Clare Kramer talks Comic-Con, Buffy, and Joyrider
San Diego Comic-con is an excellent opportunity to catch up on projects from our favorite creators, both past and present. This year I had the opportunity to sit down with Clare Kramer from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and talk about her new project, Joyrider, and Buffy’s enduring legacy.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a cornerstone of my adolescence. As a teenager I looked up to the characters and learned a lot about myself in the process. Here we are twenty years later and the actors who played these iconic characters have begun their own projects, such as Clare Kramer’s Joyrider. It was a treat to talk with her about the documentary and life since Buffy.
I’m gonna start with Buffy. You did come into Buffy a few seasons after it was already started so it was already pretty popular, but did you know that it was going to be so culturally impactful?
No, I did not. I mean, obviously I came in fifth season and I knew the show was popular and I knew people were really passionate about it. But I don’t think anybody- the creators, Joss or even Sarah- realized the longevity until the show ended and the fandom did not end and in fact grew stronger as people passed the show down to the next generation and shared it with friends, and people have rewatches. It’s an amazing phenomenon.
It is, and here we are years later and people still know you for that role. I think that’s true for a lot of the cast too. Do you still get recognized for that show and that role?
Absolutely. Glory was such an iconic character. Some say the best female villain of all time on television. People connected to her because there weren’t a lot of badass female roles, and despite being the antagonist she was relatable. She wanted what she wanted. She was willing to go to whatever measures necessary to achieve her goals, even if that was an apocalypse or killing Buffy, that didn’t really matter. So absolutely I’m always flattered when people recognize me, but you know what’s even more flattering? When people cosplay as Glory.
Oh my gosh. That must be fun to see.
Since then you’ve been a co-founder of something called Geek Nation. Would you classify yourself as a geek?
Oh, 100%. To me a geek is a term that’s evolved over the years. In this last decade what a geek means to me is someone who’s passionate about something. You will not find someone more passionate about film, TV, literature, even certain sports, so 100% I am a geek.
Did the geekiness come before or after Buffy? Because Buffy is HUGE in geek culture and fandom.
It is, but my passion for entertainment came way before my role as Glory. I grew up as someone who growing up was watching D&D, and watching Next Gen. All these genre shows. So that’s always been a part of who I am as a person. I think that’s why as an artist I’m attracted as an artist to the genre material. To me it’s more rewarding to go to work and have a total suspension of disbelief, and play a character like Glory or someone who is dealing with these sci fi elements or these mythical situations versus playing a girlfriend who has human problems, just like mine in my own life. I want to forget about my life when I go to work.
I’m assuming this is definitely not your first SDCC.
No it’s not.
When was your first SDCC?
It’s hard to remember. I’ve come the last ten years straight. I don’t know if I can pinpoint my first one. Probably around 15 years ago was my first experience here . It’s such a- it’s it’s own iconic pop culture phenomenon.
It’s changed a lot in the past 15 years too, so it was much smaller 15 years ago when you came here, was it not?
It was. Now the con has expanded into hotels and there’s Nerd HQ and all these side events going and the tentacles of the con reach through the city, whereas 15 years ago it was all really still condensed in the convention center.
You’re currently directing- or directed, I’m not sure if you finished filming- a show called Joyrider. That’s a documentary, correct?
Yes. It’s a feature doc, we wrapped about 3 weeks ago. Joyrider is the story of wheelchair athlete André Kajlich He’s a double amputee. He lost his legs in 2003 and he became this crazy endurance athlete doing double Ironmans and 400 mile bike rides in a day. He spent the last 3 years trying to qualify for this race called Race Across America, and this year he qualified. So we packed up our camera crew and we followed him and his hand cycling crew from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis MD. He hand-cycled there in 12 days. He slept only 90 minutes a night. He broke course records, world records, hand cycling records, basically every type of record, he smashed it to pieces. I’m so excited to bring his story to the screen.
How did you find out about the story featured in Joyrider?
His sister Bianca Kajlich. Here’s a piece of trivia: we acted together in Bring It On. She’s an actress. She was in my office one day. I knew Andrei before his accident and after obviously. She was telling me, “He’s doing it, he finally qualified for this race” and I said, “Bianca, we have GOT to film this!” I went to Greg Grunberg – of course from Heroes and Star Wars and Star Trek – and Jonathan Woodward, another Buffy Alumni, and said, “Guys, let’s do this. Let’s make this movie” So they produced and I directed, and we finished about 3 weeks ago.
Is this your first time directing?
It’s my first time directing a feature. I directed tons and tons of content for online and theater as well when I was living in New York, but this was my first feature. It was just the right time to transition into that role.
So did you enjoy it?
Oh absolutely, I had the time of my life. It was an amazing experience. Like I said it was the right time for me to move into that role. A great support system, wonderful cinematographer, it was just amazing.
So when will it be coming out?
We just finished 3 weeks ago. We shot 5 GoPros and 3 Red for 24 hours a day for 12 days. So it’s going to take 6 weeks just to sync up the sound to see what we’ve got before we can even start going through footage. My anticipation is this time, 2018.
Any social media people can find out more about this on?
Thank you for the chat, Clare. I wish you luck with Joyrider and hope to see you at San Diego Comic-Con again.
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.
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