We Heart Stephanie Sheh

10.01.2011

For those unable to attend the WE HEART JAPAN — WEHEARTJAPAN.COM – event in Hollywood, CA on Saturday, October 1st from 5-8pm, we thought we would bring a little of the event to you, courtesy of this exclusive interview with WE HEART JAPAN’s founder, Stephanie Sheh, anime voice talent, director, writer and producer.

And if you live within a 3-4 hour drive of Hollywood and you are an anime and voice actor fan, and you haven’t decided about attending the event… are you kidding me? Why would you want to miss out on a live performance by award-winning singer & songwriter/anime actress Mari Ijimi (Macross), and a Cowboy Bebop U.S. voice cast reunion and live episode reading featuring Steve Blum, Melissa Fahn, Beau Billingslea, Wendee Lee, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and Stephanie Sheh.

Seriously. Go and be a part of this historic event and a great charitable cause — all proceeds are being donated to the Japan NGO Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund.

You can purchase tickets online at WEHEARTJAPAN.COM. And if you are unable to attend but would still like to make a donation, you can make inquiry through the website.

And special thanks to Stephanie Sheh for taking the time to do this interview via e-mail on short notice:

Q: You’ve had the opportunity to voice characters for some of the most popular anime series in the last decade. Which one was the greatest challenge for you, and why?

Stephanie Sheh headshot courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/stephaniesheh

STEPHANIE: They’re all challenging in their own ways. Penny from Zatch Bell was challenging because it was vocally straining. Silky from I’m Gonna be an Angel was hard because you had to convey tons of emotion in just [one] word lots of times. Then there was probably the most challenging one, which was a job I got fired from. I was so new to voiceover at the time that I understand what happened. It was a traumatic experience, but it was all for the best in the end.

Q: You have the distinction of having been a cast member in two of the oddest, quirkiest, most bizarre anime imports ever to be dubbed for English audiences: “FLCL” (aka “Fooly Cooly”) and “Bobobo… with a bunch more Bo-bos.” When you first auditioned for these shows, what were your first impressions? And after you were cast, did you ever imagine the scripts could possibly get any stranger or more ridiculous?

STEPHANIE: Well I produced FLCL so I knew what I was getting myself into. I understood FLCL‘s craziness. It was actually this beautiful complicated piece about growing up and letting go. There were so many themes about loneliness and adolescence. But then again, I can say that ‘cuz it’s like I studied FLCL. With Bobobo, I just came in and voice acted. It seemed wacky funny. I couldn’t tell you if it was about anything deeper though. Not to knock it or anything, I just didn’t have the relationship with that show as I did with FLCL. You’d probably have to ask Michael Sorich [for] his take on it.

Q: Say something nice about Kari Wahlgren and/or Richard Epcar. [Okay, so that wasn't a question. Sorry.]

STEPHANIE: There are a million nice things I could say about Kari and Epcar. First of all, I hired Kari in her very first anime voiceover role. So it is so cool that I’ve been able to watch her career grow and take off. Kari is one of the most humble and smart girls I know. She really deserves all the success she has in her life. I adore her and I don’t get to hang out with her enough. The truth about Richard Epcar is that he makes the best martinis in Los Angeles. He is a real decent guy with integrity. He’s another one of those people I am blessed to have become friends with through work. That entire family is talented.

Q: Media Blasters recently announced “Bakuman” for release in November. Are you at liberty to talk a little about the series and the character you are voicing? And does Media Blasters seem at all concerned about any potential confusion with “Bakugan”?

STEPHANIE: I am really loving the show. It’s such a great premise and coming from a fan background I love it. I remember when I would try to use screen tone. It really takes me back to my college days and when I was an otaku.

Q: You have a lot of script editing and adaptation to your credit for a number of anime titles. When you are deep in a project like that, how do you take a break from it?

STEPHANIE: Uh…I don’t. I try to power nap. It’s super tough. I guess that’s why I am always wanting to travel and go on vacation ‘cuz all the other times I work sooo hard.

Q: So the “We Heart Japan” charity group/event is your baby, and it’s such a great cause. After the first event in March, what made you decide to do another one in the same year and how did it come about? Are you already planning future events, and if so where/when? Also, have you visited Japan?

STEPHANIE: I’ve visited Japan many times. And I owe so much to that country. I am an actress because I got my start in anime. I have so many friends that I’ve met through work. I love so much about Japan and it breaks my heart that so many people have suffered due to the disaster that occurred. I have visited Japan many times. And I know I will go back again.

I wanted to prove to the world through my charity group that anime fans can give back. Recently there has been a lot of bitterness in the industry towards fans because so many fans steal their anime by downloading illegally and it is a fact that the illegal downloads are killing the industry. That said, I wanted to focus on the positive. I believe that anime fans have generous hearts and can rally together to help the people less fortunate. So why not do something for the community and help out. It was the least that I could do. It is sooo much work and none of my friends who are working on it are getting paid. We all do it to give back to the community.

