IDCon 2019 Recap
2 months ago, I attended a voiceover conference in Atlanta, and in one of my sessions was an intensive with only 11 others, that went deep into what it takes to narrate a true crime show. It's one of my dreams, and the reason I got into voiceover. While in that session, another participant told us about this one-day conference for fans of the Investigation Discovery, aka the ID channel that happens annually in NYC, called IDCon.
The ID channel started in 2008 and is the leading crime and justice network on television.
The theme was Dangerous Minds, and probably as an ode to the movie with Michelle Pfieffer, the DJ played Coolio's "Gangster's Paradise" as Tony Harris came to the stage as the host for the day.
Paula Zahn came out briefly, but someone in her family was graduating so she couldn't stay. Her show On the Case has been on ID for over 10 seasons.
The day was made up of 4 panels on the stage. John Walsh and his son Callahan were on the first panel at 9:30 am. John explained that he was not a celebrity-- he was an angry survivor of crime when his son Adam was kidnapped in the 80's and decapitated. He said that he and his family were not victims, his son was. He talked about how he and his wife started their fight for justice, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children from their garage. They went on to have three more children, and one of his sons Callahan, leads that organization. John told many stories including how America's Most Wanted was born, and he quoted more statistics that I could ever have hoped to write or list for you here. It was a powerful way to start the day and I knew I was in the right place. These are "my people." If you want to donate your money or time to their organization, go to MissingKids.org.
The second panel featured Sheriff and former detective Garry McFadden, prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and defense attorney Fatima Silva. I met Garry and Anna-Sigga briefly, but Fatima left minutes before I got to the meet and greet area. They talked about how they kept a good professional working relationship with each other even though it might seem that they would be adversarial because of the different sides and angles they have to hit the case from.
”There are more good people in the world than bad. You can see the bad but know there is more good.”
- Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi
There were some lulls for about 2 hours while 2 groups took turns eating lunch and attending the meet-and-greet. As a first-timer, I got in line for the meet-and-greet first. This was definitely the highlight of the day. Wait, no, this made my whole YEAR so far!
The line was longer than the non-TSA Pre checkpoint at the Atlanta airport, but it was worth it. The first stop (after about 30 min or so of waiting) was the Line Up. You could take a mug shot, holding up a sign that said "ID CON 2019" that showed up in black-and-white. After that, there was a table for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the man there gave us a folder with information about the organization and a luggage tag.
Next was a wall of offenders from In Pursuit with John Walsh, a few of whom have been captured. Next to that was a mounted poster of the show. John had commitments and was not able to hang out to be part of the meet-and-greet.
As you make your way through the wall of stars, there were volunteers in front of each to take your phone and pass it along for picture-taking. It appeared to run smoothly. Most of the stars stood up but there were bar stool chairs for them as well as small bottles of hand sanitizer.
First in line was Chris Anderson, one of the two my sister and were most excited to meet. As I got my bearings (we were both carrying other things besides our phones), he asked me if I was having a good time so far, and seemed genuinely personable. Yay, I met Chris!!! Birmingham represent!
Next in line was former FBI profiler Candice DeLong who is featured on the show Deadly Women. I noticed that she did not smile with anyone, but maybe she was tired or very introverted. But she was absolutely human when she spoke on the next panel afterward-- she even made a few jokes during Q&A. Everyone doesn't like taking pictures, so I don't hold it against her.
My next photo was with Garry McFadden. Then Derrick Levasseur of Breaking Homicide, whom I did not recognize. I think he was the most talkative of everyone in line.
Then I met Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi of True Conviction, who remained seated, then Rod Demery of Murder Chose Me who was also very personable. And the granddaddy of all, the Homicide Hunter himself, Joe Kenda, who happens to live within 30 minutes of me and my sister and grew up in my birthplace of Pittsburgh.
After that, we headed back downstairs near the where we checkin area to get our box lunches. As for the box lunches provided-- one with ham sandwiches, one with hummus and one with roast beef. I am a meat eater and was offered the ham box. It also had a small, soft chocolate chip cookie, an apple, and a bag of plain, Cape Cod chips.
We found seats again and while we ate and waited, there was different music played from different musical genres; I thought that a couple of songs were questionable. For in particular with Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj, I heard the n-word and the b-word multiple times, which I thought was inappropriate. Then without warning, sneak peeks of a couple of new shows were played that will debut on the network in June.
The third panel featured detectives Chris Anderson, Rod Demery and Derrick Levasseur, and Candice DeLong.
Rod in particular had a harsh background, as he lost his mother and brother to violence. The moderator asked why he's always zen and compassionate. He said it was because of the empathy he had for other survivors because he is one, and also because he is a man of faith and believes God lead him to this career because it's his purpose.
One woman said that she can spend all day watching the ID channel, and what does it say about her? We all clapped hard for that one. But Candice's answer was one that I agree with. She thinks every show offers something educational. For example, the perils some women go through just to be loved-- like if they fall in love with a sociopath who uses them to commit murder-- there's so many stories!
I was pleasantly surprised when the incomparable Tamron Hall ran up on stage without warning. She had a baby a few weeks ago, so I didn't think she was coming. She looked great-- she was still glowing. Not only is her show on ID returning this fall, but so she's got a new daytime talk show debuting in the fall as well. This is her year and I'm so happy for her.
Once we all recovered from that wonderful surprise, it was time for the grand finale... Kenda Confidential with Joe Kenda, with an appearance of his wife Kathy. She could have her own show too! I loved their dynamic... hilarious! She is the reason why he is on TV. It was her idea.
His show starts its last season in August, but a new one is in the works. And speaking of seasons, there are new shows starting on ID next month, so I will stay having new stuff to watch all summer.
As we left, I was sad it was over but invigorated-- and lots of folks were jealous, lol. I started to take the stairs to leave the building, and someone called out my name. It was one of my running sisters from Atlanta! She was there all day with her sister and I had no idea!
Please go to my Instagram @DareeAllen to see the pics I posted that day (the ones posted above are in not in my feed).