This year has been an incredible one for myself and my co-host Alyssa Franks, in what we’ve been able to bring our viewers LIVE on a Sunday each week, on the TALKIN’ COMIC-CON: A CUP O’ TEA… YouTube/G+ podcast. We’ve been joined by so many incredible guests over the past twelve months and, as we embark on a brave new year, I’m going to take a little time to appreciate all we’ve achieved and countdown my Top Ten episodes and video uploads of 2016.
In this post, we countdown the second half of the countdown, our prime picks of our Cup O’ Tea best moments – #10 to #6 – with some amazing highlights, including our first multi-cam con live report (which, surprisingly, didn’t turn out to be the complete car wreck it could’ve been!), our first really meaty investigation into the inner workings of a modern convention with our report on the issues surrounding Wizard World, and an eventful fan meetup out on the seas of the San Diego Harbour…
(In case you missed them, click here to check out the first five entries on my countdown: 2016 Recap: Our Top Ten Video Highlights of The Year, #10 – #6)
#5: Interviews with Mike Armstrong (ReedPOP)
26th June and 29th September 2016
The PRIMARY PURPOSE of the Englishman In San Diego website is to inform the con-goer, of cons worldwide, of the best and most constructive information about these events that attract us from across the globe. In doing so, we try to support and encourage the organisations behind these ‘meccas of pop culture’ in any way that we can – we try to cultivate relationships with as many of them as possible and, sometimes, if we’re very lucky, we come across companies and individuals that recognise what we are about. ReedPOP is one such company and Mike is absolutely one such person.
We have been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to talk to Mike throughout 2016, in conversations that are one part preaching of the ReedPOP ethos and one part spreading the word about details and announcements about specific events – Mike is one of those people that is just a joy to talk to, passionate about the shows that he’s involved in and very erudite about getting the right message across. It’s a personal bug-bear that I haven’t been able to attend NYCC myself but, I swear, the second the website makes dollar one, I’ll be booking my flight to the East Coast. Fingers crossed. And here’s to more chats with Mike in months and years to come.
#4: Investigating Wizard World, with Rob Salkowitz
11th December 2016
This one was interesting to include, as it was one of the more recent episodes and one of a run of (what I felt to be) really outsetanding examples of what we do – the ‘Chargers In San Diego’ show with Graham Small and Craig Lindes, the ‘Leonard MIA’ episode with Alyssa and Mark Searby holding their own in my absence, the wonderful chat with Anthony Breznican (which came within a gnat’s testicle of being included in the Top 10!)… A cracking glut of interesting, informative, funny and fulfilling episodes. But this one really stood out in 2016.
Rob came on to explain the background to the current issues that Wizard World is experiencing – very, VERY last minute and purely off the back of a tweet that Alyssa fangirl-ingly posted, extolling his knowledge of the situation (and cons, generally) – and laid out the story objectively, clearly and with wonderful depth. I know I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but even I know, when you don’t know all the facts, you get somebody involved and talk to someone that does – Rob is that person. It was a joy to speak to him on this episode and I really hope we get him back on throughout 2017.
Oh, and I got to buy WonderCon tickets, live on the show. And refund them, too, at a surcharge cost of six dollars. (Please support our Patreon at @EnglishmanSDCC!
#3: The Movies Of SDCC 2016, with Helen O’Hara (Empire Magazine)
19th June 2016
Yes, this was an episode beset by technical issues – and we did lose picture of Helen for a large chunk of the show! – but this was a blast to host and another one of those episodes where I didn’t really know the guest and it could’ve gone either way. As it happens, Helen is a joy to talk to, fully experienced as a film journalist in the world of going into an interview cold herself, and, as such, made hosting this a breeze.
Like I said, in my recap of the episode with Rob Salkowitz, the trick for a thicko like me is to surround myself with people who actually know what they’re talking about – and how knowledgeable about the movies of Comic-Con is a writer for the World’s Biggest Movie Magazine?? I’ve been a reader of Empire from day one (a full collection of the mag proudly festoons my house) so, to have an actual representative of the mag on the show was a particular treat. Again, Helen not only knows her stuff but she was happy and enthusiastic to talk about Comic-Con International and its impact on the movies that it exhibits – a regular fangirl like the rest of us. I have no idea if we’ll ever get the chance to have her back on the show but, for this opportunity, I was grateful that Helen graced us with her presence. (Now, to get the site big enough to hire her as our Editor-In-Chief… #lotterydream)
#2: DesignerCon Live Report, with Dan Berry, Aaron Nabus, Geoff Pascual (pascualproductions.com), Jackorama, Tony Claynext, 3Doodler, Jack Venturo (www.jackorama.com) and Patrick Ballesteros
20th November 2016
I always knew that an episode like this would come: our live reports from cons around the world really made it inevitable. With two great chaps, roaming the floors of DesignerCon (an event that I really didn’t know too much about), this was a matter of spinning plates, actually ‘directing’ the show and keeping the flow of the episode going, battling awkward silences (which, thankfully, we didn’t have too many of), dropping signals, and being confronted with talking to exhibitors on the fly, mostly without preparation about who we would be talking to. Thankfully, ALL of the people involved in this show were eager to talk to the disembodied voice of this random Brit guy and I am so grateful for their time and generosity.
