Wow… where does the time go?
As Don Morrow would say on The Challengers: Today is Friday, September 27, 2013 (or at least it was when I started writing this; I’ve been much busier lately, as you may recall).
It’s a big day for Sonic Whammy Enterprises. It was 5 years ago today, on September 27, 2008, that all of this was born. Anime Press Your Luck premiered that day at New York Anime Festival to a packed house, hyped up and ready to go thanks to a strong lead-in from Disorganization XIII’s Spoiler: The Panel 2.
I admit that was a very scary day. I was riding the vibe of the original Press Your Luck’s 25th anniversary, and I even used the opening time of setup to showcase a run of all the montage clips that aired on PYL in its original run (Beverly Peters’ cross-eyed reaction really went over). But inside, I was working out the big jitters of living my little dream of hosting a game show in front of a large group of people. Truth be told, that moment held just as much nervousness, if not more, than meeting my wife for the first time, my wedding day, and the birth of my two future children. Overall, I was just hoping that the game would have exciting moments and that everyone would blow the roof off the Jacob Javitz Center.
Well, I got half of what I wanted. The crowd that day was unbelievable, and stayed with me pumped up and excited through the whole thing. Sadly, the gameplay was very poor that day, and the technical difficulties that rose up really threw me for a loop. None of this was any one person’s fault, mind you. The fates just decided that it was going to be a rough day, so what can you do, right? I have a mash-up of clips from that day shot by other people, some of which are on YouTube. One day soon, I’m going to put them together and make a new video so that first day can be chronicled as it deserves to be.
But I made it through that first show all right, and after the Disorganization bought me down to Otakon for the first time the following summer, I knew that this was going to be something big, and from there on in, I could just have fun.
And for 5 years, that’s what I’ve done.
Along the way, we’ve had a ton of ups and downs, including the wild moments and bloopers any game show is known for, the technical difficulties that always bring us so much laughter and craziness, the chance to see new places, the sadness of seeing some conventions moving in different directions, and meeting people who have become very good friends and supporters of the show. I’ll also remember the contestants we had over the years, including:
> Zoey, our first and only international contestant, and the winner of the Long-Distance Award, she flew all the way from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to survive 7 passed spins on 3 Whammies in Round 1 at Otakon 2009.
> Saker, our first enthusiastic over-the-top player at Otakon 2010, and only the 2nd person I ever remember who wanted to Whammy Out when things weren’t going his way.
> Melissa Rodriguez, the first contestant who ever cried upon winning her game. I never thought a little game show production like this would produce an emotional moment like that.
> Kristen Ludewig, a contestant from Otakon 2010 who was so inspired by what we do, that her and her now fiance Sean Blouch broke into the game show world the following year with Anime Family Feud.
> Justin Cohen & Liz Reedt, probably our two biggest fans, both contestants at AnimeNEXT 2011, with Liz meeting us even sooner at NY Comic Con 2010. Their support and desire to play is like no one I’ve ever known.
There’s more, of course, and to all of you that have participated in Anime Game Show Super Show, whether you were a contestant, acted as a Whammy Cosplayer (especially any of you from Otakon 2011), or taken our Card Sharks polls, I thank you so much and hope our paths cross again. I also want to take this moment to thank and remember a lot of people I met and ran with along the way on this wild journey.
First, to Disorganization XIII, the gang that gave me my start. Angelo D’Argenio, Adam Shang and the gang, you helped me find a great love with this, as weird as this world of anime has proven to be.
To my current team, Robert Brown, Francis Tolbert, Trevor Lake, and our new charge in Korey Chappell. We’ve gone to the fire and back so many times, yet once we flip that camera on, we just get down and have a good time. It’s a huge undertaking to make this machine work, but you guys keep my head on straight, and you make me happy that we’re doing this.
To Greg Wicker and Gordon Pepper, who I’ll always keep listening to, even if I don’t always agree with or follow your advice, I admit it. But it’s good to have your brains to pick, because you’re two of the smartest guys I know when it comes to this stuff.
To Florida Whammy Entertainment, for always proving that as crazy as I am when I’m doing this, there’s always gonna be someone out there just as crazy as I am, if not crazier. Just don’t lose your heads on me, OK?
To all the great friends of mine that I met along the way in my convention travels, including Bridget Duffy, Lisa Marie Young, Ernie Layug, Tidarut Hansub-Udom and Ed Beltran. Being alone in a new world is scary, and it’s great to have someone to hang out with that makes you feel as comfortable as if you’re at home.
And of course, to my family and my wife Andrea. Thank you for letting me get away for a weekend here and there a few times a year to live my dream. Your support means the world to me. And to my daughter Brianna and new son Joey, I hope your silly old man isn’t causing you too much trouble.
If I left anyone out, you know I don’t mean to. You’ve been very welcome as you came along for the ride, and you’ll always continue to be.
Guys, it’s been an incredible 5 years, and we’re not done yet. We’ve got a lot of big things planned this year and beyond. You’ll be hearing from us again very soon.
Take care, and as I’ve said for many years online, Stay Way Past Cool!