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Video has already surfaced on YouTube from Saturday’s live performance of unpublished Invader ZIM scripts: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


Daytime Emmy Nominations Announced

05.13.2010

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the nominees for the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards.

Voice acting-related nominees for “Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series”:

- Kevin Clash as Elmo, Sesame Street
Caroll Spinney as Big Bird, Sesame Street
Joey Mazzarino as Stinky, Myrry & Blogg, Sesame Street
David Rudman as Baby Bear, Sesame Street

Nominees for “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program”:

- Ed Asner as Kid Potato, WordGirl (PBS)
Eartha Kitt as Cool Cat, The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
Amy Poehler as Bessie Higgenbottom, The Mighty B! (Nick)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman as William Fillmore Toffman, Arthur (PBS)

Voice acting-related mentions for “Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program”:

- Cynthia True, voice director: The Mighty B! (Nick)
Andrea Romano, voice director: SpongeBob SquarePants (Nick)
Lisa Schaffer, voice director: The Penguins of Madagascar (Nick)
Ginny McSwain, voice director: Fanboy and Chum Chum (Nick)

Some of Seasame Street‘s Muppet performers were also included in nominations for “Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series”: Kevin Clash, Matt Vogel and Joey Mazzarino, and Mazzarino was also included in a nomination for “Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series” (he serves as the head writer for Sesame Street).

Nominees for the category for “Outstanding Childrens’ Animated Program”:

- WordGirl (PBS)
– The Backyardigans (Nick)
– Curious George (PBS)
– Sid The Science Kid (PBS)

Also related to animation, PBS’ Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman was nominated for “Outstanding Children’s Series.”

Nominees of note in “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition”:

- The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
– Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 (CN)
– Phineas & Ferb (Disney Channel)
– The Penguins of Madagascar (Nick)

Nominees of note in “Outstanding Original Song – Children’s and Animation”:

- “Nochebuena Song,” Dora The Explorer (Nick)
– “It’s a P-H!,” Between the Lions (PBS)
– “A Fiddler Crab Am I,” The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
– “Come Home Perry,” Phineas & Ferb (Disney Channel)
– “Song About Elmo,” Sesame Street (PBS)

And the main title theme for Disney Channel’s Special Agent Oso was nominated for “Outstanding Original Song.”

Also wanted to point out that a couple of the voice cast for WordGirl were included in nominations for “Outstanding Writing in Animation”: Jack Ferraiolo and Ryan Raddatz. And on a related note, Ryan Raddatz says of the three WordGirl Emmy nominations via his official site — RyanRaddatz.com: “I’m thrilled to be a part of the WordGirl team, and doubly thrilled to be recognized for our work.” Raddatz added that a PBS series he helped write, Fizzy’s Lunch Lab, “is nominated in the curiously named ‘New Approaches’ category.”

And just for kicks, here’s a breakdown of the total Emmy noms for networks and shows of interest (as they relate to this blog):

PBS 53
Nickelodeon 25
Disney Channel 5

And shows receiving “multiple nominations”:

Sesame Street 14
Disney Phineas and Ferb 4
Fanboy and Chum Chum 4
The Penguins of Madagascar 4
The Wonder Pets! 4
The Fairly OddParents 3
Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman 3
Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 3
WordGirl 3
Between the Lions 2
The Mighty B! 2
Sid The Science Kid 2
Spongebob Squarepants 2

“The Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards” are scheduled to air on CBS June 27th, 2010. You can view the full list of nominees via EmmyOnline.org.


Reporter Claims Danish Dub of ‘SpongeBob’ is Superior to Original

05.08.2010

An unidentified reporter for The Copenhagen Post makes the audacious claim that the voices for the Danish dub of SpongeBob SquarePants are “better than the originals.”

With nary an audio or video clip to support this claim, the reporter says that even with A/V examples his (or her) “point would have been lost without them being able to understand the language.”

SpongeBob — or more appropriately SvampeBob Firkant, which translates literally in Danish as “SpongeBob Square” — is Nickelodeon Denmark’s most popular program, and according to the article the Danish dub cast includes Jens Jacob Tychsen as SpongeBob, Søren Ulrichs as Patrick Star and Peter Zhelder as Squidward. [FYI: Ulrichs is a "voiceover veteran" in Denmark, and has dubbed many lead roles for a number of US cartoons.]

This reporter states that Zhelder’s performance as Squidward is an “improvement over the original” (referring to Roger Bumpass), and that Tychsen as SpongeBob is “actually better than the much-hailed Tom Kenny, who voices the original American character.” And at the close of the article, the reporter goes as far as to claim that the Danish version is “superior” to the original.

