One of my friends, um, called me on Skype one day, and said, "Hey, have you seen this show?"And I'm like, "no."
She's like, "well, it's called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,"
"and it's... the internet is raving about it, you have got to see this show, it's so good."
And I was like, "My Little Pony... My Little Pony..."
I'm like, "isn't that like a show for little girls?"
And she's like, "yeah, yeah, yeah, but it's great, it's great, trust me."
I watch it for a little bit, and I think, huh, this isn't too bad.
So, I put on another one, and another one, and another one.
The characters would speak, and they would end up with a smile, and I would smile back at them because it was just, it was such a good, it was such a little thing, but it would make my day just to see them smile.
It teaches so many good things.
And the next thing I know, I was kind of leaning forward into my monitor, and I was like, "this, this show is amazing."
And I thought, maybe I'm the only one who knows about this.
Maybe I should start telling people.
After at some point, I was like, wait a second.
My Little Pony, I am getting excited about My Little Pony.
So she's like, "Okay, so are you a Brony?"
I'm like, "Well what's that?"
And she's like, "There's this huge movement of, you know,"
"guys, you know, in high school and college that are just so into the show."
"And they're goin' to cons, and they're like, making music, and you know, art."
And so she's like, "Are you, would you call yourself a Brony?"
"Would you, you know, be willing to like just check out more of this stuff?"
And I'm like, "Yeah, yeah! I'd call myself a Brony, yeah."
It was then that I became a Brony.
I'm a Brony.
I'm a Brony.
And that's when I knew that I was a Brony.
I, I want to become a Brony.
And I am a Brony.
I'm a Brony too.
Another disturbing trend, Yes.
Uh, Bronies, grown men, who love My Little Pony. Oh, wow.
I think I'd ask if they were gay.
Old men, like pedophiles.
It's a little mind-boggling.
He dresses like a girl.
It's pretty weird.
I've never watched a single episode of My Little Pony.
There's definitely sexual deviancy involved.
There are worse hobbies for a young lad to have, Like, you know, terrorism.
If, am I wrong? Bronies, I don't know, that's on the edge.
This, this phenomenon of Brony conventions clearly was foretold in the Book of Revelation.
This is it, we are toast, it is over, please get those pictures off of my show!
For one to fully comprehend this pony fascination, Let me first sum up the previous of pony generations.
Generation 1 appeared on TV in the 80's.
It was made to sell toys, plots were hardly very weighty.
And Generation 2, I do not mean to grouse and gripe, But these characters fell right into the girly stereotypes.
And Generation 3 is just too awful and too tragic.
So let's jump to number 4,. Where Friendship is Magic!
All the characters compelling and the stellar storytelling, And the lovely animation brought about great dedication!
This is where we meet the Bronies, for they like My Little Pony.
Yes the bros enjoy the ponies so let's go and meet the Bronies!
I love flying. The airport is my second home.
It's the greatest passion, because it adds a, a third dimension to your life.
People who limit themselves to the ground are, are missing out a lot, because the world is just completely different, up there and, uh, it's just total freedom.
What I'd usually be doing right now is grabbing my friends Chris and Ethan, we'll just go out to a local pizza joint, we'll just go be teenagers.
We just eat there, and then we'll go to Wal-Mart, 'cause that's the thing to do around here, is just go to Wal-Mart.
That's considered a hot date around this area.
The rednecks will take their girlfriends to Wal-Mart.
And this is one of the only places I can come and buy Pony Merch.
I have a, a friend in there, he lets me know when the stuff comes in.
I'm waiting to receive a text for that White Celestia, I'm excited for her.
It's fun to drive a Mercedes because you, you're usually the only one that has one, especially an old one like this one.
I get a lot of weird looks from the rednecks, cause you know, they're expecting me to be driving a big truck, or, you know, I'm supposed to be competing with them somehow, and I don't, I don't see the fun in that.
My first exposure to My Little Pony was in a, uh, an internet video collaboration, and this guy, he had created a collaboration of the good shows, that got a start in in 2010, and, I saw the, the ponies on there, and I'm, I just couldn't get them out of my head.
Like something just caught my eye about 'em.
I don't know why, so I figured, well, I'll give 'em a chance.
I gave it a shot, and I was hooked.
Spike, take a note please.
I, Princess Celestia, hereby decree, that the unicorn Twilight Sparkle shall take on a new mission for Equestria.
She must continue to study the magic of friendship.
She must report to me her findings, from her new home in Ponyville.
Oh, thank you Princess Celestia.
I'll study harder than ever before.
I was like, no, there's no way I'm watching this little girl's show.
I can't be likin' this, you know that's, that's not right, you know.
But something about it just kept me coming to it.
The show itself, of course is about the magic of friendship, hence, Friendship is Magic.
And what really speaks to me as a grown man is, that these characters are so deep and in-depth, and complicated, while they each portray an Element of Harmony.
The spirits of the Elements of Harmony are right here!
Honesty! Loyalty! Laughter! Kindness! Generosity!
When those elements are ignited by the... the 'spark', that resides in the heart of us all, it creates the sixth element, the element of magic!
I wanted to have a show about six characters, six girls, six ponies, who were friends with one another.
I already wanted Princess Celestia, I already wanted Twilight to be her student who was displaced.
I had her, in Mork and Mindy style, write letters surmising what she learned about friendship at the end of the episode.
Dear Princess Celestia.
This adventure has taught me to never lose faith in your friends.
They can be an amazing source of strength, and can help you overcome even your greatest fears.
Always, your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.
I'm one of those people who can be attached to objects, particularly one which I had which was a toy aircraft carrier, 'cause I always thought it was just cool, and it was my favorite toy for a while.
But um, it eventually got yard saled, and I got over it, obviously, because I have to grow up.
I mean I can't, I can't be like 50 or something, and like all alone in my house with just a toy aircraft carrier going, "yes".
