Hello everyone and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! So it’s time to start my MetroCon interview series! This year I had more than two interviews and man it went fast even though they were timed, but hey I still kept them in the limit! Let’s get this thing started with Dante Basco! You may know him as the title character, Jake Long, American Dragon Jake Long back on Disney Channel and Rufio from Hook and of course, Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender! I was glad to interview him and meet him for the first time since it was his second year at MetroCon and he was at KnightroKon this year as well. What did I ask him?
Mari Blue Cat: You have been at MetroCon here in Tampa, how does it feel to be back?
Dante Basco: It’s awesome! My first thing I got off the plane was “Wow! It’s really been a year since MetroCon?” So crazy, it’s actually pretty cool since I’m new to the con world!
DB: And this is actually the first con I’ve done more than once! So it’s kinda nice to be back and see a lot of familiar faces and catch up like if anyone got married in the last year, people had like a kid in the last year. It’s a cool experience the other side of the con world…the familial side of it, the parrrt of it where con folk are some kind of family kind of people that are in this con world! I met some people from other cons that go to other cons and other kind of stuff, that’s always fun! And coming back to MetroCon a year later is cool and I kinda know what I’m doing this time.
MBC: I have heard that you were at ShadowCon and also KnightroKon!
DB: KnightroKon in Orlando that’s what you’re talking about?
DB: Exactly! I asked someone “Why is there so many cons in Florida? So crazy!”
MBC: Yeah, Orlando just started a new one called Omni Expo and it was the same weekend as Florida Anime Experience!
DB: Well, Florida, Orlando in particular, loves theme parks and cons I guess! ::laughs a little::
MBC: Mmhmm! Chris Patton, one of the guests at Omni Expo, was like “I’m back in Orlando and I get to go to Disney again!”
DB: A con is like a theme park without the rides. I guess the talent is the rides I guess!
MBC: Pretty much!
DB: To a certain degree!
MBC: Yeah, I’ve been a convention goer since ’05 so I know the feeling!
MBC: So, what has been your favorite convention experience?
DB: I don’t know! I’m still pretty new to it, I guess they’re all fun! Metro was like my first con in America, one of my first cons in America, [and] Uruguay. Really I’ve been doing cons since last year! Of course, the first one here and have been some out of the country. The travel, this is the first one in America, which is pretty much your favorite one. I still gotta get my bearings…they all have different things about them you know, it’s a hard question! I remembered in Oklahoma was a con it was out in, you know Tampa is a big city and these cons are usually in bigger cities, when you go to cons in these smaller cities it’s more intimate con situation.
DB: It’s a different experience, we’re in this one hotel where we’re drinking meats with the actors and directors and the con is happening all around us…not during but after hours where we see all the people, you kind of get the feel of the part of the con in a unique and strange way!
MBC: Have you been a convention attendee before you became famous?
DB: Nope! I think I started going to ComiCon in San Diego about seven or eight years ago! I started going because we were doing press for Avatar: The Last Airbender and that kind of stuff. So, I’ll go back there and do panels there. I did do one day though as a con attendee, which was a great experience because a friend of mine out in L. A. is a big toy collector so he gets tickets to ComiCon and was like “Let’s go!” So, I just went there with him and just did the lines and ran around early to get the toys that he wanted to get and get an education side of the toy side of cons.
MBC: Especially with figures…
DB: Figures, limited stuff, there’s websites for all this stuff, you get this thing and you buy it for this. They get this to sell on EBay, this is free, you gotta get tickets for this, it was kind of a crazy experience, it was fun to experience it like that! Standing in line with people and hanging out you know! Forty five minutes in line and have someone go “Hey aren’t you?” And I’m like “yeah! Yeah!”
MBC: It’s like “Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!”
DB: Yeah, no, we’re just hanging out! ComiCon San Diego is so big and crazy you just get lost in the crazy and melee of it!
MBC: What was the funniest thing that a fan brought you to sign or as a gift?
DB: One of my favorite and funniest things was a girl from here, last year, named Momo, I think she’s coming back this year, she made me these rubber duckies of all my characters. Super cool! She wrote me online saying she had something new but she didn’t want to reveal it online. I can’t wait! Last year, she had the rubber duckie of Rufio, a rubber duckie of Zuko, a rubber duckie of Jake Long, and a rubber duckie of Iro the 2nd. I Iro hadn’t even come out yet, I don’t know, I was like “Really? That’s really cool!” So cool!
MBC: Do you miss American Dragon Jake Long?
DB: Yeah! I love that guy! He’s a great character, a great show! We had such a great time doing it! Me and May, D’Magio, the wwhole crew is cool! The first series, that was so fun. In a lot of ways I love Zuko, I love Rufio, but just me walking around like a grown up Jake Long really.
