Monday, November 10, 2008

Post NYAF 2008 with Benjamin Boyles

Check out my Pre-Anime Festival with Otaku USA

Hello Everyone! I am here with another employee of Otaku USA magazine, Benjamin Boyles. Now before we get to know him as Otaku USA, let’s get to know him on a personal level.

So how has Mr. Boyles been since the festival? “Busy, always deadlines and things to do.” I know the feeling. Work is work.

Ben just turned 28 and currently resides in Williamsport, PA. He is “Caucasian” with Irish and German heritage. Do I hear wedding bells? Guess what? He is engaged to the beautiful and lovely Emily Lomax and their wedding is on June 27, 2009. Congratz dude!!!! Ok back to work!

You curious about what his position in Otaku USA? Take a guess? His official position is Account Executive. Yeah I know what some of you are thinking… You might be thinking that his job is the same as an accountant, just counting numbers, right? Guess what guys? The reality is that he deals with advertising sales and monitors the trafficking of the ads. Even though those are his responsibilities, what makes his position important and necessary for OTAKU USA? Let Ben tell you why:
“When you see Advertising in the pages of OTAKU USA, to get that Ad in place, It takes me to be directly involved in the logistics and communication with the client that placed the Ad. Then it’s all tracked and scheduled in a program that I insert the information into. I also am constantly developing relationships with other prospective clients that would benefit from Advertising in our pages and I also try to find companies that I think our readers will enjoy their products and services.”
So, you see he does play an important role in the functionality of Otaku USA.

Other than that he also attends conventions on behalf of Otaku USA. Even though he attended other conventions before NYAF, Ben is actually fairly new to the world of conventions, both anime manga and non-anime manga related. Being a sort of a newbie, how does he feel about the general environment of conventions? Well (^_^) according to him it is “craziness but fun. Have to sit back and say “wow” sometimes.” Some of us know exactly how you feel, Ben. I know I do.

Since he attended different conventions, I wonder if he noticed any similarities or differences? Yes, he did notice a few things. He told me this: “it was very similar to AX in LA. But that is a very big compliment.” We can take a compliment! Who does not want to be complimented (^_^)

From experiences at different conventions and being fairly new, I had to ask an important question. Does he feel that the conventions have an impact in society? He said yes. Why do you ask? According to Ben, he believes that it “gives that Fan base a separate population and gathering place. With that many fans of the culture, it breeds a separate sector of industry.” In this case it happens to be anime and manga related.

So from a creation of a separate sector comes the creation of such conventions as the New York Anime Festival. So how does this event relate to him being in Otaku USA?
According to Ben, “being more and more involved in the industry, it’s one of the main events to attend.” Since the New York Anime Festival 2008 was Ben’s first NYAF, so what were his overall impressions? “Love the Javits Center. Love the cosplay and the passion the fans have for the culture.” Yeah go NYAF! So what were his initial reactions when he first heard about the festival? “Curious on how it would turn out and where it was located in NYC.”

Knowing that he had to go to the festival, Ben kept an open mind “and didn’t really put any expectations on it.” Even though he had an open mind, he did have an initial reaction to the festival. His first reaction was that “the location was great.” Now comparing to AX in LA in July of 2008, “the event was very comparable. Not quite as big but well laid out and planned.”

Having to be there for all three days, Ben had a schedule to follow through. This would help him organize his work and have things go smoothly. So let’s read what was the schedule like for Ben and each day’s work. “Left Williamsport Thursday AM to get to NYC by about noontime or so, check into hotel and head to the Javits center to setup the booth with the other guys from the company. Manned the booth Friday and Saturday all day until the exhibition hall was closed. Get a bite to eat and back to the hotel to crash. The full days are exhausting. Sunday: Planned out the attack of packing up and making sure we got rid of all our merchandise we came with to the readers. Sunday had to leave the other guys a little early due to my ride back to Central PA leaving. But they could handle the rest of the day. Got back early evening to catch up on family things.” So remember guys, similar to Ben, plan and organize to make sure things get done smoothly and have time for food. (^_^)

With his busy schedule, the ups and downs of the festival were “pretty consistent.” He “always enjoy when people come up to the booth not knowing about us.” Yes, I know that sounds odd, but there is a reason. People kept thinking they are the “spawn from New Type. Then they are presently surprised that we are not and we are an individual company that only publishes magazines we are passionate about.” This assumption has been brought up so many times that it became a FAQ on Otaku USA’s website. So guys, it is not the same magazine. It is just independent Otaku USA.
Ok so about his job and responsibilities. Since he is the Account Executive and he was at the convention promoting the magazine, are his responsibilities different or similar at the festival and at the office? “My direct responsibility at NYAF was to promote subscriptions to fans. With a little bit of promoting the website. These two things are very different from my position responsibilities within the company. The only thing I do similarly at the cons that I do in the office is prospect new clients and introduce companies to us that may not be already familiar with our magazine.” So work in the office is more or less linked to work outside of the office space. Even though work is still work, Otaku USA “never go into it with a main goal but always love when the Hall is packed. Makes it crazy but fun.” He felt that the festival did a “great job.”

So, would Ben like to relive the NYAF 2008 again? “I wouldn’t mind doing it again next year. Was overall a good experience for us as a company and great to be around the fans and readers.”

His final words: “Thanks so much for your interest in us, we appreciate all our readers support.” So keep the support going guys!

Thank you Benjamin Boyles for participating in the interview!!!
Thanks Julian Gnam for the logo and the picture of the crowd in front of the Otaku USA booth!!!
For more information about Otaku USA please visit
Photograph of the Otaku USA NYAF 2008 Booth by Linda Thai.
© 2008 Linda Thai

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