Monthly Blog Mailbag: April 2010

04.30.2010

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.

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Monthly Blog Mailbag: March 2010

03.31.2010

Following up on February’s reader comments:

– Comment from “Hong” on a post about Spike Spencer:

Hello, just needed you to know I have added your site to my Google bookmarks because of your extraordinary blog layout. But seriously, I think your site has one of the freshest theme I’ve came across. It really helps make reading your blog a lot easier.

Thanks, but you must have my blog confused with someone else’s. I picked the simplest layout and theme available. If it were any more plain, it would be mistaken for white bread.

– Comment from “Christopher” on an obituary notice:

As a Freshman, I am always searching online for articles that can help me get further ahead. Thanks a million!

If you think reading an obit can help you get further ahead, you’re going to be a Freshman for a long, long time.

– Comment from “Amia” on a post about Seth MacFarlane’s doppelganger:

I’d have to say even Jennifer Aniston is hotter than her!

If you say so. And I’m sure Seth would find your comment very flattering too.


Monthly Blog Mailbag: February 2010

02.28.2010

Welcome to another new blog feature where I answer questions and respond to feedback I get via e-mail and publish unintentionally amusing spam comments.

Now, spam comments are the bane of every blogger. Thankfully, WordPress’ Akismet software filters such crap which can be easily mass-deleted.

However, I guess maybe it’s my compulsive nature that I still read spam comments, even though I know they’re usually utterly random (submitted via spamming spider-bot software) and unrelated to the blog topic or the blog itself. But sometimes, that’s what makes them funny.

And so it becomes posting fodder for your amusement as well:

– Comment on ‘SpongeBob’ Voice Cast Featured in Magazine (which included a video of Tom Kenny performing):

I liked reading this post. Thank you for this information. But could you please consider adding more videos to your posts? Some people would rather watch videos than read text.

My response: If you would rather watch videos than read my blog, there’s this site — maybe you’ve heard of it — called YouTube. It’s full of everything you could possibly want to watch in a video, and a lot of crap that either you’d rather not watch or that you end up wasting your time watching. Either way, you’re wasting your time, and that’s what teh internets is all about!

– Comment on a post about Celebrity doppelgangers:

I think I first came across your website via a link on Twitter. I fancy the way you write and I am going to subscribe to read more whenever I can. Oh yeah, are you on Twitter yet?

Yes (@voiceroy). I’m the one who posted the link on Twitter.

– Comment on a post about Nancy Cartwright appearing at an event:

You are posting too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting spam. Stop it.

– Another comment on a post about Nancy Cartwright:

This was a nice post! I am looking for some related pictures. Anybody got some good ones?

Yeah, you might try a search on Google Images. Or better yet, try checking NancyCartwright.com that was linked in the post, for crying out loud.

– Comment on an obituary notice:

I Liked reading this post. Quite some usefull fitness info in it for me 🙂 . And after reading this i think you will really like the book [spam book title omitted]. To me this is like the health and fitness bible. Last year i lost almost 25 pounds and gained an inch on my arms in 12 weeks. What you describe here does resemble the book a bit, but there is so much more! I added the link in my name so you dont have to search for it 😉 . Again, nice post and i hope you keep it up!

Maybe you didn’t notice, but your spam post about “heath and fitness” is possibly the most off-topic, insensitive and inappropriate comment you could possibly make in reply to an obituary notice. It would be poetic justice if while out jogging for your health and fitness you got hit by a truck that was transporting copies of your book.

– Comment from “Shawna” on my 2010 Annie Awards coverage:

I was wondering if you have the link to the article?

Shawna, honey, there are DOZENS of links to articles in that post.

– Comment on a press release from Spike Spencer:

Your website looks really good. Being a blog writer myself, I really appreciate the time you took in writing this article.

Thanks, you’re too kind…especially since you missed the obvious fact that I didn’t write the press release.

– Another comment on a post about Spike Spencer:

Irgend ne Ahnung wie sehr das verallgemeinerbar ist?

Danke. Auf Wiedersehen.

– Comment on a post about Reggae archivist and voice talent Roger Steffens:

Have you ever noticed that any place there is hardship, you’ll find two posters. Che and Bob Marley

No, I hadn’t noticed that. Thanks for pointing it out, Mr. “pure acai berry supplements,” if that is your real name.

– Comment on a post about Shrek Forever After:

I dont have a checking account how can I place the order?

Send cash. Lots and lots of it.