This, I'm probably never gonna sell.
Lyle is very creative, very artistic. He enjoys building with LEGO.
He enjoys games on the computer, such as the Minecraft, Halo, that kind of thing.
Lyle is a, is an, excellent shot, he's, when it comes to target shooting, he's got me beat by a long shot.
Before I watched the show, I was kind of sad and lonely, and then when I did watch the show, it opened up to this huge community, because the community's just so accepting, and it's just a really great thing.
It's not a show that you'd expect a lot of people my age and older to watch.
The show does help teach a lot of life lessons.
There's almost any episode that can help with almost any situation.
All this time!
If we just told each other the truth.
I promise never to keep my feelings a secret again.
Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.
Since I started watching the show, I also feel like I can put up with a lot of situations way better than I could have before.
He said, "What would you think, mom, if I really said I liked My Little Pony?"
And he'd been joking about this for a long time.
I was talking about how it was a good show, but her initial reaction was a bit like "ehhh".
I said, "I'd be worried about you, Lyle." it made me kind of nervous, like she wouldn't really accept it if I was serious.
I didn't think he was serious!
And so I told her it was a joke.
I was very nervous about my dad finding out.
He might be thinking that I'm gay, or a man-child or something.
The community has kind of exploded into, um, you know musicians and artists and animators, and all these people getting behind the show that, that they use the content from the show and build off that.
I remember discovering the show, um, about, I think half a year ago.
The chorus is a bit messy right now.
It's kind of like messy at the moment.
Here we go.
Surprised to see me?
So now he's found a way to copy himself.
Now there's more than one of them.
A lot more.
The show itself is, uh, extremely well done.
The art is fantastic, the writing is wonderful, and, and the voice acting is just, it's impeccable.
I met Lauren Faust at Cartoon Network, and I liked her the moment I met her.
She was creative and smart, and, and insightful, and had real clear vision of what she wanted on different things, and...
Lauren called me up one day and asked me if I had played with My Little Pony toys as a little girl.
'Course I did, I had every pony, I had every sticker.
And she said, it's been her dream to have her vision of My Little Pony be on the air, and could she come over and show me some stuff?
And I said, sure. So we actually went upstairs to my little studio.
"Dear Princess Celestia."
And I recorded Twilight Sparkle for her and Pinkie Pie and I think it was... either Rainbow Dash or Applejack for just the pitch.
She did say that Pinkie Pie was, you know, the party girl and really happy, and she wanted sort of high pitched, um, really silly girl, girlie girl.
And that she wanted Twilight to be a little bit more serious, still likeable.
She's sort of the leader of the ponies, um, and book smart, and a little bit nerdy, but still someone that you'd want to hang out with.
And knowing that she had to be, you know, bookish, but still cute.
Um, and it's right in that pocket where it's like, "Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned..."
And then she'll talk about whatever it was that her, friendship lesson of the day.
"Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."
Once she heard my Twilight, she's like, Oh my gosh, you're... you're Twilight, that's my Twi.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is about a bunch of tiny, little, cute little herbivores, that are facing down these titanic personified evils.
And, I think some days we all feel like that.
We all feel like we're just a little small thing facing down these huge forces that are greater than us.
Animals I find much more, like easier when I'm trying to relax or that you know, cool down from talking to a lot of people.
They don't have any sort of major demands, not emotional demands anyway.
So I feel like they're much easier to understand and interact with.
When I took him for his three-year assessment, I was talking to the health visitor and Daniel was behind me.
And she said to me, "Does he always do that?"
And I turned around, and he'd lined all the chairs up in the room, right, really straight, all the way across the room, which he did with everything; his toys, video... he used to make a video... a line from the telly, all the way into the kitchen, with videos.
And, anything he used to line up.
And so I said, "Yes, he always does that."
And she said, "I think we need to have a talk," and he was diagnosed with Asperger's.
Having Asperger's is like... well, I really can't explain it.
It's basically not being able to understand maybe people's emotions, at a time, or understand why someone would do something on an emotional level.
"Are they sad? Are they happy? Are they angry?"
Something like that is very difficult for someone with Asperger's, usually.
Daniel first told me about six months ago.
I was thinking, "Oh, I like this show, I want pony stuff."
"How am I going to go about getting them without telling them anything about it."
So I sort of just sat my mom down and said, "Okay, I'm gonna tell you something a bit weird."
And I thought, "Oh my God, what is it?"
Um, and he says, I really like this program, I want you to watch it, don't say anything, just watch it.
I was thinking, "Oh my God, why does he like this?"
And after it had finished, I thought, "Well... Yeah, I can see why he likes it."
And I thought, "He's gonna get obsessed with this..."
Soon as I saw it, I knew that he was... he would be obsessed with it.
The ponies I would most relate to would probably be Twilight, because she gets very freaked out when elements don't go her way.
I mean, I can see a lot of him in some of the characters.
And so I, I thought, I bet he can see himself in a lot of the characters.
If something she's trying to achieve goes out of her control, or that she fails at, she gets very anxious, or agitated, or very stressed out.
Or she has a mental, psychological breakdown, goes crazy.
It looks like some pony's getting themselves all worked up over nothing.
This is not nothing. This is everything!
I need you guys to help me find some pony with a problem I can fix before sundown!
My whole life depends on it!
I can see obsessive, and, um, not coping with certain situations, and I'm-I-I was wondering, of the episodes I've watched, whether perhaps one of the script writers were, or knew somebody with Asperger's.
Because it was, it was so, so similar.
And magic makes it all complete!
My Little Pony.
Do you know you are my very best friends!
I'm known as LaserPon3 on the internet.
And I make the laser pony animations.
When I make a new show, first I start with a notepad, just a physical notepad and start writing down everything that I hear in the song that I associate with the song, like I hear a sad part, I maybe think of violins, I maybe think of this, I maybe think of that, and what write everything down, and I would, eventually I have a whole paper filled with, with words, which I then grab and make a story out of.
