Today a guy by the name of Andrew Pierson asked me for pointers for starting an anime club and making it a success. After recovering from the shock of someone actually trying to start a CLUB in the age of the Internet, I realized it was a great question that deserved more than 140 characters in reply.
So here are my immediate thoughts on the matter:
1. Find a meeting location people want to go to. In the era of Xbox Live, teh Interwebz, and on demand television and movies it’s REALLY hard to motivate people to want to leave their apartments/houses to meet up and watch anime together. Thus, come up with a location that is welcoming and interesting enough that people will come back. Having inexpensive food and drink in proximity is a must when considering this.
2. Create a consistent schedule, plan it far in advance, and stick to it. If you decide to meet the second Friday of each month (for example) – check that Friday for at least six months. It would suck if three of them fall on holiday/events that would stop people from coming… and thus eliminate the usefulness of that schedule. Find something that works so folks remember to do it REGULARLY, then stick to it.
3. Dedicate to a series so people come back. Watch a series and pick up where you left off at the next meeting. This will make sure people return as to not miss an episode. Shows are fun to watch together if everyone is into it. (Hence why people still go to movies.) The number one reason people tell me they go to conventions? To hang our with their friends. Keep this in mind when picking a show to watch.
4. Come up with something that makes watching anime at the meeting different. Try to get your hands on a projector and screen. Folks have big TVs, but creating a way for folks to watch anime in a way they can’t at home will prompt them to want to come out more.
5. Invite a hot chick to the meeting. Or two. The male to female ratio at anime club meetings is usually WAY off. Find an awesome nerdy chick to come to meetings, then guys will show up to see if she comes back. (This is the logic followed by comic stores and video game stores – so I know it works.)
So good luck, Andrew. Let me know when you have your first meeting. Maybe I’ll try to stop by.