The October 1st We Heart Performing for Japan Show is going to be epic. Everyone who does not go will without a doubt regret it. For the first time in over a decade the original cast of Cowboy Bebop is returning to do a live reading of an episode. We also have singer/songwriter Mari Ijima performing songs. And we have ex-Power Ranger performers Dan Southworth and TJ Rotolo doing a fight demo on what it’s like to be a Sentai Supervillain. Their demo is gonna be so much fun. It involves audience participation.

There will also be refreshments, autographs, raffle prizes. Every ticket comes with an exclusive We Heart Japan postcard that has original artwork from Gurren Lagan that was drawn solely for our charity group. That means you will not be able to find this artwork in any book or purchase it anywhere. You can only get it by coming to one of our events. The event is from 5pm-8pm and it’s only $40. I really really really hope people turn out for it. And if you can’t make it to Hollywood please tell your friends about it. I heard some people may be getting friends together and taking a road trip. It would totally be worth it.

Thanks, Stephanie! And thanks for making me regret that I can’t be there! ;^)

For more details on We Heart Japan, please click the links below:

- WeHeartJapan.com
Facebook – We Heart Japan: Anime Industry Gives Back
Twitter – @WeHeartJapanXO
StephanieSheh.com
Twitter – @StephanieSheh
Facebook: Stephanie Sheh

Stephanie also did recent interviews with The LA Times, the Anime News Network, radio station 98.1 The Fan, and the One Piece Podcast.

And if you haven’t yet seen voice actor D.C. Douglas’ video (and blog) tribute to the March 17, 2011 We Heart Japan event, you must:

Interview conducted by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Exclusive: InvaderCON Photos

03.27.2011

We have been plugging InvaderCON through our blog’s Facebook page ever since InvaderCON was first announced, and Voice Actors in the News publisher Craig Crumpton has been in attendance at this first (and only!) convention devoted to fans of Nickelodeon’s cult classic animated series Invader ZIM.

Full coverage of the event will be provided via toonzone.net following the convention.

In the meantime, please enjoy some photos from Saturday’s events:

Video has already surfaced on YouTube from Saturday’s live performance of unpublished Invader ZIM scripts:

Many thanks to YouTube user NeoCloud9 for sharing these videos with the fans.

And a special thanks to Green Mustard Entertaiment for providing a media pass for this event.

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Bob Bergen and Gregg Berger Propose Convention for Voice Actor Fans!

02.05.2011

The following is a repost from the All Things Bob Bergen Facebook Group, with permission from Bob Bergen. It was originally published February 5th, 2011. Please scroll down for the most recent updates.

===============================

Bob Bergen (image courtesy BobBergen.com)


Hi all!

My buddy Gregg Berger and I are working on an idea, and I need your opinions:

ToonCon- a fan convention devoted to fans of animation voice actors.

This would take place on a 3 day cruise out of Los Angeles some time in 2012. Guests would include some of the top animation voice actors from some of the top animated series’ and features in the business. Kind of a cruise vacation/con combo!

Itinerary ideas:
-meet and greet cocktail party
-moderated Q&A with voice actors, as well as animation voice-over agent and voice director
-observing a mock animation recording session, directed by a top animation voice director
-as well as all the things involved on a cruise: miles of food, miles of ocean, port of call, ship’s entertainment, casino, etc.

SO-is this something you’d be interested in? The price would be 2 fold: the cruise itself (about $300-$600, depending on the stateroom size you book) and an additional con fee. (not sure what that would be, but I’m thinking around $150-$250..all depends on final budgets)

Gregg Berger (image courtesy myspace.com/voicevirtue)

Let me know your thoughts! There has been a lot of interest amongst the top animation voice actors out there. If this gets a green light I’ll let you know. My goal is to start selling this in the early Spring. And of course, it will get a big push at the San Diego Comic Con in July.

Cruises book up early, and deposits would be needed to hold cabins. Deposits are refundable up to a certain date before the excursion. But cruise lines will only block off the cabins for a limited time, so early deposits are important to guarantee the best prices and availability.

This is all still in the planning stages. But let me know your thoughts. And if this is something you might be interested in pop me a note and I’ll make sure you get first dibs when this goes on sale.

Best!
Bob Bergen
=======================

Exclusive note for Voice Actors in the News readers: Send your feedback to Bob and Gregg via bob@bobbergen.com and mention that you saw the news here and Bob says he will make sure that those who respond from reading the blog will get priority when they begin taking bookings.