And I basically put some characters from the show, I put, associate them with those objects, I associate them with the emotions that go on the show.
And in that kind of way I start developing a very, very thin storyline.
Then I start drawing some frames, some test frames to see if, you know, it appears so it doesn't flicker too much, like the frame rate doesn't drop too much.
From there on I just start making the show and then, it just... my mind goes all by itself.
It requires a lot of precision, a lot of work.
Uh, you have to make sure that the three laser beams that come out of, that are in the projector, that combine to one beam, uh, are perfectly overlapping each other.
For example, a white laser beam is, you're perceiving it as white, but it's actually still three separate laser beams just tightly spaced together.
So every kind of small mis-alignment will make a difference, and your audience will be able to see it.
The Elements of Harmony, are playing a role in my life, I think generosity plays an important part.
You know, making stuff for other people, like for free just gives me a great feel, that, that, people can enjoy what I do.
I was just sitting there, I was just livin' day to day, you know, in the house, uh, you know just trying to get by doing work for my father here and there, and I didn't really have anything to look forward to, just you know, to see the sunset, and that was it, you know, we'd go to the next day.
As soon as ponies came into my life, I was like, wow, I never want the day to end, you know, it's just such a positive outlook on things.
And now I have something to look forward to.
Here we have a strong stereotyping that if you aren't extremely masculine and chauvinistic then you're a homosexual, and in this area homosexuality is also looked down upon, so I guess it comes hand in hand that if you watch a show that's target audience was children, small girls, then suddenly maybe you're homosexual, and then it's a reason to hate you.
If you choose to be a Brony in the Appalachian Mountains, you're gonna have problems.
You might get beat up, you could get cussed at, you could get things thrown at you.
It's not an easy thing.
One night there was a, uh, a few rednecks standing around my car, uh, there was a truck in front of my car, behind it, so I couldn't move.
They had tire irons, baseball bats.
I had just got uh, custom decals uh, for my windows, uh, on my back window I had a large Celestia and a large Luna, and they were kneeling up together and forming an archway and it was just the coolest thing.
Uh, and they went right to my back window, hit it a few times and then, smashed it.
The guy, he ran to his truck and came back out, with his rifle he had been hunting with.
Uh, I got pretty scared at that point.
You know, he was playfully aiming it at me like, you know, "You gonna stop this Pony, your little gay girly shit!" You know, and uh.
So he pointed it right at me and I was, I freaked out, you know I slammed the car in reverse, and, you know, just managed to get the whole side of this car just bashed up.
And then I come home and then of course my father saw the damage to the car, and he was, uh, he was a little angry and I just had to explain to him, like, "Oh, I ran off the road" or something, and you know, to try to cover it up.
We were asked to make a two part special.
And I wanted it to be a great big story.
We had this opportunity for a new villain, so we created Discord, and when we were writing the character and we were pitching our, um, our premise to, to our bosses at Hasbro and the Hub, you know, we were tellin' em, "he's like a trickster kind of character."
They were a little uncertain at first until, uh, I said, "He's like Q, from Star Trek!"
And they were like, "Can we get John de Lancie?!"
Keep trying, Twilight Sparkle, maybe the "Magic of Friendship" can help you!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some chaos to wreak.
I think the Bronies like Discord because he's naughty, you know.
And... they're guys.
And I was looking at uh, Greek mythological characters like chimeras, and um, uh, manticores.
I wanted all of his body parts to be from a different animal so that he's, he's not harmonious.
Ugh, this again?
My first introduction to My Little Pony was I got a call from my agent saying that...
"You have a... a job."
And I read the material, it was very good, I went in, I knocked it off, and completely forgot about it.
Three months later I go down to my computer and I open it up and there must be, I don't know, three or four hundred emails.
And they all say uh, "My Little Pony", and I'm, I call up to my wife and I said, "What do you about My Little Pony?"
And she said, "Well you voiced it about three months ago."
Pretty sure... I completely forgot about that.
And um, she says, "It's a program for little girls."
I said "well, let me tell ya..."
"...these aren't little girls that are writing me."
There's a number of reasons people love him.
I think they were excited by how epic that episode was.
It is definitely not a typical little girls' show.
None of this would be possible without the internet.
But Bronies now are starting to get together.
First at meet-ups and then conventions.
Germany... England... and the biggest convention, BronyCon.
So, when I heard about BronyCon coming up, I decided that I really wanted to go.
So I came up with this plan, with one of my friends.
If I am willing to pay for the hotel room, he and his dad would drive me up and pay for meals.
So, I told my parents that I wanted to take a trip with one of my friends.
They weren't really keen on the idea.
They don't really trust me as far as money goes, and what not, so they insisted that they go, if I'm gonna go at all.
So, they kept asking questions, and I eventually told them it was a Comic-Con.
So then that just got them more excited and they were like, "Oh, well who's gonna be there?"
And I was like, "Well I just kinda wanna go with my friend."
But yet I couldn't find anything online about it, as a "comic" convention.
Oh no, my parents, they're gonna find out!
Then eventually, my mom just, the curiosity got the better of her, and she looked it up online, with all the information I'd given her.
She found out about BronyCon, and she came downstairs to me one day with a smug look on her face, like, asking me to elaborate, and I did.
And then she told my dad.
I guess that's the major word I would use to describe my husband, conservative.
"Well, it's not really a Comic-Con."
She says, "Remember uh, back in the 80's, My Pretty Pony?"
And I went, "Yeah?"
She goes, "it's, like, something to do with that."
I was like "Huh?"
My dad is very conservative.
I don't know how my dad reacts to me being a Brony, 'cause he's very quiet about it.
The big reason I'm coming to BronyCon is that
I am really afraid that he's going to be, like, live performing in front of the audience, because
When I first get there, like when I'm drivin' in, I want to be seein' em' all walkin' in there and I'm gonna be goin', "Aw man, this is going to be,"
"like almost like going to a rock concert for your favorite band."
