Happy 12th Blogiversary to Us!

11.16.2011

November 16, 2011 marks the 12th anniversary of Voice Actors in the News since it began as a self-published fanzine.

To celebrate this occasion, we are pleased to announce…

After two years of planning, redesigning, upgrading, archiving and beta-testing (most of which I cannot take credit for), Voice Actors in the News has finally moved to its new home: VOICEACTORSNEWS.COM, graciously redesigned from scratch and hosted by toonzone.net.

Please update your bookmarks accordingly, and for our subscribers we do have an RSS feed available on the new site.

This plain white bread-looking version of the blog will no longer be updated, but will remain here for posterity. Our entire database here — more than 700 entries — has already been duplicated and archived on the new site.

Furthermore, The Voice Actors Appreciation Society — one of the web’s first communities for voice actor fans — also has a new home on toonzone’s forums.

Thanks to our fans for supporting us over the last 12 years. The new site will give us an opportunity to expand and grow far beyond what has been achieved here. And we will continue to provide daily entertainment news, info and resources related to voice actors and voice acting, as we strive to promote the work of and bring recognition to voice actors in all media.

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


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


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

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


Moving Forward in 2011

01.06.2011

Although our Facebook and Twitter pages for the blog are updated almost daily with fresh content, I must apologize to our regulars for the lack of updates and new content here on WordPress.

I began a massive archive project last October in preparations for a major blog overhaul and some big news for the blog’s future which I’d hoped to announce in November 2010. A series of technical issues has caused continual delays in making that announcement, but we hope it will finally all be worked out shortly.

What I can say presently is that a high-traffic site and popular web community has offered to host Voice Actors in the News, but the transition is taking longer than anticipated.

We hope to publish an official announcement of the new host and upcoming expanded content and features in development before the end of January 2011.

In the meantime, please follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for daily news and content.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Happy Blogiversary to Us!

11.17.2010

November 16th, 2010 marks the 11th year since I first began publishing under the title Voice Actors in the News.

Over the course of a decade [you can read about the blog’s history here], it has progressed from a periodic newsletter focused on voice actors in animation to a blog covering entertainment news about voice actors in all forms of media.

It also used to be a newsletter that I self-published via The Voice Actors Appreciation Society, which even though the group had a few hundred members I didn’t even know if anyone was reading it since I rarely ever got any feedback on it. It was just something I did as a hobby.

After upgrading to a blog format in March 2009, I discovered that not only were others reading it, but within the few first months I was averaging around 100 readers per day.

And after seeing my readership triple in the first year, it became very clear to me that this was not a task I could continue to attempt on my own. I began reaching out to others in the fandom to assist as staff contributors and as of this posting we’re up to a staff of eight.

And just in this month of November, we have reached four more milestones with the blog:

– 150,000 blog views.
– 800 followers on Facebook.
– 500 followers on Twitter.
– And this wasn’t planned but it’s certainly appropriate that this marks my own 600th post on the blog since March 2009.

A very special thanks to my friends Brian and Harley at toonzone.net for being the first to give me a platform to publish my newsletter and for the continued years of friendship and support for my efforts.

Also special thanks to my longtime friends and fellow voice actor fans Kristy (Voicechasers.com), Doreen (Sites By Doreen), and Hillary (CultofCummings.com) — seeing their devotion to bring recognition to voice actors motivated me to spend the last 11 years writing about them.

And I attribute the incredible boost in blog traffic in 2010 to the addition of our staff contributors, whom I am most grateful that they have joined in this team effort: Doreen, Jeff, Mark, Kyle, Ashley, Sonia and Rosemary.

I’m very excited about some of the upcoming additions and expanded coverage for the blog, the first of which we will announce in the first quarter of 2011.

Thanks to all our readers out there — both the professional and fan community — for their support over the last 11 years. We will strive to continue and expand our efforts to serve the fandom and bring recognition to and appreciation for the work of voice actors.

Also thanks to my wife Joy being supportive of my non-profit hobby. She’s been very patient to wait for her chance to use the computer in little windows between the time I spend in service to the fandom online, and has tolerated my spending time blogging when I could have been doing other (and perhaps more important) things, and I love her for it.

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


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


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