When I showed up at PopCon early yesterday morning, there were quite a few things I expected. I expected to see the variety of booths and tables filled with all the great pop culture stuff the convention is built around, I was ready for the incredible screenings, magicians, and comedians that would be performing, and I eagerly awaited seeing the multitude of celebrities, ready to give their autographs and talk about their fan's favorite movies.
However, the one thing I wasn't ready for was the absolute candor each and every one of these amazing people spoke with when I interviewed them. Tony Carron, Andre Miripolsky, Alisa Reyes, Cindy Morgan, and many many more were all among the kindest and most interesting people I have ever met. Unlike at many conventions, where you might feel restricted by their agents who are never far away, these group of celebrities were open to talk about pretty much anything, which was a breath of fresh air to say the least.
One of the first people I had a chance to talk to was Andre Miripolsky, the world renowned artist famous for his vibrant and world defining artwork. Some of his art was on display at the convention, so I asked him a bit about it and his upcoming projects and received a history of his accomplishments, difficulties, and his artistic career as a whole. Soon, he begins work on what he says will be his "largest project of his life--a "3,000 square foot mural called the LA Historama, made completely of stained glass and LED lighting" that, in his words, "will be absolutely smashing!"
It goes without saying; if you visit PopCon, you must take a look at his inspiring work, as well as the other fantastic pieces of art that surround it. This alone is definitely worth the trip.
Next, I ran into Katie Leigh, the voice actress for Alex from the cartoon show Totally Spies, amongst other popular characters. We talked about her career and how amazing her experience with Totally Spies had been. We even discussed the joys of a less-than-strict dress code (I.E "[coming] to work in pajamas")--one of the many perks that come with voice acting and not having to show up in front of a camera.
She also shared some advice for all aspiring voice actors/actresses out there: "practice, record your voice and listen to it and do your own podcasts to try and train your voice and get some experience", all great advice from a fantastic individual!
Perhaps one of my favorite interviews of the day, however, was with Cindy Morgan, famous for the original Tron and Caddy Shack. First things first, we got the obvious question off the table; why wasn't she in the new Tron? "Ask Disney," she laughed, "but make sure you follow my rules: 1.) Respect Disney, and 2.) No whining." As for her role in Caddy Shack, she went into great detail concerning her behind the camera issues, including a dispute with her agent, the film publicist, and her refusal to pose for Playboy; all of which led to her "not working [in the film industry] for a very long time" (12 years, to be precise), and her character going braless in the movie. As she said, "I literally and figuratively burned my bra. It was a political statement".
I could go on and on talking about the people I had the chance to talk to and, overall, this is what really made PopCon so great; this is what set PopCon apart from many of the other conventions that are out there. Sure, there was still your normal panels where you could talk to celebrities and industry heads about their upcoming projects; but, the ability to step right up, shake your favorite actor's hand, and ask him questions about everything--from funny moments on the set, to completely random factoids about their lives--and to have them answer with so much candor and joviality was an experience that shouldn't be missed.
Truly, this was a weekend and a convention to be remembered. PopCon is over now, but I have a feeling it will be back next year. So, whether you're a convention veteran or this will be your first time, make sure you keep your calendar open for the next time it comes to town; who knows? Maybe you'll have a chance to make your own stories!
By Clarissa Burt with Tyler Fleck