|Here's some of my best!|
|Here's some of my best!|
Alrighty, so before I begin the report, my Windsor Comicon experience started just a little bit after TFCon. I had planned on making Yuri Lowenthal a really intricate print since I knew I wouldn’t be able to get much signed. I worked on this print for quite a long time and in the week preceding WCC, I was up almost every night until 5am (and still technically didn’t finish on time).
Friday I had planned to get all my printing done, but sadly I was nowhere near finished by the time the print shop closed at Walmart that night. Although I wanted it ready in time, I at least knew if I really had to, I could print in Saturday night. I was a little worried though because you never know… a guest might suddenly get ill and might not be able to show up on the Sunday.
Anyways Saturday morning my sister and I take off to the con. Since this is our city’s first ever convention, we thankfully didn’t have to travel more than 15 mins and would be able to return home at night (although I will say having a hotel room makes things a million times easier when you go to a con… it’s like a having a secret base XD). The first thing we do when we get there is try to enter the hotel. It’s a tad confusing here though. The hotel is connected to a casino and the entrance for the hotel is almost on the inside of the outer structure… it’s sort of shaped like a U. Anyways we finally get in and try to find our way in the unfamiliar hotel. We eventually stumble upon the ticket line. Since we had purchased tickets ahead of time online we were able to get our passes slightly earlier. I’ll be the first to say though that I REALLY wish the passes were badges instead of bracelets. Couldn’t stand having to wear one during the entire weekend. We also got our program during this time and I’m not too sure who vectored Kevin Smith’s face… but my God does the program cover freak me out!
The floorplan was a little confusing but thankfully some of the staff gave us guidance. Once we obtained our passes, we took the incredibly steep elevator (seriously this thing takes like a whole minute to travel on) downstairs to where the dealer room was. Surprisingly the staff right at the base refused us entry to the line for the dealer room stating that we needed badges as well. I wasn’t aware of this, but I was hoping it was the truth because as I said, I couldn’t stand the bracelets. We go back to the ticket booth and explain our situation. They were really confused. They sent someone down to figure out the situation. While we waited though we noticed someone else was unhappy with how things were being run with the tickets. I’m assuming as far as tickets go, people weren’t well informed. Anyways the guy who ran down came back up, and we were given clearance.
When we went back downstairs, I was surprised by how small of an amount of people there were. I figured for sure there would have been more by that time. At any rate there would end up being hundreds if not a couple thousand who would show up during the weekend. According to what they said online, we were due to enter the dealers room at 9:30 because we bought advanced tickets. Sadly we didn’t get to do this, but we did get in at 9:45 which is better than 10:00.
I wasn’t expecting much before entering the dealer room. I thought for sure it was going to be very mainstream and mostly geared to comicbook fans. I was completely wrong! There was a good mix of both anime and comic related things. I will say though that there was WAAAY too many Funko pops and plushies though. XD We walked around for a bit. We kept looking at the stage to see if the VAs would be getting on any time soon. We checked out artist alley, but sadly didn’t really see any artists who were “fans”. All of the artists appeared to be pros and on top of that, all they mostly seemed to deal in was comicbook art. I was surprised to see Marvin Mariano there though. The entire weekend really the only thing I was looking at was wallets. Was mostly looking at either the Attack on Titan or Transformers wallets. They were both made of leather and looked very nice. I’m pretty sick of my current wallet and thought one of these would make for a good replacement. Ultimately decided to not get one though in order to get autographs. I’ll note that on Sunday though I saw a FREAKING Combiner Wars Devastator! Wasn’t expecting that at all! It was in the hands of someone who bought it in a booth that I had not noticed were selling Transformers (couldn’t believe I had missed it). Sadly by the time I realized all of this, that person had taken the last Devastator. Oh well.
