The Final Frontier: Voice Actor and Sci-Fi Superfan Vic Mignogna at MCM London Comic Con

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A veteran of MCM Comic Cons, the lovable Vic Mignogna was able to come back this weekend to say hi to the UK with another panel.

The show opened up with a video from one of Vic’s live concerts, where he plays an assortment of anime songs and popular tracks; then he came on stage, and promptly walked off as he decided standing up on the stage and talking down at the audience was a bit too impersonal.

Walking through the starry-eyed rows of the audience, Vic started off by mentioning his latest concert DVD, telling everyone to crank the music up loud when they play it. However, rather than letting this be a simple advertisement of yet another concert DVD, Vic brought up an exciting, exclusive feature available nowhere else: Fullmetal Fantasy.

Fullmetal Fantasy, he explained, is a fan-movie starring the voice actors from the Fullmetal Alchemist television series. To make it, the cast dressed up in cosplay and acted out their roles. To date, it has only ever been shown once, at a convention – some fans have tried to put it up on the internet, but Vic has so far discouraged people from doing that, to keep it a rare treat. Now, everyone has access to a very well-kept secret, certainly an interesting extra for his DVD – but it’s not the only one.

Back in the 90s, before X-Factor, there was Star Search, a show on which aspiring young singers would try to get their very own shot at fame. As it turns out, Vic Mignogna was a star on the show, back in 1993 before he had become the popular voice actor he is now. He performed one of his own songs, wearing a fabulous double-breasted purple suit, but unfortunately didn’t win the contest. Since then, he’s vowed to never let anyone see it, and completely buried the tapes – until now. After being convinced by a friend to let people know about his purple-suited past, he agreed to make his Star Search performance a part of his new live DVD.

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If he said anything more on the subject, it couldn’t be deciphered over the endless squealing of a theatre full of excited fangirls!

However, that was enough talking about the past: Vic quickly moved on to the present and the future, talking about how he’s currently living a childhood dream.

Mentioning that he has always been a fan of Star Trek, Vic asked the audience how many of them had heard of his series Star Trek Continues, currently on its third episode. Not a whole lot of people raised their hands, but this seemed to only make him more excited to talk about the web series.

The original Star Trek run in the 1960s was cancelled, and as per the famous introductory quote: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”  The series was intended to cover a full five years of the Enterprise crew’s story. As a result of its cancellation, however, only three years of the planned five were covered; this is where Vic Mignogna’s Star Trek Continues comes in.

Star Trek Continues covers the missing two years of the Enterprise’s mission, taking place very shortly after the end of the original television series. Captain Kirk is, of course, played by none other than Vic Mignogna, but a few other well-known names are in the cast list: Todd Haberkorn, playing Spock, Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame as Sulu, and Chris Doohan – the original Scotty’s son – playing his father’s own role. With an impeccable cast like that, Vic has shown that he really wants to make a top-class fan series.

Of course, knowing his audience well, Vic dropped some juicy details: he’s shirtless in the very first scene of the first episode, and gets to make out with a classic Star Trek green alien girl in the second.

He then started taking audience questions, and the very first was one he says he’d never been asked before: if he could play any role, would he be a hero or a villain, and in which genre?

Perhaps surprisingly, Vic said that he would like to play more villainous roles, and gave a really great explanation as to why:

“In a good story, villains are more fun to play, since it’s fun to pretend to be something you’re not… a lot of the time, bad guys are just good guys who made mistakes.”

He gave Darth Vader from Star Wars as an example of the kind of villain that fits this explanation. As for the genre he’d like to be in, he said that would of course be science-fiction; he grew up watching Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica, and he’s always loved sci-fi as a result.

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Another audience member, dressed up in Ouran High School Host Club cosplay, re-enacted a scene from the anime with Vic, who plays the character Takami in the show; needless to say, the whole room burst our into laughter and applause.

When asked about the most difficult role he had played, he talked about Broly from Dragon Ball Z, whose voice always gives him trouble, and how he keeps on getting dragged in to do more work as Broly due to new Dragon Ball Z fighting games coming out.

The next question was about his general schedule as a voice actor, and whether or not he does multiple different roles in the same day.

According to Vic, he does – sort of. He won’t be doing different voice roles within the same session, but in his example, he said that he might do one role in the morning, take lunch, and then in the afternoon do some voice work for something completely different, all with the same company.

One of the the longest answers given during the panel was in response to a question about voice acting, and how to get into the industry. Rather than offering a brief, simple answer like, “Follow your dreams!”, Vic went fairly in-depth, and was pretty bluntly honest: the best way to get into voice acting is by doing regular acting.

“It’s not about being able to imitate voices, like being able to sound exactly like Yoda,” he said. “It’s about being able to act the emotions of the character.”

He recommended that any budding voice actors taking regular acting classes, do local theatre productions, even make videos with their friends – because just being able to imitate voices isn’t enough.

Vic also noted that it’s key, if you want to be a voice actor, to live where those things are done: FUNimation, for example, is based in northern Texas. Even with that, though, he very honestly warned that it had been easier to become a voice actor back when he was starting out, because today there are so many more people trying to get into the industry. For all that, he said that you should go for it if you do really want to be a voice actor, but should keep in mind those hurdles, and never lose your passion for what you want to do.

On a lighter note, the next member of the audience asked him about his character Junpei from Persona 3 and if he could say any of his lines, or if he knows if he’s going to do the voice for Junpei in the upcoming Persona 3 anime.

While Vic couldn’t remember any particular favourite lines of dialogue, he said that he had really enjoyed voicing Junpei, and that while he didn’t know if he’d be dubbing Junpei for the Persona 3 anime, he’d absolutely love to get the opportunity, because he really likes the character.

The next question wasn’t so much a question as an offer of cake from someone in the audience. Vic, who was more than willing to accept the gift.

The very last question, though, was a proper question about Star Trek Continues: Vic was asked whether any of the original cast members of Star Trek had given him their thoughts on his series. Unfortunately, Vic said that he didn’t get any feedback from them, and that he’s kind of too embarrassed to ask them anything about it, since he doesn’t want to come off as a silly Star Trek fanboy or annoy them. However, he did say that he knows that Nichelle Nichols – who played Uhura in the original show – was at one of the early screenings of the first episode, and that he’s become friends with William Shatner, who also might have seen some of the fan series.

With the panel coming to a close, Vic thanked the audience for coming, and said that he didn’t come here to the UK to see London – he came to see his awesome fans!

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