Tychsen is also interviewed in the article, and had this to say about voicing the iconic character:

‘I honestly had the initial impression that the show was some cheaply produced piece of crap that should be done as quickly as possible and would be forgotten just as fast,’ he said. ‘But then we found out how popular it was in the US and thought that maybe we had something good going. We also gradually learned the humour of it, although we were a bit worried that too few people would see it being aired only on Nickelodeon. But once [public broadcaster] DR bought the rights it really took off.’

Tychsen said he soon fell in love with the ‘bizarre’ character he was voicing, and eventually made the voice more personal after the first episode, ‘Help Wanted’, where he says he was just doing a straight copy of Kenny’s voice traits.

‘I realised how important it was that SpongeBob wasn’t just this bloody irritating little thing, but that there also had to be something loveable or attractive about him,’ he said. ‘So instead of just copying the original I incorporated a bit of mischief into his voice and there it was – my own SvampeBob!’

Tychsen said the most difficult SvampeBob moments are when the little yellow sponge sings. He also admits that, away from the microphone, he has a hard time doing the voice when asked.

I could understand that national pride might be a factor to Denmark residents in claiming that the dubbed version is “superior” to the US version, but even without hearing any proof I already have a problem with Tychsen’s take on the character because he says he “incorporated a bit of mischief into his voice” which seems contradictory to SpongeBob’s character.

Who knows why this reporter didn’t bother to provide even a single audio or video clip for comparison, but it was easy enough to find online thanks to YouTube and the official Nickelodeon Denmark website.

Review the clips that follow and see if you think the Danish dub is genuinely “superior” to the original. (Up front, I’ll just go ahead and warn you that SpongeBob’s laugh is off. Way off.)

And there are over a dozen high-quality streaming complete SvampeBob cartoons on Nickelodeon.DK. Here are direct links to some of the more memorable ones:

“Best Day Ever”
“Stanley S. SquarePants”
“Krabby Road”
“House Fancy”


Frivolous List Friday III

02.19.2010

Following up on last Friday’s frivolous list of lists

- Via NickandMore.com: Nick’s SpongeBob and Penguins of Madagascar rank among top 20 cable shows for Feb. 8-14.

- Via DivineCaroline: “Name That Voice: 10 Celebrity Commercial Voice-Overs.”

- Via TVbytheNumbers.com: SpongeBob, South Park, Phineas and Ferb rank in the top 10 “most visited sites” for cable TV shows.

- Via VoiceCoaches.com: video list showcasing animal voiceovers.

- Via WalletPop: “The Celebrity Voices Behind the Commercials.”

- Via Twitter @ Lists Galore!: From timesonline.co.uk — “Top 50 Kids’ movies for adults… films you could enjoy without kids around.”

- Via DailyFill.com: “15 Secret Celebrity Voice Overs.”


Neil Patrick Harris Guests on Nick’s ‘Penguins’

02.11.2010

For Immediate Release

Neil Patrick Harris Takes on The Penguins of Madagascar in DreamWorks Animation’s Hit Comedy’s First Nickelodeon Special, ‘Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge,’ Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.

Harris Guest Stars as the Evil “Dr. Blowhole” in Primetime Presidents’ Day Special

January 20, 2010: 09:27 AM ET

BURBANK, Calif., Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ — Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private face off against the malevolent dolphin, Dr. Blowhole, in The Penguins of Madagascar’s first Nickelodeon special, “Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge,” premiering Monday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) guest stars in the half-hour special as the penguins’ long-time nemesis out for revenge and to finally conquer the world. The DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) series, which regularly airs Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. (ET/PT), is currently TV’s number-two animated show with kids 2-11 and with total viewers on basic cable for the past year, behind only SpongeBob SquarePants. The show also holds the record as Nickelodeon’s most-watched series premiere in network history with 6.4 million total viewers.

“The Penguins of Madagascar has been a huge success in transferring from film to television,” said Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. “We’re thrilled to give fans this fantastic TV special featuring the multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris as a hilariously disgruntled dolphin.”

Neil Patrick Harris Takes on The Penguins of Madagascar In DreamWorks Animation's Hit Comedy's First Nickelodeon Special, 'Dr. Blowhole's Revenge,' Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. (PRNewsFoto/Nickelodeon)

In “Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge,” Dr. Blowhole, tired of the penguins foiling his plans to rule land and sea, has returned to annihilate the band of brothers so he may take over the world once and for all. The first step in his plan is to kidnap King Julien, who Dr. Blowhole mistakenly thinks is Skipper’s best friend. The penguins set off to rescue their annoying lemur neighbor, only to find they have waddled right into a shocking double-cross. Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private must escape the trap and save the planet before Dr. Blowhole succeeds in flooding the Earth’s surface in an effort to wipe out the existence of all land mammals.