After about an hour looking through the dealers room, we went to go see the very first panel. We checked upstairs to find the panel rooms and we managed to find where each room was located. The first panel was called a sketch duel. When going into this I thought it would be two artists duking it out to have one be declared a winner… although it ended up turning into the free commission hour. The title of the panel said Ken Ashley vs Chris Sprouse vs Mike McKone. I had no idea who any of these people were. There were three men up there but only two who were drawing (one was American and the other was English). They asked everyone what they should draw and someone asked for Captain America. The artists pointed out the irony in that request. LOL At the end they raffled off the winners and personally I feel the English artist did the best.
After the panel, my sister and I went out to go get some lunch. We sadly couldn’t attend the food court in the casino because they won’t let anyone under 18 pass through the casino. We went outside and walked to a Subway. WCC must have planned for a specific date because EVERYTHING was going on in downtown Windsor that weekend. The had the ribfest by the river and they also had Balloonapalooza on the streets (so thankfully we didn’t have to cross any traffic). We had our subway... although I have to say the bread was totally stale. OTL
After our lunch it was the panel I was REALLY eager about seeing. It was the Ben 10 panel featuring Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt at 1pm. They talked about Ben 10 and had some cool insights into the show. They got some diverse questions and I had a fun time listening to all the answers. I’m so glad for the most part it wasn’t the stereotypical old questions of “how did you get into voice acting” or “say a line in X’s voice”. There was lots of fun to be had in the panel though. There was an overhead projector apparatus that was there previously from the sketch duels and the VA couple was having fun with it. XD I think the best moment in the panel was when Tara Platt’s mother was acting as a mouse (reenacting a character Tara had played). Her father was also there filming the panel. I could swear her parents look like two teachers I’ve had before, it was uncanny actually. I wasn’t expecting this beforehand, but their panel happened to be in a small room that could maybe fit 80 people. It was close and intimate and everyone could just raise their hand to ask a question (instead of lining up at a mic). I happened to be sitting in the front row where I could easily be heard and because of this I was able to acquire the courage I needed to ask a question (I’m shy to a fault). I first said to Yuri, “You’re a big Mad Max fan right”? I think Yuri replied and then Tara jumped in and asked if I had seen the Mohawk (which I did). Yuri even showed off this nifty Mad Max-esque hat he got. Anyways I got to my real portion of the question by asking “Did you have any involvement with the creation of Mad Ben or any of the alternate Bens”? I had a sneaking suspicion it was no, but I was curious. He prefaced by saying that there were episodes which featured alternate Bens. Ultimately it was a no, but I guess the show creators (which I have a feeling Derrick J Wyatt had a large part in the creation of the alt Bens) just happened to also be Mad Max fans. I remember Yuri also doing his Australian accent and explaining how you kind of have to stretch your mouth in order to get it right. I feel like he may have said Mad Ben was his Mel Gibson impression, but I can’t quite remember.
Anyways after the panel, I tried texting my friend. He was supposed to meet up with us between 1-2. My one friend had already reneged on going after he said he would and I guess this friend had had some car trouble. My sister’s friend also ended up canceling on her. We were pretty disappointed. My friend was also meant to show up on Sunday but he never did… he said he had to put up a fence with his Dad… although I suspect this sadly wasn’t the truth…
After that we walked the dealers room for a while. There was a Fairy Tail backpack my sister had wanted to get earlier but it sadly sold out.
After a few hour, it was time for the Vic Mignogna panel at 5pm. This time we were in the BIG panel room. This place could easily fit like 4-600 people. I remember the staff member guiding us to the front and telling us to avoid the first five rows. Vic actually started the panel a few minutes early. There was barely anyone in the VIP seats so he told everyone to come closer (which was probably a bad idea). It was a mad dash to get the best seats! Thankfully my sister and I managed to get into the third row. He started his panel with a long preface as he normally does and then opened the floor to questions. I think the funniest point was when someone told him to keep an eye out for some anime called “Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon”. Never heard of the show, but people were really laughing about it. XD Sadly at 5:30 we had to go. My sister wanted to go to some party and so that meant missing the rest of the panel… OTL (ironically she wanted to stay once the panel started to get going).
