Tom McKee Talks Funimation, Voice Acting, & AnimeFest 2018
This past weekend was AnimeFest 2018. Well...Thursday through Monday, so let's call it an extra-long weekend. For those of you who have never been before, AnimeFest is a convention all about anime & the fandoms that have developed around it. Hosted at the Sheraton hotel in Downtown Dallas, it stretches out from the hotel & it's convention center to partly take over the Plaza of the Americas with some of the most colorful people you've ever seen in your life...literally! While modern anime does encompass genres for all ages, the most awe-inspiring aspect that threads throughout most every genre is just how colorful much of it can be. And that's exactly what resonates with many first-time attendees. When you arrive & look around, you can feel like you have literally been transported to another world of wonder.
It is for that reason that we sat down with Tom McKee to talk about AnimeFest & his unique connection to anime. As a staff member for the convention, as well as a voice actor with Funimation, Tom was able to tell us exactly what he saw as the driving force that connected the vast & varied attendees together. "You asked me what makes AnimeFest AnimeFest & it's acceptance." Both he & our guest host, Erica Muse, were able to recount how they felt like outsiders the first time they attended a convention like this, but each found almost immediate acceptance in the anime community. They both hold fond memories of the friends they have made & the experiences that could only have happened at conventions like this one. Now, AnimeFest is the latest contender for the thrown; the convention most poised to keep the special feeling that Tom & Erica both recall so fondly from their respective youths.
He also spoke at length about how important it was to both the other convention-goers & him personally that the convention was still mostly unspoiled by negativity & general fatigue that can creep in to the perspective of many long-running comic convention. As for the staff, "we will help you no matter what. [We] want you to enjoy the con more than anything; that's what you're here for. And if something went wrong...if [we] can't help you, [we] will find someone to help you."
As a member of both the anime fan community as well as the creators community, he sees the relationship with the fans to be a special thing that shouldn't be taken for granted. In fact, that was one of the things that he kept coming back to in our conversation. How AnimeFest is run by fans for the fans. There is a deep seeded desire by everyone behind the scenes to get this thing right. And yes, while Erica & I did see some things that could have been tweaked here & there to streamline certain aspects of the experience, there was nothing insurmountable that stuck out. To that, Tom even pointed out that, more than the staff, the volunteers are the life blood to the convention's success & there is always room for more people to participate & help the convention continue to improve & build the exact experience that everyone is looking forward to.
If you want to learn more about AnimeFest or Tom, be sure to check out the links below!