With a slew of Power Ranger actors appearing at Anime Expo this week as well as next year’s Power Morphicon 2, it is a great time for fans to meet their favorite rangers, attend panels, get autographs, take pictures and dress up in elaborate costumes.
This is a fun time for all involved. Having been to Power Ranger appearances at Youmacon in 2005 and 2008 as well as Anime Central 2008, as well as countless other conventions to meet other actors, I can tell you I’ve seen my fair share.
To be honest, I’ve seen some awkward reactions when fans are in the presence of their favorite Power Ranger cast members. Although they may not realize it, these reactions may not only be embarrassing for the fan, but also for the actors and the fandom in general. The following are some tips for when you get to meet your favorite star at a local convention.
You’ve grown up watching them. You’ve followed their career for years. And when you finally meet them… you turn into a pile of incoherent goo. You’re a mess, you can’t speak and you’re shaking. Guess what? The actor you’re meeting might be just as nervous to meet you!
At Youmacon 2005, there was a Rangerboard room party Saturday night of the convention. And guess who crashed it? Chris Violette, Alycia Purrott, Monica May, Bruce Kalish, and Greg Aronowitz. Shortly after being ambushed by their adoring fans, Chris found his way to a less congested part of the room where my fiancee, Leyann, initiated a conversation with him. This led to the three of us having a good 20-minute discussion filled with topics concerning where we were from, what we did for a living, goals for the future, etc…
The flow of the conversation was easy, we joked around and we had a good time. He admitted that since it was his first convention, he wasn’t prepared for the fanbase that awaited him at the con. He was a little taken aback, not just by the number of people who came to see them, but also that these fans were much older than he initially expected. When it came right down to it, he was just as nervous to meet all of us as we were to meet him!
- Remember, actors are people just like you and me when you come right down to it. They have the same fears, ambitions, emotions as the rest of us.
Towards the end of the conversation, a few more people decided to join in. And quickly the topic reverted back to Ranger-related antics: “Hey remember in episode 13 where blah blah blah…” and “Your character did yadda yadda yadda…” At one point Dino Thunder was even referenced, a season Chris had not seen or participated in. It was then noticeable on Chris’ face that Power Rangers was not the only thing he wanted to talk about that evening, after a long day of Ranger panels and Q&A.
- Do not bore actors with over the top fandom terms and analysis, especially in a clearly SOCIAL situation. They know they work they did, you know the work they did… leave it at that unless it naturally comes up in conversation.
Anime cons and other conventions in general have become known as places where the personal cleanliness of its attendees has become an issue. For years, anime cons have done everything to encourage good hygiene, from selling shirts with taglines such as “Got Soap?” to actually providing free bars of soap to all con-goers.
I honestly don’t know what compels people to go three or more days without showering at conventions. But it’s obviously a large enough problem where even convention guests have begun to take notice.
Case in point: Last year at Youmacon, I got to meet Walter Jones and Paulie Schrier. The setting was very casual; they were just standing around on the second floor by the autograph area and the line of fans was quite orderly. I was the last in line with my fiancee. After getting an autograph and picture with Walter, we approached Paulie. He got to chatting with us, thanking us for waiting so patiently. After taking a picture with him, Paulie turned to me and said, “Wow man, you smell really good!”
I thanked him for the hilariously flattering comment and he was quick to add that he too had experienced the horrors of convention B.O.
- People, you heard it here first, Power Ranger actors don’t want to smell your fanboy funk! At cons: shower, rinse and repeat!
Politeness, Autographs and Pictures
My parents taught me to always say “Please” and “Thank You”. Even after standing for two hours in a line, I still ask PR cast members if they could “Please sign this…”, and I thank them immediately. I also ask if it would be alright if I could take a picture with them. Every time, they are more than happy to, and sometimes that can lead to some small talk or an overall better reaction than if I were to just shove something in front of them.
There have been few times where I’ve seen a total lack of respect towards both the guest and to other fans waiting in line, by people who have more items than are usually allowed to be signed, taking one too many pictures or even shoving their camera to another fan expecting the picture be taken for them without even asking. The guests are not there to help drive up your eBay sales or add to your wall of collectibles.
- Stick to a convention’s autograph and photography policies, if there is no limit, use good judgement. There are many people waiting for the same opportunity as you, don’t be greedy.
- Kindness gets you a lot more than being a greedy fan! Make the experience fun for not only yourself, but the guests themselves. If they like the experience, there’s a getter chance of more convention appearances.
Panels are a great opportunity to hear stories from behind the scenes, see the personalities of guests, and to find out facts you may have never heard of before. Almost always there is a time for Q&A at the end of the panel, where you get a chance to ask the guests specific questions. Of course, you don’t want to waste the precious time of the guests and other con goers who might have equally burning questions.
- THINK before you ask a question. Is it relevant to the season the guests were on? I know this my seem like common sense, but I’ve witnessed a few questions that go right over the guest’s heads, simply because they don’t know what you are referring to.
- LISTEN to what people have asked before you. Don’t get so wrapped up in thinking of what you are going to ask that you miss what is going on and end up repeating a similar question.
- GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR QUESTION. Try to ask a question that gets all the guests involved, this really adds to the discussion and can lead to interesting stories and interactions.
- GIVE OTHERS A CHANCE. Stick to asking one question, don’t disguise it with a ‘two part question’. And don’t raise your hand a second time, there’s a great chance that another person wants to ask the same question your forgot to ask.
I hope these tips help you to have a memorable convention experience, meeting your favorite star can be exhilarating and a lot of fun. Just remember that there are others who want to have a great a time as you do!
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