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


Put A Little Looney In Your GPS

09.24.2010

This makes the fourth in our series covering official celebrity/character voices for TomTom navigational devices… Homer Simpson, Darth Vader, Yoda and now… Looney Tunes!

Joe Alaskey at the premiere of 'Looney Tunes: Back in Action' (11/09/2003). Photo credit: exposay.com / Lee Roth / RothStock

First offered are Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, performed by Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures, Duck Dodgers).

Here’s the official press release, courtesy of BusinessWire.com:

For Immediate Release

Warner Bros. Looney Tunes™ characters bring their animated antics to TomTom!

~ The classic voices of Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Pepé Le Pew star on TomTom devices ~

CONCORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TomTom draws on the rich heritage of Looney Tunes’ animated superstars! In association with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and VoiceSkins.com, TomTom brings the classic Looney Tunes voices to TomTom navigation devices for the very first time.

“Say doc, after 600 yards stay in the right lane. What’s this rabbit’s foot doin’ in the glove box?”

Beginning today with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, the launch of Warner Bros.’ dazzling galaxy of classic cartoon greats will continue throughout the Autumn of 2010 – with Daffy Duck and Sylvester launching in October, and Pepé Le Pew coming to TomTom device screens in November.

Bugs Bunny, the most popular cartoon character ever, guides you in his trademark laconic way with wise-cracks aplenty. Just make sure you’ve got enough carrots to keep your hungry co-pilot focused on the navigation! As well as the sounds of much carrot munching, the Bugs Bunny voice also features the iconic Looney Tunes theme, entertaining sound effects and original incidental music overlaid on the navigation commands to provide that iconic Looney Tunes shorts feel. Bugs makes driving more fun with lines such as, “Say doc, after 600 yards stay in the right lane. What’s this rabbit’s foot doin’ in the glove box?”

[Video demo of TomTom Bugs Bunny in action]

Yosemite Sam, the greatest, the toughest, rip-roarin’-est, hombre that ever packed a six-shooter and a map navigates with characteristic growls and threats like: “Sharp left, ya humpbacked muley. Then go straight on. This ve-hicle ain’t big enough for the two of us!”

“We are excited to launch these Looney Tunes voices exclusively for TomTom devices. By offering these fun personalities, our drivers will not only enjoy the best directions, but they will also have fun along the way,” said Tom Murray, senior vice president market development at TomTom, Inc. “We hope that drivers and passengers of all ages can enjoy the rich heritage of these classic voices during their everyday journeys.”

“TomTom is a global leader in personal navigation and what better way to travel than with a little help from some of the world’s most beloved characters,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The Looney Tunes will make any journey more entertaining with their irreverence and fun-loving nature.”

TomTom customers will also be able to download free of charge various official warning alert sounds voiced by Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, along with free start up screen wallpapers.

To celebrate the release of the voices, TomTom is launching a hilarious viral video treat featuring the Looney Tunes classic characters, and their agent, “negotiating” a deal to bring their voices to TomTom.

All Looney Tunes voices will be available in English. The Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam voices are available for download immediately for $12.95.

To hear clips of the voices – and to find out more about them – visit www.tomtom.com/looneytunes

All Looney Tunes voices are performed by Emmy award-winning voice actor, Joe Alaskey.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

About TomTom N.V.

TomTom N.V. (AEX: TOM2) is the world’s leading provider of location and navigation solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands it employs over 3000 employees worldwide. More than 40 million people daily use its solutions, be it in the form of dedicated portable navigation devices (PNDs), in- dash car systems or tracking and tracing solutions for fleet management. In addition, hundreds of millions of people use TomTom’s digital maps on the internet or mobile phone.

In 2009, TomTom reported €1.5 billion in revenues and a €340 million net cash flow from operating activities. More information about TomTom can be found on www.TomTom.com.

About VoiceSkins.com & Locutio Voice Technologies

Founded in 2004, Locutio Voice Technologies is the world’s foremost developer of real celebrity and premium branded voice content for in-car GPS. Working with vocal greats like Lucas Film/Star Wars, Fox/Simpsons, Warner Bros./Looney Tunes and Snoop Dogg, Locutio’s VoiceSkins make every journey a truly fun event, delivering real in-car infotainment!

VoiceSkins.com currently offers the original Homer Simpson voice for sale, recorded by Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Snoop Dogg, the official Star Wars voices and now the classic Looney Tunes characters. More high-profile branded celebrity voice content is set to be launched throughout Q4 2010. See www.VoiceSkins.com (and their official YouTube Channel) and www.Locutio.co.uk for further details.