** Update: 3.25.2011 **

Well, we don’t have a genuine “update” on this event…yet. But since we keep getting email inquiries about it, I thought I’d at least share a response from Bob from this question we received from “Ken”:

Bob: I [attended] an animation voiceover [event in Burbank, CA]. I enjoyed it tremendously, made great contacts, good experience and got lots of good reference material. I can probably speak for all of us when I say the convention itself is a good idea but considering the negative publicity several recent cruises have received (mechanical problems, bad weather, etc), I’d prefer to stay on land. I’d also find it EXTREMELY helpful if established voice actors like yourself could give us a bit more insight on how to get our feet in the door.

Bob replied:

Thanks for the feedback. This is still very much in the planning stages. The cruise is really incentive for the voice pros. We do a ton of these sorts of conventions and having a paid vacation on a cruise along with the fan con is a big hit. There will be Q&A planned as a part of the con. But it isn’t a workshop per se. That said, I do hope to have an animation agent and casting director on board as well. And believe it or not, a cruise is far cheaper than doing this on land. I know a cruise isn’t for everyone. But my goal is that this is the first annual con of it’s kind. I’d love for the next one to maybe be on the east coast.

And as far as “issues” regarding cruises, what doesn’t make the news is the hundreds of cruises with no issues each year. But the 2 or 3 problem cruises a year, statistically, should not be of concern. Trust me, more people will have problems flying this year than on a cruise.

Bob has promised to provide further updates as things progress.

And on the mention of voiceover workshops, Bob hosts a recurring one in Los Angeles . . . which is usually sold out a year or two in advance, unfortunately. However, he schedules workshop events and performs his one-man show in other U.S. cities throughout the year. Check his appearances schedule on BobBergen.com to see if he’s coming to a city near you. He still currently has spaces available for his May 21-22 workshop in St. Louis, MO. Here’s the Facebook event link for more details.

** Update: Bob is offering a 10% discount for Voice Actors in the News fans/readers for his St. Louis workshop. If interested, contact Bob’s workshop producer Marian at marian@marianmassaro.com and be sure to mention that you read this through Voice Actors in the News.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Charitable Voice Actors

02.03.2011

Celebrity charity auction site ClothesOffOurBack.org has listed a few items that some voice actor fans may be interested in bidding on: two bottles of 2008 Merlot wine autographed by Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Anastasia) and Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Robot Chicken), and a dress donated by CCH Pounder (Justice League, Batman Beyond).

Both auctions end March 1, 2011. Proceeds benefit various children’s charities.

In a bit of related news, Paul Rugg (voice actor and writer on Freakazoid and Animaniacs) has announced that he is going to be auctioning off animation cells and memorabilia from shows he has worked on to help raise funds for Angels Way Maternity Home in California. Paul has a video on his Froynlaven! blog showing many of the items he’ll be donating from his own collection. We’ll provide an update when his auction officially begins.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

====================================

The Clothes Off Our Back Foundation is a 501c3 organization that hosts charity auctions showcasing today’s hottest celebrity attire. Items are put up for bid to the public with proceeds going to benefit children’s charities. Clothes Off Our Back was founded by actors and philanthropists Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm In The Middle,” “Raising the Bar”) and Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) whose efforts, along with their celebrity and designer friends have helped improve the lives of children across the globe. For more information and to bid, log onto www.clothesoffourback.org.


Cast Announced for Funimation Dub of Summer Wars

10.20.2010

Funimation announced via their newsletter and blog that they have cast all the characters for their upcoming dub of Madhouse’s award-winning movie, Summer Wars. The cast includes Brina Palencia, J. Michael Tatum, and Maxey Whitehead, as well as over a dozen other main and supporting cast members. For full cast listing and story summary, check the official blog post at the link below:

http://blog.funimation.com/2010/09/summer-wars-has-people-talking/

- Mark Allen, Jr.
Contributor: Voice Actors in the News


Put A Little Looney In Your GPS

09.24.2010

This makes the fourth in our series covering official celebrity/character voices for TomTom navigational devices… Homer Simpson, Darth Vader, Yoda and now… Looney Tunes!

Joe Alaskey at the premiere of 'Looney Tunes: Back in Action' (11/09/2003). Photo credit: exposay.com / Lee Roth / RothStock

First offered are Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, performed by Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures, Duck Dodgers).

Here’s the official press release, courtesy of BusinessWire.com:

For Immediate Release

Warner Bros. Looney Tunes™ characters bring their animated antics to TomTom!

~ The classic voices of Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Pepé Le Pew star on TomTom devices ~

CONCORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TomTom draws on the rich heritage of Looney Tunes’ animated superstars! In association with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and VoiceSkins.com, TomTom brings the classic Looney Tunes voices to TomTom navigation devices for the very first time.

“Say doc, after 600 yards stay in the right lane. What’s this rabbit’s foot doin’ in the glove box?”

Beginning today with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, the launch of Warner Bros.’ dazzling galaxy of classic cartoon greats will continue throughout the Autumn of 2010 – with Daffy Duck and Sylvester launching in October, and Pepé Le Pew coming to TomTom device screens in November.