In one way it was good that we left early because this meant more time to finish my print for Yuri Lowenthal (and to start/ finish Tara and Vic’s pic). We got home around 6 and I RACED to the Cintiq. I was going as fast as possible to try and finish the final details of the pic. Wish I had not been so rushed for time though since there’s some stuff I would have changed/ improved. I finished the pic around 8. By the time I got to Walmart it was around 8:45 (also keep in mind this Walmart closes at 11). Raced to the photo monitors. Some older lady was there and said the machines were closes. At this point I was just about ready to scream! lol I was just totally confused, they should have still been open (when I printed my Tankor pic for TFCon, the printed until 10pm)! I asked her when they closed and she didn’t give me a straight answer. I asked again and she said 9pm. I said that couldn’t be, it was still only 8:45. I was practically on the verge of begging at this point. Thankfully she got someone else to help me and this guy was far more ready to accommodate. I told him it was urgent because I had an art competition in the morning (which wasn’t true, but I still needed to get it printed) and that I needed it in time. He said he couldn’t print it tonight, but he could make it so I placed my order to be ready for when the store opened in the morning. I guess the guy was a graphic artist so hooray for artists supporting artists!
After that episode, got back home and raced to start Tara and Vic’ pic. By the time I gathered reference, I started the pic around 10pm. While I worked on it, I watched all the episodes of Titansgrave (you guys should go give it a watch). Finally decided to go to bed around 5am. I set my alarm for like 7:45 but it woke me up closer to 8:30! I felt pretty rushed because I still needed to add some final touches to the pic. By the time I got showered, ate, edited and got to Walmart, it was around 10am. Sadly because of the time I had to compromise a lot on the Zanpakuto print… I really wish I could go back and ive Sode no Shirayuki a better expression and just draw Senbonzakura a lot better, period. Thankfully my order was ready to go by the time I reached Walmart though. Finally we got back to the con and were ready to start the day.
We first walked around the dealers room. There was maybe 2/3 of the amount of people that were there Saturday which was fine with me. I was still eyeing that wallet from before. I also happened to spot that day a Figma Link and Nedoroid Link (both going for 70)…. Sadly forgot about them later though. XD
At this point I was just sort of circling around and we watched for what was going on on the autograph stage. I’m pretty shy so I like to rehearse what I have to say beforehand so I don’t forget what I wanted to say (which I sadly forget like half the stuff anyways). Now thanks to the convention itself, the autographs were run like TFCon where the guest remains at the table all day unless they have a panel or want a break so there were barely ever any lines. I love the fact that the lines were pretty much nonexistent but I always try to go up when there’s someone ahead in line so I can rehearse one last time. By the time I was ready to go up, Vic, Yuri and Tara had already taken a break. We took this time to go inspect the autograph prices. I was shocked to see that Vic’s sigs were 25 a piece.
Eventually we ended up going to Yuri and Tara’s shelf life panel. My sister would probably kill me for mentioning this, but on the way in, she tripped over Tara Platt’s mother. She was so embarrassed, I felt pretty bad for her. Anyways, they prefaced the panel by showing some eps from Shelf Life using the overhead projector and a microphone. They had a real hard time connecting to the internet (as did we throughout the weekend ourselves). Heard some nice questions yet again. Managed to ask another question and this time I asked “Could you tell us a bit about your experience filming Up Up and Away and Titansgrave”? For those who haven’t seen UUA, it’s a travel show hosted by Yuri and Tara! It’s amazing! Anyways Tara talked a bit about where they filmed and some of the stuff they did. She mentioned the countries that would appear in the next series… I wish I could remember them all… I think I remember Hungary (I remember there being many European countries). Yuri talked about Titansgrave and working with Will Wheaton over the course of a week. I think they might have thanked me for the question, which made me feel pretty good (especially since I was so shy about asking lol). Wasn’t too sure when the couple were going to return for autographs (because they both had photo ops to attend), but thankfully Tara told the audience their schedule.