THIS WAS SUCH A BLAST! It was a rush to be thrown from topic to topic, to cut between Dan and Aaron as they blitz the DC floor – I will say, the adrenalin was quite flowing from the second we went on air. It demonstrates why I feel it is essential that we keep TALKIN’ COMIC-CON: A CUP O’ TEA WITH… a live effort: the immediacy of the show its one of its strongest appeals. And I got to talk to Patrick Ballesteros, whose work is framed on my walls and is a particular love of Caroline’s – she LOVED this episode!!
#1: I’M ON A BOAT! Post-SDCC 2016 Episode
25th July 2016
C’mon, really. Did you expect me to choose anything else??
This was the PERFECT way to wrap up what had been a truly mind-blowing San Diego Comic-Con International: gathering together some of our closest and dedicated friends of the show, treating them to the sumptuous surroundings of the M/Y Pegasus IX (thanks in large part to Jesica Sanders) and talking about the amazing time we had all just had, with canopes and mimosas and the sun bouncing off the shimmering waters of the harbour… It was glorious!
I really hope that the people that were able to join us for our time on the Pegasus enjoyed themselves – I have pictures to show that they did so I’m hoping they weren’t faking it! – and I now have really no idea how on Earth we’re going to top this for Comic-Con International 2017, short of commandeering the IMDb boat and taking it for a cruise around the Pacific – don’t hold it against me if I give that a go!!
Oh, and there’s a few. This year has been an embarrassment of riches when it’s come to our Special Guests and video highlights of 2016 – it was a real struggle to narrow the list down to just ten. I have to make special mention to those that didn’t make my list this year because, without them, the podcast simply wouldn’t be the show that it’s become.
Firstly and foremost, let’s acknowledge the ‘elephant in the room’, the very noticeable absentee from this year’s list: CCI’s own Director Of Press & Public Relations, the one and only David Glanzer. The last thing I ever want people to think is that I take our relationship with Mr. G for granted – I think the real reason why I left him from the Top 10 this year is because I wanted to make an special mention of him, here, very much as we make a special effort to give David a show of his own throughout the year. He has always been as forthcoming as he can be on the shows we’ve dedicated to him and it’s always a joy to get to speak to him. There have also been conversations ‘behind the scenes’ which have allowed me and Alyssa a peek into what it actually means to put on a show like Comic-Con International… simply, it would blow you away. David is as big a fan as you’ll every get to meet and, if you spot him pacing the halls of the San Diego Convention Center during SDCC, make sure you go and shake his hand – a large part of the show’s success is down to his not-inconsiderable contribution. A truly top bloke who I am glad to call my friend.
Right, the guests I left off the list. You have no idea how tough it was to whittle the Top 10 down, because our guest list has been so incredibly strong. From con organisers – movers and shakers – such as Shane Chebsey, Brian Stephenson and Jackie Williams; to exhibitors, writers and artists such as Scott Shaw!, Funko‘s Cameron Deuel and Yoko McCann, Comic-Con HQ‘s Seth Laderman and Joe LeFavi, Sneaky Zebra‘s Gary Scullion and Nick Acott (we finally got you on!); to our friends and supporters such as Flicks And The City, Brandon Troy, Andy Behbakht and the awesome Russell Burlingame; to our SDCC friends and family such as the ladies of The Baker Street Babes, the remarkable Megan Elvrum (The Nerdy Girlie), Kerry Dixon and the whole Unofficial SDCC Blog team, Jeff Mueller, Kevin Walwyn, Michael Pea, Stephanie Wilson, Michael Leventhal, Devorah Lisnoff, Melanie Gagne, the glorious Samantha Mae Beard, the sublime Tina Gan… the list goes on and on! And they’re all awesome!
I also have to point out a few individual names, purely because we have been lucky enough to have been following AfterShock Comics from the start – both Mike Marts and Joe Pruett have been especially generous with their time and access. I’m looking forward to continuing chronicling the rise and rise of ASC on the hangout for years to come.
I have to make special mention to our supporting sponsors of the Season 3 episodes this year, Dark Bunny Tees – while communication has crawled to halt between us in recent months, I can’t understate the importance of their support, through prize-giving and sharing the word of the show across social media. I really hope that we can strike up a line of dialogue again and DBT will continue to be a friend to the show. Go check out their gear, it’s well worth your attention: www.darkbunnytees.com
And lastly, I have to give special praise and all the love in the world to everyone who has watched along with us and jumped in with comments and questions, either using the hashtag #CupOTeaSDCC or on the chatrooms, created by either Google Hangouts or YouTube Live. I always wanted the show to be an interactive round table affair, with shouts and contributions from the audience – whatever the form the show takes in the future, I guarantee that will be an integral part of the setup. YOU make the show, not us, and we’ll never forget that. Thank you, for the bottom of our hearts.
ONWARD FOREVER, FOREVER ONWARD…
Here’s to an amazing 2017!