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.

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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
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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

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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.


Exclusive: BlizzCon 2010 Voice Actor Guests

10.19.2010

Blizzard Entertainment has surprisingly not announced any of their voice actor guests scheduled to appear at BlizzCon 2010 on October 22-23 in Anaheim, CA.

Thankfully, an inside source has provided Voice Actors in the News with an exclusive, complete list of Blizzard’s voiceover talents appearing at this annual gaming event:

- From Diablo 3:
Michael Gough, voice of Deckard Cain

- From Starcraft 2:
Robert Clotworthy, voice of Jim Raynor
James Harper, Acrturus Mengsk
Neil Kaplan, Tychus Findlay
Josh Keaton, Valerian Mengsk
Dave Fennoy, Gabriel Tosh
Ali Hillis, Ariel Hanson
Julianne Buescher, Adjutant

- From World of WarCraft:
Michael McConnohie, voice of the Lich King
Patrick Seitz, Arthas
Dino Andrade, Mekkatorque
Carlos Larkin, Brann Bronzebeard
Ed Trotta, Malfurion Stormrage

We’ve also been informed that an autograph session will take place Saturday from 1-2pm.

The official BlizzCon 2010 schedule does include a “Blizzard Sound” panel on Saturday at 4:30pm, but no panelists are mentioned by name. Here’s the panel description:

It’s all ears on Blizzard Entertainment sound and music! Join us for a discussion on how topnotch voice acting, dramatic orchestral scores, and striking sound effects are used to make Blizzard’s games even more epic.

Jay Mohr (who has voiced characters for video games and animated productions) is serving as Master of Ceremonies, and rockers Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) will also be performing for BlizzCon’s closing ceremonies.

We hope to provide photos, video and fan reports following the event.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


‘Voice Actors in the News’ is Giving Away Free Stuff!

10.19.2010

To commemorate the 11th anniversary of Voice Actors in the News, we’re going to be doing weekly prize giveaways starting in November. But you must be following the blog on Facebook and/or Twitter to win:

http://www.facebook.com/voiceactorsnews

http://twitter.com/voiceactorsnews

http://twitter.com/voiceroy

We will also have several announcements regarding the blog in November — preparations are being made for them to go live starting on 11/11/10.

Update: 11.09.2010 — Due to some technical issues related to the big announcement we had planned for the blog starting 11.11.10, we’re having to delay the release date. We’re now targeting Thanksgiving weekend for the big news. The prize giveaways will begin immediately following the upcoming announcement.

~ 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


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