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Kicking it with actress Clare Kramer!

This past weekend I was able to attend the Fandemic Tour Comic & Pop Culture Convention as it swung through Houston, Texas at the NRG Center. As I live in the area, I was primed to arrive early and interview a couple of the talents in attendance, and arrive early I did. Friday, September 14th, the floor was set to open to the public at 3pm; I arrived at 9:15am. With coffee. Because, come on.

 

I was greeted by Domino, the famed character of Marvel comics, who looked almost as tired as I was. She took me to see the Media Relations Guru, who informed me that Clare Kramer (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, BRING IT ON) was about to perform a quick television news spot and then would be available for an interview. I took the moment to view the convention floor, sparsely pitted with vendors erecting monuments to their wares. I went over the convention map and schedule, already plotting my days and imagining what goodies I would secure before the weekend was through.

 

 

Soon the television unit was on the scene and they took their spot before a mostly open vendor booth, along with Domino and a Star Lord and some other cosplay character whom I forget now. I watched as she spoke with the local field reporter, then as soon as they were cut she walked over and introduced herself to me. She was gracious and elegant, yet affable and genuine. She asked for a moment to call home and wish all of her kids a good day as they headed off to school. I said of course as I sat a nearby table and readied my phone to record the interview. I eavesdropped on an invitation for a recorder concert, and as my coffee had just finished I thought the next best thing to caffeine would be a screeching rendition of “Hot Crossed Buns”; sadly she deferred the performance. Probably for the best.

 

Unbeknownst to me, Kramer had quite the weekend before her, with a scheduled “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” panel (on which she played Hell-God Glory in Season 5) and as moderator of several other panels. By weekend’s end, however, she would fall into at least one unplanned moderator role as appearances changed and panels became rescheduled. Her maternal qualities would be stretched to their limits while training to wrangle the man-children that were Michael Rooker, Michael Rosenbaum, Tom Welling, and even John Schneider. That rainy Friday morning, however, all that either of us had planned was to get through the day.

 

McEric: I’m here with Clare Kramer here at the Fandemic Comic-Con in Houston, Texas. Welcome.

 

CLARE KRAMER: Thank you!

 

ME: Thank you for being here so early.

 

CK: Oh my goodness, thank you. It’s even earlier for me ‘cause I’m on a time change.

 

ME: Exactly. So, you’re living on the West Coast, is that correct?

 

CK: Yes, Los Angeles.

 

ME: Ah, lovely town. So, yeah, it’s two hours ahead, so it’s 8am for you. And you’ve already been at it. When did you get here today?

 

CK: I got here, oh, when did I get here to the convention? I got here around 7:45.

 

ME: Was there anything in here? Was it just you and bunch of-

 

CK: It was me and a bunch of, you know, art, and… [laughing]  But things are slowly coming together, so it’s nice. It’s always fun to see the beginning and then, see it all build--

 

ME: It is amazing to see it all roll in.

 

CK: Yeah.

 

ME: It seems to lead with FUNKO POP figures and then everything fills in around it.

 

CK: It always does, yes. I love it, and I’m a collector, myself, so, you know…

 

ME: Excellent! So what are you hunting for?

 

CK: I don’t have a specific collection, like I’m not trying to get all the Game of Thrones or all the Walking Dead; like if I really like a character, then I like to have their FUNKO. I’m more driven by the character versus the show.

 

ME: Alright. Is there one of Glory?

 

 

CK: There’s not! And there needs to be.

 

ME: What?!? There does need to be!

 

CK: Now, when I was just in Wales, not too long ago, a couple of people brought up original FUNKOs that they’d adapted to be Glory. And they were great! I think I have three or four. I’ll share them on my Twitter later.

 

ME: That’s amazing.

 

CK: They were awesome, yeah.

 

ME: That is a testament to the devotion of the fans, which I think is great that the Fandemic Comic-Con is here. As [CEO John] Macaluso has said, it’s “Take care of the fans, take care of the fans, take care of the fans”.

 

CK: Absolutely. And the fans; not only would there not be conventions without the fans, but we wouldn’t have the longevity with roles in our careers that we do without the support of the community. It’s a very dedicated community, you know; they’ll follow you role to role if you appreciate the fandom.

 

ME: Absolutely. Speaking of, what are you working on right now?

 

CK: Uh, oh boy, let’s see: I just finished a movie called CRADLE ROBBER which is really funny. It’s a LifeTime movie. And I say funny because I love doing, sort of, movies like that that are for LifeTime because it’s almost like doing a genre film. ‘Cause they’re just kind of so crazy, but… I just finished that. And then I’m off to Australia next week to host a couple of conventions over there, myself.

 

ME: Very nice. Now, I’ve heard that you’ve said that “No one wants a Buffy reboot”. [source: https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/flashback/buffy-star-clare-kramer-nobody-wants-a-reboot/news-story/86405788c657577c27c56198511033b7]

 

 

CK: Well, let me clarify, because that was a little bit, I don’t want to say “taken out of context”, but a little bit was taken out of context. My experience in the fan community has been, the feedback I’ve heard from the fans, by and large, has been they do not want a reboot. However, my personal opinion is: with the right people, which it seems they’ve gotten with Monica {Owusu-Breen] and Joss [Whedon]’s tutelage, hopefully, it seems that it could be a very interesting project and I do offer my support and I trust that with those two at the helm the messages will remain the same in the new version as it did in the original. I mean, if you look at “Star Trek”, no one wanted “The Next Generation” which is now looked at as the best of the six series.