After the panel it was time to go see Vic. We spoke to his handler first while there were two people ahead of us and we gave him the money for the sigs. I remember going up there and shaking his hand (he probably had the firmest handshake that a VA has given to me lol) and the very first thing he asked was my name. I then told him a few of the roles I liked him in, like in Kekkaishi and Nagato in Naruto (almost said Bleach lol). I then told him every time I meet a VA I give them a piece of my art as a gift to them. I pulled out the Zanpakuto print and he seemed to like it. His reaction made me pretty happy. I mentioned that my favourite character of his is probably Ed, but I like to draw more obscure characters that don’t get as much love. He agreed that it was nice to see the characters that aren’t as common. Mentioned to him that we would be seeing him again at Youmacon this year and told him that I would either draw him a Nagato or a Yoshimori and he lit up at the idea of having some Yoshimori fanart. XD Anyways had him sign my little autograph book and we parted ways. He was asking about shows to look out for at his previous panel and I wish I had remembered to mention Seraph of the End Season 2 when it eventually comes out (would love for him to audition for it). We stepped out of the dealers room and to my horror I noticed that in the book, Vic had signed “To Todd-”! I couldn’t believe it (especially since he had signed my name on the print along with correct spelling)! Went back up to see him and he remembered our names. I told him that I hated to be “that guy” but I asked him to resign the book. He was really confused… he got our names right... he didn’t know how he could have signed Todd. I did mention though speaking of Todd; Vic and him were doing great in Star Trek Continues (seriously if you liked the original Star Trek, please check this out). Anyways before I could say anything, he tore out the Todd page! 0__0 My eyes were as big as that emoticon! I think my heart skipped a beat! Wouldn’t have minded if he had signed the next page… but I didn’t like that the page was torn out (it’s sort of an OCD thing). At any rate, I thanked him again for fixing the autograph and he told us about his panel later and we told him we would try to make it. To my shock and horror again once I took a look at the book again… the very fact that he tore the page out tore some of the previous autographs and unbound their pages by an inch or so. I think my heart skipped two beats this time! I was seriously freaking out! Felt pretty depressed because I spent a good amount of money on these and they were autographs of people I really look up to (not to mention the fact that they don’t do many cons)! The sigs that were affected were sadly Livio Ramondelli, Michael McConnohie and Richard Newman’s (was really sad because Richard voices my favourite Transformer and Michael left a REALLY nice message). I guess I just couldn’t believe it; I’m still depressed over it all. Guess I just wish I could have prevented to tear from happening to begin with. I just REALLY hope the pages hold up and do not deteriorate any more than they have. Guess this was a pretty bad moment for someone who loves autographs (wish I could look at them differently).
Here’s the autograph items:
[Spoiler Alert for Tara’s portion]
So while we waited for Yuri and Tara to be finished with autographs by 3… we went to the cosplay panel for fun.
It featured the three girls on the bottom. I honestly have no idea who they are, but I guess they’re apparently payed to cosplay at cons? At any rate I really like how Korra’s cosplay turned out! She looks like real life Korra! I’d say she was sort of the prominent person during the panel. She was pretty funny saying how hard it is to put on and remove the costume (noting how mad Mako would be LMAO). I guess she also got in trouble at a con once for mentioning it’s hard to use the bathroom while cosplay??? LOL
[EDIT: I lie! This all took place on Saturday right before Vic’s panel… we had left 30 mins before the panel ended to get in line for his panel]
So while we actually waited for Yuri and Tara I think we took a small rest on one of the very few chairs that existed. This con really needed more seating and to offer water… There was no water to drink unless you bought a bottle.
