My resolution for 2016 is to work on this blog more consistently. Therefore, the goal is one Stardate: Dammit, one Writer’s Rage, and at least one miscellaneous post per month. So this is January’s miscellaneous post #1. Let’s see if I can make this actually happen.
I work for SacAnime, a small anime convention held twice yearly in January and September in Sacramento, CA, in the Guest Relations Department. What that means is that I work directly with the special guests the convention schedules to appear. I make sure they’re able to get to their panels and autograph sessions on time, make sure they’re properly caffeinated, fed, and hydrated, and get whatever else they need done.
This is highly stressful work at times, if you end up working with a demanding guest. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have that problem. Of the four shows I’ve worked, I had the pleasure to work with Jason Faunt, Dameon Clarke, Jim Cummings, and Chris Sarandon.
You cannot, in any way, convince me that I do not have a cool job.
All of these men were so much fun to work with. Jason is pretty much the human embodiment of a puppy. He was super high-energy and always happy and while he’s done other, equally cool jobs since, he loves that he was the Red Ranger on Power Rangers: Time Force. He always had a smile and a handshake for his fans and he went to his panel with Brandon McLaren (another, way awesome dude and a Red Ranger, from Power Rangers: SPD) with several fun stories in his pocket just in case someone asked for them.
Dameon is one of those special sorts of personalities that can either easily piss you off or make you fall in love with him. He’s ridiculously charismatic, always speaks his mind, and will happily pepper his vocabulary with swears, no matter the age of the youngsters around him. He’s currently best known for his work in Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! and Tales from the Borderlands in which he lends his voice to that (apparently) lovable psychopathic murderer, Handsome Jack. He’s definitely high-energy and will purposely be late to meet his handler if he thinks it’s funny to see you a little stressed. I know this from personal experience and he’s lucky he’s so damned charismatic.
Jim is, in a word, amazing. He never wanted to turn his fans away from his autograph table, even if it meant he went over time and cut into his scheduled lunch break. Because his work has been so extensive in the voice-acting world, I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t been touched by it. From voicing Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger to video game characters from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4, he has 437+ acting credits to his name and everyone who approached his table had a story for him. Most of them were just geeking out over various characters with him, but there were some that expressed their gratitude for his work to the point that they were afraid they may have succumbed to their suicidal thoughts without his work to give them hope. I was moved to tears several times; it was a truly exceptional experience.
Chris was charming and, as Dameon commented several times, “a fucking gentleman.” (Dameon’s words, not mine, though I would heartily agree.) It was an honor and a privelege to work with him. He was professional in everything and he never had a grumpy word regarding anything. And he was more than happy to discuss his career and the different aspects of acting in different mediums, voice, stage, film, etc.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with each of them, but Dameon is my favorite. If I’m allowed to have a favorite. Which I think I should be. And since this is my blog, I’m going to allow myself a favorite. So… yeah, Dameon’s my fave.
He’s not so much difficult to work with as a force of personality that takes some getting used to. In small doses, like say the short time the fans get with him at his autograph table, I’m sure it’s much easier to swallow his abrasiveness. But if you’re with him for the entire day? He can be exhausting. But in the best way imaginable, I guess? I don’t feel like I’m explaining this adequately.
I first worked with him in January 2015 and at that point, I was not as comfortable with myself as I am now. I suppose that made me a bit uptight, especially in Dameon’s eyes. He spent that first weekend trying to get me to loosen up and to have fun.
Since then, I’ve kind of figured out who I am, or at least I’m more who I am. So when I saw him again at this January’s show, I was more comfortable talking back to him when he gave me grief, I was more comfortable with his eccentricities, like when he tried to put his finger in my nose or when he covered my mouth and nose with his giant hand and would only free me when I licked his palm. He really is more of a gigantic kid at times than a grown man, which does make him a lot of fun.
There was a thing that happened at the January 2015 show that I won’t get into because of reasons. And because of this thing that happened, I was afraid that he regarded our professional relationship as not a thing he wanted to continue, and so I didn’t request to work with him this January. Actually, I didn’t request to work with anyone, really, and I just lucked out when I was assigned to work with Chris.
And I really wish I hadn’t been so insecure that I played it so safe because Dameon was really annoyed with me that we weren’t working together again. I mean, I remembered he said I was one of the best handlers he had ever worked with, but a lot of guests say that without actually meaning it.
So on Saturday night at the pub, Dameon really let me have it when he found out why I hadn’t requested to work with him. Seriously, there was a lecture involved. And then an argument. And I didn’t feel he hated me for any of this. Just that he was annoyed that his weekend wasn’t going the way he planned it would because of it.
I had a point that I wanted to make when I started writing this post, but I can’t remember what it was now. I guess what I’m trying to say is that by working with Dameon, I’m becoming more of the sort of person I want to be, by not allowing others to intimidate me, by standing up for myself when someone else thinks I’ve screwed up when I didn’t, by figuring out exactly how to handle my stress when I’m dealing with a crisis.
Dameon Clarke may be considered an asshole by many, but he’s my favorite asshole and if I could work with him at all the conventions he attends, not just SacAnime, I’ll take that opportunity and ride that wave of insanity as far as it will take me and I’ll just see who I end up becoming in the end.