I was like, "Oh man, I'm gonna be so pumped."
All right, we're going to New York! That's the money!
The first convention ever held for Bronies, there were only 100 people.
And the current one, it's gonna hit its cap at 4,000.
It's become a global phenomenon.
Well I'm leaving early in the morning for B.U.C.K.
Now there are dozens of conventions just in the United States alone, dozens more in Europe.
I first saw the convention on Equestria Daily I think.
They were talking about a British Brony con UK.
I saw that and thought, "Brilliant, I don't have to travel to America."
So I definitely decided straight away I've got to go to that convention.
He wouldn't have considered going to a convention about something before.
Pony convention I'm going to see people.
So yes, that's very ironic because I wouldn't normally go to a convention to see people.
He's organized everything himself, I haven't organized anything.
He wanted to do it all himself, so yeah.
I think he's... he's looking forward to it.
Well I plan on getting to the convention by taking an hour train ride to Manchester.
This is from getting from the train station to the Bridgewater Hall, where the Brony con UK is being hosted.
I don't think I'd be comfortable asking people for directions.
During my trip I'm trying to cut down as much interaction with people as possible.
If I was in a large crowd, probably paranoia would be quite likely.
I'm sort of very aware of people around me, because I'm very paranoid about these sort of things like, "Oh, what if uh, that guy's a mugger!" or something.
Things Daniel will face I will find, I think he will find very hard, are the train station.
Stafford won't be too bad, but when he gets to Manchester it's going to be very crowded which he's gonna find quite hard.
Walking through yeah, a general area such as Manchester, I get a little jittery.
I start shaking a bit more maybe.
I would tend to want to rush, like get places faster.
Gonna be anxious because it's not a new environment, but it's a different environment.
People walking about, doing different things, yeah, in an environment I can't control.
He don't like it because he think I'm too, it's for small girls, and I'm uh, a woman.
What does he think about your boyfriend, and how much he likes ponies?
Uh... same, same crazy person liking...
He knows that.
Yes, two, two, crazy persons found each other.
I told my wife, "No way, just say no."
I think if my dad was to meet someone at BronyCon, if he met someone with similar interests, from the same culture he's used to and same generation, um, it would just help to bridge the gap between him and this strange new culture shock.
Probably see people with purple and pink hair, and...
I don't know, satin pink costumes.
If only I could get my dad to watch the show, he could understand, and things would be so much better.
I'm not interested in watching My Little Pony.
So this is just people lining up.
We predict about a thousand to get their early registration.
My friend Donna did my nails up for me with her... cutie mark.
I took uh, two trains to meet up with uh some other Bronies, and then we carpooled over here.
So the total travel time would be about seven hours.
I love the songs.
And the culture around the show, is amazing.
I'm in particular looking forward to seeing and hearing Lauren Faust.
John de Lancie, I am so glad that he decided to voice Discord, because nopony else could have done it better than him.
There's harmony present among all the Bronies here.
There's just positive energy, because... everyone realizes that they're among friends here.
My name is Pinkie Pie and I am here to say, "How you doin'?"
I'm gonna make you smile and I will brighten up your day!
It doesn't matter now... What's up?!... if you are sad or blue.
Cause cheering up my friends is just what Pinkie's here to do!
The part that I thought was so unusual about BronyCon was the sense of spirit.
Are you coming in?
This was a BIG convention, FOUR thousand people, who had a sense that they were being part of something that was unique.
It was the spirit of that convention that was so attractive.
The reason I brought my sister to BronyCon was because I felt that she would be the kind of person who would understand this sort of thing.
And, he can't drive.
That, that's another reason.
There's just like a whole bunch of really, really happy emotions.
There is so many people dressed in fantastic outfits.
It's just jaw dropping.
You also get to meet the original voice cast, you get to see what they think of the Brony culture, and they are shocked by how many people have come here today.
How important are these cons, like BronyCon and the other ones that are emerging for the Brony culture?
I think they're very important.
They serve multiple functions in the Brony community.
For one thing, they provide an opportunity for people who might not ordinarily be able to socialize with other Bronies to do so in a non threatening environment, where nobody's gonna look at you funny if you're wearing a Fluttershy shirt, and you're a 35 year old guy with a beard.
And that's really important.
A lot of people need to be able to express their enjoyment of the show in a non judgmental environment.
There's more to it than just ponies, and people think it's ponies and all for girls, but it's really not.
It's about friendship and having a good time, and it's pretty much what everybody's doing now here.
I really love the characters because they're relatable to everyone, and they have some depth so it's not like they're just stereotypes.
So you have dates over My Little Pony?
We have a date every Saturday at one o' clock. Yep.
On the... on the dot. Yep!
If you had spoken to me a year ago that I would be at a convention for a show for little girls, I would have laughed in your face.
I would have just laughed at you, and just walked away.
I feel like I'm in the minority, but I also don't feel like it's like where most minorities kind of feel suppressed, it's like, oh, there's less of us, but it's not a bad thing.
Now I'm here, nine hundred miles, the biggest Con, four times the population of my town is in this building.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, he kept visiting me in the hospital and he showed me the show, it helped me feel happy, and the most important thing, when you're sick, is to feel happy, so you get better, and... it just helped so much.
Let the chaos begin.
This isn't just a fad, this isn't just an internet phenomenon anymore.
That was part of the reason why I started BronyCon, I realized, this is a community that deserves a real world presence, it deserves what the Star Trek fans and the Sci-Fi people, and the Anime fans have.
It deserves a robust convention scene, and now it has one.
This is incredible.
It didn't take long to bump into a few members of the Knoxville Brony group here, and I'm hanging out with them today.
Bringing these people together is what the show has accomplished.