MBC: If they made a sequel to Jake Long would you come back for it?
DB: Yeah maybe? My voice does sound the same!
MBC: Yeah it does actually!
MBC: You kind of go deeper for Zuko!
DB: Yeah, maybe something like that! Maybe I thought younger when I was Jake!
MBC: Yeah, unless they make him teenager or grown up Jake!
MBC: What has been your favorite episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender as Zuko?
DB: So many cool episodes, right? I don’t know, thinking back on it I loved the episode with my father when he gets scarred. I love the episode where he goes on a date, Zuko, I love seeing the colors in that character. It’s awesome! I love all the episodes with Azula because she’s one of my favorite characters and working with Grey is amazing! I love that relationship between Zuko and Azula, it’s kinda like this dysfunctional, sibling rivalry. Almost deadly, so I love that and her banter’s always great.
MBC: Are there any other characters you like besides Zuko?
DB: Yeah! Azula is one of my favorite characters! I love Saka, he’s a very character! I like all the characters, you know? Kaetara’s great, May’s a great friend I always love seeing her do her work and that character is very interesting. Uncle Iro with Mako, all the characters are so amazing!
MBC: I know you work with so many voice actors that are famous like Mark Hammel, Grey Desole, even Steven J. Blum for Legend of Kora, how does it feel to work with them?
DB: I am just in awe when I’m working with them! Sometimes you’re really thankful that you’re in the same room with these people! Mega talented, in the presence of these people. Like I said, I come from on-screen. Happy that people enjoy my voice acting work and when I get hired to do voice acting, I’m always like, “Thank you!” It’s not something I take for granted. It’s something that I celebrate the people that are amazing at the casts that you just mentioned!
MBC: What has been the funniest thing that happened in the booth?
DB: I don’t know! There’s always shenanigans going on there! Funny? It’s just the people you’re with like Grey Delisle, John D’Magio they’re really funny in the booth, Kevin Michael Richardson, they’re really entertaining. In specific, it’s hard to say, a lot of times in the booth we’re talking and we’re doing the characters and we’re doing our scene and people are talking about their lives and people are commenting on their lives, it turns into a whole therapy session which is hilarious. About relationships and family. It’s always fun! It becomes this very big family thing!
MBC: I hear that people cosplay as Rufio in the convention scene today, how do you feel about that?
DB: They’re cool. I never thought of doing it that people would cosplaying the character, you know? You’re kind of doing the character. Start seeing people cosplaying as Rufio for their Halloween costume and now being in the convention scene, I’ve seen the most amazing Rufio cosplayers. I think they’re doing amazing jobs, I love how people put the detail into it and they write me on Tumblr or what not and question me about the costume, which is great. I get a kick out of girls cosplay as Rufio. Gender bender is cool!
MBC: Are there any new projects that you can talk about?
DB: Animated wise, not really there are some video games I’m coming out in. There’s a new character in a new original series that you can’t really talk about! It will be coming out! And of course the last season of Legend of Kora is coming out, which just started! All that stuff is pretty cool. I can’t talk about that stuff because of NDAs. And beyond that, there’s things I’m shooting, there’s a fresh company in Hawaii called Conectic Films, we’re doing a lot of Asian Pacific Island films.
DB: Yeah, we just done one called Hang Loose with me and Kevin Jum which is on ITunes right now! You can download it right now, it’s called hang loose! And I co-write that one! I have another that we just finished called Man Up and Paradise Broken and then I finished co-writing a film called Red Roses for a kid called Adra Rafael which is a YouTube singer, it’s a musical based off his first album and hoping that we film that before the end of the year. And I’m doing a play called Midnight Make Out Session I wrote in downtown La, for people in LA, it is going to have a cool, little run at the end of summer.
(Note: Couldn’t hear the name of the YouTube singer, but keep a look out for the musical!)
MBC: I guess you like writing a lot!
DB: Yeah, acting, writing, you know it’s a part of the creative process. Trying to be expressive!
Well, that was it for my interview with Dante Basco! It was awesome that I got to interview him since I was a fan of American Dragon Jake Long and did enjoy watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and if only I can catch more episodes of Legend of Kora I would be happy but Nickelodeon has this weird thing of showing episodes out of order and at weird times. Still, it was great interviewing the guy and actually meeting him. What was also great was he also asked me questions about my visual impairment before and after the interview, he even thought the Braille Sense was a pretty nice invention and did ask me about how hard it was learning Braille. So, it wasn’t just an interview with him but also an interview with me which was fun! Hoping he comes back to Orlando or Tampa in the next year or so.
Who is next? Richard Epcar!