 

ME: Agreed.

 

CK: At least in my opinion. You know, I’m a Picard fan.

 

ME: I’m gonna back you up on that: I’m a Picard fan, myself.

 

CK: And when it came out, nobody wanted anything to do with it, you know. And that is one of the things that happens with reboots: is that the community is not always initially welcoming but then, after the fact, they’re like “Yeah, this isn’t so bad.”

 

ME: Right? Again, if it’s brilliantly executed and follows the spirit of the project then, yeah.

 

CK: Right, though some have fallen short. I don’t think “Charmed” has been well-received. So, we’ll see. But I trust that the message… the thing about Buffy was it wasn’t about vampires or demons or gods; it was about relationships and community. And if that throughline is brought into the new series then I think it could really be something special for this generation.

 

ME: I agree. I think especially a show with a very strong female lead is important right now, in the wake of the #METOO movement. With that in mind, tell me a little bit about working with Joss Whedon; I think we need good stories about good creators and I think we need a little hope right now. So if you had just a takeaway from the entire experience, what would that be?

 

CK: My takeaway from Buffy is that it was a huge learning experience for me. I was brand new in the business; I had come from New York where I’d just graduated from NYU. I had done one movie, which was BRING IT ON, and it hadn’t come out yet when I was cast on Buffy. And I was able to learn the craft, essentially, from Sarah Michelle Gellar, who had been in front of the camera her whole life, you know, and a group of consummate professionals. And so my takeaway is, I was like a sponge on that set; like learning everything I could from every department. At the point that I joined the show, it was a well-oiled machine, and so there was a sense of professionalism and also urgency and an understanding of what needed to be done. And so that’s essentially my takeaway from the show: it was a great, great boot camp for me on television.

 

ME: Sounds like it. Now, I’m glad you mentioned BRING IT ON, because it, itself, launched, essentially, a legacy. There are now, I think, five? Films?

 

CK: I’m not sure; I haven’t quite followed, but yes, you are correct: there were several that came after and I just, I always reflect on, you know of all of Universal’s series that they did with all these different movies, why was BRING IT ON the one that switched to Straight-to-DVD? [laughs] What happened there?

 

 

ME: Right? I will admit: I saw the original in theaters; I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great story, and, again: characters. It was about the relationships. It was about the communities.

 

CK: Yes, absolutely.

 

ME: And I’m glad that something like that is living on, as, well especially as we move into our new age where everyone is so disconnected with their social media and their phones, I think to see a story like that and to have it still resonate is, I think, a wonderful thing.

 

CK: Yes, absolutely, and I always say the movie is so much fun because we had so much fun making it. It was an absolute blast and one of my fondest memories to date.

 

ME: It does still shine through: the fun you had, we all saw.

 

CK: Well, good.

 

ME: So, what is going on with GeekNation (https://twitter.com/geeknation) right now, if you don’t mind me asking?

 

CK: We’re in a transitional period. We’ll be re-launching the website and kind of re-branding the platform.

 

ME: Excellent. Now you were at the Fandemic Tour in Sacramento already? [The inaugural event was held at the Sacramento Convention Center from June 22nd-24th earlier this year.]

 

CK: Yes.

 

ME: And how’d that go?

 

CK: It was wonderful! What [CEO] John [Macaluso] is doing here is- it may traditionally look like the same setup as a convention, and it is, essentially: you’ve got your vendors, your artists, your guests, your celebs, your panels… But what he’s doing differently is he’s really putting the fans first. His cell phone is one of the customer service lines. So people, they don’t realize that when they’re calling and going “Hey, what time does the show floor open?” or “Can I bring my chips in?” or whatever, they’re actually getting the CEO of the company. He’s really dedicated to providing the best fan experience and he’s using his past experience with other conventions to implement changes that will create that positive for, not only the celebrities, but for the people who actually make these things happen, which is the attendees.

 

 

ME: That’s amazing. I’ve seen that he’s already talked about expanding into other cities; are you in for the ride?

 

CK: Oh, absolutely!

 

ME: Fantastic; I love it. Um, that’s pretty much all that I’ve prepared. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Anything you want your fans to know? Anything else you want to say about the convention?

 

CK: Um, definitely if people want to stay up to date with me and what I’m doing they can follow me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/clarekramerofficial/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/clarekramer) is where I’m most active. And I love posting some fun behind-the-scenes photos of what’s going on that you may not see on the show floor. Pictures from the green room, pictures from behind the stage, things like that.

 

ME: Excellent! Well, I will log on right after this and I’ll follow ya.

 

CK: Awesome! Sounds good!

 

ME: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.

 

CK: My pleasure, thank you! Absolutely.



So, as you can see, our conversation was absolutely excellent, and although James Marsters was not in attendance for the Houston stop of the Fandemic tour, Kramer had plenty to do, while still managing to take in an Astros game on Friday evening.

 

If you want to know more about Clare and her projects feel free to click any of the above links in the article and I thank her once more for talking to me and you readers for taking the time to eavesdrop on our conversation. Until next time. I’ll see you at the movies!

 

-McEric-

 

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