It's very exciting and really really cool that my dad is okay with this kind of thing, cause My Little Pony is like, there's nothing violent about it, there's nothing wrong with it, it's a cartoon that people enjoy for good reason.
Where's your dad?
I have no idea, probably way back there.
My son was hell-bent on going.
My wife, she told me one day, she goes, "Well, I'll take him."
And I said, "Are you serious, you're gonna go?"
"Yeah, I'll go,"and I said, "Okay, fine."
Then after awhile, I, I know she didn't wanna do that trip, so I feel like I got roped into it.
How do I wear these?
No you gotta put the string behind your head, yeah.
Yeah, put that down a little bit more... yep!
I got an email from a young man named Lyle who said that his father was very conservative, and he was concerned about coming to the convention.
And he wanted me to meet his father.
This is my wife.
Hi, I'm John. Nice to meet you.
This is all a little overwhelming, isn't it?
A little bit. Yeah.
So, should we go in and start taking a look?
Because we're gonna see this sort of through your eyes, and actually through, all, all of our eyes, okay?
I decided that maybe we could have a surprise for Lyle's father and that was that he could meet another father, a father of a young man who was also a Brony, and this father actually did know all about BronyCon and wanted to bring his son to it.
And we thought it would be very interesting to have these two fathers get together and talk.
Tom, Michael. Gilpatrick.
Michael. Lyle. Michael.This is Hayden.
Did you have any trepidations about coming here?
No, not at all.
I know when I first found out I was like, "You watch what?"
You know, it's pretty much a little girls' thing and I was like, "What?"
But you know my son, uh, he said, "You know Dad, you know, before you think about this,"
"you know, let me explain why," so he explained it to me, and I, he actually got me to look at some stuff.
My son has always never been one who follows the, the crowd.
You know, that's one thing that I always like about him, he's an individual, which is sometimes hard for him, um, and I know is hard for Bronies, that they get picked on at school just all around, a lot of em don't like to tell people that they're Bronies because of that, especially when they're younger.
My son still has concerns about what other people may think, so I expect he's not gonna be buying a pink hooded sweatshirt at this convention.
My son has friends that he's a little hesitant to even tell them, he has other friends he's got a number of friends that are Bronies too.
The fact that my son came to me and he confided in me and felt that he was comfortable to say that, I think that's a good thing.
And I think that you should take that as a good thing that your son has a relationship where he, you know, he took a chance and discussed it with you, or you found out, one or the other.
Um, I found out through my wife, my son was hesitant to mention it to me himself.
I have great sympathy for Lyle's father because his 16 year old boy wants to watch a cartoon for little girls.
I also understand the fact that he was willing to go with his son, which I thought was really quite wonderful on his part.
And to walk into a world which was very different than the world that he is used to.
They don't understand how lucky they are.
My son isn't able to talk, he isn't able to walk, he isn't able to do any of the things that I expected him to be able to do.
If he was a Brony, I would think that was amazing because he would be a sweet, understanding, compassionate boy that got that watching girl characters do awesome things is just as awesome as watching boy characters do awesome things.
To people who feel that, you know, an adult man watching a show that's meant for little girls, that they think that that's wrong or that's strange, I think I would say this.
I would ask them, "Why do you think that's strange?"
And, "What about that makes you uncomfortable?"
As a society I think our first reaction is to jump to the conclusion that there's something wrong with than but I think that that's what's needs to be changed.
We need to allow men to be gentle and to be sensitive, and to care about one another and not call them weak for caring.
At BronyCon there was a lunch just for people who were in the military and it was really amazing, because close to sixty people showed up.
Coming here and seeing so many other military Bronies, has just been really uplifting, because as a Brony, I just really felt isolated, you know, like I was the only one in the military and that it was so hard to be so excited about something I loved so much and not being able to tell anyone.
"I'm going to a BronyCon," you know, I wanted to tell everyone, I want to tell my friends, and my family, but my friends are all in the military, and it's like, oh, I can't tell them because, you know.
'Cause of the way that the military in general, would react.
It's like, "Oh, you like a little girls' show, oh, well you must be you know,"
"feminine, and or gay, or whatever," and it's like, you know, I want to just sit down and say, no, you know, watch the show, watch the animation, and, and appreciate it for what it is, and get past that, cause I mean, are you so afraid, of exposing yourself to something feminine, that you're gonna suddenly turn gay, you're gonna "catch the gay" by watching the show?
The Elements of Harmony, you know, Loyalty, Kindness, Generosity, Magic, uh, Laughter and Honesty, coincide with some of the Army values of uh, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
I was so excited to meet all these Bronies who serve in the military.
I surprised them, and I brought them autographed slap bracelets.
Who wants to be slapped?
I do! Hai-yah!
Yes. Yah! Yah! Yah!
One of the things that I think was really important for them to find out was that they were not alone.
Thank you guys, for everything that you do, it's all very Twlightlicious of you.
T-W-I-L-I-G-H-T, and ain't no other ponies troll it down like me, I'm Twilightlicious!
Yes you are.
Though the growth in pony fandom might simply seem absurd, True fans adore the show while others gallop to the herd!
For hipster Bronies watching pastel ponies has appeal, though first it seems ironic, soon enough it's very real!
For moderates the start was humble, finding it through hype, when the Bronies did invade their favorite forums and websites.
And though first a little skeptical these moderates inquired, and once they finally saw the show their love for it caught fire!
The core of the meet-ups and conventions that you see, Are the social groups that come to BronyCon and Everfree.
Yes the moderates and hipsters are the big groups of the Bronies, They're the dudes that are the bulk of all the men who like the ponies.
What we did is we defined Brony fan behaviors, and we also looked at the different types of Bronies.
One of the things we wanted to really do was to look at some of the myths that people had about Bronies.
A lot of those stereotypes would say, you know, "They're 30 year old, unemployed males who live in their parents' basements and watch cartoons all day."