Anyways it finally came time to meet the voice actor couple. We got up onto the stage and the handler was asking us about something when Tara cut in with a big “hi”! I think the first thing they said was a thank you for the great questions during the panels. I’m trying to remember this as best as I can but I guess I was kind of star struck and as a result my memory is a little hazy. Anyways, I believe I shook their hands and told them my name. I mentioned how I loved them in so many things whether it be Naruto, Ben 10, Up Up and Away, etc. I told them how my wallet would be practically dry by the end of this. Had to leave a few items unsigned because I didn’t account for all the prices including what Vic charged. I remember Yuri saying that he appreciated me saving up for this. He said he had to restrain himself from buying stuff in the dealers room. I began to tell them how when I meet a Voice Actor I like to give them a little gift of fanart. I said “I’ll start with you Tara”. I pull out my folder and take the Zanpakuto print out for her. She seemed to be really amazed by the piece. She had a big smile and I seem to remember her remarking that she like Sode’s expression. I can’t remember if I pulled out my version to have signed before or after this part was said, but she was about to hand the pic back and Yuri interjects by telling her, “no that’s yours”! She appeared to be pretty excited about this fact and told me thank you. I think I remember telling her that I started on this at 10 the night before and finished it at 5am. I remember her saying something along the lines of “I guess you haven’t been getting much sleep”. I added though that this pic was definitely a labour of love. While she was signing it she mentioned my name and just as an aside (even though this essay is pretty much full of them) there’s something incredible special and surreal about hearing a voice actor say your name (especially when it’s a pair of VAs you’ve followed since being 11 or 12). After that, I had her sign my little autograph book while I had Yuri sign some things.
I first had him sign my Tales of the Abyss game. I think this might have been the only pause during the conversation… I can’t remember saying much during this part… I just sort of remember taking the book from Tara. Anyways after he signs that game, I go to pull out my Copy of Baten Kaitos Origins. I told him that he actually happens to voice a character in my all-time favourite game series! Before I handed him the copy I mentioned the fact that everyone I met who voiced in the game couldn’t remember anything about it. Told him I was going to show him a clip on my phone if the wifi had only worked; a problem which they were all too familiar with. Anyways I go to give him the game and I said he voice the character called Giacomo! He goes “oh Giacomo”!!! Tara interjects by saying “oh, that’s Giacomo spelled the Italian way”. I then spelled it out. He goes “he was the character with an x accent” [Can’t remember what he said]. He pronounced the name of the game… I wish I would have payed attention to how he pronounced it because it was particular and as fans of the game know (or should I say don’t know) there are many ways to pronounce that title. He even remarked that it was the last game in the series. By all accounts it would seem Yuri not only remembered this game but knew stuff about it! Wish I would have asked more about it. I was just totally impressed; I had finally met someone who actually remembers this game exists! I then go to pull out the posted. Tried to slowly reveal it. XD I unrolled it and made sure for the white side to face their way. XD I think I mentioned that I had been up til 5 all week in order to make this and about the whole episode at Walmart (I think they had asked where this had been printed as well). I think Yuri asked if I used any programs like photoshop. I mentioned I used a combo of that and Paint Tool Sai along with my Cintiq Tablet. Anyways I finally revealed the pic in its entirety. My gosh did they both light up! They genuinely appeared to be amazed with the pic! I think Yuri had said a heartfelt “Thank you Shawn”! Can’t say I’ve ever had many of these, but I can definitely say that their reaction to my art was a total ego trip. XD They both started going over the picture like a map. I remember him pointing out “you’ve got Bobby Drake and Icicle Jr facing off each other; you even have the Atlantean characters; oh look he has chili fries”! I remember pointing out Giacomo as well. I remember him noticing Mad Ben but he did ask about a few characters. He pointed and I said, “oh that’s Nega Ben, one of the alternate Bens”. He then pointed and I told him the next character was the zombie universe Ben, Benzarro. He pointed again and I said it was the Sock Vendor! XD He even did a line as the Sock Vendor! I wish I had recorded it because I sadly can’t remember what the line was. What I learned though that that was actually Yuri’s voice… I had assumed that his voice had been edited for the Sock Vendor. I’m assuming he didn’t recognize some of the Ben 10 characters because since most of them were bit roles, he may not have had the art to see what they looked like. I remember Tara asking who one character was and I told them it was the alien Walkatrout. Told them I really wanted to include the rest as well but there were just so many. I remember Tara commenting that she liked how the blue