Bugs Bunny, the most popular cartoon character ever, guides you in his trademark laconic way with wise-cracks aplenty. Just make sure you’ve got enough carrots to keep your hungry co-pilot focused on the navigation! As well as the sounds of much carrot munching, the Bugs Bunny voice also features the iconic Looney Tunes theme, entertaining sound effects and original incidental music overlaid on the navigation commands to provide that iconic Looney Tunes shorts feel. Bugs makes driving more fun with lines such as, “Say doc, after 600 yards stay in the right lane. What’s this rabbit’s foot doin’ in the glove box?”

[Video demo of TomTom Bugs Bunny in action]

Yosemite Sam, the greatest, the toughest, rip-roarin’-est, hombre that ever packed a six-shooter and a map navigates with characteristic growls and threats like: “Sharp left, ya humpbacked muley. Then go straight on. This ve-hicle ain’t big enough for the two of us!”

“We are excited to launch these Looney Tunes voices exclusively for TomTom devices. By offering these fun personalities, our drivers will not only enjoy the best directions, but they will also have fun along the way,” said Tom Murray, senior vice president market development at TomTom, Inc. “We hope that drivers and passengers of all ages can enjoy the rich heritage of these classic voices during their everyday journeys.”

“TomTom is a global leader in personal navigation and what better way to travel than with a little help from some of the world’s most beloved characters,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The Looney Tunes will make any journey more entertaining with their irreverence and fun-loving nature.”

TomTom customers will also be able to download free of charge various official warning alert sounds voiced by Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, along with free start up screen wallpapers.

To celebrate the release of the voices, TomTom is launching a hilarious viral video treat featuring the Looney Tunes classic characters, and their agent, “negotiating” a deal to bring their voices to TomTom.

All Looney Tunes voices will be available in English. The Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam voices are available for download immediately for $12.95.

To hear clips of the voices – and to find out more about them – visit www.tomtom.com/looneytunes

All Looney Tunes voices are performed by Emmy award-winning voice actor, Joe Alaskey.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

About TomTom N.V.

TomTom N.V. (AEX: TOM2) is the world’s leading provider of location and navigation solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands it employs over 3000 employees worldwide. More than 40 million people daily use its solutions, be it in the form of dedicated portable navigation devices (PNDs), in- dash car systems or tracking and tracing solutions for fleet management. In addition, hundreds of millions of people use TomTom’s digital maps on the internet or mobile phone.

In 2009, TomTom reported €1.5 billion in revenues and a €340 million net cash flow from operating activities. More information about TomTom can be found on www.TomTom.com.

About VoiceSkins.com & Locutio Voice Technologies

Founded in 2004, Locutio Voice Technologies is the world’s foremost developer of real celebrity and premium branded voice content for in-car GPS. Working with vocal greats like Lucas Film/Star Wars, Fox/Simpsons, Warner Bros./Looney Tunes and Snoop Dogg, Locutio’s VoiceSkins make every journey a truly fun event, delivering real in-car infotainment!

VoiceSkins.com currently offers the original Homer Simpson voice for sale, recorded by Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Snoop Dogg, the official Star Wars voices and now the classic Looney Tunes characters. More high-profile branded celebrity voice content is set to be launched throughout Q4 2010. See www.VoiceSkins.com (and their official YouTube Channel) and www.Locutio.co.uk for further details.

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

#############################

And here are some bonus videos to showcase Joe Alaskey’s tremendous talent as an impressionist:

- Joe Alaskey on The David Letterman Show, circa 1987 (this video currently has over 908 thousand views on YouTube):

- Joe Alaskey performing a series of impressions on Comedy Tonight (circa 1985-ish):

- Local FOX affiliate interviews Joe in a promo for the very short-lived Tiny Toons spinoff The Plucky Duck Show (circa 1992):

- Joe Alaskey performs as Daffy, Marvin, Yosemite Sam and Bugs with the West Coast Symphony in Santa Barbara, CA (Feb 2004):

- Joe Alaskey interview and street chat with fans (Oct. 2008):.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Jess Harnell’s Last Show at House of Blues

09.22.2010

Jess Harnell’s band Rock Sugar performed their last show as the house band at the House of Blues of Sunset Strip on Monday, Septmeber 20th.

The band and their passionate fans hope to get the contract renewed and are asking everyone to write to Malia Rummell at maliarummell(a)livenation.com showing support for the band.

This is; however, not the final concert for Rock Sugar as they have October 2010 concerts scheduled in New Mexico and future dates in development. You can find out more about the band through their official pages on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter (@rocksugarband) and ROCKSUGARBAND.COM.

Here are some recent videos featuring the band via YouTube, including two from their farewell performance at the House of Blues:

~ Ashley Trayder
Staff, Voice Actors in the News


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 167 other followers