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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And here are some bonus videos to showcase Joe Alaskey’s tremendous talent as an impressionist:

– Joe Alaskey on The David Letterman Show, circa 1987 (this video currently has over 908 thousand views on YouTube):

– Joe Alaskey performing a series of impressions on Comedy Tonight (circa 1985-ish):

– Local FOX affiliate interviews Joe in a promo for the very short-lived Tiny Toons spinoff The Plucky Duck Show (circa 1992):

– Joe Alaskey performs as Daffy, Marvin, Yosemite Sam and Bugs with the West Coast Symphony in Santa Barbara, CA (Feb 2004):

– Joe Alaskey interview and street chat with fans (Oct. 2008):.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News


Happy Birthday, June Foray!

09.18.2010

June Foray in an undated publicity photo.

Voice Actors in the News would like to wish a very happy birthday to “The First Lady of Cartoon Voicing” — June Foray — born September 18th, 1917.

June Foray with fellow Looney Tunes character voicers Maurice LaMarche and Bob Bergen at VOICE 2010. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

For cartoon voice actor fans, June needs no introduction. With more than 300 credits listed on The Internet Movie Database, her most notable roles are… well, all of them, but the most widely-known characters she’s voiced are Granny and Witch Hazel in classic Looney Tunes cartoons, Rocky and Natasha in Rocky & Bullwinkle, Magica De Spell and Ma Beagle in Disney’s DuckTales, and Jokey Smurf in The Smurfs.

June Foray, Dave Nimitz and Ginger. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

And as we’ve reported here a few times, there’s a June Foray documentary forthcoming, which according to the official site is currently in post-production. (A new trailer was added on August 5th, 2010.)

There’s also the Smurf Justice for June Foray campaign which needs the continued support of all her fans and a great deal more media exposure if it’s going to be successful:

There’s also more than 40 links, interviews and video related to June that I collected via June’s category at The Open Directory Project. And I’ll probably be adding more to it over the next week. One link in particular that’s highly recommended is The Archive of American Television’s 2-hour video interview with June from 2008. Here’s part 1 via YouTube:

Additionally, animation artist Dave Nimitz, who has been close friends with June for ages (and who also donated personal photos for this article), has home videos with June on his official YouTube Channel, and many, many photos featuring June on his Flickr photostream.

Voice Actors in the News staffer Doreen Mulman also has a tribute to June on her blog, including an image Dave Nimitz created for June in honor of her birthday.

Cover image for June Foray's autobiography courtesy of BearManorMedia.com.

Lastly (but certainly not leastly), June’s autobiography Did You Grow Up With Me Too? is available through her official site, JUNEFORAY.COM. Mark Evanier stated via NewsFromME.com in February 2010:

[We] will soon be closing down her site and it will no longer be possible to order signed copies from there. But I like you so I’m giving you what may be your final opportunity. If you want a copy autographed by the legend herself — the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha, Tweety’s owner Granny, Nell Fenwick, Jokey Smurf and so many more — go there now and order one…or more. And don’t come crawling to me when you finally decide you need one and they’re no longer available.

Mark hasn’t followed up on this since, and the site does appear to still have copies available. But if for some reason they’re sold out, you can still purchase the book through the publisher: BEARMANORMEDIA.COM.

June Foray and Bob Bergen at VOICE 2010. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

June’s character voices have been entertaining me since I was a toddler. I hope to finally get a chance to meet her so I can tell her in person how much I admire and appreciate her work, and how much it influenced me to pursue a career as a performer.

And from myself and the staff here at Voice Actors in the News, we wish you a very happy birthday, June.

Actress June Foray arrives for the 2009 Governors Awards at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on November 14, 2009. Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.


Fans Q&A with Jess Harnell (audio)

08.26.2010

Jess Harnell fans were asked to submit questions for Jess via the Jess Harnell Fans Facebook Group and MySpace fan page. [Fan questions were selected by Voice Actors in the News staff contributor, Ashley Trayder, who is also the administrator of Jess’ fan pages on Facebook and MySpace.]

Instead of typing his replies, Jess took the time to record his answers for the fans. You can listen to the full audio through the Jess Harnell Fan Page on MySpace.

~Ashley Trayder
Voice Actors in the News Staff Contributor


Cinco de Blanco

05.05.2010

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, here are some classic bits from the late-great Mel Blanc performing the voice he made so famous as the cartoon icon Speedy Gonzales:

– Fan video with Mel singing “The Hat I Got for Christmas is Too Big”:

Jack Benny and Mel perform their classic “Si, Cy, Sue” routine on The Jack Benny Show:

– Benny and Blanc recreate the “Si, Cy, Sue” routine on The Johnny Carson Show (1974):

– “The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico” in his first featured Warner Bros’ cartoon Speedy Gonzales (1955):


Cast Details for New Scooby Doo D2V and TV Series

04.02.2010

The March 12th press release (courtesy of Scoobyfan.net) for the upcoming live-action/CGI sequel to Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins reveals an upcoming animated direct-to-video title: Scooby-Doo: Camp Scare, which releases on DVD in September 2010.