This was not the case, that in fact they are highly educated, group of heterosexual males.
I'm a biologist, uh, I work at uh, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The average age is around 20.
In the stressful environment that is college, it's a fun escape for me.
The Bronies tend to be open to new experiences, but they also tend to be more introverted.
I'm a Brony because the fandom creates a sense of security and acceptance in an uncertain and troublesome world.
There are a group of Bronies who are more extroverted, and we call those the Social Bronies.
I sometimes have taken to call them our Evangelical Bronies, because these are the Bronies who are out there, trying to uh, increase the herd.
I'm a Brony because this fandom is freaking incredible.
Because it's a show about colorful ponies in a magical land of sunshine and rainbows.
The show breeds genuineness.
When I realized they weren't being sarcastic or ironic, it was amazing!
And that has actually really impacted me.
And the fans, now it's, now it kind of belongs to them now, and they're, they're making this movement, and I think it's refreshing.
I have watched all the episodes of My Little Pony, in part, because when I'm interacting with the Bronies, I like to know what they mean by terms like uh, "20% cooler".
Do you not like the color?
The color's fine, just make it look cooler.
Do you not like the shape?
The shape's fine, just make the whole thing, you know, cooler.
It needs to be about 20% cooler.
We are post 9/11, with uh, worrying about terrorism, worrying about aggression, and in a lot of respects, I believe that this is a flight from that.
That it's a retreat to something which is happier, which stresses getting along with others, and is an escape from the worries that these young people are facing.
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is sort of letting them know that they're not alone.
One of the other things that we did look at, was what was the function of being a Brony.
The first one was a social function.
The second function, and the one which surprised us the most, is that it's also served a guidance function.
Because cartoons are little parables, and we have begun to call this the WWPD factor:
What Would a Pony Do?
It's a show that has actually created a community.
I think it's a visceral thing that's happening here, I think it's connected to the heart, and I think the show is a show of excellence.
I think I made up stories right out of the gate.
With, when I got my first pony toys.
Um, it was just the way I played, and I actually think that the way I played with ponies, with Strawberry Shortcake, with my stuffed animals, I look back now and I know that that's kind of where my creative mind started, and what lead me to writing stories for a living.
There's something about the color combinations, the picture on their butt, their cutie mark, that just made my brain automatically start putting those puzzle pieces together and creating personalities for them.
And then once I had my cast, I would put them in different areas of my room, so like my dresser drawer I would put the castle up on top of that and that was the castle up on the mountain, and I'd put the cloud somewhere on my bed, and the whole bed was just like the expanse of where the Pegasus lived, and my whole room would become the world that they lived in, and the stuffed animals I played with would be the creatures that they encountered, and I'd make up these adventure stories for them to go on.
Creative Bronies are the final bunch you need to know, Making music, art, and stories all inspired by the show.
While counting down the days from Season 1 to Season 2, The musicians wrote funky little songs like Pinkie's Brew.
The pony generators churn out many new OC's, And the artists put their art on Tumblr blogs for all to see.
The writers pair their favorites, voicing charming little quips, And although they face some critics they will go down with their ships!
Their talent is their glory, ever growing never stopping, From the music to the stories and the artwork and the clopping.
But let's steer away from that one and get right back to the ponies, while Creatives are the final bunch in the wacky world of Bronies.
Creatives, and Moderates, and lastly Hipster Bronies, Are the groups that are quite proud to watch the show, My Little Pony!
It seems your little lessons left the fairer sex neglected.
Well, when girls like Little Ponies, that's very much expected.
Even so, you can't ignore these filly's contributions.
We're involved in Brony culture and we demand our inclusion!
We attend all the conventions, create art and music too, Discuss the show, talk on forums, everything that these dudes do!
No, we're not "bros", but we're Bronies!
Though some prefer "Pegasisters".
And we also are Creatives, Moderates, and even Hipsters.
Well there you have it. All the Bronies!
Anypony else I missed?
Now if it's all the same to you, class dismissed!
Hey, how's it going?
We're Equestria Daily, we're worldwide.
We constantly get fan music, fan art, fan stories.
Seth, I have something for you! You have something for me? Yes!
It's a huge fandom, we have musicians, we have artists, and they're all professionals.
The music is amazing, we have a lot of fan fiction authors.
There's a massive website, dedicated specifically to fan fiction.
In general, we're just... we love creating things and we're good at it.
I watched other artists on DeviantArt, and one of them had a journal featuring JJ, and they're like, "Oh, check out his art, he's really good?
So I went and I checked it out and I was like, "Oh my gosh, he's amazing!"
As a kid, I used to draw military vehicles because my dad was in the Navy.
My father passed away and I stopped drawing.
When the ponies came along and I started drawing again, they inspired me.
A lot of people try to get drawings that are show accurate, you know try and look like they're just right from the show, and he does a little more stylized.
I decided to come to BronyCon because Lauren Faust is going to be here.
If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here.
I have to thank her so much.
He takes the characters from the show, a fan asks a question, and he draws the response that character would make.
When I draw, and I see the smile on their faces, I'm so happy.
The Brony community is very into, like, making their own content.
It means a lot to them to be able to become a part of the community and expand the community more.
And so one of the things that had started happening was they started making their own games, and they started making their own animations.
It's kind of brought out a creative side that I haven't used in almost 20 years.
So, when I was growing up there was a lot of creative, creative outlets, that I would have, like with my singing, and the playing of the clarinet, and marching band, and then my family moved to Texas, and I joined the military, and that all went away.
And so, here, after you know, 16, 17 years, here I am, I'm practicing my singing again, I'm helping animators with artistic projects, I'm writing a story, and I've kind of surprised myself with it to be absolutely honest.
BronyCon means to me, a place where people can go and be tolerated and accepted, it doesn't matter your age, your gender, anything about you, no matter who you are, you can find a place in this fandom and you can be accepted and I think that's really cool, because a lot of other fandoms are restrictive.