Harris currently stars as Barney Stinson in the hit series “How I Met Your Mother.” His additional credits include the voice of Steve in the animated feature film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, host of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, star of the popular internet series, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” and he has spoofed himself in the movie Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, as well its sequel.

From Feb. 8 through Feb. 15, leading up to the “Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge” on-air premiere, Nick.com will launch The Penguins of Madagascar The Rise of Blowhole – a convergent gaming event mirroring the on-air episode themes where fans can go on four missions with the daredevil Penguin crew as they battle their long-time nemesis, Dr. Blowhole. Fans who tune in to “Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge” on Nickelodeon will get a special code that unlocks the fourth and final gaming mission: The Zoo Is Not Enough.

The series follows the exploits of the beloved penguin brothers from DreamWorks Animation’s hit feature films Madagascar ($532 million worldwide gross) and Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa (nearly $579 million worldwide). Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are a group of penguins who believe they are an elite strike force with top-tier commando skills that is headquartered at New York City’s Central Park Zoo. Their orderly world is disrupted by the arrival of the lemurs, who are led by the imperially deluded King Julien.

Andy Richter (Late Night with Conan O’ Brien) and Tom McGrath (co-created the penguin characters and directed both Madagascar films) reprise their roles as Mort and Skipper from the feature films. Nicole Sullivan (Rita Rocks) voices the role of Marlene the otter, Jeff Bennett (Enchanted) voices Kowalski, James Patrick Stuart (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) voices Private, John DiMaggio (Futurama) voices Rico and Danny Jacobs (Futurama) stars as Julien, King of the Lemurs. The Penguins of Madagascar is executive produced by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, (Disney’s Kim Possible and Hercules, Sky High) and is produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif.

About DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series, live entertainment properties and online virtual worlds, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. All of DreamWorks Animation’s feature films are now being produced in 3D. The Company has theatrically released a total of 18 animated feature films, including the franchise properties, Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.


VAs on TV Alert: Big Time Rush

01.15.2010

The following article was originally published on January 15th and has since been updated as new show guests have been announced. Please scroll down for the most recent updates.

I’ll confess that sometimes I will neglect conveniently forget to post certain news items here.

That would explain what happened when a press release came across the wire with the following headline:

New Show with Cute Guys to Premiere on Nickelodeon!

Let’s face it. I’m almost 40 years old, don’t care for boy bands, and you won’t ever hear me use the words “cute” and “boy” in the same sentence unless I’m giving a compliment to a parent whose baby/toddler is actually a cute kid.

Tara Strong as Miss Collins on the set of 'Big Time Rush'

So, yeah…I kinda didn’t post that here when I first got the news mid-October 2009, even though my friend and fellow voice actor fan Doreen (VA webmistress extraordinaire and Voice Actors in the News staff contributor) gave a heads-up that the prolific (and ever-lovely) animation voice actor TaraStrong.com had been cast in a supporting role on “Big Time Rush” as Miss Collins (teacher of the “Palm Woods” school on the show).

Tara Strong as Miss Collins

So, anyway, Big Time Rush is a new Nickelodeon series about four teenage boys who are cast in a boy band, then move to L.A. and have various sitcomish adventures in Hollywood that will mostly involve flirting with other teenage girls (and being flirted with) while they try to make it as a “serious” performing group.

Oh, and of course there will be music-videoish segments rife with choreography and lip-syncing topop music.

After all, Big Time Rush is Nick’s obvious attempt to revive the “boy band” and thus sell lots and lots of CDs and song/album downloads to their tweenish female viewers.

In other words, it’s like Hanna Montana…but with boys.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a little harsh. After all, I’ve no doubts the show is entertaining to its intended audience. And with it being a bankable, marketable formula it’s already a hit — the TV movie/pilot (promoted as a “special preview”) introducing the series premiered November 28th, 2009 and pulled in an audience of nearly 3.5 million, so I’ll probably take some flak for my sarcasm by publishing it here.

But I also will watch this show — like it or not — and not for the “cute boys,” but because Tara is in it.

And if you require further motivation to watch the show (besides the “cute boys”), voice actor James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Johnny Test, Drawn Together) announced 1.14.2010 via Twitter:

I’ve got a “On-Camera” job tomorrow. Meaning I won’t be doing voice, I’ll be playing a part, “Live” my face and my voice. It’s for my good friend Scott Fellows (The creator of Johnny Test) new show called, Big Time Rush. I will have just a couple lines in the middle of the show but should be great fun to do it. And when it’s on I will let you all know.

Update 5.01.2010 — Taylor guest stars as “Regional Manager Taylor” in episode 8 “Big Time Demos” [<-- click to watch online] which also features an appearance by VA Daran Norris (The Fairly Odd Parents) as groundskeeper/maintenance guy “Buddah Bob.”

