Megacon Orlando is a massive event that attracts a large host of attendees every year. While Dragon Con is certainly a much larger event, Megacon is still large enough that I had plenty to do for all four days.
The panels were my favorite part of Megacon. I have always been a big Bioware fan and was in for a treat. Both Mark Meer and Fred Tatasciore were among the panelists and they voiced Commander Sheppard and Saren Arterius respectively.
There were obviously many more guests. Veronica Taylor, most famous for being the voice of Ash Ketchum from Pokemon was also at the event this year. I made sure to go to her panel as well as do everything in my power to speak to her at her table on the merchant floor. There were other notable panelists as well and I will outline a few more as I continue sharing my Megacon 2018 experience.
Panel 1: OVER 9000! THE DRAGON BALL VOICE ACTORS PANEL
Thursday was the most quiet of the four days of Megacon. This afforded me the chance to speak to guests far more freely given the lack of long lines. However, the true excitement began at 6pm. Chris Sabat and Sean Schemmel took center table. Much of the discussion involved the different types of shouting in Anime. Though this should be of little surprise to anyone familiar with these two voice actors. Schemmel is the voice of Goku in Dragon Ball. Sabbat is the voice of basically everyone else in the same series.
In addition to shouting discussions, much of the panel involved questions from the audience. Something notable about this panel was the placement of the microphone. Rather than staying in one place, one of the assistants to the panelists moved it around to those who wanted to ask questions. I got to be one of these questioners.
For my first time ever asking a question at a panel, I knew exactly what to talk about. I had always wanted to know how it worked recording lines for multiple characters in the same session and immediately asked Chris Sabat about how he went about doing that. He answered by stating that he does each characters line one at a time. His reasoning for this is that he needs to “be in a specific frame of mind” for each character. Notably he does Vegeta’s lines last as these are the ones he needs the most preparation for.
Panel 2: BEYOND POKÉMON: THE VOICES OF VERONICA TAYLOR
I did not need to wait long for the next panel was in the very same room as the Dragon Ball Event. The star this time was Veronica Taylor. The voice actress notable for being the original English Voice of Ash Ketchum has been high on my list of people to meet for many years. Having grown up on Pokemon, seeing her in person was quite a treat.
The most striking thing about Taylor was her overflowing kindness. I have met many important people. Many of them behave how you would expect a person constantly in the spotlight to. But Veronica Taylor just exudes warmness from everywhere. This was most obvious in how she responded to those who asked about her feelings at no longer being able to voice the character she is most well known for.
Veronica Taylor is allegedly famous for being bitter about losing this role. And while she did express disappointment about not being Ash Ketchum anymore, I did not sense bitterness as one of those emotions. Instead the way she answered questions in general gave off the impression of person who sees the positives in everything. Given that she shared that losing the role of Ash was not the only time this has happened to her, Veronica Taylor displayed a level of resilience that is impressive.
Sadly, I did not get to ask her any questions at this second panel. However, I did help answer a question that had been asked by another member of the audience. During the panel, a question was asked about the newer Pokemon Anime. As Taylor no longer voices Ash and by her own admission, is not as well versed in the newer Pokemon at all, she expressed a little confusion. However, given that I knew the context of the question, I spoke to the person who had asked the question when the panel ended and gave a proper answer.
Interview 1: Chris Sabat
I finished the panels I wanted to see on Thursday and headed back to the main floor. The fact that Thursday was lacking in crowds was not lost on me. I walked very quickly to where the featured guests sat at their tables. To my excitement, Chris Sabat was at his table. Not to my excitement was the long line to speak to him.
Once I finally got to the front, I did not have long to speak as others were waiting. Given that I had already asked him a question during the panel, I asked him one simple question. The history of his Twitter Handle. This had not actually been the question I had meant to ask, but in passing I commented on how awesome his handle is. Then we discussed that he used to have a much sillier name on his Twitter and was very relieved to have it changed. This down to earth conversation that I could have had with just about anyone truly made the brief time I got to talk to the voice of Vegeta very meaningful.
Interview 2: Mark Meer
Right nearby Chris Sabat sat Mark Meer and his line was much shorter. As a result, I got to speak to him for a much greater amount of time. Most of our discussion involved many jokes about Dragon Age and Mass Effect. We talked about the now infamous “we’ll bang ok?” meme on the internet attributed to a Mass Effect joke series on Youtube. I found it very amusing that Meer found this not only hilarious, but had joined in on the fun.
We talked about the many voices he was able to add to the entire Dragon Age series. Notably, Meer did the voiceovers for all the talking Darkspawn in the game, except the Architect. I felt foolish as I asked him if he had voiced this character. He also mentioned his time with Bioware which sounded like a really incredible experience. As a company that I have played many games from, I was pleased to hear that Bioware goes out of its way to make sure voice actor’s needs are met.
The final thing I asked Mark Meer is something that I have wondered for a long time. There is a recurring character in the first three Mass Effect Games. She is a reporter who constantly pesters Commander Sheppard and if the player allows for an interview, she ends up slandering the player as well. Another possible action is to punch the reporter in the face. This can also be done in all three games. I asked Meer about his thoughts on this scene and he gave me a very unexpected answer. He is close friends with the voice actress of the reporter, April Banigan In fact such close friends that not only was she present at his wedding, but Banigan’s brother stood up as the best man at his wedding.
I was very pleased with this interview and it was a great end to the first day of Megacon.
Panel 3: WRITERS WORKSHOP: FROM BIRTH OF AN IDEA TO THE FIRST BOX OF BOOKS
I spent the morning of the second day of Megacon at a very different type of panel. Writing is my passion and as I am always working to improve my craft, I deemed it appropriate to attend a panel on the writing process. I was amused the moment I entered as one of the writers that was to speak thought i was part of the presentation. I suppose I can blame that on my extroverted behaviors. Anyway, once I informed him that I was not, I sat right in the front row so that I could properly engage with the panelists.
There was a lot discussed and I could write an entire article on this panel alone. But I will not elaborate too much here. What is important is that I asked a question about how to talk about a story without spoiling it for others. The answer I was given is relevant to many aspects and not just on writing alone. The panel agreed unanimously that the best way to go about this was to search online for examples of spoiler free previews. That I should pay close attention to language use. I intend to make use of this skill when talking about movies, video games, anime, and of course novels.
Panel 4: GOT GOKU? TALES OF DRAGON BALL & VOICE ACTING WITH SEAN SCHEMMEL
I intended to go to the panel with Chris Sabat where he discussed My Hero Academia. Sadly it overlapped with the writers panel and thus by the time I got there, it was too crowded for me to enter. But it was not the end of the world, as there was another chance for me to see a Dragon Ball Voice Actor. This time, it was a solo panel with Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku.
Once again there were discussions of screaming and I am assuming this is common at all Dragon Ball panels. Afterwards, people started asking him questions. Just like the other Dragon Ball Panel, the microphone moved around the room. I did not get to ask any questions at the panel sadly, but I did enjoy the commentary of questions.
I also learned during the panel that Schemmel voice a prominent character in Berserk. Sadly his role in the Anime is reduced to yelling loudly and I must wonder if this was intentional. The character he voiced is none other than Conrad, a member of the infamous Godhand. It is always fascinating to learn of less well known roles that famous voice actors did. It helps to understand these individuals as well as help recognize them when we hear their voices in shows, video games, and other media.
Day two of Megacon was even better than the first. I was already bracing myself for day three. It was certain to be the busiest day of the entire event.Tweet