Monthly Blog Mailbag: April 2010

Following up on March’s reader comments, where I answer questions and respond to feedback I get via e-mail and publish unintentionally amusing spam comments.

– Comment from “web tasarım” on a press release for the GEICO/FreedomWorks/D.C.Douglas brouhaha:

Sharing health was good in your hand. More expect friends.

I have no idea what that means, but it sounds complimentary so thanks. I hope health is good in your hand too.

– Comment from “sylvia” in response to an obituary notice (with strikethroughs to avoid keyword searches):

I have really been becoming all uncomfortable & zonked out there lately as soon as blazing some intense marihauna nowadays…
Any of you people experiencing this? It’s possible I just might need to reduce the amount I will be smoking right…?

While I don’t think this has any relation to my blog or it’s content… yes, I think that might just possibly be a very good thing for you to do.

– Comment from “Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy with Narration – Dr. Smith | Obesity Awareness” on a post about Orson Welles:

…actually they didn’t leave a comment. It was a blog pingack. And while I greatly respect Welles as an actor and don’t mean to make light of his death, I must admit I found the connection between “obesity awareness” and Orson Welles to be amusing…even if it was a random spam link to my blog.

Now for a real reader question:

– From Ron (Fresno, CA):

I enjoy [the] voice actor blog. I have recently began to appreciate voice actors from my youth a lot more, since I’ve been able to share the cartoons from the ’80’s and ’90’s with my kids.

I have wanted to start a project to obtain some of the former [Transformers] G1 voice actors autographs on the old [Hasbro] Action Cards from 1985. Unfortunately I have almost no idea how to go about this. I’m familiar with through the mail autograph seeking with sport figures but have no clue how to find some of the voice actors.

I was wondering if you might be able to answer a few questions for me? Are voice actors typically open to requests? Or is it too unusual an idea? Also, where would an individual send the requests, to their management agencies? Like I said it’s a project I’d love to do for myself and my kids. There is still magic in listening to those old cartoons and I’d like to capture a bit of it through autographs.

Sorry if I’m overstepping or asking too much, I do enjoy your website and appreciate the work you do to keep it up.

Thanks,
Ron Anderson

In my first reply to Ron, I asked him to provide a full list of all the voice actors he hoped to contact…and wow, was it a doozie! This is my reply to both messages:

Hi Ron,

Thanks so much for the compliments, and I don’t mind at all helping to get leads on autographs…even for requests as extensive as yours. Before I started going to conventions regularly, I used to do the same thing. For me, it’s more fulfilling and rewarding to get the autographs in person, and around 2000 I started a hobby of getting all my animated DVDs signed. Since I don’t want to risk losing my DVD cover art by sending it through the mail, I haven’t done any requests via U.S. Mail in quite some time.

I’m going to respond to your list in a series of separate posts over the next couple months because it’s a pretty extensive project to research and you have the casts for four different shows listed.

But first, to respond to your individual questions:

Are voice actors typically open to requests?

Yes. From my experience, Voice actors tend to be the most open to requests because they generally don’t have any kind of “celebrity” attitude and they appreciate the recognition for their work. Although I’ve met a handful who prefer their anonymity, I still have yet to be turned down for an autograph request, and at this point I’ve gotten so many signatures I’ve lost count.

[Is] it too unusual an idea?

Not at all! Up until I began using the internet in the mid-90s, I felt very alone in my hobby and appreciation for voice actors. Where I grew up in Memphis, TN there was only a local comic convention that offered nothing in the way of animation, and there weren’t even any local fan clubs that I knew of.

But thanks to the internet, not only did I discover that there were a lot of voice actor fans out there too, but a lot of them also collected autographs (some even going to great lengths to track down addresses).

Where would an individual send the requests, to their management agencies?

That’s actually one of the best places to start, and most autograph successes through the mail are obtained that way.

That said, before I tackle your major question I’m going to give some general information for anyone else interested in starting or expanding their autograph collection. These are some simple things you can do on your own time to find contacts for autograph requests:

1. Google.com is your friend.

Google has been my best resource for making contacts with voice actors (and bing.com more recently). But to search specifically for mailing addresses, put the actor’s name in “quotation marks” followed by “autograph.” Like this:

“Frank Welker” autograph

And within the first 10 search results you should find successes posted online by other fans.

And I’ve sometimes found better results searching with that same keyword method on Google Images. The search results there are often personal homepages, blogs and photo sharing accounts where if the fan hasn’t posted an address along with their image, you can usually find a contact for that person through the link to make an inquiry.

You can also use the same keyword search method to find the voice actor’s official site or Facebook.com page, if there’s one available. So your keyword search would be:

“Frank Welker” official site
“Frank Welker” facebook

While there are voice actors who keep their Facebook pages restricted, their page should have a link where you can send them a message (without requesting to be “Friends”). Also, some have official fan pages or fan groups on Facebook, and the fans there will be more than happy to help you with a contact for autograph requests.

And since I’ve used Frank as an example, you’ll be pleased to know that my good friend and fellow voice actor fan Doreen Mulman maintains Frank’s official site — FrankWelker.net — and she already has an address there for autograph requests through his agency.

2. Voicebank.net is also your friend.

Voicebank.net has demos for all the top voice actors in the industry as well as the agencies they’re listed with and the agencies’ mailing addresses.

Go to the “Demos and Agents” page on voicebank.net, type the name of the actor in the search and you’ll find what agency/agencies they’re listed with. When the actor’s demo pops up, click on the “Agency Name” link and the mailing address is the first thing listed.

3. VoiceChasers.com and FanMail.biz are your best friends.

The two best *direct* resources for fan mail addresses are thanks to Kristy at Voice Chasers and the fans on FanMail.biz.

Kristy has made great efforts to include addresses for fanmail and autograph requests for many of the voice actors listed in her database.

And FanMail.biz not only provides mailing addresses, but the fan forums there are always helpful to provide leads on actors that may not have a page yet. Furthermore, the fans post confirmations of autograph successes so you know you have a sure chance of receiving your request. And they post recent successes on the site’s frontpage, like the two current ones (as of this writing) for Dan Castellaneta and Seth MacFarlane.

The forum on FanMail.biz also offers a great guide by one of the site’s administrators on how to write to request autographs.

In my follow-up reply, I’ll address all the names on your list for the original Transformers series. In the meantime, you (and anyone else interested) can try using the above suggestions.

Thanks again, Ron, for allowing me to share your letter with my readers. I’m certain there are other fans out there who are curious to know the same thing.

Best of luck to you in your VA autograph quest,

Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News
* Expanded news coverage available through Facebook and Twitter.

One Response to Monthly Blog Mailbag: April 2010

  1. Ron says:

    Craig,
    Thanks for the reponse and the time put in trying to locate the addresses. I truely appreciate it and thanks for sharing the great resources that have aided others in the past.

    Thanks again,
    Ron

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