Big Time Rush airs Fridays on Nick at 8:30 PM (EST) with repeats throughout the weekend. Visit Zap2it.com for air dates of other upcoming episodes. The show and “band” also have official pages on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube which you can find linked through their official site: BigTimeRushTV.com.

Update: 1.20.2010, 9:40 AM — I’ve gotten confirmation (thanks to Doreen and Paul’s comments below) that Tara Strong appears as Miss Collins in episode #2 “Big Time School of Rocque” [<-- click to view online] which also includes yet another guest-star voice actor Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Phineas & Ferb) as teacher Mr. Smitty.

And you can also watch/download this episode on iTunes.

Tara first appears around the 2:28 mark and Dee at 3:25, and they appear other times throughout the episode as well.

And here’s a clip featuring just Baker’s first appearance:

http://au.video.yahoo.com/watch/6782614/17628464

I’ve discovered a few other animation/voice actor-related connections with this series.

James Arnold Taylor’s comment above mentions Scott Fellows (creator of CN’s Johnny Test), who is credited as the series’ creator and also serves as executive producer and writer. (Fellows has also written/produced episodes for The Fairly Odd Parents.)

Co-producer for Big Time Rush is Jed Springarn who has also produced and/or written episodes of Back at the Barnyand (for which he also was voice director), Jimmy Neutron, Johnny Bravo, Histeria!, Pinky and The Brain, Duckman, Freakazoid! and The Tick.

The director of the “School of Rocque” episode is Savage Steve Holland, who was the co-creator/producer/writer of Eek! The Cat (with Bill Kopp) in which he also voiced Elmo the Elk, Doc Tari in The Terrible Thunderlizards segments, and various incidental characters. Holland was also producer/writer/voice director for Sabrina: The Animated Series.

Update… actually, several updates between May and August, 2010 — The VA cameos on this show just keep on coming:

- Phil LaMarr (Futurama, Justice League, Samurai Jack) guest stars as Hawk along with American Idol winner Jordan Sparks in episode 14 “Big Time Sparks” and again in the one-hour season 1 finale “Big Time Concert” which premieres Friday, August 20th at 8 PM (EST).

- Daran Norris (The Fairly Odd Parents, The Replacements, The Spectacular Spider-Man) has an amusing recurring role as groundskeper/maintenance guy “Buddah Bob” in episodes #3 “Big Time Bad Boy” [<-- click to view online], #7 “Big Time Break” [not available online] (which also includes Sealab 2021‘s Erik Estrada as Officer Garcia), #8 “Big Time Demos” [<-- click to view online], #15 “Big Time Fever,” and #16 “Big Time Video.”

Note: “Big Time Bad Boy” also contains what I believe is a direct reference to EEK! The Cat’s catchphrase “Kum bah ya!” as said by a music label executive after getting kicked in the groin.

- Carlos Alazraqui (Jimmy Neutron, Camp Lazlo, The Fairly Odd Parents) guest stars as “Photographer Marcos” in episodes #6 “Big Time Photo Shoot” [<-- click to view online] and #16 “Big Time Video.”

- Ahmed Best (voice of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars movie prequels and Clone Wars series) guests as “Marketer” in the pilot episode “Big Time Audition” [full episode not available online, although he appears briefly in this music video] and again in episode 11 “Big Time Blogger” [<-- click here to view online].

- Wikipedia.com credits Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain) as “C.A.L.” for episode 10, “Big Time Jobs,” but I have not yet seen this episode to confirm if he actually appears or just provided a voice for the character.

And Tara Strong reprised her role as Miss Collins in episode #13 “Big Time Dance” and will guest star a third time in season 2 (for which production started in July 2010). We are also pleased to offer an exclusive photo gallery of Tara’s pictures from the set of Big Time Rush from episode #13 and an upcoming episode for season 2:

Tara Strong and Stephen Kramer Glickman

Fabio and Tara Strong

Tara Strong and Logan Henderson

Tara Strong, Stephen Kramer Glickman, and Kendall Schmidt

Jessica Sacks-Davimos, Stephen Kramer Glickman, and Tara Strong

Carlos Pena Jr and Tara Strong

Tara Strong and Stephen Kramer Glickman

Tara Strong as Miss Collins

Tara Strong as Miss Collins

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

A very special thanks to Tara Strong for contributing all the set photos, and to Phil LaMarr for his episode info.

Additional Sources: Wikipedia.org, IMDb.com

Retraction — 5.04: I originally posted that Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead) and Amy Poehler had supporting roles BTR (playing a married couple appropriately named “Mike Judge, Sr” and “Nicole Judge”), which I got from a press release. I’m going to assume that this just didn’t work out as either has yet to appear on the series. And the press release is no longer available online.

Related post: 7.14.2009 — Tara Strong on Batman, Chowder, Drawn Together Movie


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