We're cosplaying, as uh, Mr. and Mrs. Cake from My Little Pony.
Everything is fine, Mr. and Mrs. Cake.
I really like dressing up, I'm I'm really good with the sewing machine, we both went to art school, so it was really easy to do it.
How you doin? I'm good, how are you?
I'm pretty... I'm pretty good! I'm... I'm good! Yes!
You having a good time? Yes, having a great time.
I love your outfit.
Ah, yeah. Thanks!
You just happened to walk off the street, right? Yeah.
Wow, it's like an honor to meet you. So cool. Well, enjoy yourself.
Thank you very much. Okay, bye!
That was John de Lancie! Oh my gosh!
This is called the music workshop.
All the Brony music celebrities are gonna explain how they remix their music, and uh, the "magicks" behind how they make it work.
Well, basically right now I'm going back to the show to focus back on the remix album I've been planning for so long, so yeah, expect more stuff to come soon.
Out of the music community, you know, you got your big names.
There's Tombstone, you know, there's Forest Rain, Bronyfied, uh, Mic the Mic, I Bring Da Lulz.
The most music I have is from The Living Tombstone.
I curse the name, the one behind it all, Discord...
You got discord, harmony, there is no apology, Shine like a Wonderbolt, strike like a thunderbolt.
And he has a very interesting O.C. and You know, his song "September" when he actually animated his O.C.
That was uh, it was just amazing.
I can't remember, what happened in September, When everything is gone, when it's dark and I'm alone.
It's been forever, since I could have remembered, Where the hell is everypony, I just want to know the story Of what happened right before, I became so alone.
It's really... crazy!
Just gone. All the plushies are gone.
I need to make more stuff.
All right, I think I know where I'm going.
Oh there's a better map there.
I'm feeling quite nervous at the moment.
Pretty, pretty uncomfortable.
There's a lot of people around.
I think I'm going the wrong way... Already!
I'm getting slightly agitated already.
I might have to actually ask for directions.
Go back to one of the shops and figure it out.
I don't know, it just seems a bit awkward asking people for directions on the street.
I don't know why it's less awkward asking someone in the store, I guess maybe they'd know a bit more.
I don't know, it just feels right.
I think I'll try in here or... something.
It's a little busy.
It would have been better if we'd asked those people outside the train station while we were walking out.
Wasting more time. It's just... why, why?
Google Maps you have failed me!
For the last time!
I have no idea what to do.
I can see, I can somehow see the spirit of Discord, somehow floating behind me as a little devil, laughing his head off.
Excuse me, do you... do you sort of know your way around here? - Yeah, go on.
The best thing to do, see these orange buses? Yeah.
There are three buses, and those will get you around the city center. - Right.
I was an idiot, and... well, no, I was a sensible person and asked for directions which I should have done straight away.
The show was finished one day before my flight, so I haven't got time to check everything out.
These kinds of things are prone to mistakes.
Why is this thing not turning on?
Uh, it's always very much of chance, that's why it's very rare that shows are being done in a different country, instead of just something local.
Did someone spill water on here?
No, my laptop.
Yeah? It's not turning on.
This could be very bad yes, Cause it's actually burning, says the indicator's burning, so...
Just, uhh... Wait, wait, stop stop stop, Stop!
There yeah? Wait, wait.
What did you just do? Try that again.
Yeah! I know what's going on. Get some tape please.
So the cable had like snapped, cause it was kind of bent I had to bend it back, I'm kind of worried about that, maybe one of the signal cables has got broken because of it, but we'll see.
I feel like this is something I can relate to, this sort of crowd, Because... we all like My Little Ponies.
Gives you a weird feel, right? Seeing all those people watching, or...
I mean there's gonna be 500 people watching my stuff. It's amazing.
I can already feel like that the, the energy it gives you.
It's really exciting now to get in, especially after getting lost on the way, which was bleh, but Oh I feel so much better to just be in here now, and now we can have free reign to explore and just say hello to people.
Does anyone want this box? I'll take it!
That's, uh, a Pinkie Pie plushie, that's just amazing. I really want one of them.
I want six of them, one for each character.
There you go.
I think I have to call a truce with Discord.
I made a video and put it on YouTube, and it's called "The Manliest Brony in the World", and it was a dig on uh the, the Dos Equis commercial.
I don't always watch cartoons for little girls, but when I do...
I prefer My Little Pony.
And so it took off, it got huge, it basically went viral, okay.
Sol kept doing them. I did a few more.
Stay manly my friends.
And now I've got a fan base of people who send me questions.
Basically, I'll get one or two a week asking me, I had one last week where a 13 year old boy was going on a date, and he asks me, what do I do?
And it was basically, dude, don't over think it.
If someone asks me a question, you know a real serious question, I do my best to give them a decent bit of advice.
Sometimes, there's battles to fight, and that area of the country where you're at, maybe it's not a battle you can fight.
Oh I've told em', I said, "you can try as hard as you want I'm not goin' anywhere."
Well, you know, wait until you go to college, then give them all the flying wahoo.
Because you don't need them, and they don't need you.
You don't need to impress them, they are just gonna do this.
Move on. You don't need that kind of hate in your life.
I started off this show thinking people were gonna think it was lame, no matter what, and then having little friendship lessons at the end, where we wrap up and talk about why we're all friends that like people would think that was really corny and silly, but these Bronies are taking these lessons to heart, and consider the mantra of their community to be "Love and Tolerate".
And the themes of friendship we have in the show, they're, they're expanding out, to their lives and their world, and I think the most amazing thing they've done, and I think the, the biggest thing that they've done in the name of this, like, "Love and Tolerate" and spreading the magic of friendship, is the amount of money that they've been able to raise for good causes.
It's been incredible.
I do art every single day actually.
Grayson is my 12 year old son, who um, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, at 6 years old.
I was, like, one of the fastest kids, in my, at my school.