energy tied in the entire picture and I remember Yuri pointing out that I made it so he could sign in the heart of the chidori. XD While he signed it I think I mentioned that I really liked Omniverse because of Derrick J Wyatt’s art style. I remember him saying, oh yeah Derrick’s a big Transformers fan (he alluded to this because I was wearing my Optimus shirt). I followed up by saying that I’ve been following DJW ever since Transformers Animated. I think Yuri said you should be drawing these (he pointed to the headshots with characters on them). I said I would definitely be happy to do something if they wished and I mentioned the fact that David Vincent was thinking of commissioning me before. They asked if I had a card (which I sadly did not), but Yuri noticed that I put the contact info on the backside of their prints. I think Tara had said “Are you pursuing a career in art”? I told her I was actually a biology student! XD They were both shocked by this (as most people are) but I mentioned it’s my biggest hobby. I did mention that I had thought about, but like voice acting you got to be where the work is. I then remember Tara saying a bunch of encouraging things, I wish I could remember it all but I remember her saying that sometimes it’s better to have something as a hobby but also that you could get payed by going to these cons and getting commission and such (I added that I actually got a commission right before going to the con lol). I then remember Yuri saying it was nice to meet someone who was familiar with their work. I mentioned that I’m incredibly familiar with their work. I’ve been following their twitters forever and I keep up with what they do whether it be anime, cartoons, live action, etc. I said that I love everything they do! At some point during all of this, I handed over my little autograph book to Yuri to sign. I think before we took off, they thanked me again for the questions at the panels. I remember thanking them about coming to WCC especially since they don’t do many Canadian conventions (I think they mentioned they like to hop around the corners of the US and they don’t like to “burn out” anyone). [Seriously though, I couldn’t imagine anyone being burned out by them] The handler counted up the items and I had given her the money. I accidentally forgot a 20 while we were chatting, but Yuri was very kind and said something along the lines “I think we’re even”. At any rate, wish I had had more money because I would have loved for Tara to sign my TOSII and for Yuri to sing my P4 anime (as well as get a photo with them).Anyways it was time to go and I told them I hope they’re invited back to WCC.
Here’s the stuff Yuri signed:
I can honestly say meeting Tara and Yuri was the best experience I’ve had as a fan meeting voice actors. I got to thank WCC for setting up autographs in such a way to allow for time just to “talk”. These two were very kind, sweet, accommodating and interested in hearing what others have to say. As someone who is shy and soft-spoken it was incredibly gratifying to speak with guests who “fill” any gaps there might be in a conversation and allow it to flow nicely. Thank you so much Tara and Yuri for being awesome people!
After meeting Yuri and Tara, my sister and I made a B-line for the Vic Mignogna panel. He was in the smaller room this time and it was pretty packed. Thankfully we found two seats at the end of a row though. We were being picked up at 4 and kept looking at our phones for the time but it didn’t look like things were wrapping up. Sadly had to miss part of this panel as well. I wish scheduling had been a bit clearer at the show. The program didn’t indicate when things ended (like the time the dealer room closes at). I found out afterwards online that apparently Vic’s panel started at 3:30 instead of 3. I just hope next year schedules will be more apparent and if there are changes, to make them well known to others. We found out as well that the dealer room was open til 5 and not 4 like the program suggested as well.
So basically once we left, that was the end! As you can probably tell, for the most part I had an amazing time at this inaugural convention! There are a few things I would change though. I would make all the weekend passes into badges for starters. I would make sure the program shows all scheduling clearly. Even if I had to pay more for the ticket of entry, I wish the guests were not made to charge for their autographs. If they must be made to charge, I wish there could be some sort of deal system like pay 20 for the first item, pay 10 for anything subsequent or buy 2, get 1 free. One of the biggest changes I would like is to see water offered everywhere and to have more seating. As far as what I would like to see the convention continue to do… I would like to see them continue with a good roster of guests offering something for everyone (although I’m more inclined to have more voice actor guests). I also wish to see that autograph format continues as well as not having conflicting panels.
If somehow you have made your way to the end of this, you are a scholar and a champ! I know it’s long, raw, rambly, has plenty of run on sentences and has a “as a matter of fact” style of writing but I tried to capture the essence of the experience as best as I could.
Also just have to point out that I secretly hope that I'm one of the people Yuri is refering to in this: www.ourwindsor.ca/whatson-stor… XD