Lompoc’s RocketTown Comic-Con unites several actors under one roof

There’s no difference between cloud nine and a makeup chair for actor Rico Anderson, who’s no stranger to performing under prosthetics in sci-fi projects like The Orville and Star Trek: Renegades.

“Even when I’m not playing these alien characters … I still pinch myself,” Anderson said. “I’m living a dream I’ve had ever since I was a little boy. … Ever since I was 6, I wanted to be an actor.”

Anderson is one of several actors slated to appear at this year’s RocketTown Comic-Con in Lompoc. While his television portfolio includes parts as humans in NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy, Entourage, Weeds, and other titles, as a lifelong comic book and sci-fi fan, he especially enjoys playing creatures from outer space.

click to enlarge Lompoc’s RocketTown Comic-Con unites several actors under one roof
Photo courtesy of Rico Anderson
CREATURE FEATURE: While working on Star Trek: Renegades, actor Rico Anderson said his alien makeup and prosthetic application process took about four hours each day of filming.

“I love playing characters in general, but to dip into that type of play is almost like an actor’s dream, in terms of really being able to transform. … It’s the ultimate form of nerdy make-believe,” Anderson said. “I love the idea of being able to play a monstrous looking character.”

The prolific actor doesn’t mind the wait during prosthetic and makeup applications, which he said have taken up to four hours in his experience, for these roles. Sometimes he takes that downtime to go over his lines or chat with those around him. 

During many film and TV shoots regardless of genre, Anderson often catches himself in reflective moments, staring out “into the void,” which he knows can sound “a little melodramatic.”

“I always remind myself to take a moment when I’m on set … in between shots, to take in my surroundings, and really self-congratulate myself for where I currently am,” Anderson said, “and what I had to do to get there—the hard work of auditioning—and just being able to survive.”

The relief of nailing an audition and seeing a role through is something fellow actor Scott Butler, also a featured guest at RocketTown, can relate to. He fondly remembers his flight home to Los Angeles after finishing filming on the second season of AMC’s Lodge 49, shot in Atlanta, Georgia.

click to enlarge Lompoc’s RocketTown Comic-Con unites several actors under one roof
Photo courtesy of Rico Anderson
BEHIND THE MAKEUP: Actor Rico Anderson has worked on various sci-fi and crime drama projects over the course of his career. His portfolio includes roles on episodes of The Orville, S.W.A.T., NCIS, The Shield, and other shows.

“I went home thrilled because it was my first network show. …  I’d been working so hard to get there and I finally cracked it,” said Butler, who mostly acted in indie projects before taking on the role of Oliver on Lodge 49.

“Oliver’s extremely sort of overly friendly, wanting to please you, a little bit like a puppy dog,” said Butler, whose more literal dog-like creature roles in sci-fi and horror flicks have required him to “slink down on all fours and scurry toward the camera.”

While some film and TV buffs who attend RocketTown will recognize Butler for his acting, other enthusiasts might be more familiar with his work in the video game industry. He’s worked as a lead artist and in other capacities, including art director, on various video game projects since the late 1980s.

Born and raised in England, Butler has lived in California since the early 2000s when he transferred from his job at Sony PlayStation London to Sony’s San Diego office. In 2008, the Great Recession left Butler and others at the company out of work, which led him to give acting a shot.

click to enlarge Lompoc’s RocketTown Comic-Con unites several actors under one roof
Photo courtesy of Scott Butler
MANY HATS: In the realm of pop culture, Scott Butler is best known for his acting, including on shows like Lodge 49, and video game work, as he’s worked as a lead artist and art director on several titles since the late 1980s. Monopoly Go! is one of the latest games he’s worked on.

He decided to sit in on an acting workshop shortly after losing his job. It was the first time he had tried acting in decades, after a traumatic school play experience scarred him, he said half-jokingly. Butler still recalls the ill-fated production, in which he played Jesus. He was 7 years old.

“I remember waiting on the wings for my first line, and I ran up the steps, way too eager to get on the stage, and I tripped on my tunic that was too long,” Butler said. “I landed on my belly, slid across the stage like a seal, went down the other steps on the other side, and ended up between the legs and under the chair of the school principal. 

“All the parents that were there burst out laughing. … I got nicknamed flying Jesus after that.”

Reveal your nickname to Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood at [email protected].

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