He had a terminal diagnosis.
So tell me the names of the ponies.
Rainbow Dash, as you know. Rainbow Dash.
The Bronies have huge hearts. They sent him messages.
Okay, do you want me to read you some of these, some of the messages?
All of them.
All of them.
To know someone out there that doesn't know me is thinking about me.
That really means a lot to me.
You're an awesome kid, and I really hope that you feel better, and make a full recovery.
Stay strong and stay Brony. Here's a Brohoof just for you.
Today we are gonna go visit Grayson, and I'm surprising him with a giant pony.
Just goes to show you how generous this community is, I put on my Twitter that proceeds from these little hats we made will go to him, which we sold 500 dollars worth of hats so I gotta give his mom that check, and then there's a $6000 dollar check, just from donations online.
This is one of the things that they made me.
People who don't like, or hate Bronies, have no idea what the group is about.
They look outside of themselves, and they're doing good things for other people.
You're Twilight Sparkle. Okay good.
This poster has been in my possession since December, and I had decided a while ago that at or after BronyCon I was going to contribute it somehow to some charitable cause.
So, I'm sad to see it go, but I'm happy to see it go because I know that it's going to go to a really good cause.
Charity is part of the show in that we all help each other without expecting anything in return, and at every convention, there's always a big auction to raise funds for a worthy cause.
Five hundred dollars!
Sold, for five hundred dollars!
Three, two, one...
Purple Tinker's poster ended up selling for $4,050 dollars, which was amazing.
The message is really good, because it's aimed at sort of a fundamental thing about human behavior, which is just, be a good friend.
Which is something you're trying to teach your children when they're at the age that that demographic is about There's something really attractive about getting that message again.
It is a time in society when people are breaking from stereotypes, and treasuring their individuality.
Today's world of utter chaos needs actual messages of integrity and harmony, and it doesn't. Have. To suck.
When I was invited to BronyCon, um, you know, I had a lot of mixed feelings 'cause I had already left the show.
So I wasn't entirely sure if I should do it.
I'm... I'm humbled, and astonished, and I just...
I, I can't thank you enough, I love you guys... So much.
It was hard, I regret that I had to leave, but I don't regret the decision to leave; I had to.
But it's really sad to see it continue without me.
I just want to thank everyone for being here, thank everyone for supporting the show, thank everybody for showing that little girls and the things that they love are worthwhile, you know.
And whether or not people can continue to write them or continue to let them live, with or without you, they, they were, they were... conceived of and created by me.
The world, all of it, I, I started it, I built it, and, and it's nice to know that, that everybody knows it.
It's really good to know.
We would like to present you with this gift.
Thank you so much.
Lauren! Lauren! Lauren! Lauren!...
Are you trying to make me cry again? Are you?!
'Cause I will!
I love you, thank you.
Four! Three! Two! One!
Friendship! Friendship! Friendship!...
It's been absolutely fantastic, it's been so fun, just coming here and seeing everyone and having a massive party, rocking out to all the music.
I, I don't feel anxious at all now, I feel completely serene.
Hey, um, I was wondering if you could sign my DVD. Of course I can!
Someone actually came over and asked me to sign a DVD.
Which I've never done before.
There you go. Thank you very much.
This was wonderful, I'm never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever going to regret that.
Been the best day of my life so far.
Since the morning I've been signing pictures and autographs and whatever, and giving hugs and shaking hands and everything,
All the way from Tel Aviv, Israel... The Living Tombstone!
John de Lancie, John de Lancie, John de Lancie!...
Yeah, come on, everyo-everyone, c'mon! Mass Brohoof!
I went insane for a second and started brohoofing a couple of people, and then it just escalated, there were more people joining in.
Well, I feel like this whole um, this whole event has helped me to maybe approach people who I wouldn't normally or wouldn't know, and um, yeah, I could do it a lot more easier I think because this is, I have done it so much in the past two days, so I feel like I could do it a lot easier.
So, if I happen to get lost... again...
I feel like it would be a lot easier to approach someone for directions, rather than spinning around in a circle for fifteen minutes.
I'm going to save you! Ahh! Discord!
You don't have to do it anymore! Save me Discord!
I may watch the show when I get home, check it out, just to try to piece it together.
I believe this movement is something that can be more than what it currently is, and I think it's going to turn into something like than it is a way of dealing with human interaction.
Every individual should know these core values, just being able to be kind, courteous, something you don't see these days.
It may have been intended for little girls, but it ended up transcending that.
I wouldn't be surprised if My Little Pony has a hand in changing how people see things.
I think it makes these little tweaks on people to sort of go, "Oh, okay."
A lot of people find something healing in it, that, that makes the world brighter, and makes you go, "Okay, it's not so bad."
Bronies are not just fans that are interested in watching a cartoon.
What makes them special is they're willing to take the lessons from this show, and they're lessons that were intended for children, and turn them into adult lessons, and they're still the same lessons that we need to be applying as adults.
And that we're really talking about being nice and kind and generous, and loyal, and we don't have many things in our society right now that does that.
My Little Pony might be opening some people's minds about what is acceptable in behavior for men, and what it means to be a man, and whether or not being sensitive and being caring is part of being a man.
Maybe those are like little seeds that are being planted into the world and into society that in years to come, might, might make a difference somewhere.
That would be wonderful if it did.
I just had the best weekend of my life, uh, you know it was almost a whole weekend of partying, hanging out with people that were you know, passionate about the same thing and we share the same interests, open minded.
I've had a smile on my face for the, past 48 hours, and it's just been incredible.
C'mon everypony, smile smile smile, Fill my heart up with sunshine, sunshine, All I really need's a smile smile smile, From these happy friends of mine!
Yes, a perfect gift for me, Is a smile as wide as a mile, To make me happy as can be, Smile, smile, smile, smile, Smile! C'mon and Smile! C'mon and