Imagine having played one of the most-loved characters on a popular television program. Kids pretended to be you on playgrounds and played with action figures modeled after you.
Now imagine that you make an appearance at a comic-con panel, and the audience is small enough for you to count on your fingers.
With some of the largest lines at conventions today, it’s hard to imagine that this used to be the experience of Jason David Frank, famous for his role as the Green Ranger in “The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.”
“I used to do comic cons and have ten or twenty people,” Jason said at the Raleigh Supercon.
So how did Jason grow his convention fan base? The secret has a lot to do with the way Jason treats people: “I treated them the same, like it was a full room,” he said.
The Wow Factor and Mental Bank Accounts
Jason knew the importance of not only “being passionate” but also of what he calls “installing in people’s mental bank account” and delivering the “wow factor.” He described a mental bank account as being “where you can have friends that take a withdrawal” and added, “If you don’t deposit in your emotional bank account, then what’s the point of withdrawing? Your check’s going to bounce.”
The “wow factor” is one way to build a mental bank account. He explained, “When teaching karate, I tell my students, I tell my instructors, ‘I want the parents to come back the next day and go, ‘Wow, my kid listened!’” Jason applies this same idea to the way he approaches fans and conventions: he goes above and beyond to invest memories into the mental bank accounts of his fans, and he’s done this consistently for over twenty years.
Three Levels of Fans
Today, a significant portion of his fans at conventions are young adults that grew up watching the show. They bring their own kids—and sometimes, their parents.
“We’ve got the little kids that have the parents and the parents that know me, so there’s like three levels,” Jason said. He related how adult fans would come up to him and say to their kids, “Oh yeah, I used to watch him when I was your age,” but when their own parents say, “Oh, he used to watch you,” they’ll respond, “Mooooom, leave me alone, I’m 30!”
“Some of the people [with kids] come up and they’re like, ‘Hey, say hi to Tommy,’” Jason added. “I think [the] parents are more a fan than the kids, you know? And the kid’s like, ‘Where’s Tommy? It’s now time to go!’”
Jason thinks that the adult fans secretly enjoyed the show when it was no longer “cool” at their age. “When the kids grew up and watched Power Rangers they loved it and there was a certain age. . .where it was just kind of like, ‘I don’t really watch Power Rangers,’ but they’ve got the toys in the back pocket, running home, making sure their friends aren’t around and they’d watch Power Rangers,” he said.
“Right Up There With Spider Man”
Jason’s long-term passion for the Power Rangers brand has helped keep the show alive. He explained, “When the ratings dropped so bad on ‘Dino Thunder,’ I went back to pick the ratings up. . .The ratings continued to drop, [but] Saban bought it back. So, I’ve been consistent with the whole brand. And things aren’t over with yet. There’s a whole new world of ‘Power Rangers’ out there.”
“People say, ‘Hey, do you ever regret being a Power Ranger?’” he said. “I say, ‘Regret? I’m a superhero! I’m right up there with Spider-Man!’”
Jason’s superhero days are hardly over. He will appear as Bloodshot in the upcoming series “Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe” from Bat in the Sun Productions.
But it’s one thing to play a fictional hero on television. It’s quite another to be a hero. And as loyal fans will tell you, that’s exactly what you’ll see in Jason once you’ve met him.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read Part 1 of this story here.