American actor Ben Browder, whose television credits include Farscape, Stargate SG-1, Doctor Who, and Arrow, is one of the stars making an appearance at the weekend's Armageddon Expo in Auckland. He answered a few questions about life on the international sci-fi and fantasy fan convention circuit.
Before you were in the business, would you have come to an event like this?
I was unaware these events even existed prior to getting into the business. I did attend a few computer shows as a young geek. I also have been to a Grateful Dead concert and a Hunting and Fishing expo. If you mash up computers with Grateful Dead fandom and sprinkle them with guns, bows, blades and camo, they might spawn an Armageddon Expo.
Are you much of an autograph hunter yourself and if so who's your most prized signature?
I have acquired a few. My most prized is a signed Spencer Tracy headshot given to me by my wife. Second place is a tie between my Nimoy, personalised Nathan Fillion, and my Russell T Davies-signed Tardis. However, if I ever get Judy Dench to sign my body, I would give serious consideration to having it tattooed.
Any theories on why sci-fi, fantasy and horror generate such passionate fandom?
The sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson said once that sci-fi thrives because it is idea porn. I think he may be on to something.
What was your first experience of one of these events, and were you nervous?
The first Farscape convention in Los Angeles circa 2000. I thought it'd be attended by few dozen fans ... so until I saw the crowd of a few thousand I wasn't nervous at all.
What is the funniest/ most bizarre/most memorable thing that has happened to you while meeting fans?
The most memorable ones probably come under some kind of attorney/client privilege limitation. Best not to speak of certain things.
Do you consider it work?
It must be work because I am exhausted at the end of the day. Then again, I'm exhausted after a day surfing, and surfing is rarely classified as work. A few things are certain: You will meet lots of people, but you will feel like you are the only one wearing a name tag. You will see "some things" you couldn't have expected. You are likely to get a chance to geek out over one of the other convention guests. You will have a moment that makes you appreciate what a privilege and an honour it is to meet the audience who watch your shows.
What: Armageddon Expo
When and where: ASB showgrounds