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Project Anime: Global 2020 Event Track Highlights

Case Study: DoKomi 2020’s Success Amidst the Pandemic

With the events industry upended by COVID-19, some believe that events will never return to what it looked like prior to March 2020, while others are optimistic that it will, given enough time. While no one can predict the future, it is widely accepted that in the short-term, events must adjust and adapt in order to safely and responsibly take place.

Andreas Degen, the co-founder of Germany’s largest anime convention, DoKomi, joined Project Anime: Global 2020 to talk about his experience planning an event in September 2020.

Degen provided context for the decision to hold an event, citing a desire to support the community and secure long-term survivability. Other key factors included the infection rate along with feedback from the venue and government officials. In order to successfully hold an event, DoKomi worked with their venue to develop an infection protection concept that included event layout changes, mask requirements, active line management, and contact tracing. 

Even with careful planning and a dedication to safety, Degen commented on the emotional toll of receiving harsh criticisms from skeptics. He observed that COVID19 is a particularly divisive and emotional topic, intertwined with politics and media. All this contributed to the stresses of planning and required much endurance from the team.

In the end, the extra attention and additional costs associated with taking all the necessary precautions made DoKomi worth the effort for the sake of the community. 

Watch the full DoKomi case study on VOD to learn more. All Project Anime: Global 2020 content is available online to registered attendees until December 11.

Making Virtual Events Viable with Japan Weekend, Otakuthon, and HomeCon

The sudden and unprecedented closure of all physical events worldwide turned the events industry upside-down. With fans still seeking content and community, event organizers have leapt into the realm of virtual events in hopes of developing a digital proxy for the traditional convention, or at least something that will tide fans over for the time being. 

Moderator Christopher Macdonald (CEO / Publisher, Anime New Network) joined three experienced event organizers who have tried their hand at virtual events: Amanda Arrizza (President, Otakuthon), Justin Rojas (Co-Founder / Executive Producer, HomeCon), and Samuel J. González (Content Manager, Japan Weekend). Each event representative cited similar goals and purposes, recognized a longing for interaction and community, and sought to present an engaging experience digitally. “Our goal was to create an online version of the event that embodied as many aspects of the regular event as possible,” said Arrizza.

The panelists revealed similar experiences when approaching the financial viability of their first virtual event. Both Arrizza and González mentioned a focus on quality over quantity of viewers. With new production and platform expenses to consider, there was no way to accurately anticipate viewership and registration until the event had taken place.

In spite of the newness of it all, all three events were received positively by fans, and each representative also affirmed the viability of eventually combining the physical and virtual formats into a hybrid event. Although the future of the events industry may look uncertain, event organizers never stop innovating solutions and searching for opportunities to bring fans and industry members together. In closing, Macdonald remarked, “I really hope that the community of convention organizers and new virtual convention organizers come together, talk to each other, and help people come up with new answers.” 

Hear more details from the virtual events of Otakuthon, Japan Weekend, and HomeCon in their panel, now available on VOD to registered attendees until December 11.

All sessions from Project Anime: Global 2020 will be available on-demand through December 11. Register before November 27 for VOD-only access to all panels.

For event updates and industry news, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Meg Tsuruda is the Assistant Marketing Manager at SPJA, the nonprofit organization responsible for Anime Expo, World Cosplay Summit USA, and Project Anime. She has attended Anime Expo since 2004 and decided to volunteer in 2013 which led her to join SPJA later that year. Tsuruda has played an integral role in establishing, growing, and managing SPJA’s brands. Her responsibilities include creative direction across art, design, and merchandising, social media/digital content strategy, and public relations. She also acts as the corporate spokesperson, making appearances in various Anime Expo videos, as well as on KTLA, CBS, and Associated Press.

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