol, but I also enjoy preparing for the stage (and there were Japanese peeps too omg). I think because I was involved in various events preparation and comitee during my school days, I truly missed it. I would rather go to con/event as crew so I have some responsibility and a sense of goal in the event than go to con as attendee or guest. I really like going to con as volunteer because I met new people, I got new skill and still enjoy the con (and slept in hotel for free lol). Also what I really like in an event is when I see happy faces of people that come to the con, knowing that what I did contribute in their happiness during the con is priceless.