In addition to the principal voice cast fans have come to expect from the animated series and features (Frank Welker as Fred and Scooby Doo, Grey Delisle as Daphne, and Mindy Cohn as Velma), I have a source confirming some of the supporting cast for this new D2V title: Tara Strong, Phil LaMarr and Lauren Tom. Scott Menville was also mentioned, which leads me to believe that Menville will be reprising his role as Shaggy rather than Matthew Lillard who voiced Shaggy for the February 2010 DVD release, Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo. [Menville also voiced Shaggy for the previous TV series, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo: Get a Clue!]

My source added that they were putting the “finishing touches” on recording.

The press release also mentions that the new animated TV series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated will air in 2011. However, since I first published this article here I now have two sources confirming that the series will air summer 2010, possibly in July, and that the 2011 date mentioned in the press release is believed to be for international markets.

A preview of the new series is scheduled to air Monday, April 5th at 7:00 PM (EST) on Cartoon Network, and it’s been given a full 30-minute time-slot on the CartoonNetwork.com Schedule.

The voice cast for Mystery Inc. includes Welker, DeLisle, Cohn and Lillard (whom I’ve confirmed through a fellow cast member that Lillard will voice Shaggy for the new series).

Additionally, David Kaye (voice of Megatron in five Transformers series to date) shared news that he had a recording session April 1st for an episode of Mystery Inc. with the aforementioned Welker and DeLisle, as well as fellow guest stars Cree Summer and Maurice LaMarche. Kaye added that he got to deliver one of the most famous lines of the Scoobyverse.

And as an exclusive for the blog, Kaye graciously granted permission to share the photos from the recording session:

Maurice LaMarche and Frank Welker


Cree Summer and Frank Welker


Group photo for a recording session of an episode of 'Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated': Left-to-right: Frank Welker, Maurice LaMarche, Collette Sunderman (voice director), David Kaye, Mitch Watson (writer).

And on a related Scooby note, I neglected to mention the February 16th release of Scooby Doo: Abracadabra-Doo in my VAs on DVD coverage earlier this year, but it’s worth the rental. It’s been well-received by fans (click here comments via Scoobyfan.net) and it also received positive reviews (toonzone called it “an uncommonly good Scooby-Doo movie”) due to its return-to-roots retro look and feel as well as some of best 2D animation Warner Bros Animation has produced for a Scooby feature since Scooby Doo on Zombie Island (1998).

Overall, it’s also one of the most entertaining Scooby features released in the last decade (or more). It just seems like more attention was given to producing a quality product which appealed both to kids and nostalgic Scooby Doo fans. For starters, it’s directed by Spike Brandt (Duck Dodgers, Animaniacs), and both Alan Burnett and Paul Dini — two of animation’s top writers — were involved in developing/writing the story and teleplay.

And it boasts a great cast too. Of course you’ll hear Welker, DeLisle, Cohn and Lillard (as Shaggy), and guest stars include Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), Brian Posehn (Mission Hill, Transformers Animated), Jeffrey Tambor (The Larry Sanders Show), and comedian Dave Attell as the voice of the Mystery Machine’s wisecracking GPS. Also listen for cartoon voice acting regulars John DiMaggio, Dee Bradley Baker, Crystal Scales, Olivia Hack, Diane Delano, James Patrick Stuart, and John Stephenson whom I believe has voiced a character in nearly every Scooby Doo production since 1969.

Wikipedia also mentions a Scooby-Doo and the Wild West Frankenstein animated D2V feature for 2011, but I have been unable to find any sources confirming this title. And according to a post on ScoobyAddicts.com, there was a Wikipedia entry in October 2009 which listed this title as Scooby Doo and the Wild West Boogeyman. The listing was removed less than a week later.

A very special thanks to David Kaye — DavidKaye.com for the photos.


Next Animated DC DVD: ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

02.11.2010

toonzone.net reports (via the LA Times) that Batman: Under the Red Hood will be the next at the next DC Comics animated direct-to-video title adapting “the recent storyline from the 2005 Batman comics written by Judd Winick, who is also apparently writing the screenplay to the movie.”

Brandon Vietti will direct, and the voice cast will feature Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) as Batman, Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) as the Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, John DiMaggio as the Joker, and Jason Isaacs (the Harry Potter franchise) as Ra’s al-Ghul.

Sorry, I can’t hold back the commentary on this one. This is the third voice for Batman in a year. Come on Warners/DC Comics — make up your mind, for crying out!

Granted, William Baldwin as Batman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is forgivable since it’s an “alternate universe” kind of story. Otherwise, Batman should be voiced by Kevin Conroy, and only Kevin Conroy. Even Christian Bale‘s Batman should have been overdubbed by Kevin Conroy.