Confessions of a Florida Supercon Volunteer
I've seen some shit. Girls in vinyl, guys in nearly nothing, cross dressing cartoon characters, and even a few furries. A voluptuous Caitlyn from League of Legends spilling over her corset top. A man of steel whose manhood might have been made of steel. A teeny tiny Harley Quinn in her teeny tiny Quinn mobile. And oh, so many glued, sprayed, and dyed wigs.
Volunteering at Florida Supercon might have been the most exhausting 12 hours of my life, but also the absolute neatest.
For those of you considered too cool for cons, they are less sketchy-back-alley doings, and more of a ritualistic experience. Cons are the equivalent to geek church. A chapel to celebrate your poison: superheroes, comics, science fiction, manga/anime, or the underbelly of culture. Geeks and their brethren come out in force (and man did they) to support their idols.
I won't lie, I've been to my share of the events -- mostly dragged against my will, but finding something redeeming about it nonetheless.
At Florida Supercon this past weekend, I had the pleasure of helping host the media guests (read: famous people) and handling any "fires" that happened.
While holding a table for J. Michael Tatum, I ran into an uber-fan. "Oh, my God! He's cute in real life! Gahhhhh," screamed a pre-pubescent teen girl in a pitch only dogs could hear. She was referring to Jeremy Shada, who voices Finn on Adventure Time.
It was her first encounter with the star, but not mine. Turns out Tatum and I had lunch. Obliviously, I chatted him up about the con and his experience. It wasn't until he introduced himself to the hundred-plus person line that I realized his impact on this group. Oh, and apparently he was a voice actor for Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon. Who knew?
Fire: Word comes in that the line for tickets and entry is over three-hours long.
Solution: All hands on deck, we're headed into 100 degree heat with wristbands and cash bags.
Orders: sell to anyone willing to buy from a half-professional looking person in a Supercon shirt screaming "you've got money, I've got tickets." We were in Miami, so that's completely legit.
Once inside the A/C again, the vixens of Celebrity Square gave the peon volunteers their appreciation. Spending time with seasoned veterans like Cindy Morgan of Tron, Margaret Kerry from Disney's Peter Pan, and Priscilla Barnes of Three's Company fame was a pleasure. The ladies showed poise and gratitude to their fans and our staff. Something not all of the celebs were compelled to do.
Fire: Stalker in the building.
Solution: An espionage-esque trip through an superbly crowded convention hall. Tricking the stalker into leaving, as much as possible with a 300-lb security guard named Moose.
An emergent call came in via cell phone. "Where are Theodus Crane and Travis Love? They need to get to their panel," a frantic voice asked.
Naturally, having worked with the Walking Dead cast members for the past 8 hours, I can easily say they are in the Green Room, slices of pizza in hand. These men are machines; they put food away like it's their job.
"It's my metabolism, I have no choice but to go with it," said Love.
On our way past the kitchen, we lose Crane. He smells wings. He needs to investigate. I don't blame him; the tangy spice of the meat candy would draw anyone in.
Food + celebs = win. Jett Lucas, yes, the progeny of George Lucas and cast member of several Star Wars movies spent his time in search of pizza. Pizza and Nesquik. The chocolate milk purveyor supplied attractive hosts with backpacks full of the frothy beverage. A very welcome treat at a hot convention.
"You are going on a Nesquik run," he tells his handler. The handler looked at me to confirm his request was approved. Absolutely.
Fire: Jason David Frank's photo-op line was more of a mosh pit. Green Power Ranger is still mad popular.
Solution: So very many red-shirted volunteers acting as stanchions. This wasn't easy with a modest stature of 5-feet.
As part of the 20th anniversary of the Power Rangers, they participated at the convention together. Robert Axelrod (Lord Zedd) and Barbara Goodson (Rita Repulsa) signed away, oddly close to Black Ranger Walter Jones and Blue Ranger David Yost. Green and White Ranger Jason David Frank scribbled his name on thousands of photos. He's an MMA artist now and the only Ranger to dawn his official suit. I geeked out. I turned into the squealing girl. Professionalism be damned, I need an autograph!
So many hours later, with blisters the size of the Miami Airport Convention Center, I have learned some things:
You will not always keep your cool when a childhood idol is around.
Food is the best way to a media guest's heart.
Always keep a guy named Moose around.
By Marisa Cutaia
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